Ron Paul at UVU

By: Mormon Heretic
October 29, 2012

Ron Paul at UVU Oct 18, 2012

In case you thought that Mitt Romney had unanimous support in Utah, you may be surprised to find out that Ron Paul was given rock star treatment at Utah Valley University a few weeks ago.  KSL noted that Ron Paul supporters turn out in droves for speech at UVU.

You may wonder why I attended a Ron Paul rally.  The fact is that presidential candidates usually skip Utah to campaign, because it is a foregone conclusion that Utahns will vote for the Republican candidate.  (The last time Utah voted for a democrat was in 1964 for Lyndon B. Johnson.)  It is true that Romney and Obama have visited Utah, but these visits were strictly fundraising dinners closed to the public.  I wanted to see a presidential candidate in Utah, even if he is not on the ballot, and I wanted to see Ron Paul for myself.  Frankly, I was astonished at the boisterous reception he received.  I didn’t know UVU was a bastion of libertarianism.

Ron Paul runs a different campaign.  His campaign is the “Love Revolution.”  He is really trying to start a revolution, and he’s not dissuaded by the lack of support.  He noted that few Americans supported the revolution, yet threw off British rule anyway.  He feels the same can happen with his campaign of libertarianism.  He even said that liberals support some of his ideas, such as his strong support for civil liberties.

Points of agreement

There are things that Ron Paul talks about that I support, and his support of civil liberties of something that resonates with me.  I do find it ironic that republicans claim to support small government, but have no qualms about supporting big government invasive airport scanners that virtually strip search passengers.  On this point I agree with Ron Paul.  We have given away much of our civil liberties and freedom in the attempt to thwart terrorism.  I am encouraged at reports that some of these scanners are being removed from airports.

Ron Paul wants to repeal the Defense Authorization act.  He hates this whole idea that presidents can assume responsibilities and powers, creating kill lists, that allows for the assassination of citizens.  The act gives president authority to arrest anyone, put them in prison without a trial, and they can be held indefinitely.  He noted that there are arguments that the law has not been used, but Ron Paul is skeptical.  He says that the law starts a little, but the principle allows it to grow when economy gets worse. We should look at other countries.  We won’t be immune.  Our job is important.  It is up to us to understand freedom, and not to succumb to temptations.

Ron Paul questions the war on drugs.  I think this is a fair question.  Is the war on drugs working?  Would it be better to legalize and regulate drugs?  Would legalizing marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs, and regulating them out of a “state liquor store” be a better  option, rather than filling our jails with drug addicts?  Would it be better to collect taxes on pot growers, rather than not?  I think these are questions worth exploring.

Ron approaches it from a different perspective than I do.  I want to look at this issue from an effectiveness point of view.  Are there more effective ways to deal with drug addiction?  I think throwing addicts in jail does not solve the problem, and trains criminals to be better criminals, rather than helping them.  (I suspect Ron Paul agrees with me on this point.)  But Mr. Paul approaches this from a personal responsibility point of view.  He says that some people worry that if you endorse freedom for individual, they might do things you don’t approve of.  Yes that is true, but it is not our responsibility to regulate others unless it hurts them.  Some bad habits hurt people and they should assume the responsibility.  Ron Paul says that they should suffer consequences.

I think Paul’s point of view is a bit simplistic.  Some people may say that doing drugs only hurts themselves.  In some cases, that may be the case.  However, when people do drugs (or alcohol), have sex, get pregnant, that drug or alcohol now affects a soon to be born child that will require intense medical care.  Babies are born with fetal alcohol syndrome, or addicted to drugs.  Now, society needs to decide what to do with this child.  Do we let the child die because the parents were so irresponsible?  Do we try to rescue the child?

If we choose rescue, there is a good chance that the child will suffer learning disabilities.  There is a good chance the child will suffer psychological problems.  There is a good chance the child will need to turn to a life of crime in order to survive.  There is a good chance the child will repeat the bad decisions of the parents.  So, I don’t think that it can be argued that the parents choice to do drugs only affects themselves.  It affects their children, and that affects crime against you and me.  Just what are the consequences that we should impose upon parents who get high and get pregnant?

Ron Paul wants us to get out of Afghanistan.  This does resonate with me, but I don’t know how practical it is.  Ron Paul says that American foreign policy is bad.  We prop up bad governments, and there are litanies of examples we can give.  We supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war.  We supported Osama bin Ladin in Afghanistan’s war with the Soviets in the late 1970s and 1980s.  We supported Egyptian President Mubarak until his people turned against him.  These are just 3 examples anyone can cite to show that American foreign policy often gets to pick from a bunch of bad choices.  Would Paul have supported the Ayatollah instead of Saddam?  Was it wise to allow the Soviets to invade Afghanistan unimpeded?  Now that the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt, is that a better option than Mubarak?  I think it’s easy to criticize, but what exactly would Paul have done differently?

