All Politics Is Contingent (Or Why I Have a Ron Paul Banner on my Blog)

I normally avoid political discussions. But, after reading Terry Chay’s post on Ron Paul, I felt compelled to post something. I sympathise with Terry’s frustration with doctrinaire libertarians. Like unreconstructed Marxists, their insistence on finding the solution to all problems in a single principle is a relic of the nineteenth century: a time when the idea of a scientific explanation of society was new enough to excuse this reductionism. Like Marxism, Libertarianism is an excusable enthusiasm in the young, but at some point we all have to grow up. As Terry points out, we have had over one hundred years of development in economics since the nineteenth century, and libertarianism ignores all of them.

In the past, I have compared Ron Paul to Cato the Younger, and I still believe the comparison apt. Like Cato, Paul has never compromised, even when it would have cost him little. It was Cicero’s judgment that Cato’s unwavering commitment to principle did as much, if not more, to destroy the Roman Republic as it contributed to the effort to save it. Similarly, Paul’s intransigence has harmed his cause even as it has led to an unprecedented (for Libertarianism) success. I have no doubt that, should Paul, by some miracle, be elected, he would be an ineffective president. Yet, despite this, as you have probably already noticed, I have a Ron Paul banner in the right-hand column of my blog.

The reason that banner is there is that I believe all politics is contingent: when the house is burning down you don’t advocate pouring on more gasoline. The United States is on a path to bankruptcy, the dollar is debased, and continued foreign interventionism is supported by every major candidate. Paul is the only candidate whose positions would do anything to address these problems. So, in the rather vain hope that he might possibly influence the future path of the country, he has my support.


  1. terry chay Said,

    January 18, 2008 @ 6:36 am

    Umm by returning us to the gold standard? 😉

    There is a “debate” going on in my original entry, but I think I have to quit now. I draw the line when someone labels me a Keynsian. 😀

  2. JFP Said,

    January 18, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

    Gold standard is preferable to hyper-inflation, and that’s the way we are heading.

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