May 6, 2014
Ron Paul’s definitive speech on liberty. Very pertinent for India’s future success.
A month ago, on 9 April 2014, Ron Paul gave a talk: "Liberty Defined: The Future of Freedom", co-sponsored by the Independent Institute and the Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies at California State University, East Bay.
Ron Paul is one of the most admirable politicians in the world today.
I continue to differ with him slightly on the theory of the state, which leads to slightly different policy prescriptions in a few cases, but he is not stubbornly unreal as many anarcho-libertarians are. Unlike anarcho-libertarians Ron Paul actively engages with the society and politics. He is classical liberal in the Burkean tradition (or that of Jefferson) than a reclusive theoretician who lives off public goods and subsidies but then whinges about government.
If you think the government is too big, you should ACT – as a citizen. It is your responsibility to engage with society and not sit on your haunches, complaining.
Ron Paul has always acted to reduce the size of government. To that extent he is a role model for Indian (classical) liberals.
I’ve taken the transcript of the speech and shrunk it partially. I don’t have further time today, but time permitting I'll further abridge the transcript. In the meanwhile, enjoy the talk!
EXTRACTS FROM THE TRANSCRIPT
David Theroux, President of the Independent Institute: Dr. Paul has garnered a claim across the political spectrum. Former Treasury Secretary William Simon called him “the one exception in the gang of 535 on Capitol Hill,” and Judge Andrew Napolitano has called him the Thomas Jefferson of our day. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Ron Paul.
Dr. Ron Paul’s talk – EXTRACTS –
From the very day that I became active in speaking out which would’ve been in the early 1970s, I’ve always been doing the same thing and that is campaigning for liberty. I never quite saw myself as a politician and quite frankly I don’t even think they know what they’re doing in Washington and I don’t think you’re going to find the answers in Washington.
Understand liberty and then our government will change. But a lot of people have trouble defining liberty.
I don’t have too much problem with that because I think it’s very simple. Liberty guarantees that you have a right to your life, you have a right to your liberty, and you ought to have a right to keep the fruits of your labors, which means that you do what you want and bear the responsibilities. If you do well, the government shouldn’t come and take it from you.
Then under those circumstances, obviously we would not have an income tax [Sanjeev: I disagree on this. The alternative is a poll tax, which is problematic. See DOF for a detailed description of public finance in a free society].
The vicious attack that we had on liberty in 1913 didn’t only include the income tax but the Federal Reserve System. But if we want to enhance liberty we [need to] further understand what the monetary system is all about and why it has caused us so much trouble and under those circumstances we would do away with the Federal Reserve System. [Sanjeev: I fully agree here, subject to a phased transition to free banking outlined in my book/s and the SKC agenda].
If you look at all the people in Washington, a lot of them are not mean and nasty and purposely trying to ruin our lives. They do it with good intentions. But good intentions don’t necessarily do much good if they’re the wrong intentions. The people who like authority believe that you are incapable of knowing what is best for your life and you’re incapable of knowing how to spend your own money and therefore, they believe we need them to tell us what to do.
ENVY AS THE DRIVER OF MOST POLITICIANS
Those who want to do so much good for us are driven by envy. That’s a very strong emotion and certain segments of our society have been motivated by the fact that some people do better than others and therefore how do we get it from them. That’s how politicians get elected. Pretending to believe they can redistribute wealth, but really it’s driven by envy.
To really believe in a free market you have to overcome this natural tendency to have some resentment against people who have done well.
There’s a lot of people that are doing quite well that I’m highly critical of. For the most part many of them have not earned their wealth. They’ve gotten to be wealthy because they’re on the inside track—they’re involved in the military industrial complex. They get their contracts from the government or they’re in the banking systems. It’s not envy to take that away from them.
But people who give us a good product and have wealth because we vote for them by buying their product should be a different case.
There is a lot of hesitation about liberty because people might abuse it, you might abuse it economically, might gamble and waste their money, and then they have to be taken care of. Others might take liberty and use it in a bad sort of way, waste their lives and their time, they might gamble, might have habits that we don’t like.
