What Paul’s America Would Look Like: Turn the Clock Back Two Centuries


ron-paulBy Nicholas Wapshott

With Ron Paul now running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney in the latest Iowa polls, exactly where the “father of the tea party” and his libertarian policies could lead the United States becomes a question of considerable importance.

For the disenchanted dissenters, who make up much of the tea party, and their anarcho-capitalists friends who want to dismantle almost the whole government, Paul is more than a crabby guy who chides opponents for being compromising wimps. He’s the real deal: A former Libertarian Party presidential candidate who draws his politics from the texts of the counter-Keynesian Friedrich Hayek; the Austrian scourge of creeping socialism Ludwig von Mises, and the libertarian supervixen Ayn Rand.

Paul’s policies would mean turning the clock back two centuries, to a time when the United States was a trading nation but otherwise blithely cut off from the world. It would mean an unregulated free market economy that Charles Dickens would have recognized, where big businesses would rule the roost. Most public services – including city governments – would be run by private companies, and representative democracy – the U.S. system that libertarians deride as “the tyranny of the majority” – would be cut to a bare minimum.

Paul is for: firing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and abolishing the entire Fed; withdrawing U.S. troops not only from Afghanistan, but also Germany, South Korea and Japan; ending of the new health care regulations and the winding down Medicare; halting all U.S. subsidies from Arab states as well as Israel, and closing all but three federal government departments – unlike Texas Gov. Rick Perry, he has no trouble remembering which. Paul also advocates enhanced states’ rights, outlawing abortion and the legalization of recreational drugs.

Instead of the Fed, which Paul blames for inflation, he would relax laws restricting ownership of gold, silver and other precious metals. The result would likely be a run on the dollar – as investors and exporting businesses sought refuge in hard currencies or gold.

Without the Fed pumping money into the economy, inflation would be kept in check, but banks would be allowed to fail. Americans would be subjected to a regime of material austerity they have not endured since the early days of the Republic. With the world’s largest economy on short rations, it would risk tipping the rest of the globe into a second Great Depression.

Would this be catastrophic for the U.S. economy? Paul will, no doubt, explain why not.

Bringing our boys back from Afghanistan would be popular. But Paul wouldn’t stop there. He blames 9/11 on U.S. interference in the Middle East and would lead a wholesale military retreat from the rest of the world. Would that encourage failed states to arm terrorists? What would happen to our brave service personnel after they are demobbed? Paul should tell us.

He also wants to draw down U.S. foreign aid. “Why do we have this automatic commitment,” Paul asks, “that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel?” Will his policy make it more or less likely that Hezbollah will invade Israel or Iran nuke Tel Aviv? And with these policies, how does he expect to win in New York and Florida? We await his explanation.

Medicare and the new health care reforms? Gone. Paul insists 80 percent of the federal government, including education, is unconstitutional? As Groucho Marx sang in “Duck Soup,” “No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it.”

Will retired people need to find jobs to pay medical bills? Will we become a nation of home-schoolers? And will this retreat from teaching make America a prosperous, fully employed nation? He must spell it out.

Paul is an ob/gyn doctor, and boasts about bringing 4,000 babies into the world. He believes life begins with conception and wants to outlaw abortion, perhaps state by state. Does he look forward to an America where women who choose to terminate a pregnancy have to fly from city to city to stay within the law? Does he relish the thought of backstreet abortionists springing up, practicing rough-and-ready methods? Women will want to hear what he has to say.

And what about legalizing marijuana? That could prove popular. But the doc doesn’t stop there. “Government should not compel or prohibit any personal activity when that activity poses danger to that individual alone.” Does that mean he would allow over-the-counter sales of cocaine and heroin?

Paul is a serious man, who has obviously thought long and hard about such questions, so we await his answers with keen interest. In the meantime, I’m off to take all my dollars out of the bank to buy gold.

Nicholas Wapshott is the author of “Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics.”

