Friday, March 6, 2009

The Revolution: A Manifesto

I've picked up this book by Rep. Ron Paul and just finished the preface, which I will re-print here. But first a moment to share the names of those that have been influential in the journey I've been on these last few years in regards to my classic liberal (libertarian) philosophical beliefs. It started through reading the weekly columns of Walter E. Williams and Thomas Sowell in my local newspaper (Deseret News). Both are fine economists. Dr. Williams teaches at George Mason University and explains the libertarian philosophy, and economics, better than most. Dr. Sowell is one of the world's finest scholars and has written several books, many of which I own.

From there I began reading the columns of John Stossel and subscribed to The Freeman journal. This journal introduced me to several econo-libertarians such as Donald Boudreaux, Robert Murphy, and Steve Horwitz. About this time I discovered Google Reader and the ease of which I could follow these writer's blogs, articles, and columns. I soon found the Mises Institute and LewRockwell.com, both of which promote Austrian economics and libertarianism, or Austro-libertarianism, as it is called. With these and a few car, technology, and faith feeds, I read over 4500 blog posts, articles, and columns a month. Among these are those institutions named above plus the Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, the Foundation for Economic Education, and several personal blogs by libertarians and economists.

During all of this and the 2008 presidential elections, I was introduced to House representative Ron Paul of Texas. He certainly stood out during the Republican debates with his anti-war approach. I didn't really pay too much attention to him (being a politician, and all). It wasn't until this recent economic collapse that I started hearing more about him and the things he has stood for since the 1970's. Although I have held libertarian beliefs for a little while now, I've just barely gotten around to buying this highly recommended book. And after reading the preface, I thought I'd post it here along with this little chronicling of how I got here. I will post a follow-up after completing the book:
Every election cycle we are treated to candidates who promise us “change,” and 2008 has been no different. But in the American political lexicon, “change” always means more of the same: more government, more looting of Americans, more inflation, more police-state measures, more unnecessary war, and more centralization of power.
Real change would mean something like the opposite of those things. It might even involve following our Constitution. And that’s the one option Americans are never permitted to hear.

Today we are living in a fantasy world. Our entitlement programs are insolvent: in a couple of decades they will face a shortfall amounting to tens of trillions of dollars. Meanwhile, the housing bubble is bursting and our dollar is collapsing. We are borrowing billions from China every day in order to prop up a bloated overseas presence that weakens our national defense and stirs up hostility against us. And all our political class can come up with is more of the same.

One columnist puts it like this: we are borrowing from Europe in order to defend Europe, we are borrowing from Japan in order to keep cheap oil flowing to Japan, and we are borrowing from Arab regimes in order to install democracy in Iraq. Is it really “isolationism” to find something wrong with this picture?

With national bankruptcy looming, politicians from both parties continue to make multi-trillion dollar promises of “free” goods from the government, and hardly a soul wonders if we can still afford to have troops in - this is not a misprint- 130 countries around the world. All of this is going to come to an end sooner or later, because financial reality is going to make itself felt in very uncomfortable ways. But instead of thinking about what this means for how we conduct our foreign and domestic affairs, our chattering classes seem incapable of speaking in anything but the emptiest platitudes, when they can be bothered to address serious issues at all. Fundamental questions like this, and countless others besides, are off the table in our mainstream media, which focuses our attention on trivialities and phony debates as we march toward oblivion.

This is the deadening consensus that crosses party lines, that dominates our major media, and that is strangling the liberty and prosperity that were once the birthright of Americans. Dissenters who tell their fellow citizens what is really going on are subject to smear campaigns that, like clockwork, are aimed at the political heretic. Truth is treason in the empire of lies.

There is an alternative to national bankruptcy, a bigger police state, trillion-dollar wars, and a government that draws ever more parasitically on the productive energies of the American people. It’s called freedom. But as we've learned through hard experience, we are not going to hear a word in its favor if our political and media establishments have anything to say about it.

If we want to live in a free society, we need to break free from these artificial limitations on free debate and start asking serious questions once again. I am happy that my campaign for the presidency has finally raised some of them. But this is a long-term project that will persist far into the future. These ideas cannot be allowed to die, buried beneath the mind-numbing chorus of empty slogans and inanities that constitute official political discourse in America.

That is why I wrote this book.

-Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing. Copyright © 2008 by Ron Paul.

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