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Foreword to The Revolution

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The Revolution: A Manifesto

Ron Paul

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Excerpts

Foreward
Alexander S. Peak

I first met Doctor Ron Paul on Monday, April 11, 2008. Like many students across America, I had participated during the previous year in what supporters dubbed the Ron Paul Revolution. It was, of course, not so much a Ron Paul Revolution as it was a Libertarian Revolution, but received the name it did as it coincided with, and to a great degree rallied around, the good doctor.

Indeed, the 2008 election season was an exciting one for many libertarians. Not only was our message of smaller government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility reaching a larger audience, but the audience was responding favourably, and in massive numbers. Grass roots demonstrations and gatherings abounded. It was as though libertarians everywhere, from all corners of the political spectrum, were peacefully rising up and saying, Don’t Forget Us!

The humble Ron Paul, seemingly quite bewildered by the tide of support he received, realised of course that it wasn’t really him, but rather his message of freedom that was inspiring so many Americans, young and old, to rally against the Establishment policies of war, inflation, and unnecessary government meddling in our lives. This same message had been around for longer than Paul himself had been alive, and had been promoted in decades and centuries prior by the likes of John Lock, Frédéric Bastiat, and Ludwig von Mises. Moreover, Paul recognised that even when he was long gone, the peaceful Libertarian Revolution would continue. Paul was not ashamed to admit that he was just very lucky—and happy—to be in the right place at the right time.

As I said earlier, I first met Ron Paul on Monday, April 11, 2008. Paul had come to Maryland to give a speech at Goucher College, and despite his campaign having cooled down and the media having declared John McCain the unrivalled winner of the Republican nomination, Paul still drew huge crowds. Over a thousand people, including myself and a few personal friends, came to Goucher to hear the Texan doctor speak. It was there that I purchased The Revolution: A Manifesto.

This book serves as a great primer for anyone interested in learning more about the basic libertarian approach to policy. Although some libertarians, myself included, may take issue with Paul in a few places, Paul does a great job at explaining the libertarian message by applying it to the issues of the day. At the same time, he fearlessly calls upon the manifest spirit of the American Founders, explaining the roots of the freedom philosophy in American history. It’s worth the reader remembering that many movements have existed throughout American history to buck the Establishment, from the abolitionist movement to women’s suffrage, from the tax resistors to the civil disobedience of the ’60s. Properly understood, anti-Establishment sentiments have been a part of the American character since the days of the American Revolution—of which we are the inheritors—and even before.

It is striking that in presenting his arguments, Paul recognises that his likely audience is coming from all sides of the political spectrum. Some of his readers might not be familiar with exactly why libertarians believe in this or that, for example why we tend to get nervous when burdensome regulations get foisted upon businesses or upon the American people themselves. Others might not understand why we get so concerned when new wars are waged, even when said wars are reportedly being waged to promote democracy. In each case, Paul begins by pointing out that these are not liberal versus conservative issues, aiming to break down the partisanism that tends to put us into either this or that camp when deciding where we stand on the various issues of the day. To this end, Paul points out that the traditionalist conservative Russell Kirk was very sceptical about using war as anything but a last resort and that modern liberal George McGovern—who, after serving as a Democratic senator, entered private life as a proprietor of a small hotel—became highly sceptical of the need for so many complicated regulations on small business owners. In each case, Paul explains in understandable language the libertarian perspective.

Paul admits in his manifesto that many Americans find economics a boring and dry topic. These people, he assures us, have this impression about economics because they have not yet encountered the Austrian School of thought. But the public apathy, nevertheless, is great for the Establishment. Thus, in explaining the many ill effects of the Federal Reserve system, Paul tells us that the Fed is a complete mystery for most people, “its operations incomprehensible. That seems to be just the way the Fed likes it. We are supposed to be bored by it. We are supposed to treat it like a given, like the air we breathe. We are supposed to have confidence in it.” Using simple language and Austrian logic, Ron Paul destroys that confidence for even the economics layman. His presentation of economic theory is not only sound, but is well-written for the beginner who wishes to understand more but finds it often difficult to surmount the high-sounding words of the economic elite. Those students of Liberty ready for a bit more depth can always turn to Paul’s other political manifesto, 1987’s Freedom Under Siege.

Where do we go from here? The Revolution was not written simply to explain libertarian views and persuade the masses to adopt them. The books also offers advice both to the political Establishment and to the grass roots activist. To the political Establishment, Paul explains how these views can be practically adopted in the coming years. But to the grass roots and all those interested in ideas, Paul offers the soundest advice available: read, study, and grow.

Foreword written April 2008 by Alexander S. Peak

Few Rights Reserved

Creative Commons License

Thanks to Alex Peak for making his preamble available through CCPL.
(h/t to AG)

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Written by mudshark

April 27, 2008 at 12:19 pm

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