…then I’m going to say it

Inspired by a phone call from Dave Kellogg.

Marc wants to keep politics out of his blog. But since my self-imposed moratorium is over, I’ll just go out and say it: Ron Paul is a socially-regressive, batshit-crazy asshole and support for him makes me ashamed for the bandwagon-following bullshit of my socio-economic peers.

[What Ron Paul represents after the jump]

And this does not come from just because the things written in his name, it comes out every time he opens his mouth in public. Even his carefully-controlled and constantly-policed political positions bear this out—when you parse them they scream out one word:


I don’t disagree with all of his political views, but it is pretty obvious from the debates and such that this guy would “plain speak” our society off a cliff. And I can’t help the feeling that when this crap slips out of his mouth that this is the Real Ron Paul we’re seeing.

The anti-libertarian plea

I’m going to make the plea I always make every time I talk to a libertarian:

Please, please put down that copy of Atlas Shrugged and open up your first-year economics text book.

Read about externalities, monopolies, public goods, regressive taxes, social welfare, and the like. Don’t just obsess over pareto efficiency; discover market defects. Stop using the invisible hand of capitalism to shirk your social responsibility.

Until you do, you can talk to my (invisible) hand.

Running scared

And this part is what scares me the most: Not that he has a chance (he doesn’t). But that the reason he doesn’t is because of the people I despise—the people who traded this country’s values for a cheap political calculus—are the balance; that this isn’t plainly evident to my peers.

Reactionary extremism has replaced the indifference that got George Bush elected in 2000. And if you don’t think the next generation of political calculators aren’t going to exploit this to divide America again, then you are naïve to the extreme.

I’m not advocating political moderation here, just a little temperance.

Excuses, excuses

My generation has replaced Social Darwinism with an Economic Triumphalism.

An idiot has an excuse: an idiot is an idiot. They are not the darlings of a top-notch (and publicly-funded) education. They are not offensively rich. The public has invested a wealth into us and entrusted its wealth to us—we have returned the favor in mindlessly supporting a demagogue.

Please think.

12 thoughts on “…then I’m going to say it

  1. amagilly saved most of his woodwork-inspired anger for an IM to me. I’m sure he won’t mind me reprinting it, as it is too good to only be read by my eyes:

    “more ignorance evidence of tychay:
    he calls ron paul an isolationist when in fact he is a non-interventionist
    and tychay says ron paul is only popular on the internet with digg.com
    has he not checked meetup.com, google search, hitwise website traffic, youtube, eventful.com, myspace, and facebook stats?

    i mean come on, get a fucking clue buddy

    this is what pisses me off most. not only do we have to defend against the media and republicans, but now we have to defend against the crap from the democrats too

    i don’t understand why the democrats are going after paul when we are still fighting in our primaries. i mean, what the fuck right?

    and if everyone knows ron paul has no chance at all at getting the repub. nomination, then why are they so virulent and persistent in their attacks
    no … ron paul is not going to pull out of the race. and he is still raising money on top of his large cash pile.

    in fact, his ‘racist associates’ as you would have us believe are having another money bomb event on mlk day. http://www.freeatlast2008.com/
    oh look, NAACP Director Nelson Linder from austin comes to ron paul’s defense too and says he’s not a racist

    oh well

    good try, the new republic, but you’re dumb, james ‘speaks in code’ kirchick”

  2. Yes, of course, when a man advocates the abolishment of the United Nations, that’s “non-interventionist” not “isolationist.” (sarcasm) Similarly, many Ron Paulisms are recast in other terms to give him some “digg-appeal” and I drown in a wealth of choice wackoist thinking to shoot down.

    By amagilly’s metrics, Stephen Colbert (who has far more supporters for his run for President in Facebook) is going to win the election in a cake walk (I wish, even his television persona has more humility than the average Ron Paul supporter). Or maybe he thinks that the “digg.com crowd” isn’t the “slashdot crowd” isn’t an over-representative fraction of Facebook users. Or are we going to say that because Paul is popular on YouTube, he must be sensible candidate. (Have you read the comments on YouTube?) As for Google search, hitwise, eventful, blah blah? I only have one hyperlink for you: http://wetriffs.com/,

    You know what pisses me off? I didn’t bring up the fact that Ron Paul is racist (get over it, he is, that much is absolutely clear but not germane to my discussion), but rather, I pointed out his libertarian positions are untenable because they ignore simple first year economics. That similar ignorance of practical reality makes his (obvious) racism, unsurprising. And when I bring that up, you paint me as a “democrat” (I’m not).

