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Ron Paul bids final farewell to Congress

(AFP/Getty File Photo)

Last year, Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced that he would not run for reelection in 2012. With the final days of his last term now winding down, the libertarian patron saint took to the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday to deliver his farewell remarks.

To read the entire 16-page speech, click here.

Here are some notable highlights:

--Paul concedes that by conventional measures, he accomplished very little during his tenure in Congress. But the fact that no federal buildings were ever named in his honor didn't distract him from his ultimate goal: advocating for smaller government and more liberty.

"In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues," he said. "Wars are constant and pursued without congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.

"All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer."

--The Texas rep says the "major stumbling block" to real change in Washington isn't partisan division, but a "total resistance to admitting that the country is broke." For this, he faults both sides of the aisle, noting that compromise has been "inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending."

--He also commented on authoritarianism vs. the universal struggle for liberty and commented that the United States -- once the most prosperous and free nation on the planet -- has been deteriorating into "pure democracy":

"Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth. In our early history we were very much aware of this. But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax. The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.

They failed to recognized that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British."

--He stressed the importance of maintaining freedom on the Internet, to serve as "the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda."  And also celebrated homeschooling as a revolutionary key to restoring limited government.

--Finally, Paul called on all Americans to infuse government with "the moral principles of peace and tolerance." He cited Benjamin Franklin, who once said that "only a virtuous people are capable of freedom," and John Adams, who said the Constitution was "made for a moral and religious people."

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