Ron Paul gave an amazing speech at this weekend’s Campaign for Liberty conference in St. Louis, Missouri. He explained that we don’t need to convince 51% of the electorate and that true, peaceful change can be effected by as little as 3%, 4% or 5% of the people if they educate themselves, join forces and concentrate their efforts.
Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve is an excellent demonstration of this principle. A few thousand of us can make a real difference by continuing to urge our representatives to support HR 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009.
Event: Campaign for Liberty Regional Conference – St. Louis, Missouri
Ron Paul: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Looks like the campaign goes on. I really want to thank you for coming, because I understand you took great risks in coming here. Your name may be on a list, you may have your picture taken. So, I realize you had to take that type of risk to make it here, but I greatly appreciate that, it’s very nice you came. But, hopefully we will remain patriotic and peaceful and eventually show that the opposition… those who would like to curtail our activities, are a really big problem that we face in this country.
In one of the debates, the subject of torture came up and some of you may recall that they wouldn’t call it torture. They said that it was “enhanced interrogation techniques” and I remember referring to it and saying, “Well, that’s sort of sounds like 1984 newspeak”, when you might call something else.
The new administration has a new term too, it’s a new term that they have come up with: “Overseas Contingency Operation”. That’s what is war, that is what they call war. Another newspeak term. So this is the kind of thing that we have to put up with. If they can change words, they try to change our values as well.
But you know, I think it’s so interesting that so many of these banks and mortgage companies and credit card companies are all going bankrupt. But have you ever thought about it? Guess who has been ruling the day on your credit score. These are the people who have been writing all these credit scores for all of us, and they’re the ones that have the greatest deal of trouble and, of course, those people who write the credit scores have never made a mistake or confused anybody’s credit. So, eventually we have to get people back thinking about what is true and proper.
And I, matter of fact, have become more encouraged. I, of course, haven’t been on a speaking engagement like this since last September when we had that little rally up in Minneapolis where twelve thousand people showed up. Many of you were there. So this to me is a continuation. Somebody asked me, “When did you start the Campaign for Liberty?” Well, the Campaign for Liberty Organization was started last summer. But, the campaign for liberty, as far as I am concerned, for myself, started in 1974, the first time I ran for Congress.
That campaign will continue, as it has been for so many of you. But, I think that there is no doubt that the momentum is picking up. We haven’t reformed Washington yet, but our time is coming. We will reform Washington. That is our goal.
There is no doubt that there is a different atmosphere. My life has changed because I never realized how many of you are out there. When it comes to TV interviews, and even in the House and on the floor and other places, there is more credibility. The credibility comes from two reasons. Because I believe, absolutely, that the views are correct, and because of you, because there are enough people now to show that we are a significant number and we will play a role in what is happening in this country.
Now, it may get discouraging because there will be elections and we won’t have the 51%, but if you understand what true revolutions are all about, you don’t have to deal in those precise numbers because true revolutions come about by a small number of people, a dedicated number of people, people who understand and believe in something. Then, 3 or 5 or 6 percent of the country can change it because others are willing to come, and the time is ripe because we are in big trouble with our foreign policy, big trouble financially, monetarily and people now are looking for the answers and I am totally convinced that we can find our answers in what we are doing and in just following the United States Constitution.
Our economy currently is in shambles. And it was, as you saw […], many had predicted it. It was not only I who was talking about it. It was a predictable event, because of the nature of the monetary system. We have a financial house of cards and we knew that house of cards would come down. That house of cards is being built since 1971. Major events in our recent history were the formulation of the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944, and that was a pseudo gold-exchange standard where the dollar was supposed to be gold and it would always be exchangable for $35 an ounce. It didn’t take too long for the Federal Reserve to get ahead of itself and print too much money where it was obviously unbacked anymore at $35 an ounce.
That, as was predicted even when it was established in 1944, came to an end percipitously on August 15, 1971. And the world at that time was willing to accept the idea that maybe just the paper dollar would work. And at that time many predicted that it wouldn’t work. It probably worked longer than a lot of us believed it would work. But because it lasted longer than we expected, the bubble got bigger and that, of course, is why this huge international, worldwide house of cards, the financial system, came crashing down.
