Recently by Doug Casey: Debunking Anti-Gold Propaganda
L: Doug, weve had a lot of readers ask us what you think about Ron Paul, and hes just announced hes running for president again. Whats your take?
Doug: Ron is a decent human being. Ive met him on a number of occasions, mostly when he came to meetings of the Eris Society, and always found him to be philosophically sound, as well as pleasant and sincere. A genuinely likable guy. As far as Ive observed, hes always done exactly what hes said hed do certainly when it comes to voting against almost everything.
But if youre asking if hes got a chance of becoming president, Ill skip the Slim and none joke, and just say not a chance. The proverbial snowball in the mythical hot place has better odds.
L: Im not surprised. Short of something far-fetched, like L. Neil Smith and Aaron Zelmans novel Hope, in which a gun-toting libertarian becomes president because the other candidates happen to die the night of the election, I cant see an honest libertarian or any honest man at all becoming president. But lets talk about the man first. How well do you know him?
Doug: Just socially. The only political candidate Ive really been close friends with was Harry Browne, who was the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. I genuinely supported Harry, partly because wed been friends since the mid-70s. And because I dont believe we ever disagreed about anything beyond what wine to have with dinner. And because Harry was the only avowed anarchist that I know of to have ever seriously run for president. And because he promised that, if he won, hed make me Chief of the Secret Police just kidding.
Seriously, though, I thought that Harry could win several million votes just because he was so rational and eloquent. And because I believe that, since most people are basically decent, there would be at least that many who would support him, if they just knew he existed. But I was wrong. It shows that Im actually not a cynic, but a romantic. Of course its also said that a cynic is just a frustrated romantic. And that may well be true.
L: What about religion? Dr. Paul is a Christian
Doug: Most people who are Christians are Christians only by an accident of birth because their parents were. The same is true of Muslims. And Jews. And Hindus. And almost all religious types. Its the same as politics, actually. Most people are Democrats or Republicans because their parents were. Its reflexive and its easy even if its totally irrational.
I lose some respect for people who believe things because of an accident of birth, but Ive got nothing against Christians being Christian. Its when they try to force their religion on me that I have a problem. More and more, though, religion in the West has nothing to do with theology; it has much more to do with a general sense of shared identity and values. Even if its mostly just lip service.
Anyway, I think Ron is sincere about his Christianity. But I feel confident hes the type of Christian who admires Christ who was actually very admirable in many ways as opposed to the uptight kind of Christian who mimics the strictures based on the aberrant theories of Paul.
L: Something Christ, I think, would have objected to.
Doug: Yes. I suspect if Paul had tried to join the apostles Jesus would have politely, but firmly, asked him to go away. Jesus was a rather Buddha-like figure, whereas Paul was a proto-Leninist.
The number of murders, massacres, and whole wars fought in the name of a peaceful carpenter who taught people to turn the other cheek and forgive just shows you how capable of willful ignorance and self-serving myopia people are.
But thats getting in to a different subject Back to Ron; hes not the type to impose his religion on people. Thank God Huckabee, that smarmy, slick preacher, has dropped out of the race. In any event, I believe Rons libertarian principles would restrain him from seriously mixing his religion with his politics, even if he were tempted.
So no worries there.
L: Are there any other policy areas that would concern you, issues you know you disagree with Dr. Paul on?
Doug: Well, hes not an anarchist, as was Harry Browne, and he could support a lot more laws than I would, but our visions of how to restore America are probably about 90% the same. Wed be pushing in so much the same direction less government, fewer laws, fewer regulations, lower taxes, bring the troops home, etc. it would probably be a long time before our 10% differences would become problematical. And hed never get that far; hed have to fight tooth and nail to get any of that 90% of the needed change we agree upon done.
But this is entirely an academic discussion. The chances of Ron even being a contender for the nomination of the totally corrupt Republican Party are zero. And if he got it, the chances of his being elected are less than zero cmon, this is the same electorate that just put in Obama.
And if, through some form of Olympian intervention, he was elected, real change would be impossible. The NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the DoD, and the rest of them are now an empire within the empire. If he ever tried to make serious changes I suspect hed get a very serious talking-to, much more scary than a small town mayor might get from the Mob. The situation is beyond redemption in my view.
L: Okay, but… Theres the Tea Party, The Libertarian Party, even a few genuinely pro-market Republicans out there all constituencies that might vote for Ron Paul. There are a lot of disillusioned people out there, a good number of whom might vote for an honest man, even if they dont agree with him about everything. How can you say theres absolutely no chance he could win?
Doug: To start with, about half the population is on the dole 45 million are on food stamps alone. Worse yet are all the corporate welfare recipients and high-finance fat cats in bed with the government there are just too many people whose rice bowls would be broken for Ron to get elected. Organized labor would never stand for him, and much of corporate America would actually be on their side.
Furthermore, theres no constituency that would really be for him. The Libertarian Party is a completely ineffectual nonentity, and unworthy of support, as they proved by nominating the Congressman Bob Barr for their last candidate. The Tea Party has no central philosophy, as weve discussed before.
And thats not to mention Rons own well-publicized libertarian ideas that are easy to paint in a bad light, like his opposition to the War on (Some) Drugs. The stars are just not aligned for Ron. Or they are aligned all against him. The voters will go for a statist, collectivist fear-monger who promises free lunches.
