Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Revolution: A Manifesto II

I have completed this book and wanted to first share some thoughts and then quote some of the best parts from each chapter (just a few chapters).  I am glad I bought and read this book and should have done so a year ago when it came out. The book represents Ron Paul's political and philosophic beliefs about the Constitution, war and US foreign policy, economic freedom, civil liberties, and the central bank. He's consistently libertarian in each of these areas and the main call of the book is for an intellectual revolution in regards to our system of government, or the system of government that evolved, unconstitutionally, over the last 200+ years. I will probably keep my eye on Ron Paul and what he's up to a little closer than I have been and will do what I can to elect like minded individuals to all levels of government. Now for the quotes that stood out to me:

Chapter 1: The False Choices of American Politics
My message is one of freedom and individual rights. I believe individuals have a right to life and liberty and that physical aggression should be used only defensively. We should respect each other as rational beings by trying to achieve our goals through reason and persuasion rather than threats and coercion. That, and not a desire for "economic efficiency" is the primary moral reason for opposing government intrusions into our lives: government is force, not reason.
Chapter 2: The Foreign Policy of the Founding Fathers
Anyone who advocates the non-interventionist foreign policy of the Founding Fathers can expect to be derided as an isolationist. I myself have never been an isolationist. I favor the very opposite of isolation: diplomacy, free trade, and freedom of travel. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders. The real isolationists are those who choose to use force overseas to promote democracies, rather than seeking change through diplomacy, engagement, and by setting a positive example. The real isolationists are those who isolate their country in the court of world opinion by pursuing needless belligerence and war that have nothing to do with legitimate national security concerns.
Chapter 3: The Constitution
Now, isn't our Constitution a "living" document that evolves in accordance with experience and changing times, as we're so often told? No - a thousand times no. If we feel the need to change our Constitution, we are free to amend it. In 1817, James Madison reminded Congress that the Framers had "marked out in the [Constitution] itself a safe and practicable mode of improving it as experience might suggest" - a reference to the amendment process. But that is not what advocates of a so-called living Constitution have in mind. They favor a system in which the federal government, and in particular the federal courts, are at liberty - even in the absence of any amendment - to interpret the Constitution altogether differently from how it was understood by those who drafted it and those who voted to ratify it.
Chapter 4: Economic Freedom
Prosperity comes not just from economic freedom at home, but also from the freedom to trade abroad. If free trade were not beneficial, it would make sense for us to "protect jobs" by buying only those goods produced entirely in our own towns. Or we could purchase only those goods produced on the streets where we live. Better still, we could restrict our purchases to things produced in our own households, buying all our products only from our own immediate family members. When the logic of trade restrictions is taken to its natural conclusion, its impoverishing effects become too obvious to miss.
Chapter 5: Civil Liberties and Personal Freedom
The failure of the federal war on drugs should be clear enough from one simple fact: our government has been unable to keep drugs even out of prisons, which are surrounded by armed guards. The fact is, drugs are already available to people who want them. That is the nightmare scenario that people fear, but they fail to realize that we are already there. Poll after poll finds the vast bulk of high school and college students easily able to acquire drugs if they so desire. That is how black markets work: prohibiting something that is highly desired does not make the desire go away but merely ensures that the supply of that good is provided in the most dangerous and undesirable manner possible, and endows criminal sectors of society with additional wealth and power.
Chapter 6: Money: The Forbidden Issue in American Politics
Central economic planning has been as discredited as any idea can possibly be. But even though we point to our devotion to the free market, at the same time we centrally plan our monetary system, the very heart of the economy. Americans must reject the notion that one man, whether Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, or any other chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, can know what the proper money supply and interest rates out to be. Only the market can determine that. Americans must learn this lesson if we want to avoid continuous and deeper recessions and to get the economy growing in a healthy and sustainable fashion.
Chapter 7: The Revolution
Ours is not a fated existence, for nowhere is our destiny etched in stone. In the final analysis, the last line of defense in support of freedom and the Constitution consists of the people themselves. If the people want to be free, if they want to lift themselves out from underneath a state apparatus that threatens their liberties, squanders their resources on needless wars, destroys the value of their dollar, and spews forth endless propaganda about how indispensable it is and how lost we would all be without it, there is no force that can stop them. If freedom is what we want, it is ours for the taking. Let the revolution begin.

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