Respectful Insolence

Ron Paul: Quackery enabler

Lately, bloggers, including some of my fellow ScienceBloggers, have been expressing various concerns about the phenomenon that is Ron Paul, the Republican candidate who’s ridden a wave of discontent to do surprisingly well in the polls leading up to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries. First, Jake and Greg have pointed out that Ron Paul apparently does not accept the theory of evolution. The other day, Ed Brayton and Sara Robinson discussed a story about an open letter by Bill White, the leader of the American Socialist Workers’ Party, in which White claimed that Paul and his aides regularly met with members of neo-Nazi groups like Stormfront (which has endorsed Paul for President and on whose discussion boards Paul is quite popular) and Holocaust denial organizations like the Institute for Historical Review (which has also approvingly cited at least one speech by Paul). Moreover, it’s been pointed out that Ron Paul has accepted donations from white supremacists and after being informed of its origin has not given the money back or donated it to a cause opposed to Nazi-ism as demonstration of his distaste. Whether these criticisms of close ties to neo-Nazi groups are justified or not one thing that’s certain is that it doesn’t help Paul’s case that some of his less slick defenders are blaming Bill White’s letter on an Israeli plot and that one of his staunchest defenders is David Duke. (Talk about shooting your ally in the foot!) It also doesn’t help Paul’s case that he makes pronouncements that Israel is trying to get the U.S. to go to war with Iran and that the U.N. wants to “confiscate our firearms.”

I’ve come across Bill White‘s antics from time to time before, and he is clearly a liar of the first order, so much so that even his fellow mighty white power rangers don’t trust him. Consequently, I don’t put much stock in his letter, particularly given the dearth of evidence from independent sources corroborating any of his claims. That being said, there is still a problem with Ron Paul even among libertarians, over the question of whether he is a racist. Although Razib has a more sympathetic take on the issue, from my perspective David Neiwert crystallized well my concerns about Ron Paul a while back as someone who’s been interested in Holocaust denial (which virtually all neo-Nazi groups like Stormfront and National Vanguard espouse) and has followed these issues for a while:

But this isn’t “guilt by association” — first, the argument isn’t that Paul is a racist per se, but that he is an extremist who shares a belief system held not just by racists but other anti-government zealots as well. Paul is identified with their causes not simply because he speaks to them, but because he elucidates ideas and positions — especially regarding the IRS, the UN, the gold standard, and education — identical to theirs. This is why he has their rabid support. There is an underlying reason, after all, that Paul attracts backers like David Duke and the Stormfront gang: he talks like them.

Second and perhaps most importantly, there are legitimate reasons for anyone to raise objections to Paul’s associations, speaking before the Patriot Network, the CofCC, and similar groups — he’s a public official, and he is lending the power of his public office to legitimizing radical-right organizations like this. Think of why it would be wrong to appear before the Klan, or the CofCC, as Trent Lott and Hayley Barbour have done in the latter case.

(More here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

I don’t want to rehash this issue more than I’ve already done, though, as many others are better at commenting on politics than I am. What I do want to bring to the attention of my readers is something different about Ron Paul. What concerns me about him almost as much as his disingenuous “I accept their support and money but really, really don’t like them” evasions vis-à-vis white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and “patriot” groups is an aspect of his beliefs that I almost never see discussed about him in the standard political outlets and blogs. What concerns me is what Ron Paul would very likely do in the healthcare arena if elected.

What concerns me is that Ron Paul is an enabler and arguably even a supporter of quackery.

Why do I say this? After all, Paul is a physician, having graduated from Duke University and trained in internal medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, switching to an obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of Pittsburgh after a stint in the Air Force. Of course, it is sadly not uncommon for physicians to turn to the Dark Side, and it turns out that not only is Ron Paul the candidate of choice for some rather disturbing political groups, but he’s also the candidate of choice for a wide variety of quacks and quack-friendly websites. Truly, crank magnetism is at work here!

For example, here’s what woo-meister supreme Dr. Joseph Mercola, who runs one of the most popular “alternative” medicine sites on the Internet, which is chock full of misinformation and hypocrisy, says about Paul in a gushing article:

Ron Paul (R-Texas) has the power and the integrity to impact your health freedom, should he win the 2008 presidential elections. This is why I was thrilled to hear, and wanted to share with you, Paul’s unprecedented outpouring of support that earned him over $4 million in just 24 hours.

This sets a record for one-day online fundraising by any candidate.

The fundraising drive was appropriately tied to Guy Fawkes Day (November 5), which is a British holiday commemorating the failure of a plot against the government. The day was undoubtedly chosen because Ron Paul supports the principles of the Constitution — and limited government involvement.

What does this mean for your health? Just as I encourage you to Take Control of Your Health, Ron Paul seeks to maximize your individual freedom, including those basic rights that pertain to your health.

Already, Paul introduced a bill (The Health Freedom Protection Act) that would strongly and positively affect Mercola.com and many other natural health organizations and advocates, along with the field of natural health in general.

Not to be outdone, über-crank Mike Adams of Newstarget (whom we’ve met before many times) really, really, really loves Ron Paul for President:

Only Ron Paul believes in genuine health freedom. He’s the creator of the Health Freedom Protection Act, a bill that would reestablish Free Speech provisions for makers of superfoods, herbs, nutritional supplements and other natural remedies. Under the HFPA, those individuals would be able to state scientifically-validated facts about the health benefits of their products right on the bottle! Today, the FDA doesn’t allow that. All truthful statements about nutritional supplements are presently censored! (It’s a way to protect Big Pharma and keep the American people ignorant about how plant-based medicines can prevent and even cure degenerative disease.)

If elected, Ron Paul would work to restore genuine health freedom in this country, giving consumers access to accurate, scientifically-validated information about how cherries can ease arthritis inflammation, for example, or how pomegranates can prevent prostate cancer, or how broccoli sprouts can prevent breast cancer. There are thousands of healing medicines in plant (herbs, foods, superfoods, etc.), and the public currently isn’t being allowed to know about any of their benefits. It’s a state of outright censorship promoted by the Big Pharma/FDA criminal partnership, and Ron Paul is the only candidate with a realistic shot at winning who would put an end to it.

I was wondering how many times Adams could work the term “scientifically-validated information” into his pitch. Of course, to Adams and other “health freedom” activists, “scientifically validated” means something a bit different than it does to most medical scientists. To Adams, if his site is any indication, “scientifically validated” means “there is a study in a scientific journal somewhere that says my favorite supplement prevents or cures disease.” The concept of looking at the totality of the literature to see whether such results are reproducible and widely accepted by science is alien to him. (If there’s only one study, then the rest are being “suppressed” by big pharma, naturally!) Dr. Paul’s claim that “all truthful statements about nutritional supplements are presently censored” is also a load of crap. What’s prohibited is unsupportable claims. (Or maybe Paul’s correct and it’s only lies about nutritional supplements that are permitted; certainly if late night infomercials are any indication, that would seem to be the case.)

Yes, Ron Paul is very popular among the quack-friendly set, particularly those tending to see a conspiracy between the FDA, FTC, and big pharma to keep them from selling their favorite nostrums. There’s good reason for that, given how staunch a supporter of “health freedom” he’s been over the years. What a wonderfully Orwellian term! After all, who could be against “health freedom”? If you are, you’re against freedom! It’s like being against free speech, mom, the flag, and apple pie. In actuality, “health freedom” is nothing more than a clever catch phrase that in effect describes measures that allow quacks the freedom to hawk their wares unfettered by pesky interference from the FDA or FTC. Perhaps the most notorious example of “health freedom” laws that have been passed is the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This is a law that emasculated the FDA in its ability to protect the public from dangerous supplements by reclassifying supplements as “food” or “nutrition” rather than drugs. Never mind that manufacturers of many supplements make blatantly drug-like claims for their products. The FDA can’t do anything about it, as long as the claims are carefully worded so as not to suggest that the product or ingredient is “intended for prevention or treatment of disease.” Since the DSHEA, it’s been more or less the wild, wild West out there as far as supplements go. Not surprisingly, Ron Paul is very much a supporter of this law, opposing any attempts to weaken its protections for the supplement industry’s ability to make dubious health claims for its products.

But that’s not all. Ron Paul is also the sponsor of the Foods Are Not Drugs Act (also known as the Consumer Health Free Speech Act), which would add the six words “other than foods, including dietary supplements” to the statutory definition of “drug,” allowing food and dietary supplement producers even wider latitude to make drug claims for supplements than they have now–as if the DSHEA didn’t provide wide enough latitude already. Perhaps Dr. Paul’s most notorious contribution to “health freedom” comes in his sponsorship of the Health Freedom Protection Act, which he introduced with a flourish of conspiracy-mongering:

The American people have made it clear they do not want the federal government to interfere with their access to dietary supplements, yet the FDA and the FTC continue to engage in heavy-handed attempts to restrict such access. The FDA continues to frustrate consumers’ efforts to learn how they can improve their health even after Congress, responding to a record number of constituents’ comments, passed the Dietary Supplement and Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). FDA bureaucrats are so determined to frustrate consumers’ access to truthful information that they are even evading their duty to comply with four federal court decisions vindicating consumers’ First Amendment rights to discover the health benefits of foods and dietary supplements.

[...]

The Health Freedom Protection Act will force the FDA to at last comply with the commands of Congress, the First Amendment, and the American people by codifying the First Amendment standards adopted by the federal courts. Specifically, the Health Freedom Protection Act stops the FDA from censoring truthful claims about the curative, mitigative, or preventative effects of dietary supplements, and adopts the federal court’s suggested use of disclaimers as an alternative to censorship. The Health Freedom Protection Act also stops the FDA from prohibiting the distribution of scientific articles and publications regarding the role of nutrients in protecting against disease.

This is, of course, utter bunk. The distribution of scientific articles is not prohibited. What is prohibited is cherry picking the literature for articles to use in advertisements to support unfounded claims that supplements can cure or prevent disease. But, his apparently dull facade notwithstanding, Dr. Paul is a master of spin, if nothing else. He’s quick to wrap his support for quackery in the mantle of the First Amendment:

This legislation also addresses the FTC’s violations of the First Amendment. Under traditional First Amendment jurisprudence, the federal government bears the burden of proving an advertising statement false before censoring that statement. However, the FTC has reversed the standard in the case of dietary supplements by requiring supplement manufactures to satisfy an unobtainable standard of proof that their statement is true. The FTC’s standards are blocking innovation in the marketplace.

The Health Freedom Protection Act requires the government bear the burden of proving that speech could be censored. This is how it should be in a free, dynamic society. The bill also requires that the FTC warn parties that their advertising is false and give them a chance to correct their mistakes.

Right. Because the FTC and FDA are so effective in prosecuting manufacturers and supplement sellers for making exaggerated claims. That must be why Kevin Trudeau, after having been convicted of just such behavior, is now out there, happy as a pig in mud, hauling in money hand over fist selling books that make all sorts of exaggerated or false claims for dietary supplements and various “alternative” therapies. It’s probably why woo-meisters like Dr. Mercola and Mike Adams run popular and profitable websites hawking supplements and various other unscientific remedies with apparently no interference from the FDA.

But, then, what do I know? No doubt Ron Paul supporters will label me a pharma shill for having the temerity to point these things out about their hero.

Another dubious “health freedom” law that Dr. Paul strongly supports is the Access to Medical Treatment Act, which would permit medical practitioners to “provide any treatment that the individual desires” that does not violate licensing laws. Practitioners may provide the treatment if: (a) it is not known to be directly harmful, (b) the patient is given written notice that the treatment is not government approved, and (c) written information is provided about the nature, anticipated benefits, and foreseeable side effects of the treatment. The Act would also require that dangerous outcomes be reported to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and that beneficial outcomes be reported to the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine (as if quacks would actually be able to recognize, much less would report accurately, “dangerous outcomes”). This bill is cleverly represented as an means of preserving patient freedom, but its real purpose is clearly to prevent government interference with unscientific practitioners who use unproven therapies. All a practitioner would have to do would be to have the patient sign a disclaimer before administering a useless treatment, and, aside from the case of a truly horrific “therapeutic misadventure,” he would be practically untouchable by the FDA or FTC.

Finally, if you peruse the “Health Freedom” section of Ron Paul’s campaign website, you’ll find even more reasons why the quack-loving contingent swoons over him. A little New World Order conspiracy-mongering starts things off:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order to comply with standards dictated by supra-national organizations such as the UN’s World Food Code (CODEX), NAFTA, and CAFTA, has been assuming greater control over nutrients, vitamins and natural health care providers to restrict your right to choose the manner in which you manage your health and nutritional needs.

Scary. I wonder when the black helicopters are coming.

