The 'L' Word
by David Bardallis
by David Bardallis
Somewhat lost in the U.S. government's ongoing efforts at playing Whack-A-Mole with the imploding financial system (using the American taxpayer as the mallet, of course) has been Ron Paul's September 10 press conference at the National Press Club. In it, he not only publicly called out the two major-party candidates for president, he publicly called BS on the two-party political system itself. Giving voice to what is by now a majority of Americans, he echoed George Wallace's observation that there is not a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. (Adjusted for inflation, today there must be less than a penny's worth.) Paul was joined by presidential candidates Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Ralph Nader of the Independent Party, and Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party. One is tempted to call them third-party candidates, but owing to the theme of the conference, it may be more appropriate to refer to them as second-party candidates. All participants agreed on four areas of focus crucial to the survival of this republic, areas that are, of course, studiously and perpetually ignored by the Republicrat machine:
- End the Iraq War and cease the belligerence toward the rest of the world.
- Rein in the dictatorial behavior of the executive branch and repeal its enabling legislation, including the PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act, FISA revisions, etc.
- End government deficit and debt financing.
- Investigate the Federal Reserve System's cozy little legal counterfeiting operation.
(For anyone who didn't see it, a video of the entire press conference is here.) Reactions among Paul's supporters were mixed at best. Many seemed to hope or expect he would announce the continuation of his bid for the presidency on another ticket, perhaps alongside Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, who reneged on his promise to attend the press conference. Some were even upset with this "wasted opportunity" and Paul's refusal to endorse a specific candidate. Like the ancient Israelites, some seem to be so focused on finding a political messiah that they miss the forest for the trees.
What do I mean? Just this: Ron Paul's press conference was an ambitious and shrewd political move, aimed not at winning a particular election but at finally breaking up the closed shop of American politics. In my opinion, actually, it was even more subversive than that if one reads between the lines. More on that in a bit.
First let's go back and look at what Ron Paul's presidential run has accomplished:
Freedom is popular. The Good Doctor showed what many longtime libertarians have often doubted: that there are still significant numbers of Americans — from all walks of life — who will embrace the concepts of liberty when they are explained in a simple and sensible way. The media is dishonest and untrustworthy. If there was any doubt that the corporate media act in lockstep to marginalize or exclude any voice outside the narrow consensus of the New York-DC axis of evil, it was dispelled in the minds of millions of Americans who saw the blatant favoritism accorded even to candidates who garnered much less support than Paul (cough, Rudy Giuliani, cough) but who echoed the power elite's consensus of war, empire, debt, socialism, and lawlessness.
The system is rigged. The Republican Party's undisguised bending and even breaking of laws and rules in order to disenfranchise Ron Paul delegates throughout the primaries and at the national convention revealed conclusively to all what an empty sham the whole process is.
Freedom is an indivisible whole. Countless Americans accustomed to thinking in terms of economic freedom vs. "personal" freedom learned to think about liberty holistically. After all, what's more personal than being able to earn a living peacefully and honestly? Likewise, the lightbulb went on in millions of minds when Ron Paul connected the dots between imperialism abroad and encroaching authoritarianism at home: the state always and everywhere threatens the freedom of those it rules over.
These may not seem like major accomplishments to the typical LewRockwell.com reader, who likely has known these things for years, but it must be remembered that these concepts are radical and new to huge numbers of people — and it is no exaggeration to say that Ron Paul reached a huge number of people.
Furthermore, in reaching these huge numbers of people, Ron Paul has forced into the national debate the four key issues discussed at his press conference. Without his efforts, almost no one, let alone Mr. and Mrs. America, would be talking about abolishing the Federal Reserve, ending the overseas empire, dismantling the unconstitutional federal leviathan, and holding the executive branch accountable for its lawlessness.
And that brings us to the press conference itself — and the "L" word. I mean, of course, legitimacy. According to Webster's, something, i.e., a government, is legitimate when it is "accordant with law or with established legal forms and requirements" or "conforming to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards."
In the abstract, most Americans agree that the U.S. Constitution is the established law of the land and accept the legal rules and standards it imposes. However, they are unfortunately ignorant of what the constitution actually says. As Ron Paul has pointed out for years, there is no authority in the constitution — the document upon which the U.S. government's legitimacy supposedly rests — for a central bank; a global empire; presidential warmongering; warrantless surveillance of citizens; standing armies; the so-called "War on Drugs"; a national police force; gun control; or the mind-boggling array of existing departments, agencies, and bureaucracies with which Americans are afflicted.
In a deeper sense, legitimacy is the glue that holds the state's immoral system of murder and plunder together, the glue that We the People so kindly provide with our opinions and our actions with respect to the government. The next big lesson to be learned by large numbers of Americans, then, is that the regime in Washington is illegitimate. The ramifications of this discovery by a large swath of the public are profound and, I believe, a necessary precursor to any restoration of sanity and liberty to our country.
Which brings me back to Ron Paul's press conference and why I thought it was brilliant. He signaled that the Republicrat game of bamboozling Americans into supporting the "lesser of two evils" is at long last ending. His forging of an alliance with other candidates shows that the frustration with the closed-shop political system is widespread and cuts across ideological lines. And his reference, in particular, to principled nonvoters and his half-joking proposal for a "League of Nonvoters" acknowledged the reality of the regime's fraying claims of legitimacy.
In other words, despite the appearance of "working within the system," Ron Paul's strategy has ultimately worked to undermine that system by consistently revealing its fundamental fraudulence to any who were just willing to look. And many, many people are looking now.
September 23, 2008
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