Ron Paul on the Lew Rockwell Show: Empire, Blood and Banking


Lew Rockwell: Good morning, this is the Lew Rockwell Show, and what an honor it is to have Dr. Ron Paul as our guest. What do we say about Dr. Paul, I can take up the entire podcast just describing his qualifications and his achievements. And I’ll not even begin to go over them, I’ll just simply say he’s the great leader for liberty, free markets and Austrian Economics, he has influenced millions of people all over the world, especially the young people. Ron, it’s great to have you with us, and I thought we’d get started by talking about your wonderful last column where you discussed the neo-cons, the people who seem to want perpetual war, the role Will Kristol and similar intellectuals are playing in promoting the warfare state and the empire.

Ron Paul: Yes, Kristol had written this recent article and he was lamenting the fact that the problem with Americans is they get war-weary after ten years or more and many, after many deaths and hundreds of thousands of people suffering, and an epidemic of suicides. And people get sick and tired of it, and he’s crying about it. But he goes in and tries to expand on this that we didn’t end the World War II right, we didn’t fight Vietnam long enough, 60,000 lives lost weren’t enough, so he goes on and on. But, hopefully, he’ll lose credibility. Unfortunately, the neo-cons have a lot to say about the war propaganda that gets out and converts the people into a pro-war stance. But maybe he went over the top this time, but I’m not holding my breath, because, so often, the American people start off being quite opposed to war. Just look at the Iraqi war, 60% – 70% people were opposed to it then the neo-cons came in with the war propaganda and changed that. Even before World War II, most Americans were opposed to us getting involved until things were orchestrated in a certain way that the people more or less had to join in. But no, I think the neo-cons should lose credibility, which means that he doesn’t want us to ever leave Iraq, ever leave Afghanistan, he wants us to continue to build up in Syria, and he’s the kind of guy that anxious for us to march on to Iran. It is scary, and I wish the people would wake up, but I’m sort of subtly optimistic that this will have to end, and, in a sad sort of way in one sense, in that this country we will be bankrupt and we will have to quit, more of less how the soviets had to give up their empire. So, maybe some good could come out of a bit of a financial crisis that will come, and we have to admit that this financial crisis has been perpetuated and extenuated by the fact that we spend all this money on the military and on all these useless wars.

Lew Rockwell: It’s interesting that the Kristols of earlier times used to complain about war-weariness, too, but it began much earlier before the Federal Reserve, because people were simply being taxed. So they got sick and tired of the high taxes for wars as well as all the other reasons, and of course they should have been against the wars. So it was very difficult for governments to maintain these long term wars, but with the coming of the Fed, they can just print up the money for the defense budget. I remember when they were going to war against Iraq or whatever, except for you, nobody was raising the question of costs: how much is this thing going to cost in addition to the moral and other issues having to do with war. Because they just phoned Greenspan, and he turned on the printing presses.

Ron Paul: That’s what’s so sinister about the Federal Reserve accommodating the warmongers: the payment is delayed. There’s no doubt it’s a benefit to those who want to perpetuate and promote big government, whether it’s for welfare or warfare. A direct tax to make people pay for these wars would bring it to a halt lot sooner. But it’s very convenient to put it off, then, nobody knows exactly who the victims are. Even the victims don’t realize it that their cost of living is going up, and they’re convinced, “Oh, it serves the rich people, it’s the oil-people that are gouging us, everybody is gouging us with high prices. It’s never the government’s fault, nor is it the fault of the mentality that supports these endless wars and endless spending and the printing of money, so they’re interconnected. And you know me well enough to know that when I first started, I talked a lot more economics, economics motivated me during the 1970s, with the Bretton-Woods Agreement and that sort of thing. But as the years went on, I became more and more convinced of the inter-relationship with financing these wars and how it’s related to the financial system. Not only because of the taxes, and that every penny spent on militarism comes out of the people’s hide here at home and it hurts the economy, but at the same time, the ability to do this and hide the cost is what’s been so detrimental to this country. But it’s all interconnected, and that’s why I think the philosophy of liberty and the things that I talk about brings us all together. Whether it’s personal liberty on how people should run their lives, or allowing other countries to solve their own problems, it all comes together once an individual understands what the concept of personal liberty is all about.

