The Astonishing Ron Paul
As 2012 draws to a close, it's hard not to be reminded that 2013 will begin with Ron Paul retired from Congress. For all those years he was a fearless truth-teller, who exposed and denounced the horrors, domestic or foreign, of the regime. His farewell address – something practically unheard of for a congressman in the first place – will continue to be read years from now, as future Americans look back with astonishment that such a man actually served in the US Congress.
For most of his career, those speeches were delivered to a largely empty chamber and to audiences of modest size around the country. A man of Ron's intelligence could have grown in stature and influence in no time at all had he been willing to play the game. He wasn't. And he was perfectly at peace with the result: although he wasn't a major political celebrity, he had done his moral duty.
Little did he know that those thankless years of pointing out the State's lies and refusing to be absorbed into the Blob would in fact make him a hero one day. To see Ron speaking to many thousands of cheering kids, when all the while respectable opinion had been warning them to stay far away from this dangerous man, is more gratifying and encouraging than I can say. I was especially thrilled when a tempestuous Ron, responding to the Establishment's description of his campaign as "dangerous," said, you're darn right – I am dangerous, to them.
Some people used to tell Ron that if only he'd stop talking about foreign policy he might win more supporters. He knew it was all nonsense. Foreign policy was the issue that made Ron into a phenomenon. There would have been no Ron Paul movement in the first place had Ron not distinguished himself from the pack by refusing to accept the cartoonish narrative, peddled not only by Rudy Giuliani but also by the luminaries of both major political parties, accounting for the origins of 9/11.
How many bills did he pass, right-wing scoffers demand to know. A successful Republican politician, in between his usual activity of expanding government power, is supposed to have rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic five or six times, by means of bills with his name on them. At best, the bills these politicos boast about amounted to marginal changes of momentary significance, if even that. More commonly, even the bills they trumpeted turned out to be ambiguous or actually negative from a libertarian standpoint.
What is Ron's legacy? Not some phony bill, of zero significance in the general avalanche of statism. For his legacy, look around you.
The Federal Reserve, an issue not discussed in American politics in a hundred years, is under greater scrutiny now than ever before. Austrian economics is enjoying a rebirth that dwarfs the attention it received when F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize in 1974 – and when you ask people how they heard about the Austrian School, the universal answer is Ron Paul. One man brought about this intellectual revolution. How's that for a legacy?
And that's not to mention how many people Ron introduced to libertarian thought in general, or how many hawks reconsidered their position on war because of Ron's arguments and example.
Even the mainstream media has to acknowledge the existence of a whole new category of thinker: one that is antiwar, anti-Fed, anti-police state, and pro-market. The libertarian view is even on the map of those who despise it. That, too, is Ron's doing.
Young people are reading major treatises in economics and philosophy because Ron Paul recommended them. Who else in public life can come close to saying that?
How many bills did he get passed? Talk about missing the point.
Where are the hordes of students dying to learn from Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, or Mitt Romney?
Remember, too, that in politics there's always some excuse for why the message of liberty can't be delivered. I have to satisfy the party leadership. I have to keep the media off my back. The moment is inopportune. My constituents aren't ready to hear it – so instead of explaining myself and persuading them, I'll just keep my mouth shut, or minimize my position to the point where I sound like any old politician, except ten percent better.
And all the while, would-be donors are assured that this is all a facade, that the politician is really one of us and not what he appears to be. For the time being, you understand, he has to contradict his core beliefs in order to ingratiate himself into the favor of those whose support he will one day need.
Once elected, he still cannot really say what he thinks. Don't you want him to get re-elected?
Ron never acted this way. At times he would explain the libertarian position in ways likely to resonate with a particular audience, but he never compromised or backed away.
It's been said that if you ask Ron Paul a question, he gives you a straight answer. That's an understatement. All through his presidential campaigns he sent the guardians of opinion into hysterics. Why, he can't say that! That wasn't even one of the choices! To the gatekeepers' astonishment, his numbers kept on growing.
No politician is going to trick the public into embracing liberty, even if liberty were his true goal and not just a word he uses in fundraising letters. For liberty to advance, a critical mass of the public has to understand and support it. That doesn't have to mean a majority, or even anywhere near it. But some baseline of support has to exist.
That is why Ron Paul's work is so important and so lasting.
Ten years from now, no one will remember the men who opposed Ron in the GOP primaries. Half of them are forgotten already. But fifty years from now (and longer), young kids will still be learning from Ron: reading his books, following his recommendations for further study, and taking inspiration from his courage and principle.
