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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
America's Last Statesman
February 5, 2016
Hot Springs, VA
"The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope
that others will follow. This is of greater importance than working on
changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous
society. If we can achieve this, then the government will change. The
best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of Liberty.”
-Dr. Ron Paul
The S&P closed out Thursday at $1,915. Gold closed at $1,157 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $31.72 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.86%. Bitcoin is trading around $388 per BTC today.
Most of the snow has finally melted here in the mountains of Virginia with only intermittent white patches left dotting the landscape. Having been covered for more than a week, the revealed ground appears saturated, muddy, and grimy – much like the current election cycle here in the U.S.
After ignoring the circus entirely for four months, I did tune in to a portion of last week's GOP debate. I was primarily interested in observing Rand Paul as he seemed to move back towards advocating Liberty, having failed to adequately pander to the Straussian neoconservatives who have come to dominate the Republican party.
After distancing himself from his old man throughout his campaign, Rand even invited three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul to help rally supporters on the campaign trail in Iowa. Ron's arrival was reportedly greeted by students chanting “End the Fed!”, which I must admit triggered heavy nostalgia within me.
I couldn't help but rewind the clock back four years as a younger and much more naïve version of me watched Dr. Ron Paul's courageous presidential campaign with hope and admiration. Here was a man who was the modern image of Thomas Jefferson and the libertarian faction of the founding fathers, and for that he was ridiculed, jeered, and scorned by the mainstream media and establishment Republicans. Here was a man who was so fervent in his beliefs that he even refused to participate in the lucrative congressional retirement fund when he was elected to Congress in 1976 because he considered it unfair and abusive to the American taxpayers.Where all of the other candidates advocated one unconstitutional authoritarian position after another, Dr. Paul advocated individual liberty: nothing more; nothing less. Where all of the other candidates tossed around meaningless slogans fit for a seven year old, Dr. Paul logically explained how the philosophy of Liberty could provide a solution to every major issue discussed. Where they railed against Obama and the Democrats calling for mindless solidarity, Dr. Paul spoke out against the Federal Reserve, fiat money, and the big government/big finance/big business cronyism serving to hollow out the American middle class while calling for free markets and free minds.
They wanted more surveillance, more unlawful data collection, more militarism, more policing the world, more nation-building, more foreign aid, more corporatism, more trade protectionism, more federal funding and subsidies for choice industries; Dr. Paul just wanted more freedom, and he explained how the above-mentioned policies not only destroyed freedom, but they also happened to be unconstitutional.
Early in the 2012 election cycle, Dr. Paul released his Plan to Restore America, and it outraged the establishment and the mainstream media. The media worked diligently to portray Ron's plan as radical, crazy, unpractical, and unacceptable. In interview after interview Dr. Paul politely responded to the harsh criticism by pointing out that his plan was the only one in alignment with the U.S. Constitution. Ron's Plan to Restore America was the only plan that offered to put money and decision-making back into the hands of the American people. Dr. Paul adamantly expressed his belief in the principle of voluntarism – the notion that individuals, families, communities, and churches should be free to solve problems and handle local administrative functions without coercion from a monolithic government. Dr. Paul tried to explain that this was the dynamic that existed for most of the country's history, and he demonstrated how Liberty fosters peace and prosperity while authoritarian edicts and Keynesian central planning fosters chaos.
Here's what the plan called for in a nutshell:
Cease running up the national debt by cutting $1 trillion in spending in year 1 and balancing the budget within 4 years. Audit then gradually phase out the Federal Reserve by legalizing competing currencies to cease debt monetization and to pave the way for a return to constitutional money. End the unconstitutional wars in the Middle East, close down the unconstitutional military bases stationed around the world, and bring the troops home to focus exclusively on national defense. End all foreign aid to all countries. Use the money saved from these spending cuts to shore up Social Security and Medicare for the older folks who have been promised those benefits while enabling young people to opt out of both systems. Abolish the Department of Energy, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Commerce, Department of Interior, and the Department of Education to allow the free market system to operate without constant intervention and corruption. Abolish both the CIA and the TSA which operate outside of constitutional boundaries to allow the incentives of private security to function and flourish. Abolish the IRS and the unconstitutional income tax to allow people to keep the fruits of their labor, save money, and put their excess production back into the economy instead of into the hands of bureaucrats and special interest groups. End the abstract “War on Terror”, “War on Drugs”, and “War on Poverty”. Restrict the federal government from doing anything not explicitly authorized in the Constitution. In short, legalize freedom.
Such bold advocacy for individual liberty, free markets, free enterprise, non-intervention, and non-coercion excited and energized millions of people around the country and around the world – especially the young people. The vast majority of Ron's campaign involved holding rallies and giving speeches on college campuses around the U.S. Ron would consistently draw capacity crowds numbering well into the thousands, and there are pictures floating around on the Internet of students climbing trees to get a better vantage point. Ron even drew more than 8,500 people to his speech at UC Berkeley – not exactly a bastion for typical Republican politics. None of this was reported in the mainstream media, however, so the average voter had no idea about this man's message and how popular it was.
