One of the most thrilling memories of the 2012 campaign was the sight of those huge crowds who came out to see Ron. His competitors, meanwhile, couldn’t fill half a Starbucks. When I worked as Ron’s chief of staff in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I could only dream of such a day.
Now what was it that attracted all these people to Ron Paul? He didn’t offer his followers a spot on the federal gravy train. He didn’t pass some phony bill. In fact, he didn’t do any of the things we associate with politicians. What his supporters love about him has nothing to do with politics at all.
Ron is the anti-politician. He tells unfashionable truths, educates rather than flatters the public, and stands up for principle even when the whole world is arrayed against him.
Some people say, “I love Ron Paul, except for his foreign policy.” But that foreign policy reflects the best and most heroic part of who Ron Paul is. Peace is the linchpin of the Paulian program, not an extraneous or dispensable adjunct to it. He would never and could never abandon it.
Here was the issue Ron could have avoided had he cared only for personal advancement.
But he refused. No matter how many times he’s been urged to keep his mouth shut about war and empire, these have remained the centerpieces of his speeches and interviews.
Of course, Ron Paul deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. In a just world, he would also win the Medal of Freedom, and all the honors for which a man in his position is eligible.
But history is littered with forgotten politicians who earned piles of awards handed out by other politicians. What matters to Ron more than all the honors and ceremonies in the world is all of you, and your commitment to the immortal ideas he has championed all his life.
It’s Ron’s truth-telling and his urge to educate the public that should inspire us as we carry on into the future.
It isn’t a coincidence that governments everywhere want to educate children. Government education, in turn, is supposed to be evidence of the state’s goodness and its concern for our well-being. The real explanation is less flattering. If the government’s propaganda can take root as children grow up, those kids will be no threat to the state apparatus. They’ll fasten the chains to their own ankles.
H.L. Mencken once said that the state doesn’t just want to make you obey. It tries to make you want to obey. And that’s one thing the government schools do very well.
A long-forgotten political thinker, Etienne de la Boetie, wondered why people would ever tolerate an oppressive regime. After all, the people who are governed vastly outnumber the small minority doing the governing. So the people governed could put a stop to it all if only they had the will to do so. And yet they rarely do.
De la Boetie concluded that the only way any regime could survive was if the public consented to it. That consent could range all the way from enthusiastic support to stoic resignation. But if that consent were ever to vanish, a regime’s days would be numbered.
And that’s why education – real education – is such a threat to any regime. If the state loses its grip over your mind, it loses the key to its very survival.
The state is beginning to lose that grip. Traditional media, which have carried water for the government since time began, it seems, are threatened by independent voices on the Internet. I don’t think anyone under 25 even reads a newspaper.
The media and the political class joined forces to try to make sure you never found out about Ron Paul. When that proved impossible, they smeared him, and told you no one could want to go hear Ron when they could hear Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney instead.
All this backfired. The more they panicked about Ron, the more drawn to him people were. They wanted to know what it was that the Establishment was so eager to keep them from hearing.
Ours is the most radical challenge to the state ever posed. We aren’t trying to make the state more efficient, or show how it can take in more revenue, or change its pattern of wealth redistribution. We’re not saying that this subsidy is better than that one, or that this kind of tax would make the system run more smoothly than that one. We reject the existing system root and branch.
And we don’t oppose the state’s wars because they’ll be counterproductive or overextend the state’s forces. We oppose them because mass murder based on lies can never be morally acceptable.
So we don’t beg for scraps from the imperial table, and we don’t seek a seat at that table. We want to knock the table over.
- Ron Paul’s Rally: The Event That Could Give Birth To A New Party | THE JEENYUS CORNER (jeenyuscorner.com)
- Ron Paul Passing Torch to a Libertarian Legion | THE JEENYUS CORNER (jeenyuscorner.com)
- Paul says his backers will ‘become the GOP tent’ | THE JEENYUS CORNER (jeenyuscorner.com)
- Over 10,000 supporters brave Tropical Storm Isaac to see Ron Paul speak at USF | THE JEENYUS CORNER (jeenyuscorner.com)
- Not Just A Man: Ron Paul is an idea whose time has come – PAULFEST | THE JEENYUS CORNER (jeenyuscorner.com)