Friday, April 23, 2010

Ron Paul was on "Hardball" last night...

...and Chris Matthews pressed him to name an American president he admired. Paul couldn't think of anyone since Thomas Jefferson. Really, Mr. Paul?

And what do you suppose a modern-day Jeffersonian America would look like?

Well, for starters, there would be no Social Security, no Medicare, no Medicaid. That's obvious. But there wouldn't be any IRS or federal income tax, either. There would also be no Federal Reserve, no U. S. dollar, and no tariffs. How would the federal government raise revenue to defend the country? Beats me. Heck, there might not even be any Department of Defense to fund anyway, just state militias. And how do you suppose individuals would purchase goods and services? By barter or with local bank notes, I guess. Your parents would probably live with you and die much younger. We'd probably all die much younger.

You wouldn't have to mess with that nasty morning commute of yours, either, because there wouldn't be any interstate highways. And forget the railroads and canals while you're at it. I hope you have a green thumb, because you'd need it to grow all the food that wouldn't be transported to your local grocery store.

That fancy college degree that your son or daughter just received from Michigan State or one of the other land-grant colleges? Forget about it. They wouldn't exist. (Would any public education exist at any level?)

The good news is there probably wouldn't have been an American Civil War or any American involvement in World Wars I and II (not to mention Korea, Vietnam, etc.). The bad news is that slavery would probably still exist (and not just in the South) and German would probably be the most widely spoken language in the world.

So what exactly would America look like, if Jefferson had had his way? Probably a bunch of states that barely talked to each other. The women's suffrage movement would still be active, because Jefferson wasn't a big fan of giving women the right to vote. Blacks, of course, not only wouldn't have the right to vote, they wouldn't even be considered citizens. The United States would probably be a decent enough place for rich, white farmers, but that's about it.

It reminds me of that famous quote by Thomas Hobbes. Without government, he wrote in Leviathan, life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

Thanks anyway, Mr. Paul; I think I'll pass.

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