The Revolution: A Manifesto

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(If you read the book, please post your review below).

Ron Paul’s The Revolution: A Manifesto is an educational book that presents valuable lessons from history, economics, and libertarian ethics as a unified philosophy of freedom. While the book is not available as a free PDF download, you can order the Hardcover, Kindle and Audio CD editions at Amazon.com.

Foreign Policy and The Founders

Dr. Paul begins his book with a history lesson about foreign policy in the United States. He quotes the words from Jefferson’s first inaugural address which should be the motto of the State Department: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” As Dr. Paul points out,

Unfortunately, we have spent the past century spurning this sensible advice. If the Founders’ advice is acknowledged at all, it is dismissed on the grounds that we no longer live in their times. The same hackneyed arguments could be used against any of the other principles the Founders gave us. Should we give up the First Amendment because times have changed?

This statement sums up every argument against the case for individual liberty. As Dr. Paul points out, John Quincy Adams had a similar position:

Wherever that standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be furled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. [...] She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

There it is—the almost prophetic vision that these men had when they constructed this country. Paul continues, “This wasn’t ‘isolationism.’ It was a beautiful and elegant statement of common sense, and of principles that at one time were taken for granted by nearly everyone.” He later says,

There are those who condemn noninterventionists for being insufficiently ambitious, for their unwillingness to embrace “national greatness” [...] These critics should have the honesty to condemn the Founding Fathers for the same defect. They wouldn’t dare.

Constitution and the Rule of Law

They may not dare to outright condemn the Founders, but their stark difference in philosophy is evident in the last century of American jurisprudence. In his chapter on The Constitution, Dr. Paul points out that contrary to popular belief, the Constitution is not a living document that could be interpreted according to the political whims of the day. As he says, “If we feel the need to change our Constitution, we are free to amend it.” He continues,

They [advocates of a living Constitution] favor a system in which the federal government, and in particular the federal courts, are at liberty—even in the absence of any amendment—to interpret the Constitution altogether differently from how it was understood by those who drafted it and those who voted to ratify it.

But what about the Framers’ intentions? Should we value them today? What is so bad about a “living Constitution?” Dr. Paul argues that the Constitution is a contract between the government and the people. Contracts are the foundation of civilized behavior. Without a prearranged agreement, all association between consenting parties regresses into a “He said, she said” mess. The Constitution is no different. If the courts can simply change the meaning of its words, there is no true contract; under this current situation, we simply live by the often-irrational caprices of the current regime. As Dr. Paul writes,

If the people agreed to a particular understanding of the Constitution, and over the course of intervening years they have performed no official act (such as amending the Constitution in accordance with their evolved ideas) reversing that original understanding, by what right may government unilaterally change the terms of its contract with the people, interpreting its words to mean something very different from what the American people had all along been told they meant?

Dr. Paul later relates the story of when he proposed that Congress should actually declare war, as the Constitution demands, instead of simply giving the authority to the President. When he proposed the declaration in the International Relations Committee, the chairman responded by saying that, “there are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events [...] We are saying to the President, use your judgment. [What you have proposed is] inappropriate, anachronistic; it isn’t done anymore.”

Perhaps it isn’t done anymore, but it should be. And by the way, what are the things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events? Can we merely pick and choose those things? If the declaration of war is anachronistic, does that also apply to freedom of speech and the separation of powers? It seems that this trend is what creates the monolithic state that the Founders would not recognize. Dr. Paul analyzes the situation thusly:

We have come to consider it normal for nine judges in Washington to decide on social policies that affect every neighborhood, family, and individual in America. One side of the debate hopes the nine will impose one set of values, and the other side favors a different set. The underlying premise—that this kind of monolith is desirable, or that no alternative is possible—is never examined, or at least not nearly as often as it should be. The Founding Fathers did not intend for every American neighborhood to be exactly the same—a totalitarian impulse if there ever was one—or that disputes over competing values should be decided by federal judges. This is the constitutional approach to deciding all issues that are not spelled out explicitly in our founding documents: let neighbors and localities govern themselves.

Economics and Human Action

In his chapter on economic freedom, Dr. Paul does an excellent job of explaining why economic freedom is morally just: “Economic freedom is based on a simple moral rule: everyone has a right to his or her life and property, and no one has a right to deprive anyone of these things.”

