DALLAS, November 14, 2012 - After 30 years of dedicated, passionate congressional service Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) delivered a stirring, foreboding farewell speech on the House floor Wednesday. As the guiding spirit to what many characterize as the buoyant, bi-partisan New Liberty Movement, Paul shared “the plain truth” about Washington, America’s many current national crises and the greatest threats to the country’s future.
Paul began by explaining his goals in 1976, “to promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.” He entered Congress hoping to alter the course of his country, seeing eventual financial disaster and a foreign policy undermining national security in the pursuit of an inevitable empire.
Chastising himself, Paul sheds light on his internal struggle as one of the last American statesman. “Government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.”
He lists among his shortcomings failure to halt the expansion of burdensome government, creeping taxation, “incomprehensible” regulations, perpetual, unconstitutional wars, crippling deficits, rampant poverty and government dependency for corporations and special interests, which Paul admits is the most extensive in American history. His point: through steady encroachments, the federal government has grown to abuse its powers as previous historians predicted.
Paul further identified what many Social Conservatives and Democratic Liberals ignore in favor of partisan bickering: Washington is “totally resistant” to admitting the United States is bankrupt, making compromise for the future impossible. Instead, bureaucrats continue to support and devise tax-payer funded schemes and bailouts for political connections and special interests, disregarding the future of the American people, both born and unborn.
According to the Congressman, until America’s dire financial future is acknowledged, “spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January,” he warned, referring to the “fiscal cliff” that threatens to reverse America’s meager financial recovery these last years.
Paul clarified his congressional disapproval remained wholly bi-partisan, shaming both parties for consistently abandoning the American principles of liberty in favor of marching toward irreversible, destructive authoritarianism. He theorized that the people of the United States, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions of liberty to deteriorate because 20th century big-government leaders abandoned prosperity-creating constructs in favor of tax-and-spend monetary systems and excessive, unsustainable domestic and military spending.
“[Since those changes] the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady. It took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.
Americans became wealthy by creating a free society that valued private property, enforceable voluntary contracts and economic liberty, but once led to abandon the roots of prosperity, have lived off borrowed wealth and time. This institutional, cultural practice was destined for failure, Paul outlined.
“As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.”
“The [financial] crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail. We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.”
Paul further outlined his belief that the greatest threats to America’s future stem from Washington’s unsustainable, misguided policies. This mismanagement, which undercuts America’s standing as the center of innovation, economic prosperity and individual liberty, has destroyed the American Dream.
For Paul, a desperate need for “an intellectual awakening” and understanding of the connection between past events and current dire straits is as paramount as grasping Washington’s role.
He also detailed specific threats to future generations. Paul establishes that national security is compromised by decision-making which perpetuate anti-Americanism worldwide, including ceaseless, illegal and undeclared warfare, “sanctions against countries that don’t follow our orders”, and reckless drone strikes, which inevitably causes “blowback” as General Stanley McChrystal defined it.
He outlines that in unprecedented ways, the very liberties Americans historically prized are in jeopardy. “Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands.” With little debate, legislation like the Patriot Act and FISA, were established. “It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial,” Paul said, citing the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law January 1st, 2012.
Economic policy woes stem from decisions with little concern for the American people’s safety, financial future or opinion. He charges that the United States government engages in “currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, then calls the true free traders “isolationists.” With an exponentially growing debt, those in Washington are hostile to free trade, but “overregulate and overtax” a marketplace already distorted by, “a deeply flawed monetary system.”
In a firm, hopeful conclusion, Paul challenged the American people and their representatives to accept and understand the causes of America’s current situation and reverse the course before the damage is irreparable.
“The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism. And the pessimism adds to less confidence in the future. The two feed on themselves, making our situation worse […] If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties,” he said. “Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.”
He argued that “economic ignorance” is commonplace, but can be resolved through this popular intellectual awakening. The Internet, he stated, must remain free of government control as it breaks the monopoly on information on the government/media complex that disseminates propaganda.
Paul further encouraged Americans to question their government’s policies, outlining over 30 essential questions for citizens, hoping some will ponder more deeply the sources of government overreach. “Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison? Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air? Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
“Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong,” he asked.
Paul shared his belief that there are explanations for bi-partisan frustration with elected leaders, and that asking essential questions leads to natural conclusions: most of America’s problems are the result of poor policy decisions. “Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.”
In parting, Paul testified to great power and passion of the American people, particularly the younger generation less divided by partisan politics and more concerned with the avoiding the destructive decisions of past generations. He blamed both parties for Americans tiring of demagoguery and encouraged his fellow citizens to seek truth and solutions for the restoration of prosperity.
“Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades. […] Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity. The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.” Trust yourself and a free society, not politicians was his parting message.
Summarizing the consensus of his political career, Paul can only hope the American people were listening. His full departure speech can be read here.
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