The Revolution: A Manifesto — A Review

Ron Paul’s book, The Revolution: A Manifesto, is the most refreshing exercise in political thought in a long, long time. Ron Paul, as you may recall, is the congressman from Texas who ran for the Republican nomination for president eventually won by John McCain. His message of liberty resonated with so many people that his campaign set records in campaign contributions and grassroots support. After McCain won the GOP nomination, Congressman Paul founded the Campaign for Liberty as a means of keeping the fight for limited government going. The ideology that so energized millions of Americans is summarized quite well in The Revolution: A Manifesto — and it’s all based on a single idea: rejecting false choices.

From the very first sentence Paul shows how our political options are extremely limited by two parties that are strikingly similar — they are both advocates of a large, powerful centralized government. He then begins to tear down the false premises on which our political system is based.

“Should we launch preemptive wars against this country or that one? Should every American neighborhood live under this social policy or that one? Should a third of our income be taken away by an income tax or a national sales tax?”

Paul demonstrates that both parties mutually agree upon the false premises from which these kinds of questions originate. No one in “mainstream” politics allows for the possibility that we shouldn’t wage preemptive war at all. They don’t accept that neighborhoods should make their own decisions apart from Federal mandates. And they reject the notion that citizens ought not have their income confiscated at all.

“And so every four years we are treated to the same tired, predictable routine: two candidates with few disagreements on fundamentals pretend that they represent dramatically different philosophies of government,” Paul observes.

This book sets out to expose and reject the false choices we’ve been led to believe are the only legitimate choices. Paul does this by first reintroducing us to the foreign policy of the Founding Fathers and to the Constitution. We learn that individual liberty was a foundational principle in America. We learn the government is only authorized to act with the consent of the citizenry. We learn that citizens’ rights are the result of an endowment from God and are not issued by the state.

Yet, over the course of many years we’ve come to accept that we are somehow the property of the state — at least in part. We don’t object to the state claiming to be entitled to a portion of what we earn. We don’t object when governors, senators and presidents enact law and regulations against our interests without Constitutional authority. We don’t even object to the idea that the state has a “right” to force citizens into service against their will — a concept we used to call slavery.

Ron Paul takes these lessons and applies them our economy, to civil liberties and to personal freedom. It is eye opening. We often lament that our country has fallen from the ideals intended by the Founding Fathers. Paul’s book demonstrates just how far.

But despite all the bad news, the book is extremely optimistic. John Adams, no small participant in the American Revolution, once observed, “What do we mean by the revolution? The War? That was no part of the revolution. That was only an effect and a consequence of the revolution. The revolution was in the minds of the people. And this was effected from 1760 to 1775 in the course of 15 years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.”

In his book Ron Paul makes a new plea for the minds of the people. Don’t continue to think you are making a difference when you accept the false choices presented to you from Washington. It is an illusion. Reject the false premises. Ask the right questions. Demand liberty.

Ron Paul shows a new revolution is possible — one American at a time.

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Big government IS the problem

goldcoins.jpgIf you’ve kept up with the news lately you are aware the United States economy is in trouble. In fact, the U.S. is no longer the world’s leading economy — that distinction has recently been surrendered to the European Union. The really scary part of this whole mess is the political rhetoric spouting from Washington. The politicians are falling over one another with their “government solutions” to the problem. Except the government is incapable of solving the problem because the government IS the problem.

Government intrusion into the free market always brings unintended consequences that create new problems. It is the rare politician who understands this. Of course, our founders understood this — Thomas Jefferson in particular. A generation later John C. Calhoun (who’s birthday was yesterday) understood it. Today Ron Paul understands it. Paul, a congressman from Texas, has recently joined worldnetdaily.com as a regular contributor, so the ideas of liberty will have another outlet. His first contribution is entitled, “The crumbling U.S. empire.”

Enjoy.

Thideology News of the Day

Hillary thinks the government owns you

shackles.jpgThe topic of individual ownership — meaning who owns individuals — has been addressed previously on this website in the Economics of Christianity (Part 1) “The Right of Ownership.” The general idea of the article is that individuals own themselves and have certain rights as a result. It’s the philosophy of America’s founding fathers. But we now live in a country where candidates for president can claim ownership of the people and there is little or no outcry. In fact, many Americans embrace the modern version of slavery because it is couched in language that sufficiently hides its true nature.

In an interview this week, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton affirmed her belief that the government owns citizens and everything they have (read for yourself). She supported the idea of garnishing a persons wages in order to force them to participate in her government-controlled socialized health-care scam. When asked about people who would prefer to purchase their own health insurance she said, “I think you can automatically enroll people, and you will then say, ‘You’ve got to be part of this.'”

Stealing a person’s money to pay for “services” they are forced to accept — this is what passes for “freedom” in 2008? Sadly, 5 of the 6 remaining candidates for president have similar notions. Only one stands steadfast for liberty.