But Paul’s not done yet:

I oppose legislation that increases the FDA’s legal powers. FDA has consistently failed to protect the public from dangerous drugs, genetically modified foods, dangerous pesticides and other chemicals in the food supply. Meanwhile they waste public funds attacking safe, healthy foods and dietary supplements.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Paul opposes mandatory vaccinations, as well. I wonder if he’s a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, publisher of that repository of crank medical “science” and right-wing political posturing, that cornucopia of antivaccination pseudoscience and downright vileness, anti-immigrant screeds, dubious studies claiming to link abortion with breast cancer that we’ve all come to know and ridicule, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. It sounds as though he would fit right in. Wait a minute! He is and does! In any case, if you think the FDA can’t adequately protect the public from dangerous drugs now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet if by some unpleasant quirk of fate Ron Paul wins the Presidency and enacts policies consistent with some of the things he’s said about the FDA, such as, “I don’t think we’d all die of unsafe food if we didn’t have the FDA. Someone else would do it.”

In some ways, it’s easy to see why Ron Paul attracts strong support from certain significant segments of the American electorate. His opposition to the war in Iraq is perhaps the premier reason, as it resonates with both the left and the right. Some of his libertarian views appeal to conservatives and liberals, as do what are viewed as his anti-“New World Order” foreign policy proposals and attacks on the encroachment of the post-9/11 security state, the latter of which, I must admit, appeals to me. The problem is that there’s just too much other baggage associated with his positions on theses issues, and that baggage is full of cranks. For one thing, Paul’s religion sets the limits of his libertarianism, leading him to support much of the Christian right agenda. For another thing, Paul courts the support of the most reactionary wing of the libertarian movement. Meanwhile he accepts neo-Nazi money and makes lame excuses for doing so; published racist tracts back in the 1990s; made a nutcase like Lew Rockwell his Chief of Staff; not only supports, but actively promotes quackery-friendly legislation designed to neutralize the FTC and FDA; and doesn’t accept evolution. This confluence of crankery makes it very hard for me to find any way to conclude that Paul’s opposition to the war and the abuses of federal power resulting from it can possibly overcome such powerful negatives. It’s even harder for me not to come to the conclusion that he is, on many issues, a crank par excellence, which is, of course, almost certainly why he exhibits such powerful crank magnetism. Electing Ron Paul would be electing a major crank to the Presidency and hoping that only the sane parts of his agenda are enacted into law and policy.

Good luck with that.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 28, 2007

    Ron Paul supporters are a lot like Imus supporters, they are cult like in their unwavering support. No matter what you throw at them they will come sreaming and crying to defend their next great white hope.

    Prepare to be invaded by them.

  2. #2 TheProbe
    December 28, 2007

    The Bad Astronomer has an excellent article on why Ron Paul is dangerous:

    http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/12/26/just-in-case-you-thought-ron-paul-wasnt-so-bad/

  3. #3 John Marley
    December 28, 2007

    Well said.

    I hope you’re prepared for a deluge of “nuh-uh, you’re a doo-doo head” responses from Ron Paul supporters.

  4. #4 user
    December 28, 2007

    he is creepy in a way only male gynecologists can be

  5. #5 Bronze Dog
    December 28, 2007

    You know, I’m thinking from now on I’ll replace “health freedom” with “caveat emptor” whenever I quote one of those people. Call a spade a spade.

  6. #6 apy
    December 28, 2007

    I think your introduction to Paul is some what misinformed, or perhaps I am. From what I understand it was not stormfront that donated the money but the creator of it, Don Black. So it was not one organization but one person. It was also not loads of money but $500.

    NYT issued a correction to their ‘article':
    http://themedium.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/26/editors-note-the-ron-paul-vid-lash/

    On top of that, the money, AFAIK, was not acquired illegal then given Paul (unlike the Mother Teresa fiasco), so while he may not agree with Don Black does that require him to give the money away? Paul makes a valid argument that he can’t possible background check every single donation, especially one for $500 but once he has learned of the origin of some of the money should he? I don’t know, one can fairly easily make the argument, I think, that he could possibly do more to combat racism by bettering education if he were president than donating the money to an organization. Isn’t Paul all about the constitution and supporting peoples freedoms no matter how much he may disagree with them? I can see how accepting the money would be in line with this belief in freedom and wanting to support it. In some ways I think Americans could possibly learn from that, freedom isn’t accepting anything unless it offends you. I don’t know, I think the introduction was a bit unjust though. (Note, I’m not a huge RP fan or follower or interested too much in American politics)

  7. #7 Dan
    December 28, 2007

    That’s my congressman!

    The good news is that everyone else in Congress considers him such a crank (fellow Republicans call him “Dr. No”), that the numerous bills he proposes are inevitably DOA. Unfortunately, this means I have no effective representation in Congress, but I’ll be moving soon. Dr. Paul’s office does send the “Ron Paul Cookbook” to us every year (it’s just regular home cooking with nothing amusingly insane).

    It’s too bad that the candidate who actually agrees with the American People on some very important issues is also rather loony.

    Now brace yourselves for the Rondroids.

  8. #8 vlad
    December 28, 2007

    I’m all for the health freedom crap. You wanted chlorine in our gene pool, here you go the stupid is now self administering. I think that the cranks will continue to crank out their personal solutions for everything under the sun. The real doctors will still do exactly what they are doing. The number of people willing to buy into woo will decrease over several generations. I don’t see any thing too horrid about this. As far as the horrible mis adventures, I don’t think there will be an increase in death or lose of function. The only real danger I see here is what will happen to people who choose physicians casually.

  9. #9 TheProbe
    December 28, 2007

    BonzeDog said “You know, I’m thinking from now on I’ll replace “health freedom” with “caveat emptor” whenever I quote one of those people. Call a spade a spade.”

    I love it! Consider it stolen and adopted.

  10. #10 deang
    December 28, 2007

    And if Paul were elected, none but the wealthy would be able to afford healthcare of whatever content anyway, because he’s one of those US-style libertarians who believes that people don’t deserve job security, public health protections, or affordable anything if those with money and power don’t want to make things affordable. He may be against “government” but he’s all for the moneyed and propertied lording it over everyone else, and the brief look at his bigotry that you’ve touched on here provides a glimpse of what sorts of wealthy people he would favor were he in power. The mere fact that he’s been a Republican/Libertarian within the past 2 decades ought to be enough to dissuade anyone with sense from voting for him. That he’s anti-evolution and was in the genocidal US air force makes his character even clearer.

  11. #11 Oldfart
    December 28, 2007

    Ron Paul isn’t the only woo lover to be a candidate for the nomination. Let’s find out who the others are:

    ScienceDebate2008

  12. #12 KeithB
    December 28, 2007

    I just saw Kevin Trudeau’s lasted infomercial and now he is peddling credit repair and debt relief! My irony meter busted on that one.

