Ron Paul: Thank you. I want you to recognize my wife, Carol. I have one granddaughter with us today, Linda, one of our 18. But I want to thank all the veterans for coming, this is a real honor for you to come and share this time with us, thank you very much. Also, I want to thank Justin from the introduction. I had met Justin a couple of years ago, he was the state representative, and somebody came and told me, “You know, he votes a lot like you, sometimes he’ll vote all by himself”. He’s a man of principle, and I’m delighted he’s being called. But that’s what has to happen, a revolution is what’s going on, there’s no doubt in my mind. It’s an intellectual revolution, it’s not brand new, it’s a refinement of our original revolution, and we’re going to build on that, we’re going to build on the cause of freedom. But, when this revolution is totally successful, it will permeate all of society, just as the liberalism permeated both, the Democratic and the Republican society and we all became Keynesians. This movement is going to go to the point where we’re going to have a time when we’re going to say, “We’re all Austrian free market economist”.
But in the mean time, right now, our vehicle is a particular election going on and it’s in the Republican primary, and a very powerful message could be sent by winning this election. Now, if you look at the evening news, you’ll say “Well, too bad, he doesn’t show up here, they don’t even list his name”. But right now, we are second in numbers of delegates. The delegate count is what’s really important, and in some states they’re still trying to figure out how to count the popular vote. But our organization is doing the job that’s necessary and working through the process, which I know can happen here in Michigan as well. I’m excited about what’s happening because the country has certainly changed. In the last 5 years, I believe it has changed for the better. The number of people now waking up, both, Young and old, who are saying, “Enough is enough”. It really shows that the country is way ahead of Washington, Washington is still sound asleep, let me tell you, they don’t know you exist out there. That’s our job, and that’s why a good showing and winning elections and doing well in the primaries is so important. We need to wake up Washington DC because they’re sound asleep and they need to hear our message loud and clear.
I first got started in politics back in the 1970s because some of the predictions made by those Austrian free market economist came about in 1971 when it was predicted that the pseudo gold standard established in 1945 by the Bretton-Woods Agreement would not work because it still allowed our government to spend too much and print too much money, and they could not honor their commitment of the gold standard of $35/ounce. So, in a way, on August 15th, 1971 it was the initial stage of the declaration of insolvency or bankruptcy of this country. Now, we’ve lingered for a long time and we have perpetuated and propagated the system we have, and all it has done, is perpetuate debt. Now, because the debt has been allowed to build up – and it’s not just domestic debt, it’s worldwide debt – we now are in the biggest debt crisis in the history of the world. And it’s been perpetuated by the dollar standard; this ability for us to issue the reserve standard of the world and live off that. But, economic law is more powerful than governments, and this system will change because they can’t stop it. Although it was known for many years that this was coming, in 1971 the announcement was well known, and the bubbles that had been formed over these last 40 years has all been known. But we seem to struggle and get out of the recessions and depressions that we’ve had, but it’s always been with more spending, more debt, more inflation, until we got to the point where the debt was uncontrollable and unsustainable. Today, there’s a semblance of prosperity in this country, though the unemployment rate is much higher than the government will admit, there’s a semblance of prosperity, but it’s all based on debt. And this is why the debt crisis is at our doorstep. If you look at the debt-per-GDP, our debt is bigger, GDP-wise, than the Greek debt, that’s how serious it is. Our national debt is 16 trillion dollars, we owe foreigners 3 trillion dollars, and what are we doing? We’re adding at least 1.5 trillion dollars every year to the debt. And what do they do in the Congress? They twiddle along, they say, “Oh yea, we’re worried about it”. But you know what they don’t do, they never cut anything, they only raise more. You have to cut the spending, and that’s the reason I say in the first year we should cut the spending by 1 trillion dollars.
