292 of 314 people found the following review helpful
Paul's Most Daring Book Yet,
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This review is from: Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom (Kindle Edition)
I purchased the kindle edition and finished the book in 3 hours with several re-readings of some chapters/paragraphs.
This book is intended for rapidly imploding contemporary America, and could serve as some sort of ideological foundation for next 10 years to organize a political revamping of GOP which is in its death throes. It deals with Paul's unique approach as a conservative libertarian.
Surprisingly, the word libertarian has been mentioned only 6 times, whereas the word moral appears a good 109 times.
The writing appears to be universal in its appeal so that an Asian or African can also relate to part of its contents. Its main focus is on freedom, which together with diversity and harmony, forms the three principles of humanity.
The book is tabulated in 50 chapters and covers 5 principal themes.
1. Individual vs State: Chapters on Capital Punishment, Civil Disobedience, Public Land, Surveillance and Slavery deal with Paul's view of Washington DC's crack-down on "personal" liberty. Paul claims that Washington DC is violating personal and property rights of American people. Matters are at the tipping point so that in near future Americans will lose all remaining freedoms. However, he does not provide any timeline.
2. Foreign policy: Chapters on Assassinations, CIA, Conscription, Empire, Foreign Aid, Patriotism, Security, Terrorism, Trade Policies and Zionism. Paul claims that Washington DC's foreign policy is costing Americans in blood and treasure. These policies are advanced by neoconservatives, whose founders were Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol. But its executive roots lay in Wilson's presidency, who preceded Strauss & Kristol! Paul's prescription for Arab-Israeli conflict is Intermarriage, not war. But if the Congress declares war, would a non-interventionist Paul execute it as President? Further, if America withdraws, will terrorists stop attacking? If I (America) burn my neighbor's (Iraq/Afg) house and then withdraw and say sorry, will my neighbor drop the idea of bloody revenge? Unlikely.
3. Welfarism/ State Socialism: Chapters on Bipartisanship, Executive Power, Four Freedoms, Gun Control, Immigration, Insurance, Lobbying, Medical Care, Moral Hazard, Morality in Government, Prohibition, Public Land, Statistics and Unions. These chapters deal with centralization of power over individuals, families, towns and States. These chapters offer a grave warning to reader that charity and philanthropy is being replaced with government programs. Regrettably, Paul is crying in the wilderness for the noble concept of Tithe, which used to be customary in a bygone era. A revival of Tithe is the humane alternative to State Welfarism, so that the bottom 10%, the ones who have been left behind, can be helped.
4. Monetary/Economic Policy: Taxes, Monetary Policy, Keynesianism, Business cycle and Austrian Economics deal with the economic policy, monetary policy and Paul's pet topic, the Federal Reserve. Paul claims that Keynesianism confiscates all wealth from the poor, middle class, and the "justly" rich - to what he pejoratively describes as the "Goldman Sachs Elite". According to Paul, the Federal Reserve is more powerful than the Presidency. But if central banking and Keynesianism is so bad, how come Japan, China, Korea became so rich so quickly? Japanese, Koreans enjoy the longest life spans, the largest middle class. Keynesian Japan is the largest international creditor, and its huge public debt is almost all held by Japanese people, not foreigners. How is US different than Japan, Korea, China?
5. Moral Decline: Chapters on Abortion, Demagogues, Discrimination, Education, Envy, Evolution, Global warming, hate crimes, marriage, political correctness, racism, religion and liberty. Paul claims that organized special interests claim wealth, territory and power at the expense of unorganized (libertarian?) groups. He decries government imposed affirmative action and claims that it harms American people. But in Japan, Korea, Israel that's not the case. The State enforces the ethnic interests of the majority.
Paul warns that the ultimate goal of State Socialism is to transform Americans into helpless, subservient and docile cattle in the name of equality so that the 99% masses will toil, while the Washington/Wall-Street elite will enjoy. The book has some personal anecdotes and the reader gets a glimpse of some events from Paul's life.
Throughout the book Paul tries to convince that Golden Rule is wonderful. He cites passages from Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity in support of Golden Rule. On paper its appeal is undeniable. But 2600 years of Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism did not make China, India more peaceful. Indians invaded Malaya in 11th CE, Central Asia in 8th CE. Lower caste and outcaste Indians are still brutally oppressed. China invaded Vietnam, Korea, Central Asia many times. Middle East has been a cesspool of war and invasions since the dawn of time. Just look at the history of Europe under North Africans, Arabs, Turks, Persians...
