Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What's the difference between Ron Paul and Barry Goldwater?

Jonah Goldberg of National Review has this op-ed on who is scarier: Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee?
His conclusion is that Huckabee -- who he sees as a "conservative" on various issues who nonetheless advocates using government the way liberals do, should be more scary; yet he is seen as more "mainstream" in the GOP, and that's what he finds scary.

This got me thinking -- doesn't Ron Paul sound a lot like Goldwater? (I mean the Goldwater of 1964, not when he got grouchy and said he was for gay rights and legal abortion later on.) I'm not saying they are identical, but I think Goldwater would love just about everything Paul is saying about limited government, honest money based on something like gold, and even a "humble" foreign policy.

Has the Republican Party given up on what Goldwater advocated?

(And just for added irony, I'd like to know: which GOP candidate running for President worked for Goldwater in 1964? Because Hilary did--no lie!)


Anonymous said...

Barry Goldwater would love Ron Paul--in fact, his son, Barry Goldwater Jr. (who is a former congressman) endorsed Ron Paul this week!

Unfornately this major endorsement was totally overlooked in the MSM. But there is a press release that mentions it on the campaign web site ronpaul2008.com

Anonymous said...

Just an interesting fact: Ron Paul's current campaign manager, Lew Moore, volunteered to work on Goldwater's 1964 campaign at age 9

Anonymous said...

I just noticed you are a Catholic priest. At the recent Ron Paul Veteran's Day rally in Philadelphia, we had a Catholic priest (I think his last name was Anders) who was so inspired by Dr. Paul's message of freedom that he traveled all the way from his home in Germany to give the prayer at the rally and pray for Ron Paul.

Anonymous said...

Well, Father ... the world does move on. Paul truly has the one-track mind of an ideologue trapped in the 1780s -- excessive Constitution-worship that I would analogize to Protestant "sola scriptura"-ism if it wouldn't make me feel unclean to steal ideas from certain people

Take the gold standard. In pre-globalist economies (mostly non-capitalist, let it be said), gold was useful as a form of transfer value among societies with no routine contact, and thus no workable form of fiat money, for a bunch of reasons. It was rare, shiny, durable, divisible but sufficiently widely distributed to be known as all these things in every society -- and not coincidentally seen near-everywhere as a symbol of grandeur and wealth.

The world has changed. Easily convertible currency was neither a need nor a feature of pre-modern economies. The gold standard itself was a historical practice only made formal at about the time Paul et al privilege as the Eden before the Fall of modern society (and therefore worshipped). Arguing for it in this day and age indicates a mind trapped in amber, unable to accept that history happens per accidens, not per esse, that nothing is eternal in politics and yesterday's issues die.

We know fiat money works as long as everybody accepts it (and nobody has any reason not to).

Even as a purely intellectual matter, the requirement for "universal acceptance" is just as true of gold and silver -- their "value" is purely nominal (as is all "value"). The most one can say about gold and silver is that they were at one time a "universal nomos" (among the Great Powers) and Paul et al have mistaken this for "phusis," believing that gold somehow has natural or "real value" (a contradiction in terms). The only thing necessary for a currency, or any other "nomos," is acceptance, and if everybody accepts fiat money, there is no advantage to gold money. We could even have a "beef standard" just as easily as a gold standard as long as everybody accepted beef as a store of value. (Trade with India would be tough though.)

On the day of Paul's $4 million "money bomb," I jokingly rewrote the lead of out story on it, with the writer standing over me to share the laugh, from something like "Ron Paul raised $4 million" to "Ron Paul accepted agreements for $4 million in worthless promissary notes without real value."

Anonymous said...

As for a humble foreign policy -- Paul's call to respond to the September 11 attacks with counter-piracy and the commissioning of privateers against Al Qaeda (I'm not kidding) is certainly something to be humble about.

Anonymous said...

To Victor:

The gold standard prevents the federal government from making up money whenever it wants to spend more than exists. It also prevents the runaway inflation that happens when money is debt and any bank can create it out of thin air.


Anonymous said...

The gold standard prevents the federal government from making up money whenever it wants to spend more than exists.

The central conceptual error in your note, Clark, is contained here -- presuming that money is a thing out-there that exists naturally, prior to the government deciding to print currency. It isn't. "Value" exists prior to currency-printing, sure, but "value" is not in any way related to some amount of gold in existence. If it were, economic growth would be impossible (which isn't to say the government can print as much currency as it likes -- well, it can obviously, but at a cost in inflation).

As for hyperinflation, several problems with this:

(1) The gold standard is nothing but an honor system. A government determined to print currency can do it (at a cost, sure, but that cost exists under the fiat money system anyway, via convertible currency and floating exchange rates).

(2) There is no greater incidence of hyperinflation in the "hard currency" countries since they all abandoned the gold standard, and this has been more than offset by the total absence of long-term deflations and depressions.

