Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty! A Post-Tampa Review of Walter Block's
by Jo Ann Cavallo
by Jo Ann Cavallo: How
Ron Paul Rocked Our Family (Unabridged)
Paul for President in 2012. Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty
gathers together articles, email correspondence, blogs, interviews,
short parodies, and open letters written by Walter Block during
Ron Paulís 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns (up to April 2012),
along with a forward by Rafi Farber (Jews for Ron Paul) and a postscript
by economics professor Joseph Salerno (Pace University). Supporters
of Ron Paul will undoubtedly enjoy the passion, verve, logic, wit,
and sheer mirth with which Walter Block makes the case for a Paul
presidency and, when the need arises, fearlessly demolishes the
Congressmanís detractors. Those who have been wondering what is
all the fuss about Ron Paul may find this book to be the proverbial
eye-opener. Those already dead set against Ron Paul or libertarianism
will of course probably not bother to open the book in the first
place, which will be not only their loss, but our collective
loss as well.
section deals with three areas of crucial importance to Ron Paul
and freedom: economics, foreign policy, and personal liberties.
In each of these areas, Walter Block makes a case for his "man"
by taking the less traveled road, focusing his attention not on
the issues in which he could expect wider agreement from Americans
across the political spectrum, but on positions that have been most
criticized and misconstrued by the mainstream media. For example,
after pointing out that Ron Paul "has done yeoman work in opposing
NDAA, SOPA, Guantanamo, the Patriot Act and each and every other
government violation of our civil and personal liberties" (95),
he turns his attention specifically to Dr. Paulís opposition to
our drug prohibition laws.
strategy may be partly Walter Blockís modus operandi (as
he says, "If we cannot answer the difficult objections, we
must rethink our libertarian positions" ), but it also
stems from the fact that many of the articles were originally written
in response to hit pieces by mudslingers of various persuasions
Ė including, surprisingly, a few from within the libertarian movement
itself. With implacable reasoning and irrepressible humor, Block
submits "vicious screed" to a line-by-line critique, intentionally
emulating Hazlittís refutation of Keynes (272). As the self-proclaimed
Jewish Mother of the Freedom Movement, Block also offers several
pieces dedicated to the Jewish question and Israel, lucidly defending
the Congressman from "outrageous charges" of anti-Semitism
and demonstrating that Ron Paulís principled position is the only
chance for the United States to help rather than hinder prospects
for peace in the Middle East. In this context he supports Paulís
assertion that foreign "aid" (i.e., "government-to-government
transfers of funds") "harms recipients, amounts
to a theft from Americans, and has no Constitutional warrant"
In his aim
to defend Ron Paul from attack on all fronts, Block even addresses
objections to the Congressman that are "silly, or vicious,
or irresponsible or all of the above," beginning with the whopper
that "Ron isnít cool" (220). Honestly, though, anyone
who could claim that Ron Paul "isnít in sync with younger,
more Ďmoderní libertarians" has evidently not witnessed his
rallies on college campuses to cheering football-stadium-size crowds.
When joining thousands of supporters in the pouring rain at his
Philadelphia Phreedom rally this April, I overheard my 20-year-old
daughter say to my 17-year-old son: "And to think, you liked
Ron Paul before he was cool." "Are you kidding?"
was his reply, "Ron Paul was cool way before I liked
In one section
Walter Block shares his open letters and encourages Ron Paul supporters
to write their own open letters explaining how Paulís policies coincide
with the core interests and aspirations of their particular religious,
occupational, or otherwise special-interest group. Suggested examples
such as "farmers against farm subsidies" might at first
glance sound counter-intuitive Ė that is, until one recalls that
Joel Salatin (whose Polyface Farm was featured in Food,
Inc.) is an outspoken libertarian and Ron Paul supporter.
In acknowledging that not every pursuit would apply, Block remarks
that, for example, "there is nothing Ron says that is narrowly
pertinent to waitresses" (212), yet that is not quite the case.
