Ron Paul, whose forty-plus years in the political arena include a run for president as the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988, received at the party’s national convention last weekend a Hall of Liberty award for his achievement in advancing the libertarian movement. Paul, who was unable to attend the convention, did appear in the convention hall via a video address in which Paul both expressed his deep appreciation for the award and offered some advice to the people assembled. Paul’s advice includes that they strive to be principled instead of wishy-washy.
Early in his message, Paul declares optimism for the libertarian message spreading this year. Paul explains:
It’s an exciting year, right now, for libertarianism to come alive and offer up a solution to the mess we are in. The country’s in a mess. We are in a bankruptcy. The things that we have tried for many, many years — the Progressive Era has ended, and the only answers as far as I am concerned can be found in libertarian ideas. The basic principle, of course, is that of the rejection of the initiation of force — the nonaggression principle.
Dr. Paul continues that he is “absolutely convinced the message of libertarianism, the message of liberty, is the answer to the problems that we have, which means the state is the enemy of liberty.”
Regarding what libertarians taking political action should do, Paul mentions his own principled actions in the US House of Representatives and in campaigns as examples before advising that “the message has to be as pure as possible.” Paul then proceeds immediately to warn of the practical consequences of following a course in which libertarian principles are abandoned. Says Paul:
If we become wishy-washy in our votes and sound like just modified Republicans, I don’t think we can get as many votes and do as well because the message is very, very powerful. It’s an American message.… It’s more popular than ever because of the failure of the system that we have.
As far as I’m concerned, the message is the whole issue. And if we get into the system by saying, “oh well, maybe I can get more votes if I sound more moderate and more middle-of-the-road,” I think that’s useless. Usually you don’t get more votes, and you watered down the message.
Watch Paul’s complete speech here:
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.