“If there was no hope at all, I would ask Daniel (McAdams) if I could hand out cyanide capsules” – speaker Jacob Hornberger
While at times it seems to many of us as if, as the 1965 Barry McGuire song goes, we’re on the eve of destruction, hundreds of high-spirited, intelligent freedom loving critical thinkers gathered on September 3rd to honor the greatest living liberty-promoting leader in their time: Dr. Ron Paul. Attendees at a hotel near Dulles Airport 31 miles from Washington, DC ranged from teenagers to senior citizens who had travelled from distant points across America and Canada to be in the presence of the 87-year-old revered statesman. One young couple drove from Pittsburgh and camped out the night before in a tent. A teenager from Nottingham, Virginia told me how excited she was that her parents had brought her to her first Ron Paul conference. A businessman from Maryland who listens to each and every one of Dr. Paul’s Liberty Reports broadcast Mondays through Fridays had his teenage son in tow. Tim Pool, who pioneered on the scene, livestream journalism with his 2011 coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, was there. Once a supporter of Bernie Sanders, regarded as a maverick by the Democratic leadership which denied the socialist their party’s nomination, Pool’s detractors now label him as “alt-right.” Seeing the popular podcaster, who has 1.3 million YouTube subscribers, shaking the hand of Dr. Paul was a powerful, symbolic image of how the principles of liberty transcend the false left-right paradigm designed to divide and rule the people.
Dr. Paul, walking to the stage amidst an enthusiastic standing ovation, glowingly told the audience he was happy to see that some people haven’t forgotten about the revolution. Speaking without notes, he pointed out Twitter and Facebook, which conspired with the White House by not covering the Hunter laptop story prior to the presidential election, are not private companies but arms of the government. The Covid lockdowns were “evil, illegal, unconstitutional and immoral” and they in effect ended when 100,000 fans showed up at a football game. He denounced the CIA, the Federal Reserve, the desecration of the doctor-patient relationship, and the deceitful economic system with its manipulation of money where the insiders get the money first. “They threaten you with guns,” he said, “there is a gun behind everything. I want to get rid of all bureaucrat’s guns. They don’t have a right to them.”
“The system is rotten to the core,” he said. “The real challenge is sorting out the truth. I don’t know how long the confidence will continue. I think it’s very fragile but people are waking up,” citing as an example parents confronting their school boards. He reminded us that the war in Vietnam ended when enough people were disgusted by the bloodshed. The principles of liberty, property rights, voluntarism still hold true and are the only way to peace and prosperity.
“We are living in treacherous times,” said McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute and co-host of the Liberty Report. McAdams denounced how Biden has declared war on half of the US population for simply voting for another candidate and stated war has been declared on Russia; Ukraine was just in the way. He also questioned the possibility of free elections in the future. McAdams acknowledged his colleague Adam Dick for his efforts to help him plan the conference.
Retired Colonel Doug Macgregor identified three types of military leaders: 1) revolutionaries in the 1930s like Billy Mitchell, father of the Air Force, and Adna Chaffee, father of the US Armored Forces 2) WWII students of theories and builders of institutions that won wars, and 3) since the 1980s the emergence of a new class of “maintainers” who replaced service with promotions. A military grown to 1.2 million force with 40+ generals has resulted in “corruption on a grand scale,” Macgregor said. He proposes replacing all but three generals. He told an amusing story about how he once addressed the 800 men under his command. He held up a G.I. Joe doll to the soldiers and pointed out how it had no genitals and no brains. He told them, “If you are like this doll then I don’t need you.”
John Whitehead, founder of the civil liberty advocacy institution the Rutherford Institute and author of 30 books, asked “Who Will Protect Us From the Government’s Standing Army?” In his lifetime he has witnessed the “dismantlement of all constitutional rights.” Few Americans know their fellow citizens are swat teamed 80,000 times a year by various armed federal agents. He remembers a time when “To serve and protect” was once inscribed on police cars but these words have been removed. Local police have been militarized and most citizens are afraid when the police stop them on the road. As part of the surveillance grid constructed to spy on Americans, he revealed the US Postal Service takes a photo of every piece of mail it delivers. “Awareness creates freedom,” he said, but sometimes “We don’t get up and fight like we should. One person can change the world. We need rebels who know their rights, rebels like Jesus who stood for truth.”
