TAMPA, Fla. – Mirroring the passionate support he drew in the Republican primary campaign, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, told an enthusiastic crowd of about 10,000 “Liberty Movement” supporters yesterday near the site of the GOP convention why he has repeatedly called for ending the Federal Reserve.
“If the government deliberately devalues and destroys the value of the currency, it will destroy the middle class, and the wealth will gravitate to the wealthy,” he said in a speech at the Sun Dome on the campus of the University of South Florida.
Paul was preceded to the podium in Tampa by his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
The younger Paul was greeted with chants of “Paul ’16.”
The Kentucky senator assured supporters he would press for a Senate vote to audit the Federal Reserve, prompting chants of “End the Fed!”
“Because we have talked about ‘Audit the Fed’ so much, we are now talking about ‘Audit the Pentagon,’” he said. “Republicans need to acknowledge that not every dollar is well spent or sacred in the military, and we have to look for waste in every department of government.”
Ron Paul spoke for the last hour of the five-hour rally.
Invoking the image of the GOP as a “big tent party,” Rep. Paul assured the rally that his brand of libertarianism would ultimately prevail, saying, “We will get into the tent eventually because we will become the tent.”
Discounting the impact of “powerful special interests behind the military-industrial complex,” Ron Paul claimed support from many in the military for his brand of non-interventionism in foreign policy, insisting he would not change his foreign policy stance simply to make his economic emphasis on fiscal responsibility more appealing to establishment Republicans.
Paul called for bringing U.S. troops home from the Middle East, claiming the wars fought since 9/11 have cost the U.S. $4 trillion in debt.
“We can’t afford anymore to be the policemen of the world,” he said, arguing that U.S. foreign policy should avoid foreign entanglements.
Still, Paul’s message centered on the themes of fiscal responsibility and limited government.
“The solution is to get the government out of our lives, off our backs and out of our wallets,” he said, drawing applause.
He told the group that the major threat faced today was a governmental attack on individual liberty.
“You have a natural right to keep the fruits of your labor, and all of it,” he said. “Government does not have the responsibility of protecting you against yourself. What you want is liberty. You do not want this false sense of security that governments cannot give you.”
He railed against a laundry list of government restrictions, including prohibitions on raw milk, regulations that restrict nutritional supplements and laws that criminalize drugs.
“There’s one rule: People must accept the consequences of their choices,” he insisted, arguing that the war on drugs was doomed, because it is being fought to further economic interests in the drug companies that want to protect their tranquilizer market and alcohol companies that do not want competition from recreational drugs.
“We want the freedom to make our decisions, even when the wrong decisions are made,” he said, rebutting the argument that his brand of libertarianism would invite adverse consequences if drugs currently illegal were decriminalized.
“There are still some people who will say that if drugs are legal, we endorse the use of drugs,” he pointed out, insisting that objecting to drug laws as a restriction of liberty is different than encouraging or being in favor of the consumption of recreational drugs.
“We are in a great mess,” Paul insisted, characterizing the current prolonged economic downturn as worse that the Great Depression.
“The economic system today is based on debt. For too long we have bailed out the attempts of the market to correct the mistakes made especially since 1971. We’ve always jumped in and interfered by printing more money and lowered the interest rates.
“With our Federal Reserve, our Treasury and, so far, our Congress, we are involved in bailing out Europe,” he noted. “This eventually will bring the downfall of the dollar and the downfall of the economy which will give the government more excuses to crack the whip and crack down on our civil liberties.”