Most people would agree with this statement, but somehow the government has convinced almost everyone that it is wrong for one individual to steal from another, but perfectly just for the government to steal from individuals. Not only is taxation and inflation morally wrong, but they are impractical at achieving their results. Dr. Paul gives an example of this in the National Endowment for the Arts. He explains that although the NEA was only created in 1965, many people cannot imagine how the arts could flourish without the agency. Never mind the fact that, according to Dr. Paul, “While the government requested $121 million for the NEA in 2006, private donations to the arts totaled $2.5 billion that year, dwarfing the NEA budget.” He continues,

The NEA represents a tiny fraction of all arts funding, a fact few Americans realize. Freedom works after all. And that money is almost certainly better spent that government money: NEA funds go not necessarily to the best artists, but to people who happen to be good at filling out government grant applications. I have my doubts that the same people occupy both categories.

As he says, “People loose their political imagination.” The nation has forgotten how to be responsible, because after all, the ever present, all-knowing government is always here to take care of us. He goes on to say that,

Repealing the new bureaucracy becomes unthinkable. Mythology about how terrible things were in the old days becomes the conventional wisdom. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy itself, with a vested interest in maintaining itself and increasing its funding, employs all the resources it can to ensuring that it gets a bigger budget next year, regardless of its performance.

If a reader only takes one thing away from this book, it should be the aforementioned quote. In three sentences Ron Paul explains exactly how bureaucracy has grown into the corrupt and productivity-looting machine of today. Government expansion over time will take progressively bigger chunks of the nation’s productivity every year until the government sector completely dominates the private sector. The solution that Ron Paul offers to this enormous problem is the elimination of all government programs that are not explicitly outlined in the Constitution. This basically amounts to the elimination of all executive departments besides Defense, State, and Justice. But this does not have to be done overnight.

As he says, Social Security and other entitlements will go bankrupt without double-digit economic growth for the next seventy-five years; this at a time when most analysts would be excited about a three or four percent growth. His plan for funding the current Social Security obligations is to use the savings that will come from bringing all the troops home from the far reaches of our empire.

Eventually, imperial adventurism in foreign lands and despotic statism at home will spell the end of our Republic. In his closing arguments, Dr. Paul writes,

The empire game our government has been playing is coming to an end one way or another. This is the fate of all empires: they overextend themselves and then suffer a financial catastrophe, typically involving the destruction of the currency. We are already seeing the pattern emerging in our own case. We can either withdraw gracefully, as I propose, or we can stay in our fantasy world and wait until bankruptcy forces us to scale back our foreign commitments. Again, I know which option I prefer.

Thanks to Andy for this great review!


Below is a great video summary of The Revolution: A Manifesto, provided by Chance Litton:


Order The Revolution: A Manifesto now at Amazon.com:

(If you read the book, please post your review below).

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  28. Marcia

    I disagree with this article, point by point.
    1. He is not devaluing equal rights for minorities. He wants equal rights for everyone. When the government steps in to “fix” a problem they usually make a bigger problem.
    2. He doesn’t agree with abortion and neither do I. He also doesn’t feel that the federal government should decide if abortion is legal or not. It should be up to each state to decide.
    3. This is all about free markets. I don’t believe that setting a minimum wage helps anyone. People work for a wage that they are willing to work for. Also, don’t you think that you should be able to choose if you want to participate in Social Security? I do! I don’t want to be forced to pay for something that I don’t need or will not be able to use. I couldn’t find anything substantial about OSHA, but I think he is against OSHA just like he is against FEMA.
    4. You wouldn’t love 10% income tax? You are probably paying at least 30% now. If you were paying less you wouldn’t need so many tax credits. Also, his goal is for 0% income tax. If we are paying less income tax we have more money in our pocket to pay for things that we need. Not everyone has kids in school, yet we are all paying for it.
    5. God forbid that we drill for our own oil in America and stop relying on other countries to meet out needs!
    6. He believes in America first.
    7. Same as #1. Also, what has Obama or any previous president done to help GLBT? Paul feels that people should be allowed to make decisions for themselves and not be forced to live their lives by what the government says is ok or not ok.
    8. He strongly believes in the constitution, the foundation of the United States of America. I see nothing wrong with that!
    9. See #4, and yes, I think America’s education system is deeply flawed! It doesn’t make sense to me to bus children from one area to a different area so that the school is properly diverse. Kids should go to the schools nearest their homes or to a private school of their parent’s choice.
    10. Being an agnostic I would prefer if church and state are separate, but I think what he means is that he wants people to have the freedom to practice their religious beliefs without restrictions imposed by the federal government.

