I recently had the honor of interviewing Dr. Ron Paul. He was kind enough to speak with me about the last days of the American empire and the situation with Russia and Syria. It was a pleasure to shake Dr. Paul’s hand. No one in the last century has done more to advance the cause of liberty than this former Texas congressman.
For decades Paul has stood against the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve, a banking entity which can only be called evil. He’s been a lone voice of sanity in a wilderness of political madness. While clowns on the left worship the welfare state and jokers on the right bow down to the warfare state, Ron Paul upholds the principles of freedom. His work educating and mobilizing a new generation has led to a renaissance in the understanding of liberty. He is the rarest of all things: a truly honorable politician.
Swords into Plowshares Best Price: $1.69 Buy New $15.99 (as of 11:50 EDT - Details) I spoke with Dr. Paul backstage before he delivered his keynote address for the Free Market Institute’s fall Public Speaker Series. The FMI is located at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The institute is dedicated to researching and expounding the virtues of free markets. They’ve earned a reputation for promoting excellent scholarship and encouraging rigorous debate. FMI Director Benjamin Powell hosts the TV program Free To Exchange which focusses on economic and political issues. The FMI should be thanked for their educational efforts and for presenting Dr. Paul’s speech on the topic of “Markets versus Government: The Importance of Freedom.” To help support the institute, please visit here.
When I mentioned to Dr. Paul that I’d written articles for LewRockwell.com, the No. 1 libertarian website, his reaction was enthusiastic. “Oh, very good,” he said.
My first question dealt with the fate of America suffering the consequences of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. “Do you think hyperinflation and the collapse of the dollar is inevitable at this point?” I asked.
“Well, theoretically it doesn’t have to be inevitable,” Paul said. “I mean, we could wise up, cut spending, start paying down the debt. The odds of that happening from my experience in Washington are probably less than one in a million.” (laughs) “So I would say, no, it’s going to end with a crack-up boom. There’ll be runaway inflation. The debt and the malinvestment, in order to get the economy going again, has to be liquidated. Which the politicians don’t want to do because they can’t stand the effort to do it, because somebody has to get cut off. If they did it systemically they’d have to cut down on food stamps.”
Dr. Paul’s tone became incredulous: “Can you believe they’d cut down on the military-industrial complex?”
“That’s the big food stamp,” Paul continued. “It’s not gonna happen. They’re going to keep doing this. You’d have to revamp the Federal Reserve—they’re not willing to do that. So that’s not gonna happen. It’ll end and I think it’s starting right now because this last recession from ’08—’09, we really haven’t recovered from that. The other times over the years, we’ve been off the gold standard totally since ’71, we’d have ups and downs, but now it’s just down steady and the unemployment is much worse than they tell us. So I think that eventually what’ll happen is it’ll be forced into such a condition where there’s inflation, nothing’s working, that they will have to do something. And they’ll have to do a couple things… Hopefully I can energize young people, a new generation, to say that the role of government has to be different than this. You can’t run a welfare state and you shouldn’t be in all these wars. And The Revolution: A Mani... Best Price: $0.25 Buy New $4.88 (as of 11:25 EDT - Details) they have to decide what the role should be. And whether or not the government should just be there to protect liberty or is it supposed to regulate your life and regulate the economy and police the world? If they want that they’ll just change dictators and it’ll be miserable. But I’m hopeful that—I see signs, you know, because of what’s happening on the internet and different places, I see positive signs, but it’s not gonna be easy.”
“So with all the things happening now,” I said, “the Russians taking out CIA-armed terrorists in Syria, the US bombing a hospital in Afghanistan, it’s looking more and more like Russia is no longer the Evil Empire. Would you agree with that?”
“Well, I think when you look at whether it’s Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Ukraine, we have instigated. Yes, there’s a war going on and a lot of people would like to say, well, it’s all Russia’s fault, because they’re in there now defending an ally. But you know, four years ago we declared war on them. We declared war on people when we put sanctions on Russia and Ukraine. But we declared war when we said ‘Assad has to go.’ If you look at it from the Russian viewpoint, they’re acting in their own self-interest. But to say that it’s all Russia’s fault is a bunch of baloney. They are reacting and they have a self-interest. To me, defending a base in Syria, a naval base, is sort of like what America might do if somebody messed around with Guantanamo.”
My next question concerned something John Lennon also wondered about: I think all our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. If anybody can put on paper what… the American government and the Russian… Chinese… what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know what they think they’re doing.
