This essay appeared in the February 25-26, 2012 edition of LewRockwell.com. It is the introduction of my latest book How to Win America for Ron Paul and the Cause of Freedom in 2012. – Allan
America is a place where neighbors rarely speak openly about politics, and when they do, it is usually only to repeat media sound bites. An Obama / Paul race will change that. Two differing ideologies will Clash. One for greater individual freedom. The other for more government. This competition of ideas will not occur with other Republican candidates, since they are ideologically aligned with President Obama when it comes to the power of the individual over the power of the state. Inevitably, debates will take place between the two candidates. Discussions in the new media will take place on the candidates. And most importantly, neighbors will discuss these two ideologies with each other. Because the differences between them are so significant these two candidates will compel us to move beyond the media sound bites and really examine our beliefs about the idea of America and the direction we should take as a nation. We can make that debate happen.
Many proponents of the statist ideology will work hard to see to it that the champions of freedom are denied a candidate in the general election who expresses those viewpoints. As usual, America’s political class will try to limit debate so that only statist viewpoints are widely expressed and only candidates with statist viewpoints are included on the ballot in November. This year is very different. It is possible and likely that Ron Paul will win the Republican nomination and that great contest of ideas will take place. Instead of Americans being forced to choose between two statists of different flavors (“the lesser of two evils”), they will be able to decide between an advocate of statism and an advocate of freedom.
President Obama is very charismatic and energizes large groups of people with his charm. Congressman Paul, too, energizes large groups of people, but with his relentless pursuit of the truth and his insistence on communicating that truth. These two men will face off and provide America with two different choices for what the future holds. America will have the opportunity to decisively choose which of those paths take. Never in my life have I been able to experience America the way America will look come autumn of 2012 as economic conditions worsen and Americans look to two very different philosophies to explain the cause and correction of the nation’s problems.
It’s the Intellectual Revolution that Matters Most
Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul informs us that election day is but a punctuation mark on the debates of society, a punctuation mark on the active participation of the citizenry. Historian Murray Rothbard points out that the American Revolution took place at least a decade prior to 1776. The shooting war from 1776 onward was but a bloody rebellion that came about because the British government refused to recognize that the colonies had forged a new society. What happens in the hearts and minds is what matters. While winning the election will be the goal of these two political campaigns, what all of us Americans should want above all else is to see this “Great Debate” when Paul and Obama run against each other. I fully expect that Paul will win the nomination, will go on to win the presidency, will make important policy changes, and will lead necessary legislative changes while in office, but it will be that discussion that will change history. However much he changes the face of government, inspiring this Great Debate will be Paul’s most significant impact on America.
When I speak of this Great Debate, I refer not to any specific debate or series of debates between the candidates. I refer instead to the necessary discussion of ideas that takes place between the two campaigns in this election, and especially to the discussion of ideas that will take place in the new media, among neighbors, and in many other forums when these two very different candidates square off.
Ron Paul and Barrack Obama are the Ideal Candidates
There are few people as qualified to represent the sides of the debate. Obama is the charismatic figurehead of the political establishment that calls for greater statism and corporatism. This establishment crosses party lines and includes the vast majority of federal politicians. He is the figurehead of what pollster Scott Rasmussen identifies as the American political class – a group of less than 10% of Americans who identify with the government on at least two of the following three questions:
- Whose judgment do you trust more: that of the American people or American political leaders?
- Has the federal government become its own special interest group?
- Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers?
President Obama, a man whose time in office has aptly demonstrated his belief that the federal government can solve life’s problems by force of mandate, is qualified to represent the American political class in an election.
Ron Paul has spent approximately 40 years establishing himself as the most qualified person to represent freedom – he is well mannered, well read, knowledgeable of the workings of the halls of power, and an adherent to constitutional and pro-freedom values. He regularly finds himself in direct opposition to the ideas of the political class. He is unique among the Republican candidates in flatly speaking out against the statism and corporatism of the political establishment. It is imperative to that establishment that Paul not be allowed to win the presidency and nearly as important that his voice not even be heard. The political establishment does not want the American people to examine their beliefs, forced to think, forced to choose, forced to be exposed to a debate that is so powerful and expansive that neighbors and strangers will reach out to each other to discuss the issues of the day. The establishment is terrified by the potential of that debate. They realize that merely opening the channels of communication between friends and neighbors is enough to bring drastic and lasting change.
