Ron Paul’s Speech at CPAC 2009

Event: CPAC 2009
Channel: C-SPAN
Speaker: Ron Paul
Date: 2/27/2009


John Tate: Thank you. My family’s not even here so… Well I’m glad to be here back at CPAC, celebration of conservatism, freedom and yes, liberty. But more importantly I am proud to be here to introduce a good friend of mine, Congressman Ron Paul.

For those of you that don’t know, Congressman Paul served proudly in the US Air Force as a flight surgeon. He’s a country doctor, an OB-GYN who’s delivered over 4,000 babies; more importantly he’s been married to his wife Carol for 52 years; they have 5 children, 18 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

He’s a true man of principle, arguably the most principled man in Washington, a good friend of mine, the American taxpayer and the Constitution, Dr. Ron Paul.

Ron Paul: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Crowd (chanting): Ron Paul! Ron Paul! Ron Paul! Ron Paul!

Ron Paul: Good. If you keep that up I won’t have to talk very long. Very good. Thank you very much for that very nice welcome. It’s good to be among friends.

I give a lot of speeches over on the hill, I give a lot of speeches on the floor, lo and behold, I don’t get that kind of applause, because I don’t think they’re on the same wavelength as you and I are on. I think there’s a disconnect, and of course that’s what this struggle is all about. I think in many ways the Conservative movement has had a struggle defining a Conservative.

We finally got the Conservatives in charge. We have been struggling ever since Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan, the Revolution in 1994, and the continuation in the year 2000; we finally get the House and the Senate and the Presidency. And what did we do? We doubled the size of the Department of Education. I thought we were supposed to get rid of the Department of Education.

So I have a few suggestions on how you can identify a Conservative. First of all, they have to be devoted to and willing to stand by and defend the Constitution. And of course there’s another position they ought to take; many have, many in this room will take that position, but it is absolutely necessary, a good Conservative will start talking about and preaching on why we have to get rid of the Federal Reserve System.

Crowd (chanting): End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed!

Ron Paul: And then we could, we’re devoted to the Constitution, rule of law is very, very important; you can’t ignore the Constitution when you don’t like something, what you have to do is if you don’t like it you have to amend it. And I would like to make some amendments; I would like to remove two of them, the 16th and the 17th Amendment.

Though we’ve certainly gotten ourselves into a mess because the Conservative movement that was designed to bring us back to our roots, like limited government, smaller government, more individual liberty; it hasn’t happened. And now, since we did not do the job we were supposed to do, the opposition has taken over and guess what, they’re criticizing the Republicans and the Conservatives for not having balanced the budget. But does that mean they’re going to do that? No! They’re going to make us look like pikers, they’re going to double and triple and quadruple the spending. I mean it is endless. Believe me, we’re in serious trouble.

That is why I talk a lot to young people. The young people are very interested in what I talk about, and the young in sprit are also interested in what I talk about. But the young people especially are interested because they know what they’re getting. They know they’re getting a bad deal; they’re getting nothing but debt.

In the past 12 months our national debt went up 1.5 trillion dollars, and next year it’s going to be more. They’re hoping it will be 1.7 this year total, but then it could be 2 or it could be 3; the numbers are irrelevant. And we’re in an atmosphere now where if we can accept the idea that the taxpayers can pay that bailout, everybody on Wall Street, bailout the banks and big business, there is nothing that can’t be funded, nothing that can’t be appropriated, everything will be appropriated. There will be no cuts; there will only be one limitation on what we have going on today and that limitation will be the value of the dollar.

Today we are still privileged to print dollars, and the world is still unbelievably taking those dollars, but that is going to end, and when that ends the party is over. Most people think the party’s already over but it’s only half over. The financial system that we have built and have lived with started in 1971; it was the dollar standard, the fiat dollar standard. The financial system has been totally built on that system and it was doomed to fail. As a matter of fact, it was that very day in August of 1971 in August 15th when the Bretton Woods agreement finally came undone and the last link to gold was removed.

Then I knew that we have embarked on the course that we are on today, but that system has built this monstrosity of a financial system worldwide like it never been in the history of the world; we are the biggest debtor nation in the world, and it’s not just United States that’s in trouble, it’s the whole world. But that financial system has come unglued, but the next shoe to drop will be the disintegration of the dollar. So we as Conservatives and believers in limited government and believers in the Constitution, we have a tough race to restrain the big spenders before that happens, because when that happens what is threatened is our liberty. The main purpose of a government in a free society should be the preservation of liberty.

Fortunately we live in a country that knew something about that and emphasized that in our early years, but we have forgotten it, we have lost our confidence. We are not determined to present the case for liberty, we have chopped liberty up into pieces: we have economic liberty, we have social liberty, we have a foreign policy that’s built on just total fallacies. So we have to put this all back together again, and fortunately we have something that can pull it back together, and that is the understanding of the founding fathers that put it into our Constitution. This means that if we follow the rules and did the job right we wouldn’t have a welfare state.