If you look at the statistics now, the statistics are overwhelming how rapidly this has come. But you know about building a fragile house on an unsound foundation. Well, the foundation isn’t very good either. The house has come down and the only foundation they built on was sand, and that sand was the U.S. dollar. And the dollar is doomed. The dollar can’t be revived unless all of a sudden we come to our senses, stop spending, balance the budget, bring our troops home and pay down our debt, get rid of the income tax and let people go back to work.
In the past, when countries have suffered with inflation… and with what most people refer to as inflation, is somewhat incorrect because they think about prices going up. That is a consequence of inflation. Inflation is when the government or Federal Reserve System or Central Bank increases the money supply.
When the prices go up, the people respond and they say, “There’s not enough money”. Even in this pseudo deflationary period… we don’t have deflation because it makes prices skyrocket… it’s just that there is deflation in the financial instruments because the stock values have gone down and house values have gown down. But even under those conditions, the cry is always for, “There’s not enough money”. And what have we done? Essentially, in these last two years, we have just literally pumped the money out there, (and there was way too much inflation before that anyway), to try to hold this bubble together. But it hasn’t come back.
Now, this situation is very risky not only financially for all of us. How do you survive with a financial system breakdown? How many people have lost in the stock market and with the value of their houses? That is very dangerous. But the real reason that I get concerned about it, is the economic chaos that generally comes with a financial crisis and a monetary crisis, is the threat to our liberties. And that is what we should be concerned about. We want a sound monetary system, a sound economic system, because we want to protect every single one of us, our individual liberty. That is our goal.
I am of the conviction that the dollar cannot be patched together again. They are frantically working on coming up with an international system. You know, in the old days we used to hear talk and rumors of devaluations. When it was $35 an ounce, “When are they doing to devaluate”? And our government would incessantly deny it and say, “There will not be a devaluation”. It was a big event in 1971 when the dollar was devalued by 8%. It was devalued by changing the price of gold from $35 to $38. But it was always denial, always denial. And then later on they went and made a significant denial and said, “No, there will not be any more devaluations”, and then they devalued from $38 and took it up to $42.
Now, of course, it floats and the price of gold floats. But, now the denial is when you hear it on the news. Tonight they were ridiculing anybody who would suggest that there may be some international discussions going on with the banks about a new international currency. I believe they are doing it, and the more they deny it, the more you want to be perking your heads up and keep paying attention because they are probably going to do it.
Now the only thing that is keeping them from doing that is they’re under the gun too, because Mises taught that currencies can’t be created out of thin air. If you just move on to an island and decide, “Well, this is what we’re going to use as money and we’ll print these pieces of paper”. It never worked. The only reason the dollar words, even though i’ts fiat money, is because it was linked to gold at one time, and that’s how it came into existence.
So they will have a lot of trouble having a new currency. Even though I’m sure they are working diligently in doing that. But, once again, this is an attack on us as a nation and on us as a people. Because you don’t need a Federal Government, you don’t need a Federal Reserve System, you don’t need a U.S. Congress to have sound money. All you have to do is legalize the constitution and allow gold and silver to be legal tender and you don’t need the dollar reserve system.
The Federal Reserve was brought into existence in 1913 because they said they needed a “lender of last resort” and they needed a “stable currency”. Now, I don’t think it is a lender of last resort, I think it’s become a spender of first resort.
We talk about the hundreds of billions of dollars the Congress appropriates… and sometimes I just think that’s a distraction, because the big event is occurring at the Federal Reserve System. This is where the power is and this is where the control is. Whether it’s international what they do… and it was described to you earlier… all those things that they do that we’re not allowed to know anything about.
I now call the Federal Reserve System the Fourth Branch of Government. It, essentially, is equivalent to, if not superior to, the other three branches. Now, it seems to be a hopeless task, but if we remember how the Federal Reserve came into existence, we should remember how we can get rid of it. The Federal Reserve was created by a Congressional act, and we can get rid of it by a Congressional act, and we should.
Most people write to me saying, “It makes so much sense”. Most people understand that if you print a lot of money it’s going to lose its value. Why is it that the members of Congress and everybody go along with this? It’s an interesting question because it’s for different reasons. A lot them never even thought about it, you know, and they were never taught about it. During the bubble phase, they are not too worried about it, because there is an appearance of wealth. But what they don’t realize is that the wealth is really based on borrowed money, and an illusion about the value of the currency. So, the value of their house goes up and they claim that that’s a lot of capital, which it is not. When stocks go up they think they have a lot of wealth, which they do not because that can disappear rather quickly.
