The Revolution: A Manifesto

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I’ve just
finished Ron Paul’s The
Revolution: A Manifesto
, and am once again floored by Dr.
Paul’s ability to identify the most important issues facing
this country and explain their libertarian solutions in “honest,
direct language,” as George Carlin would say.

In seven concise
chapters, heavy with notable quotes from the founders, American
historical figures, social researchers and Austrian economists,
Dr. Paul destroys the myths of governmental benevolence and benefit
on nearly every issue of importance for the present and future of
this country.

He begins,
of course, with foundational explanations of natural rights and
the limits placed on the general government by the constitution
which allows its existence. Paul then excoriates the government
and explains the solution to its problems of empire, war, terrorism,
conscription, violations of the Bill of Rights, spying, torture,
the drug wars, health care, the welfare state, regulatory state,
managed trade and the destruction of the American economy at the
hands of the Federal Reserve system. He points out that the differences
in the positions of the major parties and politicians are nearly
meaningless as our country becomes a de facto one-party state under
the centrist Democrats and neoconservative-controlled Republicans.
They fight all day about meaningless details while we descend into
tyranny.

Dr. Paul, whose
steadfast opposition to warfare in the U.S. Congress extends back
to his first terms in office in the 1970s, makes his standard case
that rather than leading to some abstract “national greatness,”
empire, in fact, weakens America. He says the cost of maintaining
our empire is nearly a trillion dollars a year and that we just
can’t afford it. Paul maintains that rather than protecting
our freedom, war is nearly as destructive to our society as those
of the people we wage them against. War leads to unchecked executive
power and the destruction of our most highly valued liberty. Paul
denounces our government’s policy of “preemptive”
aggressive war as always morally and consequentially wrong and never
justified. He also explains the anti-imperialist legacy of the Old
Right and the antiwar sentiments of the more thoughtful leaders
of the middle-to-New Right such as Russell Kirk, Richard Weaver,
and Robert Nisbet. Paul explains that there is nothing conservative
about waging war; it undermines every principle that conservatives
claim to cherish (i.e., the Constitution, the rule of law, family
values, free markets, fiscal restraint.)

Paul thrashes
the War Party over the subject of the next aggressive war on the
horizon: Iran. He reminds us that he’s been correct for years
in saying there was no evidence of a secret nuclear weapons program
in Iran as all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed in their
National Intelligence Estimate last fall and shows clearly that
to this administration, as with their invasion of Iraq, the agenda
is war and any excuse or varied combination of excuses will do.

Terrorism,
the current excuse for our world empire, he explains, is not an
enemy, but a strategy employed by enemies. People in occupied countries,
Muslim or otherwise, have used this tactic to try to force the democratic
societies which occupy them to withdraw their combat forces due
to the expense of the predictable overreaction. He quotes intelligence
beat journalist James Bamford’s reporting of Ayman al Zawahiri’s
stated goal of trapping us in the Middle East to give us a “desert
Vietnam” – to bleed us dry and force us out as the Reagan
administration helped them do to the Russians in the 1980s. This
being the case, Paul concludes further invasions and occupations
of their countries is exactly the wrong policy to follow. It is
the founders’ foreign policy of peace, commerce and honest
friendship which best protects Americans from terrorism. (In this
section, Paul quotes former CIA counter-terrorism agents Michael
Scheuer and Philip Giraldi from my interviews of them for Antiwar
Radio.)

Paul says we
should demand the immediate repeal of the Military Commissions Act
of 2006 and insist on the protection of habeas corpus for all detainees
unless the most immediate circumstances on the battlefield prevent
it and that no American should ever be held by the military and
subjected to torture as was Jos Padilla. He has introduced legislation
in Congress to ensure those very things, among others, in the American
Freedom Agenda Act of 2007.

Paul says that
torture is always wrong and should never be tolerated for one second
by the proud residents of a free society no matter what excuse those
with power can conjure.

Paul also makes
an eloquent case against conscription, calling it “slavery”
and quoting Daniel Webster and Ronald Reagan to make the case that
the draft contradicts the very premise of a free society, the constitution
forbids it and that it should never be allowed in this country ever
again.

He explains
in detail how the administration has told lie after lie in order
to justify their blatantly unconstitutional, unnecessary and illegal
spying on Americans.

Economist Paul
also explains his moral and practical opposition to managed trade
organizations like NAFTA and the WTO, since they are unconstitutional
transfers of Congress’ delegated powers and they actually sanction
trade wars, require our Congress to raise taxes when they feel like
it and otherwise interrupt peaceful trade. He points out that nothing
new needs to be done to have free trade with other countries; all
the government has to do is stop interfering. Presto, no tariffs,
no subsidies.

It should be
no surprise that a free market fundamentalist like Paul opposes
all foreign aid and “restructuring” of other countries’
economies though the IMF and the World Bank, whose proclaimed purpose
is to help the poor, when all they do is prop up governments that
the locals oppose, distort and disrupt local markets and generally
impoverish those who are supposedly being helped.

