Ron Paul: A Most Unusual Politician

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This
is the preface to Ron Paul's Gold,
Peace, and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency
.

Ron
Paul is a most unusual politician — in many ways. In the first
place, he really knows what he's talking about. He is not
only for the gold standard. He knows why he is for it, and
he is familiar with the most advanced and complex economic
insights on the true nature of inflation, on how inflation
works, and how inflationary credit expansions brings about
booms and busts. And yet Ron has the remarkable ability to
take these complex and vital insights and to present them
in clear, lucid, hard-hitting terms to the non-economist reader.
His economics is as sound as a bell.

But,
even more important, Ron Paul is an unusual politician because
he doesn't simply pay lip service to moral principles. He
believes in moral principles in his mind and heart, and he
fights for them passionately and effectively. High on his
set of moral principles is the vital importance of individual
freedom, of the individual's natural right to be free of assault
and aggression, and of his right to keep the property that
he has earned on the free market, and not have it stolen from
him by confiscatory taxes and government regulations.

Ron Paul,
in short, is that rare American, and still rarer politician,
who deeply understands and battles for the principles of liberty
that were fought for and established by the Founding Fathers
of this country. He understands that sound economics, moral
principles, and individual freedom all go together, like a
seamless web. They cannot be separated, and they stand or
fall together.

Ron Paul
understands that all three parts of this system of liberty
have been under grave attack for decades, and that the main
problem is the federal government itself. The government has
systematically eroded and invaded property rights, has piled
on ever higher taxes, ever more onerous regulations, and,
most sinister because most hidden, has eroded the value of
the dollar and of all our savings through inflation. Ron Paul
is an unusual politician because he is not content to shrug
his shoulders, to "go with the flow," as Californians
say, or to go along in order to get along. He is a man of
honor as well as a man of principle, and so he has, ever since
he got into politics, been doing something about it. He has
fought, sometimes single-handedly, for our liberties and for
our savings.

Inflation,
as Ron Paul points out, is caused by the government's continual
creation of new money, by what amounts to its system of legalized
counterfeiting. But, if that is so, why not simply urge the
government to stop the creation of money? Why not point out
to our rulers the bad consequences of their actions? But Ron
Paul realizes that this kind of education, or even pressure,
is not going to work by itself. For we are dealing not simply
with ignorant or misled people; we are dealing with a pernicious
system.

Let
us put it this way: give any man or group power, and it will
tend to use that power. If the power is inherently abusive,
then that power will be abused. Our present system gives to
the federal government and its Federal Reserve the unlimited
power to counterfeit. The problem is that if the Fed has the
power to counterfeit, it will inevitably use that power. Why?
Because the power to counterfeit is too tempting. The power
to create money means that it is far more tempting to print
it than to work for it. It means that the counterfeiter can
pay his debts, spend more money, give more money to his friends
and associates. In the case of government, the power to counterfeit
means that government's debts can be paid without levying
taxes, that government spending can increase, and that political
allies can be purchased and maintained.

The
power to counterfeit is the power to abuse. It is not enough
to urge the government to use it more moderately. The power
must be taken away. Counterfeiting is fraud, and no one should
have the right to counterfeit, least of all the government,
whose record of counterfeiting throughout history is black
indeed. Money and banking must be separated from the State,
just as Church and State are separated in the American tradition,
just as the economy and the State should be separated.

Vital
to this necessary reform is the return to a money which is
a useful product produced by the free market itself. In every
society, people on the market voluntarily arrive at one or
two commodities which are the most useful to use as money.
For thousands of years, gold has been selected by countless
societies as that money. The only alternative to a market
commodity-money is what we unfortunately have now: paper tickets
issued by the government and called "money." Since
the paper tickets — dollars, francs, pounds sterling, or what
have you — are issued by the government, the government can
issue any amount it arbitrarily chooses. Counterfeiting is
built into the system, and hence so is inflation and eventual
destruction of the currency.

The
only genuine solution to the evil of inflation, then, is to
separate money from the State, to make money once again a
market commodity instead of a fiat ticket issued by the central
government. The dollar must once again be what it was originally
until it was, in effect, nationalized. The dollar must once
again be simply a name for a unit of weight of gold coin.
Only this kind of fundamental reform will cure the ravages
of inflation. Because Ron Paul is one of the few men in public
life who truly understands the problem and is willing to fight
to cure it, it is truly a pleasure for me to write the preface
to this booklet.

Murray
N. Rothbard
(1926–1995) was the author of Man,
Economy, and State
, Conceived
in Liberty
, What
Has Government Done to Our Money
, For
a New Liberty
, The
Case Against the Fed
, and many
other books and articles
. He was
also the editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report
, and academic vice president of
the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Murray
Rothbard Archives

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