Ron Paul, “The Revolution: A Manifesto”

Last winter, when I donated to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, I made the mistake of buying a Ron Paul sweatshirt but no Ron Paul T-shirt. I do not remember whether that was simple inadvertence on my part or whether it reflected a conscious prediction that Dr. Paul would likely be irrelevant by the time it was too warm for the sweatshirt. Either way, it was a mistake, because Ron Paul’s role in the presidential election is today very much the same as it was back in January. He is a man who will not be president, but who will not stop asking some of the most important questions about the course our nation is on. It is perhaps no coincidence that he also provides the most philosophically coherent package of answers.

He now provides these answers in The Revolution: A Manifesto. I did not rush out to buy Dr. Paul’s most recent book on the first day of publication, but I did buy it. In fact, I ended up reviewing it for the Washington Times, in a review that appears on today’s op-ed page. It is a short book, and its brevity underscores its message that we must return to first principles and stick to the basics of freedom and self-government. I strongly recommend it.

UPDATE: The Future of Freedom Foundation was kind enough to include the Washington Times review in its e-mail update for today (July 2, 2008), which you can view here.


13 Responses to “Ron Paul, “The Revolution: A Manifesto””

  1. Timothy Peach Says:

    Granulous, I applaud your willingness to risk ridicule to support someone who, on stage, seemed to me to be a total gold bug kook.

    You’re the only person I know who has expressed support for this guy who doesn’t also believe in at least 3 of the following 4 things:

    – God create gold as a cosmic store of value, and it is the only real money
    – George Bush arranged the attack on the World Trade Center with the Saudis to further his quest for domination of the Middle East and control of the world’s oil supply
    – If you watch carefully, you can tell by the misplaced shadows that the moon landings never actually happened
    – Michael Jackson is a perfectly normal person on the planet he came from

    I mean, come on, Carlos likes this guy.

  2. Mark Grannis Says:

    Tim, I apologize but I seem to have lost the thread of your argument. Somewhere around “kook,” I think, is where I was expecting to find a reason or two.

  3. Timothy Peach Says:

    I’m just setting the stage, dude. I’m at work. If I open up the book you reviewed here on the desk, they’ll throw a net over me and inject me with tranquilizers.

    I gotta gather some data here. I really don’t know all that much about Jerry Springer either… if you opened up a thoughtful thread on him here, I’d have to do some reading on him as well.

  4. Dan Says:

    Ron Paul is a patriot. Thanks for the article. I enjoyed his book as well.


  5. Timothy Peach Says:

    From his website:

    He has never voted to raise taxes.
    He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
    He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
    He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
    He has never taken a government-paid junket.
    He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

    He voted against the Patriot Act.
    He voted against regulating the Internet.
    He voted against the Iraq war.

    He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
    He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

    Congressman Paul introduces numerous pieces of substantive legislation each year, probably more than any single member of Congress.

    So he’s a libertarian. If you’re a libertarian, especially one who spends a lot of time on and thinks that believing that “gold is money” is a religious statement, he’s you’re guy.

    He’s a gun-loving isolationist who sees the world in black and white. I’m probably distantly related to him given I tend to view the world simplistically myself. And I agree with your contention that he certainly isn’t a “far right Republican”. Libertarianism is a direction all its own.

  6. Mark Grannis Says:

    Tim, I encourage you to read the book. The voting record is no substitute. For example, Dr. Paul (as I called him in my draft — I guess the Times must have a policy of calling everyone “Mr.”) expressly addresses the “isolationist” label on p. 10:

    “Anyone who advocates the noninterventionist foreign policy of the Founding Fathers can expect to be derided as an isolationist. I myself have never been an isolationist. I favor the very opposite of isolation: diplomacy, free trade, and freedom of travel. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders.”

    And on p. 29, he addresses the historical place that a noninterventionist foreign policy has had not just among libertarians, but in the history of the Republican Party and the conservative movement more generally:

    “The so-called old Right, or original Right, opposed Big Government at home and abroad and considered foreign interventionism to be the other side of the same statist coin as interventionism at home. The recognized that Big Government was no more honest or competent in foreign policy than it was in domestic policy. In both cases it was the same institution, with the same people, operating under the same incentives.”

    In other words: If nearly all conservatives agree that our government is not smart enough to know who ought to run GM, why is it that some of those same people insist that our government is smart enough to know who ought to run Iraq?

    Because this is consistent with a libertarian opposition to constraints on liberty as such, the temptation is to dismiss it as *merely* libertarian. But note that this type of foreign policy is entirely consistent with traditional conservative skepticism about utopian projects and utopian worldviews. And Dr. Paul gives examples throughout his book from the writings of conservatives like William F. Buckley, Russell Kirk, Robert Taft, Robert Nisbet, and others.

    The fault lines between libertarianism and traditional conservatism deserve not just another post, but another book. I am inclined to think they are largely philosophical — that is, inhering in the different reasons for taking position X rather than actual conflict between position X and position Y. Maybe I’ll pick up on that thought later. For now, though, I think it enough to say that so far you have still not provided reasons to disagree with Dr. Paul — you’ve just labeled him. His views on foreign policy don’t have to conflict with the libertarian view to be conservative . . . or correct.