They think that vices are crimes but vices may well be bad and not good and may be something that parents can deal with, but if governments decide that vices are bad and they’re crimes we end up with the situation we have today. They tried to do it with alcohol and made things much worse until we finally woke us a nation and repealed prohibition. Think of the harm done by the drug war over these many decades. We fill our prisons, we put people in prison for never committing a violent act, some go to prison for life with never committing a violent act and.
We generally are pretty tolerant when it comes to people’s religious values and we’re pretty tolerant when it comes to intellectual pursuits. But when it comes to habits people just cannot tolerate it. If you [tolerate] it [they think] you endorse it. But toleration and liberty does not mean that you endorse what people do.
It is [also] assumed that if a person doesn’t take care of themselves that their neighbor will be obligated to take care of them be. If you want to live in a free society you ought to have the right to benefit by all of your positive actions, but if you don’t do well you don’t have the right to go to your neighbor through your government.
They’ve developed too much confidence [that] if government makes the rules they will make better people. That’s a false confidence. This idea that the government is capable of producing a society that is equal for everybody. That doesn’t produce equality except in poverty. The whole idea that the governments can do this, and [so] the trust in government, is way out of proportion to what it deserves.
But we are seeing a shift where the American people are starting to wake. The American people, especially people who are getting ready to come out of college, [are] realizing that this is a bigger mess than they’re admitting. This country is in big trouble. We have a lot of debt. People are questioning it, questioning government statistics.
The President was ready to bomb Syria, and the American people expressed themselves, and there was some hesitation. All the sudden the President wanted to ask the Congress what to do about going into another war. I happen believe very strongly that we should never go to war without permission from the U.S. Congress and the American people. [Sanjeev: A very good point – unless a nuclear war has been launched.]
You don’t have to get involved in a country that’s in the midst of a civil war and decide who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. All the good guys are back here at home that need their money protected. I’ll defend the country if we need to but we don’t have to plan for this.
Just recently we heard about another shooting at Forth Worth. Almost always the massive shootings—whether they’re military or not—occur with the doctors involved giving psychotropic drugs to people who are depressed. The doctor gives them these drugs and now we have a suicide epidemic. We’re not going to stop this problem by turning it over to the doctors. We need to turn it over to the American people who insist that our government quit getting involved in these kind of wars and exposing our kids to these predicaments that they’re in. [Sanjeev: there is also an issue here about psychiatry, in general.]
Senator Feinstein found out that the CIA was spying on her and her staff, and all of the sudden she had an enlightenment. I think we ought to be able to spy on our politicians, but the politicians shouldn’t be able to spy on us. But anyway, I’m encouraged that there’s more information out now, questions about what our government’s doing.
TORTURE AND DRONE WARFARE
But what about the issue of torture. We’re still arresting people at will in any country that we want to go into. What does torturing do? It dehumanizes the torturer. You know Khalid [Sheikh Mohammad] was tortured—what 183 times?—and he never confessed. I think it does more damage to us, the person that does the torturing and the country that permits it to happen. Let’s emphasize how terrible it is and try to stop it.
But what about drone warfare? It’s killing. Arbitrary killing around the world, even American citizens. So there’s a lot of reason for us to be very vigilant and wake up to what’s happening. We don’t need this type of a foreign policy. Why don’t we have a foreign policy of the golden rule? Why should we not do to other, never do to another country that, anything that we don’t want them to do to us.
THE BUBBLE ECONOMY OF AMERICA
Our economic system is, I think in a lot worse shape than it appears. We took a system that was misdirected with too much debt in 2007 and 2008, bailed out a bunch of people, and added more debt, added more spending, added more regulations, and printed a lot more money. And that’s supposed to be the solution.
That has built a bigger bubble. The real problem will be when the dollar is rejected as the reserve currency of the world, and I think we’re getting closer to that all the time. There’s been a slipping and sliding for decades of the value of the dollar and the price of gold but toward the end, at the end stages of the currency destruction it goes rapidly. That means interest rates would go up, and prices would go up, and our economy crash, and it would be a lot worse than what we had before in ‘08 and ‘09. Over 100 million people are getting food subsidies, and we now are paying 27 percent of our income tax just for the interest on the national debt. Can you imagine what it would be like if interest rates would go from 1 percent or 2 percent or 3 percent, that would be very devastating and compound the problem.