A lot of people worry that cutting A trillion dollars might hurt the economy, but it isn’t so much about spending the money, its’ who gets to spend the money. If there’s a trillion dollars floating around to be spent, wouldn’t it be much better if you got to spend your own money and not the government and the bureaucrats. A lot of people worry and come up to me and ask me about it on TV constantly. You know, the Keynesian notion is that if you get into trouble from spending too much, the answer is to spend more, and so they ask, “Wouldn’t this be a terrible time [to cut spending]?” And even Bernanke – do you remember that guy’s name, Bernanke? He has been challenging me, not by name, of course, but he said, “These people”, whoever they are, maybe somebody in here, “who say we have to cut spending in the midst of a recession this is very, very dangerous, you can’t do that”. But the question is, who quits the spending. If we got to spend the money instead of the government, that makes all the difference in the world. But the only way this can come about is we have to address a very important subject, and that is, what the founders asked themselves, when they had a revolution and wrote the constitution, “What should the role of government be? that’s really the question. Should we have endless spending and entitlement systems and endless wars? Or should the federal government as directed in our constitution be meant to do one very important thing, and that is to protect your individual liberty and your right to your life?
But we’re a very long way from that, at least in the last hundred years I would say we have really slipped dramatically away, and we’re at a crisis point now. But something really important has happened approximately 5 years ago when the financial crisis hit, most Americans woke up to this. Congress, like I said, they’re not awake yet, but the American people woke up and they know there’s something very serious going on. And, also, you’re going to witness a time when the American people, by a large majority, have now come around to the point of saying, “These wars that we’re fighting in the Middle East and around the world make no sense whatsoever”. The policy of the constitution and the advice of the founders was that we should not get involved in entangling alliances, nor in the internal affairs of other nations. And yet, that is all that we have been doing, getting more and more involved. But if that is not our goal, what should the foreign policy be? It should be of friendship and trade with people. Sure, there are some bad people out there, but if we’re a perfect nation and set a perfect example for the world, then maybe we can do some talking. But, quite frankly, if we have a perfect nation here, or a much better nation that is prosperous and free and safe and with sound money, maybe, just maybe, the other countries would want to follow us and we wouldn’t have to try to force other people to live like we do. About a hundred years ago, especially in the time of Woodrow Wilson, we came up with some very bad ideas, and we’ve been suffering ever since. So the stage was being set for ushering in the age of big government, the undermining of the currency, the change in foreign policy. Woodrow Wilson said, “It is our moral obligation to make the world safe for democracy”, and look how many people have died. You have these World War 1 and 2 and 3 and Vietnam and the Middle East, and it’s constant. Nobody can even absolutely know exactly how many countries that we have troops in, it’s at least 135, 140. We have 900 bases around the world, and we’re still building them. So this whole idea that we have to do this, is such a dangerous economy idea. Because in the last ten years, these wars have caused us to accumulate 4 trillion dollars of additional debt. And, quite frankly, I do not feel safer because of these wars, I feel more endangered. One of the most dangerous ideas that came out of the depression was that … well, first off, the depression was blamed by so many on the Left, they said, “Well, it came because we had too much free markets and the gold standard, and that’s what caused the depression”. And then they claimed, and they’re still teaching these in the schools, and they said, “Well, we finally got out of the depression when a war came”. And there are some that actually believe that, that if you have war, you can get out of a depression. War is never and economic benefit to anybody.
