Ron Paul at Indiana University Bloomington
Thanks to Kevin Winkler
Marc Scibilia: “The Freedom sound rings past politics and all its empty words.
Can’t be put down, the broken bell will be heard.
Would you listen to a poet, or a prophet
journal all this world’s injustice? Or try to stop it?
Can you feel the comin’ change?
Though hell is here today,
Hope is on its way.”
Jeff Frazee: Young Americans for Liberty is the continuation of Students for Ron Paul. We started during the presidential campaign and since then have formed over 150 active informing chapters on college campuses. Our mission is to advance the ideas of life, liberty, and property. Indiana University is one of the most active chapters we have. They are really a bunch of rock stars and in fact, I’d like to recognize a few of them.
If you’re a member here at Indiana University of the YAL chapter, please stand up. I know you guys are right here in the front. These guys and gals have participated in every national event we have held since the beginning. They have won numerous awards from the organization and I want to start this evening by introducing the president of the chapter, Sam Spaiser.
Sam, along with his members, have collected over 1,600 signatures to bring Congressman Paul here tonight and we are honored to have him here. Sam is a major in Evolutionary Perspective on Human Diet. He’s the president of the chapter here in Indiana University and he graduates here in May. Without further ado, I want to introduce Sam Spaiser.
Sam Spaiser: Wow! This is incredible! Let’s give ourselves a hand! This is great that we could all come together! Wow.
Now, I just want to take a minute. Let’s look at the back page of the program. I don’t know if you guys all got the program here, but we have a lot of great sponsors. We have a lot of support from the businesses in the community and we’re just so thankful that they could come and help us and support us in this event. Let’s see here… Alright, if you look in your program also, there’s an art auction here. You saw some paintings displayed outside and those are actually going to be auctioned off at our after-party, which is at The Irish Lion, and that’s going to be right after this. So, hopefully we’ll see you there and you can pick up a really cool painting. I believe they’re signed by Dr. Paul.
You know, I made a speech in my Public Speaking class about two years ago. I think it was just around this time. Funny thing, it was actually introducing Dr. Paul. So, you know, the moral of the story is: you never know it’s going to happen, so you should really pursue your passion. I’m so honored to be able to introduce him tonight and I never thought that I would be on this stage and we have a packed house. I mean, this is absolutely incredible.
You know, there’s a lot of politicians out there, but Dr. Paul is unique in that he represents something that’s much greater than himself. He represents… He’s a messenger of ideas; ideas that are timeless. They were fresh 200 years ago. They’re fresh today and 200 years from now, they are still going to be fresh. Those ideas that get people really excited — why this house is filled. You know, I was lucky to be able to watch his ideas grow and spread through his campaign for presidency 2008, and beyond that. And it’s just… There are millions of people that love his message, and I’m just touched to be able to be a part of it and to be able to stand on this stage. I think it’s absolutely wonderful.
Something that he taught me is that you can legislate all you want, but it’s not laws that change people. It’s ideas that change people. Once they’re internalized by the individual, that’s when you get real change. It kind of goes back into the concept that politics reflects the will of the people and if the people demand smaller government… Well, you can’t guarantee that the politician is going to give you a smaller government, but at least they’ll run on that as their platform. And you can kind of see things starting to move that way, but you do have to be careful because you don’t know who’s actually genuine. So you have to look at their voting record and what not; it gets very complicated. Of course, Dr. Paul- you don’t have to worry about him.
Now, Dr. Paul taught me that freedom brings people together, and as individuals, we’ve come together tonight, and I think this is just the most wonderful thing that we can sit and we can gather, or we can discuss these ideas together as a group.
He taught me that rights belong to individuals, not groups. He taught me that property should be owned by people, not the government. He taught me that all voluntary associations should be permissible, economic, and social. You can’t separate personal freedom and economic freedom. They’re one and the same. He taught me that government exists to protect liberty, not to redistribute wealth or to grant special privileges. He taught me that the lives and actions of people are their own responsibility, not the government’s.
Okay, so, in a nutshell, he taught me that… Basically, he took everything that I learned in school and turned it on its head. So let’s come together and let’s introduce as a group, the champion of the constitution! Let’s welcome Ron Paul, Dr. Ron Paul, to IU!
Ron Paul: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
I’m delighted to be at Indiana University. Sam, thank you very much for that nice invitation. Thank you for all your hard work, as well as Jeff, who’s the National Chairman for Young Americans for Liberty. I think it’s a great organization. I think the future of our country is in the hands of the young people, and that’s why I like to come to campuses.
Not only is the future in your hands, all the debt is in your hands, too! That’s why you better listen! That’s where the real problem is. Sometimes, college students are more interested in public affairs than in other times. You know, in the 60’s when I was in college and also drafted into the military, that was a time that people perked up and many campuses perked up because it was a very threatening situation. Today, even though there is an endless war going on practically all around the world, that isn’t the issue that has made people stand up and get concerned. And that has to do with this economy, and there’s an explanation for all this. Believe me, we wouldn’t have this mess if we had more people in Washington that would have more respect for the rule of law and just obey the constitution!
