Ron Paul — “We Are The Future” Rally in Tampa

Rally at Sun Dome in Tampa 2012

Ron Paul approached the podium to a roaring crowd and standing ovation, with shouts of “Ron Paul, Ron Paul” for what seemed like several minutes before the capacity crowd in the Tampa Sun Dome quieted to let him speak. His opening remarks criticized the media who have recently said that the Ron Paul ‘Revolution’ for liberty is dead. “But here we are!”  he said.  And the “We Are The Future” rally crowd was overwhelmingly  enthuisatic about Ron Paul’s leadership and all their accomplishments toward the advancement of freedom and economic independence from government. His ‘Revolution,’ as it is often referred, has been in the forefront for the cause of liberty, individual rights, constitutional and limited government since its inception prior to the 2008 presidential elections. The movement was founded on the American ideals of freedom from economic and political coercion as set forth by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution.

Dr. Paul said at the rally,

there’s been a lot of talk about bending the rules and breaking the rules, which is something the people in Washington have been doing for far too long!

“At the RNC convention there’s been some talk that there is a fight going on and we are in the middle of it” said Paul. “However, a bunch of them are joining [our delegates] and saying “you’ve gone too far, the The Ron Paul people were right about overstepping their bounds! …What is coming out right now is that their philosophy on government is failing and that they need something different! … this movement will NOT go away!”

He describes some specific problems in government and how we have gotten to this place in our history. Essentially, we are now at a crossroads in our history and the road to liberty has never been clearer. To the extent that more and more people study, learn and understand the principles of a free society and a free economy, will thus determine the duration of our battle.

Paul speaks of the freedom to do what we choose and taking responsibility for our own lives and actions. He discusses freedom of speech, intellectual freedom and the attempts at regulating the internet and limiting freedom speech,

this is one thing we are going to have to be careful about, he says, because when the state feels like its under attack the first thing they get rid of is freedom of speech. That’s why our ideological revolution has to move quickly before they remove the ability to speak out. Because it is ideas that changes the world and that’s why the first amendment is crucially important.

He got a roaring applause on this point; his constituents understand why bad ideas can only be fought by means of better ideas, and that the battle for real freedom and reform in this country begins with a fundamental paradigm shift in how we view our relationship to government.

Economic liberty and the looming disaster we are confronting is a heavy debt burden which weighs on everyone’s mind. “The fundamentals of our economic system, the meaning of property rights and of economic policy has become so eroded” says Paul,

and that bubble still exists, it is so huge and its worldwide–so when we see hints of this breaking apart, the countries in Europe and the decline of the Euro and our response by the FED is to bail them out too–I say this is going to cause the downfall of the dollar.

Paul believes that we need to figure out the good ideas from the bad ideas, he mentions sacrifice (he had been introduced in an opening speech as a man who has sacrificed for the cause of liberty), but he says I don’t believe I’ve sacrificed anything. I did it out of self-interest, I did it because it was good for me. In doing this, he says, you have to have reason, and you have to understand that you are only going to convince others of your ideas by reason and discussion (something which doesn’t seem to work in Washington, by the way!). Philosophically, the concept of sacrifice is antithetical to freedom and individual rights. What is not often discussed is the fact that if one truly sacrifices himself, then he gives up a higher value for something he values less. That’s the actual meaning of sacrifice. In a society where freedom and individual rights are upheld, men do not sacrifice their values for society or their neighbor or any group including and especially for the government.

“There may be a thousand reasons why you want your freedom,” he says, “but if that’s what everyone wants, then we can all come together to defend Liberty. Self-esteem comes from production, you feel good about yourself because you did something … maybe those who want to redistribute wealth lack self-esteem, they don’t have enough self-esteem to understand where it comes from … Let us think of this as a new era of ushering in liberty and freedom, property and peace!”

