As we prepare for our yearly Ron Paul Institute Conference in Virginia, we hope that you enjoy this interview from 1988 when Ron Paul ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket.
By Jacob G. Hornberger
Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson is worried. He thinks that maybe — just maybe — the U.S. government is not spending enough on defense. In a column entitled, “Here’s Why We Could Be Under-Spending on Defense,” Samuelson has come up with a complicated formula that has caused him to fear that China and Russia might actually be spending more money on their militaries than the United States. Bringing to mind the famous missile-gap controversy during the Cold War, Samuelson wrote, “Our reputed military superiority might be exaggerated or a statistical fiction.”
I won’t delve into Samuelson’s complicated formula for arriving at his scary conclusion because, well, it is complicated, a point that even he concedes:
The only way to find out is to estimate our and their defense budgets, using an unconventional methodology called “purchasing power parity” (PPP). To do that, Congress should create a task force of experts that would examine Russia’s and China’s defense spending and compare it with our own.
So, I’ll leave his main point to that task force of experts. I do wish, however, to confront the other major point in Samuelson’s analysis, one to which he, like so many others in Washington, D.C., is obviously oblivious: that U.S. spending on the military and the rest of the national-security establishment is for defense. That is one great big delusion and falsehood.
After all, defense means that one is defending. In a personal context, that means that when someone comes up to you and throws a punch, and you respond by raising your hands to block the blow, you are defending. He is the attacker and you are the defender. In an international context, if one nation invades another nation, the invading nation is the attacker and the invaded nation is the defender.
During the last 70 years, the U.S. government has spent trillions of dollars for “defense.” But it hasn’t really been for defense because no other nation has ever invaded the United States during that time. Of course, the U.S. has been embroiled in several foreign wars that have cost a lot of money, but none of those wars involved defense since the opposing nations never invaded the United States.
Consider the Korean War. North Korea never attacked the United States. The same holds true for North Vietnam. And Panama. And Grenada. And Cuba. And Iraq. And Afghanistan. And Syria. And Libya. And many more. None of them ever invaded the United States.
Equally important, no nation state is threatening to invade the United States. No foreign regime even has the money to undertake such an invasion. They are all broker than the U.S. government. No Latin American nation has the military capability or even the interest in invading the United States. And no nation state in Europe, Asia, or Africa has even the remotest military capability of successfully crossing the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans and invading and conquering the United States.
So, what have all those trillions of dollars been spent on if not defense? The answer is: empire and intervention, which oftentimes encompass instances where the U.S. government, ironically, is the attacker and invader and the targeted nation is the defender.
Iraq is a good example. After the 9/11 attacks, which were not the first step in an invasion of the United States but rather a retaliatory act for U.S. empire and intervention in the Middle East, President George W. Bush and the U.S. national-security establishment decided to attack and invade Iraq, a country that had never attacked the United States. That’s because 11 years of U.S. economic sanctions, which had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children in the 1990s, had nonetheless failed to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power. Bush’s invasion and long occupation of Iraq made the U.S. the aggressor power and Iraq the defending nation. There is no way that anyone can rationally argue that the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the Iraq War were for “defense.”
Of course, this gigantic lie is manifested in the name “Department of Defense.” It is clearly a false name but one that hardly anyone questions. It really should be named the “Department of Empire, Interventionism, and War.”
Why is it important to U.S. officials that Americans be made to believe that all this massive military spending, year after year, is for “defense.” What better way for the national-security establishment to keep sucking ever-increasing monies from American taxpayers than to continue making them believe that U.S. aggression, interventionism, and empire constitute “defense.”
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
As we prepare for our yearly Ron Paul Institute Conference in Virginia, we hope that you enjoy this classic speech given at a Mises Institute conference in Costa Mesa, California, back in 2014. Ron Paul explains how state intervention destroys civil society, and how free markets offer a better solution.
By Chris Rossini
Ideas rule the world. Nothing is more important than what happens between the ears.
George Washington once wrote something very revealing to James Madison about the ideas of Liberty. He said that "Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."
This makes perfect sense. Liberty is a foundational part of our human nature. We're all born as free thinking and choosing individuals, and are meant to stay that way.
Part of freedom though, is the option to act as a tyrant.
Tyranny is the negation of Liberty. It's the attempt to force people to act against their own conscious choices. It's the aggression against another person's life and property.
Tyranny, since it is against the nature of humanity, takes a very long time to take root. Tyranny is very expensive and time consuming. It requires ever more and higher doses of propaganda and brainwashing.
Liberty requires none of this.
Liberty just is.