The job that we have, we as believers and those that spread this message, the job we have is to present this case and still prove that we are the humanitarians. The liberal do-gooders, the big spenders who say that we’re going to give you a free house to everybody, free medical care to everybody, free education; that’s preposterous, but they still win the last election, had something to do with that. Everything is going to be for free, and yet the proof is, if you care about your fellowmen there is only one way you can maximize prosperity and maximize freedom and that is through the rule of law and making sure that everybody understands that liberty is an individual thing and not a collective right.

If we want to get our House in order we have to address the subject of foreign policy. There was a time when Conservatives had a completely different foreign policy. Back in the older days, back when we had a Robert Taft and others; they had a different understanding about what our foreign policy ought to be. They were so old-fashioned they believed we had to follow the Constitution and it was designed to defend this country; nothing more than that. Not the giving away of our sovereignty, not to listen to the UN and the World Bank and the IMF and the WTO; we don’t need any of those.

Today in the midst of the turmoil that we have there is a strong behind the scenes movement toward even a greater presence of world government. They want to solve this problem by internationalizing the financial system; the last 20, 30 years it’s been internationalized but we had a privilege, we got to print the gold so we had an advantage, we lived off others, but that’s coming to an end. We’re the biggest debtor and soon that debt will be called. But, they’re trying now to put this together and they’re going to internationalize it, it is going to be more of the same internationalism, WTO and regulations and banking system.

The only thing that we have going for us, it is impossible for that system to last and to work, because you cannot have a fiat system whether it’s a single country or an international government, to make paper money work. That is why the money issue is so important, that in a free society you have to have honest money; honest money is what the founders described as and that says that only gold and silver should be legal tender.

But we ought to address the subject of foreign policy. Part of the reasons why we lost this last election was the foreign policy issue. Generally speaking, the presidential candidate who argues the case for less war mongering will win the election and of course Obama took the advantage of it; he said “I’m going to end the war in Iraq and I’m going to bring those troops home and solve all the problems,” and he won the election. So this generally is the case, but the truth is, foreign policy hasn’t changed.

We should be looking more to what George Bush said in the year 2000; he was strongly critical of the Clinton years, of nation building and being the policeman of the world, what we were doing in Bosnia and Somalia; and he won the election. He said some very, very good things but after that he again joined the internationalists. Joined this idea that the American taxpayers, you, have an obligation to take care of everybody and police the world and put our military out there and be exposed to all this danger. It doesn’t make any sense; this is literally what bankrupts the country. You see, international expenditures, it cost us a trillion dollars a year to take care of our foreign policy and that cannot last. It is coming to an end.

As a matter of fact, the person most pleased with our foreign policy is Osama Bin Laden, because he has written about this and he said, “I am going to get you to come over here and we’ll fight you on our sand and we will do what we did to the Soviets.” Of course we helped him do what he did to the Soviets because we subsidized and supported him to drain the Soviets, and he said he will do the same thing. He will eventually bankrupt this country, and lo and behold we are weaker for it, our military personnel are fatigued. I was very proud of what happened last year in the campaign, because I talked about the old Conservative Republican non-interventionist Constitutional foreign policy and we and our campaign, got the most money than any candidate from the military.

But historically, great nations end when they overextend themselves overseas whether it’s back to the Roman days, or the Soviets or whatever. The country feels so involved that they go and that they think of themselves as being overly wonderful, that we are going to spread our message. It actually started in World War I; the truth is there was no need for us to be involved in World War I, but who wasn’t? But there it was; it was Woodrow Wilson said we have to do it because we have to make the word safe for democracy, which led to this millions, hundreds of millions of people killed in the 20th century.

So we’re back at the same thing, we have to go and spread our goodness in the Middle East. So yeah we want to get rid of a bad guy in Iraq, we did; but it cost, it took, another 1 million Iraqis got killed, believe me. They weren’t all terrorists; some people didn’t particularly like that but nevertheless it pleased Osama Bin Laden because we were there, we were bankrupting our country and right now, today, we get a new President that says he didn’t like the war that was going on. So what are we going to do? We’re going to drag another 17,000 Americans and pop them into Afghanistan.

Don’t we know anything about history? It is bankrupting our country. It will end, whether the people agree with me or not, it will end because we can’t afford it. That’s where it’s always ended throughout history, that’s what the financial crisis is telling us. The welfare state will end because the money will quit working and we will no longer be able to afford to promote what we’re doing around the world, and the sooner we realize that the better. But today it’s only financed because we have this monetary system because we can’t possibly tax the people, we can’t borrow much more, so we’re still relying on the Federal Reserve. So what has the Federal Reserve done in this last year or so?