“I look at what we’re doing with Russia,” I said, “and I have to ask, do you think our leaders are just insane? Do they want World War III, or do they have some agenda I don’t understand?”
“I wish I could fully understand it,” Paul said. “Because it seems so idiotic. You wonder why do they do it. I struggled a long time with this idea that Roosevelt knew and maneuvered us into World War II. I said, it’s not possible. Nobody could be that evil, look at the results. Then over the years, there was so much evidence that he knew what was coming on. He probably got to the point where he thought he was doing the right thing because he had to get—the people never want the war, you know. Never do. He had to maneuver and manipulate, so therefore he needed a Pearl Harbor event because it was so important that we go and get Hitler. Of course, prompting the bombing of End the Fed Best Price: $1.00 Buy New $5.95 (as of 11:25 EDT - Details) Pearl Harbor was not exactly the fastest way to go after Hitler. No, I think they see there’s some danger, but they do it because they claim… In their minds they probably deceive themselves to the point where they believe it. Others, though, they’re just a bunch of ruthless thugs who want to run the world.”
When Paul spoke the words ruthless thugs, you could feel the force of his righteous anger emanating from deep inside.
“There’s, I’m sure, a few of those,” he continued. “But I think the people who go along, they do it out of ignorance. You know, the people have to go along. If the people and the members of Congress didn’t go along, these presidents couldn’t do this. But they listen to the propaganda and unfortunately they have so much power and control.”
* * *
Later, during his stirring keynote speech, Dr. Paul spoke about the anger and resentment in the country for the Wall Street bailouts. He also noted the importance of making a distinction between true capitalist ventures and the crony capitalism dragging the nation down.
“It’s frequently said, well, the rich have too much. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Which is sort of true—but sometimes there’s a collusion and a cooperation between the very poor getting a lot of welfare and the very wealthy who are able to use the system. And it’s the middle class who gets squeezed. It’s the middle class who gets punished. So if we care about the middle class… the only way we can solve the problem… is to make sure the majority of the people of society understand what freedom is all about and why the free market should be relied upon.”
(applause from the audience)
“There’s another thing going on which we should sort out—because I frequently say the rich get richer and they have all the benefits and they have the benefit of the inflation and the government and the military-industrial complex gets to make a lot of money building weapons we don’t use. And yet, there’s a lot of people in the very wealthy class that earned their money. They gave us a good product and we made them rich because we bought the Liberty Defined: 50 Es... Best Price: $2.00 Buy New $5.85 (as of 04:15 EDT - Details) product. They deserve credit for this, they shouldn’t be punished for it. So there’s a difference between earning money by satisfying consumers and the consumers vote them this money by spending it on their items, versus those who get wealthy who know how to manipulate the system, can get the loans, easy loans and all the investments they need, and use eminent domain and whatever. That is not what free markets are all about. Free markets aren’t very complicated. I see a free market and what it does in society as a moral issue rather than an economic issue… And that is based on the principle that you have a right to your life, you have a right to your liberty, and you should have a right to do what you want with the fruits of your labor.”
“A lot of time when I talk about free markets people say, Oh, you’re an anarchist—there’d be no regulations and everybody would run roughshod.”
At this remark, a pair of happy anarchists somewhere in the audience cheered.
“Well, who’s running roughshod over us right now?” Paul asked. “It’s those rich people, the bankers and big government. They’re the ones running roughshod over the middle class. But no, it’s not true that there’s no regulation in a free market… there are some rules. And the basic rules are how we apply ourselves in our neighborhood. In our neighborhoods, as bad as things are, in almost every American city, maybe not the inner city, but in most American cities, we still recognize that we can’t go into our neighbor’s house… If we need a car, we can’t take our neighbor’s car. So we know what the rules are. You can’t steal. And if you make promises in contract, you have to fulfill them. But in the system that we have, when the crisis came, the people who were benefitting didn’t get punished. So in the free market you have bankruptcy laws and they’re legitimate because they’re necessary… But this whole argument, Oh, too big to fail, so we have to take care of them—all they’re doing is taking care of Wall Street. This is the reason conservatives and libertarians get into trouble. Because they might make a blanket defense of everything that seems to be in the market. But there’s a lot of things in the market that aren’t the market. It’s a rigged market and that makes a big difference.”
Reprinted with permission from Max McNabb.