Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Ron Paul on The Daily Show

I was literally taking planes, trains, and automobiles today. There was a Fox Business Live spot for me to discuss a new IER study, so I canceled my outbound flight from Baltimore, caught the MARC train down to DC, did the interview, then a private car took me back to Baltimore for a later flight. Strangers would think I was important.

Anyway I'm back in Nashville and just now watched Ron Paul's appearance on The Daily Show. It went really well. Jon Stewart gave a very fair interview. He obviously was not totally sold on ending the Fed, but you can see he took Paul seriously, unlike some people.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Ron Paul
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BTW I don't know if it will be on the above video, but the "moment of Zen" afterward was pretty funny.

I was really pleased with the interview as well, but I thought it was lame how Jon smuggled in a sound bite about the government's job to protect us from scary corporations.

The audience eagerly applauded at it, like they were saying "We're interested in this Federal Reserve thing, but that capitalism stuff that you always bring up is just nuts."

I guess Jon doesn't get that, unlike the government, corporations can't force you to buy what they're selling (well, unless they sell flu vaccines or healthcare).
Ack, when I said "healthcare", I meant "health insurance" (and yeah, that isn't mandatory yet). But you get my drift.

Sure, obviously I don't endorse Jon Stewart's political views. But I can understand why he's struggling with adopting "pure" libertarianism, since he's worried about the little guy getting screwed over by corporations. If you haven't been studying free market economics for a long time, it would be a matter of faith when Ron Paul says, "Don't worry, the big corporations can only hurt you if you have an activist government."
Right, I'm not saying Jon Stewart's viewpoint isn't understandable (or that you endorse his views by posting the video), I was just making an quick observation.

Thanks for the response, though!
Maybe I would be in such demand if I was smart and handsome as well.
Maybe I missed it, but it seems Dr. Paul neglected to point out causing the business cycle among the Fed's many evils.

Otherwise, he did great.
Stewart was fair and certainly made the point that Paul has written a real book, not a puff piece.

Stewart's questions about corporations etc were fair and Paul's answer on that was the weakest part of his presentation.

The old "counterveiling power" myth that big government protects the little guy from big corporations was surely an easy target for Paul to hit. His reply there wasn't as good as the rest of the obviously respectful and fair interview.
Im disappointed in Ron Paul. He could've nailed the corporatist canard in this interview using public choice logic..but he just stuttered and Stewart still has teh CORPORASHUNZ as the enemy in his mind to be saved by the government.
He can't cover anything

All you can hope for is that he interested people enough to read his work and therefore understand the things you all wished he had explained.
I hope I'm as cogent when I'm in my 70's.
Good interview.

I have to say. Stewart is one of the better partisans out there. While it is obvious he leans toward the democrats, he tends to be fair with people so long as they present something logically.

I used to think exactly like Stewart. It was Ron Paul turned me around. The Paul/Guiliani moment was so righteous, it made me research what he was about. Behind Paul, I found no political machine or consultants, just consistent a voting record and rhetoric backed up by the very well though out ammunition of the Austro-libertarians.

The way I see it, the problem is one of education. Stewart and people like him aren't stupid, just ignorant of reality. The see personal and economic freedom as two different things. Simple things like incentives, subjective and marginal utility and supply and demand aren't really in their headspace. Business cycle and capital theory is another important piece as well. Without these things, there is no correct understanding of economic events.

It took me about two years of study to come to the views I have currently. It didn't happen overnight with me, so I don't expect it overnight with anybody else.

The most important thing to hammer into these people is the corporations that Stewart talks about would have no power to do anything without government privilege or government intervention. Without government fiat, Goldman Sachs gets rooked instead of the man on the street. Without government fiat, unions don't ruin companies and industry. Without government fiat, Blackwater or Xe (as it is called now) don't get paid to kill people for no reason. These facts need to be hammered home, over and over again.
Tushar's term "The corporatist canard" is very good. The counterveiling power idea pushed by liberal critics of corporate power, of course, is letting corporatism in through the back door. It reminds me a bit like the old saw "even the devil can quote scripture."

Paul did mention the railroads, but I doubt Jon or the audience made the connection to the period in regulatory history Paul was taking about. Gabriel Kolko has provided a scholarly history of how populist calls for railroad regulation were used to reinforce cartels.

The same people who wave the corporatist canard very often criticise the military industrial complex or corporate drivers in foreign policy but somehow don't make the connection.

I think sometimes libertarian arguments are too subtle for their own good. This puts them at a competitive disadvantage in a world of sound bite politics.
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