Friday we began a political discussion where we examined an article written by a young journalist, Carl Gibson, entitled, Grow Up, Ron Paul. After examining the credentials before us and exploring the audacious approach Mr. Gibson pursues, you were left with the bullet points that he used to warn us about what would happen if Ron Paul had his way.
In recent discussions I’ve found it very interesting how fascists, marxists and socialists all seem to perceive libertarians as having a selfish, every man for himself and CYOA mentality. Examining these claims takes some careful consideration.
From a communistic perspective, the idea of rewarding a man for his ingenuity and effort, without sharing his reward with his comrades, appears selfish. From the perspective of many of them, everyone contributes to the common good. Of course, the rulers of such a society agree that this is the case for everyone else, even while they live in luxury and enjoy immense power. This is something for us to keep in mind in these discussions; except in an anarchist society, there is always a ruling class. And the more laws and power they amass, the greater the divide between them and the people becomes.
Is this the vision of our young Mr. Gibson? I really don’t know. He doesn’t offer solutions. Rather, he attempts to destroy Ron Paul’s positions without any semblance of examination. He lays out his charges and labels Paul as guilty with an emotional series of lopsided perspectives on Paul’s agenda.
Let’s examine his points now.
- “… safety regulations imposed on employers by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be a thing of the past.”
The link is Mr. Gibson’s. For some reason the page, associated with the Library of Congress, wouldn’t load. We were able to access the site (it’s a very slow server), but couldn’t figure out what it was the Mr. Gibson was highlighting with his link.
First of all, I’m not really certain what Paul’s exact standing on OSHA is. After searching RonPaul.com and RonPaul2012.com, I came up empty. But since he ties OSHA with the EPA in his bullet points, I clicked on the next few links he provided. ” Clean air and water regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would be no more.”
- Clean Air – H.R. 2504 (1979) is a bill Ron Paul sponsored that merely proposed to amend the Clean Air Act in order to postpone certain air quality requirements for one year. Obviously such regulations would not be “no more.” While Another Joe doesn’t know, it is entirely possible that the demands of the bill were simply unattainable and would have resulted in shutdowns if not extended. In such a case many more workers would have joined the unemployment lines. More research would be required to rightly understand the circumstances that lead to this, 33 years ago. I’m sure a young journalist could dig up the appropriate material to uncover the details necessary to rightly report on Ron Paul’s position on this bill.
- Clean Water – H.R. 7079 (1980) is a bill Ron Paul sponsored in an effort to repeal the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977 (RCA). After digging around a little I was unable to come up with Paul’s reasoning behind this bill. I can neither defend him nor discredit him in this effort. Perhaps Mr. Gibson could help us understand why Ron Paul’s effort, 32 years ago, is so ominous.
- Mr Gibson’s comment on the EPA links directly to Ron Paul’s own position in this regard, which offers us a clear understanding of what exactly he has to say on this issue. Here’s the quote that he must be referring to, “Eliminate the ineffective EPA. Polluters should answer directly to property owners in court for the damages they create – not to Washington.”
So, what’s Paul’s point? His point is that corporations shouldn’t be taxed through regulation by the central government. Rather, if they do anything to harm personal property, they should have to offer restitution to the owners of that property. One thing to keep in mind is that Ron Paul is in favor of a genuine republic. This means that the states are self-governed, not subjects of the Federal government. In fact, the original intent of the republic was just the opposite. The Federal government was subservient to the authority of the individual states. Let’s consider some of the advantages:
- Competition – If the states are left to govern themselves, unencumbered by Federal regulation, then this gives the citizens of the U.S. 50 competing entities from which to choose residence. If any of those states fails to offer protection of personal property they will quickly be labeled and rejected by U.S. citizens. Competition is a good thing, but very difficult under the current system of draconian Federal imposition.
- Each state faces unique challenges. Even within a state there are diversities from region to region. Different cultural influences, weather patterns, topography, availability of resources, local industry and other factors give each region unique challenges to face; with equally unique solutions in many cases. The people of the local area know better how to manage in their particular circumstances than some bureaucrat 2000 miles away. This is even more true when said bureaucrat works for the political elite rather than the local taxpayer.