Given that Congressman Paul has fought to end all taxes on tips
through the Tax
Free Tips Act, a 2012 New
York Post article accordingly refers to him as the "unlikely
hero among bar and restaurant workers."
the uphill battle to the Republican nomination, Block nevertheless
boldly envisions the first events to follow the inauguration of
President Paul: "The U.S. soldiers will immediately start coming
home, protecting us here, where they belong. The bombs will stop
dropping on innocent people in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and, who
knows, some half dozen other countries Obomba has decided to invade,
all on his own" (131). Alas, although the volumeís most recent
pieces make passing reference to election fraud in the early states
(331), Block may not have anticipated such widespread cheating
by the GOP across the board leading
up to and including
the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
In the end,
as we now know, Mitt Romney became the Republican nominee, but in
one sense, according to Blue Republican founder Robin Koerner, Ron
Paul actually won the nomination: "In all fields of human
endeavor, winning by cheating is losing. In a competition, when
someone cheats, he gets disqualified. The disqualification does
not make the runner-up the winner. Rather, it reveals that the man
who appeared to be the runner-up had in fact been the winner all
along." As one Daily
Paul commenter sums up the situation: "We managed, in spite
of a corrupt media, corrupt national GOP, corrupt state GOP organizations,
voter ignorance, voter apathy, a massive disinfo campaign, an ongoing
psy-ops campaign, and physical violence, to get Ron Paul the GOP
nomination, based on the rules of four days ago. The GOP and Democrat-controlled
media had to lie, cheat, steal, and break bones to stop us."
written in the context of a political campaign lose their relevance
once the votes are cast, yet that is clearly not the case here.
Indeed, if the preliminary title addresses the immediate context
of Congressman Paulís bid for the presidency, the accompanying title,
Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty, hints that the arguments are
important well beyond 2012. Block contends that Ron Paulís message
has awakened not only millions of Americans, but "a significant
percentage of the entire world" (112). Although evidence of
international support for Paul wonít be found on mainstream media,
a quick look at Facebook (my personal favorite is Italy
for Ron Paul 2012) and the Daily
Paul reveals grassroots support everywhere from Australia to
Poland, and Spain to Zimbabwe. Incidentally, at the time of writing
Prof. Block was trying to verify reports of Paulians on Mars (112n)
Ė he will be glad to know that confirmation
has since arrived.
the chapters treat topics and issues that go beyond the context
of Ron Paulís presidential campaign, such as free market environmentalism,
property rights, the Federal Reserve system, Keynesianism, the Austrian
Business Cycle theory, and the libertarian non-aggression principle.
The chapter entitled "Ron Paul: Far Right or Far Left?"
starts off by citing those who have placed the Congressman on opposite
extremes of the Left-Right spectrum, but then moves on to expose
the falsity of this dichotomy in the first place (300-309). His
response to a "pro war libertarian" lays out the parallels
between "preemptive war" abroad and "preventive detention"
at home (74). An interview from Taiwan distinguishes laissez-faire
capitalism from "state monopoly corporate capitalism, or crony
capitalism, or economic fascism" as well as voluntary socialism
from the coercive type (320). Also not to be missed are two blogs
about the jaw-dropping incompetence of FEMA following Katrina ("Ron
Paul Is Right to Dis FEMA" and "A FEMA story," 344-50).
Detailing the ineptitude and abuses on the part of Homeland Security,
which concurrently blocked voluntary individual and group efforts,
Block presents readers with a contemporary parable of private initiative
vs. central planning.
This 329 page
volume, despite its comprehensiveness, occasionally gives the impression
of having been assembled in haste. This was no doubt the case, since
the sooner it appeared in print, the more it might serve to promote
Ron Paulís candidacy. For a future edition, therefore, in addition
to a bit more careful editing, it would also be helpful to provide
the original publication dates and links for all the pieces as well
as to include in the index all sources referred to along the way.
In sum, Walter
Blockís Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty, like Brian Dohertyís
Paulís rEVOLution, will serve not only as a testament to
past moments in which, as a people, we could have chosen a government
dedicated to safeguarding our liberties and our prosperity, but
also, more importantly, as an inspiration for the future of the
intellectual and ideological revolution that Dr. Paul has set in
Jo Ann Cavallo
[send her mail] is an associate
professor of Italian at Columbia University and the Italian literature
editor of The Literary Encyclopedia.
Her latest book manuscript, The World Beyond Europe in the Romance
Epics of Boiardo and Ariosto, received the 2011 Aldo and Jeanne
Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary
Studies and is forthcoming with the University of Toronto Press
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.