Below are Ron Paul’s personal notes for this groundbreaking speech:
Welcome to the Rally for the Republic and the Revolution.
It’s not much of an overstatement to say that everyone attending this Rally for the Republic knows that the American Republic hangs by a thread, and a thin one at that.
Every day the financial, political and foreign policy news verifies the crisis we face. The financial system teeters on collapse, our personal liberties continue to melt away, and the constant threat from foreign adversaries escalates daily. Yet, there’s something exciting in the air. A revolutionary spirit has erupted and it will not be suppressed. We are indeed involved in an historic event.
It’s been nearly two years since the presidential exploratory committee was formed, yet despite my strong reservations at the time, much has been accomplished. The Revolution to save the Republic has been ignited. It was a revolution in waiting. The campaign became the catalyst that excited millions who, in their own quiet way, were already working diligently to save our Constitution, preserve our liberties, and reject outright the notion of an American world empire.
Not only was I surprised at the reception for the ideas of liberty, the establishment was shocked because of the millions who were responding. The response from those who feared a challenge to the status quo, controlled by the special interests, was silence, ridicule, and marginalization. But that treatment was only met with energized determination to spread the message using the internet, radio, short-wave, letter writing, campaigning, and by word of mouth and through music. I’ve always been convinced that any movement of significance would have two things: the involvement of young people and creative music. And we have both.
Though the revolutionary spirit was much stronger than I ever dreamed, the growth that continues is truly inspiring. It is clear to me that people are hurting financially; they are deeply concerned about their freedom; and they are sick and tired of paying for a failed foreign policy. They indeed are demanding change and it’s a change that only we can provide. When others offer change, it’s only a political reaction to a demand that they cannot ignore.
The future of the Republic is bleak. As conditions deteriorate those in charge use the problems they created to solidify their power with more spending, taxes, rules, inflation, and militarism. This must be reversed or tyranny will triumph and the grand experiment of the American Republic will end.
During the past two years, a lot of us have been excited to find so many other like-minded individuals who have been just waiting to join an organized effort to challenge the corrupt power structure that is controlling our country. Not only that, but tens of thousands of young people have excitedly joined the effort after realizing that what they’re getting handed to them is not a system of opportunity, but a broken system plagued with a debt that they’ll be expected to pay.
No one knows the exact number of people involved, but it’s huge and growing. The Republic can be saved. It will be difficult, but it can’t be saved without an army of enthusiastic revolutionaries who know and understand exactly what this struggle is all about. There’s every reason to be more optimistic today than two years ago. The support is out there and it is ready to be tapped.
I want to acknowledge my deep appreciation for the confidence you placed in me in helping to spread this message. Without your encouragement, financial support, and hard work, there would not have been a campaign of note. The revolution would still have come, but I’m pleased to have been part of speeding up the process. The task before us is continuing and building on this momentum.
We can expect many obstacles to be placed in our way. Though we preach non-violence, our opponents who feel threatened, will not hesitate to use force against us. Since the opposition is the state, using the armed might of government to stifle our effort should not surprise us. Recent changes in the law voiding protection of our civil liberties since 9/11, make it quite convenient for hostile government agents to undermine our right to speak out and protest.
Although this struggle is difficult, we know that ultimately ideas are superior to brute force and can penetrate where armies and police are unable to go. For that reason we should remain optimistic and continue our effort, since doing nothing is unacceptable and guarantees failure.
Responsibility falls on each and every one of us — much more so on those who come to know the truth and can convince others of the moral correctness and benefits of Liberty.
To get us out of this mess, we must first understand how we got ourselves into it and then proceed to correct the problems.
How and Why We Lost the Republic
The simplest explanation comes from the early warning that the survival of freedom requires a moral people. Absent this, the Constitution has no meaning, no matter how well written. But the immorality of a political system hinges on those who seek power or largess and are supported by a false ideology justifying the forced wealth transfer known as “legal plunder.” Along with a negligent or complicit electorate, this sets the stage for the undermining of the Republic.
