On November 14, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who chose not to seek re-election after 12 terms in the House of Representatives spanning three decades, gave a 49-minute valedictory address. Here are some edited excerpts:
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.
According to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress—from 1976 to 2012—accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways, thank goodness. 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.
Yet the good news is that compared to 1976, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college-age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.
[Still] our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law…Here are a few examples:
• Debt is growing exponentially.
• The PATRIOT Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation, passed without much debate, have resulted in a steady erosion of our Fourth Amendment rights.
• Tragically our government engages in pre-emptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
• The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws [flouted].
• It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.
• Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.
• Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.
• Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.
Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:
Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?