My favourite MP in Britain is Steven Baker, and he has a very interesting take on the Left. His attitude is not: “Wrong answers, you idiots!” It is: “Good question!” The question being, along the lines of: “What the hell is happening?!?!”, and Steve Baker’s answer being variations on the theme of Austrianism. Government-controlled money ruining us. Sort out the money, and take the financial bad news that will come with a return to monetary sanity. Then: progress! Tim Evans has a recent piece up at the Cobden Centre blog in which he adopts exactly this approach:
While such conclusions are wrong, they are at least borne of people starting to try and articulate the right question.
The comments on this are mostly full of scorn (most especially those from Paul Marks). Maybe good question, but bad answers, is their line.
Does it accomplish anything to try to insert Austrianism into mainstream British political debate in this way, on the back of a basically Leftist campaign of anti-capitalist scorn and outrage? My sense is: in Parliament, maybe. When trying to get a hearing on the BBC, definitely. Elsewhere, maybe not. I used to think this was a great tactic. Now, I’m genuinely unsure. Is it really possible to try to hijack someone else’s spiel like this? Well, the answer is: maybe it is possible. Like I say, I am genuinely unsure. Steve Baker and his Cobden centre supporters (I am one) have done lots of media spots, in which they have taken this line. Maybe the Cobden Centre narrative just awaits another bout of British financial turmoil to take centre stage in Britain.
Meanwhile, my eye was caught by a couple of passing remarks about similar arguments in the USA, both of which suggest that a similar tactic in the USA to that adopted by Steve Baker MP, over here, may already be working well, over there.
Exhibit one is from a piece about an economic model of the forthcoming Presidential election, which is almost entirely about the relative fortunes of Dems (very bad) and Repubs (very promising). But right at the end of the report there is this:
Bicker and Berry also did not factor in third party candidates, such as Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, who Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-affiliated polling firm, has noted could significantly diminish Obama’s chances of winning New Mexico.
Note that. Here’s a libertarian taking votes from Obama. This must be another manifestation of that new and improved two-party system that Instapundit posted about recently.
And then this morning, I was struck by this comment, on this piece, which is about some Democrat supporting interlopers at the Republican convention, one of whom is a Ron Paul supporter. The commenter (comment number 8 by “stmarks” at 9.25pm on Aug 25 – forgive the comment-standard spelling and grammar) says, in among a lot of other stuff about conservatives and liberals, this about Ron Paul supporters:
… And I am convinced 90% of these Ronnies [Ron Paul worshipers] are ex-democrats who are too ashamed to admit so, but still hates GOP with a burning passion.
I freely admit that I may be reading far too much into two tiny snippets of comment. (I am posting this here in order to find out more about that.) But, what these snippets, snippets though they are, tell me is that Austrianist arguments (such as those of the Ron Paul camp most definitely are) are making headway in the USA, and are drawing people away from pro-government and anti-capitalist answers towards anti-government and pro-capitalist answers. Democrats, at least some Democrats, are morphing into Ron Paulites.
A generation of people who regard the Republicans as most emphatically part of the problem are staying anti-Republican, and accordingly pro-Democrat if that’s the only option they are offered. But if someone comes to them, as Ron Paul supporters did during the early stages of the Occupy Movement, saying: “You are right about the problem! The banks are indeed screwed! But let us tell you who screwed them and how to unscrew them. The government screwed the banks, and the way to unscrew the banks is to get the government out of the banking business” … well, that cuts some ice. “We believe this stuff because we believe it. We are only Republicans tactically, insofar as we can push them in our direction. To join us, you do not have to be a Republican.”
Learn more about the Paulist influence on the Republicans by looking at the comments on this recent posting by me here about the Tea Party.
So maybe Steve Baker’s approach is entirely right, and I am just being impatient.
LATER (via Guido): In Paul they trust ….