Lew Rockwell: Good morning, this is the Lew Rockwell Show, and what an honor it is to have Dr. Ron Paul as our guest this morning. Congressman Paul is, of course, the great champion of liberty and sound money and sound banking and peace and freedom in American public life. He’s spent a number of terms in Congress, this is his last one. He’s run for president three times, and made vastly increasing impact every single time. He’s an author of many books, most recently “Liberty Defined” and “The Case against the Fed”. I know he’s got more books coming out in the future, and he has some very exciting plans for the future. But, Ron, I wanted to start out by talking about something quite terrible, and that was that foreign policy debate last night. I think any of us with a brain has been missing you from the political scene recently. But to see these two birds talking about foreign policy, almost entirely agreeing on everything on this bipartisan empire, and not having a chance to hear your point of view, I must say, was extremely frustrating.
Ron Paul: Oh, it’s aggravating, because they both want to be hawks (who’s the most hawkish), and that’s the only thing they talked about. It’s such a shame, because they’re defying political knowledge as well, because the people generally don’t respond to “I want to start another war”. Just think of how many presidents we either elected or re-elected by saying, whether they were telling the truth or not, “I’m for peace, I don’t want to go to war, I want to stop this war”. I mean, when you think of Eisenhower’s election and even Nixon’s election, which was not the best example … but the American people generally want less war and more prosperity. And here are two guys advocating more war and I think Romney was more aggressive on foreign policy than Obama. But I think most of us realize that, whether we get A or B, the foreign policy is going to be essentially the same and we’re going to be very much involved not only in the Middle East, but we’ll be still sending our drones around the world trying to start a new war who knows where.
Lew Rockwell: Romney specifically endorsed everything that Obama has been doing with drones, and who can doubt that he might even want to do more of that sort of thing.
Ron Paul: Yep, and, you know, it’s scary because sometimes wars end because they’re so grotesque, and some of this stirring up trouble with drones is nothing more than a video game for some of these people. They don’t have to stare these people in the face, they don’t have to look at the people they are killing, it’s just so sterilized. But eventually it’s going to get out of control and, obviously, this is one of the reasons so many of us believe that it doesn’t go unnoticed, it does cause blowback. And then they wonder, “Oh, why did the ambassador get killed? Was it just a fluke accident or was it spur of the moment? Or was it because the Al-Qaida disapproves of what we’re doing?” It’s like they live in another world.
Lew Rockwell: And, of course, nobody mentions that that “consulate” was a huge spy base, they had a tremendous number of CIA operatives working out of there. It was obviously not the right thing to hurt anybody, but this was not just like a normal diplomatic mission, maybe there are no more normal diplomatic missions. You always pointed out that these things exist mostly to either spy, or to arrange special deals for the big corporations connected to the government. But, of course, does it help the regular American, not at all.
Ron Paul: Sometimes the difficult thing for me to figure out is when they blunder. They want these places, they want to have their spies and they get warnings and they don’t respond, they still allow these tragedies to happen. And you wonder, even from their argument, how is it helping them. So, I think they lie to us about what they’re doing and why they’re doing this, and at the same time, they’re capable of blundering and not even doing what’s in their own best interest. I mean, just allowing these people to be killed makes no sense whatsoever. But they will never admit that the policies are wrong; that is what they cannot stand. And I think Romney was especially bad last night in really going after the President and saying that “You won’t apologize for America and admit that America tends to aggress against other people”. And he said, “Don’t you know that America always promotes freedom and prosperity for everybody around the world”, that, I thought, was the worst line of the evening.
Lew Rockwell: I enjoyed it, too, because both of them are highly belligerent against Iran. But I liked it when Romney said that Syria was Iran’s path to the sea. Well, of course, Iran and Syria don’t share a border and Iran has got two huge seacoasts. Romney doesn’t even know basic geography, and then he wants to start another war.