Where Ron Paul loses me is his talk of ending the federal reserve (which brought boisterous chants at UVU “End the Fed!”) and returning to the gold standard.  Ron Paul said that the federal reserve causes inflation (he may be right there), and he assailed Keynesian economics, but honestly, would returning to the gold standard really bring more stability to the economy?  Wikipedia lists the depressions and recessions in U.S. history.  Let’s compare the number of economic depressions (I’ll ignore recessions or the list would be too long) prior to the implementation of the federal reserve when the country was on the gold standard.

  1. Panic of 1797
  2. Depression of 1807-1810
  3. Depression of 1815-21
  4. Recession of 1836-1838 (this led to the Kirtland Banking Crisis)
  5. Panic of 1857
  6. Panic of 1873-1879
  7. Panic of 1893
  8. Panic of 1896
  9. Panic of 1907
  10. Panic of 1910-1911

Creation of the Federal Reserve December 1913

  1. Depression of 1920-21
  2. Great Depression 1929-33

Ok, so which era looks more stable to you:  Gold standard or Federal Reserve Era?  We haven’t had a depression since 1933.  Hmmmm, my money says the federal reserve appears to be more stable.  Really, what makes Ron Paul think that the gold standard is all that and a bag of chips?

Now, I’d love to hear any persuasive arguments.  One of the things that tires me about political posts almost anywhere is that the discussion is dominated by a few people.  Please don’t dominate the discussion (especially W, J, and D).  What are your thoughts about libertarianism and Ron Paul?

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14 Responses to Ron Paul at UVU

  1. Mormon Heretic on October 29, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    There was one other thing that Ron Paul said that bugs me. Many ultra conservatives complain that we don’t follow the constitution, as if there is one one interpretation of the constitution (which is THEIR interpretation.) The constitution is not perfect, and we often laud presidents that disregarded the constitution.

    Abraham Lincoln, one of our most revered presidents, routinely ignored the constitution. I don’t hear Ron Paul complaining about Lincoln. Slavery was constitutional, yet Lincoln issued the anti-constitutional Emancipation Proclamation (an executive order), bypassing Congress completely. Lincoln also is the author of using federal power to force the south into compliance, against the constitution. Lincoln also suspended habeus corpus, and put many citizens in jail without trial. Where is Ron Paul’s outrage for Lincoln’s power grab?

    If we always followed the constitution, women wouldn’t vote, blacks would still be slaves, and perhaps the Confederate States of America would have Ron Paul as president, with Jefferson B. Davis as their founding father.

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  2. Jon on October 29, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    I don’t follow Ron Paul that much. So, I won’t exactly be his greatest defender since I don’t know all his views, neither have a read his books. But, I’ll try and add something intelligent to the conversation.

    The “Love Revolution” actually started with Ernest Hancock with Freedoms Phoenix here in AZ. It is worth to point out that Ernest is a voluntaryist (ordered anarchist) and only helped with the campaign to spread the ideas of freedom but he actually doesn’t even vote.

    The idea of the “Love Revolution” is a revolution of the mind vs a revolution of guns. As I understand it. I hope there would be no revolution of guns, especially since I don’t own any, nor am I really interested in owning any at this time.

    I doubt RP would not want us to help those addicted to drugs and the children of drug parents. We must also remember that drug addiction is a symptom of other problems, typically it is a symptom of child abuse as a child and is a coping mechanism. If we want to end drug abuse we would need to start with the family first. I would think RP would agree with that, I just doesn’t think he would agree with using the force of government to do it. But I’m not him, so I can’t really know for sure, this is just more of a libertarian point of view.

    I would think the main thing that would show this point of view was when RP helped the interracial marriage couple deliver their baby (which I believe was stillborn) back when it was not the thing to do (70s??? in Texas). So he does have character and does care about others.

    As for RP and the constitution. From what I understand he uses the constitution as a reference point for the ideas of freedom and liberty because it is the language of the people that desire freedom. I think he is actually for more freedom and liberty than the constitution allows for.

    This is illustrated in this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoUrrlbDoVs

    Foreign policy. I can’t really speak for it but I would think he would stay out of “foreign entanglements.”

