Ron Paul Brings Sanity to Politics

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I sat through a sometimes boring and very often disappointing GOP convention last Saturday in Clark County, Nevada.

I heard numerous delegates proclaim that the income tax was necessary and that it was just "really weird" to want to get rid of it.

I heard lots of jeering and booing during discussions on social issues. It descended into uncivil personal attacks and got ugly.

I heard many platitude-filled, inconsistent speeches. During one speech, many delegates lukewarmly cheered a Republican elected official when he contradictorily proclaimed "I am a low tax, reasonable regulation, free market capitalist." Somehow I accurately predicted that the next sentence out of his mouth would not be "Free markets regulate themselves – now that's reasonable regulation."

I didn't really like most of what happened at that county convention.

However, there were fantastic shining moments too – like watching Ron Paul supporters 1. showing up so well organized that they wrestled control of the county party from the insiders, 2. playing fun parliamentary tricks with Roberts Rules of Order, and 3. cutting their teeth for the future contests ahead. The meeting was boot camp for the next generation of the state's liberty activists.

But one moment stood out above all. In Reagan's big tent Republican Party there was one issue that was unanimously supported. I really do mean unanimously. Not a single hand was raised to vote in opposition, not a jeer rang out through the quiet ballroom, not a hiss, nothing. And believe me when I say that these people really knew how to voice their displeasure. Nothing but utter unanimity on a particular issue, and it's all thanks to the obstetrician representing the 14th Congressional District of Texas.

Anyone who's been to such a convention and then watched the succeeding elections take place knows that few politicians care about party platforms, but platforms are nonetheless contentiously battled over. Those battles are a sign of what's on the minds of activists in a party.

A sentence calling "for a full and public audit of the Federal Reserve Bank" passed through the platform committee. Some 2,000 people were in the room as the lunch break ended making them eligible to vote. I always thought a random collection of 2,000 people couldn't unanimously agree on anything. All other issue spoken of up until that point in the day certainly showed how unlikely it was that 2,000 people would agree. Calling for a full and public audit of the Fed, they could agree on.

Four years ago saying "audit the Fed" relegated you to the corner of the Republican tent next to Truthers and just a step below Birthers. You were just lumped into the group of people marginalized for a desire to have grievances redressed. "Go along to get along" was de rigueur and demanding that grievances be redressed, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment, was considered unpatriotic and strange. No more. Redressal of grievances seems to be coming back into vogue.

Ron Paul has started a return to sanity – that all aspects of governmental or quasi-governmental units should be audited and not allowed to run unfettered. Reining in the Fed has long been a key plank in Ron Paul's personal platform. The step after transparent auditing is talking about how and what to cut. Audit the Fed is a start, a no-brainer, and I wonder if anyone other than me noticed what happened – Ron Paul's key plank passed, and not a single objection could be heard.

The Fed is more significant than we realize. The Fed must be understood. The Fed is not to be trusted. In fact, the Fed, it's control over the money supply and interest rates, in a system of fractional reserve banking are to blame for the booms and busts of the business cycle. Those sentences logically follow one another as a person investigates the central bank. Three of those four, once considered strange to speak about in polite company have become acceptable.

They've perhaps even become "common sense," so common sense that you'd now appear like an idiot to the masses to publicly stand against an audit of the Fed. America is changing. I was lucky enough to be there to see one example of that change occurring, such an important example. We've come a long way from freshman congressman Ron Paul being called before a Senate committee for daring to be the lone vote against the funding of the IMF.

The groupthink of statism as "common sense" and its seemingly unconquerable march forward has shifted. Two hundred years from now there will be many bodies of writing looking at when that shift occurred and mine might be among the primary sources referenced – arguing that that shift occurred in Las Vegas at the Orleans on March 10, 2012.

No more fitting scene could be found for such a moment – in this far off outpost of the Austrian school – the Las Vegas desert that Murray Rothbard called home when the East Coast academicians would not have him.

We are baby steps away from hearing popular criticism of the Fed with its control of the money supply and interest rates in a fractional reserve system of banking – the foundational stones of Austrian Business Cycle Theory's explanation of booms and busts.

We are baby steps away from hearing that debate had among credible participants on a level playing field. That debate would include an Austrian view and some flavor of Keynsian view. Both sides expected to prove themselves, both given a fair shot at explaining their views of how the world works and the role of the Federal Reserve Bank in that process. We are baby steps away from that debate.

We are baby steps away from the masses looking to the remnant for a different explanation of the cause and correction of the booms and busts than that offered by the current prevailing orthodoxy.

Ludwig von Mises, welcome to the mainstream of American politics.

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