“I want the government to live up to their promises.”
It’s a short statement, and a simple one — but coming from Congressman and Presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul, it’s a definition of a movement. The doctor from Texas attracts a tremendous, highly engaged and often passionate following, but there are many who find that they have a hard time figuring out where he fits into the current “status quo” political debate. A debate which so often rewards those who can spit out soundbites versus those who want to engage and wrestle with the fundamental questions regarding the direction of our country.
This is especially true with the mainstream media, which has a difficult time covering much beyond the “horse race” elements of politics. How often do we hear discussions about freedom and personal liberty and the role of government and governance in our daily lives? Whether or not currency manipulation and financial interventionism are dragging down our economy? Whether regulation is ever appropriate in a free society, and if so, who decides who does the regulating?
These are all serious questions that Rep. Paul has attempted to shine a light on. The debate, he says, is critical.
“We lose our liberties and we lose our prosperity and all of a sudden, we’ve become a debtor nation and we’re indebted to a country that we had ridiculed for years and a bunch of communists in China. What are they doing? They’re working hard, saving their money; they’re buying up natural resources in Afghanistan. At the same time, we get poorer and we are in these endless wars, and it’s all due I think to a flawed philosophy of government and the importance of individual freedom,” says Rep. Paul.
“Individuals can’t use force against their neighbor in order to mold their behavior. The government shouldn’t be able to use force either, and the same way in economics. So it’s this rejection of the use of force and just protecting individual rights, which are so important. Politically, you can’t sell that; that’s theoretical. The only way it is sold is when it is known to the general population that it’s in their best interest to argue the case for a free society than to argue the case for big government,” says Rep. Paul.
He doesn’t think that anyone in government will start a real debate about structural problems in our economy, but is satisfied that we have begun to make some progress. “I wouldn’t wait for the politicians to really initiate it; they’re going to always be putting their finger up to the wind. And see — we have to change the direction of the wind. And I think we’re making a little bit of progress, you know, from my viewpoint, whether it’s economics or foreign policy or monetary policy. I feel like maybe they’re paying a little bit of attention,” says Rep. Paul.
The job isn’t done, though. “We have drifted because we had so much prosperity, but we can’t drift forever. We can’t live on borrowed money and printed money forever. So that’s why I’m delighted that they’re coming to this view that maybe, just maybe the founders were on the right track,” he says.