Paul invokes George Orwell's 1984 several times to assert that this is where America is now. Towards the end, this book calls for character and action to save the "Republic". Not "utter cynicism", "endless policy details" and resignation.
In the age of 24/7 TV, sexualized culture, pleasure seeking "me me me" individualism, the capacity to achieve political success required to rejuvenate or even save a Third World America is just not there. Since libertarians are at the one end of individualism/collectivism scale, how do they plan to stick together "collectively" for decades until their libertarian dreams come true? Isn't Libertarian party a kind of collective?
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 20, 2011 10:04:02 AM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2011 9:45:21 PM PDT
What percentage of Jews are religious and even CARE about not marrying a non-practitioner?
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 24, 2011 8:42:52 PM PDT
Probably a lot more than you think.
Posted on Apr 27, 2011 7:20:40 AM PDT
"amoral and utopian aspects of libertarianism"
you have stacked something alien on the back of libertarianism. it is a philosophy grounded in morality and utilitarianism.
In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2011 11:58:56 PM PDT
Ronald C. Schoedel III says:What percentage of Jews are religious and even CARE about not marrying a non-practitioner?
Actually Orthodox care. Perhaps you are suggesting the more liberal branch of Reform wouldnt care as much since they tend to marry more outside the faith. But they also are the least religious as far as following the Torah etc. You do know there are different branches of Judaism, from ultra orthodox down to liberal reform?
Posted on May 13, 2011 11:15:06 PM PDT
Captain Sternn says:
An outstanding review!
I will buy this book!
Posted on May 24, 2011 7:06:30 AM PDT
This review resembles a frothing rant. I was actually really thinking about getting this book until this review. This just makes it look like typical, rhetorical libertarian fantasy. "The ultimate goal of State Socialism is to transform Americans into helpless, subservient and docile cattle", give me a break. I know that libertarianism is not based in any kind of reality, but I still wanted to get a good viewpoint from the face of the philosophy. After reading this review I think I'm better off keeping with a traditional fantasy read instead of the same old confused rhetoric.
In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2011 7:05:33 PM PDT
RJ Miller says:
"I know that libertarianism is not based in any kind of reality..."
"After reading this review I think I'm better off keeping with a traditional fantasy read instead of the same old confused rhetoric."
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2011 10:03:16 AM PDT
I actually dismissed the rhetoric for what it was and got the book anyway. As much as I love the idea of what Paul has to say it's just all centered around this theory that if the government took all regulations out of our private lives we would all behave perfectly and not cause any trouble. It's almost like some kind of utopian vision. At one point he states that if businesses were allowed to discriminate as to who they allow in their stores, and they did so, the people would regulate that on their own by staging peaceful protests. That is just all theory (what I was calling fantasy). He goes on to say that the government is insulting our intelligence by assuming that we won't integrate on our own free will, but then immediately gives examples of how we consciously segregate in areas where there are no government regulations so it's probably natural that we have a segregated society. His own vision seems to be a moving target even for him. So he's basically telling us about a society that will naturally want to segregate but will stage peaceful protests against this segregation when we it happens in our businesses. Everything he has to say is awesome, and I honestly hope that he's taken seriously in this next election, but this libertarian vision is just to centralized on an assumption that people will just do the right thing. So far I haven't heard any talk about the consequences of what would happen if people didn't behave perfectly in this vision.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2011 10:15:34 AM PDT
Tyson you make some excellent observations. What Ron Paul knows which is correct, is society already self segregates. You have areas where blacks have created upscale communities near Atlanta and other cities, or Jews in NYC, Mormons in Utah, Catholics in Chicago, Baptists in the south, gays in San Francisco, NYC, LA, West Hollywood. You have areas of the country that are cowboy, artists, back to earthers, bicycle oriented. People live where like minded folks live. Where I tend to disagree with Ron Paul is in the area of fair housing etc since shelter is a human need and I don't think someone should be turned away from a place they can afford, because of race. Ironically we had very little homelessness before the fair housing act. We also had few minorities dropping out of school before Brown vs Board of Education. Sadly we have more black men in prison and unemployed than ever before. Because employers as an example discovered they could get a 'twofer' by hiring a black woman. So all the laws the feds made thinking they would solve problems, haven't proven to be the case. But at least Ron Paul has us talking about the issues.