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I get the impression that some people, mainly those who are not supporters of Ron Paul, believe that there exists a kind of “Ron Paul cult.” I disagree wholeheartedly with this belief. Dr. Paul has never presented himself in a messianic way. In fact, he has gone to great lengths to remind people that his “revolution” is not really about him. After all, he never coined the term “Ron Paul Revolution.” His supporters did. Yes, he is acting as a conduit for libertarianism. And that is precisely why libertarians, no matter what their formal party affiliation may be, are thrilled that he is taking the message of property rights, free markets, and peace to new heights.

Occasionally, however, it seems that many anti-paul people just respond to his statements with a quizzical look and wonder where in the world he came up with his various positions on economics and foreign policy. I mean, he must have just made this stuff up, right? Well, as it turns out, he did not just wake up one day and invent libertarianism. His message does not require people to idolize him. It does not glorify Ron Paul at all. It glorifies the concept of laissez-faire that was embodied in the classical liberals of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Looking at some of these classical liberals’ quotes, as well as some quotes from classical liberals of the 20th century, we can see where Ron Paul gets his inspiration. First there’s Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), a French classical liberal theorist and political econmist who commented:

“Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim – when he defends himself – as a criminal.”

And then there is Carl Menger (1840-1921), the founder of the Austrian School of Economics who said regarding money,

“Money is not an invention of the state. It is not the product of a legislative act. The sanction of political authority is not necessary for its existence.”

And of course, there’s a man whose portrait hangs on Ron Paul’s office wall. He is economist and philosopher, Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) who had this to say about war:

“To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war.”

How many times have we heard Ron Paul talk about the dangers of our foreign policy of intervention? For it is the ideology that generates war. Here’s more on that subject from another man who influenced Ron Paul. He was economist and author Murray Rothbard (1926-1995), who also had strong beliefs regarding State expansion during times of war:

“It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society.”

Moving into sectors of the economy we find Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), a libertarian philosopher,economist, and journalist who said:

“The ‘private sector’ of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and the ‘public sector’ is, in fact, the coercive sector.”

Again, we can hear echoes of these words in Ron Paul’s writings and statements today.

Finally, there’s the issue of civil liberties. Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992) an economist and political philosopher stated:

“‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.”

Sounds just a bit like something Ron Paul would say, doesn’t it?

All of these men I have cited were champions of liberty. The message Ron Paul brings to us now is the same message they espoused. There is no “cult of Ron Paul.” The movement of which he is an important part requires no worship of the messenger. Furthermore, the whole notion of an omnipotent central leader is anathema to libertarians, who revel in freedom for individuals. This is not to say that libertarians are atomistic beings who want no social interaction with other people. It is to say that all associations should be voluntary and free from government coercion.

The messengers will change. The message will remain the same.

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4 Comments

  1. Sir,

    There is not, nor has there ever been a “Ron Paul Cult.” In contrast, there are Americans who remember freedom. We know of it because we had great grandparents who lived before the income tax and the establishment ot the federal reserve. I had a greatgrandfather who served in the great slaughter of WWI. He told me all about it. I lost a grandfather and an Uncle in WWII. I lost an uncle, and my father was severely wounded in Korea. I had an Uncle, and my father also served in Vietnam.
    I hate our government for these endless wars.
    Why are we wasting ourselves in the middle east when American technology could easily end the fuel crisis? If we pulled out of the middle east, the arab world would collapse overnight. After a richly deserved die-back, the arabs would return to their tents- never to be heard of again.

    Alan Moorehead

  2. Well, here’s one person who has been a libertarian for 45 years who is less that thrilled with Ron Paul and his kook hangers on.

    Yes, Paul sometimes says some of the right things about foreign policy. His economic views, however, are laughable, as are his conspiracy based explanations of about every other public policy topic. To put him in the same category of a Mises or a Hayek is ridiculous.

    Paul is far less of a libertarian than he is one of the paranoid rightwing Old Conservative sorts that use to hang around the John Birch Society. NAFTA is a plot by THEM. THEY are out to destroy American Sovereignity [capitalize those important terms]. Blacks, Latinos and probably Jews are, well, we know what they are. Certainly not “one of us.” Etc.

    While it is true that Rothbard engaged in some similar xenophobic and conspiratorial insanities in his last declining years, he was also the brillant theorist who, at his prime, wanted to form an alliance with the Black Panther Party and joyously intoned “Libertarians should celebrate because another state has fallen.” when South Vietnam went down the tubes.

    Too bad Paul missed those boats, he would have fitted right in…… But at least he’s still has the FED Conspiracy and the International Bankers to talk about from those good old days. [With friends like this…..]

  3. I absolutely HATE the Paultards title. It just boggles my mind how clueless, uninformed, braindead sheep think that of people who actually see the problems in this country. Oh well, I guess it’s better to just bury your head in the sand and repeat “Everything’s okay. Now what was that about Obama’s preacher.” *shakes her head*

  4. Craig, thanks for reading my blog, and taking the time to comment on it. However, I do not consider myself a “kook,” as you put it. You disagree with me, and that’s fine. I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere with name calling, however. The point of this post was simply to show people that there is an historical precedent for the statements Ron Paul has been making regarding various issues.


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