  13. #13 Peter
    December 28, 2007

    You know, it’s too bad, I actually really liked Ron Paul and his stance on a lot of things. But I keep hearing more and more about these types of things, and I think the cons just too far outweigh the pros. I’m all for a small, limited government, but not at the expense of public health. And really, a lot of this seems to go beyond keeping a small government into the realm of making special exceptions for woo.

  14. #14 Peter
    December 28, 2007

    You know, it’s too bad, I actually really liked Ron Paul and his stance on a lot of things. But I keep hearing more and more about these types of things, and I think the cons just too far outweigh the pros. I’m all for a small, limited government, but not at the expense of public health. And really, a lot of this seems to go beyond keeping a small government into the realm of making special exceptions for woo.

  15. #15 Matt Platte
    December 28, 2007

    confluence of crankery

    nice. I’m gonna borrow this phrase…

    Hey, I already voted for Ron Paul for President, back in ’88. Once is enough. Speaking of the ’88 campaign, have they let Jim Trafficant out of jail yet?

  16. #16 Bramble
    December 28, 2007

    I actually like the whole idea of health freedom. However he contradicts himself when he takes a right to life stance. Whether you are pro choice or pro life how can someone say they are for freedom in health care if you’re not allowed to make that decision? Why rigorously control one aspect but leave the rest loose. It makes no sense to me.

  17. #17 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 28, 2007

    This is a comment I got at my blog when I pointed to the OP here.

    Not one single person in my family goes to western doctors or uses traditional medicine. Been like that for over 30 years. Ron Paul is right about everything you quoted him on. My freedom to treat my family and myself is being seriously encroached upon in this country right now and I’m fed up with the FDA controlling herbs we use. I’ve seen my rights erode over the past decade in this regard and I’m done with it. So I’m a quack huh? I don’t pay thousands of dollars for BULLSHIT healthcare like a lot of people out there do, and nobody is going to take my freedom to choose that away.

    oh boy

  18. #18 Elver
    December 28, 2007

    I’m not a US citizen. Don’t give a shit who wins. Not a fan of Ron Paul. But I’m subscribed to Reddit and you tend to get a lot of Ron Paul news on there, so I might be able to correct some misunderstandings.

    Ron Paul believes in a different, much smaller federal government than the United States is used to. It does not matter if he’s pro-life or if he doesn’t believe in evolution or if he isn’t going to mandate country-wide universal healthcare. He has clearly said that these are problems for the states.

    Under his rule states themselves would decide to allow or deny abortions. States themselves would decide what to teach in schools. States themselves would take care of healthcare.

    Look at Arnold in California, for example. If his current plans work out, almost everyone in California would get healthcare paid for by employers and cigarette smokers. Arnold is also suing the federal government to allow California to set stricter air pollution standards. There’s no need to wait for the federal government.

    This, to me, seems like a much better approach. If a religious nut like Huckabee were to become President, he would no doubt force his own religious beliefs into schools all over the country. If you wanted to fight against it, you wouldn’t be able to. Lobbying the federal government is a long, expensive process. Lobbying the state government seems much simpler in comparison. And both businesses and people can always move to another state if need be. Moving to another country is much more difficult.

    If you look at all the feasible Republican candidates, Ron Paul seems like the most sensible one. On the Democrat side Obama and Hillary would work too, but they have no chance of winning: a black guy and a woman. Whichever becomes the official candidate will lose. And it’s not going to be Kucinich. A Republican will win. And it’s probably going to be Huckabee. Question is. Do you want a Christian theocracy or a guy who gives power to the states and despite his odd and less odd (but often misinterpreted) beliefs, he wouldn’t force them on others?

    Frankly I don’t give a shit. Economically the USA is so fucked, even someone as radical as Ron Paul couldn’t hold off the crash.

  19. #19 Orac
    December 28, 2007

    One can’t help but wonder: If you “don’t give a shit” and are “not a fan of Ron Paul,” why did you write such a long comment defending him?

  20. #20 Rjaye
    December 28, 2007

    The thing with RP and the “health freedoms” he advocates that draws woo supporters to him like flies to…well, is they think that if their particular brand of woo is accepted under law, that insurance would then have to cover their “treatment.” It’s not whether the crap is available–all woo is available–it’s just that people either can’t afford it, or feel someone else should pay for it.

    Like that’s going to happen under an RP system-insurance pay for it? HAHAHAA.

    As for our non-American, hey, the system is working, so far. Arnold is taking the routes we set up to challenge the system, and hopefully he will succeed so we can see if it works. It’s called “checks and balances.” Which would not exist under a Ron Paul government.

    That’s the part that bothers me-while Paul is supposedly pro-Constitution, he forgot a few lessons that kicked us in the behind about one hundred and fifty years ago.

  21. #21 Rjaye
    December 28, 2007

    The thing with RP and the “health freedoms” he advocates that draws woo supporters to him like flies to…well, is they think that if their particular brand of woo is accepted under law, that insurance would then have to cover their “treatment.” It’s not whether the crap is available–all woo is available–it’s just that people either can’t afford it, or feel someone else should pay for it.

    Like that’s going to happen under an RP system-insurance pay for it? HAHAHAA.

    As for our non-American, hey, the system is working, so far. Arnold is taking the routes we set up to challenge the system, and hopefully he will succeed so we can see if the ideas he proposes works. It’s called “checks and balances,” which would not exist under a Ron Paul government.

    That’s the part that bothers me-while Paul is supposedly pro-Constitution, he forgot a few lessons that kicked us in the behind about one hundred and fifty years ago.

  22. #22 Blake Stacey
    December 28, 2007

    Orac said,

    Ron Paul is also the sponsor of the Foods Are Not Drugs Act (also known as the Consumer Health Free Speech Act), which would add the six words “other than foods, including dietary supplements” to the statutory definition of “drug,” allowing food and dietary supplement producers even wider latitude to make drug claims for supplements than they have now–as if the DSHEA didn’t provide wide enough latitude already.

    This may be the greatest thing to happen to the pot brownie since Alice B. Toklas.

  23. #23 Sean
    December 28, 2007

    and was in the genocidal US air force makes his character even clearer.

    So simply having served in the USAF is now suitable evidence of poor character?

    How far back in time does this extend? Does it include family members who were supported by a primary breadwinner taking USAF money? How about other branches of the military? Army? If not the Army in general, what about Army aviation? Reserves and Guard as well?