So, the Federal Reserve then only has about one thing to do; they have to keep the whole thing going over and over again. But the members of Congress are paying more attention, and that s good. But those who are in charge, those who are in leadership of the Republican and the Democrats… I think they know, generally, what’s going on.
But there’s only two groups that we have to worry about in Washington that want to continue this process. And that tends to be the Liberals and the Conservatives. They get along quite well. They pretend not to get along, but they get along pretty well, because Liberals like to spend for one thing, they like the welfare state, and the Conservatives like it because they like the warfare state. So they get together and they compromise and we have both. So now we’ve suffered from the welfare-warfare state, which is what we need to repeal.
Because if we were taxed for what we need to balance the budget, obviously, the economy even would be in a lot worse shape, but it would have stopped a little bit sooner. But this is a way you delay the payment. You run up the bills, you write treasury bills, the Fed monetizes this, the pain and suffering goes to some unknown person. They say that poor people don’t pay income taxes, but believe me, they pay a lot of penalties. They pay for the higher prices and they lose their jobs first, and eventually it moves up the ladder and the inflation ends up wiping out the middle class for a long time. The process is designed to transfer wealth from the middle class to the rich.
And they’re still working at it. Just look at all these bailouts. Is the money coming to your pocket, are they sending it to you? Have they accepted our solution to some of this? Yes. What we could have done, we needed to get some money into your pockets, we just would have gotten rid of the income tax.
But instead, we do the bailouts, we further transfer the wealth, but that will eventually come to and end. It has to, it can’t last. But the goal, of course, is to build big government for different reasons and hope they can keep it together, and that they have done for a while. But we live in historic times. This bubble was not just huge. It was, in my estimation, the largest in the history of the world. It has been pervasive because we issued the dollar and it was the reserve currency, a lot of countries took it and they put it in their funds and used it as reserve, so that was even a relief from us, because we didn’t have to deal with as much price inflation here.
What’s going to happen when they lose confidence in the dollar? And they’re starting to. They’re starting to get nervous. The Chinese are getting nervous with this. They’re talking about the new currency. We live in big times. Very, very important times and that is why we must pay attention. And that is why our campaign, that we are in the middle of right now, has to win. Because our country is threatened if we don’t understand what liberty really means and how it is connected to the financial system and how it is connected to the Federal Reserve.
But on the other side there’s a lot of spending in Washington to pursue our adventures overseas. Just think of the wonderful opportunity that we had in 1989. It probably was even a bigger opportunity than what came after World War II. The depression came, World War II was there. Some people say that Roosevelt ended the depression, that is not true. Some people say that the war ended the depression. Can you imagine the depressed times being ended by sending a million or two million people over to be exposed to gunfire and getting killed and having rationing… that didn’t end it.
But household debt was finally eliminated after World War II. But our government did something else after World War II. They cut spending by two-thirds and they cut taxes by one-third and then there was growth in the consumer demands, and then the depression finally ended.
So that is what was available to us in 1989 when the Cold War ended, when the Soviet system collapsed. Not because we had a lot of nuclear weapons, not because we attacked them and they had lost a military battle. What did they do? They did exactly what Mises predicted they would do. They would fail for economic reasons because it was a flawed system. Then, of course, they overextended themselves overseas and guess where? They went and over extended themselves in a place called Afghanistan.
And of course, that ended their empire. Fifteen of their satellite countries were broken up. What an opportunity we had and still do. We have so many weapons. We probably could defend ourselves for the next 100 years with six submarines. You know, we have so much nuclear power that if anybody touched us, we are a very powerful nation. The only thing that threatens us is internally and our financial system and our moral fiber. That’s what threatens us.
We had everything. We went on a rampage. We continue to spend and build up weapons. They have been working… I don’t know how many years, it might have been a couple of decades… on this F-22. And if you study that you can’t believe, well I imagine you could believe, how many cost overruns there were, how many cover-ups there have been, and how little need there is.
