Recently, someone interviewed Ron Paul. The interview covered a lot of ground. This caught my attention:
Hopefully I can energize young people, a new generation, to say that the role of government has to be different than this. You can’t run a welfare state and you shouldn’t be in all these wars. And they have to decide what the role should be. And whether or not the government should just be there to protect liberty or is it supposed to regulate your life and regulate the economy and police the world? If they want that they’ll just change dictators and it’ll be miserable. But I’m hopeful that–I see signs, you know, because of what’s happening on the internet and different places, I see positive signs, but it’s not gonna be easy.”
This pretty much summarizes my position. That’s why he agreed with me when I suggested creating the Ron Paul Curriculum.
Compared to what it was like in the summer of 1976, when I was on his staff in Congress, things are vastly better inside the camps of those who oppose big government. The federal government continues to grow, although as I have said repeatedly, the actual tax revenues collected by the federal government are still in the range of 20% of GDP, which is slightly below where they were in 1945. With respect to federal taxes collected, things are a little better than they were 70 years ago. Conservatives fail to understand this. So, when we talk about the expansion of the federal government since 1945, we are talking mainly about the expansion of the money supply — the Federal Reserve System — and the expansion of federal regulation: The Federal Register.
What the Ron Paul Curriculum does today, a rich capitalist could have done in 1976. He could have hired an academic to put together a comprehensive, textbook-based curriculum that was decent. But it was not done in 1976, or 1996, or 2006, because rich industrialists have had no idea that it needed to be done. They would not have known how to do it.
I was able to assemble a staff of competent instructors who have a vision about the future. They were willing to do the curriculum on the basis of revenue sharing: course royalties. In other words, they are entrepreneurs. Because they had a vision of what could be done with digital technology, and because I acted as a coordinator in the initial phases, the Ron Paul Curriculum now has over 6,000 video-based lessons. I have had to do almost nothing in terms of supervision.
This is the key to all successful ventures. You articulate a vision. You have a basic outline of what needs to be done. You use available technology to do it. Then you go out and recruit people who share the vision, and who see the advantages of revenue sharing. They don’t want upfront money; they want a piece of the action on the backside. This is the way that entrepreneurs think.
This is not the way most academics think. This is surely not the way politicians think. This is why ideologically motivated people have an advantage. We can build the foundations of a social transformation, and we can do it inexpensively because of the technology.