Campaigns/Elections

But What About the Troops, Ron Paul?

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I thought Ron Paul did a very creditable job in his Jay Leno moment last night, and as an old-school libertarian movement geek was over the Moon hearing him name-check Austrian economics as the economics of freedom and hard money. (For much, much, much more on Austrian economics and libertarianism, see….wait for it…my book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.)

But there was one place where he missed a chance to mention a detail that I think might have really sold with a "support the troops" public. It was when Leno was asking if maybe pulling troops out of Iraq would really just cause more harm than good. I know his campaign is very conscious of this point, since they were flyering about it to a meeting of the Iowa state GOP that I attended over the weekend: the extraordinary level of demonstrated preference for Ron Paul among the military itself. Donations to his campaign from people in or working for the U.S. military the past two quarters running have been far in excess of any of his opponents. Details and numbers here.

NEXT: Another Ozymandias Moment, Take 683

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  1. sigh. “hard money”. sigh.

    *walks away, shaking head*

  2. Someone with a great sense of humor booked Tom Cruise, Ron Paul, and The Sex Pistols on Jay Leno the same night.

  3. Some of what Paul said to the Iowa Republicans about the amount of fiat money being printed sounded pretty plausible to me. They don’t even report how much money the mint prints anymore – is that true?

    If we do smack into an inflationary crisis in the next few years, Paul is going to look like a prophet. Then again, that’s not the first time someone has said that in the past few decades.

  4. Ron Paul did a fantastic job on the Tonight Show.

  5. Ron Paul doesn’t have to look hard to see what might happen to our economy.

    People everywhere can connect the dots and come to their own concluions by researching and understanding a bit of history.

    I recommend starting with “Fiat Empire, why the Federal Reserve violates the constitution” on You Tube for starters:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5232639329002339531

    The Ron Paul Revolution is necessary and GOOD for America!

  6. Paul talks of “hard money,” but Paul is not a for going back to the gold standard though. He just wants to make gold legal tender, which he believes will allow private hard money to compete with Federal Reserve notes. The competition in money will restrain inflation. It’s a complicated position to explain to the public, but he should probably make it clear that he’s not for “going back to the gold standard.”

  7. Brian:

    I thought about the very same thing watching the interview yesterday and thought it better that he did not mention that. For two reasons:

    1. Find at least one (semi-prominent) military person who would say I do not support Ron Paul and I think he’s a crazy man, and all the MSM will be all over Ron Paul for abusing the troops by saying something that, while true, seems to “take advantage” of the troops. I.e., it can be twisted, and

    2. The audience will and can find out. He had to give them what they needed to hear most, that he is against the war. Period. Once he gets the attention, they will come across the statistics regarding the support he’s receiving from the troops several ways.

    In any case, I do not know if that was the strategy, but I could very well see this getting out of hand by both the right and the left.

  8. Holy crap…a Doherty post where he finds a way to promote his book!? I don’t believe it!!

  9. if you’re shilling for your own product, is it still shilling?

    also, if Eddie is trolling on a blog and there’s no one around to read it, will the Urkobold still wither his taint?

  10. More time will tell. The more Ron Paul details his plans for reform, the more impressed I become. Unlike most of the other candidates, his more general statements are backed by incredible amounts of experience and insight.

  11. Ned—I thought of hesitating. But then I asked myself: If not me, who? If not now, when?

  12. Be sure to show your support for Ron Paul by making a donation. Today is the last day in October. He’s going to come up short of his $4M goal. But a strong day today will be a shot in the arm.

    RON PAUL 2008
    The Year We Take Back America

  13. His response to Jay’s question about leaving Iraq only making things worse was completely incoherent. If you’re a doctor and make a mistake, you don’t just up and leave and say things will definitely get better if there is no further intervention on my part. That’s absurd and it shows that he hasn’t really thought this through. He just reflexively, emotionally doesn’t live foreign intervention. If we leave and millions of Iraqis are killed, that’s not his concern…

  14. I keep thinking maybe I want to support Ron Paul, but then he mentions hard currency and I realize that he’s funtionally retarded.

  15. Radicals for Capitalism is good, although I wish Doherty spent more time on the movement from the 80s till now. The discussion of Silicon Valley libertarianism, especially, seem like a glossing over. Perhaps there will be more in Radicals 2.

  16. Ralphy-Try this metaphor-it works better: “If you’re a surgeon and realize that you’re cutting the wrong thing, you stop cutting before the damage gets worse.” Or, “If you’re a doctor, and the course of medication you have prescribed is not improving the patient’s condition, you don’t keep re-issuing the same prescription in the name of staying the course.”