One of the arguments they can use is there’re less unemployed, but being unemployed is not quite as bad as going overseas and dying for some reason that is not important to our national defense. So this is the crisis that we have faced when we have over extended ourselves and we have to take this decision. For me, it’s very simple, we should mind our own business and just come home. In the debates the other night, I wasn’t getting very far with the moral and constitutional argument, I couldn’t convince the other candidates by trying the economic argument. And, indeed, there is a strong economic argument, if you even ignore the other arguments, which should be enough. But the economic argument is so vivid when you think about the Soviet Empire, they collapsed because they were so foolish as to invade and occupy a country like Afghanistan, can you imagine? So the cost is a heavy burden and that’s how most empires come down, not by a military conflict. We did not have to fight the Soviets, they had 30,000 nuclear missiles and weapons, and they could have hit us, they had missiles in Cuba, that was in 1962 and that was the year I was drafted into the air force. But, today, we seem to have this burning desire by a small minority in Washington who are able to convey through the media and this war propaganda, that we have to go to war against a country that that doesn’t even have a nuclear weapon, and might not get one. But they said they could, so therefore we have to go to war, and, of course, this is the drumbeat of war. How it occurred against Iraq, all based on falsehoods and misinformation, and we go there and find out that they didn’t have weapons of mass destructions, now we’ve turned that country over to the Shiites who are allies with the Iranians and, at the same time, we continue to pursue this at great risk. But we’re now doing the same thing with the Iranians, the war drums are beating and every single day it’s more propaganda. We are not under a threat by the Iranians. If the soviets weren’t enough to have a conflict with them when they had so much at the height of the Cold War, this whole idea that we have to have another war, it will bring us down financially, and we have to wake up and tell our representative, “We don’t need another war, we need less wars”. If you truly want prosperity, and most people do, I certainly do – and we’re having trouble with our prosperity now because we’re having a recession – you have to believe that peace brings more prosperity than war does. And that is why we should have a policy of seeking peace, and not war, and then maybe we will get back on our feet again and spend money more wisely. But the conditions under which we live today, whether it’s the war conditions of what’s going on overseas, or the post 9/11 atmosphere, we live in very difficult times because they were able to use 9/11 as a tool for doing things that they had already planned to do. The war against Iraq had been planned before 9/11 and it was used as an opportunity. The first speech I ever gave against the war in Iraq was in 1998, because that’s when the drums started beating. But on 9/11 they said, “This is our chance to go in”. But what else did they do, what was the first law they passed after 9/11?
Crowd: PATRIOT Act.
Ron Paul: A bill that had been floating around for years and they couldn’t get the American people to endorse it and go along with it, so they put the PATRIOT Act up. It was a revised version of what they had, it was on the Floor for an hour or so and then there was a vote and it was overwhelmingly supported. But you know what we should do with the PATRIOT Act, we need to get rid of it. I remember very clearly when we were voting for the PATRIOT Act I was sitting next to another member and he was voting for it. And I asked, “Why are you voting for this, you haven’t had a chance to read it?” and he said, “I know”. I said, “You know there’s going to be some really bad stuff in there”, he said, “I know that”. I asked, “So why are you voting for it?” and he said, “How can I vote against the PATRIOT Act under conditions of post 9/11, how will I explain it to my people back home?” I said, “I don’t know, but I believe that’s your job to go home and tell them”.
When we have the opportunity in the near future of getting rid of the PATRIOT Act, we shouldn’t call it “Repeal the PATRIOT Act”, we should call it “Restore the 4th Amendment Act”, that’s what we should call it. The atmosphere has certainly changed, with no need to go to a judge or a proper method to get a search warrant, there’s no privacy left. The government is getting more secret, the whistle blowers get imprisoned, there’s more secrecy now, and there’s less privacy. The constitution and the Founders wanted us to have our privacy and no secrecy in the government. So we have to reverse it back to this time when we have transparency. And we could start with transparency of the Federal Reserve.
We won’t call the bill “Repeal the PATRIOT Act”, we’ll call it “Restore the 4th Amendment Act”, and people will get the message. But the atmosphere is not good. In wartimes, there’s more abuse of civil liberties, but now we’re told we’re in perpetual war, war forever. Any place in the country there is a war against potential terrorism, and they can’t define terrorism. Terrorism is still defined in the dictionary in our code and international code as “a criminal act”. But now, we have drones all over the world, we bomb any spot that we want and then we wonder why we have enemies around us wanting to do us harm. We invade their countries, we occupy their countries, there’s a lot “collateral damage” and people die. And then they wonder why they might be annoyed. I imagine a few of you heard the response in one of the debates when I suggested, “Why don’t we think about a foreign policy with a golden rule attached to it?” I’m glad your response was much more favorable than I got there.