That is why we have to have something in place economically. It can be found in the concept of liberty. The free market is part of what liberty is all about. It means you have a right to your life and a right to your property. A free enterprise system, a free market, means that you own the property, not the government, that you have voluntary contracts. The government’s supposed to enforce contracts, they’re not supposed to undermine them.
Today we have a medical system where—due to government meddling—they cancel our insurance policies all the time when they should be enforcing contracts. There should be no fraud, and there should be no counterfeiting, but the government’s the biggest counterfeiter [today].
LIBERTY THREATENED IN USA TODAY
While on the surface we don’t seem to be having that much trouble now, I think structurally it’s much worse. I think the attack on liberty is much worse. There is no respect for our privacy. There’s no respect for our liberties. I believe that we have to protect is our First Amendment right to express ourselves.
I believe people like Edward Snowden and Kiriakou are heroes and we should reward them instead of punishing them [Sanjeev: I don’t know the Kiriakou case well enough but I disagree that Snowden is a hero].
What about this runaway political correctness? The First Amendment is supposed to protect our right to talk about controversial things, and it’s supposed to protect our right to criticize our own government. But right today it’s very dangerous to criticize the government.
The strength of our government and the wisdom of our government is only going to be as good as the people’s knowledge. This is the reason why education is such an important issue. Freedom is not a very ancient idea. It’s a relatively new idea. It’s just been 800 years since we had the Magna Carta and since that time we’ve had developments and progress. Unfortunately recently our presidents have not advanced the cause of liberty.
The Magna Carta was a great event. Another great event was the founders’ writing of our Constitution. But in the last 100 years it’s been slipping away. I say that the government, like the founders intended, should be very, very limited.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT FREEDOM, AS PROVEN IN RON’S OWN CASE
Since limiting the government didn’t work out as well as it should have, then the next step is to consider that the abuse comes from the lack of quality and character of the people we send. Then of course, we have to work to send the best people, and right now that’s slow and tedious and not doing very much. But guess what is happening today? Because the people are way ahead of the government. I had run as a libertarian in the ‘80s, and I was pretty blunt about the stupidity of the drug war and had been in office for four terms, then I went back to my medical practice, and in ‘96 I ran again, thinking oh boy, they’ll kill me on this drug war. The Republicans certainly didn’t want me back—can you imagine what they did was when they heard I was going to run? I had told them I was going to run and that I would run against a Democrat and would take a Republican seat. This was in ‘96 but they quickly got the incumbent Democrat to switch to be a Republican and paid him a lot of money and the president, the governors, the senators: everybody endorsed him. Newt Gingrich endorsed him and the whole works and then in the primary I ran against him, and they ran against me—spent over a million dollars which even back then that was good money—and they attacked me for the stupidity of drugs, saying I wanted to give drugs to kids and all that. But it didn’t do any good. The Democrats did the same thing, but my conclusion was that the people were way ahead of the government. The people even realized that the war on drugs made no sense. And besides they had trouble with my family and my medical practice, trying to convince everybody that I was wanting to legalize freedom because I like drugs. But today the people are way ahead of Washington.
They’re ahead of Washington. This is because the people got ahead with the help of the campaign for liberty. They got ahead on the Federal Reserve, and every Republican supported my Audit the Fed bill, and we passed it twice on the House floor. And I can guarantee you it had nothing to do with my political clout in Washington because I didn’t have any, but the people—you and others outside of Washington—had some clout because you let the congressmen know, “Well look auditing the Fed is what we want done,” and they voted for it. So these kinds of things can happen but there are other things happening too. Take for instance the drug war. I think nullification is going to happen. The President, Obama, is supposed to be a progressive Democrat, and he actually talked about being tough on the war on drugs, and things got no better at all. But all of the sudden the various states passed laws circumventing the government and now it’s essentially happening that the government’s not going to come and start repealing all these laws because the momentum of the people and the consensus is finally established. I would like to see a lot more nullification of the federal laws, that’s what I would like to see.