  17. Why the disdain for hard money among some readers here? Ron Paul explained it as well as it needs to be explained last night on Leno: you can’t just print money out of thin air, and expect a net economic benefit.

    I guess people think easy credit and an ever-expanding supply of inherently value-less paper tickets are necessary for economic growth, seeing all the new business, new projects, and new jobs they lead to.

    But it’s the old what-is-seen vs. what-is-not-seen fallacy. Those cheering the economic benefits of printing money don’t consider the purchasing power lost by everyone holding the old money, the ever-decreasing disposable income of those on fixed incomes, the tax-bracket creep caused by inflation, or the extended bust cycles brought about by the malinvestment caused by easy credit.

  18. Right on Jose.

    It’s cute when people like Craig play boilerplate economist.

  19. Ralphy,

    If we leave millions will not be killed because maybe they will have to stand up for themselves and will actually do it. There aren’t enough terrorists or insurgents on the planet to keep Iraq from achieving peace. This is a country that has known stability and it will see it again. The US has no business there.

    People will die when we leave but they are dieing now anyway. It was a mistake to go, it is a mistake to stay and its not fair that Americans who haven’t even been born yet will be paying for it. End of story.

  20. Captain – but, that’s not what he said and besides, that metaphor doesn’t work. If the invasion of Iraq was the “cutting the wrong thing”, well, then we’ve stopped. Now we’re on to the occupation and there is no metaphor that will explain how things will magically improve once we leave. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t – but it sure ain’t an easy call at this point.

  21. Max – maybe you’re right, but most likely you are wrong. What happened in Vietnam after we pulled out?

  22. Ralphy | October 31, 2007, 12:12pm | #
    His response to Jay’s question about leaving Iraq only making things worse was completely incoherent. If you’re a doctor and make a mistake, you don’t just up and leave and say things will definitely get better if there is no further intervention on my part. That’s absurd and it shows that he hasn’t really thought this through. He just reflexively, emotionally doesn’t live foreign intervention. If we leave and millions of Iraqis are killed, that’s not his concern…

    He’s said in the past, (perhaps not last night, but many times in the past) that his analogy is to CHANGE the diagnosis. One diagnosis is an interventionist, bullying, empire building policy, and another is non-interventionist, free trade, diplomacy policy, and another is the screw you, world, isolationist, protectionist policy. Dr. Paul chooses the 2nd, and not the 1st or 3rd.

  23. It is ironic that nearly every negative reaction to Ron Paul’s “hard money” position is completely lacking in any kind of monetary analysis. One gets the impression that those who criticize this position haven’t the slightest clue what is meant by hard currency, and that they instead think that everyone will be required to carry around bags of gold coins. Please, if you react to this position as if someone is asking you to trade in your car for a horse-and-buggy, then do yourself a favor and educate yourself concerning the monetary history of the United States, and sound economic theory in general:

    http://www.mises.org/books/Theory_Money_Credit/Contents.aspx
    http://www.mises.org/money.asp
    http://www.mises.org/books/historyofmoney.pdf

  24. Ralphy, one should ask the question: what would have happened in Vietnam had we never gone?

    The relationship between cause and effect are completely masked by the first action to begin with. The entire cause for this quagmire was the fact that we decided to invade a country to begin with. That was wrong and needs to be corrected immediately. We don’t need to worry about a blood-bath that may or may not happen when we leave. It isn’t fair to ask our troops to continue to die fighting a worthless cause.

  25. Today Jay Leno; tomorrow the world. The Ron Paul juggernaut rolls on.

  26. “Hard money” got him some applause. Some libertarians might think it’s okay for the state to counterfeit money, but the average American is understandably bothered by it once he knows what’s going on. It’s intuitive that the state shouldn’t print money out of thin air.

  27. They don’t even report how much money the mint prints anymore – is that true?

    Printed money is a small fraction of the cash in circulation. The vast majority of cash is carried as debits and credits within the banking industry. You could probably double the amount of specie in circulation and not affect the money supply in any perceptible way.

    Hard money is no guarantee of economic stability. Some of the most brutal depressions and contractions the world has ever seen occurred on the gold/silver standard.

  28. Those who write off Paul’s opposition to the Fed never offer any reasons why there’s anything wrong with his stance. They just roll their eyes and figure that is enough.

    There is good reason to want to eliminate the Fed. Heck, the Federal Reserve itself was created at a time when our understanding of economics and how money worked was woefully wrong.

    If you think that Paul is nutty, read what Greenspan himself said about the Fed in his “Gold and Economic Freedom” essay.

    Even though he was a monetarist, look at what Milton Friedman has said about what is wrong with the Fed and the way it works.

    Then look at what Ron Paul is saying. It’s not any different.

    So, quit just rolling your eyes unless you have something to stand on.