Liberty is cheap, superabundant and always present. It doesn't need any propaganda whatsoever. Liberty means people think what they want to think, and act however they want to act. There's just one simple limitation -- You can't be a tyrant. You can't use aggressive force against another person or their property.
Liberty means hands off other people and their stuff.
A lot of people have a problem with this. They want to bully other people around and they want to take their stuff. They want to be tyrants.
Liberty, on the other hand, means tolerance. You may not like what other people think or how other people act. But as long as they aren't using aggressive force against your person or property, it's none of your business. Live and let live.
So why do the ideas of Liberty spread so quickly, but only when the time is right?
It is precisely because it is our nature to live free.
Liberty is not a hard sell.
Tyranny is the hard sell, and it requires so much expense and so many resources, that it eventually runs out of options and collapses onto itself.
Think of all the "climate change" propaganda that is out there, being pumped around the clock. Think of all the militarism and war propaganda that deluge the American people every single day of their lives.
When others seek to control and take your property, they have to hammer away at you, day-after-day and year-after-year. They have to try to convince you, from every angle, that you need their tyranny and can't live without it.
They have to do this because it is against your nature to believe them.
They need to grind you down. This grinding down takes a long, long time.
You see "climate change" propagandists complain all the time. Despite all the over-the-top fear that they try to generate, people still aren't buying it.
Warmongers complain too. It takes them so long to convince you that the next country that they want to invade is a boogeyman.
Tyranny is expensive and time-consuming.
And it's all a waste.
And so, we look back at history and see very long and drawn out episodes of tyranny, that are always followed by short (and extremely powerful) surges of Liberty.
When Liberty takes root, it's very "rapid" as Washington pointed out, and it shakes the Earth. Renaissances and widespread belief in Liberty don't come around very often, but when they do....Wow!
We don't get to decide when we each show up in this story of Liberty and tyranny.
If we did, we'd all surely choose to show up when Liberty is abundantly valued. But we don't get that choice. We show up when we show up...and then we have to deal with it.
The odds of showing up when the ideas of Liberty are widely accepted and honored are extremely slim. So it should be no surprise to you that, today, those who advocate Liberty are in the minority.
It's not the first time that this is the case, and it surely won't be the last.
But another man that George Washington knew, had something to say about that. His name was Samuel Adams, and he said: "It does not take a majority to prevail...but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.'
Liberty is foundational to our nature.
It's stupid to fight nature.
It's a much better idea to embrace it.
Let's go set some "brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
The president took to Twitter this morning to make a claim that doesn't hold any water about the economy and the media. At a time when a serious recession inches closer and closer, political posturing should take a back seat. The Federal Reserve is the culprit. It creates the bubbles and the unavoidable busts.
Can you imagine the money, that you work so hard for, actually increasing in purchasing power every year? Can you imagine your bills gradually falling over the years, instead of relentlessly rising? Of course you can't! And the reason that you can't is because of the government-created monopoly called The Federal Reserve.
By Chris Rossini
We live in an age where many individuals are becoming increasingly hostile to truth, facts and reality. The meaning of words are often twisted and language is routinely corrupted.
Many believe that by taking thought, they can add one cubit to their stature. If they think it --- and it feels good to think it --- then regardless of the truth, it becomes their law.
This road has always been, and always will be, a road that individuals can take. A person can, if he so desires, live in an Orwellian world of his own making, where war is peace, and slavery is freedom.
It's always an option, but just because an option exists, doesn't mean it's a wise move to chose it. The option is always there for you to run into a brick wall -- that doesn't mean you should do it.
In an age of corrupted language, it's extremely important to have a firm definition of what the idea of Liberty actually means. That way when someone comes along and tries to pass Liberty off as something else, you'll know that you're dealing with a fraud.
Definitions matter because ideas matter.
Ideas are the inner seeds that produce our outer circumstances.
If you've ever tended to a garden, you know that you don't toss generic seeds into the soil. The soil doesn't produce anything generic.
Rather, you plant specific seeds -- i.e., watermelon, cucumber, lilac, rose -- and the soil will produce the specific thing that you plant.
You will not get a cucumber from a watermelon seed, and planting flowers will not give you weeds. You choose what specific seed to plant, and the soil will bloom something specific for you.
The world of ideas and circumstances work on the same principles. George Washington wrote to James Madison: "Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."
The idea of Liberty is a seed, and in order for it to "take root," the very first thing is for it to be understood to mean something specific.
So what specifically does Liberty mean?
Well, Liberty is another way of saying the word Peace.....or "Live and Let Live."
