Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bern's letter to his FIL re: Ron Paul


I am aware that you consider Ron Paul a kook and were a bit surprised when XXXX mentioned to you the other day that I have decided to support him. She has encouraged me to discuss it with you, so I'm writing to hopefully explain things cogently.

I have been doing a *lot* of reading and researching over the last few weeks. I have also been participating in a few discussion forums here and there to get different perspectives.

I have come to find that many of the people that I have encountered who hold the position that Ron Paul is a kook have not really investigated what he is saying closely. He tends to answer questions in debates from an academic (sometimes philosophical) viewpoint and sometimes is not able to fully elucidate his thoughts in the short time frames given (I don't hold it against him that he isn't a polished "politician"). What little mainstream media reporting there is of him is almost always misrepresenting what he is about (* more on that at the end of this letter), so it is difficult to understand why anyone would support him unless they have looked a bit deeper into what he is really all about. Fortunately, there is a plethora of material available on the internet from his writings, voting record and in-depth video interviews for anyone who is interested to get a better understanding (more on that in a bit).

First, I'd like to address a couple of the most common misperceptions about Ron Paul (I believe that you have mentioned something along some of these lines in the recent past, but they are common refrains I have found in discussion forums):

--- He is an isolationist in the vein of Neville Chamberlain / He will weaken America

Ron Paul does want to bring home American troops and close down military bases on foreign soil. He does *not* however, want to handicap foreign/military intelligence gathering, economic relations or diplomatic relations. He advocates a non-interventionist foreign policy and no nation building - the same foreign policy that Bush ran on in 2000 and which Ronald Reagan ran on in 1980.

Ron Paul did vote for the USA to go to Afghanistan and tried (unsuccessfully) to persuade Congress/Bush to target Al Qaeda/OBL directly after 9/11 instead of attacking Iraq. Ron Paul is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and does have a solid understanding of current geopolitical issues.

Some good articles for reference:

Ron Paul Refuses to Support a Military Dictator in Pakistan

Ron Paul Is Correct About Pakistan

Ron Paul Speech to Congress November 29, 2001 (2.5 months after 9/11)

Dr. Ron Paul For President 2008

--- He wants to reinstitute the gold standard of 1913

First of all, Ron Paul is not advocating any change in the valuation of Federal Reserve Notes (by artificially pegging them to a certain amount of gold/silver/etc.), so the idea that he is going to do something drastic to the financial markets is unfounded.

What he is advocating is legalizing gold and silver (and other commodities) to be used as *competing currencies*. This means people are free to choose whether they want to engage in commerce or contracts using gold, silver or FRNs.

The basic premise, as it was explained to me, is that gold transactions will not have a sales tax, and if the price of gold appreciates relative to FRNs or in exchange for goods and services, there will be no capital gains tax. This will allow Gold to trade as currency, as a marker for productivity and consumptive use.

So instead of doing transactions in FRNs, you could make a deal to work for so much gold. And the transaction would be untaxed at the federal level. State's however would be able to level sales tax against transactions conducted in bullion or bullion notes.

Ron Paul has studied Austrian Economics for over 30 years and has written several books on the subject. I am not an expert on Austrian Economics or "American economics" as our current system works, but I do believe that he has a very strong foundation in economics. He does have numerous endorsements from college professors of economics. I do not believe that he is a fool.

Some good articles for reference:

Ron Paul Library on The Economy and Monetary Policy

Statement Introducing the Free Competition in Currency Act (Dec. 13, 2007)

Dollar in Danger- The Greatest Threat to America (youtube video - watch just before the 6 minute mark)

Endorsements for Ron Paul (See economics professors under Academics and others under Finance section)

Ron Paul on Mad Money w/Jim Cramer (CNBC show)

--- Ron Paul will hurt people dependent on entitlements

Ron Paul is advocating allowing young people the opportunity to opt out of Social Security, medicare, etc., and eventually phasing them out completely. But, he has stated numerous times that he believes government owes those who are currently dependent upon those programs the continued support that they are receiving. He is not going to cut anyone off.

Closing the military bases on foreign soil will save America hundreds of billion dollars. He plans to use that savings to reduce taxes and maintain entitlement payments to those who are dependent upon them.

