Open Letter to Ron Paul, Part II
by Walter Block, David Bergland, and Jordan Bullock
by Walter Block, David Bergland, and Jordan Bullock
The present Open Letter to Ron Paul is a follow up to this previous one.
Here is some more free advice:
1. Next time Fox News or any other such "unbiased" forum excludes you from a debate, DON'T ASK to be included. Instead, use this as a publicity opportunity. In the debate, you only get to answer, oh, 3—4 questions for 30 seconds each (we're exaggerating by a bit, but not by much). Instead, give a speech and hold a press conference either right before, or right after the "debate," (dare we suggest during it?) for the entire length of time of their "debate." Let's see who is laughing loudest after that.
Earlier, during the first few debates, we would not have suggested any such thing. You were relatively unknown then, and needed the exposure those "debates" offered. Now, however, we feel that your candidacy is strong enough to make this tactic the optimal one. Those five intellectual, creative and moral midgets, Rudy, Mitt, Fred, John and Mike, need you for respectability far more than you need them. On the other hand, we do not suggest you pull a "Fred Thompson" and spurn future debates. To do that would be to make too much of a good thing.
On the other hand, there are as well intended and committed Ron Paul supporters as we are who are taking an entirely different tack: threatening to boycott the sponsors of Fox if they do not renege on their decision to exclude you from this upcoming debate. We realize that decisions on strategy involve difficult and complex empirical considerations. We may well be wrong, and the boycotters right. It is difficult to determine, given no praxeological axioms supporting either response, and no possible controlled experiments. Nevertheless, it is our considered judgment that you are now in a strong enough position to thumb your nose at those who would exclude you. On the other hand, these two tactics are not incompatible with one another. Both may be engaged in as far as we are concerned.
2. Here are a couple of tactics you might consider using with aggressive interviewers. Some like to rattle off a series of questions in one breath, each of which requires a substantial answer. For some reason, it is usually the lefties who use this tactic. Others will ask a question then interrupt you in the first sentence of your response to argue with you. With the former, mentally count the questions as they tumble out. Then say: "You have asked me six questions. Which one would you like me to answer." Audiences like that, recognizing the questioner's cheap trick for what it is. With the latter, adopt the practice of waiting several seconds after the question. Usually the questioner will then say something like: "Are you going to answer?" Then you can reply: "I just wanted to make sure you were finished. I wouldn't want to interrupt you; that would be rude." That will always be fun, and often effective.
3. The setting: RP describes what he would do as President with Iran, Pakistan, Israel or some other hypothetical conflict.
Q (incredulously): So you're saying you'd do NOTHING?
A (RP): Sure I'd do nothing! In fact, I think we ought'a be doing a lot more "nothing" overseas! Nothing, that is, with guns, missiles, ships, planes and bombs. Instead, we ought to be doing PLENTY of talking with people in other countries, trading with them, engaging in artistic and cultural exchanges, etc.
Q (somewhat hopeful): So if you don't win the Republican nomination, will you run as an Independent or 3rd Party candidate?
A: Look, this question is a bit of a trap. If I swear I won't, and I don't get the Republican nomination, I either disappoint and disenfranchise a lot of voters, or I'll break my word and run anyway. If I say I WILL continue, I'll shoot my bid for the Republican nomination in the foot. Right now I'm focused on winning the Republican nomination and not considering other avenues. Ask me again if I don't win.
Q (continual questions about Lincoln, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Act, et al).
A: Look, I'm a busy person. I'm focused on winning a campaign at the moment. I'd be happy to come on the show sometime when I'm not campaigning to discuss these issues at length, but right now I'd appreciate if we could stick to the real campaign issues rather than discuss history.
Ron, we think you started to follow the last suggestion on Morning Joe the other day, but you let them bait you back into the history discussion. Your comments on the subject were right on the money, but why discuss events of 1861 when there are real threats to the country going on right now?
But wait, there's more to be said on this matter. Ron, you can try this: If you are so intent on discussing these issues RIGHT NOW, here's the contact information for my friend and trusted advisor Tom DiLorenzo. He is a world-class economic historian, and the world's leading expert on Abraham Lincoln. He is the author of this best-selling book on the issue, The Real Lincoln, which I highly recommend to you and your researchers, who have sadly mislead you. By the way, there WAS no "Civil War" in 1861. A civil war implies that there are two forces fighting each other for the control of the territory and people under the jurisdiction of both. There WERE civil wars in Spain in 1936, and in Russia in 1917. What occurred in the U.S. in 1861 was, instead, a war over Southern Secession.
This is what Abraham Lincoln had to say about the matter: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that...."
And Lincoln's First Inaugural Address contains these words: "… I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."
If these quotes don't stop your interrogators in their tracks, just repeat them. And once again if need be.
December 31, 2007
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. David Bergland is a retired California attorney now living in Kennewick, Washington. The 1984 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, he is also the author of Libertarianism In One Lesson (9th Ed. 2005) published by, and available from, Advocates for Self-Government, Inc. David remains active teaching communication, martial arts and personal security. Jordan Bullock is a 26-year-old database administrator who works from his home in Milford, NH. He is married and has a 3-year-old daughter.
Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com