The Man Who Reanimated My Hope
"Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms. The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well. First, we recognize that individuals shouldn't initiate violence, then we give the authority to government. Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things go badly, will be used to justify an individual's "right" to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority. If this cycle is not reversed society will break down."
Think about that when you hear Obama types talk about "fairness" as a goal of the coercive apparatus. That was excerpted from Ron Paul's historic farewell speech to congress delivered in November following Romney's victory in the nomination. The original speech is an hour long but the worthy excerpts here will only take 10-15 minutes to read.
I've always thought of Ron Paul as the Howard Buffett of the current era. I sure hope there are more of him. What a fighter he is. Most of us are likely to burnout (or sellout) in this battle of the ages much younger. Countless many will refuse to even enlist due to its toll on relationships. I have seen him take on press comments so naïve and insulting they made my stomach turn, leaving me paralyzed to respond even in my own mind. Where would I even start, I often thought, with some of those questions.
And yet Dr. Paul, like a philosopher-superhero, without hardly a hesitation, swoops down and deals with them in a most sincere and concise manner. With ease he exposed the supposedly objective and neutral media as the overtly biased statist mass of hypocrites it really is. I can think of no other promoter of our cause that has had a louder and more consistent voice, and an even greater impact on the youth of the day.
Where I thought our movement was peaking with Obama's victory in 2008, suddenly there was a mushrooming of young anarcho-capitalists! The crowds of discontented might have been inevitable in the aftermath of the economic crisis, but Dr. Paul did a great job rounding it up.
His farewell speech to Congress will indeed prove to earn the epithet "historical." I have a hunch that students will be reciting it centuries from now. It echoes a message familiar to our readers by now: the state has become too big. If this diagnosis is correct, the truth will inevitably fall on future generations. The fact that most people still don't know Ron Paul or understand this message only proves just how far ahead of its time this speech actually is - some day, when the world manages to see past the statist myths, Dr. Paul WILL be appreciated more broadly.
Dr. Paul is the last of his breed, of his generation. He is the last intellectually consistent and honest "politician" in congress. By planting the seed of liberty firmly at the feet of today's youth he went as far as anyone has or could have hoped to - within the political framework.
Although Dr. Paul continues to lobby for liberty, and probably will until his last days, God bless him, scholars like Jeffrey Tucker point out that the future of liberty lies outside of the political realm:
"[Even] Ron doesn't actually believe that the answer is in political activism...He thinks the answer is in intellectual activism, and also, entrepreneurship. There are plenty of things for people to do to advance liberty besides just continuing to yell at the state: get smaller, get smaller...just give us our rights. It doesn't seem to be working very well. But there are ways to dig underneath the mountain, go around the mountain, find new tools to scale the mountain. And there are other more creative ways of advancing liberty besides just getting involved in politics in the traditional way."
We too do not believe that this war can be won through the political arena. We never have. Rather, as Tucker notes, we feel our media voice is far more influential in achieving good than any single vote in the political arena that ultimately goes to a lesser evil. We also use our Austrian economic and financial analysis to help create wealth for our readers who largely or completely share our philosophy of liberty and peace.
But there are other ways to fight for liberty, too. You could do it one by one - in educating your circle of friends. Or you could challenge authority by innovation and creating new ways to get things done, as Lysander Spooner did when he created the American Letter Mail Company to compete with the US postal office.
There are lots of ways to influence the world around you outside of the political sphere. The war for liberty cannot be won through political office any more than it can be won by violent revolution. We can't revolutionize a nation without first revolutionizing public opinion. That should be the true legacy of the French Revolution.
Ron Paul pushed the limits of what many libertarians thought would have been possible within the political arena. It inspires us to think what could be achieved by our side if we focus. It gives me tremendous hope that public opinion could still be won over within my own life time.
Thank you Ron Paul for giving me new hope!