Although those who hunger for power are small in numbers, it’s easy to entice the masses into believing that government can provide for everyone’s needs and safety. Yet the others who continue to produce are misled into believing that they must accept the system or be labeled selfish and lacking compassion. To do this, they accept the idea that a person’s needs, desires or demands equate to rights. Thus we hear from those who say they object to the welfare/socialist state that they nevertheless accept the fact that the few truly in need deserve help from the government. They claim it’s only the abuse of the system that must be stopped. This concedes the intellectual and moral argument that a need is equal to a right and now is referred to as an “entitlement.” No one should be entitled or have a right to someone else’s labor. This idea opens the door to the special interests to manipulate the system to their advantage at the expense of all others. Without this understanding liberty cannot survive.
Even though the Constitution was written to keep power from being placed in the hands of the few, the apathy of the people and the belief that they may benefit from such a system allows the centralization of power to continue.
It has been said that power for some is an aphrodisiac and it feeds on itself, even after those in charge have adequately stolen enough to be comfortable for the rest of their lives. There are some who are quite content to use government to increase their wealth without directly wielding power. Well-connected lobbyists seek influence to enhance their economic well-being without running for office or becoming a figurehead with authority.
Ignorance of how the economy works significantly contributes to central economic planning by the politicians, bureaucrats and central bankers. The major reason for this is that government schools do not teach free-market economics.
These same schools teach that it’s an outdated notion to strictly adhere to the Constitution. They claim the Constitution must be a living, breathing document, capable of adapting to modern times. They assume that there are no long-lasting truths, such as might be found in the Bill of Rights. It should surprise no one that constitutional restraint on the federal government is nonexistent. It no longer is seen as an instrument to restrain the government, but instead is constantly distorted to justify restraining the people in all their activities and travels.
Distortion of history influences the thinking of almost everyone with a government education. War presidents are always portrayed as the greatest presidents—Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt. The economic ideas that are taught are always Keynesian or socialist. Ideas on banking always support central banking and never commodity money, as mandated by the Constitution. This problem only gets worse as every aspect of public schools is more controlled by the Congress, federal bureaucrats, the Department of Education and the federal courts. The Republic cannot be saved without addressing this issue of education.
The idea is well-entrenched that if one supports free markets, private property, commodity money, no Federal Reserve, no income tax, no welfare and no foreign militarism, one cannot be a humanitarian concerned about the well-being of all citizens. The truth is exactly the opposite. Although the socialist/welfare state may be supported by some who are truly concerned about their fellow man, there is no evidence that any system can provide more prosperity for the greatest number than a system based on individual liberty.
The idea of patriotism has been grossly distorted. Too often, if one does not support unconstitutional aggression it is said that he is unpatriotic, un-American, and doesn’t support the troops. It is assumed today that a patriot is one who is blindly obedient to the government—right or wrong. But the people and the government are not the same. Support for freedom and the Constitution compels the patriot to challenge the government when it goes wrong. That means today a true patriot must challenge our government at every step of the way. The original American patriots were hardly the ones that were steadfastly loyal to the King—despite his abuse of the rights of the American colonists.
We are expected to believe that freedom is old-fashioned and must be rejected. It’s claimed that modern times require a centralized government with power placed in the hands of the few. This is completely false. Freedom, as protected by our Constitution, is a new idea in the historical sense. It’s been tried and found to be amazingly successful in producing great abundance, yet the notion that it’s outdated permeates our society. What is old is the idea of tyranny. We must never be willing to give up the principles of individual liberty; instead we must convince people that progress depends on advancing even further this concept rather than succumbing to the ancient idea of political power residing in the hands of a few.
Personal freedom and economic freedom cannot remain separate. If we have a right to our lives, we have a right to live our lives as we chose and to keep the fruits of our labor. These two rights are the same.
We must forever eliminate the notion that a tax reduction is a cost to government. That notion is based on the assumption that everything we earn belongs to the government and the government decides what portion we’re allowed to keep. This is why today our lives, the fruits of our labor, and all our property are controlled by the state and we must get permission for everything we do.