You know, we can put people on the moon, and then they’re worried about how many planes we can fly around. We build aircraft carriers and all these surface vessels to defend ourselves, when if we really got into a war, these things are sitting ducks out there. But you know, you got to keep the conservative Keynesians going because they say it’s good for jobs. And all you have to do is talk about cutting something. Then you go into a town that builds the airplane or builds the ship… The Conservatives can be just as Keynesian as the Liberals are because it’s job making, because they don’t believe and understand that freedom really works, and we wouldn’t have to have the government stimulus like this. We need to just get the government out of our way.
It’s a shame that we haven’t learnt from our own history and it’s a shame that we don’t learn from other’s history. Sometimes we look back at ancient history and try to learn from it but, you know, the Soviet failure is not all that ancient and yet where are we? We’re in Afghanistan.
So, we’ve had a recent election, and I think that fellow that won the Republican nomination, I can’t remember his name, he was construed as the war candidate, and the other guy was the peace candidate because he’s said, “I’m going to bring all the troops home in 16 months from Iraq”. Well, that’s good and he sounds better and he has peaceful sayings and he looks like he would negotiate and talk and have a more sensible foreign policy. Not quite the foreign policy I would like to see. I would like to see a constitutional, non-interventionist foreign policy and bring all the troops home from Korea and Japan and Europe and the Middle East.
One thing we have to give the president credit for is that during the campaign he did say that he would send more troops to Afghanistan. That’s one promise I wish he wouldn’t keep. There are a lot of other ones he won’t keep now. I at least hope he would keep the one in which he said he would bring the troops home from Iraq in sixteen months, but let me tell you, if anybody wants to do any betting, I would take the side of the bet that says our troops are going to be in Iraq for a long, long time until we’re flat-out broke and we’ll have to come home.
You know, in 1964 there was a peace candidate and a war candidate. Remember, Goldwater was the war candidate, and we didn’t want him, because he would expand the war. So we voted for the peace candidate, and that was LBJ and look at what happened there, he went on and on. So, for some reason there are times when you just can almost never trust what those politicians say when they are campaigning. Very difficult.
But the mess we have over there is going to continue. You know, just the Iraq situation… I mean, nobody knows exactly how many billions of dollars have been spent here, because they have war budgets that are off budget and there is all this spending within the DOD budget, but it’s hundreds of billions of dollars that we have spent. And you know, that might have just helped us if we had either been given tax rebates or cut spending or spending here at home. I’m really willing to compromise at times, and I say that you’re getting ready to spend money and you waste it oversees, I say spend it at home, you might as well waste it here at home rather than wasting it oversees.
What we have done is spend these hundreds of billions of dollars oversees, but just think of the other tragedy, the tragedy of life-loss. We don’t really add in to the number of army personnel or military personnel killed in Iraq, that’s over 4,000, 4,200 and some. We don’t count the civilians, and half of the people over there have been civilians. So when they say 150,000 Americans are over there, we might as well have 300,000 over there because of all these contractors who are making twice as much money as the military is making. Because they are all lining up deals and who knows what.
And then there is the issue that these numbers are rising. Our men and woman are being killed in Afghanistan, it’s still less than a thousand but, you know, if it’s your son or daughter, it’s a lot of people, and that is the tragedy. And what is it all for? Why in the world we do this I don’t know. You think we would learn something and yet we do it endlessly.
But what about… and you’re not really allowed to talk this way because you might get your name put on a list. Who knows. But if you express any concern that an Iraqi civilian – you know, those people that died from collateral damage – you’re not even supposed to speak about them. And, you know, we even have some Christian groups that talk like that, like they’re not real people, and therefore we have to go over there as our Christian duty and fight these battles, because of the geography over there.
Well, I have little trouble with that because I understand there are probably well over a million Iraqis that have been killed. But, those who disagree with us will say, “They were all Al Qaida, they were all terrorists”. They were probably freedom fighters in a way, because they probably were fighting because they had foreign occupiers on their land.
One half million refugees. The Christians that were there… I think 600,000 or so… more than half of them ran out of the country, and they’re in danger and even those who would work secular… unbelievably that we were more tolerating. Christianity and secularism was more tolerated under Saddam Hussein that there’s lesser doubt… I mean if you don’t follow strict Muslim customs you could be in trouble over there. There are one-and-a-half million widows over there, over five million orphans in Iraq and we call this a victory for democracy. They call this an achievement, and they’re bragging about it.