Your life is yours, (and only yours) and your neighbor's life is your neighbor's, (and only your neighbor's).
Your property is yours (and only yours) and your neighbor's property is your neighbor's, (and only your neighbor's).
Since you and your neighbor are sovereign individuals over your own respective lives and property, the only peaceful way for two sovereigns to interact with one another is through the principles of Liberty -- Live and Let Live.
If the sovereign individuals interact with one another, it is on the playing field of voluntarism and non-aggression.
They can exchange, contract, and trade with one another, but cannot aggress, steal, coerce or use force against each other.
The moment that aggressive force is introduced and accepted, Liberty has been compromised. Peace has been tainted, and sovereignty over one's life and property has been violated.
There's only one way to go from there --- Down.
Once Liberty is routinely violated, civilization goes from a piece-meal slide into a precipitous decline -- out of civilization and into barbarism.
It's all choices. We're free thinking individuals. Not robots.
If civilization is flourishing, bad ideas can bring it down. But the opposite is true as well: If civilization is falling apart, good ideas can bring a magnificent renaissance.
We can choose the Orwellian life, or the Libertarian life.
Each individual makes his or her choice, and the consequences will follow.
If you're going to choose Liberty...be specific, and have faith that the soil will never let you down.
Departing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats sent Congress a letter requesting that several features of the misnamed USA FREEDOM Act be made permanent, allowing the US government to spy in Americans in perpetuity. The Trump Administration wants to be able to intercept phone calls and text messages as well as snoop into business records and other violations of the Fourth Amendment. The FREEDOM Act was passed after Ed Snowden revealed that the NSA was illegally spying on American citizens. Falsely advertised as "reform," the replacement bill only made "legal" the illegality of the PATRIOT Act. Will Americans find the will to oppose this creeping tyranny?
By Ron Paul
Stocks fell last week following news that the yield curve on Treasury notes had inverted. This means that a short-term Treasury note was paying higher interest rates than long-term Treasury note. An inverted yield curve is widely seen as a sign of an impending recession.
Some economic commentators reacted to the inverted yield curve by parroting the Keynesian propaganda that recessions are an inevitable feature of a free-market economy, whose negative effects can only be mitigated by the Federal Reserve. Like much of the conventional economic wisdom, the idea that recessions are caused by the free market and cured by the Federal Reserve is the exact opposite of the truth.
Interest rates are the price of money. Like all prices, they should be set by the market in order to accurately convey information about economic conditions. When the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates, it distorts those signals. This leads investors and businesses to misjudge the true state of the economy, resulting in misallocations of resources. These misallocations can create an economic boom. However, since the boom is rooted in misperceptions of the true state of the economy, it cannot last. Eventually the Federal Reserve-created bubble bursts, resulting in a recession.
So, recessions are not a feature of the free market. Instead, they are an inevitable result of Congress granting a secretive central bank power to influence the price of money. While monetary policy may be the prime culprit, government tax and regulatory policies also damage the economy. Many regulations, such as the minimum wage and occupational licensing, inflict much harm on the same low-income people that the economic interventionists claim benefit the most from the welfare-regulatory state.
The best thing for Congress and the Federal Reserve to do after the bubble bursts is to let the recession run its course. Recessions are painful but necessary if the economy is going to heal from the damage done by government’s inflate-tax-borrow-spend-and-inflate-some-more policies. But Congress and the Fed cannot resist the cries to “do something.” So, Congress spends billions on wasteful “economic stimulus” plans and bailouts of politically influential corporations. Meanwhile, the Fed tries to “prime the pump” via new money creation, restarting the whole boom-and-bust cycle.
This is not to say that no one would experience economic difficulties in a free market. Businesses and even whole industries would still close because of changing consumer tastes, new competitors offering superior products, or bad business decisions. There may even be bubbles in a free market as some investors misread fads as permanent changes in consumer preferences. But periods of downturn would be shorter, and most would only affect specific industries rather than the entire economy.
President Trump’s imposition of tariffs (which are a form of taxes on American consumers) has been particularly harmful. The tariff war has not just raised prices on imported consumer goods. It has also cut off markets for export-reliant businesses, such as manufacturers that import materials used to construct their products.
The trade dispute with China may be the event that pushes the US economy into a major recession or even a depression. However, the trade war is not the root cause of the downturn. The next recession, like every recession since 1913, will come stamped “Courtesy of the Federal Reserve.” The only way to end the boom-and-bust cycle and restore peace, prosperity, and liberty is to end the welfare-warfare state, repeal the Sixteenth Amendment, and audit then end the Fed.
By Liberty Report Staff