Campaigns/Elections

It's 2011 and Ron Paul is President

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What would Google News look like?

The wise-asses at Something Awful hazard a guess and come up with some winners.

Dept. of Education Loses to Dept. of Vouchers is a future LAT headline, while USA Today offers Wal-Mart to Offer Low-Income Schools in 48 Stores by October.

Then we have stories on colloidal silver being approved for cancer treatment and a farewell to White House press secretary Art Bell. Oh, and don't forget Social Security benefits sunset on August 15th.

The real knee-slapper? Paul, certainly among his GOP cohorts, is the only candidate for POTUS to have views consistent and coherent enough to parody.

NEXT: Do You Trust This Man to Protect Your Privacy?

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  1. Why is it when you try to take power from the gov. and give it back to the people there’s horror stories about the results.Are we to stupid to run our lives?

  2. Personally, I think it would more likely read “Paul vetos yet another bill from Congress.”

  3. *imagines scene from “The Last Action Hero” where Stallone is the Terminator…

  4. SA can be very funny. They mock everything; I wouldn’t read too much into it, Michael.

    Your average internet comedy-site reading dork probably leans mostly libertarian anyway.

  5. Are we to stupid to run our lives?

    Some typos are more fun than others.

  6. No, Michael, not too stupid. Too selfish.

    Reread the Tragedy of the Commons. The “empowered” sheep farmers, free to choose how many sheep to graze, don’t follow a destructive path because they’re stupid, but because they’re smart.

    It’s a matter of incentives, not intelligence.

  7. No, here’s what the headlines would really look like

    “Colorado legalizes marajuana, DEA helpless to stop”

    “New York doubles its taxes to cover it expensive healthcare plan, many citizens move to Colorado”

    “Iowa abandoned due to lack of ethanol subsidies”

    “US Dollar losing steadily to US gold note in international markets”

    “Bridge to nowhere collapses, no one hurt.”

  8. ….a farewell to White House press secretary Art Bell.

    But THAT’S really pretty funny.

  9. “Paul vetos yet another bill from Congress.”

    And the media has a hissy fit. Man in the street wonders WTF is wrong with the POTUS and why he voted for him.

  10. Don’t forget

    Hell Freezes Over! and Pigs Fly!

  11. Jeff, did you stop doing Reason Express or is my server eating it?

  12. Speaking as one of the Something Awful libertarians, most of us are abandoning Paul in droves over the Darfur divestment vote.

  13. Are voters looking for change? (As the media keeps trying to sell us.)
    At least the parody shows Paul has the potential for change.
    (Unfortunately voters are not looking for change, and they never will be. Just more of the same “swarm” behavior.)

  14. Does Ron Paul really support colloidal silver as an effective alternative treatment for cancer? I hope not because that would make him not just an unelectable joke, but a dangerous quack.

  15. “Ron Paul pardons thousands convicted under federal laws deemed unconstitutional.”

  16. joe, while many Tragedy of the Commons scenarios are compelling one that considers individuals’ own money as a “commons” falls somewhat short.

    As I recall, the grazing lands were the Commons, the farmers herds were their own.

  17. A drunk-driving accident took Christopher Hsu’s face in 2004, but he’s smiling again thanks to Vonnessa Washington (15), her mother Tameka, and their generous contribution of Vonnessa’s face to Citibank Credit and Organ Placement. Vonnessa plans to buy a diamond-studded silk hood with her share of the money.

    Am I the only one who finds that just a little bit racist?

  18. ClubMed:

    No, but you’re the only one who cares. 😉

  19. I’ll say this for Ron Paul: nothing I’ve read here makes me think his supporters are intelligent enough to realize how silly it is to believe he can win. Ignorant faith is bound to give his campaign a certain energy.

  20. Oh man, I remember when Something Awful was actually funny, back when I was in high school 7 years ago. Those were the days.

  21. Edward | August 6, 2007, 11:53am | #
    Does Ron Paul really support colloidal silver as an effective alternative treatment for cancer? I hope not because that would make him not just an unelectable joke, but a dangerous quack.

