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America Needs a Crank

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The usual neoconservative and neoliberal suspects have been informing us lately that Dr. Ron Paul is a "crank.” "Well, you have to remember that a crank is small, safe, cheap, comprehensible, nonviolent, and efficient, a perfect tool for intermediate technology," said E.F. Schumacher responding to the same charge, as reported by Kirkpatrick Sale in his preface to the 1989 edition of Small Is Beautiful. The Good Doctor, too, is "small, safe, cheap, comprehensible, nonviolent, and efficient." Paul is Beautiful.

Dr. Paul is small. That is, he is the only candidate in either party seriously talking about small government. What's more, he means it. The other candidates in both wings of the Republicrat party never tire of telling us what government can and will do for us and the world. Only Dr. Paul is talking about what we can again do for ourselves. "Dr. No" earned his nickname by voting "nay" to any bill put before the house that provided for something not authorized by The Constitution of the United States of America. What is Dr. Paul's federalism if not Schumacherian decentralization, in which states and local communities would be able to manage their own affairs as they see fit and as they know best? Let San Francisco be San Francisco and let Utah be Utah and let busybodies on the left and right be damned.

Dr. Paul is safe. Dr. No voted "nay" to the War on Iraq, and the yeah-sayers in both wings of The War Party have yet to be held accountable for the unstable, unsafe world that has been left in its wake. Unlike Madame Speaker, he was not cowed by The Lobby into giving a green light for another "preventative" war, this one on Iran. Unlike the current occupant of the White House, Dr. Paul will not be led by "visions" to rid the world of "evil" and to immanentize the eschaton. He will not be advised by Christian Zionists, whose foreign policy goal it is to usher in The Parousia. Rather, by giving us the "humble nation" foreign policy promised by Mr. Bush when he was running for president, Ron Paul will eliminate imperial blowback and keep Americans safe and secure at home and abroad.

Dr. Paul is cheap. Ours is a debtor nation, with a gross national debt nearing fourteen digits. Dr. Paul will end the cycle of "tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend" of which Bush the First accused his opponent, and to which we might add "borrow, borrow, borrow." Ever the medical doctor, he has diagnosed the source of the hemorrhaging and would end America's Empire of Bases, all 737 of them, before he would cut one cent of social spending, realizing that many Americans have become as dependant on it. He would then move on to cutting waste at home, starting first and foremost by eliminating corporate welfare. He would get rid of the IRS and the Federal Reserve.

Dr. Paul is comprehensible. His positions on the important matters of our day are as clear as day. His platform is the aforementioned Constitution of the United States of America, described as "quaint" by the current régime. Dr. No's voting record is one of consistent constitutionalism. With Ron Paul, it is like having one of the founding fathers in the presidential race.

Dr. Paul is non-violent. He is the only candidate in either party to have mentioned the Just War Principles which are at the heart of Christian civilization, and which categorically reject the notion of "preventative" war, which is what the neocons gave us in Iraq and hope to spread to Iran, and what neoliberals gave us during the Clinton years. However, Dr. Paul is neither a pacifist nor an isolationist; he voted for the authorization to pursue terrorists in Afghanistan, an effort that the current régime quickly abandoned in favor of nation-building. Ron Paul is an advocate of American non-interventionism as described in his brilliant essay, The Original American Foreign Policy, in which he says that "our founding fathers had it right when they argued for peace and commerce between nations, and against entangling political and military alliances."

Dr. Paul is efficient. He knows that markets, not governments, best provide for people's needs. His views on health care are indicative of his laissez-faire libertarianism. As a doctor who delivered over 4,000 babies, he remembers a time when health care was paid for by individuals, not third parties, and that it was then affordable. He has observed how state health care compromised the patient-doctor relationship, and rather than accept government compensation, he treated people for free. He has noted that government health care corporatism has resulted in higher costs for consumers, while in other areas technological advances bring costs down in free markets. He would also get the government out of the business of printing fiat money, and thereby inducing inflation and robbing people of their savings. His solution to the Social Security débâcle is to keep those who bought into the system secure, while allowing young Americans the opportunity to opt out and provide for themselves.

Definitions of the word "crank" inevitably include the word "eccentric," but what is eccentric about the small, safe, cheap, comprehensible, nonviolent, and efficient ideas outlined above. George Orwell famously stated, "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." In these Orwellian times, telling the truth is an eccentric or cranky act as well, but that does not make the truths spoken by Dr. Ron Paul any less necessary for the peace and prosperity of America.


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An American Catholic son-in-law of Korea, Joshua Snyder lives with his wife and two children in self-imposed exile in Pohang, where he serves as an assistant visiting professor of English at a science and technology university. Religiously orthodox and politically heterodox, he might be (more...)
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