Students must continue Ron Paul’s ideas

Many people, Democrats and Republicans alike, dismiss Texas Rep. Ron Paul as a crazy old man whose support for the sale of unpasteurized milk and call for a return to the gold standard render him and his ideas unworthy of serious consideration. But luckily, an increasing number of young people have looked past this flippant view to embrace Paul’s vision of a limited government shaped by free-market principles and a stringent dedication to civil liberties.

Yiwen Fu | Daily Trojan

After 23 years in congressional office, Paul is retiring at the end of the year. His humble yet inspiring farewell address before Congress last Wednesday should remind students that in order for the United States be restored as a nation that truly espouses principles of liberty, they must be the ones to carry forward his legacy through political activism and efforts to raise awareness.

In his farewell address, the 77-year-old Republican congressman leveled blows at both dominant political parties, suggesting that both sides’ unwillingness to cut spending from their parties’ high-priority projects means that the deep budgetary hole the United States has dug itself into is not likely to be filled anytime soon.

“One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending … and the downward spiral continues,” he said.

Where partisan politicians have refused to break from their one-track party molds, Paul has avoided being confined to such a limited mindset. Though he is a Republican by official affiliation, he breaks from his colleagues by refusing to stand by superfluous military spending and antiquated immigration policies. And though he never fits neatly within one party platform, his positions display a level of consistency that is rare, even among the most die-hard Republicans and Democrats.

What Paul believes in and has always promoted is a commitment to common sense principles of unfettered free markets and a commitment to individual rights. In short, he stands for liberty.

Paul’s farewell address and exit from Congress come at a crucial point of crossroads in American politics. In addition to partisan gridlock, the government is cracking down on the most fundamental civil liberties granted by the Constitution through legislation that borders on the tyrannical.

Perhaps the explosion of Ron Paul mania in our generation is a result of growing up in the post-9/11 security state. We live in the shadow of constitutionally dubious laws, such as the PATRIOT Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, both of which provide the government with unprecedented powers including the indefinite detention of citizens and the suspension of due process rights for detainees — all in the name of national security.

Young Paul supporters see the grave danger inherent in the indiscriminate expansion of executive power, which has the potential to undermine the values and beliefs that America has historically stood for. What has separated the United States from other nations and made it an exemplar of democratic values for the world is its constitutional dedication to civil liberties and the protection of the individual from government tyranny, but this has been eroded in the past decade. Our generation is the one that will reap the consequences if we fail to speak out against this erosion now.

During his farewell speech, Paul lamented the lack of enthusiasm for liberty among his colleagues in Congress, but expressed optimism at the fact that “tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students” have taken up the torch of liberty “with great enthusiasm.”

Though it is regrettable that most politicians and citizens do not agree with Paul’s platform, it is time that our generation pick up where he left off and work toward restoring the founding principles of the Constitution.

Students shouldn’t feel uncomfortable defending an unconventional candidate or standing up for civil liberties at a protest. Our future depends on a fundamental change in how government is run, and there is no better time than now for resurrecting liberty, Ron Paul style.


Sarah Cueva is a junior majoring in political science and Middle East studies. Her column “Leaning Toward Liberty” runs Mondays.

9 replies
  1. no to paul
    no to paul says:

    It is worth pointing out that Paul has been connected to racist, homophobic, and misogynistic writings and ideas for decades. He’s all more freedom when it applies to the wealthy white people that populate the world he lives in. The fact is that in this country the color of your skin strongly correlates to the opportunities that are open to you. I am a white male who grew up in an upper middle class community with good school, but I’m not so selfish to pretend that because I had every opportunity open to me if I put in an effort, that my situation is true for non-white and lower class people if they worked harder.
    Ron Paul lives in a fantasy world of ideas that only sound good if your life has been privileged enough that you have need assistance for the government.
    In a globalized world his ideas about eliminating federal agencies like the EPA and the fed are beyond idiotic and would lead to disaster if they came to pass.
    His recent comments on secession? Let the red states go, they are by and by large states which pay less in to federal coffers than they receive.
    Paul and his hateful son Rand are blights on our political system, I’m happy to see Paul go, and I really wish Rand makes a strong run for the Republican nomination in 2016 as most Americans do not agree with his world view.
    Small government sounds great until you think about the details. Living in America would SUCK without a strong federal government, but apparently libertarians have ignored or forgotten Silent Spring, the BP Oil Spill, the Jungle and so many other example.
    Libertarians are an embarrassment on political thought. Stop being so naive.

  2. North University Park
    North University Park says:

    We are still debating the gold standard? I thought that had been settled long ago in the elections of 1896 and 1900 (William Jennings Bryan vs. William McKinley).

    As far as I know there is no country in the world that still uses it.

  3. libertyMinded
    libertyMinded says:

    Ron Paul in not some flash in the pan. He has a successful career and a not-so-successful career. The idea of peace is out of style now, but it will become popular again. The idea that liberty is better than slavery should rise in popularity also. If students are satisfied with large chunks of their take home pay disappearing into a nebulous government, then they deserve lifetime poverty. If students don’t care about keeping personal things private, then they deserve 1984. If banks can have massive infusions of “money” without student protest, then they don’t deserve the gold that cannot be counterfeited.

  4. Johnny
    Johnny says:

    The whole Ron Paul infatuation is so lame. Anyone who knows anything about economics knows that a return to the Gold Standard would be an unmitigated disaster. And the ‘End the Fed’ thing is sophomoric too. Anyone in doubt should read George Cooper’s book on the financial crisis:
    The frustrating thing with Ron Paul is that he has taken many people justifiably concerned with civil liberties onto the political fringe when they should be promoting those policies (and lobbying through things like the ACLU) within the mainstream. Ron Paul’s 15 minutes are now up. Finally.

    • whirligig
      whirligig says:

      johnny boy, your george cooper is a farce!
      “wants to get back to our Country’s Fundamental roots, go back to following the United States Constitution and Constitutional law, back to the glory and prestige we once had.”
      “George Cooper is a Washington outsider, not all caught up in the mindset game of closed door dealings and trying to please the lobbyist.”
      he sounds like a plantation owner that has a stable full of slaves and a good little wife that knows her place!
      This country needs to go back to the gold standard…………. Ron Paul has very great ideas and had he been given the opportunity to be president of the usa, we would be 100x better off than we are today!

      • Johnny
        Johnny says:

        What a strange comment. George Cooper has been studying (and making money from understanding) monetary policy for several decades. His book got rave reviews but is easily understandable for those who really want to understand bubbles and crashes. Calling him a ‘plantation owner’ (he’s British btw) really says more about you than him.

  5. Carry
    Carry says:

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