This is equivalent to prior restraint. This would not sit well with a journalist in reporting and writing opinions and should not sit well with any of us who are tired of being constantly spied on and monitored in every transaction we make and needing to get permission for our every move.
One of the most dangerous ideas that has undermined the Republic, and one which a majority of the American people have come to accept, is that of preventive war. This is another name for aggression and allowing wars for perceived or imagined dangers. Tragically the Congress is complicit, failing to take responsibility to declare or reject war and instead obediently funding the wars the President starts out of fear of being called unpatriotic. We are bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan and we’re about to spread our military commitment to taking on Iran and maybe even getting involved in the Russian/Georgia dispute, in spite of the fact that no Arab or Muslim nation has posed a threat to us. We’re fighting third-world nations, 6,000 miles from our shore, who have no military force of note. Iran spends 1% of what we spend on our military operation, and they can’t even refine their own gasoline. Yet our government tells us that they are equivalent to Nazi Germany pre-World War II.
Too many American believe that war is good for the economy, which is a completely false assumption, and many believe our presence in the Middle East is required to protect “our” oil. The truth is “war is the health of the state” and the profiteers. War always hurts the economy. General Smedley Butler correctly said that “war is a racket,” serving American business interesting.
Our carelessness with the Constitution and wit hallowing our elected leaders to sell us a bill of goods has allowed the special interests to take over the government for their benefit. This is not inherent in free-market capitalism but a predictable outcome of interventionist economic and foreign policy. It’s not capitalism; it’s corporatism drifting toward fascism. This system permits those inclined to abuse power for their own selfish purposes and egos to undermine the whole notion of individual freedom. Without an understanding of these flaws a reversal of current trends is impossible.
We must never forget that the internal threats to liberties have always been of greater danger to us than the external threats. The internal threats obviously come from abuse of government power.
National sovereignty is not a great concern for most Americans. Our drift toward internationalism has diminished our interest in maintaining our borders and this has diminished the importance of our Constitution as a protector of our liberties. International courts, the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and NAFTA and CAFTA and regional governments like NAU and the European Union are generally accepted by a majority of Americans with little concern. A republic does not thrive under these conditions; instead liberty is always compromised.
The Republic was not lost precipitously. It’s been gradual and insidious, thus making it more palatable and less noticeable. Although the Republic has been destroyed, prosperity has persisted due to our ability to borrow and inflate, based on our past laurels. The superficial prosperity has conditioned many to care little for their lost liberties and the disappearance of the Republic.
But the serious consequences are less evident. We’re in a mess. Debt at all levels is growing exponentially. Inflation is rearing its ugly head, reducing the standard of living of most Americans.
The foreign policy of empire building has given us perpetual war while undermining our own national security. We have more enemies and fewer allies than ever. Our troops are spread across the world, and dissent is increasing here at home. The foreign policy and economic failures are a cause for concern here at home—an attitude that perpetuates violence and competition for the control of a government which becomes more aggressive against its citizens daily. The failure of government at all levels has become more obvious, precipitating the demand for change.
Osama bin Laden is pleased with our response to 9/11 and desperately wants us to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan. It verifies all his assertions about America’s intentions and serves his recruiting efforts.
Some claim that all our problems stem from radical Islamists who want to kill us because of their religious beliefs. That’s a cop-out. A few might like to, but to enlist a suicide bomber there has to be a strong incentive-like occupation by a foreign power.
The religious conflict that motivates al Qaeda is between the radicals and secular Muslims. The fundamentalists highly resent our support for secular puppets in countries like Saudi Arabia to secure access to oil. They see we’re setting up the same type of government in Iraq and Afghanistan with plans to do the same in Iran.
This is the issue—it’s not the clash of civilization as we’ve been told. It’s not the Muslims against the Christians and Jews. Suicide terrorists have been radicalized by our occupation of their countries that they view as holy land.