  29. Ben Schroeder:

    Right on mark! If only people would educate themselves.

    I would add that on Mises Media (easily found on their front page), there is a ton of media on hard money, the gold standard, etc. If you do not have the time to read, then download the mp3s, save them as audio CDs and play them in your car. You’ll be surprised at how informative and straightforward that stuff is.

  30. Butler,

    The problem is that people perceive the Fed as a “progressive” development aimed at making things better, and, even worse, making things more “capitalistic”. Nothing is farther from the truth.

    I also recommend Paul’s book Freedom Under Siege, where he provides, in very straightforward and “layman” terms, the history, illicit motivation (mainly by banksters) for creating the Fed.

  31. It was a great interview. There were even some zingers from Ron Paul. Jay Leno was suggesting instead of the IRS we should have a flat tax or a VAT tax like the UK, and Ron Paul responded (paraphrased): “Yes, we should have a flat tax [pause for effect] of zero percent!” *cheers from the audience* Also right before the Sex Pistols came on and they played “Anarchy in the U.K.”, Jay Leno said something softly to the effect of “you might like this one” to Ron Paul. Was the lead singer looking at Ron Paul half the time? They did shake hands afterwards. In any case, my kitteh Coco was moshing to the song, it was fun.

  32. “All the perplexities, confusion and distresses in America arise not from defects in the constitution or confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, as much from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.”

    –John Adams (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson)

  33. in a letter to Thomas Jefferson

    Couldn’t Adams have just sent Jefferson an email instead?

  34. Ben, I think you hit the nail on the head. and again, he’s not for mandating a gold standard. he is for legalizing competing currencies. gold was only the standard because that is what the free market chose; and it would likely be the main currency again, if it was allowed to freely compete with the fiat currency. and we’d all still be using debit cards and checks for most transactions.

  35. Competing currencies would give new meaning to the term “Gold Card”.

    I find it funny that we love our credit cards with all the marketing propaganda that goes into their naming — gold and platinum, etc. — yet we can’t seem to understand why those words were chosen to begin with.

  36. You can have drastic inflation with hard money too.

    Just ask Spain about Treasure Galleons.

    Or how about some one figures a way to extract gold from seawater cheaply.

  37. Some libertarians might think it’s okay for the state to counterfeit money, but the average American is understandably bothered by it once he knows what’s going on. It’s intuitive that the state shouldn’t print money out of thin air.

    Every time you write a check you are counterfeiting money. There is not enough money in the bank to cover all the “cash” created every day. It is called fractional reserve banking.

    The deal is the bank first adds up all the debits for the day. Then all the credits. It is then only responsible for he difference. As long as the difference is small the bank is sound.

  38. M Simon,

    Better our money have its value determined in the market (via supply and demand) than by a secret agency that cannot predict the future.

    I guarantee you “hard” commodities are much more stable than fiduciary paper. Inflation was kept in check for over 100 years on the gold standard. When we finally went off in 1971 we saw 1100% decrease in the purchasing power of the dollar. This never happened on the gold standard.

    The dollar now is only worth 4% what it was in 1925 due to the inflationary nature of fractional reserve banking — ie, credit expansion — which is backed 100% by the Fed. Oh, and whenever these banks make bad decisions (viz. the crrent housing bubble) we get to bail them out so the poor bankers don’t starve…

    I should have become a banker.

  39. M Simon:

    You are defending exactly what the welfare statists are defending. Your position…

    … is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.

    From Alan Greenspan’s (4 page) 1967 paper Gold and Economic Freedom. Yes the same Alan Greenspan believe it or not.

  40. we get to bail them out so the poor bankers don’t starve…

    And as a person who prefers to live within his means instead of borrowing to buy a house, I end up (through taxation) securing these greedy bankers’ jobs at the cost of my own welfare! So far interest rates have dropped by 0.5 (and another one is expected today for another 0.25), which only means that things will get expensive as the dollar looses more of its value (0.95 CAD as of yesterday — a 40-some year low), and possibly a recession. Disgusting!

  41. I thought RP came off as a very likeable person (That’s more important than most people think).

    I don’t fully agree with his surgeon/patient analogy to the war, however. It’s more like this: We’ve mistakenly transplanted a Jarvic (sp?) 7 artificial heart into a patient who came in complaining of heartburn. Now we can’t just pull out the Jarvic 7 because it was the wrong thing to do. We have to wait till we can find a suitable donor heart to replace the Jarvic 7. In other words, we broke Iraq so we need to at least help in fixing it.

    It’s shitty, I’ll agree.
    We should have never gone in in the first place, but that’s not the issue now. That said, I still think they should hold a vote in Iraq on whether we should leave or not. If they vote yes, then we leave with a semi-saved face and knowing we did all they wanted us to do. If they vote no, then it gives our presence legitimacy.