There were so many young people in the audience and that should give us tremendous hope it the future of this country. Yes, Paul Ryan may say that America was built on an idea — but Ron Paul talks about what these ideas are, why they are important, and how we can understand and use ideas to move toward a society of freedom and prosperity. I believe this is the fundamental difference between Paul Ryan and Ron Paul. From what I have seen and heard from Mitt Romney, I see little evidence of a real discussion of ”ideas’ as a dominant force in shaping political and economic policy.

There is a real need to define the foundation of your premises–that which all other corollary ideas rest. Is that foundation freedom? Are we free in all ways or are we afforded some freedoms and not others? Do we have the freedom to keep the fruits of our labor, for example, but not the freedom to do what we choose with our own bodies? Is it moral for the government to dictate a Christian set of values for all of us, even if some of us are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddist, or practice no religion at all? Who decides these issues, a governing council of some sort? Or, is there a foundation on which all other freedoms rest?

The unedited speech with Rand Paul’s introduction can be seen below.

The Entitlement State Dilema

After watching Paul Ryan’s recent campaign speeches on Romney’s plans for medicare, I do not hear a real solution to the medicare issue. What the Republicans need to do is come up with reasonable and arguable ideas against not only Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, but solutions that will actually reform and phase out our medicare, medicaid and social security systems altogether.  However unpopular this notion might be with some groups like the poor and elderly, clearly articulated solutions need to be expressed and offered as a real alternative to not only Medicare but to all entitlement programs.

Paul Ryan talks about Obama’s Affordable Health Care plan as stealing 716 billion from Medicare to fund ObamaCare, however, this does not describe the real problem. The actual problem is that the entire entitlement program will consume 100% of GDP by 2024 (this is a conservative estimate, it likely will be sooner.)  Which is to say that in 12 years your children and grandchildren will be left with nothing but a huge amount of debt, no plan on how this debt is to be paid back and no solution to their own health care and retirement issues.

What needs to be understood is WHY our entire entitlement system is broke and what possibilities exist to replace it with something that works not only for the retired and about to be retired generation now, but the future population which will inherit the mess we have found ourselves in. The most important thing we need to do is offer our young people a way to start making choices about how best to prepare for their future and how to pay for it.

“When fully retired, 78 million baby boomers will collect, on average, more than 85 percent of per-capita gross domestic product ($40,000 in today’s dollars) in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Each passing year brings these outlays one year closer, which raises their present value,” states Laurence Kotlikoff, in the Bloomberg article titled Blink! U.S. Debt Just Grew by $11 Trillion.

So what is the answer? Is there anything that can help this country get back on track and lead us toward a new Renaissance? What ideas and principles are consistent with freedom and individual rights? Will these ideas free us from this heavy burden of government which is quickly taking away or freedoms, individual rights, and our ability to produce and keep the fruits of our labor?

The video posted below will help to understand what caused the problem, how the big the problem actually is, and what we can do to fix it.

A summary introduction to the video reads: “It’s an open secret that America’s entitlement state is in disarray, and that the United States faces a crushing debt, thanks to programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But according to Ayn Rand Center fellow Don Watkins, that’s not the biggest problem with entitlements.

In this talk, you will discover the unknown history of life in America before the entitlement state, and discover the surprising reason why the United States went from a limited government to an entitlement nation. In the process, you will find out why all of the usual solutions to our entitlement crisis cannot work—and what kind of solution can work.

Mr. Watkins delivered this talk on February 21, 2012, in Chicago, Illinois, as part of the ARC Speaker Series. (If you want to skip the introduction, start video about 6 minutes in.)

For more information about the Ayn Rand Institute and its activities, please visit aynrand.org.

The Ryan plan is not radical enough

Paul Ryan’s plan to reduce the federal deficit is not radical enough says Mark Hendrickson in his article in The Christian Science Monitor. In fact, his plan would increase the federal debt by 1.1 trillion. The democrats on the other hand believe that adding only 5 trillion to the federal budget deficit is an extremely conservative figure indeed.

How do their plans differ? Who would be most effected by the ever-expanding burden of fiscal debt? And finally, is this primarily a political or ethical dilemma? These questions are covered in this thought-provoking article titled The Problem with the Paul Ryan plan: It’s not nearly radical enough.