    No, that was some crazy bastard who ran for some office in Montana as a libertarian. He drank colloidal silver for some fool reason and his skin turned blue.

    Also, I feel obliged to insult your intelligence in turn, so here goes: your intelligence is low, Edward. Very low, indeed. It’s so low that it is at least two standard deviations below the mean. You wear velcro shoes.

  22. Whoever is paying Edward for his time here must be worried Paul could win.

  23. Wary,
    Edward is the trolliest troll whatever trolled. Please don’t feed him.

  24. Did someone just spoof my misspelled handle? Awesome.

  25. C’mon, I’m hungry!

  26. Hey, is there a connection between Reason getting more hits and Ron Paul coverage?

    All Paul, all the time!

  27. Ruthless

    I suspect Ron Paul has only supporters stupid enough to think he can win. On the other hand maybe supporters will pay just to get his name out there. I’m open to offers.

  28. SA is still funny. Did you see where they declared Dr. Paul supports genocide? I laughed and laughed.

  29. Joe,they didn’t own the land,therefore there was no advantage to care for it.Just like my wife doesn’t worry about the water bill when she washes her car.

  30. Wal-Mart to Offer Low-Income Schools in 48 Stores by October.

    And parents will flock to them as preferable to the government schools in most cites. Graduates of Wal-Mart High might actually know how to read and do algebra.

    You need to be careful not to make your parodies sound like a good idea.

  31. Edward, we’ve been over this before.

    Since only one candidate can ultimately win, all the supporters of all the other candidates are “stupid enough to think” their candidate can win.

    It doesn’t really matter if you subjectively believe that Bill Richardson has a “greater chance” to win. The only data point that matters is actual victory. If on election day 2008 neither Ron Paul nor Bill Richardson are President, that makes these statements:

    1. Ron Paul can win the election.
    2. Bill Richardson can win the election.

    – equally false and equally stupid. And this goes for every candidate in the race but one, in the end.

  32. I’m sending my kids to Target’s schools. Don’t like the riff-raff at Wal-Mart’s schools.

  33. Isaac B,

    I’m not claiming that private property is a commons. The private property is the sheep, and such actions as dumping one’s waste or building in an unsustainable manner is the equivalent of grazing more and more sheep to try to outrun the stripping of the common.

    The important part of the tragedy of the commons is the observation that certain actions (ie, maximizing your own sheep in order to cash in before the common is stripped) are only in one’s self-interest if others are free to do the same. It would actually be in everyone’s greater self-interest for everyone’s grazing rights to be limited, and individuals pursue destructive unlimited grazing not because they’re stupid (Michael Pack’s theory), but because it can actually be the smart thing, on individual level, to take part in behavior which is irrational in the aggregate.

  34. This site constantly bashes the views of other presidential candidates, but when the same is done to Ron Paul by someone else, they cry about it. Hey Reason, you want some cheese with that whine?

  35. Michael Pack,

    Joe,they didn’t own the land,therefore there was no advantage to care for it.

    No, wrong. They did have an interest in caring for it. They most certainly did have an interest in making sure the common was preserved.

    They just didn’t have an effective way, on an individual level, to make that happen. Just making decisions about what to do with one’s own sheep wouldn’t solve the problem.

  36. Who peed in your whisky Goldthwait?

  37. Awesome, ProGLib! I’ll send my kids to the Mom & Pop schools until Wal-Mart shuts ’em down.

  38. Joe –

    One could very easily conclude that the only real way to avoid the tragedy of the commons is to minimize the area of commonality as much as possible. If there is no commons or an extremely minimal commons, we don’t have to concern ourselves so much with any tragedy befalling it.

    The problem with any large commons is an information problem. If the commons has to be properly administered to avoid a tragedy that then destroys all private interests as well, it is not rational to support the presence of a commons, for the simple reason that one must assume that eventually the commons will be mismanaged. You’re essentially making yourself dependent on the good judgment of others by relying on a commons, and eventually the judgment of those others will be faulty – it’s only a matter of time.