Maybe it’s going to change next month, next week, next year. Who knows? There will be some changes made; we all know that. The likelihood is pretty great. I don’t think anybody’s going to bet the Republicans aren’t going to take over the House, maybe even the Senate. But should that make us feel good? I guess to some degree because at least it will maybe put some breaks on some of the things that are happening, but all we have to stop and think about is what was it like when the Republicans had a really good chance for six years, practically eight years, where they had the Presidency, the House, and the Senate. And what did we get? We got more government, more spending, more debt, and led us into the financial bubble that collapsed. So, those individuals who are acting outside of the political system might now have a real challenge because changes are coming and it was advised, or at least it was advertised, that we were going to have change with the last election. But I think things are different. I don’t think there’s any choice. The changes are occurring regardless. The big question is: what are we going to get? And I happen to think that our country was on the right track a few years ago, like a hundred years or so ago.
They were on the right track, you know. We had a half decent constitution and protection of liberty, private property rights, sound money, and all these things, but I think restoration of those values that made us the freest and the wealthiest country in the history of the world are worth thinking about. I think it’s tragic that we might… We might in our lifetime cast this aside and think that all we need is more government. And you say, “Oh, it can’t possibly happen.” The evidence is so strong that they’ve messed up that we have to have changes. Just take a look at it; we can’t blame one party more so than the other. This involves both parties, but more importantly, it isn’t the parties. It’s economic theory, it’s the convictions about the importance of liberty that is at stake and has been the problem.
People were complacent enough to believe that the prosperity would last forever and there would be no problems at all, and we could keep spending forever because we were very wealthy, we spent, and we borrowed, and we regulated, and then we printed money, and the wealth kept flowing, and it took a long time to consume the wealth. It took a long time to build such a financial bubble of debt until it was recognized that we were on the wrong track, but we’ve been on the wrong track for a long time. So I don’t think the evidence is difficult to understand that we got there by spending too much, borrowing too much, printing too much, regulating too much. So we finally have the predictable bubble collapse which happened in 2008. So what have we been doing, Republicans and Democrats in Washington, ever since? Well, we have been spending enough. We have to spend more. Well, we haven’t been regulating enough. We have to regulate more. We haven’t borrowed enough, so we’re going to go out and borrow more. So, if you want to think about what they really decided to do, was they really had to print a lot more money.
So here we are, floundering along, no improvement, unemployment still is a disaster because we’re still following Keynesian economic intervention economics, and that is the government knows everything. Whoever heard of this notion, or why did we ever accept this notion that a few individuals in a room, by themselves, have the wisdom or the right to set interest rates and how much money should circulate? And that’s what we did. In 1930, we gave this power to the Federal Reserve to be the official counterfeiters of the country.
I can give you a hint about what the founders thought about counterfeiters because right after the constitution, they put it in the constitution, and they knew what runaway inflation was like with the destruction of the continental dollars. So they put it in the constitution rather clearly, “Do not emit bills of credits. No paper money. Only gold and silver can be legal tender.” That’s still the law of the land. So, that was 1787. By 1792, they had to write laws regarding this and they had the 1792 Coinage Act, and they said in that act that nobody, nobody, has the right to counterfeit the currency, and if you do, it’s such a serious crime that you deserve the death penalty.
I think our government’s totally out of control. The rule of law doesn’t work. There’s not enough respect for the constitution. The spending is out of control. The foreign policy is out of control. But government is really out of control. We in the Congress are supposed to be the most important branch of government, not the executive branch, the legislative branch, but the legislative branch essentially doesn’t exist. How important do you think the legislative branch is other than rubber stamping what the executive branch wants when it comes to the issue of war? I would say that the presidents in the last 50 years have been overly extending their powers by fighting undeclared wars. I don’t believe we should ever have a war without a full declaration of war by the House and Senate.
But you know, during this last crisis we had, the Federal Reserve recognized there was a problem. The Congress did too. The Congress- they were measly. They just appropriated $800 or $900 billion dollars to try to rescue us. But what did the Fed do? They created over $2 trillion dollars off-budget. No authorization, no appropriation! We don’t even know where the money went! And then we try to have an audit to the Fed. We made great progress. We had 320 co-sponsors of “audit the Fed” bill. But then when push came to shove it was removed in conference, but just think of all that money that they can create illegally, unconstitutionally, and they pass the money out to their favorite friends, to the Big Banks and to the Wall Street people and bailed out all their buddies. I frequently amass on national television, on the business station, “Yes, but Congressman Paul, don’t you realize if we hadn’t done that, we could have had a depression?!” And I said, “Well, I think that’s still yet to come because this is just delaying the inevitable, but I agree with you. You have prevented the depression for those people on Wall Street and the banks. They’re doing quite well, but what about the people that are unemployed? What about the real unemployment rate at 22%? I think they feel like this is a depression.”
So, this situation cannot get better if we don’t change our ideas about money, economics, and actually, we have to change our minds and attitude about what the role of government ought to be. If the role of government – if you want the role of government to be to take care of us from cradle to grave- it is already in place and how you’re going to pay for it? No way you can do it, but you can still argue the case. I don’t happen to believe that should be the role of government. The constitution is very clear. The purpose of the constitution is not to regulate you, nor the economy. The constitution there was to restrain the Federal government. That’s the purpose.
