Ron Paul and the wisdom of the Taoists

One of my favorite chapters in the Tao Te Ching is chapter 57:

If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.

The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be.

Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes common as grass.

老子 Lao Tzu (~600 BCE)

There is a natural order to a peaceful, civil society. The ancient Taoists cited a “mutual arising” of things in our world that arise by mutual cooperation. This reminds me of the “invisible hand” of the market that we sometimes speak about today. The Tao guides all in the path that they must follow. Notice that the Taoists told the ruler in chapter 57 that if he would let go of economics then he would free his people to become prosperous.

Ron Paul is our nation’s most public proponent of the laissez-faire economics that built the USA. Let government keep its hands off of the people’s trading and making a living. I doubt that Ron Paul would claim he got his ideas from the ancient Chinese Taoists. More likely Dr. Paul would tell us, yet again, that he believes Ludwig von MIses was the economist that informed his views on the subject.

But Ron Paul has also warned us over and over of the danger to our society of giving the rulers in D.C. ever more power. It is as if he took Chapter 17 of the Tao Te Ching to heart. Part of it reads:

In the highest antiquity, the people did not know that there were rulers. In the next age they loved them and praised them. In the next they feared them; in the next they despised them.

As a man, as a Doctor, and as a politician Ron Paul has warned of letting the government get out of the control of the people; the control that the original meaning of the US constitution tried to enforce on government. The constitution has failed and we are faced with a government we both despise and fear. Ron Paul is trying to teach the young these facts of life and to spark a revolution in liberty.

The Taoists see the universe as being in a continuous state of flux. Our world is in a state of process where everything continually changes and so there is no way for central planning to ever lead to anything but disaster. Ron Paul has hammered central planning for decades just as Ludwig von Mises did.

The Taoists were anarchists who believed that the Tao would lead men in mutual, voluntary cooperation to find the best existence we can have here on planet Earth. Ron Paul, the Austrian School of Economics, and the radical libertarian market anarchists all say the same thing using slightly different terminology. Ron Paul and the market anarchists say let the laissez-faire free market work for us while the Taoists say let the Tao guide us along the path of mutual cooperation. The Taoists had it right 3,000 years ago and Ron Paul is preaching that wisdom today. Millions of young people are listening.

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5 thoughts on “Ron Paul and the wisdom of the Taoists

    • Thank you for the kind words. Coming from you they mean a lot to me.

      I agree with you that the ancients had wisdom that we are just now rediscovering. At least I hope we can get the masses to rediscover the old wisdom. My people (pagans all) often said that as you harm no one else, do as you please. This is a good starting point for any system of ethics or law.

  1. I’ve been into Taoism for quite some time. Even before I discovered libertarianism. When I discovered libertarianism, I always thought Taoism had something in common with it. The only thing I would question of Lao-Tzu is when he said: “The more weapons you have,
    the less secure people will be.” I strongly disagree with that statement. I could be interpreting it wrong or maybe he just didn’t know better. Maybe if he were alive today, I think he would change his stance on guns. Maybe he meant that the more militaristic the society is, the less secure the people are.

    • I have studied Taoism for a long time myself, and I know that sometimes you get different passages depending on the translation you are looking at. I also know that Lao-Tzu was probably talking about the amount of weapons (and therefore men) that the ruler had since he was talking to the rulers with this book.

      I wonder what Lao-Tzu would say about our president and his killing people from the air via drones at his whim.

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