Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ron Paul Will Not Seek Re-election to Congress

The big news today, at least to libertarians, is that Ron Paul will not run for Congress again next year.  Lew Rockwell has given some of the possible reasons for this decision.  Ron Paul himself said, "I think you have more credibility if you run for only one office at a time."

I'm sure Ben Bernanke will be happy with his departure, although he will still have to deal with him for another year and a half.  This decision by Ron Paul does not surprise me.  He deserves a break and I'm sure he will deserve one even more after the hard campaigning he will be doing over the next year.

For personal reasons, I think it is a good decision.  But I don't expect him to crawl into a hole either.  He has used his position in Congress, not to pass or repeal legislation, but as a platform for his views.  He has helped educate millions of people on the benefits of liberty.

Now that Ron Paul is famous (what libertarian could have predicted that 5 years ago?), he doesn't need his seat in Congress to have a platform.  He has hundreds of thousands, or more likely millions, of supporters who will pay attention to what he says.  He should use this to advance libertarian thought.  I am saying all of this under the assumption that he will not win the presidency.

I don't know if he has anything in particular in mind, but one thing he could do is create a home school curriculum as suggested by Gary North.  He could use Campaign for Liberty to promote this.  I'm sure it would quickly be promoted by others.  He doesn't have to write the whole thing.  He just needs other libertarians to put it together at his direction and he can be the main salesman.  Imagine if just a hundred thousand home school children were to use it each year.  We would have a whole new generation of young libertarians with a good understanding of history and economics.

Another idea, also promoted by Gary North, is for Ron Paul to use Campaign for Liberty to specifically target local politics.  If he directed all of his supporters to start running for small local offices, then these advocates of liberty could start making a difference in their own communities.  They would gain trust locally and would have more influence than in any other way.  If liberty-oriented people lobbied their city councils like they lobby DC, then we would see a big wave of liberty from the ground up.  Gary North calls this the Dog Catcher strategy.  Washington DC is almost impossible to change right now, so why not start with something achievable?  This will lay the groundwork for changing DC later on.

Whatever Ron Paul decides to do, libertarians should be grateful for all he has done.  He has single handedly had a bigger influence on the liberty movement than any living person and perhaps anyone in history.  He has been consistent and uncompromising and he comes down on the side of liberty for all of the major issues.  We could not ask for a better spokesperson or a better role model.  Let's enjoy the next year of seeing him get under the skin of the establishment one more time.

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