Ron Paul: Thank you very much. It’s so nice to see you, I thought you would be all worn out from the campaign, but it’s great to see you here. The campaign continues, the campaigning for liberty will last a long time. Somebody that campaigns with me, and has for a long time, is my wife, Carol, sitting over here. But it is a delight to see an enthusiastic crowd, I’m delighted you’re here tonight, and this week, and are being involved in the Campaign for Liberty. Because, in many ways, that’s what all of us are doing and what I’ve done for a few years. And since we started this organization 4 or 5 years ago, I got to name it, and I thought, “Well, why don’t we call it something that I’ve been doing: ‘Campaign for Liberty’, that’s what we’ll call it, that is it. So that type of campaign goes on for a long time until we win, and since the world is imperfect, we’ll never have perfect liberty. But if we don’t campaign for liberty, the other side is going to keep campaigning for stateism and big government, and they are our enemy and we must stop them. Probably the best success we’ve had with the Campaign for Liberty has been the grassroots effort the Campaign for Liberty has done on making sure that we got the bill to audit the Federal Reserve System at least passed in the House of Representatives. But not only about getting the legislation passed in House, and who knows, we might still get the rest of it done in the Senate, but we don’t know. But the more important thing is calling attention to the American people to the issue of monetary policy. They’re never going to put that back in the bottle, let me tell you. The people now know the importance of the monetary policy and the Federal Reserve, thank you for all your hard work and effort on that.
Ron Paul: Really, liberty is the issue, because if you understand liberty, you can apply it to everything, whether it’s civil liberty, foreign policy, monetary policy, or economic policy, it’s all very much the same. But, in order to understand how the system works, you have to understand the monetary system, because big government can’t exist without a Federal Reserve, it just wouldn’t happen. Because Congress would have to pay their bills, and with the Federal Reserve, they’re able to deceive the people, pretend that they’re not being harmful and delay their payment, and that’s what this is all about. Now, Bernanke, this weekend as usual – and as all the Federal Reserve Chairmen that I have met always say when they get into trouble and they can’t seem to get out – said, “Well, Congress has to do more”. Of course, they shouldn’t do more, they should do a lot less, that’s what they need to do. But it isn’t the Fed against the Congress, or the Congress against the Fed. The Congress created the Fed, and you know what, they can get rid of the Fed if they want to, and they should. But if there are special interest groups, as there certainly are in this country, that support the warmongering going on and the military-industrial complex, and if they had to tax the American people to pay all the bills for all the wars, just think in the last ten years, the national debt went up over 4 trillion dollars just for the wars that we have been fighting in the Middle East. And just look at the disaster in the Middle East today, 11 country embassies being demonstrated against with violence against Americans because, for some reason, they don’t like us dropping drone missiles on their countries. But this expenditure couldn’t happen, and wars couldn’t be fought if we had honest money, because the people would have to be that taxed and they would rebel and say it’s a bad investment. But it is so deceitful, and they can delay the inevitable for a long time, but that long time is coming to an end, and that’s why our work is so important right now. We have to keep plugging ahead.
The same is true about domestic welfare spending, if we paid all the bills, the people would rebel and everybody would know how much it’s costing. But if you can run up the deficits, there is an absolute agreement that the Fed is going to monetize it, they’re going to buy the debt. If not, what happens, interest rates go up. Well, they can borrow for a while, but there’re not enough lenders out there, so interest rates would be higher, and this would be hard for the economy. But then all the pressure would be on the people and the Congress to cut the spending and let the people spend the money, not the government. If you look at our history, up until 1913, it was far from perfect, but the size of government didn’t have steady growth. And it was the inevitably bad year or 1913 that changed our history so dramatically: bringing in the Federal Reserve, changing the foreign policy that said that we’re going to make the world safe for democracy. They said we’ll have to fight one more war to end all wars, and you know how well that has worked out, and created and income tax. And just think of the last past 100 years. But as I have tried to say so many times and I certainly tried to point it out in Tampa, it’s all coming to an end and we should be grateful that it’s coming to an end. So the question isn’t so much about will the Keynesian, socialism, welfareism and interventionism end, it’s how it’s going to end and how many people are going to be prepared, how many of us will be out there, how many will then argue the case for sound money and personal liberty and economic liberty and a sensible foreign policy? That is what we have to have out there. Now, as I suggested in the campaign, there is no reason why we can’t have a transition. We can move from one to another, we can turn down the spigots of spending and bring our troops home and just cut back on spending and just work our way out of this. The odds aren’t very good that that’s going to happen, just this week there were efforts for a continuing resolution for 6 more months, and one thing is for sure, the party that’s in charge of the House of Representatives made sure that the military budget went up 26% on the continuing resolution.