  39. Fair enough, joe, rereading I see Micheal Pack used the word power. I hastily took that took mean the power to tax. On second thought I see that he meant power as in self-determination.

    I’m still a little confused as to what commons is going to be depleted by everyone having “too much” power of self-determination.

  40. Goldthwait

    If Edward ever writes substantive critiscism of Ron Paul’s positions someone might try to give a substantive reply.

    Repetively posting, “Ron Paul’s supporters are stupid” is not substantive critiscism. It is juvenile trolling.

  41. The important part of the tragedy of the commons is the observation that certain actions (ie, maximizing your own sheep in order to cash in before the common is stripped) are only in one’s self-interest if others are free to do the same.

    ?

    The important part of the tragedy of the commons is, as Fluffy notes, that commons should be minimized. Costs should accrue to those who benefit, and the most effective way to do that is to privatize everything that can be privatized.

    Going back to the first comment, that includes virtually everything the government does.

  42. Fluffy,

    True enough. Of course, there are two problems with that theory. One is that some commons, such as the Ozone layer (or, more accurately, the ability of the atmosphere to screen out UV light) can’t be effectively privatized. The other is that privatizing everything leaves the have-nots without access to resources.

    The problem with any large commons is an information problem. Not really. In the classic sheep-grazing example, everyone had all the information they needed. People didn’t buy lots of sheep to fatten up before the common died because they misunderstood the situation and made an irrational choice – given the power everyone else had to overgraze, each shepherd was making a rational, fully-informed choice to maximize this year’s sheep.

  43. Take an example of eight property owners who have abutting multi-acre parcels that they want to develop. The land is dotted with streams and wetlands.

    Each individual has an interest in filling all of their land and building on it, but each owner also has an interest in there being enough wetlands to handle to the stormwater. Each individual can only contol his own behavior, which doesn’t include forcing his neighbors to maintain their wetlands. If left to their own devices, this leads to each of the owners filling their entire lots and everyone having water in their basements.

    It’s a Mexican standoff situation, and rationality alone is going to lead to everyone firing their gun, or everyone standing there frozen.

  44. As an occasional lurker on that forum, I can say SA’s politics area is really, really lefty. If you are to the right of Ted Kennedy you are basically shouted down and told you are an ignorant loon. This doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  45. joe,

    Why can’t one of the landowners volunteer to devote part of his land to wetland, in return for a fee from the other landowners?

  46. Or the landowners could sign an agreement requiring each to leave a certain fraction of their parcels as wetland.

  47. joe,

    The marginally least interested developer offers to the others that he will turn half his own land into drainage for a price. One of three things now happens: (a) they pay the price, (b) the second least interested developer offers half of his land for less, or (c) the developers build buildings with flooding basements.

    Or can only someone with magical powers at the city planners’ office foresee the drainage problem?

  48. crimethink | August 6, 2007, 1:59pm | #
    Or the landowners could sign an agreement requiring each to leave a certain fraction of their parcels as wetland.

    Unfortunately, developers don’t tend to be so forward-thinking. Fuck, most of them (at least in cracker-assed suburbia where I live) don’t even care enough to have a single square angle in the shitty little houses they build. Locusts, the lot of them.

  49. Fluffy,

    The only real question is whether you simply don’t understand elementary logic or have a brain defect. Those who support candidates–like Richardson–who actually have a chance of winning, however slim, can’t be compared to knuckleheads who believe Ron Paul can win (he can’t) and more than you can compare a climatologist’s predcitions to a astrologer’s. There really are things that are outlandish to believe, but none so outlandish that stupid people won’t believe them.

  50. I took a 560 mile round trip to visit my sailboat. On the way I saw a “Ron Paul 08” yard sign about 75 miles north of Seattle

    I saw no signs for any other candidates.
    Run, Ron, Run!