But we have the Federal Reserve capable of creating all the money they want, with no oversight. They can bail out their friends, but, you know, they have the authority- the technically legal authority, not the constitutional authority- the legal authority to give money to foreign governments, give or loan money to foreign central banks or any international financial institution. So, therefore, why worry about the Congress? You don’t need the Congress if they can do all this, so I am convinced they’re very much involved in foreign policy over and above what the Congress thinks they’re involved with, but there’s also other ways that our government is absolutely out of control, and one area, the more I look at it and the more I study it, the more concern I have, and that is the unconstitutional, illegal, outrageous role of our CIA.
Average members of Congress can’t know what’s going on. I can’t know everything that’s going on because they’re not audited either, and they’re allowed to earn money in banking. They can own banks. They can… Can you imagine it? The CIA can deal in drugs and have income from drugs, and actually be involved? Are they involved in our foreign policy? Not only are they involved in elections of other countries, they can pick and choose, and support candidates, and we’ve been doing it for years. And then they wonder why foreigners disapprove of what we do in Middle East and around the world? But what about the CIA involvement now in the military operations? You know, it isn’t even our military that fights the wars and sends off the drones. It’s the CIA, in a little room probably in the United States, playing war games by drones. Sending drones into various countries, even to the extent of picking and targeting certain individuals for assassination. This administration even goes along with the principle of targeting American citizens for assassination. That is an outrage.
Now, the argument against that is: these are bad guys. You know, we only put them on the list when they’re really bad guys. Well, I don’t doubt that they probably are, but someday if that authority is granted with nobody saying anything to our president… I mean, it can get out of hand. Right now, both the last administrations, the current administration, are very lackadaisical about the principle of habeas corpus; that you do not have to have representation, you can be arrested. There are secret prisons. We literally have endorsed torture. Right now, they’re hysterical. The Pentagon and others are hysterical that there have been leaks on what has happened- the WikiLeaks. Yes, that’s controversial.
It’s controversial because somebody broke a law by doing this. At the same time, when things get really bad and government gets out of control, and they’re not doing the right things and somebody breaks a law in order to tell the American people the truth- some people used to call them “patriots” and not “criminals”! I remember well the 1960s because I was in my medical training when I got my draft notice and it was 1962, during the Cuban crisis, and it actually turned out that I became a volunteer because my draft notice said that I would be drafted, although I was a physician. I’d be drafted as a Buck Private in the Army, but they had a little clause at the end and they said, “Unless you volunteer- if you volunteer, you can be a Captain and you can practice medicine.” So I said, “I immediately volunteer.” But the… During that time in the 1960’s… Of course we had Daniels Ellsberg who finally came to him that it was all just an atrocity on what our government had been telling us all those years on the justification for going to war. It was all based on a lie! We lost 60,000 Americans during that process and, of course, we had to come home because we couldn’t win the war.
Now, there are still people who argue, “Oh, yeah, but if you had just allowed us to use the nukes we could have finally won that war!” But you know, we finally had to come home and the argument back there in the 60’s, I remember it well, is that we have to stop them there because of the Domino Theory and the whole South East and East would… it would be dominated by communists. Well, just look at what’s happened. We lost the war; we came home. After a few years, the place settled down. After 30 years of the French and Americans trying to bomb the Vietnamese into believing they had to act just like us, and finally we leave and what happened? It settled down and lo and behold, we started talking to each other. We started trading with each other. The Vietnamese started becoming more capitalistic. We invest over there. We travel over there. The President of Vietnam comes over here. That is what was accomplished when you had a peaceful approach, rather than a war approach.
I always think that, you know, we don’t have enough options on our foreign policy. It seems to me that it has been narrowed down to two when we should have three options. There’s two options. We have embarked on maintaining a world empire that had been going for a hundred years. So, in order to expand our empire, we go and we talk to people, and we tell them what we want. I mean, we tell them what we want or else. So, we put it in the table and say, “This is what we want you to do. You be our puppet or else. If you will be, we’ll give you lots of money. If you won’t, we’re going to bomb you.” Why isn’t there a third option that the founders suggested? Why not talk to people and trade with people and travel back and forth? Sure, there are imperfections in every country, including our own, but for us to lecture and legislate and dictate to others because we are holier than anybody else in the world means that they are going to be resentful, and that is the problem that we have today.
Today in Congress there’s a very strong move toward punishing China. Well, yeah, China has its problem. They have… They violate civil liberties, and they do have problems, but it isn’t that they lack the old-fashioned American work ethic; they work very hard and they save- they are frugal- they save a lot of money. They’ve saved $2 trillion dollars of our money because we bought from them, and we had the blessing of being able to print the world gold because after there was no gold standard people still thought the dollar was as good as gold. So, we’ve been sitting on our duffs, not producing. Jobs going overseas and us just racking up the debt.