Bumper sticker of the day:

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The high cost of free stuff

There are six presidential candidate left in the 2008 campaign. Five of them are promising to give away a lot of free stuff to various constituents if elected (only one is an actual advocate of smaller government and cutting spending — you can watch him speak here).

freestuff.jpgAll of this talk of “free” stuff reminded me of a debate I heard in a previous campaign where the candidates were arguing over the merits of school vouchers. The opponent of vouchers claimed that federal money issued to parents who sent their children to religious schools amounted to a government endorsement of religion and thus violated the constitution. The proponent of vouchers pointed out that federal grants for college students might be used by any student to attend any college of their choice — even if they wanted to enroll in a religious school to become a minister. The opponent responded with a statement that exhibited an ignorance of basic economics, which should disqualify him from every holding office.

“The difference,” he said, “is that all higher education costs money. Public schools are free.”

He actually said, “Public schools are free.”

They are nothing of the sort.

My wife taught in public schools for five years. Her experience confirmed one thing: public schools are among the best-funded schools in America. They have computer labs, science labs, and new buildings. The teachers make more money than their counterparts in private schools. They have better benefits, better insurance. All of this cost somebody something.

Construction companies don’t build buildings for free. Computer manufacturers don’t give away their machines. Insurance companies are going to collect premiums. Just because we don’t have to write a check to the school when our children enroll does not mean we don’t pay for them. We do.

When we forget that somebody has to pick up the tab for the things that benefit us we begin to take them for granted. Like the guy who said, “Public schools are free.” He was advocated all sorts of expensive improvements to public schools like nobody was going to send an invoice at the end of the month. I wanted to ask him how in the world he could do that. How could you forget that everything costs something? It’s pretty basic.

Then I stopped myself.

While I always remember how much money things cost I do forget, from time to time, a much higher price once paid from which I benefit. The price of my salvation was very, very expensive. God the Father sacrificed His only begotten Son so that I might have eternal life. Jesus Christ gave up His very life. He willingly took on the form of a man for the purpose of offering Himself up to man’s ridicule. He was beaten, mocked, and finally nailed to a Roman cross.

mixer.jpgIn Jude we are warned of ungodly men who want to turn the grace of God into licentiousness — a license to sin. And yet, how often do I, when faced with temptation, think to myself that since my eternal destiny is secure in Christ it would not be so bad for me to enjoy this one, little, sin?

The price paid for being able to stand in the presence of God is very high. How could I forget that my salvation cost something?

The public schools involved in the debate I saw had been given resources galore. Yet their record for educating students was deplorable. The opponents of vouchers thought the answer was more money squeezed from the pockets of taxpayers. He couldn’t see that many of our nations’ schools have squandered the riches provided them at someone else’s expense.

The price God paid for our salvation can’t be calculated in monetary terms. His price was so high I don’t know if we will ever be able to grasp it. I do know that we need to be mindful of the price so as to prevent us from squandering the riches we have in Christ Jesus.

Bumper sticker of the day:

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Charity or Robbery?

What would you call it if a person walked up and pointed a gun at you and demanded your money?

Robbery.

What if three guys did it? Would it be something else?

Of course not, it’s still robbery.

Okay, but suppose you live in a town of 100 people and 99 of them get together and decide to come to your house with guns and take your possessions. What’s that?

Robbery. C’mon.

How many people would have to get involved before their taking your stuff was justified?

That’s silly, it doesn’t matter how many robbers come — it’s still robbery.

thidthief.jpgBut suppose they came and took your possessions and, after pawning it off, took the proceeds and fed some hungry people in the neighborhood. Would that justify their actions?

Of course not, Robbery is robbery regardless of what you do with the stolen property.

Interesting.

All of those scenarios were robbery and easily understood as wrong but we blindly accept this kind of robbery in America every day. In fact, many of us enthusiastically support it.

We just call it taxes.

Congress confiscates huge portions of our money every year and gives it away based upon their discretion. And, should we refuse to pay, the “authorities” would eventually show up at our door to take our money or our freedom by force. We are robbed, quite literally, at the point of a gun.

Quick Note: The previous analogy was borrowed from Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University and frequent quest host of the Rush Limbaugh radio show.

I guess we tolerate this robbery because, at the moment, Congress behaves more like a mugger in an alley — taking only the money we have on us — and not like a home invader who comes and cleans us out. For the moment they leave us a portion of our earnings (and expect us to thank them for not stealing it all — how nice.)

I bring this concept up because this is an election year and most of the candidates are telling us they are no longer satisfied with what they can take from us in the alley. They plan to follow us home and steal everything we’ve got. Oh, they don’t put it in those words. They hide their intentions behind carefully crafted phrases like, “I don’t plan to raise taxes, I plan to raise hope,” and “I want to provide universal healthcare for every single American.”

They commit robbery and call it “charity.”

