How Ron Paul Rocked Our Family (Unabridged)
by Jo Ann Cavallo
ago I voted for Obama mostly because of his foreign policy stance.
While he had promised to bring our troops home from Iraq after taking
office, his opponent was itching to start yet another land war in
Asia, glibly altering an old Beach Boys song to "Bomb-Bomb-Iran."
As our nation subsequently continued in the direction of increased
military intervention, greater income disparity, restricted civil
liberties, and more power appropriated by the executive branch,
my only consolation was to think that it could have been worse.
Then last September
my 17-year-old son asked me to watch a presidential primary debate
with him. I was certainly not expecting truths we had found in hard-hitting
documentaries like Why
We Fight, The
Corporation, and Manufacturing
Consent to be spoken by a Republican candidate running for
President, yet there was this Texas congressman condemning preemptive,
undeclared wars as militaristic nation building that only undermined
our national security. Ron Paul – where had he been all this time?
The more accurate
question, as it turned out, was "Where had we been?"
Congressman Paul had been opposing the endless wars and other unconstitutional
measures for decades.
Through increasingly lengthy Ron Paul study breaks, we learned that
Dr. Paul was not only consistent, but consistently right
in his warnings
about the impending consequences of our economic and political actions.
In particular, he exposed the role of the Federal Reserve not only
in war financing, but also in currency devaluation, vast debt accumulation,
artificial boom-bust cycles, and even the loss of our civil liberties
the Fed). Given that a partial audit of the Fed – thanks
to Paul’s relentless efforts – had revealed secret
bailouts of trillions of dollars to both foreign and domestic
banks and institutions, it began to concern me that Goldman Sachs
and its cohorts – the same banks that profited
from the government bailouts – were the top contributors to both
Obama’s and Romney’s campaigns.
The core texts
I was concurrently rereading in preparation for my classes Literature
Humanities and Nobility and Civility: East and West inevitably
led me back to thinking about Paul’s message, from Thucydides’ warnings
against Athenian empire building to Giambattista Vico’s explanation
of how Rome slipped from a republic into a tyranny. Rereading More’s
for the latter course, I came upon the question of how a king would
respond were he to be shown that "all this war-mongering, by
which so many different nations were kept in turmoil for his sake,
would exhaust his treasury and demoralize his people, yet in the
end come to nothing through one mishap or another." What
if rather than a king, we have a two-party political class serving
corporations who also conveniently control mainstream media?
Might that be why the establishment isn’t willing to present Ron
either treating him as "the 13th
floor in a hotel," as Jon Stewart quipped, or distorting
his views through biased
media blackout and outright hit pieces, Ron Paul has elicited support
and admiration both within
our nation. In the past months I’ve seen him likened to "a
clean boat in a sea of garbage," a rock
star, a Jedi
knight, a prophet,
and Don Quixote.
One significant difference with respect to the latter figure, at
least, is that the giants Paul’s been challenging (e.g., the military-industrial
complex, crony corporatism, the Federal Reserve) are all too real
even though largely hidden from view.
my homepage to the Daily Paul,
I reactivated my Facebook account to post Paul-related articles,
switched my affiliation from independent to Republican to vote in
the primaries, and began shopping at the campaign’s on-line store.
My son gave rally signs to his high school teachers for their classrooms
and bumper stickers to his friends for their cars. He started a
for Ron Paul chapter at Columbia within minutes of enrolling
as an incoming freshman.
focus on Paul-related news was initially disconcerting to my daughter,
a Columbia College sophomore. Over Thanksgiving break she complained
of feeling displaced by a new baby in the family and sought help
from Yahoo! Answers: "My family is obsessed with politics!
They're driving me nuts. What can I do?" (Ironically, the best
answer came from someone with the opposite problem who offered to
trade parents.) When I forwarded her Walter Block’s article "I
Hate Ron Paul," she replied that not only should I join
Ron Paul Anonymous, but she would need to begin a co-dependency
group for those whose loved ones suffered from the same addiction.
By semester’s end, however, she was relating Ron Paul to her Contemporary
Civilization course readings, especially John Locke on the government’s
role to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. When
upon her return home after exams she started playing Ron
Paul songs on YouTube and phone
banking, I knew she was a Ronvert!
She even succeeded in convincing her grandmother to vote for the
first time since the 1960s. In the space of one semester, Ron Paul
had become our champion.
break the three of us spent many hours gathered around the laptop
on the kitchen counter as we followed news gleaned from the Internet.
We asked ourselves how President Obama could have so quietly signed
Trade Agreement (global internet censorship treaty, known as
the "evil twin" of SOPA) and National
Defense Authorization Act (indefinite military detention of
American citizens without due process bill). In light of these executive
actions, Vico’s remarks on ancient Rome’s fall into dictatorship
had a particularly eerie ring. "By pursuing their own private
interests," he wrote in the New
Science, "free peoples let themselves be seduced by
the powerful into subjecting their own public freedom to the ambition
of others." While "a few vainly discoursed on the benefits
of liberty," the rest went from "indifference" to
"ignorance of the state as of something foreign to them."
Not surprisingly, Congressman Paul not only spoke out on behalf
of our liberties, but took action. The first thing he did upon returning
to the House in the New Year, apart from voting against yet another
rise in the debt ceiling, was to introduce
an amendment repealing the unconstitutional section of the NDAA.
at the polls and grassroots support for Dr. Paul, there are decidedly
more than just a few individuals determined to restore America now.
During a rally
speech in New Hampshire last month, Thomas E. Woods, Jr., noted
how Ron Paul is galvanizing people to study political philosophy
and learn about monetary policy because the movement is ultimately
not about the man, but rather the message. The crowd knew what he
was talking about and so did we! We had long since devoured Paul’s
Revolution: A Manifesto, and were delving into Murray Rothbard’s
Economy, and State. Realizing that regardless of our profession
we cannot afford to ignore the economic issues that affect us all,
we are aiming to get up to speed on the Austrian School this semester
thanks to daily on-line articles
and publications from the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. And although
I could never have predicted such a consequence five months ago
when I joined my son to watch that fateful primary debate, this
spring break the three of us will be setting out on a fifteen-hour
road trip to Auburn, Alabama for the Mises Institute’s annual Austrian
Scholars Conference. There is no turning back on this journey of
discovery, and we are thrilled to be in such great company.
Frank Capra classic, Mr.
Smith Goes to Washington, had a happy ending, but it was
only a film. Will Ron Paul garner enough support to disappoint the
establishment’s predetermined nominee despite systematic media
misrepresentation? Will the good doctor be given a chance to
woes come November?
In my opinion, given the pro-war,
pro-bankster, anti-liberty direction adopted by both parties, our
collective future as a free
nation may depend on it. As Ron Paul wrote in "We’ve
Been Neo-Conned": "Let it not be said that no one
cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberties
and wealth are in jeopardy."
version of this essay recently appeared in the Columbia
Jo Ann Cavallo
[send her mail] is an associate
professor of Italian at Columbia University and the Italian literature
editor of The Literary Encyclopedia.
Her latest book manuscript, The World Beyond Europe in the Romance
Epics of Boiardo and Ariosto, received the 2011 Aldo and Jeanne
Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
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