It’s Thursday evening and I am at Ryan’s Steakhouse in Hixson, waiting in one of the closed dining areas — the wrong one, it turns out — for Ron Paul supporters to gather.
I sit at a sticky table as a Ryan’s crewmember bustled about in cleanup. A little early, I am reading Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. My copy is a cheap 1946 paperback treasure I tuck into my briefcase just for such down moments. “ *** [O]f all the Diversions of Life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty Spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining Authors,” notes Addison in Spectator No. 93, June 16, 1711, a Saturday.
A woman in her late 50s glides in. I rise to greet her.
Mrs. Noble, or so I shall call her, typifies what I love about Ron Paul supporters. Before I tell about the folks at the meeting, I’d like to tell you about Mrs. Noble’s delightful jab.
No, Mrs. Noble is not the crank
I ask Mrs. Noble which of Ron Paul’s arguments most interest her. I don’t have my tape recorder running, so I cannot quote her, but she said something like this: “I really agree with Ron Paul for his desire to audit the Federal Reserve. There is no other candidate who wants to do that. I think if we can get to the bottom of the Fed’s finances we can understand how it has ruined the country — with all that inflation and its control of economic life.”
Mrs. Noble went on: “I think the biggest problem in the country is fractional reserve banking.”
Truly, this is a woman after my own heart. Here’s an American commoner whose critique of the system is different from the mainstream’s. For her, the political issue of the day is not jobs or taxes. It’s not “taking aggressive steps to put Americans back to work and create an economy where hard work pays and responsibility is rewarded,” to borrow some words the Obama election website. Her analysis isn’t so facile.
Mrs. Noble goes right to the heart of the modern economy, with credit being an unending source of fuel to keep up the illusion of prosperity and to better enslave the dolts who buy lunch with plastic and drive mortgaged imports.
I make a comment about banking’s being the source of abasement of the dollar:
“Well, I wouldn’t consider reserve deposits inflationary,” she said, “only new loans.”
“You know, you may be right,” I said, biting my lip. But, indeed, I am delighted to be corrected.
Mrs. Noble is like a good liberal, saying that America should bring all its troops home because it cannot afford to police the world. She is like a good conservative, saying a F$1 trillion cut in spending would be a good thing, and that Ron Paul could accomplish it.
But most people don’t follow Ron Paul, who has been saying the same thing about American empire and American indebtedness for the past 40 years and standing on the U.S. Constitution for longer than that. He doesn’t fit the established categories.
The press makes out Ron Paul to be a crank, caring nothing for his arugments, just his chances to win. Rather, the cranks might be those people who believe the Fed “helps” the economy, that taxpayer-guaranteed business loans bring prosperity and that honest money is inherently faulty. Is yeoman-stock Mrs. Noble loony? She’s probably saner than Bob Corker, who sits on a Senate banking committee and who voted to bail out the only industry in the world that creates money from thin air.
Ron Paul supporters in war of ideas, not just candidates
The meeting in the adjoining dining area involves 25 people who listen to Daniel Appleget, the local campaign coordinator and a tea party regular, and Dr. Shaun Crowell, the independent U.S. Senate candidate.
Also giving a presentation is Matt Collins, a Nashville staffer on the Ron Paul campaign. His running commentary and news links are visible on the Tennessee Campaign for Liberty page on Facebook. Mr. Collins asks that he not be quoted. So I make some points about the coming election based on general sources.
➤ Dr. Paul will not get the nomination, as his efforts have been unjustly thwarted by Republicans who want the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney, a Mormon, to remain unchallenged. Ron Paul upends the big-government Republicans’ plans for power.
