From the April 2008 Idaho Observer:
Back to square one: The revolution is starting all over again
It appears that Ron Paul will qualify as a viable candidate for the GOP nomination as the next president. That means he will share the stage with party "frontrunner" Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at the Republican Party Convention in Minneapolis Sept. 1-4. Ron Paul supporters believe that, in the convention setting three months before the 2008 general election, it will be obvious to the party faithful that McCain will lose to either Hillary or Obama and Ron Paul could win the nomination in a surprise landslide of delegate support. Should that happen, Ron Paul, who was not even considered a contender six months ago, will be one step away from becoming the 44th president of the United States.
As glorious as that may seem, grassroots Ron Paul revolutionaries will have the luxury of basking on the glow of a "job well done" from Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 4) to Sunday, Nov. 9. And then, on Monday the 10th, we will be back to work. Should our man be elected (against all odds), we will then be challenged to teach Americans to appreciate freedom and function as responsible members of a free society.
It is revealing to see that Thomas Jefferson understood that the people must be equal to the responsibility of freedom to live in freedom and that Ron Paul recognizes that our people, since Jefferson, have learned to accept arbitrary authority as a divine right of government. Should Ron Paul become the next president, our work will have only just begun.
Extremely relevant observations from Thomas Jefferson are below followed by a recent essay from Rep. Ron Paul that proves, once again, the timeless wisdom of our most eloquent Founding Father.
From Thomas Jefferson
Revolution and Reformation
"If Caesar had been as virtuous as he was daring and sagacious, what could he, even in the plenitude of his usurped power, have done to lead his fellow citizens into good government?... If their people indeed had been, like ourselves, enlightened, peaceable, and really free, the answer would be obvious. ‘Restore independence to all your foreign conquests, relieve Italy from the government of the rabble of Rome, consult it as a nation entitled to self-government, and do its will.’ But steeped in corruption, vice and venality, as the whole nation was,... what could even Cicero, Cato, Brutus have done, had it been referred to them to establish a good government for their country?... No government can continue good but under the control of the people; and their people were so demoralized and depraved as to be incapable of exercising a wholesome control. Their reformation then was to be taken up ab incunabulis [from the cradle or infancy]. Their minds were to be informed by education what is right and what wrong; to be encouraged in habits of virtue and deterred from those of vice by the dread of punishments proportioned, indeed, but irremissible; in all cases, to follow truth as the only safe guide, and to eschew error, which bewilders us in one false consequence after another in endless succession. These are the inculcations necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure of order and good government. But this would have been an operation of a generation or two at least, within which period would have succeeded many Neros and Commoduses, who would have quashed the whole process. I confess, then, I can neither see what Cicero, Cato and Brutus, united and uncontrolled, could have devised to lead their people into good government, nor how this enigma can be solved."
~Letter to John Adams (1819)
"Some preparation seems necessary to qualify the body of a nation for self-government."
~Letter to Joseph Priestley (1802)
"Reformation in government follows reformation in opinion." ~Letter to Richard Price (1789)
"More than a generation will be requisite [for an unprepared people], under the administration of reasonable laws favoring the progress of knowledge in the general mass of the people, and their habituation to an independent security of person and property, before they will be capable of estimating the value of freedom, and the necessity of a sacred adherence to the principles on which it rests for preservation." ~Letter to Lafayette (1815)
"The people of England, I think, are less oppressed than here [in France]. But it needs but half an eye to see, when among them, that the foundation is laid in their dispositions for the establishment of a despotism. Nobility, wealth, and pomp are the objects of their admiration."
~Letter to George Wythe (1786)
"An enlightened people, and an energetic public opinion... will control and enchain the aristocratic spirit of the government." ` ~Letter to Chevalier de Ouis (1814)
"In these countries [of Europe],... ignorance, superstition, poverty, and oppression of body and mind, in every form, are so firmly settled on the mass of the people, that their redemption from them can never be hoped. If the Almighty had begotten a thousand sons, instead of one, they would not have sufficed for this task. If all the sovereigns of Europe were to set themselves to work, to emancipate the minds of their subjects from their present ignorance and prejudices, and that, as zealously as they now endeavor the contrary, a thousand years would not place them on that high ground, on which our common people are now setting out." ~Letter to George Wythe (1786)
"Should [reformers] attempt more than the established habits of the people are ripe for, they may lose all and retard indefinitely the ultimate object of their aim." ~Letter to Mme de Tesse (1787)
"No one, I hope, can doubt my wish to see... all mankind exercising self-government, and capable of exercising it. But the question is not what we wish, but what is practicable."
