Congressman, former Presidential candidate, luminary and outspoken advocate for Liberty, Ron Paul, gave his final speech on Capitol Hill today. While there will be ample transcripts of the speech (which to my best estimate ran roughly 40 minutes)available online, I’d like to encapsulate some of the most pertinent points and themes held throughout Dr. Paul’s farewell here.
In speaking to a House that was almost eerily quiet – a sign of respect for one of its most principled, outspoken, and long-tenured members – Ron Paul spoke eloquently and passionately about the pursuit of liberty, its challenges and its downfall due to the apathy of the Americans who have let it wane.
Dr. Paul started on a positive note, citing the liberty movement that has grown stronger in the past 4 years, and the support it has gained among the younger generation. He spoke of the need for an intellectual awakening, spurred on by the continued efforts of liberty minded people. However, he would quickly transition into a central, critical theme: the unchecked monopoly held by our government to utilize violence both home and abroad. This central theme tied into virtually every aspect of the speech and related to our current economic woes, the war on drugs, foreign policy and the virtual police state in which we live under the NDAA and the Patriot Act.
The founders of our nation fled the exact type of government we now accept, and the efforts put into place to protect future generations in the paper shield of the Constitution has failed. Our government, sanctioned by a populace that looks to the government for its guidance, income and safety, has eroded our liberty under the guise of knowing what’s best for us. And hidden in that facetious notion are the true drivers of government: special interests that push both political parties to action. The government largesse and U.S. citizens dependence on bureaucrats for their every need has enabled our government to operate outside of the rule of law, which was set down to contain it. Some of the examples Dr. Paul touched upon include: Undeclared Wars, Welfare for Rich & Poor alike, Exponential Debt, The Patriot Act, “Preemptive” War, Drone Warfare, Indefinite Detention (NDAA), Hostility To Free Trade, Sanctions and Executive Orders (kill lists).
Paul then went on to list a great number of questions as to why the government is involved in our daily lives (drug wars, what we can eat and drink and our constitutional right to use gold and silver as currency). Why it is involved in the foreign affairs of countries abroad; why the TSA openly violates us and why the middle class is exploited to fund the exceptionally rich and middling poor. As mentioned earlier, his overarching answer to these great many questions was this: The unchecked permission that we as citizens have given to the United States Government to operate violently against us as well as to go to war with other sovereign nations has allowed it.
Many of the tacit permissions given to the government to use violence are due to humanitarian arguments made, which in turn make arguing against government policies difficult because of the emotional response elicited. Wars and military actions abroad, even when taken under the guise of humanitarian causes, are still exercises in violence, causing death and destruction with the promise of a brighter tomorrow that rarely comes to fruition.
The argument Dr. Paul makes about government violence, and the “immoral use of violence as the source of man’s problems” is one that I personally hadn’t heard before. Individual liberty and freedom prohibit violence against any person, as that infringes on that person’s basic rights. However, this shouldn’t be limited to individuals. An example in the speech was that you wouldn’t allow a stranger to come into your house, tell you what to eat, drink and smoke, so why should a government agent be allowed to do so? It’s done every day without warrants and this is because of the (as Dr. Paul puts it) “government monopoly on violence” that we as a people have allowed. The current criminal system has over 6 million people suspended within it. More than Soviet Russia, more than China. Federal crimes are added to the books every day as a method of controlling the populace and eroding liberty. All stemming from the monopoly. And it’s true – the government does have a monopoly on violence. It can kill you without warrant or trial (Obama’s kill lists to “protect” us from terrorists), it can put you away indefinitely, it can jail you, it can take your property or your family. It can draft you into military combat for one of the wars fought for “humanitarian” reasons abroad or to fight imagined threats.
Our society has bought into the notion of sacrificing liberty for safety, and by doing that we have allowed the government monopoly on violence to overtake us. And that safety isn’t relegated to physical violence. It also includes economic “safety” with the quantitative easing and money printing, taxation and Keynesian models to avoid the markets correcting themselves. It includes social safety nets, like welfare and Obamacare. But at the end of the day, the government has only one means of actually enforcing its rule to keep these safety measures intact, and that remains with violence. Dr. Paul states in his speech that the role of a true, freedom protecting government is to protect liberty as a natural right, enforce contracts, enforce property ownership and protect us from foreign aggression. The government must be denied an unchecked use of aggression/violence both at home and abroad to influence and mold the economy and the populace.
Dr. Paul also spent ample time discussing how people must rely on themselves and their natural talents both to survive and for the source of satisfaction. In his speech, Paul cited creativity and productivity as the keys not only to economic success, but also to happiness. True freedom and liberty are needed to achieve this. If the government gets involved in the process with subsidies and grants we stop being self reliant and start looking for handouts, putting us back into the role of subservients.
All in all it was a very interesting speech, if a very long one. Dr. Paul stayed true to the end with his message, as we all knew he would. He expressed a vision wherein society would accept an idealism of nonaggression – a simple notion, but a powerful one nonetheless. And he urged us all to continue to spread the gospel of liberty.
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I’m sure we’ll have more to say on the speech as we digest it (I took 5 pages of typed notes..). The full speech is below.