06 January 2012

Gary Weiss versus us Crackpots

 I admire Gary Weiss and I have indicated as much on this blog. I've even been the target of criticism because his critics think I'm a crony of his.  I'm proud to have taken a little heat for so good a reason.
Anyway, I do think Weiss has written insightfully about a wide range of issues and I have learnt a lot from his efforts.

I say all that as preface to this: Gary has unfortunately decided to stigmatize the Ron Paul campaign for president as a uniquely "crackpot" effort. I have to publicly take issue with him there. It is just about the least cracked thing happening within either of the two major parties at the national level just now. Like the US dollar among the other major currencies of our time -- the Paul campaign is the cleanest shirt in a pile of dirty laundry.

I wrote Weiss via the comment section of his blog about these views.  I'll reproduce that comment here, with minor cosmetic changes, below:

"I have to tell you Gary, Ron Paul is the only candidate (including the incumbent) who makes any sense to me these days at all.

"I won't defend everything that's appeared in his newsletters, etc. But he is bringing into the mainstream issues, like the dysfunctional nature of fiat money and central banking, and the uncounted costs of foreign adventurism, that we desperately need to have brought into said mainstream.

"As to the civil rights statutes, I agree with Paul that the use of the 'interstate commerce' clause in this sense was an almost absurd stretch of the reasonably plain meaning of the founding document. To say that the Supreme Court approved of this stretch, so it must be constitutional, is inadequate as a matter of logic. For decades the Supreme Court had approved of the notion of 'separate but equal' too. Sometimes the Supreme Court errs and its errors require resistance.

"Personally, in this case, though I object to the use of the commerce language as a blank check for Congressional power, I would be inclined to recognize a defense of necessity. The various branches of the govt of the US had to do something more to check the inertial force of our long history of racial separation and white domination than the formal declaration by the US Supreme Court in May 1954 of the end of Plessy could have accomplished. A recognition of this necessity need not and should not make us uncritical of the doctrinal particulars of such decisions as Heart of Atlanta, though. Here, too, Paul is serving a valuable purpose by his (relatively) straight thinking.

"The one change in federal policy now that could do the most for the improvement of race relations in America would be an end to the absurdities of the war on drugs. Guess who is the only candidate calling for that?"

I wrote those words prior to this Tuesday's developments in Iowa, and I ended by saying that I would be "delighted" by a Paul win there.  As indeed I would have been. In the first hour of Tuesday night's count, there was a neck-to-neck-to-neck three way tie. Only gradually did Paul fade a bit, becoming a backgrounded third to the true neck-to-neck drama of Romney versus Santorum. That is unfortunately, because it means this teaching moment, our opportunity to throw libertarian memes about in the mainstream, may already have ended.

I guess that's why they call them "moments"!

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.