David Harsanyi has recently published a piece for Reason.com that is hard to ignore in light of Ron Paul’s recent straw poll victory at CPAC. Is Paul the future of the conservative movement? Harsanyi doesn’t think so:
Let’s, for a moment, forget Paul (and how I wish this could be a permanent condition, considering the congressman is neither a serious politician nor—and I can’t stress this enough—a serious thinker).
He claims that Ron Paul is not a “serious politician,” whatever that means. Who ARE the serious politicians? Mitt Romney? Sarah Palin? What exactly makes them serious? Their chance of winning, their ideas?
Harsanyi then claims that he is not a “serious thinker.” However, regardless of whether or not Paul has the “serious thinker” capabilities of von Mises or others like him, Paul holds to many of the same conclusions of these thinkers. One need not be Mises, only intelligent enough to pick Mises over… let’s say… Keynes or Samuelson. I personally cannot find fault with Paul for not being an eminent scholar. He is, however, an M.D., which is an accomplishment compared to at least one Reason staffer. If someone were to bankroll him in his youth he may have turned out to be something surely more important…like an opinion columnist, for instance.
Who exactly among the conservative slate would fit the “serious thinker” category? Mitt Romney? Sarah Palin? Mitch Daniels even? A survey would likely show that none of them heard of Mises and especially not “serious libertarian” David Boaz (no offense to David Boaz).
Harsanyi awkwardly continues:
Paul isn’t a traditional conservative. His obsession with long-decided monetary policy and isolationism are not his only half-baked crusades. Paul’s newsletters of the ’80s and ’90s were filled with anti-Semitic and racist rants, proving his slumming in the ugliest corners of conspiracyland today is no mistake.
Long-decided monetary policy? So we should just give up? I think I may have jumped the gun when questioning whether the average politician knows who Mises is. Does Harsanyi know who Mises is? Harsanyi sounds like nothing more than an apparatchik who quixotically publishes under the guise of libertarianism out of boredom rather than seeking to change the world for the better.
Isolationism is a total mischaracterization of noninterventionism — unless Harsanyi truly believes that NAFTA and CAFTA are free trade policies. I only mention NAFTA and CAFTA because during the campaign Ron Paul came out against both of these policies. When explaining why, Dr. Paul would always say that he is for free trade not regulated trade. With this kind of superficial view of Ron Paul, who needs journalists?
No bash of Ron Paul is complete without a look into the Ron Paul newsletters. Instead of citing the racism and anti-semitism in the newsletters, Harsanyi leaves it as a forgone conclusion. For a less than superficial analysis of the newsletters go here. How many Jewish people must you be a fan of not to be considered anti-semetic? Walter Block, Mises, Rothbard, or even Richard Ebeling??
The danger of being “Dr. No” is that you always vote “no” on many different spending bills. No stealing money from the productive constituents of the U.S. and sending it to Israel. No awards for people at the expense of the taxpayer.
Harsanyi, be a professional — think.Published in