So, here instead of them becoming a communist monolith, they are our bankers now and they’re holding it over us, and they have a lot of control over us. Now, what are we badgering about? We say, “Well, you’re propping up your currency. Your currency is too strong. We want you to weaken your currency so that then we can buy… We can sell more goods to you.” And no, I mean, if they say, “In two weeks, we want them to have a stronger currency, which will make our currency weaker.” But how can we lecture another country about weakening the currency when all we do is weaken our currency? That’s the whole purpose of what the Fed exists for. When you create $2 trillion new dollars, that’s weakening your currency. So, we manipulate our currency all the time, and we have so much power. After the crisis of 2008, what did we have? We introduced that $2 trillion, but what… Because we haven’t had any good results. You know, what they’re talking about is quantitative easing No. 2. Today, Goldman Sachs suggested, “Well, this time, make it $4 trillion dollars.” But Goldman Sachs wouldn’t have any benefit coming from that, I’m sure.
So, that’s all they have to offer, but there is a better option and that is believing in our country, believing in our freedoms, believing in our constitution, believing that the marketplace can work. We’ve had a good history. At one time, we knew what property rights meant. We knew what contracts meant. We knew what sound money meant, but today, it’s all past and we’re just trying to regulate. Anytime anything fails we say, “Well, there wasn’t enough regulation.” So, that is the dilemma that we face and right now. I think it’s going to be tough. I think there will be some improvements with the election. I think maybe some of the bad things that are happening will slow up a little bit, but there’s not going to be a reversal because those individuals that may be moving into a place a power, aren’t interested at looking at the military budget. They don’t even want to touch it. So, I would say that it should be up for grabs. I mean, why should we continue to spend a trillion dollars a year maintaining an empire until we go broke? You know…
One problem we have and it has to do with words because if we have a vote on the House floor for a military budget and you vote against it, “Oh, you’re not for national defense.” Everything is a defense budget, but it isn’t. It’s a military budget which serves the interest of the military industrial complex. That’s where the problem is. You know we spent a lot of money and a lot of time, a lot of lives were wasted, you know, in Iraq and are being wasted over in Afghanistan, but they say, “Oh, didn’t we have a grand victory in Iraq?”
I don’t think so. I think we’re going to be there for a long, long time, and there’s going to be a lot of violence there. It’s not settled, and even if it was settled, we have still a lot of bases there and they’re going to stay. But what if we left? Guess what? It is a much closer ally of Iran now than any other country in the world. So, with all this activity, now what we have done is we have aligned those two countries closely and was it because we needed to root out the Al-Qaeda, and we needed to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction? No Al-Qaeda there until the war happened. Now there is Al-Qaeda and there has been, of course, no weapons of mass destruction. Just reminds me of the 1960s. Go to war based on lie. Tonkin resolution. Here it is, weapons of mass destruction and Al-Qaeda, and they’re going to come and get us. But what did we do after 9/11? 9/11 changed a lot and unfortunately, I think too much of it has been for the negative because nobody seems to be wanting to recognize the true reason why 9/11 occurred. And that… So the official explanation is they hate us because we’re rich and free. That has been what is being drilled into the minds of the American people, “If we weren’t rich and free, they wouldn’t hate us and they wouldn’t attack us.” Well, let me tell you: ever since 9/11, they’ve been working awfully hard to make us less free and less rich, I’ll tell you.
But our foreign policy changed significantly a hundred years ago with McKinley, once we had to get rid of the Spanish empire. We were embarked on empires and then Wilson all the way down the line, we have been pursuing this. Instead of the Cold War… With the ending of the Cold War, ushering in an age of peace and prosperity, and more money being allowed to kept in your hands, we expanded our role. We grabbed onto this idea that we had to be the policemen of the world, that we had to be involved in nation building and teach other countries how to live. So, when 9/11 occurred, of course, that gave an opportunity to do the things they’ve been wanting to do all along. That is, go into Iraq and into Afghanistan. But, of course, if that had been more logical they might have said, “Where does this radicalism come from? Oh, it’s being taught in those schools in Saudi Arabia and 15 of them came from Saudi Arabia.” Are we going to bomb Saudi Arabia? No. That’s too logical for people in Washington.
So, we had to go and do the things that others had been wanting to do for a long time, and I think, unfortunately, we’re going to be there for a long time. We’re in Afghanistan. We’re bogged down there, but the war is much broader than that. It’s in Pakistan and Sudan, and Yemen, and all over. And now that we can do it with just push buttons and we can target people with drones… And do you think we’re going to build more friends? No. The number of Al-Qaeda and the number of suicide terrorism that has occurred in the last five years has accelerated dramatically around the world. No, not in this country, but around the world. So… And Robert Pape wrote a book and continues with his evaluation of why people are willing to give their lives in suicide terrorism, and he convinced me- after a lot of reluctance- that it isn’t radical Islam. The country that is the most radical Islamic country in the world is Iran. When’s the last time you heard of an Iranian committing suicide terrorism? It doesn’t happen, but there’s a lot of non-Muslims who commit suicide terrorism. So painting a brush broadly and saying because they were Muslims that attacked on 9/11, therefore, it is the religion that is bad- I think that is very, very dangerous to paint everybody that way.
