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Ron Paul and the Future

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Published : August 28th, 2012
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One of the most thrilling memories of the 2012 campaign was the sight of those huge crowds who came out to see Ron. His competitors, meanwhile, couldn’t fill half a Starbucks. When I worked as Ron’s chief of staff in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I could only dream of such a day.

Now what was it that attracted all these people to Ron Paul? He didn’t offer his followers a spot on the federal gravy train. He didn’t pass some phony bill. In fact, he didn’t do any of the things we associate with politicians. What his supporters love about him has nothing to do with politics at all.

Ron is the anti-politician. He tells unfashionable truths, educates rather than flatters the public, and stands up for principle even when the whole world is arrayed against him.

Some people say, "I love Ron Paul, except for his foreign policy." But that foreign policy reflects the best and most heroic part of who Ron Paul is. Peace is the linchpin of the Paulian program, not an extraneous or dispensable adjunct to it. He would never and could never abandon it.

Here was the issue Ron could have avoided had he cared only for personal advancement.

But he refused. No matter how many times he’s been urged to keep his mouth shut about war and empire, these have remained the centerpieces of his speeches and interviews.

Of course, Ron Paul deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. In a just world, he would also win the Medal of Freedom, and all the honors for which a man in his position is eligible.

But history is littered with forgotten politicians who earned piles of awards handed out by other politicians. What matters to Ron more than all the honors and ceremonies in the world is all of you, and your commitment to the immortal ideas he has championed all his life.

It’s Ron’s truth-telling and his urge to educate the public that should inspire us as we carry on into the future.

It isn’t a coincidence that governments everywhere want to educate children. Government education, in turn, is supposed to be evidence of the state’s goodness and its concern for our well-being. The real explanation is less flattering. If the government’s propaganda can take root as children grow up, those kids will be no threat to the state apparatus. They’ll fasten the chains to their own ankles.

H.L. Mencken once said that the state doesn’t just want to make you obey. It tries to make you want to obey. And that’s one thing the government schools do very well.

A long-forgotten political thinker, Etienne de la Boetie, wondered why people would ever tolerate an oppressive regime. After all, the people who are governed vastly outnumber the small minority doing the governing. So the people governed could put a stop to it all if only they had the will to do so. And yet they rarely do.

De la Boetie concluded that the only way any regime could survive was if the public consented to it. That consent could range all the way from enthusiastic support to stoic resignation. But if that consent were ever to vanish, a regime’s days would be numbered.

And that’s why education – real educationis such a threat to any regime. If the state loses its grip over your mind, it loses the key to its very survival.

The state is beginning to lose that grip. Traditional media, which have carried water for the government since time began, it seems, are threatened by independent voices on the Internet. I don’t think anyone under 25 even reads a newspaper.

The media and the political class joined forces to try to make sure you never found out about Ron Paul. When that proved impossible, they smeared him, and told you no one could want to go hear Ron when they could hear Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney instead.

All this backfired. The more they panicked about Ron, the more drawn to him people were. They wanted to know what it was that the Establishment was so eager to keep them from hearing.

Ours is the most radical challenge to the state ever posed. We aren’t trying to make the state more efficient, or show how it can take in more revenue, or change its pattern of wealth redistribution. We’re not saying that this subsidy is better than that one, or that this kind of tax would make the system run more smoothly than that one. We reject the existing system root and branch.

And we don’t oppose the state’s wars because they’ll be counterproductive or overextend the state’s forces. We oppose them because mass murder based on lies can never be morally acceptable.

So we don’t beg for scraps from the imperial table, and we don’t seek a seat at that table. We want to knock the table over.

We have much work to do. Countless Americans have been persuaded that it’s in their interest to be looted and ordered around by a ruling elite that in fact cares nothing for their welfare and seeks only to increase its power and wealth at their expense.

The most lethal and anti-social institution in history has gotten away with describing itself as the very source of civilization. From the moment they set foot in the government’s schools, Americans learn that the state is there to rescue them from poverty, unsafe medicines, and rainy days, to provide economic stimulus when the economy is poor, and to keep them secure against shadowy figures everywhere. This view is reinforced, in turn, by the broadcast and print media.

If the public has been bamboozled, as Murray Rothbard would say, it is up to us to do the de-bamboozling. We need to tear the benign mask off the state.

That is the task before you, before all of us, here today.

Begin with yourself. Learn everything you can about a free society. Read the greats, like Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, and Murray Rothbard. As you delve into the literature of liberty, share what you’re reading and learning. Start a blog. Create a YouTube channel. Organize a reading group. But whatever you do, learn, spread what you’re learning, and never stop.

If it is through propaganda that people thoughtlessly accept the claims of the state, then it is through education that people must be brought to their senses.

With its kept media on the wane, it is going to be more and more difficult for the state to make its claims stick, to persuade people to keep accepting its lies and propaganda.

You’ve heard it said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Think of the sword as the state. Think of the pen as all of you, each in your own way, spreading the ideas of liberty.

Remember that insight of Etienne de la Boetie: all government rests on public consent, and as soon as the public withdraws that consent, any regime is doomed.

This is why they fear Ron, it’s why they fear you, and it’s why, despite the horrors we read about every day, we may dare to look to the future with hope.

This article is based on remarks delivered at the Paul Festival in Tampa, FL, August 25, 2012.