  51. Unfortunately, developers don’t tend to be so forward-thinking. Fuck, most of them (at least in cracker-assed suburbia where I live) don’t even care enough to have a single square angle in the shitty little houses they build. Locusts, the lot of them.

    In general I agree with your description of developers, but they’re in a pickle right now WRT overbuilding, so they’ve screwed themselves.

    As for the wetland example, this kind of stuff goes on all the time. The proper role of the government is to provide the court structure where these disputes are settled. Local ordinances and zoning may be involved as well, but it is not the role of the federal government to dictate those ordinances. You can have your protected commons, if you want it and you think you can make it work, but it is not the domain of the Feds.

  52. Of course, the problem with the “Tragedy of the Commons” is that it is ahistorical. It’s simply a lie about history, of the same sort as the “social contract” (the idea that government originated by mutual agreement, rather than by conquest).

    In actual, real history, commons grazing was governed by substantial property rights that limited the number of animals each commoner could graze, and the times and seasons in which they could do so. These property rights were enforceable at common law.

    The “Tragedy of the Commons” is much more appropriate to ranching on Federal lands in the American West than to a medieval commons. It is under government mismanagement that overgrazing happens.

    It turns out that herdsmen know a hell of a lot more about maintaining a commons than economists do.

  53. Edward –

    You don’t understand basic statistics.

    The only way to measure the likelihood of an event occurring is to keep testing until the event occurs. If you have zero instances of elections where Ron Paul or Bill Richardson became President, and you have at least one instance where each of them ran and lost, there are no statistical grounds for asserting that either of them is now [i]or was ever[/i] more likely to win the election.

  54. “The problem with any large commons is an information problem. Not really. In the classic sheep-grazing example, everyone had all the information they needed.”

    Sorry, my bad. I was attempting to describe the problem with any scheme to regulate the use of the commons. We can’t know in advance that the regulations chosen will work. If the regulations don’t work, and we have made ourselves dependent on the commons, we all lose. That means that when confronted with the existence of the commons, we can either eliminate it [and be at the mercy of our own ability to manage our own section of the distributed commons] or we can attempt to regulate it [and be at the mercy of how everyone else administers the commons]. It’s only rational to choose A.

    The thing is that you believe that the regulation of the commons protects system participants from failures of the commons, and you can’t know that in advance. The shepherd dependent on an unregulated commons and the shepherd dependent on a regulated commons are actually in the same position: they’re dependent on something that everyone else might fuck up. They may fuck it up in the manner described in the classic “tragedy” example, or they may fuck it up by designing bad regulation. The rational position is therefore to not be in a situation where you are dependent on a commons [or to minimize the instances in which you’re dependent on a commons].

  55. Michael Pack wrote:

    Why is it when you try to take power from the gov. and give it back to the people there’s horror stories about the results.Are we to stupid to run our lives?

    Three words:

    “Straight Ticket Voter.”

  56. crimethink,

    The landowners might do that. Then again, they might not. In any case, it is highly unlikely that any one landowner could make as much money from not developing his land than from developing it, and none of the landowners can make as much money from building on part of their property than building it all.

    Mike P,

    See my response to crimethink. Once again (and again, and again, and again, and again, apparently), it’s not a question of knowing about the problem, but of it not being in any private party’s interest to solve it.

    It’s clear how in love you are with accusing other people of thinking they’re smart. A dodge from answering the actual issue, perhaps?

    (I never actually manage to get anyone to take on the problem of the divergence of interests on these threads.)

  57. Fluffy,

    Ah, I get it now.

    We didn’t “make ourselves” dependant on clean air, or the ability to wetlands to contain flood water.

  58. Once again (and again, and again, and again, and again, apparently), it’s not a question of knowing about the problem, but of it not being in any private party’s interest to solve it.

    But it is in their interests to solve the problem. If they all build on all their land, their buildings’ basements will flood.

    You seem to assume some absolute symmetry among the developers. In reality there are differences among their interests, their plans, and their land such that one of them would be willing to put up some of his land for drainage if he is compensated for it.

