Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

The Internet was vital in exposing his naive and harmful behavior. His hypocritical pronouncements and racist background would never have come to the public without it.

Don't let Washington hit your ass on the way out.

Don't you know? Ron Paul is supposed to be the darling politician of hackers and nerds. You aren't allowed to say anything bad about him here.

It's kind of funny you mention that, because RP supporters literally kept track of people who spoke ill of their prophet. There was a giant controversy on reddit about them spamming every major sub with off-topic political garbage and manipulating the vote system.

Can you elaborate? I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you - I just haven't followed him enough to know what you're talking about.

As far as the racist background, the Ron Paul newsletters certainly have explicit racism (and sexism, and homophobia) in them (as opposed to implied racism, such as opposing the civil rights legislation of the 60s). Most Ron Paul fans argue that it was actually Lew Rockwell who wrote most of that, under Ron Paul's name, and Ron Paul never read or approved of them.

Take that for what it's worth--I personally suspect it's somewhere between "Ron Paul wrote all the virulently racist stuff in his newsletter" and "Ron Paul had no idea of anything going on in his newsletter."

Even if he didn't write it, his name was on it. I feel pretty safe loathing anyone who would put their name on something a) they hadn't read b) they hadn't written and c) was so goddamn vile.

Eh. Most, though not all, of those were published in the 80s. And it's shitty, but it was a long time ago. I'm honestly much more disconcerted by RP's shifty treatment of them without adequately apologizing and taking responsibility for them.

People f'up sometimes. A lot, even. If I'm willing to give Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton a break for Jew-bashing in the 80s and GWB a break for driving drunk and Romney a break for high school bullying, I can't see a reason not to give Ron Paul one too.

If, of course, he were willing to own up to making a mistake...

Yeah, except I don't give those people a break for such things. Anti-semitism is pretty crappy, no matter when it is; I know people who have been killed by drunk drivers; There are teenagers across the nation who kill themselves every year due to bullying. I don't see why I should give them a break at all for these things.

Ron Paul wants to define life as starting at conception (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.2597:), build a fence along the US-Mexico border (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll446.xml), prevent the Supreme Court from hearing cases on the Establishment Clause or the right to privacy, permitting the return of sodomy laws and the like (a bill which he has repeatedly re-introduced) (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.300:), pull out of the UN (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.1146:), disband NATO (http://www.house.gov/paul/congrec/congrec2004/cr033004.htm), end birthright citizenship (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.J.RES.46:), deny federal funding to any organisation which "which presents male or female homosexuality as an acceptable alternative life style or which suggest that it can be an acceptable life style" along with destroying public education and social security (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d096:h.r.7955:), and abolish the Federal Reserve (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.2755:) in order to put America back on the gold standard (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBB0868C74B4AA3FA). He was also the sole vote against divesting US federal government investments in corporations doing business with the genocidal government of the Sudan. (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2007-764)

Oh, and he believes that the Left is waging a war on religion and Christmas (http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul148.html), he's against gay marriage (http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul197.html), is against the popular vote (http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul214.html), opposes the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul188.html), wants the estate tax repealed (http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul328.html), is STILL making racist remarks (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/06/02/ron_paul/), believes that the Panama Canal should be the property of the United States (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d106:h.con.res.231:), and believes in New World Order conspiracy theories (http://www.infowars.com/articles/nwo/ron_paul_first_bush_was...), not to mention his belief that the International Baccalaureate program is UN mind control. (http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r109:E14AP5-0007:)

You make all these points as if it's self-evident ("to all right-thinking peoples", "no one here but us...") that he's dead wrong about them. That's not very helpful.

Of course human life begins at conception--what is the combined human egg & sperm, a fish?

And what's so great about NATO? The US should bear the brunt of the cost of defending Europe against whom now, exactly?

The Federal Reserve came into being the same year as the income tax, and the US dollar has lost 99% of its value since then. Coincidence? There are a lot of great arguments against the Fed. Have you seriously investigated, or just assumed that the Fed is great because it exists? Read some Austrian economics, which argue persuasively that centralized money control will always result in endless bust/boom cycles.

And the Left isn't waging a war on religion? C'mon.

What's so great about estate taxes? To decide that death is an event where someone needs to have a large chunk of his wealth taken by the state is a fairly controversial assumption.

Etc, etc.

> Of course human life begins at conception--what is the combined human egg & sperm, a fish?

By extension any woman who suffers a miscarriage is a murderer, or worse, has a fertilized egg that fails to implant. Are you sure you want to stick with that definition?

> What's so great about estate taxes?

It prevents most of the money in circulation from accumulating in the hands of a very small number of individuals. It was a reaction to the situation in Europe where the finances of a country were, and had always been, completely locked up and social mobility was nearly impossible.

The rate at which these inheritances should be taxed is debatable, as the current rate might be a bit too high or, as Warren Buffet and many of his associates would have you believe, too low. He intends to push 99% of his wealth into charities before he dies so that his children will inherit only a few hundred million, minus estate taxes. Those poor kids. How will they ever survive?

> By extension any woman who suffers a miscarriage is a murderer

With all respect, this is not "extension", but rather "gross distortion".

> It prevents most of the money in circulation from accumulating in the hands of a very small number of individuals.

What if such accumulation was just? Would it still be wrong? If yes, then why? If no, then what's the problem? Shouldn't we worry about making game rules fair, rather than making sure outcomes are "equalized"?

Maybe you want to live in a society not unlike the Gilded Age where billionaire robber barons controlled everything, where those who weren't part of this small elite group could barely get by.

This is how un-checked wealth accumulates. Remember, it is very easy to make money if you have lots of money to start with and can weather almost any risk no matter how severe. When the smaller players bust out, the wreckage of their companies and lives is bought for pennies on the dollar.

Would you want to live in a world where the Paris Hiltons could coast into billions of wealth without having to do a single hard day's work in their life? Where they'd have enough money to fund a hundred generations of that?

Society advances when there's an incentive to working hard. Making money is one such incentive. When you can make money without working hard, it starts to break down. The inheritance tax is a way of keeping an element of hard work in the equation.

Ah, but you've said 'robber barons'. This is exactly the thing - robber barons. Being a robber - a bandit or baron, no difference - is a bad thing. It's where the problem is. "Robber barons" use money and violence - rather, they use money to "rent" violence from its providers - to create barriers to entry - as you've said, "could barely get by". This is not even close to what libertarian stand for.

As for it being easy to make money if you start with a lot - why, this totally depends on the rules of the game in question! And if the game is fair and open, then it will be equally easy for the rich starter to squander all their wealth - since they don't actually produce wealth, but only consume what was inherited.

Libertarians are, first and foremost, about a free and honest game.

What about smaller, privately owned businesses? For example, if you own a company worth $5,000,000 and die than your estate needs to come up with $2,500,000 in taxes.

The problem is, owning a company worth $5,000,000 doesn't mean you necessarily have $2.5 mil in spare cash laying around.

For this reason, estate taxes encourage businesses to go public so that they can convert the value of their business into liquid assets enabling their estate to easily pay taxes. Or, if going public isn't an option, often the estate needs to sell the business to a larger corporation.

End result is, these smaller $5 - $20 million dollar corporations disappear when the founder dies and they morph into bigger, lifeless enterprises. That's not to say all small businesses are great places to work, but if you ever talk to people that work for founder ran enterprises vs. shareholder ran enterprises there is often a significant difference in quality of life and in how the owners treat their workers.

Estate taxes kill small businesses and also raise very little revenue.

> By extension any woman who suffers a miscarriage is a murderer, or worse, has a fertilized egg that fails to implant. Are you sure you want to stick with that definition?

Murder requires intention. Don't be silly.

So then it's manslaughter, right?

> It prevents most of the money in circulation from accumulating in the hands of a very small number of individuals.

Like Bill Gates, the richest American? Oh wait, he didn't inherit that money. Ooops.

Bill Gates is new money, but his father has considerable wealth as well. If those two weren't as committed to philanthropy as your average billionaires are, then the children of Bill and Melinda Gates would inherit several enormous fortunes.

Have a look through the Forbes 400 (http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/) and see where their money came from.

The Koch Brothers inherited from their father, and the five Waltons on the list inherited from theirs. That means over half of the wealthiest individuals in America inherited a considerable fortune.

In forty years this list will no doubt the heirs of other fortunes.

How seriously should anyone take an economical argument based on the dollar losing "99% of it's value" since 1913? The purchasing power of the average American has in the last 100 years increased by over 200%. And this is one of Paul's key arguments.

Politifact http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2010/nov/24/vi... claims it's "half true".

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, supposedly no partisan outfit, says the dollar has lost 95% of its purchasing power since 1913: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001519.html .

So Paul's claim isn't far off.

It's like you --- and Paul --- think the purpose of the economy is to imbue value into little green pieces of paper. You'd be an idiot to trade places with your time-traveling peer from 1913. It's not that Paul's claim is "off"; it's that it's nonsensical.

Hand-waving wildly, trying to avoid the loss of purchasing power that's the inevitable result of fiat money, and ad hominem to boot.

Actually, I'd be happy to trade places with someone living in 1913.

"Deal!" says the time-traveler after you offer to impoverish yourself for the sake of a religious argument about how wealth is denominated. You can look up the purchasing power disparity between the average 1913er and yourself; the difference is stark before you consider that any American homeless person in 2012 has better medical care than did Woodrow Wilson.

Time travelers tip: avoid Europe for a couple years, and boil your water.

I'll take it. Who says health is the end-all and be-all of human existence?

I'll come back for my claim chowder when the US economy collapses Greek-style, thanks to a fiat currency controlled by a private entity like the Fed, crony corporate welfarism (I'm repeating myself), and the fact that people have now figured out that they can vote themselves goodies. The Republic is over, as the founders warned us when the latter would happen.

Have fun dying in the trenches.

Was there an edit in the GP? Your quoted phrases do not seem to appear in any of the parent comments.

It seems like he was responding to various points in the post by restating them. The post he was replying to was just listing a bunch of things he doesn't like, not defending his reasons for not liking them. I'm impressed anyone took the time to detangle any of that mess.

I thought it was a rather concise summary of why Ron Paul is a polarizing figure. You can read a bias into it, but there it is.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact