Freedom Under Siege by Ron Paul

Several great minds have had the same idea at once, and my mind has had it as well: to read Freedom Under Siege (PDF) by Ron Paul and see what can be found and how it connects with his newsletters. I leave in my points that are slightly redundant with those mentioned in Talking Points Memo.

The tone of the book is very close to newsletters; statements of extravagant waste or ludicrous events, rather than in-depth careful point by point intellectual arguments. A later possible task is to examine and refute the book’s criticism of the Federal Reserve, the necessity of gold backed currency, and the failure of the Marshall plan.

One primary point – though Paul has continued to deny that he read or was aware of the content of his newsletters, he refers early on, in this book he wrote, to an article in his Freedom Report newsletter:

Man, throughout history, has been tempted with power. Someone is always ready and anxious to use force over others, both within and outside of government, for his own interest. Some who reject the use of physical power over others and reject the material benefits of illicit power will, nevertheless, use government force to impose their social standards on others. It’s important to recognize that there is a difference between legislating morality and moral law.

The following is a Freedom Report essay written in 1982 addresses this subject:

Legislating Morality:

How many times have you heard it said: “Government should not legislate morality?”

When the liberals push laws mandating quota systems, integration of privately owned property, welfare aid, medical care for the poor, foreign aid to third-world nations or minimum wage laws, they do it in the name morality, claiming the nation as a whole has a moral obligation to fulfill the needs of others.

The rights of whites versus those of others comes up:

Every year new groups organize to demand their “rights.” White people who organize and expect the same attention as other groups are quickly and viciously condemned as dangerous bigots. Hispanic, black, and Jewish caucuses can exist in the U.S. Congress, but not a white caucus, demonstrating the absurdity of this approach for achieving rights for everyone.

This is noteworthy because it reminded me of this passage in “The Disappearing White Majority” from the newsletters:

What is often forgotten is how such changes affect our culture. Nearly every other group but whites are allowed a certain degree of cultural autonomy. Blacks have black schools, clubs, and neighborhoods. The same is true of Hispanics. It is human nature that like attract likes. But whites are not allowed to express this same human impulse. Except in a de facto sense, there can be no white schools, white clubs, or white neighbor hoods. The political system demands white integration, while allowing black segregation.

This passage, discussing the co-ordinated action of international bankers and socialist governments, all in conjunction with the Trilateral Commission, is similar to a newsletter piece on the Panama Canal:

The combination of liberalism’s naive belief that the world can be made a better place through socialist redistribution of wealth and the desire of certain international bankers to control the world through one-world government has brought us to a dangerous period in our history. Today the proposals of the Council of Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission have much more impact on policy than the Constitution. Sadly, world socialist order is of prime concern, not individual liberty, as it should be. This mixture of misplaced liberal idealism and the bankers’ goal of world domination, forces capitalists and communists to do business together on many occasions.

From the Panama Canal piece:


These treaties were undoubtedly written by the banking and big business interests of Wall Street. It is no secret that Torrijos is in hock to the Wall Street bankers for nearly two billion dollars. Nor is it a secret, although totally ignored by the managed news, that Torrijos has provided a banking haven for the international bankers. Since 1970, when the coalition of Torrijos and the bankers became evident, the laws were changed to protect the international bankers. Before this, there were a few million dollars of assets in a few banks: and yet today there are 73 international banks with assets of nearly $9 billion conducting business throughout the world. Torrijos was unable to continue this partnership without an increase in cash flow, since his debt service to the New York banks was costing him 40% of his budget. The New York banks needed Torrijos to remain “solvent” in order to protect their direct loan investments as well as their special banking paradise.

The connections of Carter, and essentially all his advisors, to the Chase Manhattan Bank and David Rockefeller have been widely published in the open press like U.S. News & World Report. The boldness of those who once kept secret the relationships between the ruling politicians and the big banking and big business interests demonstrates an arrogant display of confidence on their part that’s rather frightening. The Trilateral Commission is no longer known only by those who are knowledgeable about international conspiracies, but is routinely mentioned in the daily news. Evidence of its influence on the Republican and Democratic administrations is all about us. Jimmy Carter’s membership in the Trilateral Commission is hardly a coincidence.