Then we have NASA to deal with. NASA goes around the country, they have various outposts and build these big offices and headquarters and there’s one in Utah and some other states and guess what the local people have started to do. They’ve said if you build that here we’re not going to give you any water, and we’re not going to give you any electricity, and you don’t need to be here.
So people’s opinions are very important and can be important, but I know the frustration because I hear it all the time: “My congressman never listens to me. I write him this and this.” But he has to know that there are a lot of people, and if he does know it and he’s very political, he will come our way. So this is the reason I’m convinced it is educational activity that we need and we need a conviction in what liberty is. We need to understand where our rights come from. We need to understand they don’t come from our government. Our rights come in a natural God-given way and that’s why we have a right to our life and our liberties. Governments can’t give us those rights. It looks like about all they can do is take them away from us, and the one thing that the government cannot do in their efforts to try to make us better people is try to protect us from ourselves. I mean that just opens up the door to doing anything. They’re going to tell you what you want to eat and drink and smoke and read and what religion you can follow, because it’s all in your best interests. When governments are doing something in your best interest it’s always at the expense of liberty so that is the reason in itself that you say that government has to be limited, strictly limited, a lot more limited than what we have today.
And I am optimistic enough to believe that we’re moving in the right direction and I am of the opinion also that the opportunity is so much more available to us because we’re overcoming this propaganda machine of the government and the media. All that happens with our Internet connections. So any time you see anything where the government is suggesting that they’re going to curtail Internet services then we really, really have to work hard, and, hopefully, they will never be able to do it. Hopefully the technology and technicians will be able to protect the freedom of the Internet. Victor Hugo, many years ago had a famous quotation dealing with the importance of ideas, and he talked about the military, and he talked about ideas, and he said, “You know, if you’re a country and somebody’s going to invade you and you know that then you have a pretty good chance. At least you know what they are and you can have an army and you can stop their army. But, if it’s an idea you cannot stop an idea whose time has come.” And I think the time for liberty has come. I think the need is there worldwide, I believe it’s more pervasive in spite of all the problems we have. I think that we’re capable now in the next decade or two to change the attitude that yes, we need a change in our dependency on government. We don’t want to trust our government and, believe me, if the people had anything to say about it there would be a lot fewer wars being fought too.
Samuel Johnson talked about worrying about getting a majority, and a lot of people involved in the freedom movement say, well we have and I even mention we have to get the majority of the people to endorse ideas, but it isn’t that tough. You don’t have to have 51 percent in a position to know and understand. You have to have leadership, a small percentage as we had in our revolutionary war, but the people have to come along and that group of leaders is what Samuel Adams called an irate tireless minority willing to spread brush fires of liberty throughout in the minds of men, and that is what we’re getting. We’re getting brush fires set up. I meet more and more people as I travel around the country who are coming up with ideas and having different jobs and running for office, and they understand the concept of liberty. So there is a lot of progress, and we can’t even see it, but it is an idea and it’s the idea of liberty and it has to be one where we bring people together. Liberty brings people together in such a wonderful way, because you know if you’re talking about economic liberty, we have a bunch of people defending that and then you have social liberty and civil liberties and another group defends that but actually if you understand liberty you bring people together because there’s, there’s this tolerance about it. I’m not going to tell you how to live. You know I’m not going to tell you what to do; I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money. And if some people can recognize that if you tolerate somebody that doesn’t mean you accept what they do as being right. This really brings people together and a freedom movement, it should be very, very diverse, and the crowds that came out in the campaign got to be very, very diverse because they were, people understood that it’s open.
Now that we are seeing government failure, now that we’re seeing that an economic crisis is coming that we are going to see the collapse of this model which is an interventionist, central planning model that is not going to work, it’s going to fail just as blatantly as communism and socialism have failed. Now if you can see that and convince people that you still can have compassion and human concern for others by advocating liberty because the evidence is so clear that the freer society the more prosperous it is and the larger the middle class is. When we were a freer society we had a larger middle class, but our middle class is shrinking rapidly right now. So we need to convince ourselves and convince others but we need to convince ourselves instead of pretending that we are angels and that we can bully ourselves around the world and tell everybody else that America is an exceptional nation. When we’re an exceptional nation, we won’t have to bully anybody. People will want to follow what we do.
