“The tipping point is the biography of an idea, and the idea is very simple. It is that the best way to understand the emergence of fashion trends, the ebb and flow of crime waves, or for that matter, the transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth, or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life is to think of them as epidemics. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell
Ronald Ernest Paul started his career off in the late 1960s as an OB-GYN in Texas where he ran a successful private practice and delivered 4,000 babies. He was strongly influenced by the writings of Friedrich Hayek in his book, The Road to Serfdom, which later lead to Paul’s discovery of the Austrian School of Economics through the works published by economists Ludwig Von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard.
A pivotal moment in his life came when Richard M. Nixon closed the gold window in August 15th, 1971. Effectively severing the last link the dollar had to gold and claiming “we are all Keynesians now”, officially turning money into a political tool as opposed to something with intrinsic value.
Driven by his belief in real sound money and the deterioration of the economy via a “guns and butter” policy wrought on by the Vietnam War and the “Great Society” programs of Lyndon B. Johnson which has now become a welfare boondoggle, Paul decided to enter into politics.
He became the modest and upstanding congressman from Texas representing the 14th district, who stands for fiscal conservatism, sound money, a foreign policy of friendship and zero entanglements and a proponent of the free market. In the 2008 presidential campaign, we saw the emergence of Ron Paul into the limelight. While being severely marginalized by the mainstream media and labeled as a “kook” by many talking heads and Republicans, something intangible and unprecedented was taking place. The ideas propagated by Ron Paul’s campaign seemed to have created an almost uncontrollable force causing many hitherto apathetic voters to rise to the occasion and canvass for him.
This mystical force that is responsible for so many important moments in history is labeled by Malcolm Gladwell as the Tipping Point, which so happens to be the name of his national bestselling book that was first published in the year 2000. Composed of three main characteristics, he ascertains that the tipping point is structured in the following manner: “one, contagiousness; two, the fact that little causes can have big effects; and three, that change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment.” Appropriately, the name given to this dramatic moment in an epidemic which causes everything to change is “the tipping point”.
Not long after the 2008 campaign ended, Ron Paul continued on with what he believed was a much more powerful strategy, spreading his message. In approximately thirty years it has never changed. A succinct summary of his views and beliefs can be found in his 2007 book entitled A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship, a collection of his speeches given on the house floor throughout his career. This placed him in a category of being consistent, one that is veritably nonexistent in the political sphere.
He has continued to spread his message by attending several conferences, giving many speeches throughout the country and authoring three books: The Revolution: A Manifesto in 2008, End the Fed in 2009 and most recently in 2011, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. His popularity with the youth of this nation is electrifying. The support he receives from the military, unprecedented. The donations to his campaign from the military exceeds all other Republican candidates combined as well as Obama, a clear signal that Paul knows what these men and women in uniform want from their commander-in-chief.
Much like a virus, his message of freedom and individual liberty started to spread in 2008. If the internet alone decided the outcome of elections, he would have been the virtual winner then, no pun intended. A true grassroots effort took place which propelled him to the forefront. His popularity started to dramatically increase as the economic situation began to deteriorate, further cementing his predictions.
Unfortunately, due to the limitations he alone had to deal with along with a media blackout, he did not win enough votes to take the reigns in 2008. As detrimental as this may have been to our immediate future, it might have been a strategic blessing in disguise.
During these non-election years he has been able to garner even more support through many media appearances and speeches. As a matter of fact, Ron Paul eventually decided to give this circus act one more chance due to his supporters being so fervent about a 2012 presidential bid. At 76, he is still the favorite among young voters, drawing thousands at local college campuses during appearances. His message has truly spread like wildfire, one of a limited government that operates within the bounds of that seemingly forgotten document that was ratified by each respective sovereign state of this voluntary union, the Constitution.
Who would have thought that freedom was such an important topic to individuals? Who would have thought that liberty would provoke a renaissance of ideas in the 21st century that is toppling conventional wisdom? In this era of increasing police statism, the tipping point is here. This is Paul’s biggest chance.
The consensus was that he had one of his heretofore best performances in the most recent debate on the subject of National Defense at the American Enterprise Institute this November (2011). Along with winning first and second places in several straw polls, his name is becoming more mainstream and more popular not only amongst conservatives and libertarians, but also liberals and independents. In Ron Paul’s case Malcom Gladwell’s tipping point theory may very well prove to be clairvoyant in the coming months as the election heats up. Only time will tell.
Born in Brazil, David Klein [send him mail] is a graduate from the University of Central Florida school of Business. He is currently working in the energy industry, and is a student of the Austrian School of Economics.