“The Ryan plan is not radical at all. It doesn’t get to the root of the problem. It never questions the legitimacy of government redistribution of wealth. Though Ryan’s plan moves us in the right direction, with less federal spending, it is ultimately not a cure for what ails us.

The democratic welfare state is unsustainable. The federal debt problem likely will get a lot worse and cause a lot of economic dislocation and pain before a majority of Americans are ready to admit that it is an activist, “progressive” government engaged in the problematic practice of redistributing wealth that has brought us to the brink of national bankruptcy.

Herman de Rompuy, President of the European Council, bluntly stated last year, “We can’t finance our social model any more.” The democratic welfare state is inherently unsustainable. In every area where the government has intervened to take care of us – retirement, healthcare, education – the price tag keeps soaring, as does the nagging feeling that things are getting worse instead of better.”

Click here to read the complete article.

What the Dark Side of Tomorrow Could Look Like

New hope for restoring America?

Today Rand Paul sent out a Facebook link prefacing an article in The Cable: Foreign Policy online about tackling our debt and what steps both the Democrats and Republicans must take for this to be meaningful and lasting. He said, “To tackle our debt, Democrats are going to have to accept that we must cut welfare and domestic spending and Republicans are going to have to cut Pentagon spending. As Grover points out, we must reassess the role of government across the board to strengthen America’s national security, financial stability and our children’s future.”

I posted this article to my facebook page and one commentator wrote, “Never going to happen.” And he may be right. We, as Objectivists [and or Ayn Rand admirers], will have to see how far we can influence government now that we finally have at least an admirer of Rand and an intellectual thinker in the race.  This is my reply back:

“We have to push for it. You can’t sit back and say ‘never’. Like I posted previously, if we don’t get a handle on it soon–the markets will decide for us; and they will crash. Bank holidays will be declared and a run on the banks will ensue. Savings will be obliterated. Property will be confiscated. Rioting will occur in a big way.

Then, the ‘great excuse’ for removing what’s left of our liberties will ensue. Some of the infrastructure is already in place to house and jail political dissenters. Slashing the budget will be a mute point by this time. When interest rates rise, and they will, there will be no money left and none to borrow. Social security and medicare will crash–checks will stop and services will cease. Businesses will close.

Panic will ensue …And by this time, those who want to leave the country–as in Europe during the Nazi invasion–will have already made the preparations and they will get out or already be out. The rest of us will face our own American version of the Nazi death camps. That’s the bleak picture. So if our politicians continue to kick the proverbial can–this is the future. Some know it and actually want to do something about it–some know it and don’t. The rest are stupid or in denial. Tomorrow is already here and there’s little time to turn it around before that window closes.”

So the question is “What are we going to do about it?” This is where knowledge and understanding Ayn Rand’s basic principles comes in. Do we really understand the meaning of freedom and individual rights? Is it OK to violate some freedoms while protecting others? What is the moral foundation of capitalism? Ron Paul has it right on this issue when I heard him say at a rally in Austin, “the fight is about ideology.” Meaning, it is a battle of ideas. It is the battle to challenge the bad ideas that have wrecked this country and replace them with better ideas.

As Yaron Brook, President and Executive Director of The Ayn Rand Institute and The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights stated in his talk, “Capitalism Who Needs It,” Ayn Rand’s philosophy is about individual rights, freedom, and the pursuit of our own rational self-interest.

“Given our biological nature, how do we pursue our own happiness and that which leads to human success? That is what her morality is about. And it is the only morality that can sustain capitalism. And therefore the only morality that can sustain this country. It’s not about politics, it’s not about economics, it’s about what we believe is good and what we believe is bad, and that’s what Rand provides these fundamental answers for. If you care about capitalism, if you care about freedom, I think the most important battle to win is this ethical battle…that capitalism is the only moral system. Socialism is the immoral system. Capitalism is good because it is good for you as human beings, because it is good for the individual. That is the debate we need to have.”