And what do we do? We insist on democracy so we ask them to have a vote in Gaza and in Lebanon, so they elect their leaders and we say, “Oh, you’ve elected the wrong ones, we don’t like those leaders so we’re not going to accept them. We won’t recognize them”. How hypocritical can that be, and then we wonder why we are losing credibility around the world. And it would be so nice to have a time when we as Americans could follow the advice of the founding fathers and just say, “Look, no entangling alliances, no nation building, no war mongering”.
And, some of them might say, “We can’t talk to these people, these are terrible people”. In one of the debates… well, it happened in more than one that I got booed and hissed… but I knew you were out there and you weren’t doing it, so that kept me going.
Sometimes I suggested, in Miami, of course, that we should talk to the Cubans, talk to Castro, open up the doors, travel and trade with them. We’ve had sanctions now for 40 years, and they keep blaming us for all their problems, and what have we achieved? We have been taught economically and historically that if you trade and talk with people then you’re less likely to fight with them.
And yet, because of the animosity these people say, “No wait, you can’t do that”. But, didn’t we talk to Kruchev, and didn’t we talk to Gorbachev and we went to China. I feel better about China even though there’s a lot of problems over there. And we have resolutions on the House floor condemning the violations of human rights in China, and I might be the only one that votes against it. Not that I don’t think they have violations. They’ll come and say, “Why aren’t you voting for this? Don’t you think they don’t violate human rights over there and individual rights”. And I say, “No I believe that. When our house is clean and when our plate is clean and when we don’t violate human rights, then I will vote for it.”
Does anybody remember the incident with that ex-mayor from New York? I remember that a little bit, too, and it took me a couple of minutes to wonder what it really meant. Because, immediately to be there… it was one of the early debates on a national stage, and the audience was obviously not on our side. So, I walked off and at the time Ken Snyder, our campaign manager came up to me and within minutes after the debate was over he came over and he said, “Guess what? You’re winning the post-debate polling”. So he was there to urge me on but, in a way, I think I should send him a thank you note because I think he probably did more good for our movement than anything else by spreading out the troops.
I believe the point is very clear. I simplified that night by saying, “They’re over here because we’re over there”. I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that. Even then, I believe I mentioned at that time Robert Pape’s book “Dying to Win” and he studied this. He convinced me because before I started reading his book I was convinced, as so many others have been convinced, that it’s that religion, they teach hatred and it’s a hateful religion and that’s why they come. When I read his book and studied it, he convinced me that the prevailing reason why people are willing to sacrifice their life is because they get so outraged by the destruction of their homeland, because foreigners come and occupy their land. And we need to understand that.
The example I use to try and make that point is, how we would feel as Americans if another country that didn’t look like us, like maybe the Chinese, got so strong that they come over and they put their navy in the Gulf of Mexico to protect their oil. And what if they get so strong that they decide to put a couple of military bases on our land. Do you think that we would be outraged? We would be unified, and we would be making good use of the second amendment.
It need not be this way. We have drifted for probably a hundred years or so in this direction. We have accepted the notion that we can regulate economic transactions, that it is necessary and purposeful, and that if we didn’t regulate every economic transaction from […] wages, like they started to do in the depression, and not protecting every transaction and interfering in every contract, then there would be no prosperity. Of course, the opposite is true. We as a nation have come to understand pretty well, even though we see violations all the time, that the first amendment means that the press should be regulated. I understand today there was a proposal to start bailing out the newspapers, I don’t know what that’s going to mean. I think that’s a lost cause, I think the internet is going to win that fight.
The whole thing is that we do have a responsibility in what we do. We have to understand that liberty is what we are working for, and liberty is all messed up. I mean, the concept of liberty has been messed up because of what’s happened the last hundred years. The depression played a major role in this, because they blamed the depression, as they are trying to blame this depression, on the same things, which are freedom, free markets and not the Federal Reserve. “It was capitalism that brought us to this.” They did that on the depression and blamed the gold standard and too much freedom as the cause.
So they ushered in this age of 75 or 100 years where economic liberty had to be regulated. And yet we still respect the idea that we shouldn’t practice prior restraint and fortunately, to some degree we practice and believe that we should not regulate personal behavior. That’s up to the individuals, not the government.