So why shouldn’t we look at it that way, why should we do anything to another country that we would be furious if they did to us. And the other thing is, though, when we go and set the stage for another war, and we put on sanctions on a country like Iran, you know what it does? It solidifies support for their dictator. There are a lot of dissenters in Iran and they’d like to change it, but there’s a nationalistic spirit which is natural to a country, just as we can together on 9/11. If we think the outsiders are coming in, we’re going to come together. But if we continue to do that, just think of the sanctions on Cuba. For 40, 50 years the sanctions have been on Cuba, but the Castros are still there. I think it’s time to start talking to the Cubans and start trading with them. But just to mention the national defense Authorization Act, and that is indeed a very bad piece of legislation. So what they’re saying now is that they repeal the Posse Comitatus, now the military can arrest for civil problems and enforcement of any law. But the worst part about this is that they can arrest any American for any reason without any charges and deny them an attorney, no court, no trial, and put them in a secret prison. I mean, this is not what America is supposed to be about, and I cannot see how we can survive as a country if that doesn’t get out on the table. Just think, there have been 22 debates, how many times did it come up? There was barely a mention, and I brought it up. But there was no mention of civil liberties or this abuse of liberties by our executive branch, so this is a major problem for us. And also the President a year ago now, on February of last year, unilaterally said that the President, because he’s the commander-in-chief, can assassinate American citizens. Where did this come from?
You know, in the NATIONAL DEFENSE Authorization Act, they used the term “associated forces”, those are the people that are associated with problems that makes them a legitimate target. So you might say, “Oh, that’s okay, that means just if you’re a really bad guy or you’re dealing with a bunch of criminals, then you’re an associated force”. But in this day and age, an associated force might be donating money to a group and you might not know exactly how they spend the money, it might be visiting a website, it might be getting emails, it might be attending a meeting. Or if you happen to go to a meeting and the meeting is mainly designed to preach a message about more peace and less war, that might make you a subversive. But to think that you can be arrested is just an outrage. The worst criminals in the world have been given trials, Saddam Hussein even had a trial, you know. Adolf Eichmann got a trial, the Nazi war criminals got a trial, Timothy McVeigh got a trial. But now, to assume that without charges even made, we can do this, this is a very serious infraction of what we’re supposed to be all about. But there are other things that have been challenging to our civil liberties, too. Another war, that’s more of a domestic war, but it’s a viscous war, too, on our liberties. Of course, it’s endorsed by many, for good intentions, but it’s been 40 years now they’ve been fighting this modern day war on drugs, it doesn’t work, we ought to give up on that.
You know, that whole thing comes from the fact that people don’t understand what right to life and right to liberty means. People say that we do have freedom of religion and make our own very important decisions about our religious and spiritual values, and we’re still allowed to read some controversial books. You can go to the library and read about communism and very, very dangerous religious and political philosophies that literally led to the killings of millions of people. But we’re allowed to do that. But one thing that you’re not allowed to do is put into your body at will whatever you want to, you have to ask the government what you can do, even to the point where you’re not even allowed to drink raw milk unless the federal government tells you you’re allowed to drink raw milk. So this represents the fact that they do not have the same understanding of liberty as you and I would have, that it’s your life, yes, you might abuse and, and you should suffer the consequences if you don’t take good care of yourself.
In the same way, in economics, if you don’t do a good job and you over extend yourself and you get in trouble, you certainly shouldn’t get a bailout from the U.S. government. But the worst part about the monetary system is that it encourages a lot of people to make a lot of money that is not market oriented. Rich people are fine with me, the richer the better. If they’ve done a good job in delivering to the consumer a good product, and we made them rich because we liked their product and they didn’t commit any fraud and they didn’t get any benefits from the tax payer. Yes, they get voted rich because we buy their products. But, unfortunately today, the very rich on Wall Street are benefiting from a monetary system which serves their interest. Just the destruction of money, the devaluation of currency, the systematic undermining of our dollar, requires that a transfer of wealth will leave the middle class and go to a very select few, and that’s been going on for a long time. But just think of what happened when the crisis hit, they got the bailout and the middle class got the debt. We ended up owning the debt, all the derivatives. And you know what they’re preparing to do right now? They’re preparing for us to have the European debt dumped on us; the Greek debt and others, they’re dumping that debt on us. And, of course, it’s done in secret. I’m doing my very best, I will have a much better opportunity as President to root out the evil.