- Federal fines and regulations necessitate unequal support and representation. Each level of bureaucracy adds a layer of expense. And these expenses grow with every inch of geographic distance as well. It would be much cheaper and more efficient for local government, who answer to local people, to manage and regulate within their own jurisdiction. See the two above points for emphasis and for greater understanding of the fat that needs trimming on the federal level.
- For evidence Mr. Gibson supplies us with two links and emotional stimulation in his first bullet point. Though these two particular incidents are addressed generally in the commentary above, we’ll give them some brief consideration.
- “Families grieving for loved ones lost due to Massey Energy’s negligence in the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion would have to accept that their relatives were casualties of the invisible hand of the unfettered free market.” This is serious accusation. But, the real question is, does it have any merit?
First of all, it’s readily clear that OSHA regulations didn’t prevent this disaster from happening, which really is one count against any point Mr. Gibson is trying to make. But let’s suppose, for the sake of argument and to give Mr. Gibson the benefit of the doubt, that free-market dynamics failed to offer protection to the miners, protection that they currently enjoy under OSHA.
- Local regulations designed to protect against risks inherent in that region could accomplish the same thing, but for much lower costs.
- Unions are effective in improving working conditions.
- Supply and demand in the labor pool would eventually result in nobody wanting to work for the mine. This is how free-market works.
- Sub-contractors may quit doing business with the mine because of their lack of integrity and poor public image.
- End users could refuse to patronize anyone associated with the mine, putting additional pressure on management to improve safety standards.
These are all elements of a free-market, with the possible exception of local regulatory agencies (depending upon other factors). Such a system is governed by those closest and most effected. Furthermore, as the article linked states, “In the last year, federal inspectors have fined the company more than $382,000 (£251,000) for violations involving ventilation and equipment at the plant which is run by a subsidiary, Performance Coal Co.” The logical question is, where did that money go? How did it help the locals? The answer is obvious. Neither OSHA nor these fines helped local families one bit.
- “And Massey would get off scot-free for polluting Martin County, Kentucky‘s drinking water supply with 300 million gallons of coal slurry.” This focuses on the EPA rather than OSHA, but the same principles apply. The incident was horrible, and by all accounts avoidable. Restitution to local residents was certainly in order. The question remains, is a central EPA necessary, prudent and the wisest use of taxpayer money in addressing this?
Well, examining this article has taken up more space than I had anticipated, so I’ll leave you with these thoughts on the first of Mr. Gibson’s bullet points. Before I close I’d like to offer two more points though.
First, I’m not picking on Mr. Gibson. I don’t know him. Rather, I’m pointing out a thought process that pervades our society today, and is inherently self-destructive. It destroys freedom, wealth and, eventually, the pursuit of happiness through draconian controls over every facet of life. Mr. Gibson likely is not aware of this. Which brings me to my second point.
Ron Paul is. His comments reveal that he does understand what’s at stake. As much as Mr. Gibson recognizes some of the problems a society faces, he fails to dig to the foundation in order to understand two key points – what the cause is and where the real solution lies. He doesn’t understand that the only way to get rid of cancer is to excise it. Instead, he would tax it and regulate it, burying it under so many other symptoms that the patient would die of something else. But, at least they didn’t die of cancer. Ron Paul, on the other hand, would surgically remove the cancer and, if at all possible, remove the impositions in our lives that led us to a cancerous state. But he would do it through the revelation of truth so that the patient could make decisions accordingly, rather than regulate our lives to the point that there are no more decisions to be made.
A quote from Ron Paul illustrates a major part of the problem. Ever the gentleman, he did not expose this member of the ruling class. But he does expose his intent.
“I was sitting on the House Floor once, we passed a bill which we shouldn’t have passed and I looked to another member. I said, “Why did you vote for that? You’re just telling people what to do with their lives.” He says, “They’re too dumb.” He says, “We have to tell them.” This came from a Congressman and I was just dumb-founded because it’s so opposite of what everything I believe, but there must be a lot of them in Congress that actually believe that. Whether it’s your social life or whether it’s your economic life, people, they assume, are too dumb and therefore they need these wonderful people, the bureaucrats and these good politicians that know how to tell you how to spend your money.”