Paul Jacob

Just look at the crowds of Ron Paul’s supporters. They don’t start yawning when his speeches earnestly wander away from the Approved Topics and into monetary theory. They maintain enthusiasm. The good doctor gets cheers, perhaps even more cheers.

And when Ron Paul triumphantly proclaimed, after his third-place showing in Iowa, that sometime soon the experts would proclaim “we’re all Austrians now,” his hordes of supporters got the reference to a Nixon-era aphorism about Keynesianism and were not in the least confused by a presidential candidate in America referencing, positively, a German-speaking foreign country.

Instead of backfiring and sounding lunatic, the moment almost reached Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” heights.

How wrong the experts were!

Just ask the young folks. Ron Paul’s supporters of all shapes and colors and creeds will emphasize the danger posed by the Federal Reserve. And the need to get rid of it. I have heard dozens — scores, maybe even hundreds — of just plain folks begin to discourse on the hazards associated with giving insiders special privileges in the money creation biz. I have heard explanations of Gresham’s Law; the usefulness of “hard money”; the dangers of credit money and the sheer perversity of fiat money; and the advisability of abolishing legal tender laws . . . as well as knowledgeable mentions of the Austrian School. These folks may not always understand that Austrian economics is not a univocal set of policy proposals, but a rich tradition of positive explanatory theory, instead. Still, the mere familiarity with a few of its doctrines is something of a surprise, especially from regular voters.

Well, maybe “regular voters” is not quite right. These folks are not old hands in either major party. They are often independents.

But they are special. They have been schooled by Dr. Ron Paul.

For Ron Paul has been in this for the long haul. He has been pushing monetary reform from the beginning of his political career, with Sisyphean persistence. Yes, the experts — including me — shook their heads, clucking disapproval. But he switched myths on us. He has become Prometheus. He has brought us fire.

Ron Paul was right to say that money is key. Monetary theory best explains the cycles of boom and bust, why they occur, and why the medicine employed since the beginning of the Great Depression doesn’t work, instead prolonging unemployment.

And never was a time more ripe for this truth than now. Ron Paul’s persistence is paying off, paying off in the enthusiasm of crowds and the formation of a new voting bloc.

Monetary reform, as an issue, is key for another reason: It helps demonstrate that Ron Paul is no standard-brand politician, looking only for the right grab-bag of issues that will “sell” to voters. It proves his honesty. It proves his prescience. It proves that the rules of politics-as-usual only apply when situations are usual.

In times of crisis, the old rule of play-it-safe/stick-to-the-ordinary doesn’t cut it. In times of crisis, a true educator can do what he set out to do, educate.

And, once we learn something, major change can come.

I don’t know how far this new force in politics will go to implement the ideas that have arisen through the agency of Ron Paul. But I can tell you this: it’s great to see the pundits proved wrong.

And I’ve never been so happy being proven wrong myself.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.