  42. Every time you write a check you are counterfeiting money. There is not enough money in the bank to cover all the “cash” created every day. It is called fractional reserve banking.

    That is not fractional reserve banking.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  43. rho:

    You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    I think M. Simon now realizes that. The problem is that s/he may sound very legit to those who even know less than he does (you know using words like “fractional reserve” –fancy huh?). Unfortunately, it is not only Simon. The majority of people are indoctrinated into the “progressiveness” and “safety” of the current “capitalist” Fed System and monetary policies. As I have just shown him/her @ 3:18pm, Simon is really taking the same position as welfare lefties.

  44. Comments like Ralphy’s and NAL’s about why we just can’t leave poor Iraq now that we messed it all up miss the biggest point of all. I’m constantly surprised that even more Ron Paul supporters don’t instinctively grasp it. The Iraqi people don’t want us there! Personal liberty? Freedom? Democracy for Iraq, you say? Why not put the issue to an honest Iraqi vote, if you’re so sure about it? You don’t hear any of the Republican or Democratic NeoCons running suggesting THAT, now do you? Only because they already know the results of that vote, just like they know that 3/4 of Americans want us out. No, the white American massa ALWAYS knows better than the little brown man what’s good for him, whether he wants it or not. This election is mostly hypocrites selling to the fools.

    I say that to puncture the “stay in Iraq” argument with it’s own logic. Even if the Iraqi people, or the South Koreans or the Germans voted to keep our military presence it still does not morally compel us to stay. They don’t have that claim on us any more than we have the same claim on them. I’m just saying I’m sick of the ridiculous pretense that we’re staying for the good of the Iraqis. I’m saying different, and I’ve got nearly a million dead Iraqis that might like the chance to agree with me, if they still could.

  45. The Fact that Ron Paul, who stresses his opposition to the Iraq war, has gotten more contributions than any other White House contender from donors identified as affiliated with the military shows dissatisfaction with the war among the troops and is yet another strong reason to end this tragic waste of lives and money immediately.

    “Paul leads in donations from military voters, with Obama next”

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/politics/5223477.html

  46. If concern for the average Iraqi citizen was the motivation for those who supported the second American invasion of that sad country, they would demand an immediate withdrawal of our soldiers. With that invasion the nation of Iraq was destroyed forever; whatever ideas are proposed now by those same invaders will be quickly discredited by the Iraqis. We should call for a truce to end the fighting and then pull out as quickly as possible. And why should the Iraqis listen to our ideas as to how govern themselves; a quick study of our involvement in Iraq since the 1950’s would show our government is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, not counting the soldiers or the rebels. It was the American government that helped with Saddam Hussein’s rise to power in the 1960’s and even encouraged him to invade Iran in 1980.

  47. Why not put the issue to an honest Iraqi vote

    I wonder why don’t democrats suggest this as often. Another indicator that they are not interested in leaving either.

    In any case, as an Arab myself (i.e., one who understands the dynamics of that region better than average Joe), a libertarian, and a staunch supporter of Ron Paul, yes the US should immediately leave from Iraq. If put to a vote, I predict that no less than 60% of the Iraqis would say “yes, America should leave”. Is there going to be a bloodshed? Unfortunately yes, there will be. Knowing the “Arab mentality” (as evidenced by the Lebanese civil war), any Iraqi civil war is bound to be short lived. If politically the Shiites (the majority) are constrained, the weaker Sunnis (yes, they know they are at a disadvantage as evidenced by current cooperation with US military in Anbar and elsewhere) will not instigate a civil war. On the longer run, this “solution” is better (actually, less costly) than not withdrawing US troops immediately.

  48. Rick:

    What do you think of my explanation @ 11:44am?

  49. Is there going to be a bloodshed?

    I hate the way this is always framed…as if there ISN’T already bloodshed going on.

    It’s like David Brooks’ latest attempt to justify staying in Iraq, saying that 100,000 Iraqis will die during the next five years if we don’t stay, as compared to “only” 5,000 Americans if we do. So, he concludes, by staying we’re saving 95,000 lives.

    It’s hard to know which unwarranted assumption to start with. Does he think NO Iraqis will die in the next five years if we stay? Does he think the democracy fairy is going to sprinkle pixie dust on Iraq if we stay for five years so that there WON’T be a civil war immediately after we leave then?

  50. crimethink:

    I hate the way this is always framed…as if there ISN’T already bloodshed going on.

    I mean as in more bloodshed than what we have now.

  51. JFK was assassinated after releasing Silver Certificates.

    No president since JFK has used the bill created by the JFK administration authorizing hard money to create any more hard money.

