It’s Time For a City On the Moon!
Ron Paul: Trailblazer
by Jim Davidson
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
"We don’t need to just change the
political parties, we need to change our philosophy about what this
country is all about. …But let’s say government, as you
all, I am sure would agree, is out of control, and it’s very
hard for us to get a handle on it. So let’s say we even
theoretically, and a miracle happens and we balance the budget where
we are today, it would be still a disaster because we’re
spending too much money. But it wouldn’t change a whole lot.
When a crisis comes, guess what happens? Guess who does the bailing
out? The Federal Reserve used $4 trillion to pass out without
congressional approval…The Federal Reserve creates money out
of thin air, they can loan to banks, central banks of the world, to
other governments and international financial institutions and we
’re not even allowed to know. They resent the fact that when I
ask these questions, that they don’t have to give us
information. That’s why the bill to audit the Fed is the first
step to ending the Federal Reserve. But the Federal Reserve will end
itself because they will destroy the dollar. Since the Fed came into
existence since 1913, they’ve eliminated 98% of the value of
the 1913 dollar, and it’s continuing erosion, they pumped at
first when the crisis hit $1.2 trillion and another $600 billion and
believe me, there is an economic law that says you just can’t
continue to do this. … government should not be regulating us
and we should adapt one other principle for that to work. We should
all swear off the use of violence against our neighbors, our friends,
against other countries. …The purpose of all political
activity from my view point is to promote liberty. Liberty is the
most important element, liberty comes from our creator, it doesn
’t come from our government. If we have a free society, we can
go about our business and do our very best work toward virtuous
things and work toward excellence. When government takes over the
role of making us virtuous and making us excellent and redistributing
the wealth, they only do it at the expense of liberty, and that’
s why we’re in such terrible shape today, it’s because we
’ve allowed the government to be so much involved. …
There is no authority in the constitution to have a Federal Reserve
system, no authority for the welfare state and no authority for the
police state, it’s not there."
— Ron Paul, Speech at CPAC 2011
In December 2007 I went to a coffee house in Lawrence, Kansas where I was living at the time. I had moved back to Lawrence from Houston in 2005 because my mother needed help caring for my dad. The event I attended at the "grafitti room" of Java Break was overflowing with people. There were about 90 people there, trying to fit into a room that generally held fifteen or twenty at other times. Why were so many people there in one place? It was the first Ron Paul meetup in the area.
Now, Ron Paul was a politician, an author, a medical doctor, and did a number of other things before running for president in 2008. His speech quoted above is a political speech given to a political group and it talks about political solutions. I have been convinced for decades that the many solutions to the vast array of problems caused by the excesses of politics in this world do not arise from the application of yet more politics. The political analysis by Ron Paul, above, is spot on: there is no authority for the Federal Reserve, the welfare state, the warfare state, the police state, the standing armies, in the constitution that supposedly outlines the basis for government in the USA. And therefore it is irrational to expect that the government is going to be obedient to the constitution.
I believe that politics is a cul-de-sac which, at best, means you can circle around and get back out. But, it is a very popular cul-de-sac and it is a metaphorical forum for discussing meaningful problems. So, given that the solutions to these problems are not political ones, why am I talking about a political person, Ron Paul? And why am I working with Adam Kokesh to find supporters for his plan to run for president in 2020 on a platform to abolish the federal government?
The solutions to the problems we face as a species are mostly due to the actions of people, so they are of human dimension. Wars, slavery, oppression, police brutality, military occupation of other countries, silencing of dissent, predatory practices in lending, usury, sexually aggressive people in politics and filmmaking preying on the people in their power, the rape of children by priests and others, these are all human problems, things people do to one another, not because they should, but because they can. From where do solutions to human problems need to come? From humans, from people, from individuals.
