dagNotes: …for your next Contra Ron Paul tumblr experience
Anonymous asked you:
Give me the best argument against Ron Paul. (I absolutely loathe him I just can’t seem to organize my thoughts to dish out a decent argument)
I’ve written a lot about this since last summer. For my long-time readers, this will be a bit of a review. For newbies, these are my core claims that you can use when talking about Ron Paul. I’ve written a lot more about crass libertarianism, but this would be the stuff that applies most directly to Paul’s beliefs.
1. Ron Paul, Ideologist
Ron Paul likes to use what he called at a recent debate a “bushel of common sense”. He often talks about freedom in folksy rhetoric. Paul argues “Who needs the government babysitting them?” After all, life in the free market is about risk and individuals should be able to look out for themselves. Paul panders to Americans’ obsession with privacy and paranoia about surveillance.
If freedom is “taking your own risks,” then freedom for Paul has nothing to do with the libertarian sacred cow, Liberty. Instead, freedom is nothing more than being free from others. Liberty becomes a rhetorical object embodying this being with(out) others.
Not only is Ron Paul a capitalist ideologist. He’s an aristocrat with a compulsion to cultivate the traditional white power structure. His folksy common-sense rhetoric is cover for his ideology and the tradition within which it cultivates its ground.
I write “ideologist” in combination with the tag “libertarianism is stupid” for many reasons, but each reason rests with(in) the most stupid thing libertarians like Ron Paul discuss: regulation. (I believe this is why he is nothing more than a common Republican.)
If what I’ve illustrated in many posts about Paul, anarcho-capitalism, and American libertarianism is true, that for capitalist libertarians Liberty is the ability to be more or less free from others, then this social and political movement, from capitalist anarchists to fascist objectivists, is about nothing less than insuring the only regulations are the ideological apparatuses that aggressively compose citizens as free individuals who must be free from others. The libertarian ethos is focused on regulating society to compose citizens as free individuals who should be free from others. Capitalist libertarians believe that citizens in the free market are status-seeking individuals whose social action is being-free-from-others. Therefore, people are more or less free from others dependent upon their status. Inequality is built into capitalist libertarianism as a necessity. Inequality is the sine qua non status-seeking could not exist.
In nature, an individual is never being free-from-others. In markets, a consumer is never consuming free from others. In society, a citizen is never living free from others. This free from others is an ideological construction. In other words, it is imaginary. As such, the capitalist libertarian representation of life is a highly regulated representation of reality that relies on ancient and aristocratic notions of the city and citizens. (Want a little homework, read Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics.) It’s the old order of wealthy and privileged elites who wish to define the best we can be via a highly idealized vision of past orders.
I believe libertarianism is willfully ignores the core of its own complex ideological structure calls out for a very narrow construction of what is intended to be seen as a free and public discourse community regulated to reflect an ideal version of nature, market and society that has never existed. It’s not that they believe their own representations of reality as the only reality that’s problematic. That’s just common fundamentalism we cope with in free societies and often marginalize as anti-intellectualism. It’s that libertarians wish to force everyone else to live according to their rules. So much for liberty and freedom, right?
Anyone who denies social and shared goods exist separate and distinct from economic goods, as capitalist libertarians do, is a very dangerous kind of fundamentalist. Libertarians are tricky because they use the anti-intellectual knee-jerk response to the words “liberty” and “freedom” to offer cover for their elitism. They’ll argue, we live in a capitalist market economy that’s ideally free. But what “free” means in the capitalist free market is free to exchange goods and services. As we all know, the money economy rather unjustly limits freedom in all communities to those individuals who have more money than others. Even Adam Smith had to handle this ethical problem of unjust social standing he referred to as unearned ambition. Libertarians deny unearned ambition.
Capitalist libertarians have no ability to cope with the unjust money economy. They hold equality in contempt. In addition, they conflate the money economy with nature via a constructed term FA Hayek called the spontaneous social order. He wanted to not use economics. He wanted to write about the catallaxy and catallactics. He claimed it was to resist common sense associations of economics with the pragmatics of household economics. Once you’ve read Hayek enough, you learn that he’s actually attempting to create a new way of looking at nature and society that justifies a market based on unjust exploitation of labor and unjust distribution of the majority of wealth to the Capitalist class. The catallaxy demands inequality is natural and just. Catallactics became a system that viewed all individuals as either business owners or consumers.
