Ron Paul and America’s Founding Principles

America is a great nation. America’s greatness is no accident; its greatness is a direct result of its founding and transcendent principles. These principles have resulted in, as Stephen Moore and Julian Simon observe, “more material progress in the United States in the 20th century than there was in the entire world in all the previous centuries combined.”

With this prosperity has come complacency and widespread ignorance of what America’s founding principles are. These principles include the right to own one’s body, as well as the right to own physical property. Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of The Little House on the Prairie books, wrote of these rights:

The revolutionary basis (of this country) is recognition of the fact that human rights are natural rights, born in every human being with his life, and inseparable from his life; not rights and freedoms that can be granted by any power on earth.

Government’s job then is not to grant us rights, but to uphold our inherent rights. Of all nations on earth, only America was founded with the principle that rights are inherent and not granted. When we understand this principle, we understand why James Madison wrote: “All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.” And, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined.”

In America today, few understand that transcendent idea. Almost all people seeking political office see government has having almost unlimited power to confiscate wealth from some citizens and some corporations for the benefit of other citizens and other corporations.

I don’t ordinarily like blogging about politics. Politics can be a divisive force precisely because there are so few statesmen seeking office. Elections then revolve around personalities and spin, rather than a reasoned dialogue over principles and issues. Yet, when someone says what he stands for in clear terms and with respect for others, there is the possibility of reasoned dialogue. Such dialogue helps all of us reflect on which principles we value and cherish.

This year is an unusual year because there is a statesman seeking office who speaks in such clear terms. That person is Ron Paul. Although it is unlikely that the country is ready for the kind of sea change that Paul represents, if Paul is able to go deep into the primary season, his candidacy will help bring forth many important issues for Americans to reflect on. A strong showing by Paul in the primary season helps insure that his ideas—and the dialogue they ignite—will continue to be heard this year and beyond.

Here are just a few of the reasons why I support Ron Paul:

  1. His consistent principled opposition to the war in Iraq. In foreign policy, he supports the vision of the founding fathers—commercial relationships with all, but no entangling foreign alliances.
  2. His consistent opposition to the war on drugs. This war has helped to erode personal liberty, has made war zones of inner cities, has filled our jails, has corrupted police all over the country, and has cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars.
  3. His consistent opposition to Federal Reserve policy; that policy is threatening to send the U.S. economy into economic collapse. As an economist, I personally know that Paul has studied for decades the work of great economists such as Ludwig von Mises and Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek. Paul understands the consequences of decades of runaway deficits and inflationary monetary policy.

Today, I sincerely believe that there are several grim scenarios facing the United States. Again, we have lost our collective understanding of the founding principles that had helped make this country a beacon of liberty and of economic prosperity. Whether we are talking about an individual or a society, forgetting our principles has consequences. Because we have forgotten our principles, America is in serious danger of an economic collapse and more ruinous foreign wars. Yet that can change. Ron Paul is the only candidate who can help begin the dialogue that can ignite the process of America regaining its great, founding, and transcendent principles.

14 Responses to Ron Paul and America’s Founding Principles

  1. loopyloo350 says:

    Did they leave Ron Paul off the latest polls. I never even saw him mentioned. It seems to me like they are trying to decide who is the proper person for people to vote for instead of actually trying to find out who they really want.

  2. war on drugs says:

    […] Ron Paul and America’s Founding Principles […]

  3. E says:

    Most of us are indifferent towards the situation. Mostly because the apparatus seems to be rigged (they’re spending how much to run an election? $500M? What do you need to do to get access? $5500/dinners?). The prevailing philosophy today seems to be “every man/woman for themselves”, the tack I see many of my wealthy friends taking (ie buying houses in Scotland). I mean, I do care about the issues, but when you travel this great country, it becomes obvious why we are becoming a third world country. Politics aside, individual financial habits are terrible (and I’ve analyzed a few of my friends books), fiscal discipline is non-existent, and economic comprehension is abysmal. Most voters want the government to do “what’s right”, but the government doesn’t even know what that is. Even if Ron Paul gets into office, as you advocate, I don’t see how he’s going to wrestle control of the $9.5 Trillion Debt (billions in interest alone) from a $14 Trillion US Economy (Europe’s is $12Trillion and climbing).

