Why Not Ron Paul?

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Why Not Ron Paul?

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In what follows, there is a correspondence between me and a friend of mine who works at a libertarian think tank. This friend of mine, I will call him B to preserve his anonymity, recently gave a speech at Loyola University. The formal commentator for this speech was a Loyola colleague of mine, a Professor in the Law School, who I will call A. B gave what I thought was a magnificent talk on property rights and environmentalism, from a free market, limited government point of view. A offered what I consider a highly competent and interesting response, but from an anti—private property perspective. As a result of my attendance at this exchange, I challenged A to a debate. I copied B on this offer to A. The correspondence to be seen below consists of several letters between me and B that ensued as a result of my letter to A. This entire correspondence took place on October 26, 2007. I have inserted all material that appears in parentheses () in order to preserve anonymity. The time of day of the various letters does not fully match, due to time zone differentials.

Letter I

From: Walter Block [mailto:walterblock@cba.loyno.edu] Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 8:00 AM To: A

Dear A:

I was fascinated with your response to B’s presentation the other day at the law school.

I wonder whether you would be interested in debating me at an upcoming economics club meeting, some Tuesday at noon next semester. I am copying the officers of the econ club on this, as well as B. Based on the comments I heard from you, topics over which we have sharp differences of opinion include the following:

can property rights save the environment?

property rights in general

socialism vs capitalism

the civil rights revolution: free association vs anti racial discrimination laws

the right to discriminate on the basis of sex

statism vs anarchism

the Kelo case

Ronald Coase

As an alternative, if you are interested, we could hold this debate under the aegis of the law school. Even better: how’s about a home and away series? One debate at the law school, and a follow-up one for the econ club, or vice versa?

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D. Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics College of Business Loyola University New Orleans 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller 318 New Orleans, LA 70118 office: (504) 864-7934 fax: (504) 864-7970 wblock@loyno.edu WWW.WALTERBLOCK.COM <http://www.WALTERBLOCK.COM>

Letter II

From: B Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 9:10 AM To: Walter Block Subject: RE: debate

Still defending the Undefendable are you, Walter?! I allude to your discrimination suggestions (above). You’ll find my own politically incorrect views on the subject here: (deleted by Walter Block, to preserve B’s anonymity)

Good seeing you again.

Letter III

From: Walter Block [mailto:walterblock@cba.loyno.edu] Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 12:29 PM To: B Subject: RE: debate

Dear B:

Great seeing you again, too. I really enjoyed your presentation. I’m envious too. I could never give an hour lecture not only with no notes, but without, even, hardly a pause for breath. Masterful.

Please, when you next come to NO, give me as much advance notice as possible. I’ll try to snag you for a piggyback lecture to my own econ students, or at least be free to have dinner with you.

Just out of curiosity, why is (your think tank) supporting, of all people, (X, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president)? Why not our guy, Ron Paul?

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D. Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics College of Business Loyola University New Orleans 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller 318 New Orleans, LA 70118 office: (504) 864-7934 fax: (504) 864-7970 wblock@loyno.edu WWW.WALTERBLOCK.COM <http://www.WALTERBLOCK.COM>

Letter IV

From: B Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 10:33 AM To: Walter Block Subject: RE: debate

Thanks, Walter. (My Institute), technically, doesn’t support or oppose anyone or anything. As for the people here, my sense is that they may be all over the place in this election, and for good reason: no one out there really excites.

Letter V

From: Walter Block [mailto:walterblock@cba.loyno.edu] Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 12:40 PM To: B Subject: RE: debate

That piques my curiosity. Why doesn’t Ron Paul “excite”? He certainly excites me. On a scale of 0 to 100 where the latter is the most libertarian, Ron is at least a 90. No other candidate, of either party, in my view, gets above 20, and that’s stretching it.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D. Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics College of Business Loyola University New Orleans 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller 318 New Orleans, LA 70118 office: (504) 864-7934 fax: (504) 864-7970 wblock@loyno.edu WWW.WALTERBLOCK.COM <http://www.WALTERBLOCK.COM>

Letter VI

From: B Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 11:12 AM To: Walter Block Subject: RE: debate

I don’t know his positions well, but even if he were a "100 percenter," he’s not going to make it. That’s politics, unfortunately.

Letter VII

From: Walter Block [mailto:walterblock@cba.loyno.edu] Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 1:45 PM To: B Subject: RE: debate

Ron was once given a 200-1 chance of winning. I have a $1 bet on that basis with Bryan Caplan. Later on, he became a 16-1 odds against candidate. I have a bet with Bill Barnett at those odds. He now has 6-1 odds against. Care to bet me $6 for anyone else against my $1 on Ron?

