by Dr. Ron Paul
We live in one of the most difficult times in history for guarding against an expanding central government. We are seeing a steady erosion of our freedoms. We have arrived here because our ideas, our words-and the actions that follow-have consequences. Homeschoolers, by and large, understand that bad ideas have bad consequences, and even the best of intentions can have unintended consequences. We need to understand exactly what ideas brought us to this point. We can then, I hope, reject the bad ideas and reform our thinking toward a better set of intellectual parameters. Our goal should be to identify what ideas are now shaping our culture and work to sow the seeds of liberty for the generations who will come after us.
Currently, the mood of our country is dominated by a powerful word:fear. Fear is not always the product of irrational thinking. However, once experienced, fear can lead us away from reason, especially if it is extreme in duration or intensity. This kind of fear is a threat to rational liberty. When people are fearful, they are more willing to irrationally surrender their rights. The psychology of fear is an essential tool of those who want us to increasingly rely on "the powers that be" to manage the apparatus of the central government.
Clearly, people seek out safety and security when they are in a state of fear, and the result is often the surrender of liberty. We must remember that liberty is the ultimate security.
Our love for liberty has been so diminished by fear-of everything but God-that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that most Americans would have abhorred just a few years ago. American history, at least in part, is a history of people who refuse to submit to the will of those who have no rightful authority over them. Yet we have increasingly empowered the federal government and its agents to run our lives, far beyond their jurisdiction to do so. The seeds of future tyranny are being sown and many of our basic protections from government oppression are being undermined. We tolerate new laws that allow the government to snoop on us, listen to our phone calls, track our financial dealings, make us strip down at airports, and even limit the rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury. Like some dysfunctional episode of the Twilight Zone, we have allowed the summits of our imaginations to be linked up with the pit of our fears, all to serve man.
Paranoia can be treated, but the loss of liberty resulting from the fear of man is not easily cured. People who would have previously battled against encroachments on civil liberties now explain the “necessity” of the temporary security measures” Franklin would have railed against. This would not be happening if we had remained vigilant, understood the importance of individual rights, and refused to accept that the sacrifice of liberty is justified by a “need” for security—even if it’s just “now and then.” As Americans, we must confront our irrational fears if we are to turn the current
tide against the steady erosion of our freedoms. Fear is the enemy. The confusing admonition to “fear only fear itself” does not help. Instead, we must battle against irrational fear and refuse to succumb to it.
Fortunately, there is always a remnant who longs for truly limited government, maintaining a belief in the rule of law combined with a deep conviction that free people and a government bound by a Constitution are the most advantageous form of government. They recognize this idea as the only practical way for prosperity to be spread to the maximum number of people, while promoting peace and security. Their thoughts are dominated by a different and more powerful word: freedom.
If we intend to use the word “freedom” in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: freedom is living without government coercion.
If we hope to remain free, we must cut through the fog of rhetoric and attach concrete meanings to the words politicians often use to deceive us. We must reassert that America is a republic, not a democracy, and remind ourselves that the Constitution places limits on government that no majority can overrule. We must resist any use of the word “freedom” to describe state action. We must also teach these truths to our children.
Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a governmental false security blanket beckons. Self-reliance and self-defense are American virtues; trembling reliance on the illusion of government-provided security is not.
Many, if not most, homeschoolers have fought on some level for the freedom to teach their own children. Most have had to stand against a tide of disapproval from friends and family. Some parents have dealt with strife in their church over the issue. Too many have been questioned by local authorities who don’t understand the limits of their jurisdiction; some have withstood the scrutiny of state and federal laws, courts, and law enforcement who have overstepped their constitutional bounds. Still others have suffered fines, imprisonment, and separation from their children at the hands of a government that claims to be “protecting” the children. All homeschoolers have tasted a morsel of freedom that many others still can’t comprehend. Homeschooling parents still regularly face questions such as, “Can you do that?” “Do they let you do that?” “Is that legal?” It all comes down to a proper understanding of jurisdiction and submission to delegated authority. Homeschoolers, by and large, maintain that the authority for determining the education of their children rests solely with parents. This spark of freedom must be fanned into a flame, not just among homeschooling fathers and mothers…but among the generation they are training up in liberty.
Ironically, the Constitution which protects our freedoms was conceived in a time of great crisis. The founders intended to place inviolable restrictions on what the federal government could do even in times of national distress. America must stand against calls for the government to violate the Constitution—that is, to break the law—in the name of law enforcement. America was founded by men who understood that the threat of domestic tyranny is as great as, if not greater than, any threat from abroad. If we want to be worthy of their legacy, we must pass it on to our children, showing them how to resist the rush toward ever-increasing state control of our society. Otherwise, our own government will become a greater threat to our freedoms than any foreign terrorist could ever hope to be.
Remember, a citizen's relationship with the State is never voluntary. Every government edict, policy, regulation, court decision, and law is ultimately backed up by force, in the form of police, guns, and jails. The problem is that politicians are not supposed to have power over us-we're supposed to be free. We seem to have forgotten that freedom means the absence of government coercion. That is why political power must be fiercely constrained by the American people. We can't wait for "our man" in Congress to do it. We must accept and take responsibility to keep government within its well defined boundaries, training our children to do the same.