One of the personal reasons I like the idea of liberty is because I have this strong sense of personal responsibility—of family, raising children, and governing one’s self and governing in the family situation. In a free society it really allows the opportunity for excellence and virtue, and that should be what we seek. Some people won’t and they don’t care, but as long as they don’t hurt anybody else I’m not going to worry about them. But for people who are motivated for excellence and virtue you can’t have those with a government running your life. Or if you tell the truth and you get arrested. Or if you don’t follow some regulation—if you dig a ditch or a pond on your farm and you get arrested and your land is taken from you. But a free society frees up this creative attitude that is required that we once had much more of.
Today, all the creativity is designed for the lobbyists to go to Washington and influence the next piece of legislation, and how to get their bill out, and how to punish somebody else, and how to get influence over the financial system and the Federal Reserve. That’s where the motivation of all that energy is going. Just recently I saw some numbers on how many billions of dollars and millions if not billions of hours we spend getting our tax returns sent in. I mean how long are we going to put up with this? It’s such a shame and such a tragedy that it’s happened. Because I think on the issue of taxation that you really lose twice. You lose. If I’m the government and I come and I take your money, you’ve just lost—I have your money. But you lose again when the government spends the money because they’re going to do something else to hurt you. So it’s a double victory if we allow the money to stay in the people’s pockets, and they get to spend it and you don’t have the overburdening government bearing down on us. So this is available to us and this is why we should be encouraged.
After I speak, a lot of people will come up and there’ll be the question, “What, actually, what do you want me to do?” And my answer is not very complicated. I say do whatever you want. Just do something and it’s, that’s what people are doing, they’re very creative. I mean some people might be writers or some people might get into the media. Some people might want to run for office or support other candidates, and some people might support the institutions that promote liberty—and there are a lot around. In the ‘50s—and I’m sure David is probably old enough to remember—there wasn’t that much around. I remember Leonard Reed’s Foundation for Economic Education and a few more, but now there are a lot of them. So the opportunities are there, and it’s the change in the hearts and minds of the people that make all the difference in the world and the other thing that I suggest is that if you come together—because some of these problems sound pretty, pretty tough—it helps you not to be despondent about what you can’t do and that you can’t know what tomorrow will bring or the next day. But if you can get together with likeminded people who have an understanding of these policies and honor and respect what liberty is all about, you actually can have enjoyment there. So whether I’m talking to the YAL college campus kids or anybody else I say that you ought to have fun doing it and not ever get despondent about it because that’s easy to do. You can say oh, just throw up your hands and you hear so many stories, but things can change for the better. It’s possible, it has happened in the past, it’s beginning to happen here so look at this as just the beginning of a very, very positive change and I don’t think it’s just one little niche in the change and the freedom and I think it’s major what is happening because we’ve exposed government in the various forms, they’ve all failed, and we have now offered a more concrete explanation of what liberty is all about. We have more think tanks than ever before and we have the Internet to spread the message. It’s not going to be a Republican issue, it’s not going to be a Democrat issue. It’s not even going to be a United States issue, it’s going to be a worldwide issue, and we’re going to change the attitude of what the role of government ought to be. And when the government doesn’t listen or if the government won’t change their ways, then the people should just flat out opt out.
Very quickly because I think I’ve gone too long is that opting out is the solution to many of these. Just offer a choice. Whether it’s the medical care, or a monetary system, or a school system you always have a right to opt out. Just think of a few small groups that have been permitted to opt out of the system. The Amish and Mennonites. Now, maybe you don’t want to live the way they do and they got their rights because of religious freedom, but it’s not just religious freedom. There should be the right for every single American to opt out of the system and take responsibility for yourself.
Thank you very much. Delightful to be with you today. Thank you.
Ron, we have some time for some questions and there are many. We’ll see how many we can get through. The first one is the President says, “we have jobs but where are they?”
I think he’s fibbing. No, we don’t have jobs. That one statistic I quoted was that there are 12 million new people since the recession started, and I think it’s 111,000 new jobs, but that means that 11,800,000 people don’t have jobs. So yes there are a couple of new jobs here, but when you look at it many of them are part-time jobs and low paying jobs, but we do not have a healthy, vibrant economy no matter what they say. They’re trying to, I think, talk to themselves by talking to us and convincing us, but there’s a limit. I don’t think the people are buying.
