Ron Paul Reacts To Obama Speech

Source: Campaign for Liberty
Date: 1/20/2009


I’d like to answer a couple of e-mail questions that have been sent to me. This is from Eric from Georgia:

“Dr. Paul, in his inaugural address today, President Obama said, ‘What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.’ The question is, do you think this statement further undermines the public’s already vague understanding of the historic truth about liberty and government power which us cynical libertarian philosophers know have not changed? What is the danger here is the greater context of Obama’s nationalistic message, and what does it mean for the constitution?”

I think this is a very, very important question, and it’s a scary question. A scary statement by Obama I think, because he’s not calling for a less government. He’s calling for a government that works. And that means, do whatever is necessary. If you need more money, spend it. If you need another program, spend it. And if you are honest with oneself, you’d have to say, I’m for more government, I’m from less government. But he would like to try to avoid being blunt in saying “I’m for a lot more government”.

We as constitutionalists and libertarians know what we want. We want individual liberty with the full belief and confidence that freedom does work and markets work. And that big government is the problem. So he’s inviting a lot more government. He says it doesn’t really matter just so it works. But, the full question is, is it true that government can work? Can the government create prosperity? Can it regulate the market? Can it be a central-economic planner? Can it be an empire builder and can it police the world? And quite frankly, very few of us believe that as a possibility.

So I would say that it is up to us to counteract this message, because too often we hear this statement that “we don’t want a bunch of ideologues running things. We want to be practical. We just want the government to function well”, and yet at the same time, when they talk about getting rid of the ideologues and the people who believe strongly in something, they themselves believe in something very strong. They believe in government. And even though this is camouflaged with saying, “you know whether the government might be too big or too small”, we know what is coming. And that is ideological.

It is a strong ideological position to believe that government can run things because if it isn’t socialism, it’s fascistic and it’s inflationary and it’s control, and it’s loss of liberty, so, we should not be feeling reassured by any fancy words that we heard today in the inaugural address.