We aren't going to solve these problems with politics, but we can use politics to talk about them. And if we do, if we present non-political solutions in a political context, we will find good people show up to discuss them. I know that's true, because I saw it time and time again in 2008 and in 2012. I saw dozens of people try to cram themselves into small spaces for meetups, I saw meetups adjourn to private homes, I saw people gather at the Federal Reserve building in Kansas City for Occupy Kansas City in part because of Ron Paul having been insistent that the Federal Reserve is doing a terrible job, and should be ended. I saw those same people gather at the IRS building in Kansas City to protest that taxation is theft.
There are better things to do with your time, I believe. If you are motivated to make a better world, start by making a better community. Get some land in the country, build a business there, and bring people to visit. I have in mind a hunting lodge, or an RV park, or a bed and breakfast, or a theme park, and I've organised Resilient Ways Foundation to pursue these projects. I've identified dozens of people working on similar projects all over the world.
If you are motivated to make a more sensible economy for the world, get involved in crypto-currencies. Check out Bitcoin, Litecoin, EOS, and other blockchain currencies. Look into Ethereum. Find a project that applies information technology to economic activities and you'll find innovators. Join with them and build a better economy. Don't argue, build.
And if you are looking for people with whom to work, get involved in liberty. David Nolan and others founded the Libertarian Party in 1971 so people would have a place to talk about liberty. There are libertarian groups all over the country. Way back in 1988, the last time I voted in a presidential election, the presidential candidate I voted for was the Libertarian Party's candidate, Ron Paul.
In my direct personal experience, visiting the Lake Jackson, Texas area during the 1990s to celebrate Ron Paul's birthdays with his crowd of supporters was a great way to find people involved in the work of liberty. In 2008 the place to find them was in the Ron Paul campaign. In 2009 the place to find them was in the Campaign for Liberty. In 2012, the place to find them was again in Ron Paul's presidential campaign.
Did he profit from his work? Yes, he did. He sold a great many more books because he had a presidential campaign and he sold even more four years later when he had another. He organised Campaign for Liberty and the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, and he has mailing lists of tens to hundreds of thousands of supporters. I happen to think he continues to do a lot to earn that money by promoting the ideas of freedom and free markets. I also happen to believe in free choice, and I firmly believe that the people who donated money to Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 and who give to his institute today are doing so voluntarily. It is their money, and their choice.
Is Adam Kokesh another Ron Paul? Clearly not. He is an entirely different person. He is a man of good character, he has interesting ideas, he has a following of tens of thousands on Twitter, and he has a background in liberty activism. He was arrested for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial. You can read about Adam at various sites on the Internet because anarchists and libertarians built lots of places over the years where you can go and read up on things and people, even if you aren't yet completely for individual liberty.
Would Adam benefit personally from a campaign for president in 2020? Of course. He's already written a book, and if he is giving this one away at many events where I've run across it, that doesn't mean he won't have books to sell in the future. Writing and selling books is an honourable profession. Are people going to donate to his political campaign? I think so. And many of those donations are going to be entirely voluntary. I suspect all of them will be voluntary, actually. So, should a person benefit from work in the political arena? I think it is silly to imagine anyone doing anything without the prospect of some personal gain. As Robert Heinlein once wrote, if you want to get someone's cooperation, focus on their self-interest. Everyone has self-interest.
Are there controversies involving Adam? You bet! He has an interesting life, and he has been the focus of much attention by people who have been around him, including some who have lived with him. Is that a problem for me? Nope. As long as they spell your name right, and they aren't publishing your obituary, all publicity is good publicity. People are not perfect, that is why forgiveness is important.
Should you contribute to Adam's presidential campaign, or go to an Adam Kokesh meetup in your area? I have no idea. That's not up to me. That's up to you. My experience is that Ron Paul blazed a trail, and built a path in a political wilderness for others to follow. My experience is that visiting Ron Paul's birthday parties and meetups and political rallies was a great way to meet freedom enthusiasts. If you mean to be free, you are going to have to free yourself. But that doesn't have to be a lonely experience. There are a great many freedom seekers. I happen to think that more of them know one another today than did back in 2007 in part because Ron Paul stood up and said that freedom works.
Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, traveller, and story-teller. You can find his blog at ResilientWays.net or find him on Twitter @planetaryjim and elsewhere on the web.
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