    Truly, I did not know that I could so easily look down upon millions of other Americans for serving.

  24. #24 Elver
    December 28, 2007

    Orac: I care about the truth. Don’t you?

    Do I have to be anti-american to say that the United States foreign policy is flawed? Do I have to be a socialist to say that universal healthcare is a good thing? Do I have to be a Ron Paul fan to point out that someone is wrong about the guy?

    It’s called “checks and balances,” which would not exist under a Ron Paul government.

    What in the blazes are you talking about?

    As for the “genocidal USAF” claim… The dude was a fucking flight surgeon. Yeah, it makes his character very clear. He must have murdered and raped hundreds of women and children with his bandages.

  25. #25 Elver
    December 28, 2007

    Orac: I care about the truth. Don’t you?

    Do I have to be anti-american to say that the United States foreign policy is flawed? Do I have to be a socialist to say that universal healthcare is a good thing? Do I have to be a Ron Paul fan to point out that someone is wrong about the guy?

    It’s called “checks and balances,” which would not exist under a Ron Paul government.

    What in the blazes are you talking about?

    As for the “genocidal USAF” claim… The dude was a fucking flight surgeon. Yeah, it makes his character very clear. He must have murdered and raped hundreds of women and children with his bandages.

  26. #26 Elver
    December 28, 2007

    Orac: I care about the truth. Don’t you?

    Do I have to be anti-american to say that the United States foreign policy is flawed? Do I have to be a socialist to say that universal healthcare is a good thing? Do I have to be a Ron Paul fan to point out that someone is wrong about the guy?

    It’s called “checks and balances,” which would not exist under a Ron Paul government.

    What in the blazes are you talking about?

    As for the “genocidal USAF” claim… The dude was a fucking flight surgeon. Yeah, it makes his character very clear. He must have murdered and raped hundreds of women and children with his bandages.

  27. #27 Phil
    December 28, 2007

    Hey Elver, you would appear less crazy if you didn’t post the same thing three times.

  28. #28 Elver
    December 28, 2007

    I can’t help it. The commenting here is fucked up. It gave me an error message when I tried to post and I refreshed it. So it posted again, still giving me an error message. And a third time.

  29. #29 Shay
    December 28, 2007

    “That he’s anti-evolution and was in the genocidal US air force makes his character even clearer.”

    I agree about anti-evolution bit, but I’m going to have to check with my nephew in the Air Force about the genocide. Must have missed that part in his emails home.

  30. #30 Orac
    December 28, 2007

    Perhaps I can help with the “genocidal” U.S. Air Force bit, as I’ve seen this one before.

    It’s a common canard used by Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. They will sometimes try to play what I call the “moral equivalency” gambit by claiming that the strategic bombing of Germany during World War II was just as bad as anything the Nazis did to the Jews. They will sometimes even characterize the U.S. bombing campaign of being of “genocidal” intent towards the German people. It’s also used by some on the far left to refer to the bombing campaign in Cambodia, and I’ve heard the occasional opponent of the war in Iraq use the same canard.

    My guess is that he meant the latter, although it’s very ironic that he would have used a common Holocaust denier canard in making his statement. What a tool.

  31. #31 DLC
    December 28, 2007

    Unfortunately Dr Paul seems more interested in getting campaign funds than in who donates. Between that, and his obvious embracing of medical quackery, I have to say sorry,but I just can’t back this man for President, even though I do agree with some of his ideas.

  32. #32 Dangerous Bacon
    December 28, 2007

    Good article on Ron Paul.

    Paul’s enthusiastic supporters seem to me like the blind in an old-time parable. Each segment perceives whatever fragment of this guy appeals to their heartfelt desires, and misses or ignores the elements that many of us find so disturbing (opposition to the Civil Rights Act, his anti-abortion position, backing by racist elements, anti-science positions and enabling of quackery, for instance).

    The “health freedom” crowd adores him, naturally. The supplement dealers think he’ll open the door to ever more bogus claims and higher profits. Their customers, at least the ones who are so readily led by the nose into believing that Big Government/Pharma want to whisk away their pills, perceive him as a savior. The disturbing stuff about him just doesn’t matter.

    What are the odds he runs as a third-party candidate and we have to spend another year listening to his groupies fawn all over him?

  33. #33 HCN
    December 29, 2007

    Some of his followers seem to be looking for blogs that mention the FDA. The Quackometer blog posted an old film of the FDA warning against quackery, and this is how one of them responded, http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/12/magic-homeopathic-mp3-music-is-nothing.html#7984235740868087167
    :
    “FDA is the creation of a clueless President and Congress who let the so-called experts ply them with money, women and food so that they always support anything those experts say or do, even if (cuban if) it results in more widespread disease making more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more money for the experts. It’s all a huckin’ land grab.”

    Brilliant! I’m not quite sure whose land the FDA is grabbing. I went to the FDA website and checked their history. It seems that there has been a version of them since the mid-nineteenth century, and as an agency it has been renamed, reorganized and changed in the past 150 years.

    I suspect there are those who want homeopathy to gain some kind of traction, and folks like Hulda Clark not have to retreat to Mexico.

    I bet they are all cool with products substiting diethylene glycol for glycerin in cough meds, food and toothpates. It’s antifreeze! This is the stuff you are not supposed to let your dog lick up from the garage floor. Yet, if the Ron Paul folks get their way there would be no way to make sure it is not in anything you buy. Oh, yeah, the EVIL folks at the FDA are warning against the free market of toothpaste because it contained antifreeze:
    http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/toothpaste.html

  34. #34 N.B.
    December 29, 2007

    Another two points for Orac; right on target, as usual.

    I remember seeing some early television coverage of Ron Paul and being fairly enthusiastic about the guy. I have a lot of respect for physicians, so his career as a medical professional was a plus. And as for his positions? This was a real Republican, someone who wanted to minimize the influence of government where it didn’t belong. If memory serves, he was against any regulation of marriage by the government–I think that was a big part of why he seemed like he might be a good guy. He struck me as the kind of guy I might not necessarily vote for, but as the sort I wouldn’t curse for winning, either.

    Now we’re learning more about him, and he’s batshit insane. Thanks for helping bring these issues to light.

  35. #35 Gary
    December 29, 2007

    Thanks, Orac, for blogging about an often ignored aspect of Rep. Paul’s multifaceted weirdness.