  52. WOW, my gold stocks are UP UP UP! Ron Paul knew!

  53. iih,

    That strategy in your explanation @ 11:44am seems too cautious to me. Even if a semi-prominent or prominent military person did dis Ron, the response could be, “You’re only one person, and Ron Paul has so many military folks caring about his candidacy enough to contribute that he has raised more money from military personnel than any other candidate.”

    Also, they could get a military person to attack Ron Paul anyway.

    But I don’t have an explanation of my own
    as to why they didn’t use Brian’s approach. Although I think they should.

  54. I wrote: “Even if a semi-prominent or prominent military person did dis Ron, the response could be, “You’re only one person, and Ron… ”

    Punctuation error-too many commas-my goof.

  55. Rick:

    May be I’m too cautious. I agree they should talk about this more, unless they are keeping the best to times of real need, but again why wait?

  56. NAL posted:
    I don’t fully agree with his surgeon/patient analogy to the war, however. It’s more like this: We’ve mistakenly transplanted a Jarvic (sp?) 7 artificial heart into a patient who came in complaining of heartburn. Now we can’t just pull out the Jarvic 7 because it was the wrong thing to do. We have to wait till we can find a suitable donor heart to replace the Jarvic 7. In other words, we broke Iraq so we need to at least help in fixing it.

    I think your analogy would be more accurate if you made the following changes. The patient complains of heartburn and has a bad disposition because of it. Surgeons armed with a policy of pre-emption abduct the patient, remove his heart by force, and install a Jarvik 7.

    The analogy breaks down after this point, because to keep it in synch, I suggest that the patient could grow a new heart. And a heart grown by his own body will suit it much better than any we could manufacture. Sure, if we remove our mugging-induced Jarvik 7, he will bleed quite a bit. This will happen whether we wait and “find a donor”, or let his own body grow a new one. More time with the Jarvik is simply postponing the blood, and wearing out the Jarvik’s power supply (the U.S. economy).

  57. Does anyone remember Viet Nam? We “stayed the course” in Nam for 24 years, if you include our first 15 million dollar aid to the French in 1950 and sending in advisors in 1956 plus the 50,000+ US soldiers killed there until 1974.

    We’ve seen this song and dance, dog and pony show before.

    The Iraq invasion was NOT a mistake. The neocons were waiting for something like 9/11 to happen to rally public support for an invasion. This is documented on the neocon PNAC website, reference: “a new Pearl Harbor.”

    The intelligence was doctored to create a justification for war. It was not a “mistake.”

    The mistake was made by the congress and the American people in accepting the manufactured war propaganda.

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld all lied about Iraq connections to terrorists and Bin Laden, and then lied about lying about it.

    Dwight Eisenhower warned against exactly this dangerous alliance of the military, industrial, government complex in 1959/1960.

    So if the neocons get their way, we’ll see another 20 years of war in Iraq (and god knows where else) as the US government pads the pockets of the military industrial complex corporations who in turn pass the money back to individuals in the government, like Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.

    Meanwhile, bridges are falling at home and children going without medical care.

    ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS THE WAR IN IRAQ NEEDS TO ENLIST IMMEDIATELY IN THE ARMED FORCES TO SERVE YOUR COUNTRY HONORABLY.

    -Wabi

  58. VM:
    sigh. “hard money”. sigh.

    *walks away, shaking head*

    Thus spoke the economics ignoramus.

  59. If you’re a doctor and make a mistake, you don’t just up and leave and say things will definitely get better if there is no further intervention on my part.

    Not unless the treatment is killing your patient… which is the case here with Iraq.

  60. All Dr. Paul needs to say to my soldiers is that he’d bring us home, back to our families, and ensure that if ever we go back, we’ll have the right amount of force to do the job decisively next time.

    I’ll always blame Don Rumsfeld for screwing us over with too little, too late. You can’t occupy a country with airpower and special operators alone. You need hundreds of thousands of boots on the street corners… and since we didn’t do at the outset, look where we are now: playing Whack-a-Mole with a hopelessly-small “surge” because the NCA didn’t want to pay the high upfront price to swamp Iraq with security at the outset. Instead, we’re buying peace on the installment plan, and very little is going to principal.

    Ron Paul is right. It’s time to stop throwing good lives after a bad cause, and come on home.

  61. iih,

    In any case, as an Arab myself

    Interesting. Did you grow up in the ME?

    If put to a vote, I predict that no less than 60% of the Iraqis would say “yes, America should leave”. Is there going to be a bloodshed? Unfortunately yes, there will be.

    I wouldn’t pretend to know how they’d vote. But a vote is probably the smartest idea I’ve heard anybody put forth.

