20 Oct Freedom Under Siege
Even if you’re not an American citizen this is a damn interesting read!
Freedom Under Siege – The U.S. Constitution After 200 Years – Ron Paul’s political manifesto, a courageous book on civil liberties and the rights of Americans that are relentlessly under assault from their government.
It was written in 1987, on the 200th anniversary of the Constitution, and is back in print for the first time. It is here that Dr. Paul provides his most extended thoughts on what it means to be a constitutionalist in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson. He connects violations of individual rights to an interventionist foreign policy and the supposed needs of national security. Here he blasts the draft and draft registration, impositions on the right of individuals to own guns, restrictions on the freedom to speak and write, and draws out the links between all these policies. Paul further discusses the tie between individual liberties and sound money. When a nation’s money is controlled by the people instead of the state, they retain their essential freedoms. But when money is monopolized by government with no tie to a commodity, the state is in a position to ride roughshod over our liberties. Other issues discussed include the true meaning of patriotism, the moral law as it applies to politics, the meaning of leadership in a free society, the nature of the state in light of his experiences in Washington, and the historic and ever-lasting conflict between the individual and the state.
In 1988 Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute wrote the following about Ron Paul:
From his first run for Congress in 1974 through his gallant try for the Senate in 1984 to his present campaign as Presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, Ron Paul has been an outstanding leader for freedom. I had the privilege of working as Dr. Paul’s chief of staff in Washington. And in the often corrupt and always superficial city of Washington, D.C., he was a beacon of honesty and decency. Even the advocates of big government came grudgingly to recognize him as the man they couldn’t sway, the man they couldn’t buy. His only concerns were freedom, peace, the Constitution, and honest money, and these same ideals animate his latest book. Naturally, the criminals who want your tax dollars in their pockets found Ron Paul hard to deal with. Devotion to principle is not the engine of Capitol Hill. The backslapping, vote-trading politicians and lobbyists felt uncomfortable around Ron Paul, almost as though their shirt collars were too tight. Greatness is often lonely, and it is never easy to oppose colleagues or the statist special interests who wanted Ron Paul to act as their errand boy to the Treasury. They were all amazed, and then aghast, at his refusal to play their game. New Congressmen are always advised, in shady Sam Rayburn’s words, “To get along, go along.” They’re told: “Don’t make waves. Vote for the other guy’s spending and he’ll vote for yours. Do as you’re told and you’ll be taken care of.” How easy to become part of the system, and reap the rewards of power.
For virtually every Congressman, there is not even a pause before he plunges into the trough. It is, after all, why he entered politics. But that was not why Ron Paul went to Washington. He sought a great rostrum for freedom, and he never sold out. He even opposed public works projects in his own district, a stand that still boggles every politician in America. As Ron Paul patiently explained, he could hardly criticize federal spending in California while supporting it in Texas. But such consistency was outlandish. No one could believe his ears. Over the years, Ron Paul’s influence grew. Not with the politicians, but with the people. He educated millions, spreading the ideas of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard on runaway government, sound money, and the free market. Other Congressmen would be flabbergasted to receive thousands of their own constituents’ letters telling them to vote like Ron Paul. As Andrew Jackson said, “One man with courage can make a majority.” Ron Paul has helped build the majority for freedom. In his campaigns, in the Congress, with the F.R.E.E. Foundation and the Mises Institute, calmly and without fanfare, he’s worked for us and for our children. How often I saw him at his desk, at 7:00am and at 11:00pm, poring over legislation and committee hearings most other Congressmen ignored, studying Constitutional history and Austrian economics, and writing some of the most eloquent words ever to come out of the Capitol. He worked hard and cheerfully, earning a fraction of his former income as a physician. He would get angry at the goings-on. And frustrated. But he was never defeated, because he never forgot why he was there. Not to make a career in the State apparatus, but to help dismantle it. He never made a promise he didn’t keep, never violated his oath to uphold the Constitution, never desecrated free market or hard money principles, never voted to waste a cent or to raise our taxes, was never less than a pure champion of liberty. We have not seen Ron Paul’s like in Washington since the days of the Founding Fathers. And this book helps demonstrate why. On the economy, civil liberties, the IRS, foreign policy, the gold standard, the draft, and the Power Elite, he takes the hardcore, principled Libertarian position. He is the 20th century’s Thomas Jefferson. The Omnipotent State threatens us with inflation, expropriation, depression, war, and slavery. Republicans and Democrats offer only lies and loot-seeking.
An interesting read if you are 1. an individual and 2. you still have a mind of your own.
The reissued version from 2007 :
Pillars of Prosperity: Free Markets, Honest Money, Private Property