I know that debate will happen.
Both you and I know how important that debate is. After all, it’s the debates – the shifting intellectual environment – that made the American Revolution what it was. The act of taking up arms wasn’t the important part. Some piece of each one of us understands how important that debate is; that’s why we are active in the freedom movement. Let’s face it – both you and I have more relaxing and more comfortable things to do than win the day for Ron Paul. For example, instead of spending my time with the people I love the most, I am writing this to you. I am writing this book because I know that the small percentage of Americans who make up the political establishment can be overcome by the rest of the population. I write this because I know that you personally can so successfully appeal to the sense of reason of so many other Americans. Are we not better served by an Obama / Paul race in November than by another contest of Statist vs. Statist? Isn’t it good for the nation to debate the questions that will arise from these two very different candidates meeting? I’m suspect of anyone who doesn’t think that debate is a good idea.
‘Freedom Isn’t Free’ Gets Misused Often
I am active in the liberty movement, and I write this because I know the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. I imagine the reason that you are reading this right now is because you know the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. “Freedom isn’t free” is popularly used to explain why America should start wars around the world, and why those wars should be unquestioningly supported by the citizenry. However, “freedom isn’t free” more accurately is just a more concise way to say “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” “Freedom isn’t free” means that we should always question, we should always challenge anyone who would limit our freedom. “Freedom isn’t free” comes down to a basic reality – only those who will force others to allow them to be free will actually be allowed to be free. Some may dislike the fact that freedom requires constant vigilance and struggle, but dislike of the truth does not make the truth any less true.
I believe, dear reader, you realize that freedom is costly; otherwise it’s unlikely that you’d spend your time reading about the arduous work of bringing greater freedom to America.
You are sacrificing by reading this. Instead of spending your time with the people you love most or engaging in a host of other more relaxing activities, you are giving me the chance to share my plan for making the Great Debate happen. Maybe better than referring to it as “sacrificing,” is pointing out that it is more of an investment. The work you and I put in today in the freedom movement may pay dividends today and may pay dividends for many years to come. Do the wrong work and there will be no dividends. Do the right work for freedom and the dividends will be clear.
We are communicating through this writing because we want to invest in the future of America. We can invest time and effort today to reap benefits in the future. We want to work efficiently, because we all know that our personal resources (time, money, and energy) are limited. Many of us probably also know the feeling of ineffective work. Some who read this may even know the disappointment of what may feel like decades of ineffective work on behalf of freedom.
The Liberty Movement Is Succeeding
If we zoom the camera out, we see that America is in the midst of a great change; the false claims for change from the 2008 election have been rejected; it is the liberty movement that has created a foundation for the change that is taking place. The calls for freedom are loud and widespread. No matter how high the establishment media raises its volume, it can’t talk over those voices. As strong and secure as the established voices may seem, the American political class is terrified at the change it sees taking place in America, which is precisely why they ignore us. Our challenge to them is formidable, and we have everything in order to see the first great political victory of our movement. We overestimate their strength when we think otherwise. Now is the time to push even harder, because our efforts are so close to bearing fruit.
My book How to Win America for Ron Paul and the Cause of Freedom in 2012 is my call to the freedom movement – how to be as effective as possible, both personally and as a movement. If we agree on common goals – getting Ron Paul the Republican nomination, getting Ron Paul into the Oval Office, and severely limiting the power of the federal government once he is in the Oval Office, then this is the most effective, publicly available road map to that goal. We must work quickly. So many opportunities are available today that will be gone in a few months. Today is the day to begin this important work. Wait three months and the road map becomes obsolete. Get to work on this plan today and the road map becomes effective, the road map becomes true, the road map becomes our way to make the Great Debate happen, and the road map becomes the path to the White House on inauguration day, January 20, 2013.
The text in this post is excerpted from the newly-released How to Win America for Ron Paul and the Cause of Freedom in 2012.
February 25, 2012
Allan Stevo [send him mail] is a writer from Chicago. He’s the author of several books and numerous essays dealing with issues of liberty.