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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ron Paul and the Economics of Slavery

Wow, this was a hot button one. I got the usual email about not fighting Hitler, of course. I always love that argument, since I don't think the US should have fought World War II.

16 comments:

  1. Bob,

    Sorry about this being off-topic, but didn't you argue against voting?

    Are you now in favor of voting for Paul? Do you intend to vote for him?

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  2. I'm not voting for Ron Paul. But I hope if one casts a vote, it is for RP.

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  3. John T. Kennedy6:57 PM

    Why aren't you voting for him?

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  4. Premise: Bob doesn't vote in political elections.

    Premise: Ron Paul is running in a political election.

    Conclusion: Bob will not vote for Ron Paul.

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  5. John T. Kennedy12:05 AM

    You would never again vote in a political election under any circumstances? Wny not?

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  6. John T. Kennedy2:54 PM

    Let me try putting this another way: Since Ron Paul can only win the election with votes, why don't your own arguments in favor of supporting Ron Paul persuade you to vote for him?

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  7. Kennedy,

    Surely we must have argued this on the anti-state forum years ago. Although I am sympathetic to some an-caps who say that voting per se is illegitimate, I don't agree with that. However, I *do* think it is a waste of time and so there's no point in doing something morally dubious when it won't change things anyway.

    And please don't say, "What if everyone acted like you?" If that were the case, then we'd have anarchy tomorrow.

    Now you could come back and say, "OK, what if everyone who preferred Ron Paul over all other candidates acted like you?"

    Again, I think that would be great in the long-term. I'm sure I've convinced at least 50 people to become anarchists in the last few years because of my behavior. So if every RP supporter "acted like me"...

    Finally you could say, "OK, what if every RP supporter acted like you in the single decision of whether to vote for him or not, but then acted like themselves in all other respects?"

    You're right, that would possibly be worse (in my subjective view) than if they voted for him. But I don't see why that particular framing of the matter has more relevance than the other ways above. And if we restrict to the one thing I really *can* control--namely whether or not I personally vote for him--then obviously there is no change in the outcome of the election.

    Incidentally, it is entirely conceivable that a better outcome than Ron Paul winning would be for him to have the election stolen from him. I ultimately don't want millions of Americans to consider Ron Paul a great president; I want millions of Americans to realize we don't need a president at all.

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  8. And just to clarify JTK, if aliens invaded and said they would change the charge of an electron if I didn't vote for Ron Paul, I would vote for him.

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  9. John T. Kennedy11:43 PM

    "However, I *do* think it is a waste of time and so there's no point in doing something morally dubious when it won't change things anyway."

    That's a fair answer, and the reason I don't vote is that the return on investment of effort is negligible.

    "Now you could come back and say..."

    But all of those would be dumb things to say because whether or not others vote and how they do so is not dependent on your vote.

    What's odd is that you're encouraging other individuals to engage in a morally dubious waste of time that won't change things anyway. It doesn't seem very respectful of your audience. There seems to be a division of labor between sheep doing morally dubious time-wasting exercises and mastermind shepherds who maneuver them with a smooth sales pitch, but wouldn't think of wasting their own time on what they are pitching.

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  10. John T. Kennedy12:13 AM

    "I'm sure I've convinced at least 50 people to become anarchists in the last few years because of my behavior."

    Uh huh, and in 8th grade you convinced your class that it would be great if we abolished money, since it would prevent crime.

    So it seems your ability to persuade has little to do with whether what you're trying to persuade people of is correct or not. Do you see why that's not especially promising?

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  11. Kennedy, I'm pretty sure I have never said, "Vote for Ron Paul!" If you can find where I've even implied that, let me know, because it was a mistake.

    And since you're quoting things I must have written about years ago (the 8th grade thing), I wonder why you don't remember my post on this blog a month or two ago where I worried about this exact thing? The title is something like, "Ron Paul brings out the statist in me."

    And incidentally, I think I can turn your elitism slam back at you. Why are *you* smart enough to go out and learn the truth, but it's a waste of time for me to try to persuade others?

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  12. John T. Kennedy7:01 PM

    "Kennedy, I'm pretty sure I have never said, "Vote for Ron Paul!" If you can find where I've even implied that, let me know, because it was a mistake."

    How about in the blog entry you just mentioned which says: I have even written LRC articles that all but say, "Go vote for Ron Paul!"...?

    By he way, ever wear a Ron Paul button? Got a RP bumper sticker, or a sign in your yard?

    (Confession: I have worn the button; my wife made me. But I did tell her, "If anyone asks me about this the first thing I'm saying is that there's no way I'd vote for him." She only made me wear it for like an hour.(Plus I went to two Ron Paul rallies. (But only to feel superior. And because my wife made me.)))

    "And since you're quoting things I must have written about years ago (the 8th grade thing), I wonder why you don't remember my post on this blog a month or two ago where I worried about this exact thing? The title is something like, "Ron Paul brings out the statist in me."

    Because I'd read the former and not the latter. Now that I see it I don't think it's the same thing. I don't see your campaigning for Paul as particularly statist. I made no such criticism.

    "And incidentally, I think I can turn your elitism slam back at you. Why are *you* smart enough to go out and learn the truth, but it's a waste of time for me to try to persuade others?"

    I don't campaign to persuade anyone to do anything I wouldn't do. I don't campaign to persuade anyone to do what I think is morally dubious or a waste of time. You clearly are doing just that.

    In this article you give a reason for not voting: " I agree with H.L. Mencken that elections are just advance auctions on stolen goods."

    Ron Paul isn't auctioning off stolen goods in this election is he?

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  13. This is my last post on this topic. I am trying to persuade people that Ron Paul is the best person running. If Americans weren't so interested in the political process, then I'd try to persuade them that Gene Callahan is a good essayist. But nobody gives a crap about Gene.

    I do feel awkward because many readers would be stunned to learn that I am not voting for Paul. But I don't think I have ever actually implied in my articles that I think people should go do that, except for the fact that people think strong preference translates into a hope for voting.

    Yes I said "I all but say go vote for Ron Paul" in that blog post, but I was exaggerating to make my point. I say all sorts of ridiculous stuff in these blog posts. I'm saying if you can find an excerpt from an LRC article that truly tells people I think they should vote for Ron Paul, then I will consider myself an accidental hypocrite.

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  14. Lynette Warren7:34 PM

    Ron Paul isn't auctioning off stolen goods in this election is he?

    You can certainly argue that it's not worth your time to vote, but voting for Ron Paul is the classic example of a casting defensive vote.

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  15. nobody gives a crap about Gene.

    Amen!

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