L: Sounds like Dr. Pauls got as much chance of getting elected as you do and Slims out of town. But can his campaign not still do some good, shifting the debate? If the Republicans see themselves being outflanked on the right, might he put some spine in to them and make them actually embrace free markets in deed, not only in word? They might stop walking in lockstep with the Democrats, chasing after the middle
Doug: Sure, he might change the nature of the debate a bit and that would be a very good thing. It would offer a bully pulpit for education, which was another major reason why I supported Harry Browne. But none of that will change the way the vast majority of either the electorate or the politicians think or vote. The fact is that politicians all know they wont get reelected if they force the U.S. to bite the painful bullet it must, if its to begin a real recovery.
In other words, what needs to be done a large-scale firing of government employees, the abolition of most agencies, reinstitution of a sound currency, default on many or most government obligations, radical cuts in spending, and disbanding of the military-industrial complex would itself bring on chaos at this point. Anybody who did it would be branded a traitor, or worse. So theyll continue kicking the can down the road. A controlled demolition of todays totally corrupt system is the best thing that could happen. Instead well get an uncontrolled collapse later.
L: So were back to there being no way out.
Doug: Yes Im afraid so. Even if friendly aliens landed on the roof of the White House and gave us some magic technology that would feed, house and clothe everyone for free
L: That would destroy the native economies worldwide. What would people do all day if there was no point in any work because everything was free? Even if the entire population could become artists or something, the dislocation would be so massive, suicides would probably become the leading cause of death for whole generations. Would any ethical aliens do that?
Doug: Actually, if Ray Kurzweil is right about The Singularity, thats more or less what will happen. But thats a subject for another conversation.
So, okay, okay. There are no friendly aliens, and The Singularity isnt going to happen this election cycle. There is no way to avert the train wreck now. The plus-51% of the population on the dole alone guarantees it thats the point of no return. Not to mention the abject failure of the government education system, and many other factors weve discussed before. I just dont see any way out; its got to get worse before it gets better. And it likely wont get better until the present system implodes.
In that regard, Im happy hes running because his campaign will almost certainly get a lot more attention than it ever has before. As above, that could educate a lot of people, because Ron will speak on principle, and about things that matter. The fact he cant win is actually a good thing. I pity the poor fool whos in office as we come out of the eye of the hurricane were now in. Whoever is in office will be blamed, even though the collapse will be the consequence of decades of mismanagement.
But getting the ideas out into TV-land is a good thing. Come the crunch, the more people whove heard Rons free-market ideas, the better the odds of things looking up after the crash.
I said theres no way Ron will win or prevent the deepening of The Greater Depression were slipping into I didnt say it wouldnt do any good.
I wish him the greatest success.
L: Heh Well, if you think its a good idea, why dont you run?
Doug: Go wash your mouth out. Ron does not believe the state is necessarily unethical. I do. Big difference; I cant be a part of a coercive system, even if I tell myself Im only doing it to do good.
L: Understood. I know where the road paved with good intentions leads to. Okay then Investment implications?
Doug: Sorry, nothing new there. The sad fact as I see it that a man of character like Ron Paul can never get elected in our current system is just par for the dismal course the U.S. has been locked into for some time.
But just because the U.S. is radar-locked on self-destruction, that doesnt mean our readers need to be. They can and should be doing everything possible to protect themselves. I dont want to sound like a broken record, but I honestly believe the best possible thing for readers to do is to live, breathe, eat, drink, and sleep the mantra: Liquidate, Consolidate, Create, Speculate and diversify your political risk.
L: A public service announcement from Casey Research: No need to go down with the ship. I actually got an email from a reader who has posted your mantra on the wall in front of her desk. Im glad some people are listening especially those I consider friends.
Doug: You sent me that one very gratifying. I can only hope shes not the only one. But its more than just not needing to go down with the ship; the world will need sane people with capital at their disposal to help lead the way after the crash.
L: Sounds pretty apocalyptic, Doug.
Doug: You know I call em like I see em. But a crisis presents as much opportunity as danger if youre prepared for it. So I like to look on the bright side. And Im not urging anyone to become a hermit in Idaho Im simply urging fiscal caution of the sort that is always a good idea anyway, just more so now.
L: A good balance sheet never goes out of style, eh?
Doug: Exactly. Same goes for individuals as companies and governments too, as will become all too painfully clear to most thinking people soon enough.
L: I think thats enough for this time. Ive got rocks to kick in West Africas greenstone belts this week, and it wont help if you depress the heck out of me.
Doug: Look on the bright side: you and many people you like will be better off than 99% of the worlds population coming out of the crash. Most of the wealth will still be here its just going to change ownership. That could have positive social implications, going forward.
L: That is a thought if the nation-state is the past, and the future belongs to phyles, we sure want to encourage the best phyles possible to form.
Doug: Ill leave you with your happy thought then. All you need is pixie dust, and youre all set.
L: According to you, thats on the way too, come the nanotechnology revolution.
Doug: There, you see, there always is a bright side to look on.
L: Thanks Doug. Well talk next week.
Doug: Next week.