Chris Coyne, Austrian economics professor at George Mason University, listed the five features of a police state 1) the fear of citizens who paradoxically turn to the state, the very cultivator of this fear, as its savior 2) opportunism – the participants of the military industrial complex being the prime example 3) centralization of state power 4) introduction of technology where innovations are used to undermine citizens through surveillance, control and manipulation, and 5) a shift in citizen ideology. The purpose of swat teams, he said, was to bring military techniques home under the guise they would rarely be used. Civil asset forfeiture, or policing for profit, allows law enforcement to seize citizens’ property without charging them with a crime, and “fighting the state legal system is nearly impossible.” “Our situation today is the cumulative result of centuries,” he said, and there is “no silver bullet.” Be self-aware, think critically, learn, have the courage of your convictions, be a peace monger or micro-peacekeeper, and form a community . Be a journalist, run for office. Cultures of peace are all around us. We have a massive amount of power. If we didn’t, the state wouldn’t invest so many resources to control us.”
Jacob Hornberger, founder and president of the Future for Freedom Foundation, said the conversion of the limited republic under our Constitution to a national security state has been the biggest mistake. He cited the 4th (unreasonable searches and seizures), 6th (trial by jury), 8th (cruel and unusual punishment) and 9th (right to privacy) Amendments in the Bill of Rights as protections against when the government seeks to kill its citizens. The only person who was punished when Edward Snowden gave journalists classified documents revealing government global surveillance programs was Snowden: “They haven’t killed him because they haven’t figured out how to get out of Russia.” When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989 and global communism was no longer a perceived threat, the national security state had to come up with another threat to justify its funding and interventions, and that was terrorism. Hornberger recalled his excitement watching Dr. Paul during the Republican debates telling the truth by explaining that terrorists wanted to kill Americans because of blowback – ‘We are killing them over in their countries.” There was an uproar in the audience, and his presidential campaign took off after that.
Jeff Deist, president of the Mises Institute, the libertarian think tank founded by Lew Rockwell that promotes Austrian economics, spoke on “Inflation: State Sponsored Terrorism.” Deist said, “Inflation is a corrosive force that terrorizes us in quiet ways,” a policy of the fiscal and monetary regime. During the Covid lockdowns, the natural order of goods and services was disrupted while trillions in fake money was transferred to people’s bank accounts, state and local governments, while millions of small businesses were destroyed. Inflation jeopardizes business planning and entrepreneurship, erodes capital accumulation, extinguishes future wealth, and makes us poorer in our senior years. “It’s criminal and it makes us live in fear,” he said. Many nations are holding U.S. dollars and don’t want to see us fail: “The whole world would be sickened if the dollar crashes.” Deist recommended the silent film “The Joyless Street” starring Greta Garbo as a woman dealing with hard times in post WWI Vienna. He cited the book “When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany” by Adam Fergusson as one all Americans should read as a cautionary tale. “Yes, it can happen here.”
“It’s Not Your Imagination: The Media is Evil” was the speech topic of Cheryl Chumley, online opinion editor for the Washington Times. She recited her history as an investigative reporter and how her attempts at various media outlets inevitably led to pressures by her editors to stop investigating certain stories. They were motivated by self-interest, she said, compared with today’s media which lies to its readers. Today’s leftist journalists, she said, are leftist and don’t believe they have an obligation to present another point of view. For those wishing to take action, she suggested writing local news editors, participating in social media, and reintroducing the teaching of civics again in schools.
“Don’t Let Knowledge Steal Your Joy” was the topic of businessman, philanthropist, pilot, filmmaker, and author Gary Heavin’s speech. Dr. Paul warned us, he said, that the system was hijacked long ago with the imposition of a private banking and money system with the Federal Reserve whose stakeholders call the shots. Heavin acknowledged the “crazy, insane world” we now live in, one in which only 2% of the population can critically think, but said his hope was in knowing he was a child of the King. “I am a free moral agent, unique in the image of Almighty God. God designed me and made me for this moment in time. We are in an epic battle. What is your purpose? Take back what the enemy has stolen. This is a time for heroes.”