by Walter Block
by Walter Block
No one who has anything nice to say about Ron Paul can be all bad. Sarah Palin has said nice things about Ron Paul (see here, here, here, here and here). Ergo, therefore, as a result, it cannot be denied, it logically follows, Sarah Palin cannot be all bad. That is, she cannot be all bad no matter what else she is guilty of (within reason of course.)
So, what are the criticisms of her?
First and foremost, she is accused of not having enough experience. I admit it! She does not have enough experience. Enough experience, that is, to become emperor of the world. Yes, John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden do seek this post of planetary domination, now held by George Bush. That is, these three show every evidence of wanting to continue the U.S. role as hegemon of the entire globe. Now, it may well be that Palin will in future be seduced into this sort of ambition. But, at least as of right now, there is little or no evidence of it (apart from some pro-war sentiment). Of the four presidential and vice presidential candidates, her present experience shows the least desire to rule the world. So, her "lack of experience" is a good thing, not a bad one.
Does she have enough "experience" to be president of a country with a limited government, and no aspiration to be world dictator? Of course she does. And, again, she has more experience in this regard than either McCain, Obama or Biden. She, alone of the four of them, has had executive experience as the Governor of the great state of Alaska, while the other three have been whiling their way in a relatively unimportant institution, in this era of presidential power. So, don't talk to me about experience, as a critique of this lady.
Second, it is said that with five children, she has too many other obligations to take on the role of vice president. Give me a break. She can't vote in the senate when there is a tie? C'mon! This charge emanates from left-wing feminists, of course. Suppose Hillary were to have had five children the ages of Sarah's. Would the legions of her supporters be making this case with regard to Mrs. Clinton? To ask this is to answer it. In that case, Hillary's ascendency would only serve as evidence that "You can have it all." The hypocrisy of these "feminists" stinks to the high heavens. They do not support the idea of women breaking through the so-called glass ceiling. Rather, they favor left-wing socialist females being given positions of authority and responsibility. This is something very different. It is a rare occasion that these feminists have been caught with their contradictions so much in the public eye. All those sick and tired of these harridans ought to thank Sarah for this one boon alone.
Third, a criticism made by some libertarians is that her adherence to our principles is only skin deep; she has raised some taxes, considered banning some books from libraries, engaged in public-private ventures regarding oil pipelines, she is altogether too friendly to US foreign aggression. Yes, yes, she is no libertarian, certainly not of the purist variety. She is no Ron Paul. But, a little context here, please. She stands head and shoulders above McCain, Obama and Biden. What about matching her up against all the other 49 governors? Well, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is not all bad as far as these things go, and there might be another half dozen of this breed, mainly in the poorly populated states west of the Mississippi, but surely Sarah Palin fits comfortably into this category. According to this source, tax freedom day arrives earliest in Alaska, of all 50 states. Not too shabby, at least in this context. She favors drilling in the ANWR, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Another critique emanating from this quarter is that even if Sarah isn't all that bad in terms of libertarianism, at least compared to her peers, as soon as she goes to Washington D.C. as Vice President, she will "grow in office" and become more acceptable to socialists such as those who plague the New York Times, Newsweek, NBC and the other major media outlets. Well, yes, I suppose, this could happen. But, again, let us not lose sight of context. This has already taken place for the likes of McCain, Obama and Biden, who have been located in the beltway for many, many years. And, yes, there are indeed "libertarian" think tanks now located inside the beltway whose adherence to this philosophy has, sadly, deteriorated in the last little while. But there is no necessity that this disease will afflict Sarah. Indeed, there are groups, organizations and people who serve as counterexamples, and illustrate the concept of free will. Exhibit "A" is of course Ron Paul. He has been a denizen of Washington D.C. for decades now, and shows no signs of yielding to this affliction. George Ayittey is as strong a supporter of the free society as he was when he first became a professor of economics at American University many years ago. Tom DiLorenzo is located near the beltway in Baltimore, and is second to none in his adherence of libertarianism. Then, too, there are a whole host of libertarians on the faculty of nearby George Mason University. The Mises Institute itself, bastion of liberty and world headquarters of the Austro-libertarian movement, was for a time located in the DC environs. They departed, but not at all out of fear of compromising with the principles of freedom.
