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Sat Jan 21, 2012, 09:54 PM

My response to some OWS Paulbots on Facebook

On the OWS page on Facebook, I got into an exchange the other day with a couple of folks who have essentially hijacked OWS's FB page for the purpose of advocating for Ron Paul. Below is a comment I posted to a story about the OWS protesters who were protesting President Obama's fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in Harlem the other night. The context of the comment was in response to two people who had made comments to the effect that (1) "everyone knows you can't spend your way out of a recession," a spin on the "Keynsian theory doesn't work" meme, and (2) "forced integration is an outdated solution" and that, essentially, business owners should be free to discriminate if they wish because the market will take care of it by driving them out of business (a defense of Ron Paul's opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Below is my response.

I love the way you Paulbots make these sweeping statements, backed up by nothing more than phrases like “everyone knows that . . .”. Actually, it’s a trait common to Paul supporters, to Paul himself, and indeed to virtually all purveyors of the “Austrian economics” snake oil. The fact is “Austrian economics” have NEVER WORKED ANYWHERE, despite your belief that it is self-evidently superior. In fact, most economists around the world disregard it for this very reason.

And the fact is also that Keynsian principles DID work to turn the economy around during the Great Depression, despite recent right-wing attempts to rewrite history. It is true that it took WWII to finally bring the economy to full steam (and then some), but that only serves to underscore the point: for WWII was, economically speaking, nothing if not the mother of all government stimulus on steroids. From the beginning of Roosevelt’s administration in 1933, there were 19 straight quarters of growth in which GDP grew an aggregate of 62%, from $56.4 billion to $91.9 billion, and unemployment correspondingly dropped from 24.9% to 14.3%. Then, at the end of 1937, some deficit hawks managed to convince Roosevelt that he needed to cut back on spending and attack the deficit. The result was to throw the country back into recession again in 1938, as unemployment spiked back up to 19%, and GDP fell back to $86.1 billion. The Roosevelt administration subsequently resumed its stimulus spending, and again the economy began to pick up in 1939 and 1940, and then skyrocketed from 1941 onwards as the government injected massive amounts of money into the economy in order to mobilize for war. And it should be added that we racked up more debt then, as a percentage of GDP, than we have now (as a percentage of GDP). Thus, the statement that “everyone knows you cannot spend your way out of a recession” is simply another baseless assertion, self-evident only in the minds of Paulbots.

Now, as to the statement that “forced integration” is an “outdated solution” – says who? Ron Paul? His saying it, and your believing it and repeating it, does not make it so. To assert that a business who chose to discriminate in its accommodation on the basis of race would automatically go out of business is yet another example of a Paulbot making a sweeping statement for which he has zero evidence other than his own belief that the statement is self-evidently true. But again, your belief that it is self-evident does not make it so. There were plenty of “white only” businesses that managed to thrive in the days of Jim Crow. Now, you might protest that it is no longer the Jim Crow era, and that racial attitudes have changed markedly since then. To a degree that is true, but there are large swaths of this country where racially-based prejudice remains deeply entrenched, even if it is seldom on public display. If you think for one minute that, in the event we were to roll back the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, that there wouldn’t be whole towns who would revert to the “white only” accommodation policies of an earlier generation, then I submit you are incredibly naďve.

“Freedom” in this country has never meant absolute freedom to do whatever you want irrespective of its impact on others, not even on your own property. Yes, a business owner may own his business, but he does not own the privilege of operating said business in a particular community. That privilege is granted by the people, through the agency of their government, in the form of a license, for which the community has a right to expect that all persons will be reasonably accommodated. To uphold a business owner’s right to arbitrarily discriminate in who he is willing to accommodate, all in the name of “freedom,” is to adopt one of the most perverse definitions of the word imaginable. Such “freedom” would utterly destroy the social fabric of our communities, and serve no cause other than to give license to some to revert to the kind of behavior that marks some of the worst episodes in American history.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s an America most of the Occupy movement really wants to return to.

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply My response to some OWS Paulbots on Facebook (Original post)
markpkessinger Jan 2012 OP
teach1st Jan 2012 #1
Old and In the Way Jan 2012 #2
Tomay Jan 2012 #3
CaliforniaPeggy Jan 2012 #4
Zalatix Jan 2012 #5
DiverDave Jan 2012 #6
SammyWinstonJack Jan 2012 #7
markpkessinger Jan 2012 #8
lovemydog Jan 2012 #10
markpkessinger Jan 2012 #13
lovemydog Jan 2012 #9
Quantess Jan 2012 #11
markpkessinger Jan 2012 #12
sendero Jan 2012 #14

Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 09:58 PM

1. Excellent! N/T

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 10:07 PM

2. Well stated! nt

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 10:18 PM

3. Very well said!

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 10:21 PM

4. I am proud to recommend your post!

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 10:25 PM

5. Good catch, the 1937 year of austerity and all that

 

Austerity has a LONG history of messing things up.
America, 1937.
Japan, the 1990s.
Greece, England and Ireland, now.

And there are more examples than that.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 10:27 AM

6. Very good read

thanks for posting it.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 10:44 AM

7. I see these Paulbots in OWS Livestream chat often and I don't get them.

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Response to SammyWinstonJack (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 05:38 PM

8. I think they are so seduced by a couple of his positions . . .

. . . such as his stance on drug legalization and his anti-war stance, that they become blinded to the reality of the other stuff that comes with the package.

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 05:58 PM

10. I agree

and I also would like more democrats to seriously consider embracing those two policy positions.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 07:58 PM

13. I couldn't agree more! n/t

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 05:57 PM

9. thank you

Great work.

Austerity toward the poor and middle class during a tough economy only makes things worse.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 05:59 PM

11. Why would integration be relevant to them, in 2012?

Is that some dog whistle? What does that have to do with the economy??

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Response to Quantess (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 07:16 PM

12. It's relevant to them because they have to try to explain away . . .

. . . some of Paul's more troubling positions.

And understand, by "integration," they are referring to the part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that requires businesses and other "places of public accommodation" to serve the public regardless of race.

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Response to markpkessinger (Original post)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 08:02 PM

14. Nice..

... the absolutist thinking that characterizes a large percent of the libertarian movement is the product of some sort of arrested development or brain dysfunction. They are like infants sitting in the corner yelling mine! mine! mine!. They talk about "going Galt" as if anyone would miss them for a single minute.

They are deludinoids.

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