The desire for power over other human beings is not something to celebrate, but something to condemn! The worst tyrants of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were political figures: men who fanatically sought power over others through the apparatus of the State. They wielded that power absolutely, without regard for the rule of law.
Our constitutional system, by contrast, was designed to restrain political power and place limits on the size and scope of government. It is this system-the rule of law – which we should celebrate, not political power. In a free society, government is restrained, and therefore, political power is less important. As defined by the Constitution, the proper role for government in America is to provide national defense, a court system for civil disputes, a criminal justice system to prosecute acts of force and fraud, and that's all. In other words, the State's role in our society is as referee, rather than an active participant.
Those who hold political power would lose their status in a society with truly limited government. It simply would not matter much who occupied various political posts, since their ability to tax, spend, and regulate would be severely curtailed. This is why champions of political power promote an activist government that involves itself in every area of our lives, from cradle to grave. They gain popular support by promising voters that the government will take care of everyone, while the media shower them with praise for their bold vision.
Political power is inherently dangerous in a free society. It threatens the rule of law and thus threatens our fundamental freedoms. It is the antithesis of freedom. Those who understand this should object whenever political power is glorified.
Our founding fathers understood this and endeavored to create the least coercive government in the history of the world. The Constitution established a very limited, decentralized government to provide national defense and little else.
It is incumbent on a great nation to remain confident if it wishes to remain free. By no means should we be ignorant to real threats to our safety, against which we must remain vigilant. We need only to banish to the ash heap of history the notion that we ought to be ruled by our fears and those who use them to enhance their own power. Understanding the magnificent rewards of a free society provides the incentive to protect the liberties we enjoy. The greatest chance for peace and maximum prosperity comes within a society respectful of individual liberty.
It is important to know how we got where we are today. But, rather than focus on where we have failed, we should concentrate on the ideal of freedom. The freedom we enjoy today is the direct result of the commitment of men and women who refused to compromise their ideals. Certainly they failed at times, but they understood that the goal was liberty. We owe the founding fathers of our country a tremendous debt of gratitude. They created a society based on the radical idea that the purpose of government was to protect the rights of the individual-inalienable rights granted by God, rather than privileges granted by the State. Whereas God is "no respecter of persons," the same cannot be said of the State, no matter how well-intentioned it may purport to be.
We can reclaim our independence, not with guns, but with our voices. We can reject creeping statism and encourage the blessings of liberty for our land. It will require work and it will require commitment. It will also require a willingness to stand firm for our beliefs. It will not be done in one election cycle, nor will it necessarily be achieved in our lifetimes. Indeed, as others have done before us, it may require that we give our very lives. But that is a small price to pay compared to the sacrifices made by those who founded the United States of America and fought to give her birth and defend her freedoms.
Liberty. Freedom. Self-determination. These goals are as worthy of our attention today as they were over two centuries ago in a hot convention hall in Philadelphia. Just as devotion to those goals brought forth this great nation, a renewed adherence to liberty, which we teach to our children, can save our nation today.
Our founding fathers felt it was worth pledging their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" to secure and defend liberty. Do we?
This says everything you need to know about, oh so many things, and what I like about Ron Paul is that he says it all very concisely and beautifully.
The sound of Ron Paul’s words are the sound of what America used to be like; when it was a country of real people, and not cowering frightened children who cannot even find their own land on a map.
I do disagree with Dr. Paul on one point. It is more than possible for us to see the return of the real America and liberty in our lifetimes. Who would have thought that we would see Nelson Mandela 1) out of gaol, and 2) president of South Africa? During the reign of Apartheid, typing those letters in that order would have seemed like the most absurd fantasy, but it came to pass, much quicker than we ever imagined it would.
And there was no blood bath.
And Nelson Mandela is a world-wide hero.
There is no reason that the restoration of America cannot happen within the next eight years. All we have to do is work for it, and not take ‘no’ for an answer. It means doing surprisingly little on an individual basis…but you know this, because you have been reading this blog for the last seven years.
We are already way down the road to it happening, and to many people, the liberation of America will come as a complete surprise.
While we are on this subject, the evil Neil Cavuto has interviewed Dr. Paul again. It is clear by the demeanor of that Fox News mouthpiece, that Neil Cavuto understands that Dr. Ron Paul is the only one telling the truth about the destruction of the dollar. It is clear by his uncharacteristicly quiet and gentle treatment of Dr. Paul that he has done his homework on this and found that the assessment given by Dr. Paul is the absolute truth. Somewhere, deep inside Neil Cavuto, as in the case of Anakin Skywalker, “there is good in him”. He behaves almost as if he is ashamed to be working for Fox as he interviews Dr. Paul; gone is the bombast, the illogical rhetoric, the insufferably rude interrupting – what we get instead, is a respectful introduction, questions quietly put, nodding in agreement and generous space given for all the answers.
This is how it starts. People start to wake up, and even the enemies cool down, end the rhetoric, listen more than they talk, behave as if humbled, and then all of a sudden, there is a tipping point, and they are on our side.