Lew Rockwell: Ron, don’t you think – at least it’s certainly my impression – that the young people you’ve attracted to these ideas don’t like the wars? They don’t like the Fed and they don’t like other things, too, but they don’t like the wars. And maybe they’re realizing, as you’re explaining it to them, that in addition to everything else wrong, they’re being ripped off.

Ron Paul: I think that is the case, but, at times I get praise for doing such-and-such with young people and all. But one thing that I hope I’ve contributed to, is to get conservatives and limited government people and libertarians and people who like the military and supporters of America in general, have been taught that we should not feel guilty about not being pro-war. And I think this is what the propagandas achieve, how many times have they accused me of being ‘un-American’ and unpatriotic and of not supporting the troops and these sort of things. But there’s no reason in the world why we can’t feel good about taking this position, and the young people seem to be very receptive to that. Their instincts, like the instincts of most people initially, is against the war. And then they’re told that if you’re not for the war, you’re not a good person. I think if they hear the truth, they might feel differently. It’s sort of like when I discovered Austrian economics and I naturally thought free markets were good, I kept hearing the story that it’s not good, you got to have a fair society and you got to have redistribution and all that. So I was delighted when I came across Mises and Hayek and Rothbard, because they were able to explain this to me that there’s nothing to feel guilty about if you believe in freedom. And they’d say, “Oh no, you’re just a selfish person, you don’t care about other people”, and this sort of thing. But I finally came around to the point that if you do have an instinct to care about other people, you ought to care about freedom, because that will help the maximum number of people and it’s the best chance for us to achieve peace and prosperity.

Lew Rockwell: Ron, do you think that the whole drone-warfare business with Obama’s and the Pentagon’s plans to eventually have thousands of drone bases around the world, is the way that they’re attempting to counter the fact that Americans don’t like all the American casualties? Unfortunately they tend to care nothing about the foreign casualties, but they don’t like the American casualties, and this is a way for some guy in a basement in Virginia sending in a drone to Pakistan, he’s not going to get hurt.

Ron Paul: I think what they’re trying to have is a neat little system that promotes the empire without getting their hands dirty. But it’s not going to work, because we’re in a different system, we’re not fighting World War II, we’re in a fourth generational warfare time where wars are fought differently. And they’re fought differently because it’s not going to be government against government. So what could incite people more to rebel against certain individuals than being hit with a drone by somebody who, in many ways in their eyes, don’t even have the guts to look at them in the face? They do it in secret from thousands of miles away, and when individuals are killed and there are collateral killings and families are killed … tens of thousands, if not millions of people, are affected like that. The torture goes on, the pictures have been there, and this just builds up the enemy. So the wars with the drones will not solve the problems of the neo-cons who want this world occupation. In many ways, it’s just going to bury the issue, in the sense that it’s going to be more terrorism and more tax. And I also predict that these individuals who run the drones, will not be able to avoid some of the backlash on them. Like we now have a suicide epidemic because the people going over and doing wars realize they were killing kids and doing a lot of other things they shouldn’t be doing. I think the operators of the drones will suffer in a similar way. I don’t know if there are any statistics to bail that out yet, but I think eventually if they’re a human being, and they know, “Well, I did shoot that missile and it killed 10 extra people”, it can’t help but eventually bum these people. And they bury these thoughts into their minds, and they’re told its okay, they’ve been conditioned that war is wonderful and good. But deep down inside, there’s a conflict, and I think that’s why people are struggling and they’re suicidal.

Lew Rockwell: Ron, in support of your position, there was a recent item that the drone command, or whatever it’s called within the Pentagon, was assigning chaplains specifically to counsel the drone-killers and to convince them that everything they’re doing was perfectly okay. So obviously, as you say, if they have consciousness, if they’re human beings, they can’t feel good about this, unless you’re a serial killer or a monster.