A strong national offense is in our interest; a world empire is not The empire will end. All empires end, not because of great wisdom; the Soviet system didn’t end because we had to fight them or because they became wiser. It ended for financial, economic reasons and that’s the way our empire will end. Unless- unless the American people wake up, but does it look like this election in one week from now is based on anything to do with foreign policy? As a matter of fact, there’s the temptation to stay away from it. Not rock the boat, you know. Just not deal with that. And yet, to me, it’s so critical. We cannot really restore the peace and freedom and liberty that we need in this country without addressing the foreign policy. So, hopefully that will come. We have our problems here at home with our violations of our civil liberties and that’s getting a lot worse. It got a lot worse since 9/11. The outline of the Patriot Act was written many, many years before 9/11, but there was never the support for it. But as soon as 9/11 hit, boy, they pulled that out rather quickly. The final version of course was very long and very complex, and of course, we never had time to read it. It came up on the floor about an hour or two before we voted on it. It wasn’t hard for me to figure it out. Anything I can’t read and understand doesn’t fit the constitution; I’m going to vote “No”, anyway, but there’s been all that strong attack on our personal liberties for a long time. We had hoped that this president would be a little better, but it looks like he has not changed the tone from the Federal government.
And I’m sure many of you heard about the more recent movement toward restoring a sound constitutional principle called “nullification”? Well, sometimes people paint this as a right-wing, conservative, extremist view point, but, obviously, it’s been used by the left for various reason. Right now, you know, it looks like “nullification” might be ongoing right now in California. It might even get more tense because California is… I understand there’s a few people over there still- they’re smoking marijuana. Can you believe that? And the state just announced recently, “We can’t do it anymore! Our prisons are full. Our courts are full. We just can’t enforce the law anymore.” So they’re having a referendum on even a law that would make it even more open, where people could have recreational use of marijuana, but it’s already been announced by this Libertarian administration we have: “Doesn’t matter, folks. We’re going in. Federal law supersedes all state laws, so forget about it.” Well, that’s not the way it was supposed to be. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. I think this whole thing on the drug war… We didn’t learn our lesson. We learned a lesson earlier in our history in the last century when they decided that alcohol was bad, and I agree; alcohol is a very, very dangerous drug. I personally believe alcohol is a more dangerous drug than marijuana; that’s my personal belief. So we pass a law? No, we didn’t pass a law. What we first did was amend the Constitution. They actually believed that you had to amend the Constitution to prohibit the use of a substance by you, by the people. So, they changed it and it didn’t work, and it caused a lot of crime and it caused total chaos. The Al Capones made a lot of money, and finally the American people woke up and said, “Prohibition doesn’t work.” So, they repealed prohibition.
And I keep thinking, when is the day coming? And I think it’s coming closer. One of these days the American people are going to wake up and say, “We have enough to worry about, let’s repeal prohibition of drugs.” Now, there are some people who would like to see prohibition for other reasons than mine. Mine is a freedom issue: freedom of choice. Even when you make mistakes and you do things dumb and you do things ridiculous with your own life, that’s your own problem, but we just don’t need this type of prohibition on telling people how to improve their lives in a social way. I don’t see that it works; I don’t think it’s part of the system. I don’t think it was what was intended. Sometimes certain problems can be ironed out. Some laws can be written at the state level under our system, the way you protect children and others. I happen to think drugs are very dangerous. My wife and I have 5 children and a lot of grandchildren, and I work very hard to teach them about the danger of drugs. And I also, as a physician, try to teach others, including my patients, that the use of prescription drugs is very, very dangerous as well. Matter of fact, I don’t think the FDA protects us. I think the FDA exists for the drug companies; that’s what I think happens.
And now the FDA wants to get into regulating every single thing you eat, you know, and regulate everything that might be a holistic type of medication or a vitamin. They want to have worldwide regulations, always to make you safe and keep you safe from any harm. But the whole thing is, they’re keeping the profits up for the drug companies and it’s a world wide effort to do so.
This may not apply here because nobody here might be interested in this, but it was about a year or two ago when somebody asked me about what I thought about the regulations on drinking raw milk, and I said, “Well, why shouldn’t we?” and they said, “Don’t you know there are Federal regulations regulating the rights of people to buy milk and have milk transported?” Well, under the interstate commerce clause they shouldn’t be doing that. So, I introduced legislation, and lo and behold, there have been a lot of people understand that. Not only do they want to do it for their particular reasons, but just think: we live in a country now where you can’t even make your own decision on whether you want to drink milk raw or pasteurized. When government’s trying to make you a better person, then they’ve embarked on making the country a worse place to live; that’s what I think. The purpose of our whole activity- all political action, I believe, should be to promote liberty because I believe that it wouldn’t be a perfect place, but it would be the best place man could have if you respected individual liberty. And that means your life is your own; it’s not somebody else’s, and you have a right to do with your life what you want, and you ought to have the right to keep the fruits of all your labors. Some people would say, “Yes, but you don’t care about the people who fall through the cracks?” Well, maybe I do. Maybe I don’t want to see hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people losing their houses as they are today, falling through the cracks. Maybe we who believe in freedom and a free market and sound money care a whole lot about runaway inflation and unemployment and all the problems that are generated by central banking and Congress people who are always passing more laws and rules that are interfering with the market place. I believe, personally and sincerely, that a truly compassionate person- if they understand economics- they have to believe in liberty and the free market and private property rights.
