Like many other little American kids, all I wanted to do was eat junk food, play video games and goof around with my friends. I didn’t like being made to go to school, going to bed at 9 PM, eating vegetables, doing homework after school, or taking out the garbage. And like most other little kids who don’t like abiding by the rules of their parents, I sometimes fantasized about what it would be like to run away from home. But when I packed my backpack full of clothes and individually-wrapped packs of peanut butter crackers from the pantry, I could never go through with my plan. I knew if I ran away, I’d be hungry, cold, lost, and eventually found by the police and returned home.
Libertarian views of government regulation are very similar to how the 6 year-old views the authority exerted by their parents. Ron Paul’s every-individual-for- themselves rhetoric appeals to young, radical libertarians with simplistic viewpoints of authority, and an ignorance of why government exists in the first place.
In Ron Paul’s ideal America, safety regulations imposed on employers by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would be a thing of the past. Clean air and water regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would be no more. Taxpayers would save money since Ron Paul would abolish the Department of Education and cut the Food & Drug Administration budget by 40%. Employers would save money by paying workers as little as they wish, since Ron Paul would abolish the Davis-Bacon Act. Corporate giants would be free to monopolize markets, since Ron Paul opposes federal antitrust legislation. And employees would no longer be required to pay into Social Security.
So what would this libertarian utopia look like, if Ron Paul were elected and followed through on his campaign promises?
-Families grieving for loved ones lost due to Massey Energy’s negligence in the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion would have to accept that their relatives were casualties of the invisible hand of the unfettered free market. And Massey would've gotten off scot-free for polluting Martin County, Kentucky's drinking water supply with 300 million gallons of coal slurry.
-Millions of college students dependent on Pell grants would be forced to move back home and work minimum-wage jobs, no longer financially able to further their education. Oh wait-- what minimum wage?
-Food recalls would be a regular occurrence when tainted meat and vegetables hit supermarket shelves and cause record outbreaks of e-coli. And risky new drugs will avoid FDA tests and hit the express lane to the pharmacy, endangering the health of millions.
-Too-big-to-fail banks like Wells Fargo, Citi, Chase and Bank of America would be allowed to merge and/or buy out their competitors, as would oil giants like ExxonMobil, and Chevron, as would cell service providers like AT&T and Verizon.
-The Social Security trust fund would become insolvent, making retirement that much harder for those who paid into it all their lives.
Ron Paul and his right-libertarian ideology does espouse a new kind of freedom, just as rebellious children who fantasize about running away from home dream of a new kind of freedom. But as much as we may have rebelled against our parents as little kids, we eventually matured and realized that the rules and regulations our parents imposed on us were meant so we’d grow up to be responsible, functioning adults in society.
An unregulated little kid free to eat junk food and play video games all day won’t ever learn the responsibilities of adulthood. And an unregulated society where every individual is out for themselves will quickly collapse.