Now that we have dealt with the spurious criticisms, what are the benefits of the Palin candidacy?
First and foremost, just sit back and relax for a moment, and consider this scenario. The McCain (ugh!) — Palin (whoop-di-do) ticket is elected in November. The duffer kicks the bucket after a heart attack in early 2009, and our girl is now President of these here United States. Who does she choose as Vice President? Why, a certain Congressman from Texas. I'm not at liberty to reveal his name at the present time, but I'll give you a hint: he is widely known by both friends and enemies as "Dr. No." Double whoop-di-do, say I. No, quadruple. Unlikely? Yes. But politically impossible? No.
Did you notice how Sarah is widely referred to, when in formal mode? Yes, as Mrs. Palin, not Ms. Palin. Isn't that wonderful? Doesn't that really stick it to the socialist feminists? Yes, indeedy do. And, there is no group that more deserves such a come-uppance than they. They have long striven to stuff this horrid bit of nomenclature (see here) down our collective throats, and, on all too many occasions have succeeded. It is time, it is long past time, that we jettison this insufferable politically correct attack on traditional gender distinction.
She delivers a hugely deserved kick in the teeth to those limousine liberals who infest both east and west coasts of our country. I'm talking about the intellectual-academic-cultural "elites" who dismiss the rest of the populace as inhabiting "fly over" country. Here is a rifle toting, moose killing, basketball playing, beauty contest winning, charismatic and eloquent long happily married conservative hockey mom who has made something of herself in a very competitive field, who has not gone to finishing school at Harvard, Yale or Princeton. She does not revere the mainstream media; far from it. She is a breath of fresh air blowing in from our northernmost state. God bless her.
Sarah has almost entirely pushed Obama off television, and newspaper headlines. The timing of McCain's announcement of her candidacy as Vice President could not have been better. It took focus off Obama's windy, insufferable, socialist but, yes, eloquent, acceptance speech like no other announcement could have done. If that, alone, was Sarah's only accomplishment, it would have almost been worth it.
True confession time. Before Palin (BP), I was leaning toward Obama. I thought he was marginally less likely to drop a nuclear bomb on some hapless third world country than mad bomber McCain. I regarded, and still do, foreign policy as more important than domestic, given that "war is the health of the state." And, there was very little to choose between the Republocrats and the Demopublicans on economics. Socialism from both quarters (although I admit it, the prospect of Alan Dershowitz on the Supreme Court did give me pause for thought). But now, after Palin (AP), I am shifting my allegiance to the Republicans. Go, Sarah, go! But what about the libertarians? Don't speak to me about the libertarians! The Barr-Root ticket is arguably less libertarian than Sarah Palin. Barr in particular has been a gigantic disappointment (see here and here). Actually, the man is a thief. He has stolen our Libertarian Party from us, and I'll not again support it, at least not on the national level, until all vestiges of his theft have been wiped away. I have sympathy for the Constitution Party and for the Boston Tea Party, but they will be on too few ballots to even seriously consider them. So, one cheer for the Republicans; God help me. (I know Murray is up there, somewhere; Murray, please don't read this last sentence.)
A side note. Anyone notice the stupendous similarity, not to say identity, between Barack's proposed tax policies, and Milton Friedman's negative income tax? In the former case, Obama would lower income taxes for just about everyone, except of course for those who make the greatest contributions to the economy and to society. But what about the really poor, who now pay no income taxes at all? It would be unfair not to give them any tax reduction benefits, of course, at least for the Democrats. So, B.O. will give them a tax benefit in the form of a subsidy. But, is this not precisely the Friedman negative income tax plan? Thus, it would appear, Obama is a Friedmanite, or, Friedman was a precursor to Obama. Take that, all you critics of those of us who have long considered Friedman to be a socialist (on that see here, here, here, here, here, and here). When Ludwig von Mises walked out of a session at the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, saying "You're all a bunch of socialists," it was presumably some version of this plan to which he was objecting.
September 7, 2008
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 and the newly released Labor Economics From A Free Market Perspective.