Thomas Jefferson argued the case at the time of writing our constitution that we should not be able to borrow money. He lost that argument, unfortunately. So we didn’t have an income tax, they didn’t give us that, that came later. But the fact that we ended up with an income tax and borrowing money still wasn’t enough, it wasn’t deceitful enough, people could figure it out because taxes could go too high and the people could rebel. And borrowing was a delayed payment; borrow and pay the debt later on, and that could carry over for a while. But then they had this idea of just creating new credit out of thin air, just printing the money. And some people suffered more than others, certainly the middle class suffered while others benefitted; whoever gets to spend the money first benefits the most. So this was automatic, it was automatic that under these conditions government would grow, we would have an entitlement system, because that’s how politicians buy votes. And then we would have a warfare system, where we could borrow and print and spend money around the world and this would go on for a long time. But it’s ending, and that’s what we’re facing today. The American people are waking up and certainly in the last five years, more and more people have become aware of this. So this is the very good news, and the very good news also is the fact that a couple of groups are coming together and joining us in this effort. There’s a group that I like to think about as being a remnant of society, that always clung to the truth and knew about it. They’re frustrated to no end because they got disgusted with voting either party, same old story; they promise one thing, and do another. One party says, “We’ll end the war and protect your civil liberties”, they do nothing but make it worse. The other party says, “We believe in balanced budgets and cutting the spending”, and they do nothing, they spend even more money and double the size of the Department of Education and expand government health benefits. So, they got disgusted and they more-or-less dropped out. And there are some, I meet them along the way, who never get involved. they’ve been looking at this for a long time and they’re disgusted. But now, because they’re recognizing what’s going on and the message of liberty is coming out loud and clear, they’re starting to join us now and are becoming political active, and I think that’s great news. But the other group that’s really energized and coming out is the next generation, the young generation today, and they love the message of liberty and they are coming out and they are supporting us.
Now, of course, our obstacle is how we get our message out, because it’s not going to be on the evening news. How many of you have ever heard anything about the national defense Authorization Act and the arresting of American citizens, you don’t hear that on the evening news. But, we do have something very, very important to use, and I think it’s fantastic, and that is the internet. But, what do they try and do? They have a bill out to try to stop online piracy, and this was an attack on the internet. But guess what, because you heard about it and got upset about it, many, many who had signed on and who were co-sponsors, took their name off and those bills were removed from both, the House Floor and the Senate. When the irate, tireless minority gets noisy enough, we can have an effect, and that was a good example. But we cannot be complacent, because there are already trying to go around us and they think they can do it by a treaty. The President now has a treaty, he’s trying to get the Senate to sign on where they will have control of the internet. I don’t understand all the details of the internet, but I hope it’s bigger than any government there is. The cause of liberty is a relatively new idea, and I think young people are attracted to new ideas. But a lot of people will accuse me, I’m sure you’ve been accused of saying, “Oh, you believe in the gold standard, you believe in laissez faire capitalism, private properties and these sort of things”. And they will say, “You’re just going back to the 19th century or so’. But you know what is really old, and that is tyranny, and that’s what we got. There have been tyrants around in all forms since the beginning of time and most of the world is run by tyrants today, and indirectly we’re moving in that direction because our society is getting to be where the tyrant is the dictatorship of the majority and they get around to abuse the minority, and they do. So this has been here for a long time, but we had this experiment and it was a great success; it was imperfect, but we still had the freest and the most prosperous country ever with the largest middle class. And, from my viewpoint, it looked to me like we were throwing it away, throwing away this tremendous experiment. But, right now, I’m more encouraged than ever because I think that America is waking up and they know the answer. For practical reasons, some of us a theoretical and say, “Well, we just believe in liberty and this is what our goal should be and this is a natural consequence”. But many others are waking up because, whether they’re on the receiving end or the paying end, they’re waking up and saying, “It doesn’t work anymore, we’re broke”, and they’re admitting the truth, and that means that they’re looking at our views because they can’t offer any more big government programs. The 20th century was the century where socialism was proved to be at great fault, and I would like to see, as quickly as possible, in the next decade, the proof in the pudding that interventionism, the planned economy, the paper money system and this economic planning through monetary policy, is all failing too. It’s supposed to be a soft sell on socialism and welfareism. But the truth is, it’s still authoritarianism, it doesn’t recognize the value of your life and your liberties, and this is the message that we have to get across because it will give us the peace and prosperity that we all seek.