Ron Paul: Yea, they didn’t get around to talking a whole lot about how Russia is involved in this. And the real nature of our relationship with China, I mean, just think of how aggressive both of them are. But, once again, who’s the most aggressive? He wants to immediately call China a manipulator of their currency. Who’s the greatest manipulator of currencies in the history of the world? But we’re allowed to have a weak currency because they falsely believe that that helps us, which it doesn’t. And if anybody else does it, then we yell and scream about unfair trade practices. But the UN and the WTO and the World Bank will sort all these problems out for us, so we don’t have to worry about it. With worldwide economic planning, I guess, that will substitute for the idiocy of individual nations trying to plan their economics.
Lew Rockwell: All poor China was doing was pegging it’s currency to the dollar, so that it would be more stable and so that when the dollar was devalued, it wouldn’t devalue their currency and their exports wouldn’t be hurt at the time when the U.S. is trying to promote its exports. But this whole business of manipulating the currency through central banks and through all other kinds of interventions in order to promote exports, which seems to be an enduring trope of all governments, is so crazy and so damaging. Why don’t they just let the market decide about exports and imports?
Ron Paul: They don’t believe in individual freedom, they don’t believe in a peaceful foreign policy, and they don’t believe in free trade, even though they give a lot of lip service to it. And yet what they’re doing can lead to a lot more trouble. They manipulate things through the currencies, but there are still a lot of tariffs going on and sanctions in the world and all these other things that give us more problems. But I think, as things get worse, there will be more trade wars going on. They like to pretend there are no trade wars going on, but the principle part of the trade war is through the currency manipulation. But when they get into problems and want to put on tariffs and put on sanctions, they go to the WTO and get permission to do it. It’s exactly like the UN sends out peace-keeping missions. And how many wars have they authorized, how many times have they sent troops in to different countries and participated in stirring up more trouble and more violence.
Lew Rockwell: You know, Ron, one of the issues that somehow has never been mentioned in this presidential campaign since you were in it, has been the issue of the Federal Reserve and what it’s being doing. Recently I heard that Bernanke was told, “I’m sure you’re going to be glad to not have to deal with Ron Paul anymore”. And he actually said, “Well, he asked good questions”. So I imagine that maybe he enjoyed being intellectually challenged, because he certainly is not intellectually challenged by the rest of those guys. Regardless of that, whether he enjoyed it or not, he continues to do vast damage. The Fed’s not being discussed, what’s happening with the Fed, is it still the same old business or are there new bad things happening?
Ron Paul: I think it’s the same old thing, and it’s going to last until the whole system comes down, because there’s nobody that going to have enough influence to slow them down. But I think what we have done that’s been beneficial, is that more and more people understand it. Before, people just blindly accepted anything the Fed did, but now with a whole generation of young people reading Murray Rothbard and other Austrian economics books, they know what’s going on. And it’s such a great political issue, too, for opening to the people who are the bleeding-heart liberals and the caring and the populous who say, “You know, what we should be doing is trying to help poor people”. And a conservative says, “Well, they’re poor because they’re lazy and they won’t work”. Well, maybe they don’t have a job because there’s a business cycle created by these very, very wealthy bankers and business people and all these contracts with the corporations, maybe that’s the reason they’re not having a good time. When it comes to cutting back, at least we can make the point that than when they’re a crisis, who gets the bailouts, the people who have been making all the money all along. And the little the little guys get smaller. And Mises made it very clear that under a system of debasing of the currency, you will eliminate the middle class. The middle class suffers, and that’s been insidious. I don’t think that’s just in the last few years, in my mind I keep thinking that we started going downhill probably when the NASDAQ bubble burst, and this lasted for 10, 14 years. We’ve seen the middle class shrinking and, of course, they don’t admit how badly they’re suffering with the cost of living going up and with less purchasing power.
Lew Rockwell: Ron, you’ve pointed out with a lot of evidence that maybe the working-class and the middle-class have not had their standard of living improved since Nixon closed the gold window.