With Ron's congressional career drawing to a close, we should remember that we have witnessed something highly unusual, and exceedingly unlikely to be repeated. And we should also remember Ron's parting advice: The real revolution is not in Washington, DC. It's in the world of ideas.
That's what Ron is devoting the rest of his life to, and it's one more thing he has to teach us. So watch for news of Ron's new work for peace, his new homepage, and his new TV extravaganza. Far from retiring, he is stepping up his work for liberty. And there is a place for all of us.
Posted by CherubiniRules on 12/22/12 03:21 PM
It may sound like a strangely rump Congress, but let all of those bums get out and leave only Ron Paul and bring back Dennis Kucinich. Then try to reboot the institution in refurbished, liberty-loving style!
Posted by Chemist on 12/22/12 02:41 PM
Thank you for this eloquent summary of a brilliant man. Ron Paul could restore a bit of lustre to the Nobel Peace Prize given the recent nonsensical awardees. Please consider the petition to the Norwegian Parliament to nominate him for the Peace Prize. I wish this link would appear across all Libertarian websites until a million signatures is reached!
Click to view link
Any intel on Click to view link welcome, especially if their interface seems onerous or their motives are suspect.
Posted by 1776 on 12/22/12 12:54 PM
Sen. Rand Paul Objects To Indefinite Detention Language In NDAA - 12/21/12
Click to view link
Posted by DaveM on 12/21/12 10:12 PM
I find it strange, and sad, that Ron Paul has more recognition and respect among Canadians than he does with Americans.
Posted by finninsweden on 12/21/12 06:03 PM
Oops,what happened with my post? I did not provide any link. Fat finger?
Posted by finninsweden on 12/21/12 05:58 PM
Click to view linkckwell himself is a hero,I have not missed one of his podcasts,they are various,enjoyjable,and he does not mince his words.
Posted by Ol' Grey Ghost on 12/21/12 05:50 PM
A Ron Paul presidency would have been nothing more than a speed bump for the runaway train that will soon wreck the U.S. economy...
Click to view link
... but a fearless speed bump, nonetheless, that stood up to all forms of heavy traffic. Let us hope the seeds of Liberty he planted grow to become strong and mighty trees that overcome the slew of weeds that try to block their way and impede their progress...
Posted by W.Palmer on 12/21/12 05:22 PM
It is rare for any politician to be revered for what they believed since so much is usually a perverted ideology that had a fashionable moment which later fades into disrepute.
It took a long time for me to warm to Ron Paul since I have a total and absolute distrust of anything that is uttered by politicians and very little faith in the media that propagates it.
This began to change early in the last presidency as I found the Obama regime as false as all the others. "Yes we can" began to be "No I can't". I began to see the sincerity and truth of what Paul was saying and witnessed the power of the election machine that was frantically redirecting the opinions toward the chosen propaganda that had been selected for the masses.
The biggest problem seemed to be the TRUTH !
It had to be smothered at all costs.
People, and they were the youth, were awakening to the reality that what these overpaid politicos were really doing was robbing and cheating the public to save themselves and maintain the status quo which is so generous to them. It will continue now for another 4 years. Mission accomplished.
Ron Paul's message I hope will not be dissembled and discredited so that he is relegated to the "hall of hacks" that have plundered the system to its present state where the entire world now teeters on the brink of collapse as a result.
I do despair there is not a politician in the halls of Washington of the stature and honesty and with the courage that Mr Paul had to push forward and start to change the course that preceding governments have been on for decades.
But I hope the seed is sown.
Posted by IndyLyn on 12/21/12 03:30 PM
Thanks to Mr. Rockwell as well; He and Ron Paul have been the foundation upon which the ideas of true liberty and freedom can grow. I am so eager to greet the new Ron Paul that will emerge once he is out of the dark halls of Washington.
Posted by Rrust on 12/21/12 08:14 AM
For me, this is what amazes:
Ron Paul has utterly re-defined the meaning and significance of the term "statesman".
--And re-defined it upward to an extent I would never have dreamed possible before I became aware of his existence and program, decades ago.
Thank you Ron, thank you Lew, thank you Mr Wile. Very timely article, in view of dark days and lowering skies.
Posted by bionic mosquito on 12/21/12 07:46 AM
Very well said, Mr. Rockwell. I will only add: Ron Paul is one of the most courageous men I know.