    This is the Coase theorem applied. And it will result in a better solution for each and every developer than, say, the government requiring that each of them provides his own drainage.

    It’s clear how in love you are with accusing other people of thinking they’re smart. A dodge from answering the actual issue, perhaps?

    I regretted that statement after I reread your example and saw that you were clear that all the developers knew all the facts of the drainage problem. Sorry about that.

  59. Awesome, ProGLib! I’ll send my kids to the Mom & Pop schools until Wal-Mart shuts ’em down.

    Reason studies show that there are more Mom & Pop schools AFTER Wal-Mart comes to town than before.

    Pro: Bet there won’t be an Salvation Army kids going to Target schools, even if they are a step up.

  60. I’d never buy a building with a flooding basement.

    Secondly, 3/4 of the land I own is virgin (the rest is a slut).

  61. Fluffy,

    So the Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Socialist Workers all have statistically equal chances of winning the next election. I see. Somebody should tell the bookmakers.

    Not all Ron paul supporters are stupid, by the way. Only the ones who think he can win.

  62. Joe –

    There are some commons that are unavoidable, and will remain constant dangers to all of our well-being. The problem is that the left considers the manufacture of ever more commons as one of its main raisons d’etre. The fact that we can’t escape from the atmospheric commons is not, to me, a good reason to expand our area of common enterprise.

  63. No, Edward. That’s not what I said. I said there is no real way to come up with a hard number to measure the difference in the likelihood that Richardson will win and the likelihood that Paul will win, and once the election is over and they haven’t won, those odds revert to zero anyway.

    Anyway, you wanted to talk about stupidity. And if we’re talking about stupidity, if we’re taking a test and the question is: “Who will win the Presidential election in 2008?” people who write as their answer “Ron Paul” and people who write as their answer “Bill Richardson” both score zero on the test – as does everyone else whose candidate doesn’t win. People with equal zero scores on their test are equally stupid. And if you bring your test up to the teacher and say, “But – but – but – my answer had a better chance to be right than all the other wrong answers!” the teacher is entitled to say “Wrong is wrong, so put your duncecap on and get in the corner, dopey.”

  64. As a not so proud graduate of the public school system, I don’t see what would be wrong with letting Wal-Mart try their hand at schooling, either.

  65. I wonder if food safety liberals have even heard of UL?

  66. “Am I the only one who finds that just a little bit racist?”

    Yes.

  67. As a proud graduate of the public school system, I see plenty wrong with WalMart High. What happens to the kids whose parents can’t afford to pay the tuition?

    Vouchers you say… What is the difference between vouchers and public schools? The problem with public schools is multi-generational poverty.

  68. Mike P,

    But it is in their interests to solve the problem. If they all build on all their land, their buildings’ basements will flood.

    You need to look at both costs and benefits here. Certainly, they would benefit from not selling houses with basements that flood, but the question is if the costs are worth that benefit to the individual developer.

    Getting back to the classic Tragedy of the Commons, each individual shepherd has an interest in not destroying the vegetation, yet even if an individual bears the cost of limiting his own grazing to one sheep – a huge cost – the benefit he would achieve would be negligable, as he wouldn’t actually be able to stop the common from being destroyed by doing that. Similarly, if I completely stopped using fossil fuels on my own, it would impose a huge cost on me, and would’t accomplish any perceptable benefit in terms of air quality and global warming.

  69. joe,

    Getting back to the classic Tragedy of the Commons, each individual shepherd has an interest in enclosing a piece of the pasture as his property.

    There is a solution. It is in their interest to find it. The solution they find will almost always be superior to some externally imposed regulation of the commons or one-size-fits-all regulation of a property. Just as with your drainage example.

  70. Speaking as one of the Something Awful libertarians…

    Free advice – if you want to share information with people, don’t throw around links to threads in forums that require registration. People don’t tend to register with sites just to find out what some guy who’s never posted here before is going on about.

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