In anticipation of tonight’s Republican presidential debate, it's time to analyze the effect Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is having on the GOP and the national dialogue. Despite his disappointing fourth place finish in South Carolina and low poll numbers in Florida, Paul has vowed to carry on despite the recent rough patch. So what effect has the Texas congressman’s campaign for the Oval Office had? We may not see concrete electoral results this year, but Paul’s legacy and ideas will carry on long after the contest ends and be historically more important than any other candidates' in the field.
In an environment of increasing statism both domestically and abroad, Paul remains the only candidate who has stood alone taking unpopular stands and being tarnished as fringe, unelectable, racist, and an international isolationist. None of these labels has stuck however, as Paul has proven quite capable of polling competitively with President Barack Obama. The media has continually distorted his views: fundamentally misunderstanding his stance on property rights and his policy of non-intervention. Paul's consistent support is a testament to the kind of impact good ideas have.
Paul is running as a Republican; but he is the only Republican who practices a devotion to limited government rather than paying lip service to court voters.
2012 will ultimately be remembered as a turning point in the course of the American experiment when the republic had a choice between two distinctive ideologies in regard to governance. Paul remains the only embodiment of a belief where government exists to protect the right of man against the aggression of his neighbors or abroad. The candidacies of Obama/Romney/Gingrich/Santorum, all menial in difference, represent the dominant view with the government as the monopolizer of violence and sole arbiter of conflict. Famed political philosopher Frederic Bastiat's writings from over a century ago still ring try today: “government is the great fiction through which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.” This is the untold but conventional wisdom which sadly perpetuates both Democratic and Republican ideology.
Given Paul’s incredible support amongst millennials, his ideas will prosper in the future. As entitlement programs go bankrupt, future generations will be forced to reckon with ideas of limited government.
Paul's ideas, which represent the classical liberal era of the 19th century, are fairly young in the course of human history. As economist Ludwig von Mises, whom Paul is a disciple of, pronounced, “In the long run even the most despotic governments with all their brutality and cruelty are no match for ideas.”
Paul's supporters may lose this battle but will ultimately win the war as they hold peace and liberty as the foundational blocks for a prosperous society. Regardless of tonight’s debate performance or subsequent primary results, the campaign of liberty is far from over.
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