Here’s an astonishing point, that goes surprisingly unmentioned in the Talking Points Memo page, that makes the explicit accusation that FDR knew in advance of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and did nothing because of his own ambitions:

Twenty-three years after World War I ended, America entered the Second World War, largely as a consequence of Franklin Roosevelt’s interventionist foreign policy. An excellent description of this can be found in Charles Callan Tansill’s Back Door to War. From this outstanding historic documentation of what transpired prior to the war, it is clear that the United States deliberately provoked the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor for economic reasons. Since the United States had broken the Japanese code, Roosevelt knew exactly what the Japanese were planning. FDR did nothing because of his own political ambitions and his desire to unify the country in support of the war. By the early 1940’s only a small minority stood on principle and objected to our becoming allies with Soviet murderers.

Another point, astonishing for its lack of mention in the national media; Paul states that he views majority vote and the move towards true democracy as a threat:

Throughout the twentieth century, the trend has been away from limited government and toward big government’s intervening in every aspect of our lives. It has been financed with borrowed money and a fraudulent paper money system. We have come a long way from the Republic envisioned by the Founders. Today, by majority vote, government can easily cancel out the earnings or rights of individuals without any debate as to constitutionality. The only debate is between the competing special interests, deciding who will benefit and who will suffer. We are witnessing the end stage of the Republic as we drift closer and closer to pure democracy. Dictatorship of the majority is every bit as oppressive as the dictatorship of the few. It is also more difficult to attack, since so many accept the notion that the majority has the authority to redefine rights.

Next, a point that makes clear that Paul has no issue with gunboat diplomacy or banana republics; he simply does not want the state to pay for the gunboats and the republics. If the United Fruit Company or Anaconda Copper want to pay for mercenaries to overthrow a foreign government through paid arms and mercenaries, he is okay with that, and sorry that federal law prevents it.

There is no moral justification for one generation’s committing another generation to pay higher taxes, to suffer more inflation, to sacrifice the lives of their youth (uprooted through conscription) for needless armed conflicts. With a noninterventionist foreign policy, citizens would never be forced to subsidize or die for any special interest. Taxes could be used only to secure peace and freedom for America.

Under these conditions of nonintervention, of course, individuals would never be prohibited from volunteering and contributing their own monies to any foreign cause. Our government is the only legal dealer in weapons of war, usually at a high cost to American taxpayers, as well as danger to our security. Thus the wishes of citizens are violated with every transaction. Americans who want to privately help anti-communists in Cuba, Afghanistan, El Salvador, or Nicaragua should be free to do so, and yet they are not.

An internationalist foreign policy leads to one world government:

An internationalist foreign policy includes goals of one-world government and international banking with fiat currencies, and this leads to economic isolationism, where nations become more militaristic and nationalistic. Trade wars ensue, and protectionism follows.

A point made several times in the book: for America to survive as a free and moral nation, abortion must be outlawed.

For those who are pro-life, an analogy of the rights of the unborn to the rights of the teenage draftee are worth considering. If rights are universal, those two groups should be treated equally. The life of the unborn and the life of the 18-year-old should both receive equal protection under the law. The Supreme Court decision of 1973 said there was a relative value placed on in-utero life as being less valuable than extrautero life.

A decade of struggle has not yet erased this inconsistency, but if we are to survive as a free and moral nation, this decision must also be reversed. Without its reversal, the relative value placed on life will lead to infanticide, euthanasia, and human experimentation. History has proven this, and consistent conservatives have supported this view. Relative value placed on human life by conscription is not unlike the examples above, which are arbitrary and discriminatory. Good conservatives fight for the right of even an unwanted, deformed, unborn child to live, yet at the same time seal this same child’s fate through a lottery system that issues death sentences to be carried out on distant foreign soils for causes unknown.

A truly free society, dedicated to maximum liberty for all, that ignores the important issue of all life, including fetal life, will have a difficult time defending its position on other matters. Failure to deal philosophically with the issue of a three-pound fetus inadvertently born alive during an abortion procedure and subsequently drowned by the abortionist will discredit the freedom movement.

A calloused attitude toward the unborn permits a calloused attitude toward the newborn, the elderly, and the deformed-as well as toward all principles of liberty. We should be neither surprised nor shocked that we hear frequent stories of newborns being thrown in ditches to die. Vocal support for infanticide and euthanasia is now common. We live in an age where child abuse is of epidemic proportions. Our emergency rooms are flooded with battered children, and the social philosophers search for the cause.