See, this is the reason why I am unconvinced that we are going to keep doing the same thing over and over again. When are we going to see that the Fed is all of a sudden going to be a good manager? We saw what the Fed did this week, I mean, they’ve been trying for 5 years to bail out a system that collapsed because they spent too much, borrowed too much, printed too much. So what did they announce this week? They announced, “Well, what we need to do is we really need to print money, and we’ve tried QE1 and QE2, now we’re going to have perpetual QE. And now we’re going to give 40 billion new dollars every month”, which is nearly half a trillion dollars every year. And if necessary, they’ll increase it, they’ll guarantee low interest rates for another three years, and then they wonder why people don’t get their confidence restored and people get confused on what to do. Well, there’s one reason why they get confused, and that is the most important thing for individuals to make decisions on business and investments, and it’s the issue of interest rates. Because, in a market economy, if the people save money, they drive the interest rates down. And the business man says, “Oh, interest rates used to be 4%, they’re now at 2%, this is the time I should invest and rebuild”. So what happens if nobody saves any money and interest rates are 0%? Then you get real mal-investment, the money is printed, passed out to the banks for free, and they can put it back into reserves and get interest paid from the Federal Reserve. Or the banks themselves, or the Federal Reserve, buys debt, and there’s no incentive to go out and invest in a risky economy because the more the Congress interferes by passing more laws and not knowing what the tax code will be, passing socialized medical programs and on and on, people don’t have their confidence restored. So this is the reason that we are going to go on like this, we do not know when it will end. It could end soon, it could end in a year or 2 or 3 years, who knows. But I believe we’re getting awfully close to this. Then, this is where our efforts have to pay off, because the campaign for liberty is actually trying to get more people to not only understand it, but at least not be hostile to freedom, because our answers can be found in freedom. Because, in so many other countries, when they have faced these crisis, they end up with dictators. And we have more dictatorial and authoritarian government than ever before. And now not only do they tell you what to smoke and drink and eat, but they’re telling you how big your coca-cola can be, how big a glass of coca-cola you can have. And it’s pretty absurd when you can’t drink raw milk and you can’t make rope out of hemp and if you have a serious medical condition that can be helped with marijuana, you get put in prison with your wheelchair and all. There’s something seriously wrong, I would say they don’t understand what liberty is all about.
But obviously you do, and that’s good and that’s the good news, and there are a lot more like you out there than you ever realize, a lot more than I ever dreamed of. Because I have often made the comment that I did do a little bit of speaking, I used to practice a lot of speaking because I would go to college campuses. I used to be able to get 30 or 40 people out in one group on a college campus, but now a few more come. Now, in the old days if you were running as a conservative Republican, you’d go to a conservative campus and you’d get a nice crowd on you and you’d get all the plusses and you’d say, “Hey, this is great”. But, if you went to Berkeley and you ended up getting a big crowd there, or even the University of Texas, you would say, “Hey, you’re in Austin, you better be careful”. But now, with the freedom movement, you can go to a conservative campus and get a large crowd out, and you can go to Berkeley and get a bigger crowd out. So, that makes my point: freedom brings people together, people who believe in freedom for different reasons should all come together. We should eliminate this whole concern about diversity, whether you want to spend your money or save your money, or waste your money, in free society, you can do it. But if you waste your money, don’t go to your neighbor and say, “You have to bail me out and you have to pay more taxes”, that’s what you can’t do. But it truly does bring people together, and that’s why I think it’s so magnificent about it. Not only on the money issue, we understand it on the religious issue. Americans are pretty good, except when they get angry at certain groups and they have to bash them and say, “They’re the cause of the war” and this kind of stuff. But, in religion, we have so many different religious beliefs and we have people. Guess what, in a free society, you’re even allowed to be an atheist, we don’t put you in prison for that. But it isn’t the point I want you to believe, it is the point that you’re allowed to believe. And the other important thing is that when you legalize freedom, whether it’s personal habits or economic habits, you don’t endorse what the people do, and that’s a big difference. A lot of people will come up to me and say, “Ron, I agree with you, this drug war is horrible, but I can’t endorse people doing those things to their bodies, we have to protect them from themselves”. And I would think, yea, politicians and bureaucrats know more about protecting you against yourself than they do themselves. That doesn’t work. This whole notion that we have to depend on the government to tell us what our habits should be … but if we allow people to make these decisions, in economics it’s easy, and socially and religiously, the First Amendment, it’s a philosophy of tolerance. But tolerance is not endorsement. If you get to keep all your own money, and you gamble it away and lose it, that doesn’t mean I endorse gambling. But, like I said, though, if you have a lifestyle that punishes yourself and you suffer from it, you cannot use force to be taken care of by other people, you have to suffer the consequences.
