November 14, 2012 – Today, a speech by a graying old man in the House of Representatives heralded the end of an era. It was quintessential Paul, long on liberty and short on government, hence the nickname “Dr. No”.
It is a fitting title that he bears with honor for the simple reason that it's not the sort of title one earns by compromising on principle or the constitution. Ron Paul believed that a vote for almost any law put before the House was a vote against freedom, so his vote was generally “No.” Quietly, with conviction, he bucked the two-party system his entire life.
His conviction was that law, especially federal law, is the greatest threat to our liberty. It would be hard to argue otherwise.
After all, law is either restraint or compulsion. It restricts freedom and an overabundance of law is, by definition, the erosion of liberty. What's worse is a situation where the law is “for sale” in the form of legislators and government officials. It is the death of the long revered principle known as “the rule of law” reducing this vital principle to meaningless language buried in legal texts. That is where we find ourselves today.
According to Dr. Paul, “The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year. When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.”
Indeed, when new laws and regulations are passed at the frightening rate of thousands per year and old laws are scrapped because another party has come to power, how can anyone seriously talk about the “rule of law” if the rules are always changing?
His speech today made it clear that we live by the golden rule of tyranny - the man with the gold makes the rules.
“This neglect [of liberty and free markets] ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to be left alone. That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.”
Simply put government has become a trough to slop the pigs with while the “farmer” politicians milk the populace of the fruits of their productive pursuits.
Dr. Paul called for an intellectual awakening. “If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties.”
Dr. Paul said that the crisis we face cannot be solved if we do not understand the underlying causes. Those in power will continue to violate moral principle, taking from one group and giving to themselves and their friends, and they will do so legally, by passing laws.
On the floor of the House, Dr. Paul asked his fellow members a long list of questions about the laws they had passed. He was clearly highlighting the compromised nature of American legislators. Here is a very short version of the list:
- Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
- Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
- Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
- Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American travelling by air?
- Why did the big banks, the large corporations and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
- Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a kill list, including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
One of the fundamental themes in Dr. Paul's final address was the use of force. He said, “The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government-initiated force to change the world. Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned – or especially when well-intentioned – the results are dismal.”
It may be government force used to invade foreign countries, or regulate economic activity (e.g. the massive US tax code, legal tender laws or business regulations), or constrain personal liberty and habits. He said that only a criminal mind could imagine it was permissible to enter someone else’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, drink and smoke, or how to spend the fruits of their labor.
It must have taken some courage to make this address to a “House-full” of legislators guilty of these very same infractions, exhibiting tendencies to the very same "criminal mind set."
He reminded the House of Representatives that government does not have a monopoly on the use of force. Even though there is now an “army of armed bureaucrats” in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc., the fact that citizens are “guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts” and the government’s arbitrary and immoral use of force will eventually be used as a justification for individuals to do the same.
He noted that government overreach will eventually result in violent pushback not all that different from the conflict experienced in the Revolutionary War against England. The amazing number of people signing petitions of secession after the election seems to indicate the US might be approaching a “civility cliff”.
Paul ended his speech by placing the blame right where it belongs - on us, the people. "Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed. The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.”
According to Paul, the current crisis is, in a nutshell, a crisis of morality, for we have become a nation that winks at sin, whether it is theft (through taxation), or gluttony (consumption that outpaces our production). He referred to the impending collapse of the US economy due to excessive debt, an entitlement philosophy and eroding civil liberties.
His tone was not optimistic. In a thinly-veiled reference to one of the primary debates when he was booed for suggesting that the US treat other countries with dignity, not violate their sovereignty, and avoid the use of sanctions, he said, "A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.”
At one point, he also said, “I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.” This was an indictment of the "sheeple" mentality that has caused the current state of affairs.
Yet, he held out hope that the new generation would reject authoritarianism and embrace freedom. He said that homeschooling and the internet would be crucial tools in overcoming the deceptive federal government's monopoly on education and information, that productivity and creativity were the basis of personal satisfaction and that peace was the path to prosperity.
Dr. Paul's tireless defense of liberty in the halls of the American empire has come to an end, and today his concern was that the Republic itself was in danger. Today, freedom lost its outspoken and courageous ally in the House of Representatives. Today is, in a very real sense, the end of an era. What the next one will look like depends entirely on whether or not Americans heed the warnings he issued today. The only way to prevent the rise of more authoritarian and bellicose government overreach is to #withdrawconsent and put more men of principle in Washington D.C.