Guest Column: Tom Woods on Ron Paul

What opponents seem to be saying
by Tom Woods

Tom WoodsTom Woods, historian and author of New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, is a strong spokesman and advocate for liberty,[1] whom I have recently witnessed emerging and leading the Tenth Amendment (state Nullification of unconstitutional laws) charge. He also is a salient intellectual on the frontlines of support for candidate Ron Paul. What will strike you most, however, in the majority of his commentaries—esp. in this piece he wrote back in February 2012—is his rapier wit and humor. Here’s a long excerpt:

I am trying to understand the thinking behind the great many Americans who have decided to vote for a mainstream politician in 2012.

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Now before you read the below and send me an angry email telling me I should be nice, that I should try to persuade them through love, etc., let me note that I have generally done that. My video appeal to Iowa radio host Steve Deace was a friendly, reasoned discussion of Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. My videos about Rick Santorum have been straightforward examinations of the facts. (See my video on Santorum’s view that we need inflation in order to prosper, and my video on why Catholics should instead vote for Ron Paul.)

But once in a while you just can’t take it anymore, and you have to let loose. So, whether they realize it or not, here are 26 things non-Paul supporters appear to be saying:

  1. The American political establishment has done a super job keeping our country prosperous and our liberties protected, so I’m sure whatever candidate they push on me is probably a good one.
  2. Our country is basically bankrupt. Unfunded entitlement liabilities are in excess of twice world GDP. Therefore, it’s a good idea to vote for someone who offers no specific spending cuts of any kind.
  3. Vague promises to cut spending are good enough for me, even though they have always resulted in higher spending in the past.
  4. I prefer a candidate who plays to the crowd, instead of having the courage to tell his audience things they may not want to hear.
  5. I am deeply concerned about spending. Therefore, I would like to vote for someone who supported Medicare Part D, thereby adding $7 trillion to Medicare’s unfunded liabilities.
  6. I am opposed to bailouts. Therefore, I will vote for a candidate who supported TARP.
  7. The federal government is much too involved in education, where it has no constitutional role. Therefore, I will vote for a candidate who supported expanding the Department of Education and favored the No Child Left Behind Act.
  8. Even though practically everyone was caught by surprise in the 2008 financial crisis, which we are still reeling from, it’s a good idea not to vote for the one man in politics who predicted exactly what was bound to unfold, all the way back in 2001.
  9. I am not impressed by a candidate who inspires people, especially young ones, to read the great economists and political philosophers.
  10. I am concerned about taxes. Therefore, I will not vote for the one candidate who has never supported a tax increase.
  11. I believe it is conservative to support bringing the Enlightenment to Afghanistan via military intervention.
  12. Even though I lost half my retirement portfolio when the economy crashed from the sugar high the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates put it on, I would like to vote for someone who is not really interested in the Federal Reserve.
  13. Even though 50 years of the embargo on Cuba did nothing to undermine Fidel Castro, and in fact handed him a perfect excuse for all the failures of socialism, I favor continuing this policy.
  14. If someone has a drug problem, prison rape is the best solution I can think of.
  15. Even though the Constitution had to be amended to allow for alcohol prohibition, and even though I claim to care about the Constitution, I don’t mind that there’s no constitutional authorization for the war on drugs, and I will punish at the polls anyone who favors the constitutional solution of returning the issue to the states.
  16. I believe only a “liberal” would think it was inhumane to keep essential items out of Iraq in the 1990s, even though one of the first people to protest this policy was Pat Buchanan.
  17. The Brookings Institution says Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract with America was an insignificant nibbling around the edges. I favor people who support insignificant nibbling around the edges, as long as they occasionally trick me with a nice speech.
  18. I am deeply concerned about radical Islam, so it was a good idea to depose the secular Saddam Hussein — who was so despised by Islamists that Osama bin Laden himself offered to fight against him in the 1991 Persian Gulf War — and replace him with a Shiite regime friendly with Iran, while also bringing about a new Iraqi constitution that makes Islam the state religion and forbids any law that contradicts its teachings.
  19. Indefinite detention for U.S. citizens seems like nothing to be worried about, especially since our political class is so trustworthy that it could never abuse such a power.
  20. Following up on (19), I believe Thomas Jefferson was just being paranoid when he said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
  21. … I’ll leave the remainder for the reader to attend to at the source, where he or she will also have access to Dr. Woods’ excellent videos.

UPDATE: Some people are saying, “I oppose Ron Paul for different reasons. Why, he’ll force little kids to work in mines for 30 cents a day, he’ll destroy the environment, he’ll fire many of our selfless public servants, he believes in ‘deregulation,’” etc. Or, on the right, I hear, “He’s great on domestic policy, but he should be more pro-war.” Want replies to those? They’re right here.

[1] I’ll leave aside the troubling discovery—to my mind a complete and incomprehensible antilife contradiction—that Dr. Woods is something of a super-Catholic, penning such in-your-face apologia as How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (2005). [Consider that the Church of Rome did not condemn the practice of torture until 1816 and the ‘prolife’ men conducting the ritual tortures and killings for centuries before that were acting in their most holy ecclesiastical roles. Now that’s civilized!]

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