The Man with no Plan
TOWM quote of the day comes from Cyd Malone, writing on the Mises Institute's Daily Article log.
Ron Paul's Big Plan is that there is no Big Plan.
That's probably the best "in a nutshell" summary of why I'm voting for him anyone could have thought of. Sure, it's simplisitc - and if there's one thing I guess politics suffers from, it's an overdose of oversimplified. But there's "simplified" and there's "simple." In the case of most politicians, I guess they simplify issues to avoid having to deal with the messy details, or to avoid telling the public things they know it doesn't want to hear. Other times, of course, they simplify because they don't have a clue what they're even talking about. But now and then the clouds lift, and you get someone whose political philosophy really can fit in a single sentence for the right reason: because it's integrated, whole and consistent.
I'm voting for Ron Paul becuase he has no plan - right. Because that's honestly the best way to run the government. Because I'm sick to the fucking core of watching the major-party candidates trip over themselves scrambling to be the one who can be the most things to the most people with money they didn't earn and will only mismanage in the end. Because I want a government run according to the UNIX philosophy:
Write programs that do one thing and do it well.
Beautiful! I want a government that does one thing only and does it well - and that's protect our rights. Healthcare? People can and should manage that on their own. Never mind that healthcare would be cheaper, more efficient, and more universally available if the government would clear out of the way - I want people to manage it themselves because healthcare isn't in the government's job description. Social Security? Ditto. It's a nice thought that we should take care of our elderly - but whose bright idea was it to hand the government this task? Where in the concept of government does it say that it's supposed to provide for people in their old age? That's an economic problem - not a political problem. Unemployment? Don't even get me started. Never mind that governments, and not markets, cause unemployment - again, it boils down to the simple matter that government isn't meant to provide people with jobs. That's not what it "does," so its unsurprising that it's no good at it. Mortgage crisis? Again, the government created the mortgage crisis by allowing banks to defy market reality and lend to people they well knew weren't good for the money. It isn't the government's job to manage housing loans, so why are we letting it?
The government exists to maintain the rule of law. That's it. The rest of us are responsible for everything else. So I want a guy as President whose "Big Plan" is that there's no Big Plan. I want, for once, to see someone up there at the debates who, when asked what he is going to do about healthcare can honestly say "nothing, because managing healthcare is not my job."
Back in 1964 we had such a guy.
"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause, I am doing the very best I can."
I don't know if they make 'em like that anymore. That's Barry Goldwater in his book. I guess everyone frames each passing election as a battle between good (their guy) and evil (the other guy) where nothing less than the future of the country is at stake. But in 1964, it really was that way, and the good guys lost. I doubt Ron Paul is man enough to fill Barry Goldwater's shoes, and I know "they"'re not going to give us a rematch this year. But it isn't hard to see he's by far the closest thing to a true politician in the current field of micromanaging nitwits. His Big Plan is there's no Big Plan. That's exactly what I've been waiting to hear.