  36. #36 Lucas
    December 29, 2007

    As a libertarian, I keep wishing I could like Paul, but (like most libertarian politicians) he’s a crank. His views on economics are wonky. The gold standard is a massive government subsidy for gold–I can’t imagine why it’s desirable from a libertarian viewpoint. And belief in creationism (or ID) is just a sign of bad judgment, especially from someone ostensibly trained in biology.

  37. #37 Shay
    December 29, 2007

    A modest proposal: may we call Godwin on the word “genocide” unless it clearly refers to “the systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.”

  38. #38 Elver
    December 29, 2007

    Ron Paul got one $500 donation from a White Power guy. Among tens of thousands of other donations. It is not feasible for his campaign staff to check the background of everyone who donates.

    Other candidates are getting large sums of money from people working at corporations that have been convicted of fraud, polluting the environment, and various other illegal and undesirable activities. Go demand that they return the money instead.

    Going back to the gold standard has been one of the alternatives that Ron Paul has suggested. He is pretty much the only candidate who even talks about monetary policy. The gold standard is not a campaign promise. Reforming monetary policy to get USA out of debt is.

    Ron Paul and the other candidates all have non-scientific views regarding evolution. The difference between him and the other candidates is that he has clearly said that he isn’t going to push his personal views on everyone else. He might not “believe in” evolution, but he’s not going to put intelligent design in science class. He might not “believe in” allowing abortion, but he’s going to let the states decide individually.

    The dude’s got cranky views, I’ll give you that, but unlike the other candidates (who have even crankier views when it comes to Jesus) he doesn’t believe in forcing these views on everyone else.

    There’s a difference between being skeptical and simply being against what you see as mainstream. The former requires that you actually do some research.

  39. #39 CJ
    December 29, 2007

    I’ve gone from a strong Paul supporter to very concerned about his views on CAM, abortion and stem cells over the last few weeks. I’ll forgive him the donations and the former letters because I think he has decent answers or explanations, but I can’t forgive him his support of woo.

    At the same time, I can’t think of any other candidate I’m willing to support on the ‘big’ issues. Ah well, guess I’ll be abstaining this election cycle.

    Deang: You really didn’t take the time to get your facts straight with that USAF line. Paul was drafted during the Cuban Missile Crisis and became a flight surgeon. He spent his military career trying to keep people alive, not killing them.

  40. #40 Elver
    December 29, 2007

    If you abstain, Huckabee wins. Do you want 4-8 years of Christian theocracy? No candidate is perfect, sure, but there are a couple who aren’t complete bonkers. Obama, Kucinich. Uh. Hillary? Ron Paul might qualify, depending on your definition of “bonkers”.

  41. #41 Grymes
    December 30, 2007

    I am surprised at how effective the current round of “Swift Boating” is working against Dr. Paul. You might not agree with all his policy positions but calling him insane is ridiculous and extreme.

    Why Dr. Paul’s message resonates with so many is obvious: The current situation in Washington is out of control and needs to be reigned in.

    This government has stomped all over the bill of rights and not ONE of the other republican candidates is speaking out against it (and none of the Democrats, Kucinich excepted).

    We have suspended Habeus Corpus and rendered prisoners to foreign powers to be “interrogated”. We are engaged in an undeclared potentially endless war against an unspecified enemy at enormous cost and dubious benefit.

    We continue to support a military that is five times more expensive than the runner up, in order to promulgate a foreign policy that is has proved disruptive and ineffective.

    As far as the comments about the gold standard go, let’s be clear about the changes in monetary policy that he is suggesting. Competition with hard asset backed money would be a meaningful check against the current federal reserve system which is constantly tempted to inflate our way out of crises like the dot-com bubble or the current credit crisis. Questioning whether a private entity should have the power to manage a hidden tax, and trying to elimate the moral hazard that constant bailouts create sounds pretty sane to me.

    As far as his position on abortion, he is an obstetrician! Besides, Roe v. Wade is crap law. We should not be making law from the bench, especially over such a morally charged issue like abortion. We need to either have a constitutional amendment that prescribes abortion or delegate the matter to the states. Though this will be contentious –it is the right thing to do.

    Beyond all this the man has a 20 year voting record that reflects an consistency and honesty that no other candidate can claim. That a substantial portion of the public still has enough respect for the original vision and hope of our Constitutional authors that they support him should be no surprise to anyone.

  42. #42 anthony
    December 30, 2007

    Dear Orac,

    Wow, that is a lot of slanderous linkage their my friend. Might as well throw in some links to the Baby Eaters Association and KKK while you’re at it.

    How about getting some perspective on “big issues”, and writing like a “scientist” instead of a Swiftboat hearsay repeating wacko who finds people guilty by association and being donated to.

    Weird to hear all that propaganda bs repeated on a “science” blog.

  43. #43 Blake Stacey
    December 30, 2007

    Sometimes I think, what a fortunate thing it is that politicians are not elected by blog comment threads.

  44. #44 Orac
    December 30, 2007

    What is “slanderous” about linking to the source of quotes of Ron Paul supporters?

    Oh, I get it. You don’t like my pointing out that Paul attracts such kooks, with Hutton Gibson added to the list.

    Every Presidential campaign attracts its share of crazies, but perhaps you should ask yourself why the Ron Paul campaign seems to attract such rabid support from such a wide coalition of cranks, from white nationalists, to quacks, to Holocaust deniers, to 9/11 Truthers.

  45. #45 mWooWoo
    December 30, 2007

    You seem to have made up your mind about him and are no longer listening and that is always a stupid reality. You have only made yourself look misinformed and considering there are over 900 interviews spelling out his positions you appear to be content with your lack of knowledge on the subject matter. If you decide that you care about what you say publicly or if you decide you should be familiar with your subject matter here are a couple links to catch up. The first link is his healthcare positions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Ron_Paul#Health_policy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul_presidential_campaign,_2008

  46. #46 Orac
    December 30, 2007

    I note that everything pointed out about Ron Paul’s support for quack-friendly legislation comes from either his own website or from the public record.

    Are you trying to argue that Paul didn’t support the DSHEA? Or that he doesn’t support that quack-friendly Access to Medical Treatment Act and Consumer Health Free Speech Act? Are you trying to argue that Paul isn’t the sponsor and principal booster of the so-called “Health Freedom Act”? Are you saying that Paul doesn’t oppose mandatory vaccination?

    Those are some of his positions on health care. Except for his support for the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, an act I supported as well, the rest of his positions are hardly better than the ones I chose to highlight in this post.