    As for Ron Paul’s chance of winning. How about I bet you a case of beer (I give you) vs. a six pack (you give me) should Ron Paul win the nomination—that’s 4:1 odds I’ll give you. In fact, I’ll bet you anywhere up to $1000 at those odds.

    If you take me on this bet, I’ll just hedge it on IEM (the entire “rest of field” is trading 1.2 cents of the dollar now) and make a quick profit to boot…hmmm why? Maybe because he doesn’t stand a chance despite all the money idiots like amagilly are pissing on Paul. (We’re not scared of his nomination, we’re scared of what the fact that people who vote for him represent—a high portion of politically-active, economically-ignorant, relatively-wealthy, easily-manipulatable hacks among the 3P’s-elite who are easily seduced by a demagogue with a clever marketing campaign, simply because they wish for a Republican who actually wants to get us out of Iraq.)

    Getting back to the point: IEM is an electronic futures market—theoretically a libertarian dream! However, amagilly ignores that reality and avoids my only imperative: pick up an economics text book and try to understand basic market defects. That’s all. Think when he hears a theory; think when Ron Paul goes off message. Instead he chooses to fire first and lecture me by pointing out an outdated Cold War attack on Socialism.

    (Nobody is espousing socialism, but libertarians like him just assume that every failed political-economic concept must be the negation of libertarianism, and then try to paint their opponents with that brush.)

    He thinks he can debate with me? They don’t make tests where him and I appear on the same fucking scale—his metric is some weird-assed la la land and mine is reality. I’m not here to debate, because him and his ilk are Frank Chu without the funny parts.

    But I’m glad you posted this Michael, because amagilly is representative of what my whole post is about: someone with an elite education—a wealth of money lavished on him—who is always picking and choosing his points and then choosing to ignore.

    And that’s what’s sad, because people like him refuse to think and choose first to lecture. (Remember the motto of this blog: Write to create context for another to think.)

    Instead, Michael, as I know you are an understated supporter of Ron Paul, I ask you simply read deep into Ron Paul’s statements (and not dismiss his many years of voting record, political writing and rhetoric as quickly as amagilly does). The more you read the more non-sensible it gets. The further Ron Paul gets from his multi-million dollar marketing message the more obvious his true self becomes.

    Or would you care to wager? I could use another $100 or so (guaranteed money in my pocket due to arbitrage). 😀

  3. “Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called “diversity” actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist.” — Ron Paul

    Forget the wagers. However, I will gladly pay for you to buy the book ‘The Road to Serfdom’ by Hayek.

  4. How to Whip This Ron Paul Character and All His Whacky Followers.

    Ron Paul can be defeated by ignorance. Ignore him if you can.
    By lies. Misrepresent his positions whenever possible.
    By word gaming. As Lenin advised, “First, confuse the vocabulary.”
    By contempt. Dismiss him as amusing and pathetic.
    By smearing his supporters. Find the worst and spotlight them. Call them a cult.
    By consensus. Dismiss him with peer-pressure ridicule.
    By false accusations. Spread them quickly and far.
    By never discussing his policies. Change the subject to his person.
    By the polls. Ask the right people the right questions and get the answer you want.
    By reporting his most unpopular votes. But don’t report his reasoning.
    By rudeness. Wreck any debate where his ideas are winning.
    With all these tools, he can be easily defeated. Use them generously.
    But Ron Paul cannot be defeated by refuting him in an honest and courteous technical debate. Avoid that.

    – Moderno Machiavelli

  5. I’m glad I did stir some debate, well sort of at least. You can call me a supporter of Paul. I will not get to vote for him because I am a registered Democrat and he is quite unlikely (statistically) to win the Republican nomination. If I was a registered Republican, I would vote for Paul over Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee, etc. That has as much to do with the alternatives as it does with Paul. Similarly, if Paul were to win the Republican nomination, I would probably vote for him over Hillary Clinton, and maybe over Barack Obama.

    I do not agree with Paul on everything, but I completely agree with Paul when it comes to Iraq. I think Iraq is the most important issue of our time. We invaded a foreign country without provocation for the first time since the Spanish American War. We went further this time by actually conquering said country and installing a new government there backed by our military. So my first evaluation when comparing candidates is how will they correct the awful mistake that we have made. I don’t think Clinton will correct it. Maybe Obama will. Paul definitely would. Obviously none of the Republican candidates would.

    When it comes to economics, Gilly has a point about Hayek and Austrian economics. Austrian economics does not deny the existence of externalities and monopolies (using the cited examples) it simply says that we are not smartest enough to correct it. It says that the amount of knowledge needed to correct it is impossible to obtain, kind of like chaos theory and predicting weather. Austrian economics also says that to correct these problems with free markets requires somebody making a choice to redistribute property in some way, and that this always opens the door for corruption. Not only is too hard to figure out the right choice, it is too easy for humans to allow their own self interests to influence such decisions.

    It’s easy to see why Austrian economics was not mentioned much at Caltech! It says there is very limited value in trying to apply mathematics and econometrics to macroeconomics. Austrian economics is generally the polar opposite of Keynesian economics, which were heavily covered at Caltech.

  6. I did not call you a supporter of Ron Paul, you did, and I used your exact words. I do not think we can have a debate when one side doesn’t even acknowledge the points of the other and keeps parotting “read The Road to Serfdom” like some mantra. Om mani padme hum…

    The Cold War wants their book back. All of us in the 80’s want our money back—peed away in the name of short-sighted libertarian adventures such as “trickle-down” economics inspired by this book. Gilly does not have a point, except to try to paint me as a socialist by refering me to an outdated libertarian treatise that “doesn’t deny the existence of market defects” because it doesn’t even acknowledge their reality.

    (Let’s put some facts where Gilly’s mouth is. In the Road to Serfdom, there is never a single mention of “market defect”, nor a single mention of “externality”, nor a single mention of “public good.” In fact, only a single of all the traditional market defects is mentioned at all: monopolies—and its discussion is naïve to the extreme. Basically it starts by acknowledging their existence and the need for governments to keep them in check and then proceeds to say that they’re bogeymen, “proves” this with one of the most absurd non sequitors in the history of economics: that natural monopolies are a not natural at all because they “appeared early in industrialization, ” and then finishes with the implication that they occur because of too much regulation and protectionism, just before the book continues on to express a economic utopia we could all reach if we just allowed everyone to do as they fucking pleased. All this done without a single empirical backing (the “facts” are just asserted) nor, like the rest of the book, is there any quantitative one. This book would be comedy if so many educated people weren’t taking it so seriously—it makes me wonder why more libertarians aren’t living in Latin America, where their libertarian values have reached their utopia better than all others.)

    Was Gilly awake in his micro course, or did he, like so many others, just crib my answers to the problem sets so he could jump to a wasted macro discussion of economic policy without having the proper vocabulary?

    Your labelmaker runs out of tape when it extends to label me, and all of Caltech, as Keynsians. In reality, Caltech economics, like most empirically-based educations, treats macroeconomics the same way a scientist treats philosophy or a physicist treats cosmology or superstring theory—“Yeah, we may share the same past, but that ain’t economics.”

    Feel free to vote for Ron Paul for any reason you want, his position on the Iraq War, at least, is consistent. Personally, I fail to see how rampant isolationism is any better than aggressive imperialism, as both cause a destruction of a civilization.

    Would that more libertarians treat Al Gore with as much charity as they seem to treat Ron Paul. For the former they hurl epithets; for the latter they greet with flowers. For the the former has been more right than wrong (the war, the environment, the internet, the admonition against decay in the public forum…); for the latter has shown that even a stopped clock can be right twice a day.

    It is easy to support personal liberty and rugged individualism when all the money lavished in your education has put you in a lap of luxury. However, you do this society a great disservice in returning the favor by behaving so selfishly.

  7. You can vote for anyone in the general election.
    A registered republican can vote for the democrat nominee in the general election and vice versa.

    But, if you are in California and you don’t want the republican nominee to be pro-war, then you ought to vote for Ron Paul.
    You have until Jan 22, 2008 to switch parties to republican and then you can vote for Ron Paul on Feb 5, 2008 in the California closed primary.

    go here to do so:

    remember, you will still be able to vote for the democrat nominee in the general election if you want to.

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