Dr. Paul's supporters realized very quickly that he was not going to get any favorable coverage from the mainstream media so a vast network of alternative media sites sprung up on the Internet. Liberty activists from all over the country would attend rallies, speeches, debates, caucuses, primaries, delegate elections, etc. and upload live reports to various alternative news web sites. It was not uncommon for people to set up live-streams to broadcast these events online in real-time.
At first the power of decentralized media leveraging technology was exciting! Who needs the prime time nightly news when you can get unfiltered information from the grass roots in real time? But it wasn't long before the power of the alternative media exposed a reality that many of us were not ready to see.
As the alternative media documented Ron's campaign on a daily basis, it became more and more clear that there are two sides to politics. One side is what you see on your television and in your newspaper. It's systematic and organized, and it looks exactly like what was depicted in your fifth grade Civics textbook. CNN will send their cameramen around to film people as they line up single-file to cast their ballots, and Wolf Blitzer will gush over how great American democracy is. Then the results will come in and the morning newspaper will have a big headline declaring the winner. Just as it is supposed to be.
But there's something a bit more sinister taking place behind the white picket fence and brick veneer of electoral politics. Deceptive practices, confrontation, violence, locked doors, closed polls, election fraud, and arbitrary rule changes are what awaited the Ron Paul campaign and its grassroots supporters at each primary. Despite the corruption and media marginalization, Dr. Paul managed to amass a plurality of delegate majorities which qualified him to compete for the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention according to RNC rules.
Rather than honoring their own rules, the RNC simply de-credentialed entire blocks of delegates committed to Ron Paul and replaced them with delegates hand-picked by party leaders.
Deborah Smarth documented the corruption rampant in the 2012 GOP primary election cycle in her book America's Lost Opportunity: Stolen Victories 2012. Having followed Dr. Paul's 2012 campaign vigilantly, I can say that as incriminating as Deborah's book is, it actually missed a number of questionable occurrences that I witnessed first hand.
At first Dr. Paul's legion of grassroots supporters were shocked and outraged by all of this. They put their time, energy, and money into the campaign, and they played by the party's rules so they had expected a fair hearing.
“Ron Paul was cheated! The system is broken!”, they yelled.
After the initial shock wore off, however, many of us began to realize something. The electoral system wasn't broken; it was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. That is to say, it was making sure the establishment's chosen candidate was elected.
We began to realize that your vote only counts if you vote for the establishment's choice. We began to see how the media facilitates the corruption by white-washing the poor practices and by marginalizing the unacceptable candidates. We began to see that the political system is something much darker than what is depicted on television and in fifth grade Civics.
Then we began to tear into history, philosophy, political theory, and free market economics to assess the validity of our realizations. We read The Law by Frederic Bastiat, The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin, Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, From Aristocracy, to Monarchy, to Democracy by Hans Hermann Hoppe, Why American History is Not What They Say by Jeff Riggenbach, The Left, the Right, and the State by Llewllyn Rockwell, Anatomy of the State by Murray Rothbard, and many others.
This new-found understanding confirmed our suspicions – elections support the illusion that centralized government works for the people. In reality, governments work for themselves and their buddies at the expense of everyone else. There are surely some good people with good intentions working in government, but collectively the institution seeks only more power and more wealth.
This is nothing new. Studying history clearly illustrates this phenomenon; we have seen it time after time. From Egypt to Rome to Britain to the United States – no matter how benign originally, the government always moves towards power, wealth, and corruption to the detriment of the people.
This is why so many grassroots supporters of America's last statesman have ceased participating in electoral politics. They see elections as a sham and a dead-end.
This doesn't mean they have abandoned hope, however. Instead, they have come to realize that positive change has its root in the minds of men (and women) at the local level. This is more true today than ever before in history given the decentralized nature of the Information Age.
Rather than rushing off to the voting booth every two years, these folks have dedicated themselves to living a moral life, taking responsibility for their own well-being, setting a positive example, seeking to serve others where possible, and in-so-doing they are working to create the change they would like to see in the world – no elections necessary. They emphatically supported Ron Paul because they thought they needed to take Liberty back from their government. In the end they discovered that Liberty was theirs all along; it just needed fertile soil within which to blossom. As Dr. Paul so often said: An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped by any government or any army!
Having come to these values and positions on their own accord through much research and self-reflection, there will be no return to politics. It doesn't matter how many Donald Trumps and Bernie Sanders' come along to whip the masses up into fits of anger, envy, and intolerance, it is clear to those who were paying attention in 2008 and 2012 that America's last statesman has left the building.
For more of Joe's thoughts on the "Great Reset" and individual solutions, please read The Individual is Rising: 2nd Edition. The Individual is Rising is available through Amazon and at www.theindividualisrising.com/. Please sign up for the mailing list to be notified of other projects as they come to fruition.