Demagogues

Politics breeds demagogues—politicians and media pundits alike. The word "demagogue" itself dates to the ancient world because the phenomenon is that old. Demagogues seek influence and political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears, and expectations of the public. They do not enlighten; they browbeat and play rhetorical games.

Demagoguery is the enemy of liberty and serves the interest of power seekers across the political spectrum. Government attracts all those who enjoy using power over others and those who convince themselves that average people need "smart" people to take care of them. And only the demagogues can provide the "wisdom" to appoint those who should rule over us. When the goal of political action is no longer the defense of liberty, no word other than demagoguery can describe the despicable nature of politics.

Ron Paul brings up many examples:

If one opposes a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning, it's considered unpatriotic. If one lacks enthusiasm for the war on drugs, it's charged that the person doesn't care about kids and would promote drug use for them. Opposing foreign aid draws charges, from the right and left, of nefarious motivations. Also, among the crowd, if you have doubts about using the federal government as an instrument for imposing a particular cultural or religious agenda, you are regarded with suspicion and called an opponent of uprightness and morality.

But focuses specifically on how the issue of private property is demagogued:

To suggest that, in a free society where property is owned by the people, the owners of a business establishment have a right to pick and choose customers and workers and to make only mutually agreed-to economic transactions is seen as the worst possible gaffe. In fact, this right is at the core of the libertarian position. It is the essence of the freedom of association. There is no getting around it: Freedom of association also implies the freedom not to associate.

He relates his disgust with how both parties regularly demagogue trivial issues instead of dealing with real problems, and provides some valid analogies between private property and the freedom of speech.

He does have some hope here, noting there are a few in media who do discuss issues honestly and constructively.

Take a look at the full chapter for yourself.

tags: