It’s not complicated, he insists. These are the themes he has been addressing, consistently, since he entered politics in 1974, over the course of 12 terms in Congress, through his third bid for the White House: Free markets are good. The Federal Reserve is evil. The gold standard should be restored. Government is the cause, not the cure, of the nation’s troubles.

“If it tries to make us virtuous and it tries to make us better people and fairer people and make us more generous and make sure that nobody’s richer than the other person, redistribute your wealth, the ONLY way they can do that is the undermining of our personal liberties,” Paul told a raucous crowd of several hundred supporters during a recent “Restore Liberty Rally” at the Greenville Convention Center.

“And that isn’t the purpose of government. The purpose of government is exactly the opposite. The purpose of government is to protect our liberties.”

At 76, this former obstetrician has seven years on the oldest man ever to take office as president, Ronald Reagan. But where Reagan was the genial conservative, Paul is an evangelical libertarian – a prophet who preaches that the United States is flat broke, foundering under the too-great weight of a bloated bureaucracy and its imperial – albeit generally well-intentioned – foreign interventionism.

This is a man who would eliminate five of the 15 cabinet-level departments (Commerce, Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and Interior – he has no problem reciting them all); recall American troops from all foreign lands, not just war zones; repeal the 16th Amendment, which created the federal income tax; reduce his own presidential salary from $400,000 to $39,336 – the median salary of an American worker.

“And that isn’t the purpose of government. The purpose of government is exactly the opposite. The purpose of government is to protect our liberties.”

How does he do it?

Perhaps it is not so complicated: He applies the lessons learned in a life that stretches back to the Depression.

 

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