Not only should you suffer the consequences, you should also reap the benefits. What if you were frugal and you saved and you invested? You should be able to keep the fruits of your labor, and that’s why the income tax is morally wrong, you shouldn’t have an income tax. But in any society with the government that we have now and have been putting up with for so long is, instead of being the protector of private property, they destroy the concept of private property. Instead of protecting and enforcing contracts, they interfere with the contracts and put force on us and manipulate things. So they’re working perversely. You know, the constitution as well as the Coinage of 1792 says, “Don’t counterfeit”, it’s a serious offense. But what do we have, we have the Federal Reserve as the chief counterfeiter of the world. And then we have the Fed manipulating money and credit, we have people who still would like to take care of themselves: work hard, save some money, put it in the bank, earn some interest, maybe 0.5% or 1%. And Bernanke was on the air today recognizing this because he’s done it to me in the committee when I bring it up and I say, “Alright, somebody wants to save their money and they don’t want to take risks in the stock market and they want to earn a little interest and they don’t earn enough”. And he says, “Yes, but the health of the economy is more important than marking sure that everybody is taken care of. Some people will suffer”. So if you’re elderly or of a fixed income or you want to save and you can’t earn any interest – and the market rate of interest would be 5% or 6%, but that’s beside the point because ‘we have to help the economy’. Usually, the world ‘economy’ means banks and big corporations and politicians and governments and foreign interventions, that’s what it is, that’s why we have to attack this whole system. But the really good news is that a lot of people are hearing this message. You have helped to spread it, the internet spreads it, you have had numerous speakers here. You know, I was kidding the other day, but it is true that it used to be that voting by myself used to be a neat little event, at least I’d wave a flag and say, “Look here, you guys”. But now I have these guys like Justin Amash and other people that are voting with me and I can hardly be by myself at all.
And there are going to be some new people. It won’t be fast enough, we have to keep doing it, but setting a standard and setting a record is very, very good because people are watching and they will be encouraged. And this is why, no matter, we must get the good people in Congress, and they have to be perseverant and stick to their guns, we have to keep working with the Campaign for Liberty, we have to change people’s minds. Ideas do have consequences, bad ideas have bad consequences. So these things are powerful, powerful weapons that we have, and we have truth on our side, which makes a big difference. If freedom is the answer, and authoritarianism is something that has been around for thousands of years and has always failed and undermined personal liberty, then maybe we do have truth on our side. We just have to energize people, we have to get their confidence back. This is what has happened to the American people, they’ve lost confidence in true freedom. They say, “Freedom is good, that’s a good thing, but you have to give up some of it to be safe. How can you have a safety net and how can you be protected against the terrorist if we didn’t have TSA?” I think that’s a little bit confused thinking and I think more Americans are beginning to understand this. But private property would solve all those problems at the airport. The people who are supposed to provide the security are the airlines, not bureaucrats that belong to labor unions and everything else. We’ve not only given up on the idea of private property and contracts and sound money, but we’ve also been careless on allowing certain small groups of people talk to the American people into believing that if you don’t support the wars and you don’t support the troops, then and you’re un-American and you’re not patriotic. Guess what, the people in active military duty have spoken, they have been very vocal, and guess what? They support the cause of liberty and they supported our campaign and they said these wars are unnecessary and not beneficial.
