Libertarian History/Philosophy

Ron Paul's Strange New Respect

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Over at the reliably lefty Salon comes praise for the most recondite, yet now seemingly most vital, aspect of the Ron Paul message: fiat money has catastrophe baked right in. An excerpt:

[Paul's] prediction of doom makes a heck of a lot more sense now….

"This system that we've had since 1971 is nonviable," he said. "and it's coming to an end."

That's what this whole story is about, the end of a monetary system that we've had since 1971. And something has to give. You just can't create more money out of thin air and propping up everybody.

It's an immoral system. You're asking the poor people to bail out the rich. You're asking the innocent people to bail out the guilty. You're asking people to just totally defy the Constitution because there's no place in the Constitution that says that we can do these things.

And, besides, economically, it's a disaster. This is going to cause a great deal of harm. It's like a drug addict taking a strong fix, and he feels better for a day or two. But believe me, we're going to kill the patient. And the patient here is the dollar system and our entire world economy.

1971 was the year in which Richard Nixon abandoned the gold standard codified in the 1946 Bretton Woods agreement, thereby launching the modern era of freely floating national currencies. From Ron Paul's point of view, government economic policy ever since has been a futile attempt to avoid economic downturns by, in essence, pumping more "fiat" currency into the monetary system. The piper has come calling, says Paul, and current efforts to increase liquidity and bail out the banking system will only make things worse.

So if things do get even worse, was Ron Paul suggesting that he's ready for another run at the gold ring in 2012?

But right now there's a fight going on in this country. Our numbers are growing. We're not the majority, but our numbers are growing. And as this situation deteriorates, more people are going to say, "Hey, maybe it's right. Maybe limited government and freedom works. Maybe freedom is popular, and maybe freedom really works." And this idea that we have to depend on government for all these programs is an illusion.

It will almost certainly not be Paul waving the flag for these ideas in 2012; I might guess given the very presence of pieces like this at Salon that any anti-fiat money politician, if we have any in 2012, will more likely be from the Left than the traditional Right.

My reason feature on the Ron Paul Revolution, from our February 2008 issue.

Hat tip: Faithful reader known as "the innominate one."