Also did you actually watch that video? It says quite clearly that money is created by banks, not the government as you're presupposing. It was a cartoon in more ways than one and highly entertaining in a perverse way -- ominous quotes from a Rothschild, economic obscurantism and class envy worthy of a medieval pogrom, debt as a trick invented by greedy bankers.

I nearly wet myself laughing at "money used to represent value, now money represents debt" which the not-careful mind won't recognize as presupposing the whisked-in hidden assumption that fiat money doesn't represent "value" because it's not backed by gold, as if gold were the same thing as "value" and that only gold's (and silver's) value was somehow "real." The cartoonist himself had conveniently forgotten what he said earlier about the wide variety of things used to represent money in various societies, which would have cured him of that illusion. Money is a conventional store of value (always has been, always will be -- whether paper notes, gold coins or tulip leaves) and value is a thing created by man in trade that measures his wants. Nothing more.

Another amusing thing -- why does Ron Paul attract support from both Libertarian worshippers of unfettered commerce (some of whom even advocate private money) AND the sort of people behind that sinister cartoon with its obscurantist message that "banking is inherently duplicitous."

Anonymous said...

Refusing to allow his gay grandson to be treated like an Untouchable makes him "grouchy"?

I guess hating all the right people is the real sign of a true Christian.

Another good reason for me to renounce Christ and become a Jew.

Kasia said...

My dad, who has been a hard-core Democrat for all of my life, supported Goldwater in '64. I think he may have even worked on the campaign. Perhaps there was "something about Barry" that attracted some idealistic young liberals?

Fr Martin Fox said...


That's a nice trick, inserting things into my comments, and then denouncing me for what you inserted!

I didn't say a word about Goldwater's grandson, nor was there any "hate" expressed.

Your post reminds me of the guys who show up once in a while and say, "great post...be sure to visit BingoBingoBingo.com!"

Anonymous said...

Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike 'lesser' estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, and material assets held by America's richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own 'humanitarian' spin on it. Calling attention to her own 'good will'. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Don't fall for all of their 'humanitarian' CRAP. ITS A SHAM. THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSING THE SAME PROBLEMS THEY PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT. Ask any professor of economics. Money does not grow on trees. The government can't just print up more on a whim. At any given time, there is a relative limit to the wealth within ANY economy of ANY size. So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. The world's richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain their share of the economy. Their wealth has been gradually transfered to the richest 1%. One way or another, we suffer because of their incredible greed. We are talking about TRILLIONS of dollars. Transfered FROM US TO THEM. Over a period of about 27 years. Thats Reaganomics for you. The wealth does not 'trickle down' as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class. Causing a domino effect of socio-economic problems. But the rich will never stop. They will never settle for a reasonable share of ANYTHING. They will do whatever it takes to get even richer. Leaving even less of the pie for the other 99% of us to share. At the same time, they throw back a few tax deductable crumbs and call themselves 'humanitarians'. IT CAN'T WORK THIS WAY. This is going to end just like a game of Monopoly. The current US depression will drag on for years and lead into the worst US depression of all time. The richest 1% will live like royalty while the rest of us fight over jobs, food, and gasoline. Crime, poverty, and suicide will skyrocket. So don’t fall for all of this PR CRAP from Hollywood, Pro Sports, and Wall Street PIGS. ITS A SHAM. Remember: They are filthy rich EVEN AFTER their tax deductable contributions. Greedy pigs. Now, we are headed for the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time. SEND A “THANK YOU” NOTE TO YOUR FAVORITE MILLIONAIRE. ITS THEIR FAULT. I’m not discounting other factors like China, sub-prime, or gas prices. But all of those factors combined still pale in comparison to that HUGE transfer of wealth to the rich. Anyway, those other factors are all related and further aggrivated because of GREED. If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, there never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. The credit industry has been ENDORSED by people like Oprah, Ellen, Dr Phil, and many other celebrities. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘humanitarian’ BS. ITS A SHAM. NOTHING BUT TAX DEDUCTABLE PR CRAP. Bottom line: The richest 1% will soon tank the largest economy in the world. It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. and thats just the beginning. Greed will eventually tank every major economy in the world. Causing millions to suffer and die. Oprah, Angelina, Brad, Bono, and Bill are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. EXTREME WEALTH HAS MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. WITHOUT WORLD PROSPERITY, THERE WILL NEVER BE WORLD PEACE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. GREED KILLS. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL. Of course, the rich will throw a fit and call me a madman. Of course, their ignorant fans will do the same. You have to expect that. But I speak the truth. If you don't believe me, then copy this entry and run it by any professor of economics or socio-economics. Then tell a friend. Call the local radio station. Re-post this entry or put it in your own words. Be one of the first to predict the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time and explain its cause. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.

Anonymous said...

Check out this new Christian band that just released their first album.

From what I heard on the samples site, they sound really good.

Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.