Ron Paul: I don’t know if it’s true, but they say about 5% of the people who go into the military are psychopathic to begin with, because they just like guns and shooting and it’s excitement and all this. Most people go in for different reasons, but if they’re exposed to battle and these kinds of conditions of killing, after a while, some theorize that they all become psychopathic in a way. It’s very difficult to handle their emotions. But I think it’s much more difficult when you’re trying to adjust to an aggressive war, when we’re the aggressors and not the defender. I think it would be a lot easier to adopt to some of the horrors of World War II because Pearl Harbor and this sort of thing, and they adjusted better. I think people are starting to realize that we don’t have a noble cause over there, it’s just not noble to send our young people 6,000 miles away. And, quite frankly, I’m convinced some of these young people who didn’t get very far in school and for economic reasons resort to going to the military, and they probably don’t even know their geography that well. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them end up in some of these countries they probably never heard of or exactly knew what was going on. And they’re sent there to kill all these people, and then we wonder why there’s a downside to this.

Lew Rockwell: Ron, speaking of downsides, tell us what you think the effects of the whole Cyprus situation is going to be from the standpoint of the banking industry in Europe, and governments and banking systems in this country, too?

Ron Paul: In a way, it’s hard to take it and say, “That’s exactly what’s going to happen to us”, but something similar to that will happen to us, we don’t know how it will evolve. But in Cyprus, they didn’t do what they did in Iceland. Iceland allowed a lot of bankruptcies to occur, and evidently they’re back on their feet again, so they liquidated debt, which is what the goal of the correction should be. In Cyprus, there were a lot of bailouts and they were not allowing the real liquidation, so it looks like some of the big guys are going to get bailed out and the bond-holders of Greek bonds will get the bailout. There was still some liquidation of debt and confiscation of wealth, but my prediction will be that when you work all that out, it will be unfair, it will be just like our bailouts occurred. There was some liquidation of our debt in 2008 and 2009, and some people did lose some money, and it usually was people who might have had a mortgage and lost their job and they got the bad part of the deal. And yet the wealthy were bailed out. So I think this is going to continue, I think the pyramid of debt is still huge, and there is no stomach for allowing the liquidation of debt to occur. Politically, it just won’t be acceptable, it’s always going to be more acceptable to keep the printing presses running, and as long as the world takes our dollars, we’re going to keep printing them until the trust is lost. And when that day arrives, and nobody knows exactly when, I see no foundation to our system. And each day steadily undermines confidence, and one day that’s going to happen worldwide with the dollar and it’s going to be really bad news for a lot of us.

Lew Rockwell: Well, that was interesting when that European official announced that there’d be similar “(?) cuts” as they put it, for big depositors in Italy and Spain. And then they were shocked to find out that people were taking their money out of the banks, and then he backtracked, saying he didn’t really mean it. But it’s probably not smart to keep huge amounts of money in a bank account, whether you’re an American or a Spaniard or an Italian or anything else.

Ron Paul: Weren’t there some reports also in Cyprus that a few of the big depositors were tipped off a little bit early and they got their money out, and that always seems to happen. But it’s a very, very fragile system, and anybody who understands Austrian Economics, understands that permanent prosperity cannot be achieved by inflating a currency and pyramiding debt. And once it happens, and it quits functioning and producing anything, then you have to clear the market of that, and you have to get rid of this bad debt so you can start building again. And that has not been permitted. I guess the last that that has truly happened on any significant downturn, was probably in 1920 – 1921 here in this country where we allowed the liquidation to occur, and it wasn’t a prolonged depression. It’s only been since the Keynesian-type mentality has taken over, that has prolonged these depressions and recessions. And for so long it’s being going on in Japan, and right now they still believe, “If we just print more money, it’s going to happen”. But, if that were the case, we wouldn’t have to really work for a living, we could just print dollars and export dollars. So, right now, that’s our best export.

Lew Rockwell: Ron Paul, thanks so much for coming on the show today and sharing your wisdom, and it was great to hear from you.

Ron Paul: It was great to talk to you, Lew.

Lew Rockwell: Bye, bye. Well, thanks so much 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.