By Shafey Danish (NVONews.Com)
Ron Paul is something of an extremist even in the Republican Party, which is filled with extremists for 2012 US Presidential elections. But you would not be able to make this out from his bearing. Paul is all about old world conservatism (he is 76), family and freedom. Many of his views â€“ like those opposing Americaâ€™s sprawling military engagements â€“ are music to progressive ears, while others charm the hardliners in the tea party.
His economic views are similarly extreme. He wants the Fed abolished, would prefer the taxes to be zero, and wants the gold standard restored. So who exactly is Ron Paul?
Ron Paul is the son of a German immigrant who ran a small diary business near Pittsburg. He inherited the ethic of â€˜work and churchâ€™ in the basement of his fatherâ€™s house, where he and his brothers assisted in the family business identifying milk bottles that had not been properly washed.
When he grew up, Paul briefly considered becoming a Lutheran minister, but choose medicine instead. He graduated from the Duke Medical University, and in the beginning of his career, when he starting his residency, he was drafted in the US airforce as a surgeon. He served in the Army from 1963 to 1965. After he was discharged from service, he moved to Texas to practice Obstetrics. He continues to practice to this day, alongside his political career.
While still a surgeon, he developed a passion for economics, and that became a turning point in his life. He read through Austrian economics, the doctrine that acts as a counterweight to Keynesian economics. Ayn Randâ€™s Atlas Shrugged, and Boris Pasternakâ€™s Dr Zhivago were two other important influences. Both speak of the evils of too much government, albeit from different points of view.
In 1971 when President Richard Nixon closed the â€˜gold windowâ€™, marking the complete departure of the dollar from the gold standard, Paul decided it was time to enter politics.
From 1976 onwards he has served as a congressman, continuously since 1997 as representative from Texas 14th congressional district. Throughout his political career he has continued to espouse views that are getting so much attention now. Even Paul Krugman, one of the most trenchant critics of Republicans, concedes Ron Paul has been consistent (though he adds this consistency is in the face of facts that directly contradicts Paulâ€™s positions. â€œA foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little mindsâ€ he says quoting Emerson).
That brings us nicely to the point where we can enumerate Paulâ€™s views, and we will choose the most outrageous ones. Ron Paul is a strong advocate of small government. To the point that he believes that the government should have no role in deciding what the individual should do, if it does not harm anyone else. That is why Ron Paul is strongly against gun control, and drug war.
Paul also wants to dismantle the welfare state because he believes that any kind of policy that takes from one to give to another is stealing. He wants the taxes to be as low a possible, and to achieve this he is willing to dismantle the military industrial complex and bring all the soldiers home. America has close to a thousand bases around the world.
Paul has dramatic views on economic policy, which he has made a central part of his presidential campaign. He believes in what is called Austrian school of economics. Accordingly, as mentioned earlier, he wants the US to return to the gold standard immediately. He also believes that the Fed has become an instrument of supplying money to the already moneyed. Therefore he wants the Fed to be abolished. According to Paul printing more money would lead to inflation which in turn would harm the common folks.
He also believes in the efficacy of the free market. The current crisis Paul believes has been caused by crony capitalism, and not free markets.
He is absolutely against anything that will increase the size of the government, therefore he routinely votes against any kind of deficit spending. Which makes him vote against his own party every time that support a deficit funded budget, which is most of the time
For most of his political career, Ron Paul was not taken seriously. But as the great recession of 2007-2009 set in, many more started paying attention to his ideas. Now that he has won the third place in the republican primary in Iowa, and is second in polls in New Hampshire polls, its seems America needs to take him and his views a lot more seriously.