America’s Shift to the Left

Q: Dr. Hurd: You recently claimed that Ron Paul will never win the presidential election in your “degrees of dissatisfaction” article, yet Ron Paul won the 2011 RLC Presidential Straw Poll with approximately 40% of the total votes. Does his winning this poll change your mind about the odds of his winning the election?

A: Did you read who came in second in that very same straw poll?

Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman, an unknown Republican candidate for President who supports the notion of global warming and, presumably, climate change legislation. And you’re surely aware that the front-runner for the Republican nominee is Mitt Romney, a supporter of climate change legislation as well as ObamaCare-style socialized medicine. As I said, the challenge this year isn’t merely to find a principled Republican candidate; the challenge is to find a candidate who even agrees with the Republican Party as we’ve known it. Some of these candidates are even worse than George W. Bush in their betrayals of rationality, individual rights and capitalism. Ron Paul betrays these principles in his own way, at least if he really means it when he says he’s by and large against a strong U.S. defense. What good is restoring capitalism and individual rights in the USA if we’re not in a position to protect them?

Any Republican who wins the nomination does stand a chance of winning the Presidency, so long as there is not a third party candidate. The most likely Independent to run would be Donald Trump, who has not yet ruled that out. If a third party candidate splits the non-liberal vote as Ross Perot did back in 1992 and 1996, then the election is over. Barack wins a second term. Absent such a third party candidate, Barack could lose. However, there must be a real alternative. It’s inconceivable that somebody like Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman would offer a real alternative. Why try out another President with more or less the same views as the existing one?

Ron Paul offers alternative views, such as his advocacy of a private marketplace over government intervention. He even condemns the Federal Reserve as inherently corrupt and politicized, an absolutely valid position in my view. But what does it matter if he has these views if most people don’t agree with them? Poll after poll shows a huge majority — as much as 80 percent in some cases — don’t think Medicare should be touched or “reformed” in any way. But Medicare is unsustainable on its current course. Nobody middle-aged or younger is going to see any Medicare benefits, and if the economy continues not to substantially grow, there’s some question what Medicare will look like even five or ten years from now. The disturbing thing about these polls is that most Americans don’t seem to care. In such a context, it doesn’t matter if, say, a President Ron Paul came into office and said, “Look America. Medicare is done for either way; we’ve got to privatize it now, rather than face the sudden onset of privatization a few years down the road. It’s the only way to get our fiscal house in order so that we can cut taxes and do other things to allow the private economy to start to grow again.” Merely saying this would lead to probable impeachment proceedings immediately. The savagery of the liberal/socialist media and academic establishment would be¬†shrill and unrelenting. The majority of Republicans in Congress would cave and abandon President Paul.

It doesn’t matter if you elect a candidate who’s right on the issues if most Americans won’t support him on key issues. It’s equally impossible to imagine a President Ron Paul privatizing the Federal Reserve, or even limiting its powers, thereby enabling the nation to return to a gold standard. So what if he’s right? He’s not going to win running on these issues if most Americans think he’s wrong. When you ask, “Can Ron Paul win the election?” you’re not asking the right question. The right question to ask is, “Can most Americans be convinced we need to go on a radically different course, a course which favors private property, individual rights, free markets and unhampered capitalism?” Remember that in 2008 Obama ran explicitly on the opposite of these principles. He ran on the principles of “spreading the wealth,” government intervention in the economy (more than the USA ever has had), and the expansion of government services such as health care. He won easily. Back in 1972, an equally socialist candidate — George McGovern — ran on more or less the same principles, and lost in a landslide against an unpopular Republican President in mediocre economic times. It stands to reason that between 1972 and 2008, the United States has — on the whole — changed in its political outlook.

The country, the Democratic Party and now, it seems, the Republican Party are all moving to the left. By “left” I mean a last, desperate hope that the religion of State can hold the day. The religion of State is the supernatural-like belief that government can somehow create value and wish away contradictions that people acting in reality — under a reality-based social system such as capitalism — can never accomplish. Criticisms of Obama are not based on the premise that his principles of socialism are wrong. Criticisms of Obama are based on the idea that he’s not competent or aggressive enough at carrying them out. This is why Republicans such as Mitt Romney and others are moving to the left.¬† “Hey, look at me. My name is Mitt, and I’ll bring business experience to my government interventionism.” They think that by playing “me-too” they can win Obama’s spot as the Incompetent-in-Chief. Why somebody would want such a spot, and what this says about people who support such an unimportant quest, is the question with which any thinking person is left.

Before a government will change, a culture must change. America must get rid of Obama but, even more importantly: Americans must rid themselves of the stupid, childish and nonsensical ideas that enabled such a fool to be elected in the first place.