Another question is, what is the limit to Federal Reserve money printing and what happens when we reach that limit?
What is the limit?
To Federal Reserve money printing.
You mean the legal limit?
Whatever, however you want to define that.
Okay, what is the limit to how much money we are printing and what will happen? You know in Austrian economics you have objective things to look at, and one thing is that there’s a subjective value of, on the theory of subjective value people put their subjective element into it. So, the dollar will have some subjective element to it. You know military power and wealth allows governments sometimes to print a lot more money, and right now we’ve been able to do it because we have the reserve currency of the world, and I spoke a little bit about that. Eventually, that will go. They really haven’t slowed up because they knew, when they cut back a little bit on QE—$85 billion dollars a month down to $55 billion dollars a month—wow but the interest rates never went up so they were buying something else. They were still fixing interest rates. So no, I don’t think anybody knows the day and time that’s going to happen but it’s going to happen but it may, I suspect it could come out of these very deeply flawed international and economic policies we have with the Russians right now that can get out of control. Our interest rates will bump up, and we won’t be able, you know it will be so devastating to our budget and then it’s going to quit. There’s no law, I mean if there were, if we were looking to the law, we would get rid of the Federal Reserve, have gold and silver, and there’d be no monetizing of any debt. But that’s not going to happen.
Especially as a doctor, what is your view of Obamacare and what should be done about healthcare?
Well I think the easiest thing to do and the simplest way to understand it is to look for guidance in the Constitution and it’s pretty clear. I looked and looked and read it a couple times and there’s no authority in the Constitution for the federal government to be involved in medical care. But, you know we’re a long way from that because it’s involved 65 percent of the time, and more now with Obamacare. Obamacare makes it worse but the Republicans have already been caught behind the scenes putting in amendments to protect some Obamacare stuff, and the Republicans like prescription drug programs, so once again bipartisanship supports government medicine. But even in the campaign I was very clear on balancing the budget, I was going to get rid of five departments and cut a trillion dollars out, bring all the troops home and this sort of thing. I was very clear: if you can develop a transition what you do is you cut things like overseas wars and much of that spending, but you don’t cut the medical care for somebody who’s dependent on child healthcare or something. But people, even if you want to nibble away at it, what they’ll do is claim you have no compassion whatsoever, that you’re just a bunch of heartless people. but I tell you what, the heart is really on our side because if this progresses and breaks down it’s going to be a lot worse than biting the bullet a little bit. But Obamacare is not helpful, it’s going to take away your rights, the costs are going to go up, it’s going to be a monster and I am not very optimistic about that, but once again I would argue the case for the Amish/Mennonite approach to give you the right to get out of it and give you a tax deduction for taking care of yourself.
Ron, as a related question, follow up to what you were saying, what’s your view of health savings accounts?
Health savings accounts—I alluded to that. The health savings accounts—and I’ve tried to check, with Obamacare—and I think they’re still legal but it’s more complicated, it’s more difficult to use. But the health savings account, basically, this would be perfect for a young people because they don’t want to buy this insurance. They’re the ones who are resistant but a young person could put away $3000 a year into an account and deduct it from taxes and save it and just use it for routine medical care costs, and then get a major medical policy.
Every day you hear about health insurance. It’s not health insurance, it’s prepaid medical care. What they’re talking about in medicine is like if we were buying our car insurance and the people demanded that prior conditions don’t matter, so if you have an old jalopy, the insurance company has to pay for all the repairs and the gasoline. That’s what they’re doing in medicine, and so it has nothing to do with measuring risks. So if they wanted to do that they should’ve just been up front and said all right we’ll put everybody on a government program. But this whole idea is, I think, another example of what I disapprove of so strongly, and that is the combination of corporations and big government. Whether it’s the military industrial complex, or when Bush pushed through the prescription program for the drug companies. Drug companies, I don’t think they’re screaming and hollering right now. The insurance companies, they’re getting all these forced customers. If they’re not making enough money because the government will force them to take care of all prior conditions, which they can’t afford, so then the government’s either going to give them money or they’re going to change the contract. So it’s a mess. Government generally has not done a very good job in regulating or running anything.