Some people are concerned about our sovereignty. Not too long ago there was a lot of talk about NAFTA and a NAFTA highway coming up through the center of the country, and whether we would have a new currency in North America. Those are not being discussed as much now, but that doesn’t mean we should be complacent because I think they’ve just moved it up the ladder, because they’re discussing very sincerely about a world currency, and it’s not a free market gold standard, let me tell you that. They would have international central banking. And I believe in the sovereignty of the individual, and I certainly believe that the states should manage most of the government, but I believe in the sovereignty of the United States. I don’t believe for a minute that we should go to war as we did in Korea under a U.N. declaration of war, and not a congressional declaration of war.
And I don’t believe we need the WTO. I don’t believe we need the World Bank. I don’t believe we need the IMF, and I just think we should say those organizations serve the powerful special interests. Even this idea of taking tax money from you and sending money over to poor countries in Africa… A lot of people with bleeding hearts are saying, “We have to help them, they’re very poor,” but you know what I finally decided about foreign aid of that sort? It’s taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in other countries. Foreign aid, for the most part, once it gets to the various countries is used as weapons. And if there isn’t a war, a war will go on and they’ll use it as weapons for factions. They say, “We’ll send them food; we’ll just send them food.” Okay, who takes over the food? And it doesn’t work, that is the big problem. And it also contributes to our bankruptcy which will be the final event. It is going to be the bankruptcy. We’ve had the bubble burst. We know we’re in big trouble; we couldn’t back our dollar anymore with gold, but the next event is when the confidence in the dollar is lost. Now there has been a steady, gradual erosion of the dollar’s value. The government tells us there is no inflation, so, I guess maybe if you don’t want to, you don’t have to believe that, but there’s been a steady erosion. When we turned this management of our dollar over to the Federal Reserve, our dollar was 1/120th of an ounce of gold. Now it has it has lost 99% of its value. It’s now 1/1300th of an ounce of gold. So what do we do? We just let the Fed keep printing money, print it faster and faster, and historically, if you look at history, paper money doesn’t last. It always ends, and it ends badly. And gold has been around for a few years, like all of recorded history. Gold has been used. So for them to think they can demonetize gold is a fiction. One day I brought this up to Greenspan, who used to be a gold believer a long time ago., but I asked him about this and I asked, “How can you make your paper money function like gold?” He said very seriously, “You know, I understand exactly what you’re saying, but I believe central bankers have become so wise now that they can make paper act as if it was gold.” I mean, he actually believed that, but I think he believes that less so today than he did 5 years ago when he said that. This system isn’t working. The system is working very poorly, and what I suspect is going to happen is either with the new Congress, even if we did well, even if Republicans did a better job and started passing bills that were better bills, they’ll get vetoed. They’re not going to get passed. Even if we think we should repeal something, that is going to be vetoed. Even if we think that the administration shouldn’t be cozy with Wall Street or the military-industrial complex, we can be ignored. The president has so much power, they can write … you know, if we don’t do what he wants immediately, he says, “Oh, I’ll write an executive order, I’ll just do that.” They have executive orders, they have signing statements, they have regulations that they can write. Government is out of control. The people need to get control of their lives and get control of the government.
It’s been many years since I’ve been involved in what I considered the Freedom Movement. I first got started in the 1970s because I was concerned not only by individual liberty and less so at that time about foreign policy, but I got more interested in foreign policy since then, but much about monetary policy. So over the years, I have spent time and I thought it would go by pretty much being unnoticed, and I would cast my votes in the Congress and try to set a record and some day somebody would look at it and say, “Maybe we should have done that.” I was pleased and a little surprised that people have noticed a little sooner than that, so I know personally my limitations; what I can do and I can’t do, but, where I have a great deal of confidence is in the philosophy of liberty: what liberty means, what it means to me, what it has meant to America, where our freedoms come from. It does not come from government. It comes from a natural or a God-given way, and our lives are very important for that reason.