    Too bad nobody that matters is even considering it.

    Personally, I doubt Iraq can be stablized again without some bloodshed — and it will probably have to happen in the absence of the US military.

    Hard cold truth: the foundation of every nation in the history of the world was built on a grave yard. When order is created, it is virtually inevitable that people get killed in the process.

    The West has grown so squeemish about this kind of stuff, we just can’t deal with reality anymore.

  62. iih:

    In any case, as an Arab myself.

    I love you folks’cuisine!

    Oh yeah. And thank you to your ancestors for preserving ancient learning so that western civilization could wake up, ending the dark ages. πŸ˜‰

  63. The troops support Ron Paul for a singular reason. They all took an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.

    The troops are very savvy to the media, politic, tactics, strategies, spin, and other non-identified BS.

    A clear choice for the troops is Ron Paul as the core issue for serving in the Armed Forces is to uphold the constitution.

    Ron Paul’s total foundation for his bid for the oval office is the preservation of the rule for the people, by the people, with Liberty carrying the flag over the hill.

    Thanks,

    Eric Nordstrom
    Troop.

    http://www.ronpaulmoneybomb.com

  64. Ebenezer:

    Did you grow up in the ME?

    Yep.

    But a vote is probably the smartest idea I’ve heard anybody put forth.

    Too bad nobody that matters is even considering it.

    And you wonder why politicians here (on both sides) don’t make that suggestion often.

    the foundation of every nation in the history of the world was built on a grave yard.

    Not every nation/civilization has undergone that. When have Egyptians, for example, had a large scale bloodshed? Even Iraqis, as an ancient nation, have had a large scale bloodshed? That is why I do not believe that Iraqis will have a large scale bloodshed if the US leaves. There will probably be a thrust of (sectarian) violence, but I think it will be short lived. The Lebanese experience is still fresh on many Arab minds. And remember there has been a lot of loss of lives in the 80s (Iraq-Iran war), 90s (sanctions), and since 2003. So I think, ultimately, Iraqis would say “enough violence, already!”. In fact, I think that there is some possibility that sectarian violence may be avoided (with some luck and good diplomacy). IMHO.

  65. Rick:

    I love you folks’cuisine!

    Mmmm…. me too πŸ™‚

    Oh yeah. And thank you to your ancestors for preserving ancient learning so that western civilization could wake up, ending the dark ages. πŸ˜‰

    Well, that is a thing of the past worth holding on to, but the question is, how can Arabs save themselves from their own modern dark ages? It is not that bleak, I think. In fact there is a lot of activity to counter the dictators and their regimes on one hand, and the extremists on the other. But it is still nascent. It will take time. It took America 200 or so years to develop an American Republic. It has been 50 years or so since the end of imperial times.

    By the way, Rick, you may find this book interesting. It is by Rose Wilder Lane (late 19th century writer) on liberty and Islam. The title is Islam and the Discovery of Freedom. It is available on Amazon. A good read.

  66. I will pass along a quote from an economics professor that dropped into a discussion of the range of views on economic issues.

    “Most economists just roll their eyes when that rare Austrian starts talking.”

    When pressed on the source of that eye-roll two things came up. The hard money thing, and the fact that Austrian’s essentially dismiss data and empirical methods.

    Thoughts from you economics non-ignorami in the crowd.

  67. No, the real question is not how much money has inflated, but whether or not your absolute standard of living has risen. And in this regard, the current system of fiat money has been a clear success. Between the end of World War II and the early 70s, the U.S. standard of living (adjusted for inflation) doubled — the fastest rate of prolonged growth in U.S. history. The U.S. became a middle class nation for the first time, with the share of families owning their own homes climbing from 44 to 63 percent. Families owning their own cars rose even more dramatically, from 54 to almost 100 percent. (1) Poverty, which had been 56 percent in 1900, fell to an all-time low of 11 percent in 1973. (2) And, of course, there has not been a single depression since World War II, not in this or any other country following Keynesian monetary policies. Those who would claim that fiat money has been a disaster for our economy are simply indulging in scare-mongering and demagoguery.

    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-ausgold.htm

  68. NM:

    I have to disagree. Sure, but does this imply that adopting a gold standard would be worse than fiat? How do we know that we can’t do the same with gold as the standard?

  69. NM: Have you read the (short) Greenspan paper that I link to above?

  70. iih,

    Yes.

    I find it unconvincing, at a very basic level.

    to whit: What medium of exchange will be acceptable to all participants in an economy is not determined arbitrarily.

  71. to whit: What medium of exchange will be acceptable to all participants in an economy is not determined arbitrarily.

    natural selection?

  72. iih,

    You disagree with what?

  73. iih,

    Emergent self-organization.