Freedom got chopped up into several pieces; economic liberty and personal liberty were thought to be two different things. And, even today, some people think, “Well, he’s an economic conservative and he believes in the free market”, somebody else will say, “He’s a civil libertarian, he believes in personal liberties”. But there should be no difference, if you have a right to your life and right to your liberty, you ought to have a right to keep the fruits of your labor; it’s all one thing. But a lot of people get sort of hesitant, the ones on the Left will say, “Yea, that’s good, but there’s still going to be a poor person out there and we have to help them”, so they can embark on a system that makes sure that a few people get benefits, but before they know it, the rich get the benefits and the poor get the crumbs. And they keep saying, “We need to take care of these people”. So we’re going to have programs of free education and free medical care and free housing, and all of a sudden when we wake up, the people who got the free housing lose their houses, the medical care goes downhill, the educational system goes downhill and the young people get nothing but debt. So there is a point where the people realize that this doesn’t work, and I think that’s where we are today. And that’s why we need more confidence in this understanding of what liberty is all about. One would say that about economic liberty, and on the other side, they say, “Yea, but if we give people too much freedom, they’re going to abuse it and they’re going to do things that aren’t very wise”, which is absolutely true, some will. But do you think things are better off if your personal lifestyle is dictated by the politician and the bureaucrats that you know? And that the world would be better if we didn’t make the choices and let the bureaucrats make choices for our personal habits and our personal life? I don’t buy into that, I don’t think we should let them do it, either. One of the reasons for this is that people think that if people have too much liberty, they’re going to do things that they frown upon. But it is true, if you accept liberty for yourself, you have to accept liberty for other people, because they may abuse it, they may not be frugal, they may not do a very good job. They should benefit if they take care of themselves, and suffer the consequences if they don’t. In a free and prosperous society, there will be more wealth, there will be less poor people. We so often lose the humanitarian argument. To me, the only humanitarian system that you can have is a free market, sound money system. Because if you think humanitarianism can be forced down our throats and you will have more prosperity, then we’re kidding ourselves. But on the issue of personal liberty and habits, you say, “Well, as long as that individual who’s exercising their rights to run their life and they don’t hurt other people, yea you have a right to try to change things. But the first thing is you have responsibility for yourself, to take care of the way you want to live, to set an example. Then you have family and friends and neighbors and churches and communities to try to change things. But to turn this over to the federal government means the federal government is going to take away and steal your liberties. Once big government embarks on this notion that they can protect you from yourself, there is no liberty left.
But the other thing is, if somebody uses their liberty in way that you don’t approve of, it doesn’t mean we endorse what they do. If you have freedom of religion, some people have religions you think are rather bizarre, some people don’t even practice religion. You might say you do. You don’t lay awake at night worried about that in the same way about reading books or whatever. But if you see this and you can tolerate other people who are different, you know what happens, we all come together. We don’t come together because we belong to certain groups, we come together because we’re individuals, we want to make our own decision and then we tolerate other people’s view. And like I say, as long as people don’t use violence and try and force things on other people; governments shouldn’t force you, individuals shouldn’t force each other. But this is the reason that the true example of liberty brings very, very diverse groups together. And, another thing, if we want to understand this, we have to realize that we don’t get our rights because we belong to a group. It sounds good and we talk about civil liberties and minority rights and woman’s rights and all kinds of rights and sexual rights; I don’t think we need to do anything, I think that’s confrontational. I think what you need to do is think of individuals’ rights to do what they want with their lives.
This is a powerful message, I didn’t invent it, I’ve tried to study it and understand it, it’s relatively new, like I say. But we can improve on it, we don’t have to go back to an old gold standard, we can improve on the gold standard, it wasn’t perfect. But the ultimate test of this was what the founders said, ultimately it depends on the morality of the people. Freedom doesn’t work if the people aren’t willing to accept the principles of freedom and assume responsibility for themselves. If they think that all we have to do is get together and power more lobbyist? See, the business community is the most guilty right now, because they have to spend more money on lobbying than they do on R&D, and they want to influence government. And so if we had this confidence, it would be completely different. We’d have very small government, we would have a strong national defense, we would be tolerant of other people, we would have a lot more freedom, we would have a lot more prosperity, and one thing’s for sure, we would have a lot more peace in the world.
And that is my goal, peace and prosperity. Thank you.
This is a rush transcript. If you notice any errors please report them using the “Help improve this post” link at the bottom of this post.