I mention why I thought liberty was so important because of the compassionate approach to economic well-being, but I like liberty for other reasons as well. Matter of fact, I would be a defender of liberty just as strong even if I thought we would all be a little poorer. We don’t have to worry about that, fortunately, but I just think that to have a productive energetic life where you will be able to have creative energy and be able to associate in ways that don’t exist in tyrannies; that is so important to me. So, the magnificent thing about this, if you recognize liberty, a lot of my conservative friends will say, “Well, that’s good to a degree, but don’t you know some of those people overstepping their bounds. Some of them want to go out and smoke and do things like that. And their sexual habits- we don’t like that.” This is the question of, “Should you even bother with it? Does it do any good?” But the one thing is, if you accept a free society and recognize individual liberty and everybody is equal because they’re an individual and do not belong to a group, therefore, for it to work, you have to become tolerant. You have to become tolerant of people that do things that annoy you and you disapprove of. You know, I don’t know why more people don’t understand that because most Americans understand fairly well the First Amendment, even though I see encroachments on our First Amendment now more than ever before with political correctness and other things. But about the First Amendment it’s generally said that it’s not there to protect casual speech about the weather; that’s not controversial. The first amendment is there to protect controversial speech, so that you can say things that are controversial where you can criticize your government and other things like that. Well, in a social sense that is the same way. We have to be tolerant. If that tolerance is there… I think if a group comes together and they’re interested in liberty, we should all look different and act different and if we want to associate, we do it voluntarily, but we just don’t live and die on the idea of how I’m going to force somebody else to live a different way and write a bunch of laws regarding their personal behavior. Why isn’t this applied then to foreign governments and foreign countries? Why are we obsessed? Even some who accept what I was saying there, they said, “Yeah, but countries are different because we really need to teach the Iranians how to behave because some day they might get a big weapon, you know. So we better rule this and teach them and badger them and do all these things.” And people buy into it and say, “Oh yeah, we have to do that,” and they embark on telling other countries how to live. They never reassess the whole problems that helped create this mess that we have, and why so much of this stuff backfires, but liberty does work and it’s only being tried for a short period of time in the true sense of the word. We still are benefiting from what the founders did and wrote it in the Constitution, but it’s slipping away. It’s not guaranteed that it’s going to be here a year from now. You know, if we have a catastrophic dollar crisis or if we have a catastrophic foreign policy event, which we’re very vulnerable to, we’re going to see if they were able to do what they did after 9/11. Can you imagine if we have another major crisis and the people say, “We have to be taken care of?” One of the things that bothered me most of 9/11 when I would complain about some of the things going on at airports and other places was that people would come up and say, “You know, it’s okay. It’s okay. If I have to give up my freedoms to be safe and secure, I will.” You’re right. You never have to give up any freedom to be secure. You’re less secure if you do.
So, my goal is to remind as many people as I can in my small way that liberty is worth defending. For young people, especially, for those of you who are inheriting this mess it is especially important to make a major decision of what you want from your government: whether you want to be left alone, or you want to perpetuate what we have today. And I would say that it would be much better if we all decide and tell your government you want to be left alone. As bad as things are, from travelling around the country these last couple of years, I’m probably more optimistic than you believe because I think things are stirring. I see the Tea Party Movement is stirring. I see some things in the Tea Party Movement where I see those who believe differently than I do, who would like to teach the Tea Party people exactly what to say and do. But anyway, the people are unhappy, they’re disgruntled and they’re speaking out. But where I get my greatest encouragement is where I am today: on a college campus because there are a lot of college people now thinking about sound economics. They don’t accept blindly socialized economics or Keynesian economics, economic interventionism. And they’re looking towards another school of economic thought called the Austrian free market school of economics. If I would have said that three or four years ago on a college campus, there would probably have been two people who said, “Oh, well. Okay.” Now it’s spreading, thank goodness for the Internet. The Internet is a grand place, but out of necessity we will look for the proper answers. So, I’m optimistic because so many young people are stirring. They would like to see the proper changes. They would like to see a better foreign policy. One of the things that pleased me most during the presidential campaign was where I got more support than the other candidates- and it surprised them and it pleased me- and that was active military individuals supported me more than the other candidates. So, very simply, I think I can summarize the whole point about being optimistic: freedom is popular. But I want to close by just thanking you all for coming, and I appreciate very much this invitation and your willingness to come and listen and talk, and in a little bit we’re going to have questions. But if we do our job, we can win this. To me, it is not a political struggle. Politics is secondary to the ideology. We have to change ideology, and that’s why the campuses are so important. Ideology, when it becomes a prevailing attitude, it pervades in both parties, or all the parties, and the people endorse it as a whole, and they have endorsed our foreign policy and our economic policy. If we’re going to change it, it has to be ideological, and it has to be in that manner to change people’s minds. In that case, when the people have changed their mind, then the politicians can act. Today if you have just one or two in Washington preaching this or trying to do it and it’s not well received, the people are going to object. But where I am optimistic that more and more people around America are like so many of you, that we’re ready to once again live in a free society.
Thank you very much.
Sam Spaiser: All right, some people from the audience have submitted a few questions. So, the first question is: on Capitol Hill, what are the current pressures threatening the Internet?
Ron Paul: The current pressures?
Sam Spaiser: Yeah, the current pressures threatening the Internet.
Ron Paul: Well, he’s asking, “What are the current pressures threatening the Internet?” It seems to me that it’s constant. Almost every day you hear of somebody else wanting to regulate the Internet, and I have taken some votes there that have been very difficult because they’ll come up with some very simplistic bill that’s going to regulate some very bad stuff on the internet. And I don’t, of course, personally endorse it, but there might be only 1 or 2 of us that will oppose that. But I think it’s going to be constant, and I think it’s in the government’s interest to know what’s going on with the Internet, not in the people’s interest. So I have just taken one promise: I won’t vote for anything that I think will regulate the Internet.
Sam Spaiser: Now, you’re a staunch Constitutionalist. Do you have anything to say to Americans who believe our framework is outdated? Do you think reframing the Constitution is a good idea?