  74. A gold standard has an unnecessary layer.

    Money = a symbol for gold
    Gold = a symbol for value

    Why not simplify the equation?

    money = a symbol for value.

    The simplified equation seems to have worked out quite well.

  75. Sorry, had a meeting.

    Emergent self-organization.

    Yes. Essentially.

    Why not simplify the equation?

    money = a symbol for value.

    The simplified equation seems to have worked out quite well.

    The problem is how and who gives value of “things”. And I think that is the core of Ron Paul’s argument. A non-gold standard essentially gives the government (the “Fed” which is really “Fed”=”Gov+Banksters”) the sole proprietor on assigning value to money. Let me find an mp3 on Mises website that clearly says why this, at heart, is a matter of freedom that is taken away by Government and Banksters, and how Gov on one hand uses fiat money to save their hinds and guarantee their re-election (whether they consciously or subconsciously realize that), and banksters’ ability to save their hinds during times of crises by having the citizen fix their mess through taxes and inflation (controlled by the Fed!). With the gold standard, we get an objective way (independent of government and special interest) of controling such crises in a natural, noninterventionist methods.

  76. And… for example, even though I never borrowed to “buy” (i.e., through mortgage, I will really “own” one in like 30 years) a home because I think it is beyond my means, I still contributed to saving the lenders’ rear ends. Don’t you think that this is terribly wrong? Because of the Fed’s interest rate decreases and inflation controls, I have lost about no less than $600 of the $1500 dollars that I spend in Canada EVERY MONTH! Why, because lenders were/are greedy bastards. I think I am getting mad now. I need to cool down.

    Fiat money would just be fine if it is not controlled by the Fed in an just way. Justice is a nice dream when left to the hands of government and special interest.

  77. addition: I still contributed to saving the lenders’ rear ends in the current housing crisis

  78. iih,

    I think this equation:

    Gov+Banksters

    needs to have its terms more strictly specified: i.e., in the US/Canada “Gov” is an metonymy for “The process set up by the people.”

    Your points have more resonance the farther from democratic a society is.

    But in the end, I think the empirical data of historical performance of fiat systems is the primary argument against a need for concern about the lack of a commodity to back money.

    But I ain’t an economist.

  79. Your points have more resonance the farther from democratic a society is.

    I don’t understand.

  80. iih,

    Nice points about Arabs saving themselves from their own modern dark ages. I think that our freedom of enterprise/capitalism helps here, whereas our government’s intervention in the Mideast has done great harm.

    Thanks for the book hint! I wasn’t hep that Rose Wilder Lane wrote a book on liberty and Islam. Sounds quite interesting. I’ll get it.

    Perhaps you’re already hep to this outfit. It’s a scholarly and advocacy pro-liberty Islamic organization. Much interesting stuff:

    Minaret of Freedom

    http://www.minaret.org/

  81. Rick:

    I actually admire Imad A. Ahmad (Minaret’s president) a lot. I have recently created a test “blog” on libertarianism and Islam.

    http://islamolibertarianism.blogspot.com/

  82. Rose Wilder did not publish the book because she feared there may be historical inaccuracies. One of her descendants and Imad Ahmad decided to publish her work on the topic, with Ahmad doing a lot of comments/fixing in the footnotes. It is a good read.

  83. NM:

    I found a link to Walter Block’s talk about the gold standard. I think in this one he makes the case for the freedoms lost in adopting fiat money. (I may be mistaken though that this is the one where he does talk about the liberty angle to fiat money. But I am sure it is a Block talk. Search Mises media library for Block’s talks.)

  84. iih,

    Cool. So you’re quite into this topic then. I’ll check your blog.

  85. iih,

    Re: your points about collusion between government and bankers has more resonance the farther from a democracy you get because the distinction between government as a process implemented by the people and the government as a group of individuals exerting control over the society becomes sharper.

    In a dictatorship the collusion between government and bankers is one against the people they are controlling through coercion.

    In a more democratic society the distinction between government and the people breaks down as the government is really more of a properly conceptualized as a process that the people use to control themselves. So the collusion between bankers and the government is, in a sense, between the bankers (who are members of the society) and the rest of society (as represented by their agents, the government). So the group who is “the sole proprietor” you worry about above involves all members of society (via a complex set of indirect mechanisms of influence).

  86. make that

    “is really more properly conceptualized as a process”

  87. Rick:

    So you’re quite into this topic then

    It is not what I get paid for. I have to do this on my leisure time. I think of it as reflections on interesting question that has to do with “libertarian” thought and its compatibility with Islam. Mostly academic.