And, of course, that’s a very good reason to just bring them home, and we could. I can’t understand the inability of us to convince more, because, to me, it seems so logical. If you’re out of money and the wars aren’t any good and they’re not constitutional; we’ve spent 4 trillion dollars we didn’t have, and we would have more peace and prosperity by having a foreign policy where we defend our country properly and constitutionally with the permission of the people through the Congress, instead of allowing the President and the United Nations and NATO to decide it. Why shouldn’t this be welcomed with open arms and say, “It’s time to bring them home”. So, the rule of law has been taken carelessly, we don’t really follow it, not many in the Congress really care about the constitution. They take the oath of office, but the worst part about it isn’t that they don’t follow the constitution, which is horrible, but they believe they’re following it. They’ve been rationalized by our education system that said, “It was never meant to be overly rigid, it has to be adaptable, we have to adapt it to modern times”. Even today, I was on an interview and we were talking about the economy and I said the economy was pretty good without a central bank back in the 19th century. And they said, “I don’t want to talk about that, that’s old fashioned, we don’t even want to go back to that”. But we do have to recognize that markets work and foreign policy works and going backwards is not the problem. What we want to do is pick up the pieces. We had a good system, we knew what we had. We have to quit doing the dumb things, because it’s so easy to figure out that we have to live within our means as individuals, and governments should have to do it and the politicians should be held responsible. But the big question is the question that always has to be asked, and for which you have to get the right answer, and that is, “What should the role of the government be?” And governments have been around for a long, long time, and governments always overstep. But, if the government would be what the constitution says it should be, it should be very limited to the protection of liberty. If you want more government, it should be local and not at the federal level, and certainly it shouldn’t be international, it shouldn’t be United Nations. But it’s been rationalized by the members of Congress and by the people, I certainly heard it and it really hurt to hear people so often say right after 9/11, “Well, it looks like we have to sacrifice our freedoms now to be safe”. The truth is, if you take an oath of office and you take an oath to be a president, you don’t swear an oath, “I’m going to keep the American people safe from here on out”. Matter of fact, if you say that, that means, “I am going to keep you safe and you’ll have no more liberty”, because that’s the only way you can be perfectly safe. So, no, you want to obey the law and you want to protect life and liberty and property and a judicial system and not much else. But we had given up on this a hundred years ago. But the magnificent story now is that, and it has been much more than I ever expected in these last 4, 5 years, there has been a tremendous surge in the interest of this. Just think that a whole new generation of young people right now are joining us. I mean, a lot of us have been fighting this for a long time and we’ve always been outnumbered. But if we can keep this energy going with the younger generation … and I’m not talking about the college graduates, I’m talking about the college student and the high school student, they know and understand this stuff. I get pretty impressed about high school students, one of them told me, “I’ve been reading about Mises and Rothbard”, and I hadn’t even heard those names until I got out of college”. But the people I meet from the younger generation are way ahead of anybody I ever met when I was in high school and college. But the needs are much greater, there was a lot of wealth left, there was a lot of momentum, and we’ve been consuming it for several decades now. There is no real wealth in this country, what you see as wealth, most of it is debt. The dollar functioned, but the dollar is debt, so it doesn’t have a real value. But, the trust in the dollar is still there, so there is always a subjective element on value, there’s still a thought around the world: “Well, the Americans have all the weapons and they have a lot of wealth, so we’re going to take their dollars” and that sort of thing. But, it could come to an end. Matter of fact, in the last 4 days since Bernanke announced this continuous QE, the dollar has gone down sharply. With this stuff going on over in the Middle East, as well as the oil prices going up, we could be getting pretty close to this. This stuff in the Middle East is really dramatized, I guess you’ve seen some of the maps on TV, they will paint each country in red that had some revolt or rebellion or demonstration against America in the last week, and there’re 11 countries right now. And they want to tell you these protests are because somebody in some place did a video that nobody has seen and nobody understands, and they say, “Oh, that’s why they hate Americans”. Well, guess what, it’s all in Arab countries that we have been taking over, we prop up the dictators, we’re on both sides of all those issues. We prop up dictators like in Egypt, give them billions and billions of dollars and pay them to be friends of Israel. And then, all of a sudden, the people rebel against that government, and so we participate in the overthrow of our puppet leader in Egypt and then somebody else comes in and, lo-and-behold, guess who’s in the rebellion, the Al-Qaida.