These reactions are logical once one understands what causes the hatred to boil over. Without this understanding don’t expect our presence in the Middle East to ever bring peace and tranquility to the region. Nor will the oil ever be secure for the West.
The war on drugs has been a total failure and has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars. It has been used as an excuse to undermine our liberties while wasting time and money arresting and incarcerating tens of thousands of individuals who have never committed a violent crime. It has motivated Congress to pass laws forcing mandatory minimum sentences, cluttering our courts and prisons with non-violent individuals while violent criminals get off on technicalities. We live in a country where the federal government can’t even resist regulating the consumption of raw milk.
Although we generally still recognize that citizens here have a right to decide what to put into their minds and souls the assumption is that only government can tell us what we can ingest or smoke. Government has assumed the role of parent in the runaway nanny state.
We need to talk more of our alliance with those whose main issue is the environment. Property rights, the market economy and the Constitution are friends of the environment. In a free society, no one has the right to pollute or damage a neighbor’s land, water, or air. Collusion between the government and corporations has allowed pollution that would not be permissible in a society with strict protection of property rights. Government, over the years, since the Industrial Revolution, has been complicit in many of the problems we have today. This is one reason that I don’t place a lot of confidence in the regulatory approach to protecting the environment. Special interests get special treatment. Also consider the Pentagon’s contribution to pollution through unnecessary wars and huge consumption of hydro carbon energy.
Our answers are not complex, although they are considered radical by those who want to maintain power. But how can they get away with labeling common sense as extreme or kooky, as they so often do. When government needs money, they print some. That sounds kooky to me, as does huge deficits, and totally ignoring the Constitution. No income tax makes a lot of sense to many Americans. Protecting privacy is an American tradition. Respecting the Rule of Law and the Constitution should never be ridiculed as being silly and regressive, as so many do.
Local government is far superior to strong federal controls. Local and private schools have always proven to be superior to government run schools especially when they are run by the federal government.
There’s no reason we can’t restore the tradition of American neutrality in the affairs of the world. It makes no sense for us to be involved in the internal affairs of other nations. Nor is there a need for us to be the politician of the world. Our presence in the Middle East to guarantee a steady flow of oil from that region is a miscalculation of monumental proportions, since we get the opposite results. Private property, sound money, respect for all voluntary economic and social contracts, and rejecting the notion of wealth transfer through legislative fiat needed to restore our liberties and prosperity.
Since the problems we face are a result of rejecting the principles of liberty and our Constitution, the answers should be apparent to everyone. Restore and improve on the freedom revolution started by the Founders of this country.
We do need change—lots of it. But it has to be the right kind of change or it will only make things worse.
The mess we’re in guarantees that we will have change eventually. The status quo cannot be maintained. Tyranny is on its way unless we use this opportunity to reenergize the freedom movement and reinstate the Rule of Law that guarantees our liberties in a Constitutional Republic.
The Constitution must once again be used as an instrument to restrain the government, not the people. Creative energy must be allowed to thrive without the heavy hand of government monitoring every move.
Some say man’s problems result from a persistent class struggle; others say ours is a cultural war. The conflicts that seem to be permanent and unavoidable are nothing more than a consequence of government abuse of power. When outsiders were less involved in the Middle East and the local people determined relationships, Jews, Christians, and Muslims were more capable of living peaceably side by side. Not today. Iraq is also an example of how outside interference makes problems worse.
Let there be no doubt that freedom brings people together, authoritarianism divides us and generates class, religious, gender, generational, social, cultural, and racial conflicts. If we continue to try to solve all human conflicts by more rules, regulations, threats and taxes, our divisions will only grow. Freedom provides the answers.
Truth and the love of liberty are far superior to the illicit use of government power.
Ideas, peaceful persuasion, the principle of the right of self determination are better tools in both domestic and foreign affairs. Armies of individuals with correct ideas can reach places that conventional armies cannot. Ideas and revolutions whose time has come cannot be stopped by governments or the status quo.
We must never forget that freedom is the catalyst of all creative energy.
Our competitors are now intellectually and financially bankrupt which should make our job easier every day.