To me it’s rather simple. If people want to have social relationships, and they are not hurting other people, and they are doing things that I don’t like, and I don’t approve of, I have to accept that. I have an opportunity to deal with those relationships with myself, my family, my children, my grandchildren, my friends, my church and I might work on that. But I have no legal authority to use the force of government to try to tell you what you should do with your personal life.
Some people say, well you might do bad things. That is true, some people might. But the only way that is going to work is if people make mistakes, you the individual suffers the consequences and you can’t go to the government to get taken care of because you made bad mistakes and bad judgments.
We are generally tolerant, except political correctness sometimes affects us on our freedom of speech. But generally we have libel laws. I mean, they say now this means anarchy and you can say and do anything. No, there are limits to personal behavior, you can’t hurt people, you can’t libel people. But it’s rather standoffish and you allow people a pretty good leeway in what they can do, but not in economics. In economics it has to be regulated because of “fairness”. They don’t believe that the people will be prosperous if we don’t do this. And the opposite is true. Why have we been a prosperous nation? Because we were the freest nation, that’s why we became prosperous.
And yet, today what have we done? We have undermined that freedom. We have some people defending economic freedom and some people defending personal freedom, but we don’t have enough people defending individual liberty. That is what has to be defended. Our liberties, of course, do not come from our government. The government, hopefully, can help protect those liberties, but it does more to undermine those liberties.
You know, one responsibility we might say, as a matter of fact, is in the constitution, that we’re not allowed to counterfeit. Well, what do we have? We have the biggest counterfeiting machine in the history of the world in Washington. The government is supposed to protect property rights. Well, what does it mean? Do we really own our property? We’re paying rent, then we ask the government for what we can use it. So, we have the government so involved in what we do economically, and then we wonder why the country is getting poorer.
And the worst part of the story, at least for now, is that we’re a lot poorer than it appears right now, because almost everybody is poorer now than they were a year ago. But believe me, the country can get a lot poorer. Now do I worry about this? Yes, I do because it was so unnecessary that we should have had to go through this. The one thing I don’t worry about is that if we did the right thing, if we restored constitutional law, understood what private property was, understood what honest money was all about, had our personal liberties, didn’t have an income tax, and we we’re all broke, we could all go out tomorrow and start working, I wouldn’t worry about you for one minute.
Erosion of that foundation which is built of sand, and that is the dollar system, is that we continue this for a while longer, but that there is no hesitation now in Washington DC to hold up. If we can bailout Wall Street, we can bail out every other person. I mean the budget has been presented. It’s 3.6 trillion dollars, 1.8 trillion dollars of debt, the deficit this year is going to be bigger than that, spending will be bigger, and the militarism will spread. But, all that is putting pressure on the dollar. Now, when the dollar starts losing value rapidly, just as the house of cards came down rapidly, if you study monetary history, the end stages of the destruction of a currency comes rapidly too. There will be gradual inflation, but then skyrocketing, runaway inflation comes quickly. That’s dangerous. That’s dangerous because we can send all the checks out that we want to from Washington DC, but we won’t be able to send them out fast enough.
And yes, nobody is going to be short in their Social Security check, but the big question is, “What will it buy?” They’ll say, “Well, it won’t matter because the government is going to give us our medical care, and they’ll give us our food stamps”. It won’t work that way. So this is what we have to be prepared for. And, of course, that’s why we have a campaign for liberty and that’s why we are here.
And because you are here, because you have responded, because you have supported this campaign and other campaigns and you’re doing a lot on your own, I am encouraged, I am enthusiastic about this because I know you’re there. There was a long time during which I didn’t know how many of you were there, and you know, there’s no way you can count a remnant, there’s always a few… but the great thing is that there sure is a remnant. There are a number of people out there that knew and studied this. What about the young people that have joined us? That’s what is exiting about this.
Every time some young people stop at my office, more so now than it used to be, like it’s very frequent in Washington, they come by and they come in and if I am there, I’ll talk with them and speak with them and probably sign a constitution and probably tell them, “Well, one thing I know is that you probably know this constitution a lot better than the people over in the house floor. I wish I could pass them out over there”. I always asked them, “How long have you been interested?” and very often the young people bring their parents, they introduce their parents to me, and that’s always interesting. Then I’ll ask, “What was it? Was it the whole message of freedom, or what was it that got your attention?” Yes, they like the message of freedom, but when they get to the specifics, the two things that they mention the most are the constitution; they know I defend the constitution, that’s what got their attention, and the other one is sound money, the Federal Reserve and honest money.
