|14A024 Paul's Plan by Jim Davies, 7/9/2014
On June 23rd the Daily Bell published an interview with Ron Paul, today the best known advocate of radically smaller government, and it's well worth reading. At one point in the transcript comes this:
Daily Bell: What do you suggest individuals be doing now toward rebuilding now what we want to exist after the [State] collapse? As opposed to fighting what we’ve got now, should we be building toward what we want next?
Ron Paul: I think the most important thing is education, spreading the message, which is where we’re having success, and getting people to understand free-market economics...
And hopefully, these ideas will spread. Nobody should be discouraged because you don’t have to make sure 51 percent of the people understand exactly what’s going on; you have to have that 7 or 8 or 9 percent of people who are intellectual leaders who reach other people and explain to the majority why you must go along with liberty versus authoritarianism because we now live in an age of authoritarianism, which has proven to be a failure through the many, many centuries of all the history we’ve recorded.
Perhaps Dr Paul has written more extensively elsewhere about his strategic plan for liberty, but this is the first summary I've seen and I'll take it at face value.
That value isn't much. It's not zero either, of course; he rightly favors "education", and the more people who "understand free-market economics" the better, for that's likely to lead to a government that interferes less with free enterprise and so makes life richer and more agreeable; but that on its own won't bring about a zero government society (ZGS.) In fact that's my first concern about Ron Paul's answer to the question about "building... what we want next": he fails to say what is his objective! - what he does "want next." Clearly he wants something more free; but is it a ZGS? Since he does not say so, the safe assumption is that he does not. He would stop short of that, retaining some degree of government. Hence, elsewhere in the interview, he speaks of "sav[ing] the Republic." I don't want to save the Republic, I want to scrap it. So should he.
Obviously, if you're not aiming for the right objective, your plan for reaching it is unlikely to make much sense; but let's charitably assume for now that Paul would, in fact, like to do away with government altogether. What, then, of this plan for achieving it?
Notice, it's top-down. What's necessary, he says, is that "7 or 8 or 9 percent of people who are intellectual leaders" will "explain... why you must go along with liberty versus authoritarianism..." Excuse me? you "must go along..."? So there is to be a Führer class which will tell everyone else why they must abandon authoritarianism? Dr Paul, pardon - but your contradictions are showing!
Yet that is exactly what must be prescribed, if the strat-plan for liberty is top-down, led by a re-educated set of "intellectual leaders." Everyone else is a mere pawn, lined up to obey what those wise leaders tell them to do. And this abandons authoritarianism? Ridiculous.
Not only is the Paul Plan a non-starter (assuming, again, that his objective is a ZGS) but there is no sign at all that he even understands the prerequisite for achieving one, as laid out five centuries ago by Etienne de la Boëtie: to withdraw support. Government these days can manage without most kinds of support, but is helpless in the face of the loss of one kind: labor. Government will survive for as long as anyone will work for it, but not a day longer.
That being so, the only possible strat-plan than can produce a ZGS is a bottom-up one, in which everyone in society, being re-educated to the point of understanding the repugnance of government in its very nature, declines to work for it. Yet nothing in what Dr Paul says to the Daily Bell suggests he has grasped that simple, essential fact.
Or if he has, his silence must be construed to mean that he doesn't want a ZGS, that such a thing is not his objective at all anyway, that he wants something less, some residual government; or at the very least, an élite upper class of "intellectual leaders." That would be a vast improvement over what prevails now, but why aim so low?
There's more: Ron Paul said 7% to 9% would do, that a 51% majority wasn't needed. So let's imagine someone comes up with a strat-plan for freedom that does require persuading 51% of the population to desire it, presumably outvoting the rest. The political Libertarian Party has never to my knowledge spelled out its strat-plan, but since it is in the political arena it's fair to assume that the LP would be a case in point.
So in that case, the enlightened leadership is a 51% majority, imposing its will on a defeated minority, to "abandon authoritarianism." The numbers differ from the Paul Plan, but the principle does not: once again, there is the absurd, contradictory idea that freedom can be imposed by force, top-down. Wrong: that's not freedom, but domination.