Open Letter to Ron Paul

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Open Letter to Ron Paul

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Dear Ron:

Please excuse me; I can’t help it. As the Jewish Mother of the libertarian movement, I just have to give advice to all members of it, you included, in particular. Here, then, is some advice. You’d better take it. I have weapons of mass destruction for those of "mine kinder" who refuse: chicken soup to pour over your head, nagging, whining, etc. I give you fair warning: I am a world-class nudge.

1. You are asked, ad nauseam, if you lose the Republican nomination, will you back the winner? You reply, quite reasonably that you gladly will, but only if that person changes his views on foreign policy, free enterprise, etc. I wonder what would happen if journalists asked Rudy, Mitt, Fred, Mike, John what would they do if you win it: would they back you? I expect they would all lie and say they would. But, the truth is that they would support Hillary, Obama or Edwards instead of you. After all, the views of the present Republican poll leaders are far closer to those of the present Democratic poll leaders than they are to yours.

2. Here’s an answer to those, libertarians amongst them, who say you are not "cool" enough to become president, you are too much of an "isolationist" (I know, I know, they can’t tell the difference between an isolationist and a non-interventionist), you lack international experience, exposure, you’ll be dismissed by the rest of the world as a redneck hick Texan. To me, the most interesting part of this survey shows how the Israelis would vote for Republican candidates. Hint: they vote for the same person who currently receives the most donations from members of the US military. So, let us hear no more about how a Paul Presidency would be bad for Israel. True, this is a rather small sample. But bias in sampling never stops the MSM; why should it deter us?

3. Tom Tancredo (when he was still running) and Fred Thompson started “money bombs” of their own, based on your success. To say the very least, they do not do anywhere as well as you (understatement of the century). This reminds me of the movie Mondo Cane, which depicted the “cargo cult.” That refers to Stone Age people who saw planes landing on runways, and disgorging cargo. So, they built runways in the middle of the jungle, and even seeded them with planes made out of wood they had whittled, so as to entice real planes to land and disgorge cargo. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Tancredo and Thompson are still living in the Stone Age in terms of their understanding of what’s going on in terms of fund raising. They haven’t got a clue that the secret of your success has nothing to do with "money bombs" or "charisma" or "expert fund raisers," etc. Rather, it concerns, solely, your brilliant message about freedom, liberty, less government, non-intervention, sound money, etc.

4. Ron Paul as Nazi. When I first began to give public lectures on rent control (the topic of my Ph.D. dissertation) in the early 1970s I was ready for all sorts of technical, mathematical, statistical, theoretical questions. Do you know what the media kept asking me about, instead? Am I a landlord? Am I in the pay of landlords? Do I know any landlords? Nothing much has changed in the intervening decades. Instead of focusing on your message, they are trying to Nazi-bait you, of all things. I don’t really know what to do about this. But, lack of knowledge never stopped me before, why should it now? So, let me speculate. One tack is to equate Nazism and Communism. One is national socialism, the other is international socialism. You oppose both. If anything, you incline toward the latter, since you are an internationalist (that ought to confuse them, if nothing else). They are equally bad. No, wait, here you can incline on the Nazi side, since the Communists have murdered more people, far more people. (Maybe not a good idea; I’m just thinking out loud, here; give me a break.) Another tack to take is to support the moral equivalence of the two. The mainstream media sees dangers in only one direction, not both. When Britain’s Prince Harry wore a swastika, they went ape. This is evil, this is an abomination. Well, yes, of course, it is. But, seemingly every fifth kid on college campuses wears a Che Guevara T-shirt, or one depicting a hammer and sickle, and no one in the MSM says word one about it.

Happily, this smear is so far from the truth that it has no chance to take hold. As my friend Michael Edelstein says: "Ron Paul as a Nazi symp is akin to claiming Hitler was a closet pacifist." Indeed, I am surprised at the New York (Walter Duranty) Times; can they not do any better than that? Perhaps the best response, Ron, is a good old ad hominem attack: any newspaper that still has not apologized for its journalist Walter Duranty’s reports that things were fine in the Soviet Union during its terror famine cannot and should not be taken seriously.