  88. Neu Mejican:

    The banksters are certainly not me. Yes, government represents me (though I remind you that I am a disenfranchised tax-payer, but that is a different story). Through this representation, I believe, change will be made through the democratic process. So I certainly agree with you on that. A gold standard or abolition of the Fed can not be imposed. However, the history of how the Fed was created is simply clearly an act where government and banksters (through private banks) decided to make a joint monopoly on money, with the general public, back in 1911-1913, made believe that that is a good thing to avoid monetary collapses. If their remedy is proved wrong (and, additionally, served their –the politicians and banksters– own interests), shouldn’t something be done about that through legislation –through the democratic process?

    So it all boils down to (1) is a gold standard a good thing (a) financially, (b) from a freedoms point of view, and (2) if yes, and more people are convinced, then through the democratic process it should be made the law of the land. Unless Austrians can do that on a popular level, the status quo will, through the democratic process, remain.

  89. iih,

    Sounds about right.

    I do note this

    However, the history of how the Fed was created is simply clearly an act where government and banksters (through private banks) decided to make a joint monopoly on money, with the general public, back in 1911-1913, made believe that that is a good thing to avoid monetary collapses.

    This falls into the same trap. In 1911-1913, the government in the US was clearly democratic and the collusion was between the public’s own agents and the bankers (who are a subset of the public). Are you claiming that those agents acted illegally? I believe the creation of the Fed followed all the appropriate procedures.

    Unless Austrians can do that on a popular level, the status quo will, through the democratic process, remain.

    And this seems to be a battle that they are losing even among the economists who are very familiar with the ins and outs of the issue.

    FWIW, whoever is in charge of the Fed needs to be very familiar with the Austrian criticism, so as to avoid the weaknesses it highlights.

  90. A clear choice for the troops is Ron Paul as the core issue for serving in the Armed Forces is to uphold the constitution

    Yes! The thought of a new chief executive who seems to care so much about civil liberties is actually inspiring to me, as a citizen and a soldier.
    To D.C.: Making the country we’re fighting for continually a better place to live and work is a way of supporting the troops. But not every solution to our problems is ‘statist.’
    P.S. I’m learning some about economics from this thread, but I’m still somewhat ignorant on the subject.

  91. NM:

    Are you claiming that those agents acted illegally?

    May be not illegally, but either unwisely, or because that the Fed was the right solution. Regardless of these, was it a wise decision? Pro gold, anti-Fed camp say no. Some argue it was, in fact, illegal and unconstitutional (e.g., monopoly on money violates anti-trust laws — funnily, anti-trust, the Austrians believe, is itself unconstitutional, and they do present good reasons for that view).


    And this seems to be a battle that they are losing even among the economists who are very familiar with the ins and outs of the issue.

    Could be. One accusation made by the Austrians is that the mainstream economists (i.e., Chicago school) were culprits since they saw that with the new system of interventionism, then more of them will be guaranteed to have jobs. A simple conflict of interest. But that would probably fall within the realm of ad hominem attacks, and is not their main counter-argument of course. They’re smarter than that.

    In any case, I am not an economist either, but I am learning. A lot of what the Austrians say makes a lot of sense to me. May be I am too academic and an idealist. My interest in the Austrian (especially their minimum to none interventionism) view is that it presents an ideal model for some of the work that I do.

  92. Jose – At least Dr Paul can spell. Your the functional retard!! NYAH!!!

  93. Keith,

    At least Dr Paul can spell. Your the functional retard!! NYAH!!!

    um, don’t you mean “you’re” not “your?”

    A rule of internet snark proves itself again.

    iih,

    I think ad hom covers that critique.
    Or paranoid fantasy, perhaps.

    Generative grammar also makes a lot of sense (and was immensely important for moving the field forward), but the underlying assumptions of generative grammar fail empirical testing on a consistent basis. I get the sense that Austrian Economics are the Generative Grammar of the economics world. If you take their axioms as an accurate reflection of the world, they make sense, but economics seems to have moved on to a more empirical model.

  94. If you take their axioms as an accurate reflection of the world, they make sense, but economics seems to have moved on to a more empirical model.

    Can we also say that economics seems to have moved on to a more empirical and collectivist model, where it works based on averages and if one is closer to the average the more just the system is and if you are away from the average (either way below –i.e., poor– or way above –i.e., rich) the system tends to be unjust. Even if you belong to the average (as I think I do), can’t you still be held responsible to the poor actions of others?

    I guess I come at it from a “justice” point of view. Today’s economic system system makes the innocent pay for the stupidity and greed of others. It seems that the Austirian school more just and robust, but also idealistic/academic/intellectual. May be that is why.

  95. “. . . the extraordinary level of demonstrated preference for Ron Paul among the military itself.”

    That, by itself, should really speak volumes; Paul has the military, while Clinton has the military industrial complex.

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