  7. Sk00L Says:

    Isolationist=North Korea, Non-Interventionist=Switzerland… is that concept really that hard to understand? The path to understanding seems to be a long one and the path to educating others seems to take a lifetime, epically when it comes to deprogramming all the preconceptions people think they know about a subject. Mark thank you for taking the time to respond to the specifics of some of those preconceptions, it seems to be an uphill battle but one worth fighting even if it usually falls on def ears.

  8. Timothy Peach Says:

    Dammit Granulous. Now I’m going to have to read this freaking book. And I have very little free time, what, having destroyed my personal life with bad decisions like marriage, procreation, and employment.

    Does this really deserve to jump ahead in line ahead of all the classics I’ve neglected over the years AND books about how to get better at Texas Hold ‘Em?

    If you were here right now, I would punch you. Next time I see you, I’m going to punch you.

  9. Timothy Peach Says:

    When I saw this, I lit up because I thought it was going to be a nutjob goldbug piece that I could jam Granulous with. But it turned out to be anything but:

    I hate to admit, but I liked this little blurb on the futility of “Central Planning”. I still can’t bring myself to read the dumb book by this guy, but he does get points for this.

  10. Timothy Peach Says:

    For those of you (like me) who managed to miss the “other fun” in the Twin Cities last week, here’s a fun summary of the Ron Paul “Rally for the Republic” this past week…

    Here’s a tasty excerpt, featuring Tucker Carlson realizing, politically, that he’s accidentally gone into the women’s bathroom by accident:

    Tucker hadn’t heard the speech, so I break the news to him that Ventura got off his leash. Being a devout believer in the conventional, single-bullet version of the 9/11 attacks (that the terrorists acted alone), Tucker is both alarmed and offended, but doesn’t have much time to reflect. He is accosted by some grubby indie-media types who start trying to engage him: “Have you ever heard of the Controlled Demolition Hypothesis. .  .  . Who I believe did it are the ones who control our money systems. .  .  . Have you followed the [National Institute of Standards and Technology] report on the collapse of building seven?”

    After a brief sparring match with the nutcakes, Tucker looks ashen. “This is crazy. I’ve got to get out of here. Let’s go get dinner.” We slip out the back door of the arena to hail a cab and get some steaks. But Tucker’s still supposed to be emceeing the event, and Paul has yet to speak.

    “Are you going to tell him you’re leaving?” I ask.

    “Nahhh,” Tucker says. “I really like Ron Paul. I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”

    It is not entirely Ron Paul’s fault that he attracts a guy like Jesse Ventura, just as it not Obama’s fault that the screechers at Salon and Slate are throwing rocks for him that he didn’t ask for. But it is not entirely unfair that we judge people and their ideas to some extent by the company they attract.

  11. Mark Grannis Says:

    If it’s “not entirely unfair,” it’s at least an invitation to indulge selection biases. Anyone who was betting that the Weekly Standard would resist the temptation lost a foolish bet.

    Even Tucker Carlson deserves to be judged based on his own words. Here is his interview with Reason TV.

    I also found this clip from MSNBC interesting:

  12. Timothy Peach Says:

    I’ll say a few things:

    – First, Tucker looked better in the first clip than I’ve ever seen him. The decision to get rid of that circus barker get-up he used to don on Crossfire (or whatever) was huge.

    – Why are they interviewing him in the men’s bathroom? I know a lot of serious business gets done in there (ask Sen. Craig), but come on!

    – The interviews were done before Ventura “got off the leash”…. anybody talked to Tucker since then?

    – You should be ashamed of yourself, sitting on your couch eating Cheetos and watching the Orioles lose game after game when YOU should have been the one to tee up an election discussion, precisely because you’re a disaffected libertarian with no dog in this hunt.

    Don’t make me drive down there and slap you silly.

  13. Mark Esswein Says:

    First off, in the first piece Tucker Carlson freely admits he often doesn’t vote. I have to disagree with his contention that he still has a right to complain – bullshit!

    Second: Libertarians by their very nature cannot govern. As Carlson noted, Ron Paul would never ask anyone to follow an order. How does he plan to herd the cats that are congress?

    Although I have a self-characterized libertarian bent, I recognize that libertarianism is a political ideal – something that one aspires to, but will never achieve. At the same time I also am a firm believer in the Lockeian Social Contract. There are certain purposes for which, we form governments. The Norquist crowd (and I don’t have any idea where he lands these days – party-wise) forget that fact when they want to drown government in the bathtub.

    Third: Carlson points out a demographic that may have finally found a home – the dope-fiend republican. I could never understand why most of the biggest stoners I knew were rabid Republicans. I guess that they believed the less government myth too.

    The GOP managed to hold on to the myth of small government for a remarkably long time, but the current administration has proven it for what it is – a myth. They have taken it to the the “my government is OK – yours is not” – extreme. How can an anti-government party govern? The GOP has proven that it can’t.

    If an anit-government party can’t govern, how can an anti-government movement govern?…

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