{Politico/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Frederich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises are part of the curriculum in every classical economics class; yet they are portrayed here as some way out anarchists to be feared… Why not add Adam Smith to your list Politico/Matzav (probably because his name is too famous to pull off such lies)

    Oh… And Ayn Rand famously fought the American Libertarian party because they were Anarchists. Ayn Rand supported and promoted a philosophy of rational self

    interest which is upheld in a rigid structure not anarchy. The author (who has obviously never read any of these authors) is trying to promote fear using very “scary names.”

    I should clarify that I don’t support Ron Paul not because of these names the author had tried to associate him with, but despite them. There have been literature that haa been found that shows that he its anti semitic (ironic since Ayn Rand was Jewish)

  2. If Ron Paul is the president, you might really have good reason to buy guns I think. Unless you trust in Hashem and are willing to under go a live of crime in your own home and less than positive expectations in the streets. But of course, I could be biased, He only said he would not have stopped Hitler.

  3. Wow #1,

    Ayn Rand was a notorious outspoken hedonist atheist whose values were contrary to the Torah in every way. Even worse, she actively campaigned against the influence of religion in a way that the most secular Israeli Leftist never has, insisting that its mandates for compassion were incompatible with her ideal of a self-centered society.

    There is an interview of Ayn Rand by Mike Wallace done in the 1950s that can be found on YouTube. Listening to her is chilling; she is as certain of her evil ideas as any Communist of the time or of any Arab terrorist today.

    Also worth noting is that Adam Smith had no problem with regulating the financial sector, and that Frederich Hayek had no problem with the existence of social programs. For example, Hayek wrote:

    ” There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision.”

    *The Road to Serfdom*, page 148.

    It is also worth noting that 200 years ago, governments in America were about to embark on a massive program of canal, turnpike, and railroad construction. (Construction on both the National Road started in 1811, and on the Erie Canal 1817.) And the Founding Fathers had seen the need for a Central Bank, setting up the First Bank of the United States in 1791 and the Second Bank of the United States in 1816.

    Finally, even in colonial times poor laws in most if not all colonies made sure that nobody would be bereft of support. This welfare program was actually inspired by the Torah.

    The idea that America was once a laissez-faire state is not consistent with America’s actual history.

  4. 4 years ago, Obama was deemed unelectable, if not for McCain being a unattractive choice, due to his age & lack of an articulate platform.
    Do we need a repeat of this, with Obama facing off with an even older, unattractive GOP candidate?
    I sure hope the GOP doesn’t lose their marbles
    (and the election as a consequence).

  5. The author is a Keynesian Socialist. For those of you who are unclear regarding the definition of a socialist, look it up in Websters Dictionary. In a few short paragraphs he has trashed the economic system that prior to Roosevelts socialist “New Deal”, produced more wealth and provided more freedom, economic and other wise, than the rest of Western civilaztion combined.If you prefer your economics based on the Keynesian model, look to those countries that employed it and then compare their standard of living to that of the more Adam Smith/John Locke based economies. Bottom line, Ron Paul has numerous issuse that should make anyone and particulary Jews, leary of voting for him, but spare us the Socialist sales job.

  6. Wow number 4 nothing you said contradicted anyt
    hing I said… It just sort of paraphrased and reengendered it to make it sound scary or bad. I never said anything about Hayek’s position on social programs or Rand’s position on religion. I merely said thaT the author very obliviously never read anything written by the authors. It could even be argued that you further made my point about this article by stressing Hayek’s not so scary positions on social programs. Next time read what I wrote closer.

  7. Wow,

    I wasn’t really arguing with you, I was arguing with Ron Paul!

    And you are indeed correct regarding Hayek’s positions. He would not be a Democrat today, but he would not be a Tea Partier, either.

  8. This is probably simplification but a lot of the people who are into Ayn Rand (think someone like Dennis Miller) are into Ayn Rand lite, and eschew the serious Marxism/socialism/not niceness that were hallmarks of Rand’s life and philosophy.

    Still not my cuppa (and I’m not saying my cuppa is necessarily full of Tea, it’s not).