There is a lot of moralizing that accompanies bad economic theories. As if our failure to adhere to the crank theories makes us in a way deserve economic collapse. The ability to yell “you should have listened to me!” and “I told you so!” from a well prepared bunker as society collapses is every crank’s fantasy. I’m not going to psychoanalyze too deeply, but I do think there is something sociopathic about a desire to be right that is so strong it makes people, even subconsciously, kind of want a global disaster to happen. To the preppers and doomsayers in the room: you can object all day you don’t want it to happen, but I have spoken to many of you in real life, and I have seen the wishful glimmer in many of your eyes …
Another thing I think you can arguably take from this relates to the re-emerging scandal of Paul’s racist newsletters. Racism, especially of the kind espoused by whoever wrote Paul’s newsletter, can be thought of as another crazy belief. It is my contention that crazy beliefs tend to be correlated. For any given crazy claim, people who hold another crazy belief are more likely to accept it, and those who hold dozens of crazy beliefs are way more likely to accept it. Because of this phenomenon, of I think it is more likely that Ron Paul actually believes the crazy things published in his newsletters than it is that Barack Obama believes the crazy things Reverend Wright said. Ron Paul is on the record as holding many crazy beliefs, whereas Barack Obama is not (that creating green jobs is something for policy to target may be wrong, but it’s not crazy).
A reader makes related points:
I think that while all these discussions Ron Paul’s alleged craziness (He’s a bigot! He’d abandon Israel! He’d legalize drugs!) certainly warrant some serious consideration, they rather miss the most serious piece of lunacy about the man, and the thing that should absolutely be disqualifying: Ron Paul wants to abolish the Fed and return to the gold standard.
This position is the economic policy equivalent of creationism. It reflects a view of economics borne of either fundamental misunderstanding or willful denial, or both. Like creationism it has a superficial charm and slogan-ready appeal, and like creationism it is also astonishingly ignorant and dangerous. Imagine the consequences if a President Paul were somehow able to enact his preferred policy. The results would be catastrophic for both the American people and the global economy.
Fortunately, there is very little chance of this happening. Even if Paul were elected president, Congress would probably retain sufficient of its (admittedly) dwindling faculties to avoid that particular catastrophe. However, it seems to me that if you have to rely on this safety valve, this is a fairly good indicator that this man should be disqualified from consideration in the first place.