Some worry that our numbers are small compared to the majority that remains complacent about the current system of welfarism, corporatism, and militarism. But revolutions are never driven by a solid majority. Instead they are led by a small number of dedicated individuals working in unity for a cause. We benefit because our cause is freedom. It brings people from all walks of life together. This means there are no victims. We work together to achieve the right to run our own lives as we see fit and assume responsibility for ourselves and be permitted to keep and spend the fruits of our labor.
Knowing that these ideas guarantee a greater chance for peace and prosperity than any other system of government certainly generates the enthusiasm for the Revolution.
With this enthusiasm, and unity we can influence the majority to eventually join—or at least not obstruct—the Revolution. The failure of the current system will prompt many to look to us for answers to problems we face.
There are many parts in the world that provide a fertile field for this message as well. The campaign message, to my complete surprise and pleasure actually reached many around the world—thanks to modern technology. A tremendous opportunity has arrived for spreading of the message of liberty far and wide.
The question of civil disobedience is of great importance. I personally don’t want to participate in any acts of violence or set the stage where violence will easily break out. But we’re nearing the point where all of us who are struggling to bring about change will have to make a decision regarding civil disobedience.
A gradual transition through elections and persuasion should be our goal. Realistically, that is not likely to bring satisfactory results quickly. An economic crisis and political chaos are a more likely scenario. That is when we are most likely to participate in a rebuilding and remaking of the American Republic.
Already many Americans practice civil disobedience. Some are outwardly at risk and have suffered for it. Protesters of our monetary and tax system on constitutional grounds are legitimate yet we do know that the state will use armed might to arrest and imprison those who make any headway in revealing the truth.
When the military draft is in effect—something which is still a possibility—many will have to make the decision to resist or not. Many have suffered over the years resisting a draft and today many have resisted our unconstitutional war in Iraq and now face imprisonment.
I can conceive of the day when the decision regarding civil disobedience will be of paramount importance. It will always be an individual choice, but history has shown that peaceful resistance to government injustice is a powerful weapon. Gandhi and Martin Luther King showed that this process can bring about a lot of positive changes.
Revolutions are not equivalent to reforming a political party. A successful revolution will reform all parties, possibly with one leading the way.
Ideas are pervasive and spread spontaneously and, when acceptable, influence everyone. There’s nothing wrong working within the Republican Party and I endorse and encourage this. It’s hard to ignore the fact that I’ve been elected 10 times to Congress as a Republican. But there should not be hostility toward those who seek opportunities in any party. The goal is to spread the message in every way possible. As a matter of fact, if the ideas didn’t invade all political factions, it would not be a true revolution. Economic planning, inflationism, Keysianism, foreign interventionism, empire building, legislating morality, all have been endorsed by mainstream politicians in both parties for decades. That’s why the power brokers are not threatened by either candidate in our presidential elections of recent decades. What needs to be done is to replace the principle of illicit use of government force with the principles of individual liberty.
Ironically, people with evil motives, whose goals are to perpetuate dangerous government power, have been quite successful in appealing to the idealism of good people. They are experts in deception. There’s no reason why we can’t appeal to these good people, without deception, with a program of peace, prosperity and freedom.
Over the years I have argued that the two weakest arguments to be used on the House floor are moral and constitutional. The strongest is to list the special interests who support a particular piece of legislation. The Revolution must change this attitude.
Over the course of my study of politics and economics, I found that one of the greatest evils that has been perpetrated by our presidents was the use of war to promote their personal political agenda. The willingness to use war to enhance their political position has led to the death of many innocent people and many of those have been American soldiers. There have also been presidents who have been quite willing to violate civil liberties while claiming to make us safe and free, an attitude that has been catastrophically dangerous to us since 9/11.
JFK was said to have feared being labeled a dove by the Republicans in the election of 1964 and escalated the Vietnam War to prove otherwise. He said then after he won the election he would de-escalate and bring our troops home because he really did not support the war. This was an atrocious act.
