In April I posted a transcript of a part of a YouTube video (which is no longer available) by Barry Germansky. He was making his case against the Pauls. I also posted my responses to his video, which are linked to the transcript, in defense of Ron and Rand Paul. And even though lately I have been less than enamored with the younger of the two, I stand by my defenses of each, the comment Barry left (which is below) on my posting of his transcript notwithstanding. Over the next few days/weeks I plan on dismantling some if not all of his statements, depending on the amount of ignorance or lies (I am not yet calling Barry a liar) I find. This will likely be interrupted at times by other posts. In addition to the comment he left (April 11th) I am posting my immediate comment/response to him (April 12th). At first glance, his comment looks like it was copied and pasted from something else he had written, given that it spouts some of the same arguments that are in his video, and given that he is apparently “published” and even gave his comment a title. But if you google the title, the only thing you will find is my site.
BARRY GERMANSKY’S COMMENT
This is Barry Germansky writing. Since my video is no longer on YouTube, perhaps you’d consider posting my op-ed on your site instead.
P.S. I’m not a “self-appointed” film critic or philosopher. I’m the Arts Editor of MACMEDIA, a magazine published through York University in Toronto.
Tea Party Heroes Ron and Rand Paul Make for a Bitter Brew
By Barry Germansky
Ron and Ran Paul advocate a form of free market libertarianism that is not only highly contradictory in nature, but is falsely appropriated by this father-son duo in an attempt to hail their extremist ideology as a fixture of the United States Constitution. Far from representing the individual as they pride themselves in doing, the Pauls endorse big businesses and neglect every other facet of human thought other than economics. It is through their reliance on the free market as an umbrella paradigm that their views on different societal sectors become distorted. The Pauls cater to naïve utopian ideals, in which all humans are as perfect and bland as numbers on a page. Since economics is the language of the free market, economics becomes their only lens on society as a whole. These Tea Party poster boys have a giant kettle of political poison and are spewing it across the American landscape.
The primary flaw in the Pauls’ mandate to implement a free market libertarian society is that they claim it is the constitutional way to manage federal government. Furthermore, they argue that most federal programs – from the department of education to the FDA – are unconstitutional for the sole reason that they are not mentioned in the Constitution. The Pauls are empirically incorrect on both fronts. First, the Constitution does not once mention the words “free market” or “capitalism” or “libertarianism”. Second, it does not specify what the people can decide to implement through the appropriation of tax dollars. Therefore, the Pauls have either misread the Constitution or purposely distorted it to suit their personal ideology. They also seem to use the “reference the Constitution” rebuttal whenever they are questioned by the media for wanting to dismantle federal departments. The Pauls do this because they know most Americans have no knowledge of the document, and will be unable to counter their fundamentalist interpretations. This allows their grotesque and highly contradictory misreading of the Constitution to go uncontested. But, now that this dishonest manoeuvre has been revealed, it alone discredits their free market libertarian mandate.
Essentially, Ron and Rand Paul’s brand of free market libertarianism equates to radical totalitarianism. They impose a societal yardstick of free market economics on every sector. This explains, for example, why the Pauls do not differentiate between property rights and any other kind of human freedoms. Under the umbrella paradigm of the free market, every entity is considered “property”. They dismiss the factors inherent in specific societal issues, from health care to education, and gun control to global warming. They claim that all rights are the same as the right to property. Therefore, the Pauls sidestep the individual matters at hand, resorting to their magic wand term of “property” to solve any unrelated issue. Even when they say people also have the right to “life”, they are treating life as a property.
The Pauls’ mandate of applying economic terms – demonstrated in microcosm by their free market beliefs – to all societal sectors creates an enormous disconnect between their personal ideology and the individual matters pertinent to humanity, society, and government at large. The Paul’s free market gospel would be appropriate for a CEO who deals with money all day long, but not for the leader of a nation comprised of so much more than money. In fact, by examining the free market libertarians who seek to put money ahead of all other human considerations in government, the importance of a democratic government in preserving equality and social justice is revealed. For example, contrary to what the Pauls will have you believe, property rights are not the most effective methods of combating global warming. This is an environmental issue and should be explored using science before any other school of thought. But, the Pauls stubbornly resort to an economic solution. It is through their free market brand of ideological tyranny that economics becomes their sole societal lens.
Of course, nothing about the free market is “voluntary”. It functions by its own set of rules. The Pauls treat the free market as truly “free”, but are simply ignoring the fact that it is nothing more than another restrictive ideological construct. They happen to prefer it to other theories, but that does not make the free market a universal fact of life. But just watch how the Pauls, in their unique brand of economic collectivism, dismiss all non-economic concerns and aspects of human existence. One swipe of their wrists makes the public’s multi-faceted social concerns disappear from the political agenda.
