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Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

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7:19a
Buy this book ...
Now, I may not agree with all of Ron Paul's stances, but his is seemingly the one sane voice in Congress these days, and had the policies outlined in this book been in place, we'd not be in a global economic meltdown right now.

Admittedly the title, The Revolution: A Manifesto is a bit "dramatic" (and likely a play on the "Ron Paul Revolution" of this past election cycle), but this is every bit a call to real change as other "manifestos" over the years. However, this is not a call for radical change to untried and extreme positions (unlike some candidates), but a return to Core American Values, once at the root of the Republican Party. Paul quotes from Robert A. Taft:

When I say liberty, I do not simply mean what is referred to as "free enterprise". I mean liberty of the individual to think his own thoughts and live his own life as he desires to think and to live; the liberty of the family to decide how they wish to live, what they want to eat for breakfast and for dinner, and how they wish to spend their time; liberty of a man to develop his ideas and get other people to teach those ideas, if he can convince them that they have some value to the world; liberty of every local community to decide how its children shall be educated, how its local services shall be run, and who its local leaders shall be; liberty of a man to choose his own occupation; and liberty of a man to run his own business as he thinks it ought to be run, as long as he does not interfere with the right of other people to do the same thing.
In this book Paul covers "The False Choices of American Politics", "The Foreign Policy of the Founding Fathers", "The Constitution", "Economic Freedom", "Civil Liberties and Personal Freedom", "Money: The Forbidden Issue In American Politics", and "The Revolution". Earning the nickname "Dr. No" in Congress for voting "no" to everything that did not have a sound Constitutional basis, Paul is a bit of an "extremist" in his interpretations. He argues that the "general welfare" reference in the Constitution has (as Patrick Henry predicted) has allowed "the federal government to do whatever it wanted". He states, regarding the draft (and various "national service" schemes):

Young people are not raw material to be employed by the political class on behalf of whatever fashionable political, military, or social cause catches its fancy. In a free society, their lives are not the playthings of government.
And, on the subject of "foreign aid":

Morally, I cannot justify the violent seizure of property from Americans in order to redistribute that property to a foreign government - and usually one that is responsible for the appalling material condition of its people. Surely we can agree that Americans ought not to be doing forced labor on behalf of other regimes, and that is exactly what foreign aid is.
Obviously, "violent seizure of property" and "forced labor" are loaded words, but they express Paul's view of what taxation is, when applied to extra-Constitutional ends. Paul goes farther than I would in advocating "international disengagement", but he does make strong points about why we ought not to have 700 military bases in 130 countries around the world! He also advocates a nearly complete abandonment of "entitlement programs" by the Federal government, a stance that no doubt makes the liberals go feral, but this is based more on the concept that the States have a Constitutional responsibility for these sorts of things, and are closer to the problems than Washington, and hence more likely to spend wisely rather than by fiat.

Needless to say, it is heartening to see how popular the "Ron Paul movement" seemed to be over the past couple of years, but frustrating that he never was able to move out of single digits in the primaries. It was fascinating to see the mix of people that were drawn to his message, from "classical" Republicans like myself to scruffy anti-war types, hard-core Libertarians to soft-core Anarchists, and a lot of others who were sick of the status quo. One can only hope that the message will grow, and not simply fade away like a Cubs post-season.

Anyway, The Revolution: A Manifesto is one of those "must read" books. It has a rather steep cover price (for being a rather concentrated 192-page book), but Amazon now has it for 40% off of cover, which makes it a bit more reasonable (the new/used vendors are only barely below that at this point). Again ... buy this book ... it's the only thing that I've read recently that would give even a glimmer of hope to lead us out of the insanity that's dragging the country down!


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