With one stark exception, every candidate for president (both Democrat and Republican) has grand schemes for our money. And, should we be in need of some of our own money, well, we’ll have to go take a number at a government office somewhere, wait our turn, fill out a bunch of forms (in triplicate) and beg — for the “privilege” of having the use of our own money.

I realize many readers would think I’m overreacting. Some might think I’m being alarmist. But let me remind you of something. Our country was founded on the principles of liberty. Our founders valued equity in opportunity not outcome. We all were to have an equal shot at making the best of our lives with the resources available to us. But we do not have a right to some arbitrary standard of living if it means robbing our fellow citizens to pay for it. That, my friends, is socialism. And, as much as I hate to point it out, our country has been on the march toward socialism for some time.

thidtax.jpgThere was a time when Americans would have been shocked at the idea of an income tax (which, by the way, was a “temporary” government measure). There was a time Americans would have been appalled at the idea of Social Security (which, by the way, was supposed to be “optional”). There was a time Americans would have been angry at the concept of government intervention in the country’s health-care system.

But, our federal government has done all of these things and now we think of them as normal. And the thing we can’t seem to understand is that government intervention in our lives is a bad thing. I’ll give you just one example.

Government’s intervention in the American health-care system is destroying our health-care system. And the politicians’ answer to this problem is more intervention in the health-care system. I cannot emphasize this enough, universal government healthcare is a nightmare waiting to happen.

And of all the presidential candidates only one has unveiled an economic plan that is suitable for fixing this enormous bureaucratic mess.

But the most disturbing thing in this whole scene is the role many Christians are playing. Far too many of us have come to expect the state to be God’s instrument of grace when it’s not. Many of us — whether we realize it or not — view the state as some sort of savior. And when we come to a presidential election we often reject our King of kings and demand our own earthly king, instead.

America will become socialistic if we allow it. And when it does we can expect tyrannical government edicts (like this one) to become the norm.

As believers in Christ we need to understand the proper role of the Church and the proper role of the government. We also need to understand that robbery is robbery regardless of how you try to justify it.

And robbery is forbidden — just check the eighth commandment.

Bumper sticker of the day:

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A watered-down gospel

positivegospeltrash.jpgSo prevalent is the post-modern, cultural directive to not offend, that many of our churches have adopted the philosophy and, as a result, completely compromised the Word of God — though they would deny this claim. “Oh no,” they would say, “We merely present a ‘positive gospel.'”

A “positive gospel.”

This is a gospel designed not to offend the sinner. One that doesn’t really confront a sinner with their sinful nature and true standing before a holy God. People don’t like to hear that. People don’t like to hear that they are helpless to save themselves and face an eternity in hell for having transgressed against a holy and just God. Instead, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is characterized as something other than a necessary atonement for our sin. Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California, characterizes it as our opportunity for a “do over.”

He’s careful not to offend.

I am convinced this “positive gospel” is no gospel at all. It is a false gospel and contrary to Scripture. The gospel is inherently offensive. And if we want to preach and teach God’s Word in it’s entirety we need not be concerned with the delicate sensibilities of sinners and dare to offend them.

The late Paris Reidhead, a pastor and writer of some note, was convinced we had allowed humanism to influence our presentation of the gospel and said the following about what current church leaders call a “positive gospel”:

“If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on public preaching of ‘the plan of salvation’ in America for one to two years. Then I would call on everyone who has use of the airways and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, the righteousness of God and the law of God, until sinners would cry out, ‘What must we do to be saved?’ Then I would take them off in a corner and whisper the gospel to them. Such drastic action is needed because we have gospel-hardened a generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved before they have any understanding why they need to be saved.”

That about sums it up.

Thideology News of the Day:

The Iowa Caucuses are today and the 2008 presidential race will finally have it’s first official vote. I continue to be a staunch supporter of Ron Paul. However, those who characterize themselves as evangelical Christians are getting behind Mike Huckabee in large numbers. Bill Barnwell has written an excellent essay on why this is a mistake and makes the good case as to why Christians should be supporting Ron Paul instead.

Tea Party 07 a huge success

typewriter2.jpgTea Party 07, the one-day money-raising effort for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, was a huge success. More than 59,000 people gave an average of $102 and raised more than $6 million on Sunday, December 16, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. This is the record for a single day of fund raising in the history of American politics and it received very, very little press from the “main stream media.” Big shock.

The one candidate who honestly wants to reduce the size of government and threatens to upset the establishment apple cart is being ignored in an attempt to marginalize his candidacy. This is both good and bad. It’s bad that Congressman Paul is not getting fair coverage. However, it can be a good thing is this way: As his campaign continues to grow as a true “grass roots” campaign his success will expose the irrelevance of those in the main stream media who are trying to resist his message.

And just to underscore the importance of Congressman Paul’s message of liberty — please consider the following:

These are the very kinds of governmental abuses that Ron Paul stands against. All of the other candidates don’t mind the state wielding this kind of power, as long as it is wielded in a manner consistent with their views.

Bumper sticker of the day:

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