Ron, the next question: “Is foreign aid ever justified?”
No and a lot of people in Congress, we had sort of an unannounced working together with progressive sand some libertarian types for being anti-war and I, of course, took the position for no foreign aid and no sanctions. But the progressives frequently would vote for the sanctions and they would vote for the foreign aid but they wouldn’t go for the war. They don’t realize that intervention is the problem and they always—bleeding hearts, you know—if we send foreign aid to Africa we’re going to help the poor people. One thing that I remember about foreign aid—just think of it—when people are taxed, they say, “We’re going to tax the rich,” but that doesn’t really happen, so foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries. That’s what’s happening.
Ron, two related questions about the Constitution and the viability of holding a Constitutional Convention. One is: what do you think of an Article V State Constitutional Convention? The other is: recent reports suggest a Constitutional Convention could be called soon. What are the risks and opportunities of doing that?
Yeah, there are two sides to the argument. If somebody supports the convention you can’t be against it on principle because the principle of the Constitution is to have a convention. As optimistic as I want to be, the country’s not ready to have a convention and improve on the Constitution. I would be concerned about what they would do at the convention, but it certainly shouldn’t be illegal. Constitutions are only as good as the people. The odds of us having a convention and automatically coming out with a better Constitution, well we need to come out with better people is what we need right now.
One of the motivations behind the Constitutional Convention—and I’m sure there’ll be a little disagreement here on this—is to have a balanced budget amendment. And I think we’ve had some votes on it and I generally would vote for it unless it’s really bad. But when you think about that: if it’s just, say, that you have to balance the budget this year, maybe they’ll raise taxes, and that wouldn’t be any good. I don’t want to balance the budget by raising taxes. We want to balance the budget at a lower level. And right now think of how much is off the budget. We have black budgets all over the place. The CIA does their own budgeting. They sell drugs, and they run their outfit, and I mean it’s so out of control. What about the Federal Reserve? Are they under the budget? I mean they spent $15 trillion bailing out their friends, and we can’t even get an audit. People are waking up and we didn’t get it. So the balance the budget amendment is not going to deal with that. The only thing that really counts is the philosophy of government: what should the role of government be? And if the role of government is what it is today all of this stuff won’t help. The role of government should be for the protection of liberty and we should send only people that understand that and will do their best to protect our liberties.
Ron, what do you say about militarized police?
They’re not legal. Especially when they’re militarized, when you think of militarized, you’re thinking of federal military tanks and equipment and army tanks coming in. I guess you could have a militarized police force that was designed locally, but usually they get the equipment from the military. The militarized police force is very bad, but it’s in conjunction with this whole idea of having a national police force. I guess on that incident today, well, let’s see, I’ve got it mixed up but there was an incident that within minutes the FBI was there and they took over. We had the, I never supported FEMA and the flood programs, even though I lived on the coast and we got hit by hurricanes. And I never lost very much politically on that because when FEMA, when there was an emergency like in New Orleans, the legal people came in, the feds came in, and they were the policemen, and they pushed everybody aside. It got to the point where the people in my district disapproved of the federal police whether it was the FBI or the FEMA people coming in, and that was very healthy. I think that we should, we just don’t need that. We just need people to understand what the Second Amendment is all about and things would be taken care of much better.
Ron, we’re running short on time so this I think will be our last question. What’s the most effective way to reach young people?
They need inspired, and everybody has a different method of doing it. The one thing that I encourage in the campaign, because we talked about a revolution, and we want to be inspired by what we believe in, and young people are easily inspired that way and see something positive, see the problems and find out the answer’s not all that complicated—that there are answers rather than just throwing up your hands. But I also said that for a true revolution to work you have to have music. And you know, just like I was the least likely candidate to push legalization of marijuana along, I probably was the least likely candidate to ever have rap music promoting my campaign, which I didn’t understand, but then there was Amy Allen. So if you haven’t heard the Amy Allen song pull it up on the Internet, she was great.
Thank you very much.