  47. #47 gRegor
    December 30, 2007

    I’m a Ron Paul supporter, but not a rabid one, or “Paultard” as they’re usually called. I was generally familiar with the health freedom issues, knowing that he would oppose government regulation of health care (or most anything else that doesn’t fall under federal government purview). I did not know specifics as it’s not one of the topics I’m most interested in. Generally, I’m not too concerned about the health freedom aspects because I support the principle behind the idea. That said, this was a long post and I haven’t processed everything yet. Thanks for prompting more thought on that aspect.

    On another matter, I know these weren’t your words, but I must take issue with the quote from David Neiwart. The quote is ridiculous because it starts out by saying it’s not “guilt by association”, but then he goes on to _explain_ what guilt by association is, and then _employs_ it. Blatantly.

    “Oh, it’s not that he’s a racist. It’s just that lots of racists agree with him on issues. He talks like them.” That’s guilt by association. I’ve seen lots of lame attempts at guilt by association, but few that actually address what guilt by association is, and then claim what they just said isn’t guilt by association.

    That aside, seriously, thanks for the post. I’ll be looking into it more.

  48. #48 Tlazolteotl
    December 30, 2007

    Besides, Roe v. Wade is crap law. We should not be making law from the bench, especially over such a morally charged issue like abortion.

    Let’s write it this way:

    Besides, Brown v. Board of Education is crap law. We should not be making law from the bench, especially over such a morally charged issue like civil rights.

    Hopefully you get the point.

  49. #49 Michael Ralston
    December 30, 2007

    The gold standard is not a campaign promise. Reforming monetary policy to get USA out of debt is.

    This makes no sense.
    It literally has no meaning.
    The US debt has nothing to do with monetary policy.
    The US has a debt because it spends more than it takes in as income.
    But this spending is a BUDGETARY issue and not a monetary policy issue.

    The reason nobody but Ron Paul is talking about monetary policy is because the monetary policy we have now is working better than any other monetary policy tried in history ever. There is no sign that it, itself, is broken. There is no reason to change it. None. None at all.
    The monetary policy we have did not cause the mortgage crisis – banks selling mortgage-backed securities at unrealistically high guarantees did. But the monetary policy had nothing to do with it. A 0-reserve gold-backed system could have had PRECISELY the same problem … except worse, because the mortgage bubble would have, instead of just making more money that’s going to go away when it pops, sucked money out of the rest of the economy, ensuring a massive depression even before it really popped.

    Ron Paul has his pluses. But his absolute lack of comprehension of economics is not one of them,

  50. #50 Ace of Sevens
    December 31, 2007

    Tlazolteotl: Wouldn’t youhave to explain how Rove vs. Wade and Brown vs. the Board of Education are fundamentally the same? I actually met Ron Paul a few months ago and asked him about Brown vs. the Board Education. He didn’t outright answer my question, but did assure me he understands the need to keep the states in line.

    As for supporting pro-quack legistion, it seems he is more arguing that endorsing tratments as effective/safe or not is not a valid function fot he federal goverment so the insurance companies would either have to determine this themselves, the states would have to do so individually or either group could cooperate on the issue or you could amend the constitution, not that the insurance companies would have to cover everything. I don’t think this has anything to do with quackery per se.

  51. #51 Freddy the Pig
    December 31, 2007

    “endorsing tratments as effective/safe or not is not a valid function fot he federal goverment” but it is a valid function for the states? Talk about inefficiency and duplication of effort – TSIB

    The Gold Standard worked so well for Britain during the 1930s depression that it is remembered as the Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churcill’s greatest blunder. But then empericism was never a strong suite of Libertarians or Quacks.

  52. #52 mWooWoo
    January 1, 2008

    Who cares if he attracts cranks?
    You do to.
    Does that mean you should not be read?
    Do you think the country or the world can take another 4 years of the type of politics we are assured to get from most of those running? Pointing out that he attracts wackos is pathetic. Especially when you look at the list of people that have said they support him.
    To see how pathetic take a look at this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul_presidential_campaign,_2008#Endorsements

    So you skipped over all those other supporters many with a PH.D. attached to their name and picked out one racist.
    You are pathetic and you may not know it but the world does
    after such a shitty article. I mean you don’t offer a better person to vote for and your throwing mud on the one person that is a refreshing change from the typical politician. I think the one thing that attracts such a broad spectrum of support is the fact he cares about the country and that is obvious to you and everyone.

  53. #53 Robster, FCD
    January 1, 2008

    mWW, RP isn’t just in pictures with racists, but is a racist author, with many a vile statement to his name. He has a long history of association with white supremacists, especially neo confederate groups.

    Pointing out that he has some perhaps respectable supporters does not make him a good candidate, or a good person. His positions and history would do that, and it doesn’t paint a flattering picture. Orac is just bringing to light one of many of Paul’s deficiencies. I’m sorry you need to be told who to vote for instead of Paul, but if an alternate had been suggested, you would be bitching about that, calling Orac a shill.

    Since he took $6000 from Tom Delay’s ARMPAC in exchange for voting to relax ethics rules shows that he is just as bad as previous leaders of a libertarian bent. Everything is for sale. The only reason he isn’t big business’s candidate is that he is a bad investment. You don’t sink millions into a candidate that doesn’t have a chance.

    He is a creationist, and while he may say that he doesn’t want to push his views on the rest of the nation, his education policies (no Dept of Ed, vouchers, parity for home schools without supervision) are designed to do just that.

    He is anti labor, anti choice, anti environment, pro medical quackery, supports 911 truthers…

    And his attempt to appear pro constitution is plainly false. He only likes parts of the constitution.

    As to the gold standard, with his investments in precious metals, he would make out like a bandit if the US gov was required to buy up enough gold to back its currency.

  54. #54 Brian Macker
    January 1, 2008

    Freddy the Pig,

    “The Gold Standard worked so well for Britain during the 1930s depression that it is remembered as the Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churcill’s greatest blunder. But then empericism was never a strong suite of Libertarians or Quacks.”

    I guess not knowing anything about what the gold standard is, what the British and Americans were actually doing at the time, or any other actual facts, counts as “empiricism” in your book. Ludwig von Mises pointed out the mistakes being made at the time before anyone realised things were going to go belly up.

    The 1930’s was a classical case of interventionism gone wild. It was bad monetary policy that was not consistent with a gold standard that lead to all the problems in the first place.

    We are following bad monetary policy right now and that is precisely why there was a housing boom. It was predicted by the Austrian economists a long time ago, and they were complaining about the government policies leading into this crisis long before anyone else noticed. The government has put in place rules and incentives that tend to lead to bubbles. Rules and incentives that wouldn’t arise in a free market.