In The Revolution,
as on the House floor, Paul takes a heroic stand against the federal
government’s war on drugs and the entire policy in general.
It is the creation of the black market by the congress and state
legislatures which creates the environment in which murder, extortion
and gang wars prevail, he explains. He gives special attention to
the long history of frauds perpetrated by government in order to
criminalize marijuana possession and sale. It was simply racist
bigotry against Mexicans and a desire to persecute them which motivated
the early American drug warriors. Their legacy is one of lives destroyed
not by drugs, but by the state in its post-constitutional, “we
own you and will decide what’s good for you” role it now
plays in our society.

In the book
Paul brings up the issue of race in terms of a limited national
government, the unfair prosecution and sentencing of minorities
in the drug wars and in terms of the impossibly burdensome regulatory
state. The solution, he maintains, is a belief in individualism
and a willingness of people to enforce their rights from the bottom
up rather than looking to Washington DC. He explains how government
serves only to divide us more even when attempting to ameliorate
the problems of the past.

Paul also explains
how government drives up the cost of health care for everyone and
how the current welfare state is simply unaffordable and unsustainable
by any measure. He explains how government interventions have led
us to our current crisis and how real laissez-faire – not corporatist
or socialist – reforms would fix the problems.

Another example
of government failure cited is the current state of public education
in this country. While not calling for abolition of all public schools,
Paul does demand we get rid of the federal Department of Education
and also explains how incredible amounts of resources are wasted
into oblivion by the bureaucrats in ways that would never happen
at private schools, making a strong case that parents could afford
many more choices in education without the oppressive tax burdens
they carry and that they would be well served to seek education
outside the strictures of the state. Always tying political questions
back to individual liberty, Paul also asks a basic question almost
unheard of in polite company: why should anyone be forced to pay
for the education of another and particularly when that person disagrees
with the slant of the instruction? As just one example of the direction
DC is leading us, Paul points out a little noticed but obviously
dangerous move by the pharmaceutical companies and the national
government to give mandatory “mental health” exams to
all school children in order to force many millions more of them
to take psychotropic drugs at the threat of removal from their parents.
He rightly complains that even 20 years ago the people of this country
would have been absolutely outraged. Maybe it’s the Prozac.

Dr. Paul also
excoriates the modern regulatory state and explains how it makes
us all poorer in order to benefit those who are already rich. Paul
sticks up for the individual and his property rights against all,
the rich, the poor or anyone else’s attempts to separate him
from it with force – personally or through the state. It is
our free economy, not government intervention which has made us
so prosperous. Paul’s argument is nowhere close to an apologia
for big business. It is they who have pushed all along for the governmental
cartelization and regulation of business. The state is the mechanism
by which those connected to its power can stifle competition and
socialize their costs onto the rest of society. Questions of environmental
pollution are one of Paul’s favorite examples of the failures
of regulation, and for good reason. Really, no EPA is necessary
– to protect the victims of the crime. Pollution can be handled
simply by protecting people’s basic property rights with local
courts. In fact, the purpose of the EPA is to protect the polluters
from competition first and the consequences of polluting the environment
second by claiming “public” ownership of the affected
area (the air, bodies of water, etc.) and then providing immunity
to those politically connected corporations who are within the “guidelines”
they set for themselves. The right of the average guy to seek redress
in a local court is then circumvented by the regulation of the executive
branch. The explanation of why this is so, contained in The Revolution,
should be enough to educate even the most pointy-headed of your
liberal and leftist friends.

Paul, a supposed
student, but really an Austrian school economist in his own right,
also gives a concise explanation of the criminal Federal Reserve
System which robs the poor to benefit the bankers and merchants
of death. Inflation, Paul explains, is a hidden tax, one that hurts
the poor, working and retired people most for the benefit of these
war-mongering plutocrats. They try to make the system seem too mysterious
for the average guy to understand but it’s not. Stealing is
stealing. The central bank causes the booms and busts they claim
to “smooth out” with their process of artificially inflating
the supply of money, causing bubbles of malinvestment in the market
and setting us up for recessions. The popular line that “we
the people,” through “our” Congress, use the state’s
regulation to protect us from the “excesses” of capitalism
must be the greatest line of bull fed to a population since the
Aztec Flower Wars. Again, the light shed by Paul provides clarity
to a subject extremely important and yet opaque to the people most
affected.

Dr. Paul ends
the book with a celebration of the wide and varied millions who’ve
rallied around his campaign and a call for those of us who love
liberty to stand up for ourselves and put our out-of-control empire
back in its place.

The joy I feel
knowing that millions will eventually read this concise libertarian
primer just makes me want to celebrate.

The heroic
Ron Paul has done it again.

April
21, 2008

Scott Horton
[send him mail] is assistant
editor at Antiwar.com, hosts Antiwar
Radio
in Austin, Texas and runs the blog Stress.

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