  4. Loopyloo,

    There is an interesting Matt Simon blog post today about ABC spiking a 20/20 John Stossel interview with Ron Paul.


    I agree with you. A “Ron Paul” can only get elected after there is a sea change in the public’s beliefs. Such a change is unlikely to occur near term. Thus currently there is little possibility of addressing the mountain of debt problem.

  5. rhys says:

    Excellent Blog! I agree. You said that to many people want to ignore the principles that informed the creation of this country. I agree, but I think it goes even deeper than this. I believe that many of the principles and foundational ideas of our nation are actually enshrined in the Bible. For instance, the Bible specifically warns against using money that is not tied to a standard measure. While science may have sped through the years, ethics has not. Because we have the most ethical system of government yet devised, we have become the most economically successful country. As we attack our own traditions, we not only undermine the wealth of our traditions and children, but we undermine our ethical traditions in favor of immorality. I am so frusterated.

  6. E says:

    Great. That’s all we need — mixing morality with money. Also, we need to go back to Biblical banking practices. Maybe the First Jerusalem Bank of DC can hold less than 60% of the money supply, and we could go trading goods like at the market. While we’re at ti, get rid of credit, commercial paper, negotiable instruments and all that stuff. I mean, who really needs Purchase Money Security Interest or any retail banking stuff?

    Hey, the Fed cut interest rates a quarter point! Now we’re saved…

  7. Velvet says:

    I just read an article yesterday in a Writing / Trade publication about how all writing needs “conflict” to be its best. You shouldn’t shy away from writing on politics for this reason and for the fact that you present a well researched position here.

    I’m obsessed with the History Channel when they do the recaps of our Presidents in times passed – it’s amazing how our Presidents looked prior to television. And sadly, after. Personal image has replaced competence in the race for Presidency.

  8. E says:

    I concur with Velvet. If these yokels went back to wearing wigs and knickers, maybe they’d be focused on the issue rather than their “Legacy.” Instead of a PR picture of the President looking down at New Orleans from an Air Force One window, he’d be camped out in the middle of New Orleans until the problem was fixed. Additionally, Presidents need to go back to writing their own speeches, get rid of all those advance teams and legions of advisors, and spending more time amongst the people (real people, not the rich people who come for $10,000 plate dinners). I don’t think any candidate right now knows what it’s like to be a single parent making $32,000/year; or what it’s like to be in a family of four trying to make it on $60,000/year.

  9. Freeborn says:


    Don’t discount the Bible when it comes to financial advice. Ever hear of Dave Ramsey? He taught himself most of what he advises from the Bible and he’s pretty successful at it. While most of the financial principles in the Bible are also common sense, they are also taught by many successful financial advisers (often without the financial adviser even knowing that they are teaching Biblical principles).

    BTW, I have a family of four and we commonly make it on less than $20,000/year (by choice). It all has to do with using Biblical principles to manage your money. By the same token, the Federal budget could easily be put in control by getting rid of all of the unnecessary Federal bureaucracy. Read the U.S. Constitution and then just eliminate everything that the Constitution does not explicitly give authority for under a strict interpretation.

    The biggest problem Ron Paul would have bringing it all under control is getting the Congress to go along with it. Of course, if he takes a hard line, he would just veto any unconstitutional bill that they sent him (somewhere around 90% of all bills that pass both houses of Congress–including many of the funding bills).

