Ron Paul in Colorado

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Back in 2002 or 2003, I went to see Ron Paul make a speech at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He was flown in by the College Libertarians to discuss the PATRIOT Act, the newly-created Department of Homeland Security and matters of war and peace.

Fewer than 100 people were there. Afterward, I briefly talked to Paul. There wasn’t much of a wait to do so. Paul was there to do what he always does: spread the message of liberty. Unfortunately, not very many people were listening back then.

(photo of the Denver event from

Today, 1,200 people showed up for his event at Colorado State University today, and another 1,150 showed up for his talk in Denver. Perhaps another 1,000 showed up to see him in Colorado Springs.

I drove over to the Denver rally at lunch time, and managed to find a parking space about five blocks away from the Renaissance Hotel. I parked behind a car with a veteran’s license place that said “LBRTY.” Inside I found a room packed with more than 1,000 people who had come to cheer a man who denounces war, the state, and paper money.

The crowd was mostly people under 40 years of age, of all subcultures and types. Unlike the libertarian events I attended in the olden days, which were populated by mostly counter culture types or angry-looking middle-aged men (there weren’t any women), this event was a cross section of people I see in Denver every day. Men, women, pierced hippies, tattooed, black-haired semi-goths, young parents, people who looked like IT workers, and staid suit-wearers like myself. There were a few people over fifty, although they seemed slightly dismayed by what was going on.

The crowd was electrified as Paul began his “stump speech,” which is of course not a stump speech at all. It’s a mini-lecture on the state, central banking, fiat money, the history of libertarian thought, the constitution, and war.

He emphasized that liberty is about letting other people live their lives in peace. There is no dividing line between “economic liberties” and “civil liberties.” There is simply liberty, and we waste out time attacking other people who peacefully live their lives in ways that are different from ours.

The loudest cheers came when Paul discussed peace and ending the wars.

This was a speech about sound money, republican simplicity, peace, the rule of law, and most of all, taking back from the state that which has been taken away.

The Republican caucuses are in a week. It remains to be seen if the Party tries to give Paul the same treatment they gave him last time.

At the event, I ran into a journalist friend of mine who had just come from the Santorum event in the suburbs south of Denver. It’s significant that Santorum felt he had to drive from the airport clear to the other end of the Denver metro area in order to get to friendly territory in affluent, Anglo suburbia. Unlike Paul, who if this event was any indicator, has widespread appeal among so many independents and demographic groups, Santorum’s appeal is limited to a subgroup of GOP party faithful.

How did my friend describe the Santorum event? After witnessing the Ron Paul crowd, he had one word for that other rally: “Subdued.”

10:01 pm on January 31, 2012