Ron Paul: You know, I’ve been fascinated with looking at the charts, whether it’s of the money supply or CPI. It always seems that from 1971 onwards things crept along in an almost flat line for decades or for a hundred years, and then all of a sudden, everything takes off. So you could take that curve and show that the standard of living and the well-being of the average person has actually being going down. And my argument is that the wealth that seems to be with us, and people say, “Well, not everybody is poor, there is still a lot of wealth out there”. But a lot of wealth is there, and even the middle class still has wealth, but there’s so much debt, so in reality, it isn’t there. So the system deceives itself, as one of us might by saying, “Oh, ok, I need a new car so I’m going to borrow money”, and then you have endless credit and you have a lot of debt, and your standard of living might look like it’s going up. But if the country and every individual looked at real value and eliminated the debt from what appears to be wealth, yes, I think a lot of people have gotten a lot poorer over these last 40 years.
Lew Rockwell: And, you know, Ron, I think there is still so much reason to be optimistic. I think if we can just take two of the things that you achieved among many: just the fact that young people and, indeed, any thinking American, now realizes that the Federal Reserve is a very important issue and now realizes that war and peace is an important issue. Of course, these issues have never been discussed, they’ve been deliberately kept out of discussion so people wouldn’t get interested in them and maybe have the wrong view from the standpoint of the establishment. There’re are millions of young people, not only in this country, but all around the world, who today realize there’s something wrong with the central bank, there’s something wrong with the Federal Reserve and these business cycles it creates, and that endless wars are not only morally wrong, but are also economically disastrous, politically disastrous, and we don’t have to have them. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Ron Paul: Yea, I think there is reason to be optimistic. Not that it’s going to be smooth sailing, but something will have to replace what we’re having. I believe we’re at the end stages of Keynesianism, just as in 1989 we were at the end stages of ruthless violent communism. But I just recently went out to a university in Salt Lake City and had a nice reception, and I was wondering whether there would still be any interest.
Lew Rockwell: There was a huge crowd, the crowd was unbelievable, that crowd was just magnificent.
Ron Paul: And I was just wondering whether the interest would be there now that I’m not an official candidate, so I was pleased with the reception. But I listened to what they say and do and how they respond. And you mentioned two of the things that were on top of the list and they sort of go back and forth. I think at that particular meeting, war might have been the biggest issue that they were interested in. And the Federal Reserve was very, very close to that. But then again there’s one other one that’s cropping up, and I talk about it more and more now: and that is privacy, the internet, the communications that we have. And I think that is one of the most important things we should protect. Because if we don’t have that, we’re going to have a tough time fighting the battles. We can be certain that the government is going to try to restrict us on the internet. Technologically, the state can suppress the internet system, and I’m just hoping that private sources can circumvent everything the government tries to do to us. But those are the three issues and, boy, those are great issue, and if we can keep this momentum going, eventually it will reflect on the type of policies that we’re going to have to live with.
Lew Rockwell: Ron, I know that some say this is your last congressional term, so you’re getting out of that madhouse in Washington. But you’re certainly not retiring, not only with your supporters not allowing you to retire, and you’re very much needed, of course. But there’s a huge demand for you. Do you want to talk to us a little bit about what you’re going to be doing, or is that still confidential for the moment?
Ron Paul: Well, probably in generalities, I’m not into specifics because I don’t have anything specific. The one thing I am very pleased with is that I have a lot of invitations to do different things, anywhere from doing documentaries to doing something on the internet and having a channel on the internet, doing speaking tours. And you’ve done a little travelling yourself and you may know more about the groups we have overseas, but we’ve gotten responses in the campaign from libertarian groups overseas and Austrian groups of individuals. So that, to me, is exciting to be travelling and speaking. I will probably continue with our universities here at home, and hopefully I can get around. I’m not quite the speedy writer that I would like to be, but I’d like to do a couple of more things in writing a book. I keep saying I’ll do one more and then I can put that aside because it’s a bigger job for me than doing some of these other things. But I am very pleased that I’ve had a lot of invitations and I can be as busy as I want. I don’t have to fill out forms or get permissions from the clerk of the House for every movement that I make. The only hang-up is, how am I going to get around with not dealing with the TSA. On the campaign, at least, we became more efficient because we used private aircraft, but I think that might be a little bit more than I can expect. But I do know that the traveling with the TSA is probably the only thing that is a hang-up for me when I talk about travelling and going on a speaking tour.
