"Ron Paul is a Crazy Isolationist Loon!"Submitted by mbrakey on Sun, 08/14/2011 - 11:19
Hey everybody. I'm the guy who posted that Ron Paul PowerPoint a few months back. I wanted to share how I am dismantling the "crazy isolationist" argument that is constantly being thrown at Dr. Paul.
The loudest criticism that I have heard leveled at Ron Paul is that he is an "isolationist" and "crazy." I hear it multiple times a day from all different corners. I wanted to share an exchange I had on facebook. Perhaps you will find it helpful in your own discussions with people. I am maintaining the person's anonymity because my purpose for sharing it is not to score points. I actually have enormous respect and admiration for the person relative to most in the political scene. The person is a very accomplished and intelligent attorney.
The first part of the conversation does not involve foreign policy, but it was a crucial way for me to initially establish Paul's credibility, soundness of his ideas, and dismantle this notion that he is "crazy." After that, this is the general framework to dismantle the isolationist argument: 1) Ask person to define "isolationism"; 2) point out their definition of isolationism is inconsistent with how the word is commonly used; 3) point out the "isolationist" stance of other countries toward the US and the outcome if they behaved in a non-isolationist fashion; 4) draw analogies to basic property relationships and/or travel; 5) displace the term isolationist and replace it with a more appropriate term (e.g. non-interventionist). Your choice of word or phrase is largely dependent on your audience and your desired effect.
ANONYMOUS PERSON: Ron Paul strikes me as a ranting loon. While I have some libertarian views, I found him entirely out of touch with reality.
MATT BRAKEY: A ranting loon out of touch with reality, indeed:
"[T]he government increases the likelihood of a painful crash in the housing market... because the special privileges of Fannie, Freddie, and HLBB have distorted the housing market by allowing them to attract capital they could not attract under pure market conditions. As a result, capital is diverted from its most productive use into housing. This reduces the efficacy of the entire market and thus reduces the standard of living of all Americans.
However, despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government’s interference in the housing market, the government’s policies of diverting capital to other uses creates a short-term boom in housing. Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing.
Perhaps the Federal Reserve can stave off the day of reckoning by purchasing GSE debt and pumping liquidity into the housing market, but this cannot hold off the inevitable drop in the housing market forever. In fact, postponing the necessary but painful market corrections will only deepen the inevitable fall. The more people invested in the market, the greater the effects across the economy when the bubble bursts."
-Ron Paul, July 16, 2002, on the floor of the US House of Representatives.
ANONYMOUS PERSON: Paul wasn't the only one who saw the housing bubble in the making, and I agree with him on the comment you posted. Regardless, anyone who preaches isolationism like he did last night strikes me as being out of touch with reality...
MATT BRAKEY: Define "isolationism."
ANONYMOUS PERSON: Avoiding foreign conflict, even at the risk of preserving our own national security. And...not to comment and run, but I've got to pack for vaycay :)
MATT BRAKEY: Your definition of "isolationism" is both inconsistent with modern day parlance and leads to absurd outcomes when taken to its logical conclusion.
If your neighbor decides to paint his house a color you do not like, would it be isolationist to allow him to do so? Is it isolationist to have friendly conversations with your neighbors and maybe even give them a warm welcome to the neighborhood? Is it isolationist to tolerate behavior that could possibly be construed as nuisance as opposed to remedying the behavior with violence?
Has China taken an isolationist stance because it has not established military bases in the US? Are they isolationist because their navy does not sit in international waters right off the gulf coast? Are they isolationist because they have not imposed their values and system of governance on the US? To use the parlance of our generation, what you call being isolationist, I call "not being a dick."
In the off chance my reasoning carries any weight with you, I implore you to take an isolationist stance toward the locals while on your vacation. Do not bomb them. Do not erect trade barriers. Enjoy the uniqueness of the people and the area, even if inconsistent with our way of life as Clevelanders.
ANONYMOUS: Matt B- I think your way of seeing of the world and mine are entirely different. I'd rather not spend some hard won time off trying to reconcile the two.
While I did not change this individual's mind, I hope people share my conclusion that this is a great way to break the back of the isolationist label. Also, it probably would have been wise for me to take less of a confrontational role. People naturally get very defensive when they feel you are attacking them directly. This is more a reflection of my tendency to run my mouth than making an effective argument.