Paul’s supporters have made their presence well-known throughout this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, at times chanting his name during other seminars or bombarding CPAC attendees with Paul memorabilia.
Today’s crowd was full of Paul’s supporters, who gave a total of nine standing ovations throughout Paul’s speech.
Paul began first by touting a number of recent achievements, including the recent failure in the House of Representatives for certain key provisions of the Patriot Act to be extended. According to Paul, the failed vote is a victory, as the Patriot Act is the “total destruction of the Fourth Amendment.”
Paul asserts it is imperative for us to protect our civil liberties, and stopping the Patriot Act in its steps is one way to do so.
No Ron Paul address is complete without reference to the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank that Paul has long rejected — including in his book End the Fed.
“There is no constitutional authority for the Federal Reserve, and the institution is to blame for some of our economic woes,” said Paul at CPAC.
His assertions prompted chants from the crowd: “End the Fed! End the Fed!”
Likewise, Paul addressed the failed foreign policies of the United States and the dangers of defying the Founding Fathers’ advice against getting involved in entangling foreign affairs.
“Egypt is a perfect example,” notes Paul, acknowledging President Hosni Mubarak’s breaking-news resignation. “We’ve invested $70 billion in that dictator, and what do we have to show for it? We’re out of $70 billion and the Egyptian people now hate us for supporting their dictator.”
Paul contends that foreign aid is both fiscally irresponsible and morally reprehensible. “Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country and giving it to the rich people of a poor country,” declared Paul, drawing one of his many standing ovations.
As a result, when asked what role the United States should play in the implementation of a new government in Egypt, Paul responds, “We need to do a lot less a lot sooner not just in Egypt but around the world.”
Paul’s philosophies on foreign policy have managed to draw a large number of anti-war Americans who may otherwise have strayed towards Leftist opposition groups or Democrats whose anti-war rhetoric, though typically diametrically opposed to their actions, has nonetheless drawn a number of anti-war youth activists. Consider, for Exhibit A, the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama, who at the time sounded anti-war, but who has ramped up our military intervention in Afghanistan, and has not ended our involvement in Iraq, as President.
Ron Paul’s address indicates his disinterest in political correctness. For example, he states: “There’s been lots of talk about bipartisanship. ‘We need more bipartisanship.’ I contend we’ve had too much bipartisanship on the war, spending, etc.”
Likewise, Paul talked of American exceptionalism, a notion with which he agrees and supports, to an extent: “Neoconservatives seem to believe we have a moral responsibility to impose ourselves on other nations and force them to adapt our form of government simply because it’s exceptional. So we use force to impose ourselves. But force doesn’t work. Let other countries learn by example.”
Additionally, American exceptionalism may be diminishing, as it is our constitutional liberties that made this country exceptional, but the erosion of those liberties by nature means the erosion of American exceptionalism.
But Paul contends that we can get it back. “The purpose of all political activity is to promote liberty, which comes from our Creator, not the government.”
Criticizing the federal government’s continuous abuse of the Constitution — through the passage of Obamacare, creation of unconstitutional departments and agencies, out of control taxes, etc. — Paul affirms, “The government should not be able to do anything we can’t do.”
Paul closed his fiery speech by calling upon the words of our Founding Father Samuel Adams: “It does not take a majority to prevail…but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
Paul added, drawing hoots and hollers, “The brushfires are burning and spreading and the people are getting excited. People are finally getting what true liberty is about.”
Just a few years ago, Ron Paul’s beliefs were considered to be on the fringe. But with the emergence of the Tea Party movement, which his 2008 run for President helped launch, and the changing philosophies of conservatives who are beginning to educate themselves and question the status quo, Paul’s ideas have become far more mainstream.
Last year, he was the winner of the CPAC presidential straw poll, shocking the Republican establishment present at the event. His popularity amongst young conservatives is particularly noteworthy at this year’s event, and he is believed to be the likely winner of this year’s presidential straw poll as well.
The results of the 2011 CPAC presidential straw poll will be revealed tomorrow evening.
Photo of Ron Paul at CPAC: AP Images