Saturday, May 5, 2012

A VERY Few Good Men

I have voted just once, and it was for Ron Paul in 2008. It is unlikely I will ever vote again.

This has nothing to do Dr. Paul’s 2008 performance. I knew going in that every vote cast is a vote thrown away, but I guess I had some notion of registering my dissatisfaction with the establishment (yes, I realize that is also a waste of time). Anyway, Paul is the only elected figure I respect, and the way he has sustained the momentum of the 2008 campaign and risen so dramatically in the public consciousness has been one of the few encouraging surprises of my lifetime.

But although I have been inspired by Ron Paul’s ascendance, this has not improved my opinion of government. If anything, it has fortified my grim view of it.

The very fact that Ron Paul is so exceptional is all the evidence you need that government cannot be managed or restrained. It would take a House and a Senate and a Supreme Court overwhelmingly filled with Ron Pauls to keep government from being a winter without end, and there has been just one Ron Paul in the entire history of the US (and one Ron Paul isn’t even enough to dominate a committee, let alone a Congress). I am not exaggerating. When it comes to abstaining from nonsense, there isn’t another track record as consistent as Paul’s (and many of his supposedly fellow anti-establishment types don't hold up to examination). And we should remember that he has never been tested at the executive level. Much as I admire him, we have no idea if he would remain Dr. No while residing in the White House.

The exception of Ron Paul proves the rule: government is an unwieldy boomerang…everything you put into it comes soaring back to lop your face off.

Yet folks continue to believe. Reminds me of investors who pay Wall Street fund managers hefty performance fees to deliver them above-market returns. Most fund managers do not beat the market. This has always been true. Yet people forever point to those sparse few market-beaters like Peter Lynch and Ray Dalio as proof that trying to beat the market is worthwhile. Stand back and you'll observe that the staggering dearth of market-beaters suggests that attempting to beat the market is unrealistic. This info. falls on stone deaf ears. Investors keep fruitlessly chasing unrealistic market returns and voters keep fruitlessly chasing unrealistic political returns.

There has been one Ron Paul in 200+ years, yet we're expected to keep the faith about government. And voters do keep the faith. No matter how many times their efforts fail, no matter how many times they're betrayed...they keep believing. Just like investors. Wall Street comes out with Value at Risk; the political system comes out with Tea Parties. The results remain as dire as ever. The fact that the Ron Pauls and Howard Buffetts and Grover Clevelands are as stunningly infrequent as the Peter Lynches and Ray Dalios demonstrates how useless it is to think you’re going to beat the government. The difference is that when you buy a mutual fund, they might charge you a 2% performance fee. For voters, the “performance fee” charged by the government (taxes) is usually more than ten times that.


cej102937 said...

Are you familiar with Anarchy? If not, you should look up some of the good writers on the topic. Anarchy is quite a bit different than the popular opinion of it, and I feel you may find it close to your heart.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your blog post about government being an uncontrollable beast. A big part of the problem is the fact that democracy tends to result in uneducated people voting for whoever can trick or bribe them the best, while simultaneously obscuring the fact that their rights are being taken away.

On the positive side, Rep. Justin Amash is a young and rising successor to the liberty movement that Ron Paul has been championing. For 3 years straight, he's posted on Facebook every time he's made a vote on the floor and always gives an explanation of his rationale. He's also held to voting based on the idea of a Constitutionally-limited federal government.