Therefore, the debate is about reassessing the entire role of government in the lives of individuals. This is what the founders of this country intended–strictly limiting the power of government as subordinate to the individual. And for now, the focus should be on diminishing the bad ideas held by both Republicans and Democrats while supporting the good ideas. This is the place we start.

We have an opening for sharing Rand’s philosophy on a broader level in the selection of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate. He is at least an intellectual who thinks about ideas and can apply them to some of the fundamental changes necessary in Washington today. Is it enough? No. But it gives us a place to begin the discussion of the morality of capitalism and its foundation: individual rights.

Can Paul Ryan Renew Our Hope (Revised)

Last Sunday’s edition of  Don’t Let It Go Unheard featured Dr. Yaron Brook, President and Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He joined Amy Peikoff in a lively discussion about Paul Ryan’s nomination and the implications of Ayn Rands ideas in the economic and political arena.

It is clear that Ayn Rand has had an impact on Paul Ryan’s life and thought. He has said that he likes her novels and that her ideas were a major reason he went into politics.

Paul Ryan is the best and the worst says Brook. He is a consistent advocate for economic freedom and an intellectual who understands that economics is tied to and based on individual rights.  By contrast, the conservatives, of which he is one, cannot question altruism. He even tells Obama in a debate, “I can’t disagree with your goals”… which grants the left the moral high-ground. He takes his religion seriously and would nominate Supreme Court Justices who support religious issues that violate individual rights. This is definitely a step in the wrong direction. However, if our primary concern (right now) is the economy, medicare and preventing this country from falling into the financial abyss, he is one of the few politicians who understand the crisis and has real ideas on what we can do to prevent it.

Finally, his nomination is an incredible opportunity for Objectivists. It is an opportunity for us to get Ayn Rand’s ideas out in the forefront of intellectual and political discussion. As Ayn Rand said, in her non-fiction book The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution,

“Ideas cannot be fought except by means of  better ideas. The battle consists, not of opposing, but of exposing; not of denouncing, but of disproving; not of evading, but of boldly proclaiming a full, consistent and radical alternative.”

Yaron and Don Watkins have a new book coming out in September 18th titled Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government. You can pre-order a copy on the Ayn Rand Bookstore or from Amazon.com.

Click here for an itunes link for archived versions of Don’t Let It Go Unheard.

This Sunday (tonight) Amy talked about an “Intervention for Gary Johnson Voters” which would result in the definite re-election of Barack Obama.

 

The Battle Between Collectivism and Ayn Rand’s Ideas

I’m getting behind in my posts as I weigh the requirements of time vs quality and depth of my own interpretation of current events. I’ve decided that when an article or presentation comes out, I don’t have to spend a lot of time dissecting it. Sometimes, I should just let it stand on it’s own, and this one certainly does.

The article was printed in Forbes titled “Revenge of the Zeros: The Battle Between Ayn Rand and Collectivism Reaches Its Climax” by Harry Binswanger. He begins,

With President Obama’s line “You didn’t build that,” the battle between individualism and collectivism has reached a climax. Obama has openly denied individual achievement, spitting in the face of every individual who ever had a creative thought. Obama has ventured to say straight out what only the theoreticians of collectivism have scribbled before: there is no individual achievement. What appears to be your achievement is somehow the achievement of that mystical entity,the collective–especially its earthly embodiment: the government.

He goes on to say,

“This gigantic fraud is aimed at a single goal: re-assuring life’s losers that their failures are not their fault. “You can stop feeling guilty,” he’s telling them, “Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, Steve Jobs, and the rest are really no better than you.”

It’s bad enough to be a parasite, but it really turns ugly when the parasites deny the existence of those whose blood they are feeding off, when they take over what others built while snarling that the others didn’t build it.”

A number of Ayn Rand’s villains are quoted in the story and are a direct parallel to many of Obama’s actual speeches. You can hear James Taggart and Dr. Floyd Ferris who says “Genius is a superstition, Jim,” …

He concludes the answer to Obama’s collectivism is given by Howard Roark in The Fountainhead:

“. . . the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain…”

A very good read.