~Letter to Lafayette (1817)
"An hereditary chief, strictly limited, the right of war vested in the legislative body, a rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive."
~Letter to Lafayette, (1823)
"Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, trial by jury, habeas corpus, and a representative legislature... I consider as the essentials constituting free government, and... the organization of the executive is interesting as it may insure wisdom and integrity in the first place, but next as it may favor or endanger the preservation of these fundamentals."
~Letter to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours (1815)
"Though forbidden by my character to meddle in the internal affairs of an allied state, it is the wish of my heart that their troubles may have such an issue as will secure the greatest degree of happiness to the body of the people: for it is with the mass of the nation we are allied, and not merely with their governors." ~Letter to C. W. F. Dumas (1787)
"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing [a people] to slavery." ~Rights of British America (1774)
"The oppressed should rebel, and they will continue to rebel and raise disturbance until their civil rights are fully restored to them and all partial distinctions, exclusions and incapacitations are removed." ~Notes on Religion (1776)
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience [has] shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
~Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence (1776)
"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." ~Thomas Jefferson’s motto.
It can’t happen here
By Rep. Ron Paul
In 2002 I asked my House colleagues a rhetorical question with regard to the onslaught of government growth in the post-September 11th era: Is America becoming a police state?
The question is no longer rhetorical. We are not yet living in a total police state, but it is fast approaching. The seeds of future tyranny have been sown, and many of our basic protections against government have been undermined. The atmosphere since 2001 has permitted Congress to create whole new departments and agencies that purport to make us safer—always at the expense of our liberty. But security and liberty go hand-in-hand. Members of Congress, like too many Americans, don’t understand that a society with no constraints on its government cannot be secure. History proves that societies crumble when their governments become more powerful than the people and private institutions.
Unfortunately, the new intelligence bill passed by Congress [in Dec., 04] moves us closer to an encroaching police state by imposing the precursor to a full-fledged national ID card. Within two years, every American will need a "conforming" ID to deal with any federal agency—including TSA at the airport.
Undoubtedly many Americans and members of Congress don’t believe America is becoming a police state, which is reasonable enough. They associate the phrase with highly visible symbols of authoritarianism like military patrols, martial law, and summary executions. But we ought to be concerned that we have laid the foundation for tyranny by making the public more docile, more accustomed to government bullying, and more accepting of arbitrary authority—all in the name of security. Our love for liberty above all has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that would have been abhorred just a few years ago. We tolerate inconveniences and infringements upon our liberties in a manner that reflects poorly on our great national character of rugged individualism. American history, at least in part, is a history of people who don’t like being told what to do. Yet we are increasingly empowering the federal government and its agents to run our lives.
Terror, fear, and crises like 9-11 are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people. The loss of liberty, we are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary. Many citizens believe that once the war on terror is over, restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. But this war is undeclared and open-ended, with no precise enemy and no expressly stated final goal. Terrorism will never be eradicated completely; does this mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers indefinitely?
Washington, D.C. provides a vivid illustration of what our future might look like. Visitors to Capitol Hill encounter police barricades, metal detectors, paramilitary officers carrying fully automatic rifles, police dogs, ID checks, and vehicle stops. The people are totally disarmed; only the police and criminals have guns. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, monitoring street activity, subway travel, parks, and federal buildings. There’s not much evidence of an open society in Washington, D.C., yet most folks do not complain—anything goes if it’s for government-provided safety and security.
After all, proponents argue, the government is doing all this to catch the bad guys. "If you don’t have anything to hide," they ask, "what are you so afraid of?"
The answer is that I’m afraid of losing the last vestiges of privacy that a free society should hold dear. I’m afraid of creating a society where the burden is on citizens to prove their innocence, rather than on government to prove wrongdoing. Most of all, I’m afraid of living in a society where a subservient populace surrenders its liberties to an all-powerful government.
It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and failing entitlement programs. At that point attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.
Those who believe a police state can’t happen here are poor students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people. (December 21, 2004)
Note: "The Revolution: A Manifesto" by Ron Paul is expected to be released April 30. Lew Rockwell was provided with an advance copy and refers to it as "a very important book...It convincingly and eloquently advances the Ron Paul philosophy...No mere campaign book, this is one for the ages."
Rockwell closes his review by equating Ron Paul, through his tenure in Congress, his unwavering stand for peace, justice, freedom, honest money and limited government, and his presidential campaign, as the Thomas Paine of the Second American Revolution. "Fellow Ron Paulians, we have only begun."
The book is available at this time as a preorder from Amazon.com. Updates on the publication schedule available at www.lewrockwell.com. The book can also be preordered through your local bookstore.