An Open Letter About Open Letters
by Walter Block
by Walter Block
So far, two people have published open letters on LewRockwell.com addressed to various voting communities in behalf of Ron Paul, making the case that they should support his candidacy for President of the United States. They are my own "An Open Letter to the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul" and "An Open Letter to the Protestant Community in Behalf of Ron Paul" by Laurence M. Vance.
Why is this a good idea?
For one thing, any publication, whatsoever, that mentions the name of a certain Republican Congressman from Texas is a wonderful thing; even if they are critical. Ignoring Ron is just about the worst thing that can happen in this regard, as the mainstream media has so far tried (not too successfully) to do. But letters in this series I envision would certainly be positive; which is of course even better, far better.
For another, it is simply not enough to make the general libertarian case for Dr. Paul's election: support for free enterprise and private property rights, an immediate pull out from Iraq, return to the Constitution, an end to fiat currency untied to a commodity money that creates inflation and the business cycle, cessation of the "war on drugs," etc. This is of course magnificent; but we need to do more.
This is because there are a lot of people who view the election not from this general perspective of the public good, but rather on the basis of their own more narrow interests. Forget whether or not this is a good thing; it is part of reality that we supporters of Ron need to take into account. This is why I was led to start things off in this regard with my An Open Letter to the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul. Previously I had written several other essays in support of Dr. Paul, and had joined the group Jews for Ron Paul. As a result, I was barraged with letters from Jewish people, and others, too, saying, in effect, that, yes, Ron was a good libertarian, but his policies of no military interventionism abroad and an end to foreign aid, would be a disaster for Israel. Many of these people were reluctant to vote for him on this one ground.
In my view, this sort of thinking is by no means limited to my co-religionists; rather, it is pervasive. To wit, I regard Laurence M. Vance's contribution, directed to Protestants in general and to Baptists in particular, as crucially important. These people, also, while perhaps attracted by Ron Paul's overall stance, needed to be reassured on issues specifically important to them. Not only should they be made aware that Ron agrees with them on issues of concern to them (e.g., abortion) but also that Ron is a libertarian, not a libertine: while he favors the elimination of laws prohibiting addictive drugs, he actually opposes their use. He would not incarcerate people for engaging in "adult" behavior on a voluntary basis, but as his own life eloquently attests, this is not at all an aspect of what he sees as the good society.
The reason I am writing this "Open Letter" is to encourage other Ron Paul supporters to write additional "Open Letters" of this sort. To wit, we need:
- "An Open Letter to the Catholic Community in Behalf of Ron Paul"
- "An Open Letter to the Hindu Community in Behalf of Ron Paul"
- "An Open Letter to the Muslim Community in Behalf of Ron Paul"
- "An Open Letter to the Mormon Community in Behalf of Ron Paul"
- "An Open Letter to the Buddhist Community in Behalf of Ron Paul"
- "An Open Letter to the Sikh Community in Behalf of Ron Paul"
I am not enough of an expert in many of these religions to even begin to know what to say to their followers. But I am sure experts in the relevant faiths will know far better than I about such matters. Nor do the writers have to be practitioners of these religions, although, other things equal, this would certainly be preferable. All that is needed is expertise, ability to connect Ron Paul's program with these religious perspectives.
However, allow me to mention some possibly salient points. (Lack of knowledge has never stopped me before in any of my writings as my critics often point out; why should it do so now?)
For Catholics, the following points might be mentioned: Ron's views are fully compatible with Catholic just war theory, with their views on abortion, and also that the philosophy of the 16th-century school of Salamanca, started mainly by Dominican and Jesuit priests, is entirely consistent with Ron's economic views. For example, for the Salamancans, the just price was the market price; the just interest rate was the market interest rate.
For Mormons, a straight shooter like Ron Paul can be relied upon to carry out the overlap between their philosophy and his to a much greater degree than even Mitt Romney, who flip-flops, and then flip-flops once again. Wouldn't it be great if Ron could beat Mitt in Utah? But this won't happen unless someone can spell out the specifics of these commonalities in detail.
For Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and others: a Ron Paul administration can be relied upon to stay out of your personal business, and also to remove troops from your homeland countries, wherever they are.
As I say, it is very important to link Dr. Paul's platform with such groups. However, the "trouble" with open letters to Jews, Protestants, Catholics and other religious communities in behalf of Ron, is that there are only so many religions, and people are members of many other categories that need to be addressed as well in this manner.
For example, this idea could be expanded to include not just religions, but occupations. Now, not every pursuit can be covered; for example, there is nothing Ron says that is narrowly pertinent to waitresses or plumbers. These would have to be covered on the basis of his general program. But, there are professions on which Ron speaks, specifically. For example,
- A doctor could support his opposition to socialized medicine
- A lawyer could support him on habeas corpus, the patriot act, the elimination of anti-trust
- An economist could support him on I don't know what; gold? The Fed? The IRS? his entire domestic program?
- A businessman (a Hank Reardon, not the Wesley Mouch—type who are all too prevalent) could wax eloquent about Ron's views on deregulation, lower taxes
- A historian could support his foreign policy
Then there are the "man bites dog" twists:
- Tenants against rent control
- Teachers against the department of education
- Accountants against the IRS
- Farmers against farm subsidies
- Medical researchers against the National Institute of Health
- Astronomers against NASA
- Bankers against the Fed
These are particularly efficacious. When a landlord association opposes rent control, it is dismissed as the pleadings of special and selfish interests. But when a tenant does so, on the basis of basic economic understandings (e.g., Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson) it is much more difficult to ignore.
But we have not yet fully scratched the surface. There are other special interest groups:
- Someone, a black person preferably but not necessarily, could demonstrate that the state is not exactly the best friend of this community; he could do worse than mention Walter Williams' book The State Against Blacks.
- Someone, a homosexual preferably but not necessarily, should make the case that gays would do better under a President Paul than any other
- Someone, a woman ideally but not necessarily, might show just how politically incorrect a Paul Administration would be, and that it is mainstream feminism that has been responsible for the plight of females
Then, there are our own "special interest" groups:
- A member of NORML could support Ron on drug legalization
- A hard money advocate could support him on gold
- A member of the National Rifle Association could promote Ron's views on gun control
- A (free market) environmentalist could demonstrate how Ron's championing of private property rights would promote ecological values
Let me conclude: the "problem" with Ron Paul is that he does not trim his sails by one iota to conform to those of any particular audience of his. What you see is what you get, with him. The message is the same wherever he goes. But we also need tailoring to specific narrow interests. Even if Ron wanted to do this (happily he does not), no one man can be an expert in each of these narrow fields. So, it is up to his supporters, who amongst us comprise expertise in all of these callings, to make the case for compatibility between Ron's message and their own more limited concerns.
Nor should these "Open Letters" be limited to one to a customer. As long as there is no serious overlap, for example, there could be some half dozen such missives for each of them: for Catholics, for doctors, for blacks, etc. My fervent hope is that this call of mine for one, two, many "Open Letters" will be met with a plethora of such essays. If so, and they are of sufficiently high quality, they will be published on LewRockwell.com. Perhaps Lew will even organize a special section for them under his rubric, the "Ron Paul File." Who knows: there is always the possibility of a book publication of such missives. If so, I would certainly volunteer to edit such a compilation.
November 21, 2007
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