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    1. Wayne

      Wow.. a woman who thinks like me. Will you marry me? LOL

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  29. The Revolution WILL Be Televised. Ron Paul Is In. « White House 2012

    [...] candidate to advocate the ending of the war in Iraq and ending the Federal Reserve. His book The Revolution: A Manifesto also reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list in 2008. His next literary work End The [...]

    »crosslinked«

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  30. Bob

    Have you ever heard of the Jefferson Bible?

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  31. Bob

    I agree the Constitution or any document or company or corporation is not alive. It dose not breath, nor dose it have a heart beat nor dose it think.
    But there are those who cast their veil of fantasy and deception. Entraping many into believing a lie. The net of hysteria pulling all that are on the edge into the abyss.

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  32. Wayne

    I have thought for a long time that we are heading for a revolution, and, each day, it appears to me that one is on the horizon. If the “old school” Republicans don’t let the new kids on the block take over, it will be business as usual and nothing will get done.

    I would really like to see Ron Paul as our President. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. He and his son, Rand, are true Constitutionalists and thank God that Andrew Napolitano now has his own show. The Judge, along with Glenn Beck, are inspiring people to read the Constitution. Their shows are badly needed “history” lessons.

    What we need is a younger, dynamic clone of Ron to run, maybe someone within the Tea Party.. someone who Paul would “anoint.”

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  33. Swanny

    I really hope for my children’s sake that a political revolution can occur before an actual uprising occurs. I ‘am 33 yrs old and have been following these issues from a young age. I have always questioned things, but was fortunate enough to have someone awaken me to the patriot/truth movement at a young age. I fear that people are too much like sheep. Generations are being inculcated not to question things! This is done in gov’t schools of course. God help us all!!!!! This republic needs God. Ron Paul for President of the United States!!!!

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  34. Charles Collom

    TR:AM is a compelling work in the grand tradition of American pamphleteers. Dr. Paul has written an ideological work inspired by a clear political philosophy consistent with the American character. The book is infused with the tripartite spirits of liberty, equality, and the rule of law.
    TR:AM is a challenge to the vast majority of ideas within mainstream American political discourse. Critics may write it off as “extreme” or “crazy” because the book’s thesis is not easily opposed on the merits. What is manifest is that those who love their liberty should require the challenges to government action set down in this book to be answered.

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  35. Sergio

    I hope you’re right, but I can see the path were going down. It would be all to easy to label the patriots as hard core terrorist and pin a major tragedy on them (9/11, Oklahoma city, JFK, ect.) Now that they are the same as Taliban or Al Qaeda, it is OK for our “Armed Forces” and homeland security to engage them, and all individuals they suspect to be involved. This means unconstitutional home searches, harassment anywhere in public, all communications monitored, vehicle check points, accidental killings of civilians, collateral damage, ect. The Americans that go along with this insanity and help pin point “terrorist” will be rewarded and live a better life then the rest of us. The one’s who resist will be hunted down and silenced either by death or a prison cell. Prisoners will be tortured and exposed to extreme amounts of stress and mental manipulation. The where abouts of key leaders will be leaked, and executed . The ones that operate underground and avoid detection will be grossly out numbered, and their true targets, the bankers & elite scum, will be hidden 100′s of miles away in fortified bunkers and compounds heavily protect. If the military doesn’t provide protection than civilian contractors will do the job.

    The only way for victory is to 100% convince the general populace, military and police who the real enemy is. By hidden tape or video recordings, hacked emails, classified documents exposed, and by testimonies under oath in court. We must catch them red handed and show the evidence to the world!

    When the revolution starts we must come together and steamroll the enemy, before they can gather themselves and sell their story to the masses.

    I gather most of these scenarios from what I witnessed first hand in Iraq (2004 and 2009). It’s amazing what a little cash and power will do to turn someone against their own people.

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