  10. E says:

    Freeborn, I’m not discounting the Bible’s principles. “Money” in the form of a bigger economic philosophy has radically changed since the biblical era. Dave Ramsey is successful at personal finance. Finance in the economic sense is only a part of the overall economy (derivatives, commodities, structured finance, etc.), and is usually a shorthand for management of assets, risk, and commerce. While the Bible is pretty good for common sense, since 10 AD, there have been studies and examination of issues that they didn’t deal with back then (ask your favorite Econ PhD about this). For instance, Yemen operates a Biblical Era economic model, and it’s pretty ancient (lack of retail banking, money supply, or even internet banking). If we went back to trading with aureus, denarius, and sestertius, our economy would grind to a halt (not to say that lugging around all that gold and coinage would be quite heavy). The Biblical model does not efficiently/rapidly support an economy of 6.6 Billion people (where disparate peoples, say in Russia and Asia, hoard Dollars and Euros). I’ve also read the Constitution, and it’s more complicated than strict interpretation (i.e. the United States has gone through three era’s of Constitutional construct). There are alot of moving parts in the realm of “US law” (both federal and States). Eliminating everything that the Consitution does not explicity give authority for would result in chaos (i.e. there is no provision for the Air Force in the Constitution, so do we get rid of all the planes because the founding fathers hadn’t envisioned flying?).

  11. Frank v2 says:

    As a recently Naturalized citizen this will be my first Federal election that I will have the privilege to participate in as a voter. What I find quite appalling is the amount of mud slinging and name calling that goes on. Furthermore, I am surprised at how much money is being raised from corporate sponsors so that these candidates can “adequately” get their mud-slinging messages out to the general public. A candidate such as Ron Paul who subscribes to policies of less government and letting the market take care of itself I suspect will not bode well with the companies that are sponsoring various other candidates. It seems to me that individuals and firms don’t support a certain candidate out of the goodness of their hearts; but rather have some ulterior motive in mind. Perhaps they are looking for a new tariff to keep foreign competitors from entering their back yard, or are hoping for a favorable opportunity when a government contract comes up for bid. For this kind of maneuvering to be successful, more government is required, not less. So without the financial support of the business community, Ron Paul will be at a disadvantageous. Unless of course we the voters wake up and ignore all the expensive noise generated by all the other players out there, and listen to the little guy with a common sense approach. Unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen. After all, we are a country that voted in a President that expanded our debt which our grandchildren will not be able to pay off, and dragged us into a war that is also crippling us in oh so many ways. And just for fun we were silly enough to vote this President in twice! So, we reaping what we sow and it will take a radical wake-up call in order for us as a nation to follow Apple’s advice and “Think Different”.

  12. Bob G. says:

    In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (12-14-07), there was an interesting opinion piece written by Kimberley Strassel (Potomac Watch) about Ron Paul entitled “The Gospel of Paul.”

    The fact that none of the mainstream Republican candidates have been willing to embrace the core principles articulated by Ron Paul that, by the way were once key drivers of the conservative movement (e.g. property rights, smaller and localized governance to name a few) lead one to conclude that we are moving ever towards a society of two key stratas; the governing and the governed.

    There is an increasingly smaller differentiation of results between either party and despite the rising dissatisfaction with overall government actions and results by either party, the governing have managed to secure a system for themselves that is first and foremost designed to ensure their continuation at the expense of constitutional principles.

    While it is extremelt difficult for those not drinking the standardly dispensed “kool-aid” to be heard such as Mr. Paul, it might be wise for current candidates to note the rising passion and growing grass roots support for the basic principles that Ron Paul is articulating. He is refusing to go away and this pivoting back towards founding principles will not go away either.

    Bob G.

  13. Bob,

    With difficult economic times (a period which we seem to be entering) comes polarization. What that brings are populist type candidates such as Huckabee and Obama. Such candidates can articulate no distinct principles; they simply advocate a hodgepodge of policies. If the economic climate worsens less benign politicians than the current ones will emerge.

    Given this inexorable trend it is more important than ever that the principles that Paul is advocating be reflected upon.

  14. Edwin Vogt says:

    Off the subject, but a tip on how to eliminate copper coinage:End the minting of pennies. Make all prices revert back to the nickel. Secondly, eliminate the making of license plates. Substitute their making by placing a numeric decal on rear window ..a short, rectangular strip with black, bold numbers.

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