Ron Paul Hysteria
So, I’m noticing a ton of attacks on Ron Paul from progressives. The reason is simple enough, Ron Paul is great on some key things the left cares about, and horrible on others. His last ad in Iowa says he’d ban abortion, for example. On the other hand, he wants to withdraw all troops from foreign wars and bring back the troops from America’s far flung military bases. And he’s the only candidate to unequivocally state that he would never order the assassination of Americans.
Paul’s economic policies are straight up insane, and would throw the world into a full catastrophic Great Depression, even worse than the one we’re in now and worse than the one in the 30s.
But the problem is that current policies by more “mainstream” candidates just get to the same place more slowly. And maybe not even that much more slowly. Numerian thinks this could be the year of the big crash, for example, one where even the first world has food shortages and so on.
We’re going to get there. There is a consensus for austerity amongst the transnational developed world elites which is breathtaking in its unanimity, imperviousness to argument and lack of regard for democratic niceties. There is no consensus on how to deal with the oil bottleneck, no plan for actually dealing with the leveraged debt overhang, no understanding of how to create real growth, as opposed to bubbles. If they do manage to hang on, what will happen is a huge non-conventional oil boom (read Fracking) and that will devastate ground water and turn large areas into wastelands. Nor will it last all that long or feel all that good (it’ll be better than now, but probably not even as good as the best Bush years.)
After that I see no scenario in which things don’t crack up, completely.
So Ron Paul will cause a crack up, possibly a little bit ahead of schedule. That sucks for old people who might have died before the world went to hell, but for young people, you might as well get it done.
But Ron Paul also might do some real damage to the military industrial complex. There is no route forward for the US which does not require taking that misallocated effort, and using it for other things. So this is necessary.
Also the movement of manufacturing and other expertise overseas means that the US labor force is a wasting asset. The longer the decline goes on the fewer people there will be with the skills to bootstrap back up, the less of an industrial base other than defense there will be, and so on. Infrastructure will be more degraded, not less, and so on. So from that point of view, cracking up sooner, rather than later, is preferable because it leaves a clearer path to the future.
But let’s move back to the title. The reason Ron Paul causes hysterics is he pits interest group against interest group, morality vs. morality. He’s a different kind of lesser evil. If Afghans got to vote in the US election, who would they vote for? How important is Habeas Corpus to you really? What about pot legalization? Etc… Ron Paul is awful on some issues, and very good on others. Are abortion rights more important than dead Afghans and Pakistanis at weddings? (I don’t claim they are, or aren’t, I simply note Paul forces you to make that choice.) And Paul would end all bank bailouts. Hate the banksters? Think they’re the key problem? Paul’s your man.
Obama is objectively awful. Paul is objectively awful. But unlike Romney, Paul is objectively awful in different ways than Obama. Romney would just be Obama, but slightly worse. If you’re going to choose a lesser evil, you might as well choose Obama. But when it comes to Paul vs. Obama the equation changes.
And that’s why many progressives are attacking any other progressive who says anything good about Paul, because Paul threatens to split the left, and because Paul makes progressives decide what they value most.