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Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. is founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of, and author of Speaking of Liberty.
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True individuals are honest to themselves and others, and thus have no need for government.

Government in fact is just a part of the passing parade of life and unfortunately just too many people are in the parade.
Rate :   10  3Rating :   7
Lew Rockwell wrote in DOWN WITH THE PRESIDENCY: "The modern institution of the presidency is the primary political evil Americans face, and the cause of nearly all our woes." He added in a later paragraph: "The presidency – by which I mean the executive State – is the sum total of American tyranny."

He believes in a stateless society, one run only by the voluntary association of individuals. To achieve that end he has repeatedly endorsed Ron Paul for president. Why? One can logically assume for the purpose of dismantling the Presidency.

But would that have been Ron Paul's goal had he been elected? Let's consider one of his political stances. In the recent Republican debates, in a question about mandatory state health care Ron Paul said that (although he is against mandatory health care as might be decreed by the Federal Government) he would be powerless as President to stop an individual state from implementing such. In other words, he believes the Presidency has no power to intervene in state affairs -- even though those affairs violate individual rights. This is not an isolated position. In the past he has scolded Lincoln for interfering in the Southern Institution of slavery -- though disagreeing with the morality of that institution.

So Ron Paul would be President so that he could not nothing, so that he would be in place primarily to diminsh the power of the office -- a position Lew Rockwell would love to come about.

To my knowlege Ron Paul has never repudiated any of Rockwell's views on a stateless society -- the goal of which is to weaken American power and influence.

It is only logical to assume that Paul's position of limiting the power of the Presidency would carry over to limiting the power of State governments and on down the line -- leaving only individuals left to form voluntary associations for trade, policing, judicial proceedings, and defense.

Such a uptopian attempt would only end in disaster: a Hatfield and McCoy world of constant fueds with no objective authority to sort things out, enforce decisions. What would there be to prevent a group (a drug cartel or religious fanatics) from seizing power over others? Nothing -- but those others froming resistance groups. It would be a world of continous civil war.

The solution would be a return to the original Libertarian concept of a government limited to the defense of the nation -- a concept Rockwell and Ron Paul, I fear, have abandoned.

Rate :   10  64Rating :   -54
Wow, how narrow minded. You take issue with Ron for not standing against Lew Rockwell’s views. Why? Ron Paul has a lot more on his plate then you do and unlike you he doesn’t always take others to task for their opinions. Unlike you he believes we are all different and this is a strength whereas you take it as a weakness. It’s a right we have, to have our own options, that you would have taken from us so that big government can really go about enslaving us with all the laws and regulations to keep us subdued.

By your implication Ron Paul agrees 100% with Lew Rockwell, how foolish. Because you always defend big government, and I’ve never seen you criticise Obama for signing the order that allows anyone to be taken hostage anywhere at any time and held with no due process, I should be assuming that you support this ridiculous grasp at a means to control the people of the US.

You really need to take off the “biased” glasses before you read any article and avoid dragging in anything not associated with it. And by this I mean that here again, you took an opportunity to drag Lincoln and the lies around him as slavery is concerned into the topic. When ever you drag Lincoln and slavery into an article you always lose, wise up and stop trying to rewrite history.

Rate :   35  6Rating :   29
Quote : "What would there be to prevent a group (a drug cartel or religious fanatics) from seizing power over others?"

Do you include the financial elite in the groups the government protects us against ?
Rate :   29  0Rating :   29
True, the rule of law has gone out the window: theft of funds without prosecution.

Would we be any safer without any government? Better the original idea of government limited to internal and external defense. And any government position limited to a set number of years without re-election possibilities -- that might cut the ties between govt officials buying votes and 'elites' paying for favors and protection from prosecution for criminal actions as now exists wrongly tainting the whole idea of Capitalism.

I just don't see how Rockwell's and Paul's utopian world would function without at least limited objective authority.
Rate :   9  32Rating :   -23
I don't know where you got the idea the Ron Paul promotes anarchy. Everything that I have ever read that is attributed to Representative Paul, has advocated returning government to the limitations set forth in the Constitution.
Rate :   40  1Rating :   39
Some people simply can’t accept anything less than big government with all of its social programs and thus anything less is anarchy. In every case where I have seen someone argue for big government they are recipients of one form handout from some department or another. I hate to generalize because there are many who cannot help themselves and we have a duty as humans to help them plus how many simply can’t get work for reasons not of their own making, but how many millions are willfully getting paid by the government to not work? For these individuals the thought of getting off their backsides to support themselves is the true meaning of anarchy. I suspect some of the latter group post here regularly.
Rate :   23  2Rating :   21
Again, it seems you willingly miss the point. I quote Ron Paul in his article :

Quote :

The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with freedom. While our Constitution certainly features certain democratic mechanisms, it also features inherently undemocratic mechanisms like the First Amendment and the Electoral College. American is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Yet we've been bombarded with the meaningless word "democracy" for so long that few Americans understand the difference.

If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom or liberty--regardless of the issue being discussed-- ask yourself whether he is advocating more government force or less.

The objective is freedom and that means less government. Period.

Rate :   23  2Rating :   21
I'm 7000 miles away in Australia and Dr. Paul is an inspiration even to me. America - and the world - need more men like him.
Rate :   27  2Rating :   25
Latest comment posted for this article
Agree w dom1971. Read more
silver spurs - 8/30/2012 at 2:32 AM GMT
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