Last year at this time, a presidential campaign captured the interest of many in the nation. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of voters like me supported the candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul, a long time Republican congressman from Texas. Those of us who are interested in liberty and personal independence put quite a bit of our hope for a better tomorrow into his candidacy, and in my opinion, rightfully so. Dr. Paul has a long standing record of voting in a pro liberty manner on many of the important issues of our day. Many may have been disappointed by the events that took place, but perhaps they should not be surprised. Even though Dr. Paul did not become president, or even the Republican presidential nominee, his campaign has opened the eyes of a great many people and his message continues to reverberate in the American consciousness, and indeed around the world. The freedom message is powerful and popular worldwide, not just in America.
It became evident quite early on in Ron Paul’s campaign that the establishment was not going to give into him easily, no matter his popularity. The establishment media did their best to marginalize him and his supporters and minimize the impact he had on the political discourse. They did their jobs well, as far as that went, and managed to prevent huge numbers of common folk from discovering the only candidate that could really be trusted to make a difference. But since Ron Paul was a Republican, they couldn’t keep him out of the debates like they do so many other worthy candidates with a freedom message. Unfortunately, it may have been too little, too late against an establishment that was simply too powerful.
Still, Ron Paul managed to awaken a multitude who may have otherwise remained apathetic and feeling helpless against the rising tide of political disenfranchisement that continues to pervade not just the United States of America, but the entire world. Despite the fact that he was given less time than other candidates at the debates, despite the fact that he was asked more insignificant questions having nothing to do with the main issues of the day than the other candidates, despite the media’s efforts to make him and his supporters look crazy and/or radical, he managed to deliver a liberty message that resonated in the fibers of the American people. He managed to deliver a message of smaller, more transparent government that most freedom loving individuals can agree with. Ron Paul’s candidacy was a success in so many ways simply because the establishment and their media cronies did not want the common folk exposed to such ideas and they could do nothing to stop it. The idea of freedom has always been dangerous to those in power.
Yet Ron Paul did more than just deliver the message of freedom to the masses. He was able to make some predictions about the direction this country was taking. More surprisingly, he showed that the American people are interested in economics and how money works, particularly young Americans. After all, it is the younger generations who are going to have to pay for the follies the government engages in today. What do people think debt is anyway? What do people expect from a system where money creation is based on debt? Like the old fairy tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, debts are to be paid as promised else likely the children will suffer the consequences. Perhaps the people of this nation understand more than the establishment gives them credit for and that is why there was such an outcry against the recent bailouts.
It is only now, after we have seen many of Ron Paul’s economic predictions come to pass, that he is given credibility by those who interview him in the mainstream media. It is only after an election has been held and establishment supported politicians have remained firmly in place that the mainstream media begins to give any credence to the free market proponents who had been warning all along of the impending crisis. Even now, as Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and others warn of a deepening economic crisis, the politicians continue a policy of increasing the debt burden and trying to maintain an unworkable, credit driven monetary system. Even though thoughtful, common sense solutions have been proffered by such gentlemen and reported on in establishment media these men are ignored by the political and banking elite as their solutions would curtail the power and control the establishment maintains over our lives and so no real change will take place despite the apparent prophetic nature of past predictions.
It’s not just the economy that Ron Paul made dire predictions about, however. He also made predictions and continues to warn about the likelihood that our freedoms will be lost. As it stands, the United States government still honors a few of the freedoms we used to take for granted, but even those freedoms are tenuously honored at best as the elite who control the mechanisms of state would love to stifle all dissent and silence all who would dare protest. Civil liberties which were supposed to be protected by the rules of governance that were outlined in the Bill of Rights which were eviscerated by the Bush administration have not been restored. It seems to me likely that those who broke the law by violating those rights which they had sworn an oath to uphold will never be brought to justice. Worse still, the burdensome tomes legislators and their friends create and then refer to as laws are not being repealed. In fact, I am certain more cryptic laws are being crafted as you read this to create larger bureaucracies with less transparency and more power than ever.
There are remedies available for these problems also. Dr. Ron Paul understands what these remedies entail and gave us his recommendations during the debates. On top of my list is to bring all our troops home from all around the world. As a nation the United States has over extended its budget and its authority by trying to administer an empire it should never have built in the first place. It is time to give the rest of the world the freedom to police their own nations and to keep our troops here to defend ours. It is time to deal with other nations fairly on a private business level, letting them sell their resources for what open markets will determine is a fair price, rather than trying to force them to bow to the will of our corporations. If this causes higher energy prices, then so be it. Perhaps if that were the case we would develop better alternative renewable energy sources. We should have fair trade with all nations, entangling alliances with none.
It is long past time we ended our wars of aggression. Too much life and treasure has already been lost on an activity which by its very nature can only destroy. Wars of any kind only serve to generate an atmosphere of fear and animosity that darkens the future for all mankind. This kind of paranoia only serves to stifle the overall productivity of the world. Rather than concentrate on producing products and services to improve the lives of others, products and services that destroy are emphasized. Rather than concentrate on products that bring joy and value to one’s life, mechanisms and policies that bring about misery to others are pursued.
Fear is the biggest threat our society faces. It is this unreasonable, irrational emotion that has eroded the American way of life faster than any enemy ever could. Because of its grip, we have allowed the protection of our freedoms to be undermined by an unscrupulous few with their own agenda. Because of its continuing presence we can expect more restrictions on the exercising of our rights.
On more than one occasion last year, Dr. Paul referenced the United States Constitution as part of his answer to a question. As far as I could tell, he was the only candidate to do so. He is, in fact, a self proclaimed defender of the Constitution. Enshrined within the body of the Constitution is the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments which are meant to restrict government’s activities and protect an individual whose natural rights might otherwise be violated by a far more powerful and possibly tyrannical entity. While the Constitution may not be a perfect document as evidenced by its past and present inability to prevent government abuses of civil liberties from taking place, it is a document those who have been unjustly persecuted can point to in their defense when making such claims. It is, at the very least, a good outline of how a just government ought to treat individuals under its auspices.
Many have come to believe that the Constitution is the document that grants American citizens their rights. This is not so. To suggest this would be to suggest that government can take rights and freedoms from its people. These rights and freedoms aren’t granted by government, but are a natural part of the human spirit. This is the case worldwide, not just in America. It is a condition that has been known to philosophers and hidden by tyrants for millennia. The question is not whether or not humans have rights that can be given and taken, the question is whether or not one can openly exercise his individual rights without fear of retribution from those who hold stations of power. This is a measure of the amount of freedom one has in a given society, and in today’s United States of America many have become afraid to exercise their rights due to the flagrant disregard the federal government shows for its own rules as outlined in the Constitution.
Last year in the debates Ron Paul was right about the direction the economy was taking. He was right about the federal government disregarding freedoms. He remains right about establishing a new, sound monetary system based on something other than debt. He remains right about curtailing government abuses by adhering to the Constitution, the highest law of the land. Just following those two simple steps would do so much to begin to bring fiscal sanity back to our economy and peace of mind back to our society. If the government continues to ignore such sound advice, perhaps it is time that common men begin to ignore government dictates and implement their own free market institutions based upon these principles which most politicians no longer care to uphold.