And the Al-Qaida is in Libya as well and they’re involved in Syria. They weren’t in Iraq, but they are now. I mean, the whole thing about the foreign policy makes no sense whatsoever, we spend all that money and we’re less safe. And that can get out of hand. There’s a lot of planning done on how to manage and spread our empire, and they don’t sit down and say, “Well, let’s have a world war”, but sometimes some of those plans get out of control. What I fear the most is a false flag; something happening where one of our ships goes down or a plane goes down, and, of course, it had to be the Iranians, for sure, for certain. But then, the emotions go high. But even today, when our ambassador was killed, there were are a lot of people ready to go to war over this and never asking the serious questions. But I am convinced that if we have a sensible foreign policy, we would have more friends in the world, and I think that is important. But the neo-cons are quick to criticize and say, “Well, Ron Paul just doesn’t understand, nor does he care about, this great thing called ‘American Exceptionalism’, that we are the greatest and the best and we can tell people what to do. We could be the greatest and we could be the best and we’ve had good traits in the past, but, the one thing that we as a people have come to realize, is that if we have good traits and we do a good job and have a good economy and have sound money and a sensible foreign policy and mind our own business, guess what, others might want to copy us, they might want to emulate us. But, right now, there’s not much effort in that. I am also concerned that if there’s a false flag and things break out, what’s going to happen is we’ll go bankrupt at the same time. And if you think the map of those 11 countries expressing their anger towards us is bad right now, I think there’re going to be a lot more who have been held in check because we’ve had weaponry and we’ve had money. And my complaint has always been that we’ve always only had two options on foreign policy, 1) You do what we tell you and we’ll give you a lot of money, or 2) if you don’t do it, we’re going to give you a lot of bombs.
Right now, we’re doing both to some of these countries, we’re shooting them and at the same time we’re giving them money. Why don’t we offer them this other approach based on the constitution and liberty: why don’t we offer them neither of those and just offer them friendship and trade and no money and no bombs, that’s what we need. One of the things that the freedom movement and Campaign for Liberty has being doing, is it’s being trying to get people to think of liberty as a whole, not in pieces. And liberty was chalked into pieces, and still today you have conservatives defending one part of it and liberals defending another part of it, and then it’s also mixed up by even the conservatives who might be pretty good on economics. If they get a president that’s not so conservative, they have to go along with him because it’s a partisan thing. And then, on the other side, you might have a president whose supposed to cut back on arresting people for marijuana and also have less wars, and he defies it. And then the democrats say, “Oh, we can’t challenge him at all”. What we have to do is challenge people and say, “Look, when a conservative says the right thing about economics and a liberal or somebody else says something right about civil liberties and getting the government out of our personal lives, or anybody who’d say we should have a foreign policy that makes sense … And we have coalitions in Congress now. Because there are less democrats because we have a current Democratic president, the coalitions is smaller, but the numbers of the Republicans are growing in this coalition who’re saying, “We don’t need this”. So, this is, once again, bringing people together and seeing liberty as a whole. Its one pieces, and I think that’s what we have to work on.
A lot of times they want to accuse us of wanting to go back to the dark ages, but the dark ages are authoritarianism. Freedom is a relatively new idea. The history of man, when you consider the history of the universe and how many billions of years the planets and all existed, man has only been around for a short period of time. And knowledgeable man has just been around for thousands of years, when they were reflecting and writing books. So it’s a very short period of time. But the history of man making great progress and understanding how important liberty is, is very, very short. In terms of all history, it’s just a couple of seconds or couple of minutes. So, we’re really just on the cusp of understanding what this is all about and what it can bring about. But there’s only one principle that has to be followed – because our views and our desires and our preferences are all different – and that is, you can’t force other people to do your bidding if they’re not hurting you. But a lot of people will accept that, it’s easier to get them to accept that: just don’t hurt me or don’t steal my property. But then they say it’s okay for the government to do it. The government’s not allowed to initiate force against anybody, either, they can only be a participant in trying to repel force or settle disputes, but they can’t come along and say, “We’re going to use force to make other people do our bidding, even if the individual shouldn’t do it”. So it’s individuals and government that should never be able to initiate force or violence against another to bring about social or economic changes. That one rule would solve practically all our problems, I’ll tell you.