So, that is the thing that that generation will do with us, and hopefully it will be soon. The first step was described to you a little while ago: before we end the Fed, we’re going to audit the Fed. Once it’s revealed what they do, I think the American people will be with us. And, you know, it’s going to be real hard. No matter who you talk to about transparency now of Treasury and the Fed and where this money is going… Republican and Democrats, and Liberals and Conservatives and Populists and Libertarians all say, “Yea, Yea. We have to know what’s going on”. I think if that bill ever came to the floor, I don’t believe there would be one person that would vote to say, “No, we want a totally secret Federal Reserve System”. Their job will be to get it there. But they deal in trillions of dollars, and they don’t have to tell us a word. I mean, they are more powerful than the other three branches of government, but the positive side of this is that we do have the authority. We not only have the authority, but we also have the responsibility. Congress has the responsibility, but we have the responsibility that we get Congress off their duffs and make sure that they look into this and take care of this. It’s up to us.
Freedom needs to be put back together. We need to think of it as a union, that the individual is important and that governing comes locally. We must govern our own lives. We must govern within our families and our local community and our churches. It’s not that people want to call us anarchism, we don’t want to break any rules or regulations. I was on a radio station just two nights ago, and it was a very liberal ratio station. They were very nice to me and let me explain, but they just couldn’t understand this economic issue, they just had to have these regulations. They couldn’t get it into their mind, because they do care about poor people. I think most of them have humanitarian concerns, but if they would only look at the statistics that show what happens when people allow the government to make the decisions…
If you have somebody with central economic planning, they make this decision, usually wrong, that hurts all of us. Now, if we make individual choices, or local government choices, they’re not always going to be right, we live in an imperfect world. We’re all imperfect, so we make mistakes. So that means we want to limit the damage done by those mistakes, and the market is so wonderful in sorting all this out. We don’t like to use the word “democracy” because there’s a wrong connotation to that, but the market is democratic in the sense that it’s the ultimate vote. The free market is designed not to protect big labor, not to protect big business, not to protect big government, not to protect the banks or international companies. The most important purpose for which the free market is designed is taking care of the consumer. And everybody is a consumer, and every time you spend a penny… it used to be said “a penny”, now I guess you have to spend a dollar to count it… every time you spend any money at all, you’re voting. And if you have a free market, it’s a tough business. Because if you’re in business and they don’t like your product, or your cost is too high, you will go out of business instead of everybody being propped up and deluded into low interest rates and guarantees and all this moral risk and moral hazard that we create through the monetary system, that step would be individualized and companies would come and go and there would be individual places where this would happen, but overall, the consumer would always be protected. Just as we protect individual liberty, the market protects the consumer and this is where prosperity would come from.
Freedom is something that has only been tried recently in the history of the world, because through the thousands and thousands of years of recorded history, true freedom has only been tried for several hundred years in a serious way, and the prosperity has been unbelievable. And here we are, about to reject this experiment with liberty, yet this is where the prosperity came from. But the main part about the recognition of individual freedom… and this is not only economic…what it does is it allows the release of all creative energy that man has. He then becomes a creative person, and all this creativity comes together and meshes together. No economic planner could do that, and that is what is so wonderful about that. And the recognition that this is a God given right to your liberties… and it sort of reminds me of the parable that you really don’t have to fret and that we will be taken care of. That little parable doesn’t say that we can’t and shouldn’t work. But, if we do the right things, we really don’t have to fret about it. And that’s why I was saying that if we had our liberties and sound money, I wouldn’t worry about tomorrow. I think we could take care of ourselves, and we could take care of our planet as well too.
Under these circumstances, it’s a tremendous environmental thing as well. Because you have no right to pollute your neighbor’s property. People who own their property always take better care of their property, than when the government owns the property.[…] socialism was communism, and the environmental protection was atrocious. All you have to do is compare what government land looks with privately owned land. So, there are so many arguments for this, and I really don’t need to sell you on this, because you already know this. But what we need to be energized for is the activity. The activity that has been coming about, although I have been motivated to push the Campaign for Liberty organization… it actually for legal and other reasons is run by other people.