  55. #55 TT
    January 2, 2008

    “a nutcase like Lew Rockwell his Chief of Staff”

    Orac, that link didn’t explain why he is nutcase, just that someone thought he was loathsome. Were you trying to say that he is a Nazi or something?

  56. #56 Skwee
    January 5, 2008

    At one point, I thought this guy was an actual progressive. But then I learned about his positions:

    http://www.politicalbase.com/people/ron-paul/15712/issues/

    and I quickly realized that it was just not so.

  57. #57 Kevin
    January 8, 2008

    Apparently Ron Paul’s supporters or just libertarians in general like to quote from the Austrian School of Economics’ most “brilliant” “economists.” Here is the skeleton closet of Ludwig von Mises:

    Mise’s views on race:

    “It is perfectly legitimate to assume that the races are different in their cognitive abilities and in their willpower and accordingly are unequally suited for the task of setting up societies, and that the better races are characterized in particular by their special ability to strengthen social bonds.”

    Mises’ views on the “uneducated masses:”

    “The masses do not think. This is precisely the reason why they follow those who do think. The intellectual leadership of mankind is a position held by the very few who are able to think.”

    And who might those thinkers be, according to Mises? Entrepreneurs, of course. If this isn’t the classic example of bogus economics and politics mixed together, I would be hard pressed to find a better example.

    Obviously Mises, a founder of the Austrian School, has very similar views to Ron Paul, which is why any enlightened voter should not vote for Ron Paul.

    Thanks for playing my game Brian Macker.

    The argument that governmental intervention caused the G.D. is simply a myth that covers up the existence of market failures. We were on the conservatives’ and libertarians’ preferred gold standard, and ever since 1933, the US has not suffered from a single depression thanks to Keynesian economics.

  58. #58 Maur
    January 11, 2008

    To other commenters: Isn’t it kind of hypocritical to make incendiary remarks/warnings about Paul’s “rabid” supporters? Even if there are stubborn fanatics, don’t they exist in every base? Isn’t this just like trying to prove a point about your disapproval of someone being violent, by beating them up?

  59. #59 Robster, FCD
    January 11, 2008

    Oh yes, of course, Maur. David Duke was on the fence between Obama and Paul for along time, and the 911 truthers had a hard choice between Clinton, Giuliani and Paul.

  60. #60 Will Jolly
    February 7, 2008

    Kevin, your endorsement of Keynesian ecomonics is laughable. The Keynesian policies of BOTH Hoover and FDR significantly prolonged the Great Depression, on top of the protectionism and inflation of the 1920s. Also, let’s not forget that Keynesian policies made mincemeat out of our economy in the 1970s and that the Keynesians couldn’t even explain the “stagflation” phenomena, which they claimed was impossible. Milton Friedman, a libertarian-leaning economist, could and did explain this, and for his efforts he won a Nobel Prize. How many Keynesians have won Nobel Prizes? Oh that’s right, none.
    And to expound on the history lesson, it was the abolition of the vast majority of Roosevelt’s Keynesian New Deal programs both during and immediately after World War II that helped the economy grow. Roosevelt cut domestic spending by fifty-four percent during World War II. After Roosevelt’s death, Harry Truman continued to dig the grave of the New Deal by undoing the heavy-handed (to say the least) business regulations imposed by FDR. Only after the New Deal was largely torpedoed did the economy begin to truly recover. That’s the truth, not the comic-book version so commonly adhered to by leftists and neoconservatives.

  61. #61 Will Jolly
    February 7, 2008

    Kevin, your endorsement of Keynesian ecomonics is laughable. The Keynesian policies of BOTH Hoover and FDR significantly prolonged the Great Depression, on top of the protectionism and inflation of the 1920s. Also, let’s not forget that Keynesian policies made mincemeat out of our economy in the 1970s and that the Keynesians couldn’t even explain the “stagflation” phenomena, which they claimed was impossible. Milton Friedman, a libertarian-leaning economist, could and did explain this, and for his efforts he won a Nobel Prize. How many Keynesians have won Nobel Prizes? Oh that’s right, none.
    And to expound on the history lesson, it was the abolition of the vast majority of Roosevelt’s Keynesian New Deal programs both during and immediately after World War II that helped the economy grow. Roosevelt cut domestic spending by fifty-four percent during World War II. After Roosevelt’s death, Harry Truman continued to dig the grave of the New Deal by undoing the heavy-handed (to say the least) business regulations imposed by FDR. Only after the New Deal was largely torpedoed did the economy begin to truly recover. That’s the truth, not the comic-book version so commonly adhered to by leftists and neoconservatives.

  62. #62 Michael
    February 14, 2008

    There are a group of people, very few of them economists, who claim that “Keynesian policies of BOTH Hoover and FDR significantly prolonged the Great Depression.” Their evidence for this position amounts to a WAG or Wild Ass Guess. They don’t like Keynesian economics because Keynes advocated interventionist government policy. The government uses fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions, depressions and booms.

    Many of the anti-Keynes group are anarcho-capitalist libertarians, against any type of government intervention in the marketplace and, in fact, against government in general. They are entitled to their opinions about the effectiveness of Keynesian economics, but it should be realized that what they are expressing are opinions.

    Incidently, Will Jolly makes the comment in the post immediately above: “Roosevelt cut domestic spending by fifty-four percent during World War II.” What Mr. Jolly fails to say is that military spending went from less than $1 billion in 1939 to over $100 billion in 1944. The decrease in domestic spending was more than overshadowed by the massive increase in military spending.

  63. #63 Michael
    February 14, 2008

    There are a group of people, very few of them economists, who claim that “Keynesian policies of BOTH Hoover and FDR significantly prolonged the Great Depression.” Their evidence for this position amounts to a WAG or Wild Ass Guess. They don’t like Keynesian economics because Keynes advocated interventionist government policy. The government uses fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions, depressions and booms.

    Many of the anti-Keynes group are anarcho-capitalist libertarians, against any type of government intervention in the marketplace and, in fact, against government in general. They are entitled to their opinions about the effectiveness of Keynesian economics, but it should be realized that what they are expressing are opinions.

    Incidently, Will Jolly makes the comment in the post immediately above: “Roosevelt cut domestic spending by fifty-four percent during World War II.” What Mr. Jolly fails to say is that military spending went from less than $1 billion in 1939 to over $100 billion in 1944. The decrease in domestic spending was more than overshadowed by the massive increase in military spending.

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