But we should be very optimistic, I know there are some who say we should have done better in the campaign. Quite frankly, I think we did pretty good. Those who said we should have done significantly better, I don’t know whether they quite understand what we, as a group, are taking on. It isn’t like we’re taking on one small faction of the Republican Party and say, “Yea, we want to nudge you into being a little bit more conservative”, or something like that. We’re taking on the establishment that controls both parties. So, it’s the banking system, it’s the welfare state, it’s the military-industrial complex, it’s a lot of corporatism and subsidies that go out to so many. So I’ll say that the task is rather large so the success, I think, is very significant. But the other way you might look at it, if you’re looking for a positive sign: I don’t know how many candidates were there 4 years ago, let’s say there were 12 and let’s say there’re about 10 or 12 more this time, so there are about 20 now. There weren’t many that came in second, there were a few that dropped by the wayside that didn’t make an impact and they were done and gone and they have debt in the bank and they don’t even pay their bills. But the real excitement is from the number of people that are joining us, and that’s where we should be positive. We have so many more people now in office at all levels of government, and there are going to be a lot more added this fall. Now, that isn’t the total measurement, but it is a significant measurement. There are some people that love liberty and fight for it and write about it and say, “You know, this voting stuff doesn’t add up to too much”. But, political activism, if it had been ignored by the founders, we would still be in a pretty big mess, because they were philosophic and they were idealistic, but they took political action, too. So that’s why, I think political action is quite alright. But I want to encourage you and thank you for all that you have done. Continue to do your work and do your job. And you might ask, “What is my job?” You have to decide what your job is. The only thing I can urge you to do is try and understand the principles, understand the principles of liberty. But you’re here, you’re participating, you’re involved and we have people representing us at different levels of government. But everybody has something to do, it can be purely educational. When people come in to my office and ask, “How do I become a congressman?” I say, “Don’t even try, its okay if it happens to come along, most of it is luck”, and this sort of thing. There are a lot of uncertainties about running for office, and there is some luck in it. But, a lot of times, if they were very interested, I encourage them to by saying that I would just love to see more of them in the media, more writers, more in the newspapers, and the TV. But, even that’s getting easier, because, right now, if you look at the number of people who look at CNN for their news, most people are now getting more news off the internet on their computers than they are from CNN. So we’re already there in many ways. And everybody has different talents, some people don’t even want to do public speaking, some people enjoy it, some people want to run for office. Some people actually have a knack to make money even under these circumstances in this economy. Well, let them go make the money and let them help out the other groups. And we have a lot of supporters that way and that’s the prime goal, that they do well and understand it and they make money and they donate to these organizations. So that is pretty important.
Once you discover what’s going on and you basically understand this philosophy, actually it’s a pretty uncomfortable position to put you in, because I hope you’re miserable for the rest of your life unless you’re trying to do something about it. And I do believe that the people who are informed, if they’re moral persons and they say, “We know this is a bad situation”, and if you’re directed by wanting to know the truth and spread the truth, and it’s a moral principle, you do have a greater obligation. And you know what, you’re in a group that’s only going to be probably the group that’s about 10% of the population, because you know the issues and you understand and study and you read. But most people, even those who vote, don’t think about it until the day before the elections sometimes. All this polling on who’s going to win in November, I think that’s all talk because I think a bunch of people aren’t even going to pay much attention. And, who knows, there might be something else to do that day or it might rain and they might not even show up, for that matter. But your role is very important, and that’s why I work very hard and encourage everyone on the team for Campaign for Liberty to be involved. I’m glad you’re here and want to assume some responsibility. And, of course, if you don’t have any fun doing it, it can be a real dull job. So have some fun doing it, and one thing that is fun, is being with like-minded people, isn’t that pretty neat? And, to tell you the truth, I like to be with people that are like-minded that might have a completely different attitude about what their social values are and what they want to do with their money and how they want to do it, because I can just sort of smile and say, “Well, I wouldn’t do that, that’s a pretty stupid thing to do”. But I think it’s still neat that we can bring these people together and say, “It’s freedom, it’s liberty, that’s what we’re fighting for”.
Thank you very much for all your efforts, thank you.