Ron Paul is looking better and better every day. That is because most everyone else is looking worse and worse – at least in Washington DC.
I don’t think most people, whether they are supporters or not, realize how much of a one-of-a-kind guy Ron Paul really is. It is hard to find people in history that come close to matching him. He was elected into Congress by campaigning as a libertarian and, even more astonishing, actually held true to his principles. Sure, libertarians can quibble over a few tough votes over his more than 22 years in Congress, but he basically held true to his beliefs the whole time.
It is hard to find people in history like this. Thomas Jefferson, while a great defender of liberty, was a terrible president. Andrew Jackson was probably one of the few politicians who was actually more pro-liberty when in office, but he was certainly no libertarian by Ron Paul’s standards. Grover Cleveland was pretty good as president. Howard Buffett, father of big government Warren, was probably the second best congressman for liberty in the 20th century (Ron being the best).
While I have known for a while that Ron Paul is truly unique, this past week has just solidified it even more in my head. Last week, Rand Paul (Ron’s son) made the disgusting move of voting for the National Defense Authorization Act. The senate bill that he voted “yes” on is anti-liberty in too many ways to name. While Rand never claimed to be a libertarian, he did try to take the mantle of being a libertarian-leaning conservative. Sure, compared to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, it is not hard to be relatively libertarian. But Rand’s vote for the NDAA should prove to everyone that he is a politician first and he will always play politics when it suits his needs. His principles come second.
Another interesting incident happened with Justin Amash, a congressman from Michigan. When he was first elected a couple of years ago, Amash said that he would vote similar to Ron Paul. Now after having been re-elected, Amash commented about the “fiscal cliff” and the debt problem. He reportedly said, “I am not going to take anything off the table if we can resolve some of our biggest issues as a country.”
In other words, Amash is willing to increase taxes and hand even more money over to the government. He hasn’t even been a congressman for two years and he has already failed to live up to Ron Paul’s standards. What kind of a libertarian would consider raising taxes when the government is spending over 3 and a half trillion dollars per year and taking about 20% of the GDP, while making up the difference through borrowing and monetary inflation?
I think most of the people attracted to politics are drawn to power. Because there is a lot of power available in Washington DC, it tends to attract the worst elements of society. But I’m sure that some people go there with good intentions. However, it is obvious that they cannot avoid the temptations. They ultimately cannot resist the power. Power corrupts.
The recent votes by these two politicians, who are generally considered pro-liberty, should be enough to prove to libertarians that our answers do not lie in politics. It is not about electing the “right” people into office, because most people cannot be trusted with power. The only way to win this fight for liberty is through education. When there are 10 million people who are willing to withdraw their consent, then we have a real chance of achieving something big.
Libertarians have to realize that Ron Paul’s career in Congress was really unique. He is a rare person who did not get corrupted by the power that was available. Instead of trying to duplicate his success in being elected, we should instead try to duplicate his success in educating others. While political office can serve this goal, it is rare that anyone uses their platform strictly for educational purposes. With the internet and with Ron Paul’s popularity to build on, we don’t need political offices for success. We just need more education. As hearts and minds change, so will policy.