Ron Paul: I think we should just read it and obey it. But, you know, there are some imperfections and I think the founders didn’t claim it was perfect, that’s why they gave us the amendment process. So, the real problem is the individuals who don’t obey the Constitution, they don’t lose any sleep over it. They’ve been taught to interpret it in a different way, you know, like the general welfare clause or the interstate commerce clause. But some of them are so blatant. What about the monetary clause? But they have an interest in big government. No, the Constitution is about as good as the people. When the people send the right people to Washington, then the Constitution and the limited government will be followed, but just changing the words won’t be enough. We need to just have more honorable people that are willing to obey it.
Sam Spaiser: What are your ideas on lowering the cost of university education?
Ron Paul: Believe it or not, it’s the free market. When I went to college, I was from a large family and we worked our way through school. Matter of fact, what I was, was a milkman. I’d get up and deliver milk in the mornings, but in college, a semester – and this was in the late 1950s – a semester cost like $325 for all my tuition for a whole semester. And I had 4 jobs on campus. I worked in the summer and I had 4 jobs. So, it isn’t so much… The problem is not affording it- it is why are the costs so high? Well, there are a couple of reasons the costs are high. One is the devaluation of the dollar. Yes, but the cost of education goes up faster than anything else. Education and medicine cost go up faster than anything else, but that’s the way inflation works. Government is more involved in education and more involved in medicine than the rest. Housing experienced a bubble. So when the government gets involved money will flow in different areas. When they inflate the currency, if every single price went up the same way, wages and prices and everything else, inflation would be irrelevant; it wouldn’t be a problem. But that’s not the way it works. Some prices actually go down with inflating the currency. You know, electronics, cellphones prices can still drop under those conditions, but education because there is so much movement by the government into education, it doesn’t give you better quality. Do people end up with better education? No, usually you end up with higher costs. So, you suffer a greater problem from the inflation than anybody else in society, other than in medicine.
Sam Spaiser: Now, the Tea Party Movement started with your presidential campaign. What excites you and what concerns you on how has it evolved?
Ron Paul: Well, what excites me most about the Tea Party Movement is the fact that people spontaneously have recognized that they can’t depend on the two-party system to solve all the problems; it took more than that. And the biggest concern I have, which I alluded to in the talk, is that some individuals who weren’t part of the Tea Party Movement have sort of moved up to nuzzled up to them to make sure they wouldn’t talk about bringing the troops home and stopping the drug war. They don’t talk about that like they should.
Sam Spaiser: What would be the best way to transition into a gold standard from our current fiat system?
Ron Paul: Going into a gold standard … well, there are a lot of different ways to do it. If you want to look at the post- Civil War period, we went off the gold standard to fight the civil war and gold went up to several hundred dollars an ounce. In 1875 they had the Restoration Act, and it went over a 3 year period. They said we’re going back to $20 an ounce and they withdrew greenbacks. They quit running up deficits and people trusted the government. We didn’t have a foreign empire to deal with. We didn’t have the welfare state. And guess what? The price ratio went back to $20 an ounce. In 1878, it was a non-event; you could do it that way. That would require practically a miracle because the likelihood of giving up the empire and giving up the welfare state and balance the budget, and quit printing money, I mean, it’s about that much. So, what I’ve introduced is a bill in Congress just to legalize competition with the Fed, not to close it down in one day. If you had a competition it would take a couple of weeks and then they would destroy themselves.
Sam Spaiser: What is your opinion of Roe vs. Wade and what, if anything, should be done about it?
Ron Paul: I think Roe vs. Wade shouldn’t have been heard, because it was a state law. A lot of people in the right-to-life movement dwell on having a Constitutional amendment and waiting for the Supreme Court to change, to repeal Roe vs. Wade, and, you know, since I don’t particularly like Roe vs. Wade opinion, I don’t think that is going to happen, but the legal aspect of this is, for many of us, is taking a viable fetus and deliberately killing a fetus is an act of violence. It’s a difficult situation and it should be handled locally. So I would say that eventually I would like to see Roe vs. Wade repealed and the issue dealt with at the state level.
Sam Spaiser: How do you feel about Prop. 19, which I believe that’s the legalization of the medical marijuana in California?
Ron Paul: What was the word you said?
Sam Spaiser: It’s Prop. 19. How do you feel about Prop. 19?
Ron Paul: I’d vote for it, and the bigger question, eventually, would be, should we go back to pre-1914? See, in 1937 or 1938 was the first time the Fed started regulating marijuana. So, this whole thing is not like we’re coming up with some bizarre idea about marijuana. So, no, I would support it.
Sam Spaiser: All right, this is going to be the last question. Looks like this one is a bit of a curve ball. You spent a lot of time spreading the ideas of liberty and inspiring young Americans. What could be more beneficial to this cause than running for President?
Ron Paul: Thank you, thank you for the support. We’ll wait and see. Thank you very much, I appreciate it.
Sam Spaiser: A quick announcement: Before you leave, I’d like to invite you all to the after party: Ron Stock at the Irish Lion where the winners of the silent auction of the paintings will be announced. It’s at 212 West Kirkwood. That’s one block from the corner of Kirkwood and College intersection. So, thanks everyone for coming, this was tremendous. I want to thank you all again.
Thanks to Kathleen Keane and Sarah Hodnett for proofreading this transcript!