Ron Paul: Democracy ≠ Freedom

by Ron Paul

As we enter the fall political season, we will hear a great deal of rhetoric from both major political parties and their many candidates for office. It’s important for us to remember, however, that words can be made meaningless by misuse or overuse. And when we as citizens allow politicians to obscure the truth by distorting words, we diminish ourselves and our nation.

For example, we’ve all heard politicians use the words “democracy” and “freedom” countless times. They are used interchangeably in modern political discourse, yet their true meanings are very different. They have become what George Orwell termed “meaningless words”. Words like “freedom,” “democracy,” and “justice,” Orwell explained, have been abused for so l?ong that their original meanings have been eviscerated. In Orwell’s view, such words were “often used in a consciously dishonest way.”

Without precise meanings behind words, politicians and elites can obscure reality and condition people to reflexively associate certain words with positive or negative perceptions. In other words, unpleasant facts can be hidden behind purposely meaningless language. As just one example, Americans have been conditioned to accept the word “democracy” as a synonym for freedom. Thus we are conditioned to believe that democracy is always and everywhere benevolent.

The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with freedom. While our Constitution certainly features certain democratic mechanisms, it also features inherently undemocratic mechanisms like the First Amendment and the Electoral College. American is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Yet we’ve been bombarded with the meaningless word “democracy” for so long that few Americans understand the difference.

If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom or liberty–regardless of the issue being discussed– ask yourself whether he is advocating more government force or less.

The words “liberal” and “conservative” have also been abused. “Liberalism,” which once stood for civil, political, and economic liberties, has become a synonym for omnipotent coercive government. Liberalism has been redefined to mean liberation from material wants, always via a large and benevolent government that exists to create equality on earth.

“Conservatism,” meanwhile, once meant respect for tradition and distrust of active government. But in recent decades conservatism has been redefined as support for big-government grandiosity via military adventurism, corporatism, and inflationary monetary policy. The modern political right has redefined conservatism into support for an all-powerful central state, provided that the state furthers supposedly conservative goals.

Orwell certainly was right about the use of meaningless words in politics. Our task, therefore, is to reclaim our language and reclaim our liberties. If we hope to remain free, we must cut through the fog and attach concrete meanings to the words politicians use to deceive us.


  • May God Bless Ron Paul
    And may God double Bless the misled whom have dismissed the wise words of Dr. Paul.

  • As a libertarian monarchist, my support for Ron Paul has now gone up 20%

  • That’s something I should discuss with my AP US Gov teacher.

  • This is incredibly powerful. I feel so happy to have heard it, yet so sad because everyone needs to hear it. Try to get the message out! Make people understand! This is not rocket science!!

  • And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.” –
    Abraham Lincoln

    Since we took on a new Constitution, we have had our Republic replaced with a State. That happened in 1913 or thereabouts with the creation of the Federal Reserve.

  • “We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty.

  • just like just carlin said before….

  • Now this is what a real Ron Paul like bar looks like!

  • u r right friend.

  • it’s sad how broken a system is, the sad truth is the onIy way to eIect this man, sure I may disagree with ron pauI on haIf of the issues, but him and dennis kucinich are the Iast options

  • We are a republic. We have chosen to be a democracy, we can change that any time.

  • Except Ron Paul!

  • Im glad idiots single themselves out in the comment section, so that we do not have to. Ron Paul is as honest as any politician will ever be. Anyone who tries to attack this man with easily identifiable logical fallacies is wasting time. The people who matter in life know who Dr. Ron Paul is and what he stands for. We care NOT about what some uneducated, misguided, and faceless moron has to say…unless you plan to form a vote based on your that case do us all a favor and stay home.

  • america should adopt new zealand’s idea where if enuff people vote for no candidate “which is an option” there is a new election

  • America is a democracy? Could have fooled me…

  • If this man became the president of the US the world will forget how bad the US was and love it regardless

  • Ron Paul has not turned his back on america or his supporters. he is the only cabdidate with no corporate hand stuffed up his ass working their mouth.

  • This is his best weekly update ever.

  • Thanks Ron Paul for defending our freedoms. You gave an awesome speech the other day in Tampa. 🙂