    Money. I believe he is really for competing currencies, the gold standard is just a way to get their:

    Ron Paul said his goal wasn’t to end the Fed, but to create competing currencies. Basically he wants to end the Fed’s monopoly.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/free-markets-vs-govt-intervention-ron-paul-and-paul-krugman-faceoff-in-bloomberg-debate/

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  3. Jon on October 29, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    As for the depression pre fed. I think it is more nuanced than that. I’m no historian so this would need to be studied out from both view points. But just a glimpse at the other POV:

    [Tom Woods] mentioned that American banking laws/regulations which prevented consolidation contributed significantly to bank failures in the pre-central banking era. In Canada and other countries, there were virtually no bankruptcies because banks had more flexibility.

    In addition, some of those 19th century statistics are total bunk. The 19th century had much better growth than the 20th century. Many of the years which people claim are recessions are really boom periods where there is deflation because more goods are being produced. In modern times, deflation is an effect of a recession, and sometimes observers forget that back then, deflation could also be a sign of prosperity.

    He also recommended George Selgin upcoming paper “The Fed’s Dismal Record” and the corresponding Mises talk: http://mises.org/media/4639. Also check out Woods’ talk, Monetary Lessons from America’s Past: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91OIBnrjzLU

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  4. Jon on October 29, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    The previous quote was found from:

    http://mises.org/community/forums/t/16302.aspx

    Really, that would take some study to understand vs a simplistic view. We also need to remember that there were, at times, federal banks, federal interventions (like the one mentioned above among others) that helped if not caused the problems we saw in the past and continue to see now. In short, it is the disruption of the free market caused by the initiation of force typically by government that is likely the cause of these instabilities in the market place.

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  5. Will on October 29, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    MH,

    Great Post.

    I would argue we are in a depression now; we are just not being honest with this reality.

    I love Ron Paul. I wish he weren’t so awkward in some of his mannerisms and communications so the general populace would take him seriously. This is a sad commentary on our society, but is an unfortunate reality.

    You are confusing two very critical issues – business cycles and inflation. Since God taught the concept of business cycles to Joseph of Egypt they have been a part of life. Just like floods, plagues or weather patterns –- we have 20 year floods (cycles), 100 year floods and 500 year floods. They are just part of God’s plan in this telestial sphere. The counsel given to Joseph then is the same today and that is to prepare for this cycle. In times on plenty prepare for times of despair. Business cycles will exist in spite of monetary policy. You cannot stop them, you can only prepare for them.

    Tying currency to value (gold, oil or spices as some of the early economies did) is just a hedge against inflation. We have avoided inflation by borrowing money. This will eventually catch up with us when we have maximized our borrowing capacity or credit limit. Spending will still out-pace production (as we are too gutless to cut spending) and depending on how much, we will either experience inflation or hyper-inflation. This is when things will get crazy, really crazy. As Brigham Young said, it will take a wheel barrow of money to buy a loaf of bread.

    This is why Ron Paul is right to caution against the quantitative easing (QE3) that is going on and the deleterious impact it will have, mostly on the poor and middle class. Buy GOLD, LOT’S AND LOT’S OF GOLD. Every check buy some.

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  6. Mormon Heretic on October 29, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Will,

    I’m glad you mentioned Quantitative Easing, which brings up the end of the year fiscal cliff. Business leaders have been warning that the end of the year tax increase and spending cuts will push the economy into recession. Paul welcomes the cuts. He didn’t seem at all concerned about the impending recession.

    I’m a bit torn on this issue, but I think Paul is right. We need to do something about the deficit. I have been saying for a long time that we need tax increases and spending cuts to get the federal deficit under control. I’m not excited about the recession, but I think this is where we need to take our medicine. It’s not going to be pretty.

    Paul also said that Washington is in denial. The country is bankrupt. We are $16 trillion in debt, but have $222 trillion in obligations in entitlements. He says there are not enough jobs to pay for this. We can’t work hard enough. If the government though thought it was ½ as bad as Ron thinks, they would cut spending.

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  7. Jon on October 29, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    If the government though thought it was ½ as bad as Ron thinks, they would cut spending.

    I don’t know if that is necessarily true. I think because it is a systemic problem of all governments and organizations for that matter. Organizations tend towards getting bigger and more bureaucratic. The only thing that stops this is running out of money. Running out of money is typically caused by competition (more efficient) or by donors running out or refusing to give more money (I’m sure there are other things too).

    Canada is a good example of this. They had their rating downgraded, so getting more money for big government wasn’t an option any more. They cut government by a large amount in a very short period of time. And, actually have more economic freedom than the US now (per The Economic Freedom Index done by the Heritage Foundation).