➤ Ron Paul has attracted very strong support from university students, twenty-somethings and military people. Anyone interested in libertarian or free market ideas is attracted to him. Many of my homeschool Christian friends are Ron Paul backers. His campaign has suffered a blackout from every old-guard media outlet, from the Chattanooga Times Free Press and the Wall Street Journal to Fox news and CNN. No matter. He won’t prevail in his person, in his bid for office. But his ideas will prevail. His ideas about constitutional government, about a breaking up of the machinery of political and economic centralization (starting with the Fed), are the substance of his campaign. He is not selling personality or promises. I am attracted to Dr. Paul because his beliefs are most reflective of my worldview as a Christian.
➤ We hear talk of the Ron Paul Revolution. Well, more accurately, his ideas are the “Ron Paul Counterrevolution” or the “Ron Paul Reformation.” He is a counterrevolutionary, seeking to overturn the revolution of statism against free markets and constitutional government of enumerated powers. The term “reformation” is only partly right. Reformation is primarily religious and secondarily cultural. Dr. Paul’s ideas are in the area of law and government, and so tertiary (in third place). Political devolution of the kind he envisions would be a reward for a repentant nation that has turned its heart to God in the name of Jesus Christ.
➤ The power of dedicated minorities will eventually win. Government has many powerful constituencies, but they are on the dole, and lack the drive of the reformers, even though their sinecures are threatened.
➤ Dr. Paul probably won’t hold high office. But his son Rand, a federal senator from Kentucky, is a possible presidential contender in 2016. The son is very similar in his ideas to his father.
What do Ron Paul revolutionaries say?
I sit at table with three men, and ask them to explain Dr. Paul and his reform-minded son. Their interests touch on states’ rights, the Fed and the rejected goals of the republic’s founders.
➤ “I support Ron Paul because he is a strict constitutionalist,” says Channing Kilgore, a Baptist minister from Whitwell, Tenn. “I am tired of pragmatic reasons of governing or country, and appeasement to other nations. I want to retain U.S. sovereignty and constitutionalism.” On states’ rights, he adds, “I think he is right on track. We are way off from where the founding fathers intended for state sovereignty versus federal powers encroachment that we’re seeing today. I think it’s time for the states to kick back on the Ninth and 10 Amendments. The 10th Amendment talks about those rights not given to the federal government are reserved to the states and the people thereof.”
➤ Jason Davis of Soddy-Daisy, who works as a programmer in an insurance company, said he supports Ron Paul for many reasons. “One reason is the Federal Reserve and the monetary system, and just basic liberties. We keep giving away our liberties left and right. *** Any bill that restricts our freedom and hinders our inalienable rights he won’t sign into law if he becomes president.”
➤ “There’s a slim possibility that I can vote for Romney,” says David Gidcumb, a homeschool dad of four children who works in the insurance field. But he hedges. “But it really depend on his vice presidential choice. His VP choice would have to be a Rand Paul — which, honestly, I hope he doesn’t pick Rand Paul, because I think Rand Paul will be president one day. I think he has what it takes to be a constitutionally minded president, unlike that which we’ve seen ever, since our founding fathers. But chances of me voting for Romney are so very slim.”
If he skips Romney, he would favor the Constitution Party over the Libertarian Party because its platform explicitly acknowledges God.
Crowell rebukes Corker for bank bailout
The event also hears from Shaun Crowell, a Nashville area veterinarian who has had enough and isn’t going to take it anymore. Dr. Crowell sketches out his ideas and gives a scathing rebuke of the Republican incumbent, former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker.
“Bob Corker has agreed with Obama 61% of the time these past four years,” Dr. Crowell says on his website in points he made in his talk. “He has voted against the Constitution 40% of the time the past six years. He voted for the big bank bailouts of 2008. He has spent over 1 trillion dollars of your hard earned money and given it to special interest groups. He has voted for the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and to extend the Patriot Act in 2010 both which violate the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to the Constitution.”
I’ll tell a little more about this professing Christian and homeschooling dad in a coming post.
A former Marine, Ryan Stuart, a pony-tailed bachelor who lives in Soddy-Daisy, has today’s last word: “The left and right nowadays are pretty much the same thing. So it’s either freedom or nonfreedom. And Ron Paul is definitely on the freedom side.”