Ron Paul, my hero and great political and moral influence, gave his farewell speech to Congress on November 14th after 23 years of serving as the lonely, often marginalized, voice of reason and stalwart of constitutional principles in the House of Representatives.
In those years Ron Paul always voted against any financing for the drug war and the drug czar's office. He sponsored bills to legalize possession of marijuana, industrial hemp, and medical marijuana; a Truth in Trials Act, allowing introduction of state medical marijuana laws in federal trials; bills to end the US military empire abroad, Plan Colombia, the Patriot Act (and not voting for it in the first place), and the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia (training of foreign military elite in torture and repression). [See the video clips and more links about Ron Paul's position and action on marijuana and the drug war in Marc's December 2011 blog post: "Support Ron Paul for President!"]
Never did Ron Paul ever vote for or support any legislation that restricted our liberties, allowed government secrecy, carried out the war in Iraq, maintained the US military abroad, expanded surveillance of the US people, debased the money, raised taxes, imposed censorship, or any other unconstitutional incursion into the rights of the citizens or the states.
He has been the greatest Congressman in the history of the United States, for he was, and is, the only true patriot to ever have served in the Congress honoring the US Constitution in a devotion that was, thankfully, fanatical and unwavering.
You must watch and/or read Ron Paul's farewell speech. (Click Here or watch the video below.) It is one of the vital documents of our time. Not a false word is spoken or written. Clearly and plainly, Ron Paul explains what went wrong, why liberty is fundamental to all of human success and progress, asks all the right questions, and lays blame appropriately – at the feet of government and the citizens who enable governments to do so much of the evil that gets done.
When I first read Ayn Rand's "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" in October, 1979, and changed the philosophical course of my life to reflect those values, I asked my new friends who had introduced me to the book, "Does anyone in politics actually adhere to these principles? " Yes, he said; "a Congressman named Ron Paul".
In the US presidential election weeks ago, the media seemed to have a field day denigrating the philosophy of Ayn Rand as part of their smear/criticism of Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Yet Paul Ryan is a warmonger, a devout Roman Catholic, and an adherent of the drug war. No believer in the supernatural and warfare state/Imperial American Empire could ever be a credible acolyte of Ayn Rand.
Ron Paul is the proper standard to compare Ayn Rand, although there are some differences. Ron Paul is a Christian, true, and he is opposed to abortion – though as a man who has delivered 4,000 babies as an obstetrician-gynecologist physician, it's at least understandable. But importantly, Ron Paul doesn't believe any woman should ever be punished for seeking or having an abortion. He doesn't believe the Constitution allows the federal government to criminalize abortion, and that is why he received virtually no support from the anti-abortion conservatives that Rick Santorum did. Ron Paul's influences are varied, and include Murray Rothbard, Ludwig Von Mises, Frederick Hayek, and Lysander Spooner; in fact, Ayn Rand is only one of many of Ron Paul's influences. He is a well-read individual.
I believe Ron Paul left Congress because, plainly, Congress is made up of collectivist statists (kind of a redundancy, I know) and 23 years is enough punishment. Now he is going on a hopefully long tour of universities to speak to students and his people about liberty and the nature of man and politics. I wish him well. I hope he runs for President again in 2016.
Ron Paul was always the best friend we anti-prohibitionists have ever had in Congress. Never once did he ever support any aspect of the drug war. Yet most of the legalization movement chose to ignore him or pay him no respect. It makes me sad in my heart to know that most in our community – and society at large – are politically ignorant, biased, and most often plainly ambivalent when it comes to political activism, and when it came time to support Ron Paul in the primaries in 2008 and 2012, most of our people did not heed the call to help this great man, this once-in-a century man.
Even in his farewell address to Congress, he does not forget us.
His first question is: "Why are sick people who use medical marijuana in prison?"
He also asks amongst his many pertinent questions:
"Why can't Americans manufacture rope and other products from hemp?"
"Why should there be mandatory sentences, even up to life, for crimes without victims-as our drug laws require?"
"Why haven't we given up on the drug war since it's an obvious failure and violates the people's rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can't even keep drugs out of prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?"
"Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world – the one between Mexico and the US?"
At 78, Ron Paul is still in great health, so I hope he has many years, decades I should hope, to remind us of where we should be going, and how we can get there, and why we must put heart and soul (and money) into that effort.
It's such a disappointment that Canada has no equivalent giant in politics, no great statesman philosopher politician to give the people a clear vision of liberty and freedom. All we really have is second- and third-rate statists at best, grubby thugs at worse, in institutions under the dictatorial thumb of a soulless Prime Minister and wholly inadequate Premiers.
Ron Paul. The great man of the people has left the building.