Like many other Paul-ites, I’ve spent quite a bit of time defending Dr. Paul’s ideals to critics and naysayers.
One thing I’ve found in my discussions is that many good, honest, and intelligent Americans look out to our corporatist society and conclude that the free market only benefits big business while hurting the little guy. They don’t understand how someone like Ron Paul could endorse free market capitalism. I’ve even heard someone say, “Ron Paul should keep his social policy, fix his economic policy, and become a Democrat!”
However, the idea that a person should have the right to choose what he puts into his body, but shouldn’t have the right to determine the salary he is willing to offer his potential employees, is hypocritical at best. That’s why I always try to point out that the principles behind Ron Paul’s social policy and economic policy are actually one and the same: allowing people to live their lives as they see fit.
It’s important to understand that a thriving economy is not the goal but the result of a free people. I stress this because in many of my conversations people argue, “Yeah, but if you tax this you can pay for that.” Or, “If you pass this law you can really boost our output and help the economy!”
But by trying to regulate liberty, we prevent economic forces from improving our quality of life. At the same time, by attempting to prescribe the way business is to be conducted, we place a quota on how we are allowed to interact with one another.
This social agenda is already strictly enforced not just in business but also in matters of politics, religion and education, to name a few. If we consider frivolous lawsuits then we also try to regulate how people speak with one another. We have, through numerous laws, removed all freedom in many areas, thereby creating a society whose sole purpose is to shift responsibility to someone else. Yet we ignore the fact that economics is simply the means by which people work together to solve problems.
What’s my problem? I need a house. What’s your problem? You need a job. And by today’s standards we’ll need to speak with our local government officials to help us solve our problems. Whom I marry and whom I hire are my decisions alone. Yet, for some reason, we overlook the human aspect of business and focus on the monetary byproducts. We ignore the fact that when people come together to solve problems they are, in fact, building a very private relationship.
Of course, this private relationship is not without limits. Just like a person cannot beat their spouse, abuse their children, or kill their friends, businesses do not have the authority to infringe on the natural rights of others. The government’s job then, in regards to the economy, is the same as it is towards social policy: protecting the natural rights of individuals.
Ron Paul’s economic principles rest on the idea that humans have the right to choose how to interact with one another. Once we realize that business is just another name for social interaction we will be on the road to understanding liberty.