Leading up to the 1968 election, LBJ massively escalated the war in order to “win,” believing it would be impossible to win the election without a military victory. He didn’t want to be the first president to lose a war—the necessity or moral justification for the war was irrelevant. Deliberate efforts by both Wilson and Roosevelt to manipulate us into war have been well documented.
And now we have an administration that uses “total victory” as a political ploy to play on the patriotism of the people. Wanting to play the ancient role of the great warrior, today’s politicians pump up the need for war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran and now hints of escalation of our presence and interference in Georgia—just looking for another fight.
The current administration should disavow any plan to escalate the conflict in the Middle East or Central Asia with an October surprise designed to benefit John McCain and sway the election to the more radical neo conservatives.
The most disturbing reaction in the Campaign was the hostility some evangelical Christians showed toward our strong opposition to preemptive war—which is essentially a war of aggression.
How it’s possible to profess to follow the Prince of Peace, and at the same time support preventive war, is totally baffling to me. However, I received strong support from many evangelicals who support home schooling. They respect the Constitution and oppose preventive wars like me and are strong supporters of home schooling. I stand fast in opposition to abortion, and I found it disappointing that some evangelicals would rather support a candidate weak on the abortion issue and home schooling as long as the candidate supports war over diplomacy. When it comes to the Middle East, Israel was a key factor in their decision making.
The current civil war breaking out in Georgia and dragging in the Russians is closely related to our policy of foreign military interventionism. Our money and troops have trained the Georgian army to provoke the Russians. We’re there to protect a vital pipeline running from the Caspian Sea to Turkey and we prod NATO to join in our empire building by bringing Georgia into NATO. Our obsession with putting anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe has nothing to do with defending America. It has more to do with resurrecting the Cold War. Our insistence on doing so and having troops in countries like Georgia is doing nothing more than provoking a fight with Russia—exactly what would delight the war mongering neo-cons. Fighting in Georgia is not worth one American life.
Only a total overhaul of our foreign policy can prevent us from getting ourselves into so much trouble and neither of the two major candidates offers us a solution.
Ultimately, it is the use of force that determines the advancement of civilization. Brute force and the survival of the fittest are the least civilized. Using force only as a defense against those who initiate force shows society is advancing. If government is granted a monopoly over the use of force, even if given to stop the evil doers, it nevertheless sets the stage for the destruction of civilization. When force is restrained by individuals and government, society becomes more productive as was the case in our early history.
The world is threatened once again by those who use government force to undermine the benefits of civilization while serving the powerful elites. They always claim they are only trying to help the poor.
Insecure politicians cling to the notion that only the warrior can stabilize a country by killing, robbing and enslaving their enemy, and they demand war and militarism to solve all the world’s problems. Today, instead of depending upon the market to produce the energy we need, we send our armies to protect “our” oil in the Middle East and the Caspian Sea, all in the name of serving mankind.
Advancing civilization depends on this understanding of the use of force. If current attitudes of the political leaders of our country are not changed in this regard, the future looks bleak. It need not be. Freedom provides the answer.
Send a Message
We’re here today to send a message, not just to the Republican Party, not just to the politicians in power, but to the whole country, and possibly the entire world.
The power brokers are convinced they can maintain control with no serious challenge. They have it wrong. We will challenge them on all fronts—in every state and at all levels of government. First of all, the philosophic revolution will propel the political revolution. The educational effort will spread the message of the Freedom Philosophy. Individual liberty must be our goal. Prosperity and peace will follow. Without liberty, peace and prosperity are unachievable.
Without liberty, all we have are the leeches and looters fighting over the spoils that the victims are required to produce. This rotten system of redistribution must end. And it will, because victims of authoritarian rule eventually quit being victimized. War and domestic violence always complicate matters once the moral defense of individual rights is rejected.
Endless war and economic pain never pacifies the people. We must prevail, for once the people demand change, there will be lots of counterfeit offers for change—all of which will make conditions worse.
Change for the sake of change but not doing the right thing is pure folly. Our Revolution for the Republic must prevail. And it will!