Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Words of Wisdom From Congressman Paul (Unfortunately, They Will Fall Upon Deaf Ears)

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), the only libertarian in congress, once again hits the nail on the head with his assertion that both congress and the American people are dangerously ignorant of economics. Sadly, his prescription for a cure is hopelessly naïve.

I strongly recommend that every American acquire some basic knowledge of economics, monetary policy, and the intersection of politics with the economy. No formal classroom is required; a desire to read and learn will suffice.

Wow, talk about wishful thinking! While Dr. Paul’s heart is, as always, definitely in the right place and while his prescription is simply common sense, surely he must be well aware that the average American, with the attention-span of a pre-adolescent housefly, is not about to take the time to educate himself or herself in anything as practical as economics, at least not unless it is packaged in some form involving copious graphics and small captions that don’t demand much attention or require any strenuous critical thought. Econ 101 music videos or video games, maybe? No, conventional learning that combines the desire to read with self-motivation and initiative is not what will educate the average American in economics.

The ultimate education for John Q. Public, and Congressman Paul hints at this in his article, will be the economic catastrophe that befalls the United States a few years hence when the Asian nations who have become our surrogate fiscal parents decide to stop giving us a national allowance and demand that we pay back the debts we owe. After all, every investor wants a return on their money and the savers of China, Japan, and Korea are certainly no exception. At this point (that is, when the bill comes due in the form of dividends and interest on the national debt) the entire economy will come completely unraveled, giving not only John Q., but his congressional “representatives” as well, a real-world economics lesson with one swipe of the figurative two-by-four (or one kick in the gonads with the figurative steel-toed boot). Will it be painful? You bet, but what lessons of any other kind are everlasting? Think back on your own life and ask yourself: what lessons have been most abiding in my life? Those based on words of wisdom dispensed from people I can’t relate to, or those that were the result of me doing something transparently stupid, resulting in incredible pain and hardship and causing me years of frustration, hard work, and privation to recover from? I have to believe that nearly all of you would choose the second answer.

As Congressman Paul points out, no one can suspend the laws of economics forever, even though the U.S congress has been trying to do just that in earnest for at least the last seventy years. But reality has a very unpleasant way of asserting itself. Our current crop of spendaholics inside the domed asylum on Crapitol Hill may want to consider contracting the services of a medium so that they can reach out to the spirits of the German politicians who during the 1920s kept the presses running day and night to print Deutschmarks unlimited in order to satisfy their country’s national debts. Ask the spirits of these men what happened, and how the fruits of this foolishness obliterated their country’s economy in short order, wreaking economic and political havoc that had dreadful long-term consequences from which the world still has not fully recovered (and to think that the Deutschmark at the time was backed at least partially by gold; imagine the impending consequences for our own national scrip, which is bound to nothing of value!).

No, Congressman Paul, much as it pains me to say it, neither your fellow inmates in the asylum nor the marching Amoricons are going to educate themselves in economics at any time in the foreseeable future, nor will they take steps to prevent the inevitable collapse of their currency. We as a nation are too far gone for that. The best we can probably hope for is that once economic disaster does strike, the masses will wake up, remove the shrink wrap from their brains, discover the horrible swindle they’ve been victims of for the last three-quarters of a century, and start forcing America to return to the fiscal values that built the world’s greatest and freest economy. Because today’s Americans are incredibly stubborn, profoundly ignorant, and are some of the world’s slowest learners, I know that this is a tall order. Still, it’s our only hope.