Happy Birthday, Ron Paul

Ron Paul is 79 today

Libertarians owe him a great debt, one which can never be repaid. Without him, it’s more than likely that our movement would’ve either gone off the rails, succumbing to opportunism of the worst sort, or else slipped into obscurity, never to be seen or heard from again. Thanks to him,  neither of those dreadful scenarios occurred.

What happened instead was the almost miraculous growth and development of libertarianism into a viable national movement, with “mainstream” media forced to sit up and take notice. Now we are told we may be approaching the “libertarian moment” — by the New York Times, no less! — and 90 percent of the credit (maybe more!) goes to Ron  and the movement he inspired.

But it wasn’t easy. Three presidential campaigns, one under the Libertarian Party banner and two in the GOP primaries, with him travelling all over the country non-stop — a heroic effort for a man of his years. And he looks fabulous: I should only look that good at 79!

His career limns the upward trajectory of the rising libertarian movement, spanning the years when libertarians were totally unknown to the general public — I recall hearing, after telling someone that I was a libertarian, “I didn’t know the librarians had their own party!” — to our present Libertarian Moment. Without him, we may have reached it, eventually — but surely not as soon. And I know many of my readers will agree with me when I say it has come not a moment too soon.

To readers of this web site who may not be libertarians — and there are many — what’s important about Ron and the movement he spawned is the awareness he has brought to the public of the dangers inherent in our interventionist foreign policy. He has stood like a rock, even in the darkest days of the post-9/11 era, when even the staunchest peace advocates hesitated to raise their voices and the War Party was on the march. He stood up to the bully Rudy Giuliani, the has-been NY mayor and failed GOP presidential candidate, who was riding high at the time: he stood firm even as the know-nothings booed him and he told the truth about the gross stupidity and immorality of a foreign policy that has reaped such a whirlwind in the years since that moment. He stood up to the smears  of the War Party — and they’re still attacking him. Yet his stature, far from being diminished, only grows. At the age of 79, he is still speaking truth to power.

I have to tell a little story about Ron that underscores his sterling personal qualities as well as his ideological virtues. In my fiery youth, not even Ron Paul was radical enough for my tastes and I remember penning (yes, it was so long ago that we had pens in those days!) an article attacking him for “selling out.” It was a long diatribe, which was published in a long-defunct journal of which I was the editor. Not long after, I was surprised to receive a letter from him which was as gracious as can be, pointing out that “I don’t believe we are as far apart as you believe” and warmly inviting me to visit with him when I came to Washington. I published the letter in our paper, and came across it the other day as I was going through my old files.

Personally and politically, the man is a saint.

One last thing: I’ve been a Ron Paul-watcher for many years, and what I’ve seen of his long career is unusual in the sense that most people get more conservative as they get older: Ron, on the other hand, only got more radical. Radicalism is often thought of as the exclusive province of youth but in Ron’s case just the opposite pattern occurred. Through some alchemy of spirit, he’s just gotten younger over the years — which is perhaps part of the reason why he has inspired a vital and growing youth movement that has no equivalent on the left or the right.  Thanks in large part to Ron, the future of the libertarian movement is bright indeed — and how can you thank a man for fulfilling the dreams of your youth? You can’t, really — you can only try.

27 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Ron Paul”

  1. Happy Birthday Ron from a hardcore Libertarian Party member. We still consider you one of us despite your decision to try to advance the cause of Liberty though the Republican Party.

    1. The Libertarian Party always has and always will be the spin your wheels and make sure democrats keep getting elected party. The Republican Party is the place to be if you want to advance Liberty, especially given the strides at the grassroots level being made within the republican party towards that goal. There is a very big power struggle going on in the republican party and the Liberty Movement is winning.

      1. Jon, where were you 2 years ago? The RNC just about dictated the outcome of the convention well in advance. Every rotten trick you can imagine they pulled – top to bottom. I experienced it at the bottom running as a delegate. Chester County Pa. where I live was so screwed up the R committee never had an endorsement convention, yet the county chair and his establishment flunkies endorsed their hand picked candidates anyhow – going directly against their by-laws.

        Liberty will never ever be restored as long as maintain this 2 partyocracy.

  2. Thank you for that great piece, Justin and Happy Birthday to the Dr. of Peace, the Dr. of Freedom, the one and only Dr. Ron Paul!

  3. There are two men in my life I respect more than all others/. My late father and the good doctor Ron Paul.Happy Birthday to the greatest President that we (n)ever had. God bless you and your loved ones. You helped jump start my political aspirations. I will never forget your message. Thank You Sir!!

  4. Happy Birthday Dr. Paul.. I really hope that from the many you have inspired through your wisdom and honesty will emerge more political candidates with your same values and principal.. God knows we need them.

  5. The founding fathers of this nation warned the future generations about the results of apathy and ignorance. Burying your head in the sand make your @ss a great target. While some (much?) of our nation's current ills have been in the making for decades or even more than a century, the failure to elect Barry Goldwater in the 60's and Ron Paul in recent years has allowed liberty to be cast into the pits of oligarchic totalitarianism. In the end, Americans have squandered the freedom and liberty paid for by the blood of their forefathers. The apathetic, lazy fools now have the war-mongering, statist government that they deserve… but the rest of us have to suffer along with them.

    Happy Birthday and may God bless you, Ron Paul. May you live to be 100+!

    1. blah blah blah

      the people burying their heads in the sand are you guys who think that the most influential country in the world can walk away from its commitments

  6. It’s a wonderful thing that this good man has lived to glimpse his legacy, to know that his patient, implacable, life-long defense of liberty influences across generations and across national borders.

  7. Ron Paul,

    We need so many more like him to help open the peoples eyes as to the tyranny that is beginning to run rampant in this country.
    Happy Birthday Dr. Paul

  8. A wonderful article about an amazing man, but with one correction that I have to add. We can pay back our debt to Mr. Paul. We do it by paying it forward. Look at what he did that made him such a nearly unstoppable force. Look at his honor, his honesty, his integrity, his gentleness. It wasn't just that his ideology was so well thought-out and consistently followed. What made him so powerful is that at his core, he was a truly good man, the kind of man who is so out of touch with our 21st-century Jackass culture that people often just couldn't believe he was even real.

    He was real, and we can have that kind of world again. If you want to repay any debt you fell to the good doctor, don't just get your politics right. Be as kind to others as he was, and know that it will change the world at least as much as any vote you will ever cast. If we could create a world with the kind of principle that he showed in his every action, I could deal with a few laws I didn't agree with.

    Ron Paul was a man of principle. Let's thank him by being that ourselves.

    1. Excellent post, I so agree with you. I feel the modern aggressive and litigious culture are an abuse of liberty, a distortion of the free market for selfish ends. DrPaul, by contrast, is such a gentleman in all the best senses of the word. He is truly Liberty Defined.

  9. Great article. Ron Paul is truly one of the greatest Americans of all time, one of the greatest promoters of peace and liberty there has ever been. The emergence of liberty into the political mainstream across the world, including here in the UK, is a fitting tribute to Dr Paul's tireless efforts over decades. In the early years he was often ridiculed for his views, but he stuck to his principles and on just about every issue he has been proven correct one hundred fold: the folly of military intervention, the absurdity of drug prohibition, the dangers of economic debt, the offensiveness of an over-militarised police, the intrusion of internet surveillance. Happy birthday, Dr Paul., may you enjoy many happy years ahead.

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