Ron Paul gave an expansive farewell address to Congress this week marking the end of a 30-year career that, for many, defined contemporary libertarianism. His departure from public life comes at a particularly ominous time for all who value his message of freedom and limited government as conservatives recently lost a painful electoral defeat.
That ballot box disappointment came at the hands of a president who ran on a platform of envy, dishonesty, and unabashed wealth redistribution. Dr. Paul made it clear in his farewell that never in living memory has the case for individual liberty and limited government in America been more urgent than it is today.
Paul’s speech was part eulogy for the Constitution, part battle cry to renew the fight for individual freedom and limited government that it is supposed to represent.
He implored Americans to start an intellectual awakening of America’s founding principles—a Liberty Revolution.
To his last moments on the floor of Congress, Paul articulated why such a revolution is necessary, and what it requires. America is spending its economy into collapse. Core principles of our jurisprudence, morality, and civic life are besieged or have already fallen. The progressive movement has pushed beyond mere welfare statism into outright authoritarianism. Freedom of conscience and speech are truncated; property rights and civil liberties discarded.
And rather than rally around our founding document, many conservatives have already started ideological infighting that will further weaken those standing athwart government manipulation and coercion.
Some of the loudest voices who proclaim moderation from within the ranks of the GOP fail to grasp the gravity of our Constitutional perils. Many who refused to grapple with Dr. Paul’s ideas will now find or invent ways to marginalize his message.
Others in the political establishment, including Republicans, will diminish Ron Paul’s contribution by calling him a purist. But our politics are in a desperate state of affairs if ideological consistency is considered a disqualifying characteristic.
Even more dishonest are those who attempt to portray the libertarian movement as anarchic and amoral. Dr. Paul, for one, never advocated an “anything goes” approach to governance. On the contrary, as individual liberty is the foundation of libertarian thought, that liberty cannot extend to the oppression of others. His unwavering commitment to protect the life of unborn children– defending the supreme individual liberty of life itself– was an enduring testament to the morality and humanity of his philosophy.
As Congressman Paul retires from public life, the question that now faces America is, who will work to continue the struggle for individual liberty and freedom that Dr. Paul made the goal of his life’s work?
Senator Rand Paul is a likely standard-bearer. As the healthcare leviathan known as Obamacare puts its full weight on the throat of commerce and free exchange, Senator Paul will certainly be a voice for Constitutional principle in the Senate, and he may find an increasingly receptive audience in the American people.
Indeed, Congressman Paul’s farewell address proclaimed a broader “Intellectual Awakening” is necessary—one that takes hold in the minds and hearts of all Americans. Dr. Paul recognized that the Constitution alone is no protection at all. The events of the past four years have proven that cynical Democratic politics can erode our most fundamental protections and liberties.
This is not a new phenomenon. Ronald Reagan once told us that “freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.” Unless the American people turn back the tide of authoritarian statism that has grown ferociously in recent years, Reagan’s prediction may turn into prophecy.
We cannot allow that to happen. We must abandon welfarism, statism, class warfare, and factionalism. This is Dr. Paul’s message, and this was his farewell.
Dr. Paul knew it is the belief of the American people in the genius—and righteousness—of our founding document and the freedoms it espouses that bind us together and propelled America to become the greatest country in the history of the world.
It is not too late to reclaim those principles, but we must renew the struggle today.
Let the Liberty Revolution begin.