U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who’s inching toward a decision on a White House run, is releasing his newest book, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom, on Tuesday. A sneak preview of the introduction to the book is available on the website of Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, the 501(c)4 group he formed after his 2008 presidential bid.
Paul gave out advance copies of the book to people who attended his speech Friday in New Hampshire. For those who weren’t able to make it, the introduction is the next best thing. Paul begins:
America’s history and political ethos are all about liberty. The Declaration of Independence declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights, but notice how both life and the pursuit of happiness also depend on liberty as a fundamental bedrock of our country. We use the word almost as a cliche. But do we know what it means? Can we recognize it when we see it? More importantly, can we recognize the opposite of liberty when it is sold to us as a form of freedom?
Paul writes that he embraces the “liberal” agenda — with one caveat, that by “liberal” he means classically liberal, or “the liberal tradition in the true sense, dating from the late Middle Ages until the early part of the twentieth century” — not that of the modern Democratic Party.
However, Paul’s introduction is not filled with partisan attacks; in fact, it doesn’t contain the words “Democrat” or “Republican” at all. Rather, he blasts the federal government as a single entity, writing:
Do our leaders in Washington believe in liberty? They sometimes say they do. I don’t think they are telling the truth. The existence of the wealth- extracting leviathan state in Washington, DC, a cartoonishly massive machinery that no one can control and yet few ever seriously challenge, a monster that is a constant presence in every aspect of our lives, is proof enough that our leaders do not believe. Neither party is truly dedicated to the classical, fundamental ideals that gave rise to the American Revolution.
In the introduction, Paul warns against government intrusion in everyday life, loss of privacy and “dollar hegemony.”
Sometimes it seems like we are living in a dystopian novel like 1984 or Brave New World, complete with ever less economic freedom. Some will say that this is hyperbole; others will understand exactly what I’m talking about,” he writes. “What is at stake is the American dream itself, which in turn is wrapped up with our standard of living.
He writes, “The choice we now face: further steps toward authoritarianism or a renewed effort in promoting the cause of liberty. There is no third option.”
Paul concludes the introduction:
The idea of this book is not to provide a blueprint for the future or an all-encompassing defense of a libertarian program. What I offer here are thoughts on a series of controversial topics that tend to confuse people, and these are interpreted in light of my own experience and my thinking. I present not final answers but rather guideposts for thinking seriously about these topics. I certainly do not expect every reader to agree with my beliefs, but I do hope that I can inspire serious, fundamental, and independent- minded thinking and debate on them.
Above all, the theme is liberty. The goal is liberty. The results of liberty are all the things we love, none of which can be finally provided by government. We must have the opportunity to provide them for ourselves, as individuals, as families, as a society, and as a country. Off we go: A to Z.