Naturally, the Pauls’ preference for putting economic values first – by believing in free market libertarianism, which uses economics in totalitarian fashion to run society – caters to big businesses far more than the average citizen. Perhaps this is best demonstrated by Ron and Rand’s constant support for the abolition of government-issued money in favor of currency minted by private banks. As is commonplace with the Pauls, they choose to ignore history or simply distort it. Their plan to abolish the Federal Reserve has already been tried to varying degrees, and does not lead to utopian freedom. Instead, it creates an influx of fraud and currency debasement, followed by the concentration of financial power in the few banks that survive the ensuing “big fish versus little fish gladiatorial match”. Without government regulation to protect the country, individual autonomy among the masses becomes victimized by those with greater influence. The rich and powerful, who account for a small percentage of the country’s total population, have more wealth than the majority. In a free market, some unfortunate people – for example, those who are physically disabled or grew up in poverty – will automatically be disadvantaged and have no assistance from society to overcome these factors (which the current system tries its best to accommodate). For these simple reasons, corporate monopolies would be even more widespread without government intervention. The little fish would have no chance.
The Pauls’ default stance of misrepresenting the historical record also helps them peddle the absurd Austrian School idea to deregulate all private businesses and subsequently create a utopian free market. The Pauls refuse to believe that deregulation caused the Great Depression and the 2008 recession, despite vast quantities of evidence to the contrary. Following the Great Depression, when FDR introduced strict, compartmentalized regulation of the marketplace, the United States enjoyed a forty-year period of virtually uninterrupted growth, transforming the country into a superpower. Then, when Reagan took office in the 1980s, he was aided by Alan Greenspan and company to remove the historically-proven regulations. This helped big businesses make more profits while sending the rest of America into the gutter. This culminated in the 2008 recession. The Pauls are able to ignore all of these historical events because they treat their personal ideology as more credible than primary evidence. This is a big no-no for any serious historian.
Furthermore, without government regulation of societal sectors like the economy, there would be no way for the public to investigate or discover institutional wrongdoings. The people have no control over private enterprises, but they do have control over their government. Government regulation allows all citizens to have a say in the governance of society. By contrast, a free market favors the rich by its very nature of treating money on a higher pantheon than any other sociological construct. Similarly, the Pauls’ stance that the free market will regulate itself by forcing companies to offer higher quality products and services to drown out the hyper-capitalist competition is absurd. History has shown us that companies cut corners in terms of quality and safety to generate ever-greater profits. The last thing on their minds is to increase quality, as this would cost them more money.
The BP oil spill helped discredit the Pauls on their stance that companies will have to take responsibility for their failures in order to stay in business under a free market system. Predictably, BP did not rush to do anything to clean up the spill, nor did it provide financial compensation for the families of the deceased oil rig workers and the local businesses on the Gulf Coast. In a display of his unhealthy and deluded devotion to big businesses over people, Senator Rand Paul shifted the criticism not to BP’s brass, but to Obama for threatening to put his “boot heel on the throat of BP” in metaphorical terms. Obama did this to pressure the company to live up to its responsibility for the disaster it alone created. Even more disturbing was Rand Paul’s assertion that BP should be cut some slack because “accidents happen”. Of course, it is widespread knowledge that BP knew its rig was unsafe and failed to make the necessary repairs. Rand Paul decided to ignore the human and environmental tragedies in favour of his abstract free market views.
The Pauls will have you believe that the federal government is unnecessary for regulating most societal sectors because such decisions can be made at a state level. In this regard, the federal government was wrong to intervene in the BP crisis because it should have been the responsibility of the individual states whose shores were being polluted from the monstrous result of a private enterprise’s greed. But there is a blatant disregard for common sense in this argument. The reason the “United States” became a country is because individual states realized that pooling their resources together helped out everyone in the long run. Simply put, some states have resources that others do not have, and no one state has all of the resources it requires. The Pauls ignore this factor and not only become isolationists, but isolationists of the fundamentalist variety. Forget about foreign policy; the Pauls do not want to help the states who are members of the same country. According to this gospel, the United States should disband.
Far from being folk heroes or sensible leaders, Ron and Rand Paul are emblematic of all that is wrong about capitalistic greed. They unfairly treat abstract economic terms higher than any other equally abstract ideas. They also prioritize these ideals to a greater degree than the tangible realities they are supposed to theoretically represent, thereby contradicting the existence of their beloved free market terms in the first place. There is no need for an ideology when it becomes more important than the real world it was designed to defend. It is a mistake to apply capitalist efficiencies to the whole of society, but the Pauls are content with marching down their self-satisfied parade of ideological tyranny. The Pauls must stop being taken seriously in order for personal autonomy to survive in America. The time has come to pour out all of the lies from their Tea Party-endorsed kettle, exposing these marketplace fundamentalists for who they really are.
MY IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
I am glad you found this (I did use your name, your blog, your philosophical theory, and your YouTube username as tags after all). I will introduce you properly, post what you said, and attempt to counter it. Not immediately, as I currently have other things under way.