Why do I hate Ron Paul? He refuses to talk about these things. And his fellow libertarians can’t talk about these things. None of them are willing to discuss the merits of their foundational texts. Ron Paul wants you to read his shitty propaganda that is nothing more than watered-down Hayek and Von Mises.
2. Liberty is a crass libertarian-ism Ron Paul can’t resist uncritically using every time he opens his mouth.
Liberty, for crass libertarians, is a rhetorical tool. It’s a static object.
Liberty reflects what any individual observing it sees as any thing, process, and/or state of being that makes one feel free of obligation, duty and responsibility—these three often being most responsible for citizens’ anxiety and dread in public.
Liberty is a rhetorical tool designed to make one think about freedom while being educated about how to behave in a capitalist market.
Liberty looks like it has roots in a historical tradition of republicanism and democracy and sounds in tune with capitalism. They appear to go hand in hand.
Liberty is, however, a shape-shifting placeholder for one’s desire to be free from others while laboring with them. It justifies one’s own slavery while excusing others’. Liberty, therefore can be seen as a Capitalist’s ideal form of Cooperation.
Liberty reminds people of an idea they think they share. But the idea was constructed to look old, treasured, lost and recoverable. Liberty has been designed by capitalist economists and libertarian theorists to appear just out of reach. If you have not the liberty you want, it’s because you haven’t worked hard enough, or because the government is keeping you down.
Liberty is part of the white power tradition in the United States. This is the construction of liberty that Ron Paul implements in his rhetoric. Its contemporary roots are in Hayek’s Construction of Liberty and Ludwig Von Mises’s works about human action. Its part of the western tradition with classical roots dating back to Aristotle, in my opinion.
When listening to a political leader, public official, and/or community organizer using Liberty to organize any effort, think twice before trusting him. (Him is appropriate here. Liberty is part of white masculinity. It’s almost always heterosexist.) They’re working in a tradition of white power, imperialism and capitalist economic theory—theory that justifies unearned poverty, war and slavery of others—that justifies the unearned ambition of the wealthiest members of society. Ron Paul is, no matter what he argues, a statist.
3. Don’t let Ron Paul and his fans ignore this. On Crass Libertarianism Wealth Redistribution:
When you talk to a capitalist about taxes and government spending, inevitably the capitalist will want to begin speaking about wealth. A common conversation is that we, as in our government acting on behalf of citizens, should promote (spend on and invest in) wealth creation not wealth redistribution. Never mind that the claim is unreasonable. Business owners, entrepreneurs, employers do not create wealth. Wealth is a capitalist word that is supposed to be a synonym with value. Wealthy people do not create value. We know how value works, but wealth, you know, is the root in wealthy. So, wealth and the wealthy go together. Right? It’s just common sense. Right? Don’t get pulled into a discussion with such shitty use of common sense and language. Resist this shit. When arguing with Ron Paul fans, insist they define their concepts. They won’t be able to and will have to show their hand: that they don’t give a shit about liberty and equality. They care about the capitalist order.
When you hear wealth, you should always insist the conversation returns to labor and value. That’s the most important thing. Capitalists do not want to talk about value. Capitalists want to argue that wealthy people create demand. We know that spending creates demand, but again, capitalists will not want to talk about spending. Capitalists will not want to talk about money in the hands of the poor is much more stimulative than money in the hands of the rich. Why? Well, for example, capitalist libertarians like to believe that 1$ wealthy people spend is worth more than 1$ poor people spend. It’s that simple. It’s an absurd debate to get into. Always insist the conversation turn to labor and value. Bring the conversation from spending, debt, and wealth back to the basic relationship between the employer and employee.
You’ll discover that libertarians aren’t capable of discussing value and labor because they typically don’t know what they’re talking about. They haven’t done their homework. They’re simply repeating propaganda.