The PJ Tatler

Ron Paul: Prophet of the Quick Fix

Ron Paul exemplifies the American dream of the Quick Fix. His is a simplistic mind, given to simplistic solutions.

The history of the last hundred years has shown that quick fixes are invariably wrong: in the interest of Quick Fix, we have gone from state appointment of Senators to direct election of Senators, making the Senate something very different from what the Founders intended; we have lowered the voting age, injecting a vast number of wet-behind-the-ears voters with no experience of life into the voting population; we have gone to a civil service system to avoid corruption, creating an entrenched and unelected bureaucracy.

We have also monkeyed with campaign finance in the aftermath of Watergate, supposedly to eliminate the corruption of campaign contributions, which has merely fed the growth of PACs and undermined party strength. All of these have brought upon us at least as many ills as they have ostensibly solved.

Quick fixes are always tempting—from Alexander’s slashing of the Gordian Knot up to the present day. They are also almost always wrong. “Term limits” is a popular quick fix that people pine for today—but term limits without abolishing civil service merely ensures that a government already burdened by an entrenched and unelected bureaucracy will be increasingly reliant upon that bureaucracy. Term limits are a questionable idea at best; as a stand-alone, without first attacking the problem of the bureaucracy, they are a terrible idea.

Ron Paul is the Prophet of the Quick Fix. “Just do this,” he shrills, “and everything will be ginger-peachy.” No, it won’t. No quick fix can abolish, or do an end run around, human nature—but that’s what Ron Paul is selling.

Don’t buy it.