5. Tim Russert. You did brilliantly in this interview. The problem you faced, of course, was that before "machine gun mouth" Russert allowed you to answer one question, he was asking a second; and, while you were just beginning to wrestle with that one, a third was in the offing. Your style in these contexts, if I may characterize it thusly, is one of politeness, supreme courtesy. Indeed, good manners, respect and graciousness fairly exude out of you. I think that is one good tack to take, and, maybe, you should stick to it, given that it comes so naturally to you. But, there are others. In order of increasing pushiness (I don’t like to brag, but I am nothing if not an expert in this particular field) are the following responses: A. please allow me to answer your first question before breaking off and trying to answer a second, and then a third, all at the same time. B. I am sure your audience will get more out of this interview if you allow me to answer a question. C. Please do not continually interrupt me; it is impolite. D. Ignore his follow-up questions, and tell him you are going to keep doing this, until you answer the first few questions to your satisfaction. As I say, your style may well be the best for you, but, in the interests of notifying others of us who will also be called upon to take up roles of this sort in behalf of libertarianism, I thought I would at least mention other possible responses.

6. Sean Hannity. Again, you were magnificent in this harrowing experience. I’m sure the non-committed audience was with you, vis–vis this boor. Whereas Russert would confine himself to questions, Hannity would "ask" you something, and, as soon as the first word was out of your mouth, would presume to lecture you and "educate" you about the issues of the day. With him, again, you were unerringly polite. I think you have a courtesy gene in you. Well, I don’t. Here are some of the tacks I’ve taken (I confess, with far less success than you have had, but I mention them one, to get them off my chest, and two, in the hope that a discussion of them will help some of us). A. Ask, who is the interviewer, and who is the interviewee? B. Keep talking no matter what. Don’t let him interrupt you. Do NOT pause for breath; heck, you’re a world class athlete, you ought to be able to outlast that windbag in a contest of lung power. Get used to the idea that the two of you will both be speaking for a minute or two. Practice this with one of your staffers, a leather-lunged one. The problem here is that you will both come off as jerks. Probably, this will hurt you more than him. Heck, dare I say it, I don’t really care about his career, although the sooner he is off the air the better for rational discourse. C. I once tried this ploy, and, miracle of all miracles, it worked. I was confronted with a verbal bully, and when he paused for breath, after an interminable oration I asked, "Do you play chess." Surprised, since this was not at all involved in our "discussion" (a one way lecture up to this point) he said he did. Whereupon, I asked if he played with a chess clock? At this point, he shut up, turned to his neighbor, and ignored me, much to my satisfaction. Why? Well, he is a bright guy, even though a verbal bully like Hannity, and knew that my next question would have been, "Well, if we were conducting this argument with a chess clock, where I run your clock when you are speaking, and you run your clock while I am talking, how many minutes do you think each of us would have on his clock? I offer you these options in case you may ever choose to use them. But, knowing you, I think you’ll stick with your style, and, as I say, I am not at all sure yours is not the best way to go for you, and, maybe, for all the rest of us too.

6. Gold. Strictly speaking, you do NOT favor the gold standard. Rather, you favor free market money: any monetary medium chosen by market participants. The only reason you mention gold at all is that whenever people were "free to choose" (the title of a book written by an opponent of the gold standard, Milton Friedman), as a historical fact they chose gold (and sometimes silver). But, if in the future, under the sort of free enterprise system you will promote as President of the United States (my, oh my, does that have a nice ring) if the market settled on copper or platinum, or, indeed, anything else, you would have no quarrel with that outcome. This is a complex issue to bring up in the 30-second sound bites you are often accorded, but I thought you might find some time to emphasize this point.

7. Ron, Ron, Ron, PLEASE get more bodyguards. I don’t care how many you now have, get some MORE. Now that your candidacy is taking off, the powers that be can no longer ignore you. Other people who wanted to, and did, shake up the power structure were assassinated: Martin Luther King, Jr., the Kennedy brothers, Malcolm X. Compared to yours, though, their programs advocated only marginal changes. There are lots of weirdos and nuts running loose. BE CAREFUL out there.

8. Ron, previously, I wrote a piece asking economists not to vote for you. Here’s another reason I "oppose" your candidacy: I just can’t get much writing done (apart from writing about you, that is). In the early days of your candidacy, I would google you, and reading all the stories about you would take, what, an hour or so a day? But then things gradually escalated. Nowadays, if I read every day for 24 hours daily, I still couldn’t read everything written about you. My problem is that I’m so enthralled with what you’re doing that I can’t seem to keep away from doing just that. Nor am I the only Austro-libertarian with a Ron Paul addiction. You’re not only ruining my productivity, but, if I can speak for the entire movement for a moment, you are doing this to all of us. Ron, if Murray were still around, I have no doubt that he’d be doing the same thing. Although I am a devout atheist, I just know Murray is now up there somewhere, cackling away at a thousand miles per hour with glee. God bless you, you are doing the Lord’s work, so to speak.

Best regards, Walter

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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