The world’s greatest Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has taken to accusing the Tea Party in America of radicalism. But if he’s basing that on the policies and ideas of retiring Texas congressman Ron Paul, then one can only hope we all become radical. The world would be a much better place if Dr Paul’s radical ideas on liberty, virtue, and the relationship between the individual and government were more widely held.
Don’t take our word for it, though. And certainly don’t take the Australian media’s take for it. You will get an incomplete, biased, and buffoonish caricature of a principled man with a carefully thought out philosophy of liberty. Instead, listen to his final address to the Congress from last week.
Our favourite part of the speech had nothing to do with economics though. It was a point Dr Paul made about where personal satisfaction comes from in life. Note, it’s not material prosperity. We wish we’d written it ourselves. Here it is for your consideration:
‘Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.
‘I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.
‘Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek. Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.
‘If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.
‘Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of personal achievement.
‘Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions. The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behaviour.
‘Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.’
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