Congress has spent hundreds of billions trying to bailout the system. Republicans are now voting against this, which is good, I’m delighted with that but it’s a little bit late, but they’re voting against it. But what about…

What is the Federal Reserve doing? We talk about 800 billion dollars and it’s a big deal; the Federal Reserve does it in trillions. We’re up to a commitment of 9 trillion dollars. We in Congress and you as citizens have no idea what’s going on, and it’s government totally out of control and it’s to take care of their buddies. They pumped this money into the industries and what happens? They get out, they get huge, billions and billions of dollars worth of bonuses, and then they go and buy Treasury Bills to keep the dollar from crashing because they will leave the Treasury Bills eventually, so they bail out their friends and the bonuses are paid and the American people suffer, because in the age of inflation the middle class gets wiped out. The characteristic of inflation is the wiping out of the middle class and enhancing the wealthy. So it’s an economic and political system that is here to destroy us, and here to destroy our freedom unless we understand what freedom is all about.

Freedom comes to us in a natural way; it’s in a God given way. It is not given to us because we belong to a group; there’s no such thing as Women’s Rights and Minority Rights and Gay Rights and all these things. There’s only one type of right and that is an individual right that has come to us from God.

To defend that right, it’s like defending Freedom of the Press. Freedom of the Press gives people the right to write controversial things and engage in controversial discussions. Otherwise you would have prior restraint and the government would come in and tell newspapers and radio what they could say and do. Nobody wants that.

But every single day we have prior restraint on everything we do in the marketplace. Every market transaction, every labor transaction, every dollar transaction, every property transaction is done only with the permission of the government.

So we now have moved a major step in the direction of socialism, and they talk about nationalism and nationalizing the banks, well the name isn’t as important as the control. We’re closer to a fascist system where the government has total control of our lives and our economy, and that is what has to be stopped.

But if we understand what freedom means for Freedom of the Press and no prior restraint, we also cannot ask Conservatives to say that we have to have prior restraint on individuals on their social behavior, that we can regulate social behavior.

We have some people defending economic liberty rather well, and others defending social liberty, and yet it’s all one and the same; the founders understood that. And if we could only put that together, people would have freedom of choice in their economic and social endeavors. The only thing is, under that system you have to be responsible for yourself; if you do harm to yourself or don’t take care of yourself economically, you can’t go crawling to the government and begging and pleading and demanding. We get involved too much in social legislation because some of the states want to do the right thing, whether it has to do with marriage and other social issues, and the states under the Constitution have a right to do this. But they’ve been denied this right because it goes to a Federal Court, the Supreme Court and they rule and throw out these laws; they should not even hear these cases.

That is why my approach to dealing with the marriage issue, the abortion issue, any social issue is that the jurisdiction is removed. It’s taken out of the Federal Courts and we could do a lot more in what we want to do whether it’s right to life rather than waiting until we have control of the Supreme Court rule or waiting until you amend the Constitution. This bill can be passed and it should have been passed when we had the majority. Unfortunately there was very little interest in it but the We The People Act that I have is one bill that could pass and it could have saved millions and millions of lives by preventing abortion by state law.

I’ve introduced a few pieces of legislation dealing with the Federal Reserve. One is to get rid of the Federal Reserve by all practicalities. All practicalities, we cannot do that; it would be chaotic. My real position is that you legalize competition, legalize the Constitution; that would be a bold step. In allowing competition that would take care of it but there is one piece of legislation that’s getting a lot of attention and support on both sides of the aisle, something that would be great if you get behind, and it was just introduced yesterday and the number is 1207, and what it is going to do and can do is to audit the Federal Reserve. At least we can find out what they’re doing.

The law says that the GAO has the right to audit the Federal Reserve except for A, B, C, D and E, and that’s everything that they do. So by law they are prohibited, we’re prohibited from auditing or getting any answers from the Fed, yet they have more money and more control over our lives and your dollars and your future. They have control over the foreign policy and the domestic policy, and you don’t have any right to know anything about it because I can’t even get the information. It has to come about by the passage of legislation like this, that demands that they are not independent and totally secret and that they can rule this country through the power of creating money. It’s a monstrous fraud; it is something that has existed throughout history where the king gets control of the money and they inflate the currency and dilute the metals and print the money and whatever, but it has to stop and if we don’t, believe me, this thing will get much worse. So this to me is a major step in the right direction.

I want to go ahead and close and say that I am strongly encouraged especially by the young people I’ve talked to in the last year. They’re enthusiastic about liberty, defending it consistently, defending the Constitution and realizing that the situation we have today is unworkable; the Social Security System is unworkable. And that we can defend all this by defending our Constitution, defend the rule of law, understanding where our rights come from and say “Yes, we want our freedom back and we will assume the responsibility for ourselves.” Thank you very much.