    The US is in a special place. Much of the world uses the US’s money for transactions and as a hedge against other currencies devaluations (Argentinians used to do this until it was recently banned by their tyrannical current government).

    So, in short, it is unlikely to happen until they are forced into it. Which is unfortunate since it is easier to take care of these problems when they are smaller rather than larger.

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  8. Douglas on October 30, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    Ron Paul would have great popularity at a place like UVU, being both young and conservative. He is not perfect (and for all his smarts why did he never take voice lessons?) but who is? I’d feel fortunate to have done a third of what that man has done, and likely I’d draw criticsm too.
    He is dead right to end the Fed. It was a solution looking for a problem. For all the discussions of volatily prior to the Fed, it seems that recessions, depressions, and panics ended rather quickly as the business excesses sorted themselves out. if anything, most of the more notorious “panics” were caused by banking interests attempting to further their interests via politics rather than the marketplace. The end of the “Bank of the United States” (much like the Fed we have now was a factor in the panic of 1837.
    Quoting the sad example of a child born to a drug addict mother, who suffers agony in its innocence, is a pathetic attempt to rationalize the state’s ability to play super Nanny. You might as well argue a reinstatement of the Volstead Act so we can prevent fetal alcohol syndrome! Always the mantra of the “Big Gubmint” scoundrels: “For the Children”,. There are all too many ways that so-called adults act foolish and irresponsible, but at some point well-intentioned efforts to ensure a desireable outcome end up in totalitarianism.

    Rand Paul in 2016 (and Buster Posey in 2024!)

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  9. Julia on October 30, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    I don’t have a ton to add to your observations. My husband’s family were Texas Republicans, and have a lot of connections to the Bush’s and Paul’s and he always say Ron Paul is the one he would trust to watch his children, his health or his bank account. I certainly hear a lot of honesty in his public speeches, especially on foreign policy.

    I think that his personality and intellect are both his best traits, and those that make it hard for him to win a general election. He doesn’t play games with things be believes, and he is often the smartest person in the room. It makes him a great person to “speak truth to power,” but not necessarily someone destined to hold that power. Most of the things he is very open about as a senator would be almost impossible to say as the president.

    A quick comment on the recession/depression question. I think that the FDIC is an important element in the conversation. Having savings be federally insured gives greater stability to middle income families with modest savings. They can count on that money being safe, even if their particular bank fails. Now people love whatever money they choose to speculate in the stock market, which turns it into capital instead of savings. The misunderstanding of the difference is what often leads people to put all their retirement money, as capital, in the market, without keeping sufficient savings in bonds or other secured or insured savings options.

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  10. Will on October 30, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    “They can count on that money being safe, even if their particular bank fails”

    I think this thought process is common, but absolutely wrong. WHEN, not if, but WHEN we hit this fiscal cliff in the very near future that will no longer be true. The reality is some of the banks are more financially stable than the Government.

    This, in part, is the Ron Paul message.

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  11. Julia on October 30, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Will,

    I happen to agree with you that there will be a collapse of the banking system at some point. I wouldn’t have been shocked if it had happened with the last recession.

    The last paragraph of my comment was about why there haven’t been as many depression/recession events since the FDIC was instituted. I don’t believe going back to a gold standard is going to change the foundational problems with the world economy, in the long run. It may not hold true in the future, which would mean a recession or depression would be impeded. What it does a good job of addressing is the panics. If you take out the pre-FED panics, it is 3:2 instead of 10:2

    I certainly don’t think FDIC fixes those foundational breaks in the capitalist world market system, but it does make it so the run on the banks from the 1800s, which devastated areas when banks closed and all of the deposits were lost. It simply has helped keep pre-1911 panics, which came largely from banks failing as a result of other banks failing, etc.

    Sorry I didn’t make that clear in my original comment. I am trying to reign in the length of my comments.

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  12. kj on November 3, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Morman Heritic – Ron Paul is consistent, he doesn’t complain about personalities, including Lincoln, but about actions. And he absolutely thinks the Constitution was violated at that time, he also thinks the war was unnecessary, that every other country managed to get rid of slavery without killing over 600,000 of their people. I take it you haven’t looked into him deeply.

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  13. MH on November 3, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    So, are you saying that if Ron Paul had his way, he would be president of the Confederate States of America with Jefferson B Davis as the founding father?

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  14. Ben Arkell on November 9, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    I think you need to study up on the federal reserve more and what the founders say about who should control the money supply. Follow the money trail and you will find the genesis of most of our society’s ills.

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