Lew Rockwell: There are already 21 Mises institutes in 21 different countries, besides the United States. And all of those countries, and in many more, of course, would love to have you there. When I was in Brazil a couple of years ago, the young Libertarians I met told me they’d like you to run for president of Brazil, that you were so popular there. And Bob Higgs tells the story of being in Turkey and he and his wife driving around and coming into this town and seeing Ron Paul signs in there, so they stopped and it turned out there was a hotbed of Ron Paul supporters in this little town in Turkey. And he said, “When they found out that I actually knew Ron Paul, I was like the King of the village”.
Ron Paul: The one that I personally get a good kick out of is the one when Romney was in Poland, and my signs popped up. So the Romney supporters tried to block it so nobody would see the sign and I wish Romney had seen it and I wish I knew what his inner thoughts were: “This guy is following me all the way to Poland, I can’t get away from him”. Well, it’s not me, you can’t get away from these ideas that are spreading like a wildfire. And this is what’s absolutely wonderful about the time we live in, that we see something dying that we considered not good, and we see something available that we can replace it with. But if we’re successful, we’re going to be doing something historically different from maybe all of history. You know, the undermining of the power of the state and to initiate force against its own people, and that is a concept that we have to reject, and at the same time, emboldening the individual to assume responsibility. So it’s available to us, but if we don’t win and we get sloppy about it, there will be another tyrant that will come along and try to once again suppress the people. But I think we have a chance at this. The other night I was on a program and I said, “I’m not dealing with a fraction of the Republican primary voters, that’s not where this revolution is. This revolution is pervasive, it’s not only pervasive throughout this country, it’s spreading around the world”. So I sort of enjoy what’s going on, and I just hope we can do a good job.
Lew Rockwell: Well, Ron, there is no question that we have the truth on our side, and the other side represents lies. But you lit the prairie fire, I mean, you made this our time and our future because of all the young people whose lives and minds and hearts you touched. It’s all still fermenting, you’re absolutely right, it’s all still going on, it doesn’t matter whether you’re still in an official campaign or not. The ideas are what matters, and the ideas are charming and inspiring and thrilling young people who are tired of the lies. They’re tired of the lies they hear in the media and the classroom, and they want the truth.
Ron Paul: Well, I appreciate all that, but the groundwork has to be laid by the intellectual community and that’s been done by the Murray Rothbards of the world, and with what the Mises Institute has done, and that’s been going on. I think the Mises Institute has been around for ’30 years’, as I recall, and that has to happen. There has to maybe be a political figure that sort of delivers the message, but you have to have an intellectual groundwork down first, and that has been done. The founders were good, they did their best and they understand property rights better than any other group and moved things along. But I think our understanding of liberty is even much more advanced than the founders had. Even some who objected to our constitution and predicted that it probably wouldn’t work out all that well. So I think they made a great attempt, but I think basically the intellectual community in the Libertarian camp have a much better understanding about what governments should be doing or shouldn’t be doing and what responsibility should be on the individuals and why. If we just would only follow that, the chances to have peace and prosperity would be so much greater, which, hopefully, most people want, even though those in government never seem to want it as badly as the people need it.
Lew Rockwell: Ron, thanks for coming on the show today and thanks also for being the star of the upcoming 30th anniversary celebrations for the Mises institute this coming weekend in Callaway Gardens, Georgia. If anyone is interested in attending, you can just go to www.mises.org and look under events. You can get a chance to hear Dr. Paul and Andrew Napolitano and many other great speakers. And, Ron, you were right there at the beginning of the institute, you were central to its founding and you’ve been such a great guy to us over the years. So, thanks for all of that and, again, thanks for starring in our 30th anniversary celebrations this weekend.
Ron Paul: Thank you very much.
Lew Rockwell: Bye bye, Ron. Well, thanks for listening to the Lew Rockwell Show today, take a look at all the podcasts, they’ve been hundreds of them. There’s a link on the upper right hand corner of the LRC front-page, thank you.