As the Republicans finished up their final debate before Tuesday's Florida primaries, we have learned that only one candidate really believes in his own ideas: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Paul illustrated again in Jacksonville that only ideas change the world, not force. In a spar with Rick Santorum over South America, Cuba, and how to interact with others, Paul illustrated to the former Senator that leading by example, using persuasion, and following the golden rule (sorry, South Carolina) is the best way to conduct ourselves with other countries. In doing so, Paul also proves a far greater point and purpose to his presidential run: Only ideas can overcome ideas. Paul’s campaign for liberty has changed the debate, the way people think, and has set up the ground work for a movement — not just the following of a man.
New ideas are a scarcity in Washington, D.C. Each election cycle we are told the candidates differ. The Republican is pro-life and the Democrat is pro-choice. The Republican wants war in the Middle East and the Democrat wants fewer troops in war and would consider "humanitarian" war in Africa. So as the election approaches, we all sit and fight over these issues. While the debate is good, it is only good to a point.
We should know what we believe in, but we need to realize there is only ever one choice when we pick a candidate. That choice is more government. This is where Paul changes the debate: We now have a choice of less government, not just a choice between a social conservative who will tell us how to be moral or a Democrat to tell us how to be an egalitarian. There are three candidates for big government, and Paul is for limited government.
Normally there is no option for tolerance and freedom. Paul’s candidacy teaches us that we need to stop asking who the best candidate for my personal ideals is, and start asking who will give me the freedom to live my ideals. Paul has implanted in the minds of Americans an idea far greater than him or his candidacy.
The idea Paul promotes is that to achieve the best American society — the best human society — we must resist the temptation to use force. Instead, we must embrace ideas and persuasion. We as individuals should see, assess, and discuss problems with each other, not use a mafia middleman to impose our will on someone we disagree with. If we move people to our belief by our persuasion, not only will they embrace the good idea, they would do so on their own free will. To agree to do something because of acceptance is by far more virtuous than doing something under threat of force or punishment.
Paul is the illustration that ideas move the world, not politicians. Politics or government is not an end, rather just an organizational mean to protect the idea of liberty.
The only politician worth voting for is one who will give you a chance to be free to persuade people to your point of view. At this point in our election cycle, only one candidate embraces the idea of using ideas for social change. The rest embrace their own version of a moral, just government they want to impose on America. If they are elected, slowly our freedoms to live and persuade erode. Whether it is Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama, Rick Santorum, or Mitt Romney, if elected the status quo wins and we the people lose.
Only Paul represents a lasting idea. He represents an idea that is young and growing, and no matter the electoral outcome, he is shaping our future society.
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