Some good articles for reference:

Worldwide Military Expenditures

Ron Paul on Social Security (watch the video on the page)

--- Ron Paul is a racist

While I don't recall you raising this objection, it is something that many people are confused about. Ron Paul is for color blind individual liberty. He is against collectivism in all forms.

There were some attempts to smear him with the racist label by drudging up some old newsletters of his, but they were debunked as not being written or specifically approved by him.

During an interview with The Washington Post:

Sleuth: In a Ron Paul administration, who would we see as secretary of defense, or secretary of state or maybe as chief of staff?

Paul: Somebody I think should be in the administration would be somebody like Jim Grant, who is a good friend and he writes an investment type of newsletter and he understands economics in the same vain that I do. And people like Jonathan Turley would be good in the Justice Department. And somebody like this Michael Scheuer who knows something about foreign policy, in the State department.

Sleuth: If you were to defy the polls and the odds and win the nomination, who would be your running mate?

Paul: Well, I don't know, but if I won, you know, I'd want a recount. You know, lets be certain about what's going on here.

But a running mate. Somebody like Walter Williams. Walter Williams is a very good economist. ..."

Some good articles for reference:

Washington Post Interview

Walter Williams, Department of Economics, George Mason University

Ron Paul on H.Res. 676 (40th anniversary of 1964 Civil Rights Act)

Ron Paul Race Smear Erased?


So, all that said, why do I support Ron Paul? Andrew Sullivan, author of The Conservative Soul, stated it really well:

"... But the deeper reason to support Ron Paul is a simple one. The great forgotten principles of the current Republican party are freedom and toleration. Paul's federalism, his deep suspicion of Washington power, his resistance to government spending, debt and inflation, his ability to grasp that not all human problems are soluble, least of all by government: these are principles that made me a conservative in the first place. No one in the current field articulates them as clearly and understands them as deeply as Paul. He is a man of faith who nonetheless sees a clear line between religion and politics. More than all this, he has somehow ignited a new movement of those who love freedom and want to rescue it from the do-gooding bromides of the left and the Christianist meddling of the right. The Paulites' enthusiasm for liberty, their unapologetic defense of core conservative principles, their awareness that in the new millennium, these principles of small government, self-reliance, cultural pluralism, and a humble foreign policy are more necessary than ever - no lover of liberty can stand by and not join them.

He's the real thing in a world of fakes and frauds. And in a primary campaign where the very future of conservatism is at stake, that cannot be ignored. In fact, it demands support."

Ron Paul For The Republican Nomination

I am not happy with the direction in which the country is currently headed. The 'War on Terror' (Patriot Act) is eroding our civil liberties at an alarming rate. I don't want to end up one day in a situation like my father had to live through in Argentina with Peron (or what my grandfather had to live through in Austria during Hitler's rise to power).

I am also concerned about the country's solvency. We are currently dependent upon loans from China to keep our government (and the war in Iraq) going. As the dollar keeps dropping in value and the perfect storm of events leading to a severe recession are percolating, there is going to come a time when foreign money is going to dry up (because they know we will be repaying them with devalued dollars - ie. no return on investment). This is similar to what happened less than a decade ago in Argentina when the economy collapsed and the IMF refused to make them any loans.

Ron Paul is the only candidate who I believe has the understanding, vision and fortitude to alter the direction of this country.

FYI, these are some really good videos where Ron Paul had a chance to talk about his ideas in some depth:

Ron Paul on Candidates@Google (this one is *really* good)

Ron Paul interview on PBS' NOW (see the extended interview video)

Some other interesting articles:

The Neo-Conservative Guide to Voting for Ron Paul

Ron Paul Praised by American Cops

* heinous misrepresentation:
A Fox, a Wolf, and a Whole Lot of Bull (Part 1 of 2)

A Fox, a Wolf, and a Whole Lot of Bull (Part 2 of 2)



Please Digg this!

Sphere: Related Content


Anonymous said...

Well stated and well done.

Presidential Candidates News said...

This is an excellent post. I think it's quite helpful for people who want to argue Paul's positions. For people who get their news from the TV... Well a lot of people just don't look at things very much in depth so it's important to be able to explain what Paul says that may sound weird in sound bite form.

DetainThis said...

Great write-up! Thanks for the heads-up comment. I just entered a comment (awaiting approval) on Moonpies' WordPress page, linking to your blog entry.

DetainThis said...

I might have given you the wrong link. Moonpies' WordPress page.