All of the four “leading” Republican candidates have grave problems as far as the nomination is concerned. Giuliani has had 3 marriages, his kids hate him, he publicly humiliated his second wife, he dressed up in drag for a gay parade, and he’s weak from a Republican perspective in terms abortion, gun control. The Christian right has already threatened to bolt if Jailiani gets the nomination. Romney is MORMON, for goodness sakes. Enough said. But, I’ll say more. He’s a flip-flopper, taking “conservative” positions now that are very different than when he was governor of Taxachussetts. Fred Thompson has all the charisma of yesterday’s hamburger. Without being fed lines by scriptwriters, he’s a bust. Also, he is married to a very beautiful young wife, several decades younger than him. Virtually no Republican woman of middle-aged years is going to vote for him. McCain is a joke. He has demonstrated that he can’t handle money. People are waiting for him to burst like Howard Dean. They fear that his experience in Viet Nam will render him unfit to be president, harsh as this sounds, indeed, is. In these statements I am not talking about right or wrong. Most of these things are irrelevant to libertarianism. I’m confining myself solely to electability among Republicans.

No, no, Ron’s best competitor in my view will be Mike Huckabee. He has had only one wife, and she is of long duration. He has a record of espousing conservative (well, neo-con) principles. But, he raised only a paltry $1million in the third quarter of 2007. Still, I see Huckabee as Ron’s biggest competition. My biggest fear is that Ron is doing such a magnificent job in promoting liberty that he’ll be assassinated.

In contrast to the presently leading candidates, Ron has had one and the same wife for some 50 years. When the Christian right discovers him, he’ll get a big boost. They agree on guns, abortion and immigration (on the latter two I happen to disagree with Ron). The mainstream media try to paint Ron as a Libertarian, not a Republican. Nonsense; he is both. Of course, he is a libertarian, but he is ALSO a Republican; a Taft Republican. Happily, one of the early elections will take place in New Hampshire, chock full of Free State Project libertarians.

Further, and TERRIBLY important, Ron is the ONLY Republican who can beat Hillary. He’ll “steal” many antiwar democrats from her. As a doctor, he’ll kick her butt on socialized medicine. The reason Ron is now so low in the polls is that most people simply haven’t yet HEARD of him. When they do, WATCH OUT! When Republicans come to realize that only Ron can beat Hillary, there will be no stopping the publicity for the free society.

But none of this is entirely relevant to your Institute’s non-support for Ron. Let us stipulate that you are right, I am wrong, and that Ron’s candidacy will not succeed. But, still, he’s got almost $6 million in the bank. Soon, he’ll start an advertising campaign. This will have the effect of massively promoting liberty, even more than so far. In fact, I would say that Ron has ALREADY promoted liberty to the average person better than anyone in history. Ayn Rand only comes in second, in my opinion. Ron will next week be on the Jay Leno show for goodness sake. Even the NY Times now writes about him without calling him a wierdo. And this is only the tip of the veritable iceberg. I tell you B, when his campaign first started, I used to hungrily search for mention of Ron. I can no longer do that. To keep up with the publicity he is now garnering, I’d have to devote my full-time efforts to this one task. Ron is a one-man band of publicity for liberty. I am appalled that (your Institute) takes the stance on him that it does. In my view, Ron is a sort of litmus test for libertarianism. So far, (your think tank) is failing this test. Can you not talk Ron up with X and Y and your other colleagues?

Walter E. Block, Ph.D. Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics College of Business Loyola University New Orleans 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller 318 New Orleans, LA 70118 office: (504) 864-7934 fax: (504) 864-7970 wblock@loyno.edu WWW.WALTERBLOCK.COM <http://www.WALTERBLOCK.COM>

Letter VIII

From: B Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 12:07 PM To: Walter Block Subject: RE: debate

I’ll pass this on here, Walter. What are you bucking for, Treasury secretary?

Letter IX

From: Walter Block [mailto:walterblock@cba.loyno.edu] Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 2:12 PM To: B Subject: RE: debate

I’m open to offers from President Ron. I’d take treasury, labor, commerce, the fed, education, the BLM, etc. I guarantee that if I got any of these positions, those departments would be ended within 6 months. Then, I’d go back to academia, after my one semester break. But, don’t you agree with me that even if Ron doesn’t become president, he is still doing great work for our cause?

Some other reasons his poll numbers are now so low (although rising): he never gets his fair share of time during those Republican debates. Usually, he gets the least of all the candidates. Those biased polls go to registered Republicans who previously voted in primaries who have land phones. This leaves out a lot of Ron’s supporters.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D. Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics College of Business Loyola University New Orleans 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller 318 New Orleans, LA 70118 office: (504) 864-7934 fax: (504) 864-7970 wblock@loyno.edu WWW.WALTERBLOCK.COM <http://www.WALTERBLOCK.COM>

Letter X

From: B Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 6:10 PM To: Walter Block Subject: RE: debate

Agreed, and agreed.

Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the Undefendable.

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