News & Analysis
Rand Paul Answers Critics But the 'Big Question' Remains
Senator Rand Paul joins Daily Paul Radio with Kurt Wallace for 'Rand Paul Answers; The Daily Paul Interview' to discuss his endorsement of Mitt Romney and to answers the questions submitted by The Daily Paul community. – Daily Paul
Dominant Social Theme: Politics is a messy business.
Free-Market Analysis: Rand Paul, in defense of his endorsement of Mitt Romney said on DailyPaul Radio that he was making a political judgment that would help him work with others in Congress. He pointed out his father had made similar endorsements.
Politics is the art of compromise, he explained. He is willing to be cordial and even collegial but he will not compromise his principals. Look at what I do, not way I say, he explained.
But yesterday we indicated that Rand Paul's endorsement was misguided. And despite his reasonable and polite defense of his most recent endorsement, we still believe it.
This difference of opinion gives rise to the "big question" that we will ask at the end of this article.
But first let us contrast the two Pauls once more. Rand's father Ron Paul made endorsements with an eye to making a larger statement about the direction of the United States. As a result, he received a nickname, "Dr. No."
The problem with the sorts of tactics that Rand Paul is taking is that he is compromising for POLITICAL reasons, not educational ones. Ron Paul has made political compromises throughout his career – in order to perpetuate his "bully pulpit." He's made compromises to survive as a politician.
Rand Paul is making these same compromises so that he can expand his career and perhaps run for the US presidency in 2016.
Is this realistic? The problem with making political compromises for the sake of political expediency is that it is difficult to stop and confuses the message you are trying to send. While Rand's father is an educator first and a politician second, Rand Paul seems to have the positions reversed.
Rand Paul's perspective is that he is making a difference as a senator by minimizing abusive and authoritarian legislation when he can and by introducing bills that promote freedom.
He recently introduced a budget plan that the Detroit News described as follows: "Paul's plan would: cut the average Social Security recipient's benefits by nearly 40 percent, reduce defense spending by nearly $100 billion below a level the Pentagon calls 'devastating,' and end the current Medicare program in two years — even for current recipients, according to the Senate Budget Committee staff.
Additionally, "It would eliminate the education, energy, housing and commerce departments ... reducing tax rates to 17 percent and eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends."
It is to Rand Paul's credit that he is trying to salvage the solvency of the US – even though we don't see how it can be salvaged at this late date. The US is something like US$ 200 trillion in debt – with a massive public sector and a huge military-intelligence-industrial complex. The wars that the US is fighting illegally have literally killed or injured millions in the past decade.
And the issue that created the current wars – 9/11 – is as yet unexplained to anyone who looks seriously at the events surrounding it.
The world is apparently being run by a power elite that wants to create world government and is using the power and wealth of the United States to do so. This elite is ultimately backed by the power and wealth of central banks they control.
In our humble opinion, the political processes in the West have been constructed to retain and expand the status quo. They constitute a kind of dominant social theme in that they give people the illusion of change without the reality. Serious change may be apt to come to the US only when it begins to fall apart as the European Union currently is.
One cans say that a combination of political activism and socio-economic education about freedom issues will turn the tide. But in a sense, the political activism confuses the educative effort. The two efforts are doomed to clash, giving rise to cognitive dissonance.
And this is what those who have supported the Paul movement are feeling today.
Here at the Daily Bell we've been very supportive of Ron Paul because we believed what he was creating was a "protest" campaign. He used the presidential primaries to get the word out about Austrian economics, human action, the dangers of monopoly fiat money, etc.
But Rand Paul is more interested than his father in effecting change USING the political process. And to do so, he shall have to continue to compromise – and continue to explain.
Will it be worth it in the end? How many compromises shall Rand Paul have to make to have a chance to win the presidency in 2016? For anyone who examines how nations and empires evolve over time, the idea that Rand Paul can lead a quasi-libertarian movement to power at the federal level is highly questionable to say the least.
Rand Paul, by choosing to use his position to advance political solutions is purposefully moving in a different direction than his father, who used his political position for educational purposes.
And this gives rise to the "big question" that we mentioned.
Is it possible to create a freer society using government processes? Ronald Reagan probably was sincere about his belief in small government but he ended up expanding the federal government radically.
History shows us that no matter how well meaning Rand Paul is, he will end up at the mercy of the system, not vice versa. That's the danger he runs.
The power elite, for instance, apparently wants a single world currency or even a formal gold standard. Here at DB, we argue that within a freer economy such as existed pre-Civil War a private gold-and-silver standard would take hold organically. Government would not necessarily be involved.
It is a kind of canard that one needs to involve government in money. Money preceeded modern government, though the Greenbacker movement has strained to make them one and the same.
A much better way to organize money is to let different monies compete. This likely occurred for thousands and even tens of thousands of years.
Ron Paul and the Austrian free-market movement are responsible for a great deal of education about money and how it works. And neo-Austrian thinking such as that embodied in the works of Selgin and White have further expanded what is practical and possible.
The era of the Internet has made people far more aware of their circumstances and the evolution of their societies. Ron Paul, by using politics as an educational platform, has helped with that process.
But Rand Paul is going in a distinctly different direction. No matter how much he explains it or justifies it, we would tend to remain unconvinced of the efficacy of such a strategy. In our view, as we have stated in several previous articles on this subject, change will come to the US via individual human action – mostly on a local level.
There is nothing wrong, of course, with political action. But pouring all one's energy into campaigns supporting one person or another (as supporters tend to do) may take away time and commitment from making changes closer to home ... personally, professionally and politically.
Changing the current US polity from the top down is certainly an admirable ambition for a libertarian-oriented politician but it may provide more confusion, ultimately, than clarity. Of course, we'd like to think it won't, and if Rand Paul can provide substantive change within the system, then it will be surely be to his credit.
Conclusion: Color us skeptical.
You can see our other articles on this topic here: