Ask Not What Ron Paul Can Do for You…

A couple of weeks ago I made a plea for Ron Paul to announce his candidacy for president in 2012 as soon as possible in order to capitalize on his astounding victory in the CPAC straw poll. I claimed that an early announcement of his candidacy would hit the Democratic and Republican establishments like a brick to the face, and would snowball into a massive grassroots political movement that would shake the world. I stand by that plea, and I sincerely hope that I will wake up one morning this spring to find that Ron Paul has chosen to pick up that particular brick.

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The only regret I have about the article, however, is that it may have mistakenly given the impression that the supporters of liberty have to wait for his announcement of candidacy in order to take action. Some people wrote to me to tell me that they have already given up hope for liberty even if Ron Paul decides to run for president. Many others said that they were still dimly hopeful for future of liberty, but, since they were expecting Ron Paul to announce his candidacy for president at some point, they were waiting for that signal to pour their time, energy and money into his campaign. The overwhelming majority were united in saying that they did not know exactly what they ought to be doing right now without a Ron Paul campaign to work on.

I did not mean to give the impression that we have to wait for Ron Paul to announce his candidacy in order to take action, and I certainly did not mean to imply that the future of liberty is pinned completely on his possible candidacy. The only point I was trying to make is that if Ron Paul intends to run for president in 2012, then there is everything to be gained by announcing his candidacy sooner rather than later, and that an early announcement would incalculably brighten the prospects for liberty. This point, moreover, also applies to Ron Paul supporters and every other person who supports the cause for liberty. We ought to be taking action NOW — with or without a Ron Paul campaign to work on.

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This is true, quite simply, because the fight for liberty is ultimately a fight over ideas. It is not about electoral politics and getting "our" men into office in order to shove our ideas down the throats of the moronic masses. It is ultimately about rooting out moronic ideas altogether and replacing them with good ones. Ron Paul is merely the public representative of the ideas of liberty in a city that is almost completely devoid of honorable men and honorable ideas. He has been fighting those dishonorable men for decades by exposing their ideas as either wrong or dishonest. He did so not to change their ideas (which he hasn’t), but to change ours, because the cause of liberty will either be won or lost in that arena. We, the supporters of individual liberty, have everything to gain by getting into that arena and fighting with everything we’ve got right now — even if Ron Paul never runs for president again.

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What this means is that we must first of all make sure that we arm ourselves with sound and defensible ideas. Nothing will be gained if we run headlong into the arena of ideas with nothing but empty rhetorical slogans and blind hatred of the current system. Reasonable people are not persuaded by empty slogans and blind hatred, and politicians are adept at exploiting such emptiness by simply using those slogans themselves. This is a lesson that Obama supporters have been forced to learn the hard way, and a lesson, I fear, that Tea Party followers have yet to internalize. The most obvious and central idea that supporters of liberty need to discover, in fact, is that elected politicians and candidates for elected office tell lies in order to exploit the electorate to their own advantage. As such, hitching the cause of liberty to a gang of congenital liars is a vain hope, at best. Democratic politics is itself a major part of the problem, since it is essentially nothing more than mob rule by liars and thieves, and the idea needs to be undercut by supporters of liberty, not defended.

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The point here is simply that we need to learn what individual liberty is in order to ever have any chance of spreading it. This means delving deeply into the ideas of liberty ourselves in order to understand them and be able to defend them in the arena. This means reading about why war is wrong and destructive, reading about why taxation is nothing more than stealing, reading about the real causes of recessions, and reading about the gory history of government. Waving flags at rallies is all fine and good, but you have not really entered the arena to fight for liberty until you enter the realm of learning.

To sum up, I would like to extend my plea to Ron Paul to seize the day and enter the fight for liberty right now to all supporters of liberty. There is no time to waste procrastinating, despairing or whistling past the graveyard. The cause of individual liberty is not yet lost — even if Ron Paul decides not to run for president in 2012 — and the outcome of the fight depends ultimately not on Ron Paul, but on our ability to learn and spread good ideas to replace the infection of bad ideas that has gotten us where we are today. To get yourself started, try visiting here, here, and here everyday in order to discover the ideas of liberty. It might not hurt, however, to send Ron Paul a note explaining what you plan to do for the cause of liberty, and ask him if he might be willing to help us by picking up the brick lying before him right now.