And John Tate and Debby Parker and the people doing all this work and all of you who have al participated… and every day I hear of spontaneous things that people are doing. This is like a wildfire spreading. This is a wonderful, positive wildfire and it is spreading around the country and it is growing and we will have an influence.
So, it is up to us to remain totally energized and continue to do this. And we can’t be discouraged because Congress is going to vote for another stimulus bill next week. Because when the time comes, they will come to us and ask us… they have to because they don’t have the answers. They can’t come up with a new paper currency and they have done this in the past and had to resort to sound money.
They will come if we appear to have the answers, so the recommendation is that we study hard. I study every single day. I still read Mises and Rothbard, trying to understand better explanations of the market place. Because a lot of people do ask me questions, and I want to learn it and understand it. If you learn and study and make yourself available to solve these problems, somebody will use you. There will be a guiding hand. People are asking me every day, they’ll come to my office and young kids will say, “Oh, I love what you say, this is great, great. I wonder what you did. Tell me how to be a Congressman.”
I tell them one thing, “Don’t set your goal to be a Congressman”. It may end up that way, and I always tell the story about when I first decided to run for Congress many, many years ago. I was in a very busy medical practice, but I was really energized by the breakdown of the Bretton Woods Agreement. So, in 1974 I told my wife I was going to run for Congress. And she asked me, “Why in the world would you want to do that for?” I said, “Well, I just want to talk about things, you know”. In 1974 what Republican would rather want to run in the Watergate year. She said, “It would be dangerous”. I said, “How in the world could it be dangerous? All I have to do is go and talk about it”. She said, “No, it’s dangerous because you could end up getting elected”. But I guaranteed her that wouldn’t happen, I’m staying here at home.
You know, just the other day one of my sons… he is now a physician… told me, “Dad, I don’t think I ever told you this, but I was really worried when you ran for Congress. I thought you would leave and I would never see you again and we’d have to move to Washington” and all these things which never even crossed my mind.
But the goal shouldn’t be…. you don’t know what the exact goal is… somebody might end up running for Congress and that’s okay. But I don’t want people thinking at the age of 18 that their goal is to be in Congress. Their goal ought to be to understand what freedom is all about, what our history is all about, and what our constitution means.
I have, over the years, been criticized for not being aggressive enough. I’ve been hearing people say, “This is it, grab the other members of the Congress and do this, do this”, but I don’t believe that works. What does work though is waiting for them to ask the question and I feel very good that they are asking more questions. And they will want to ask you more questions as time goes on.
I had one member several years back, he’d been in Congress and I went back in 1996, he was a young guy and would come down, he would come and sit beside me and ask, “Ron, why did you vote that way?” and I would explain it to him. It was usually one of those votes where I was voting by myself.
So it was a little seem strange and he would feel, “Whose this crazy new guy who just came back in Congress?” So he did that 3, 4, 5 times, and all of a sudden he started voting up there, we’re two of us. He was an original member of the Liberty Caucus in Congress, and now he is the governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford.
Lately I have had more people come in a quiet moment because they wouldn’t want anybody else to know that they are asking me questions. One person asked me, “How does the Federal Reserve work like?” One person on the banking committee came up to me a month or two ago and asked, “You mean, our dollar is not backed by gold?”
But I also get more coming now and asking questions like, “What should I do with my money? Where do you buy gold?” Things are changing, the conditions are ripe for us, although they’re very dangerous. But one other thing is with doing this it is very important that we have fun doing it, because we don’t know exactly what happens today, tomorrow, the next day. People will ask, “Well, when is the big crash coming?” Well, a big portion of the crash has already happened. The financial system has come and blew, but the big one with the dollar… I don’t know… two, three years.
But I don’t think so much about the exact date because we don’t know, but what I do think about is, “Do I understand it right? Do I know the issues as best I can and am I doing as much as I can and have as much fun? Being with people who are like minded should be a lot of fun, this could be energizing. This can do a lot for us in what we are doing because we have allies. And just remember, we don’t have to wait for the 51%. We just need people like you who are part of that 3% or 4% or 5% who will lead this country, just as there were 3% or 4% or 5% of the people who led us in the original revolution, let us emulate the original revolution and win.