6890 words. That’s the total my “Word Count” shows for Ron Paul’s address to Congress upon his leaving office. He still has a few more weeks, but as he began his farewell earlier this month, “This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor.”
You can see the full transcript here. Some excerpts follow the video of the speech. (emphasis added)
At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty. …
To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire. …
In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.
… One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. …
The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. …
That’s the “big picture” for Ron Paul. What follows are lots of details and explanations, prefaced by:
I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.
More than a few, actually. There’s a long list of “why” questions, including:
Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison? …
Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy? …
Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes? …
Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a ‘kill list’ … ?
Why is it is claimed that if people won’t or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
While I disagree with Paul in many ways, some of his questions are at least interesting. The last two certainly are. Or for me, “scary” might be more accurate. Equating “civil liberties” and “free market” reminds me of something televangelist Jerry Falwell said, years ago, when defining the “good news” as including not only “Jesus Christ,” but “free enterprise.” I know, a very different take, from Paul and Falwell, but they each end up with “free market” in a place of ascendancy, and in Paul’s case, equated with the essential meaning of “liberty.”
For one analysis of Paul’s farewell address, read Robert Parry at AlterNet:
Ron Paul’s Farewell Speech in Congress Lays Bare His Hatred for ‘Pure Democracy,’ and Love of Oligarchy
Rep. Ron Paul, an icon to the libertarian Right and to some on the anti-war Left, gave a farewell address to Congress that expressed his neo-Confederate interpretation of the Constitution and his anti-historical view of the supposedly good old days of laissez-faire capitalism.
In a near-hour-long rambling speech … Paul also revealed himself to be an opponent of ‘pure democracy’ because government by the people and for the people tends to infringe on the ‘liberty’ of businessmen … .
In Paul’s version of history, the United States lost its way at the advent of the Progressive Era about a century ago.
‘The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be ‘progressive’ ideas,’ said the 77-year-old Texas Republican. ‘Pure democracy became acceptable.’
Your analysis encouraged.
(Ron Paul photo via Paul.house.gov)