I was quite befuddled after I discovered a few weeks ago that Ron Paul had a new book out on the market. Isn’t it a little late for a book from this guy? He’s a loser, a has-been. Who would want to read this book now? Why wasn’t this book published six months ago? What a waste! I had no interest in reading it.
Then I learned that the book was a #1 bestseller, and I thought that maybe it might contain something worth reading. But, of course, Paul’s supporters are so crazy; they certainly inflated his sales numbers. (I’m sure that many of his fans still have not come to grips with the fact that he has zero chance of becoming our next president.) I kept wondering, though, about the contents of this “manifesto”. My curiosity finally got the best of me, and I picked up a copy for myself.
In part, I purchased the book as a political statement. Yes, I voted for Paul in the Illinois primary. And I wanted to stand with the legions of “revolutionaries” who were reading the Paul manifesto. I even felt a little proud when the cashier at my local Barnes and Noble sneered slightly as I checked out with the book—I was bearing the reproach of Ron Paul.
There’s something about the Ron Paul movement which has given people hope for the future of our nation and optimism concerning the American political scene—and, given all of our nation’s present ills, we desperately need reasons for hope and optimism right now. The book is certainly evidence of the unusual character of this politician and his campaign. What kind of a presidential candidate releases a best-selling book after he has been eliminated from contention? And when you remember that this candidate is 72 years old, you know that he’s not preparing for another campaign four years from now. Ron Paul is an unusual politician, because he gives you every impression that he’s genuinely concerned about America’s future. Here’s a man who runs for president, not to make a name for himself, but out of a sense of duty. He’s frank and honest, and he doesn’t care how unpopular that makes him.
All of these characteristics are conveyed in the book. Paul recognizes that a substantial number of Americans, particularly younger Americans, have enthusiastically latched on to his political platform. Paul doesn’t want the spirit of ’76 to fade away with his passing. Paul may not be alive to see the real fruit of his peaceful revolution, but that doesn’t deter him. As he writes in the preface, he’s but a small cog in a “long-term project that will persist far into the future”. The issues raised in Paul’s campaign “cannot be allowed to die”. Thus, he concludes, “That is why I wrote this book.”
Chapter One introduces us to “The False Choices of American Politics”. Here, Paul argues that our two major political parties differ very little in substance. Essentially, both parties favor big government, and both want to impinge upon our freedom. Neither party is willing to engage in the basic questions about liberty and individual rights. Yes, Paul sides with the Republican party, but he represents the old Republican tradition of Robert A. Taft, whose words he cites at length:
When I say liberty I do not simply mean what is referred to as “free enterprise.” I mean liberty of the individual to think his own thoughts and live his own life as he desires to think and to live; the liberty of the family to decide how they wish to live, what they want to eat for breakfast and for dinner, and how they wish to spend their time; liberty of a man to develop his ideas and get other people to teach those ideas, if he can convince them that they have some value to the world; liberty of every local community to decide how its children shall be educated, how its local services shall be run, and who its local leaders shall be; liberty of a man to choose his own occupation; and liberty of a man to run his own business as he thinks it ought to be run, as long as he does not interfere with the right of other people to do the same.
Paul writes to return us to the values of the Founding Fathers: liberty, self-government, constitutionalism, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. It’s hard to argue with his premise that most of our political leaders today espouse views which are at odds with the policies that shaped this nation and made this nation great. We’ve fallen a long way. Can we get back on our feet? As Paul suggests, it will likely take another revolution—albeit one without cannons and muskets.
Read Full Post »