Without this the erosion of liberty will continue. A careless attitude toward the sanctity of life can hardly prompt an energetic and intellectually acceptable defense of individual rights. No one I know, including those who accept abortion as an absolute right of the mother, relishes the horror of dismemberment of a small, but quite viable human life.

Society’s attitude toward liberty is totally dependent on society’s respect for all life. This problem is more an ethical one than legal. No legislation or constitutional amendment can instill this very-much-needed respect for life. Samuel Adams was right that no law or constitution can solve our problems if “the manners of a society are universally corrupt.” A hardened attitude condoning and encouraging abortion will do great harm in undermining all our efforts to guarantee one’s absolute right to one’s own life.

This connection between abortion, euthanasia, and libertarian ideas is also to be found in a newsletter article, the firstmost in the Ron Paul Political Report from November 1992:

And what of euthanasia? It is becoming more acceptable as the rationing of health care gains ground. Liberal pro-lifer Nat Hentoff described euthanasia as the legalization of ending life. The trend ends as it has in the Netherlands, Hentoff writes, where more than 1,000 people die every year from “involuntary euthanasia” (known as murder to me).

It is not difficult to persuade the severely depressed to go along with suggestions of suicide because the nature of the disease has them already thinking that way. Most physically ill people are depressed to some degree. “Their physicians were so consumed with compassion that they decided not to disturb the patients by asking their opinion on the matter,” writes Hentoff. With this trend in medical ethics, he says that the slope has now become a chasm.

I recently receive a call from a minister who is on a medical ethics panel at one of Texas’ major medical centers. He wanted me to speak there, to denounce these pro-death, unethical trends. But since he only has one vote, I don’t know if he will succeed. I will give you a follow up on this later.

Make no mistake: if our culture is not willing to recognize the value of life, it can never be persuaded to recognize the derivative obligations to respect private property, limited government, sound money, etc. That’s why the opinions of the medical elite are a threat to our entire civilization. (Want a copy of my latest book on abortion? It’s available for $10 from our office.)

I set aside this last part of this anti-abortion section. I don’t begrudge Paul his faith; I only think it should be made clear that he is often positioned as a sane secular libertarian option. His libertarianism, as made clear from this sentence, stems from a religious perspective. Liberty has value, libertarianism has value because of the spiritual aspect of life.

If life has no spiritual value, what makes liberty worth preserving? If life itself is not very special, how can working for liberty be justified?

A section on the draft during the civil war, part of a larger section criticizing military conscription. I bold a word that I find strange, given the context, for its quote marks.

There was one case of great importance in 1863, Kneedler vs. Lane, heard before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where the issue of conscription was considered in detail. The draft was ruled unconstitutional, only to be reversed by a new majority on the court two months later. The complainants based their case on the claim that the federal government had no power to compel military service, even in fight of “insurrection,” for the Constitution says that “repelling insurrection and repelling invasion will be a responsibility of the state militia,” not the federal government.”

Later, in the same section, an inevitable battle between tyrants and those for liberty is anticipated in the United States:

The world today, just as in Lincoln’s time, is still in need of a good definition for the word liberty. But more than that, we need determined people who believe in and are willing to defend liberty. Those who dare to use the word liberty when promoting violence and tyranny must be clearly exposed. The tyrants must be identified and never confused as friends of freedom. If a battle must occur — which inevitably it must since liberty and tyranny cannot coexist – let it never be supposed that two factions advocating liberty are battling one another. The conflict must be clearly between liberty and tyranny.

On why women don’t need legal protection against sexual harassment:

Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity. Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem? Seeking protection under civil rights legislation is hardly acceptable. If force was clearly used, that is another story, but pressure and submission is hardly an example of a violation of one’s employment rights.

Against legal rights for discrimination in hiring and termination:

The concept of equal pay for equal work is not only an impossible task, it can only be accomplished with the total rejection of the idea it’s of the voluntary contract. By what right does the government assume low power to tell an airline it must hire unattractive women if it does not want to? The idea that a businessman must hire anyone and is prevented from firing anyone for any reason he chooses and in the name of rights is a clear indication that the basic concept of a free society has been lost.

The basis for his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights bill; these ideas he still believed in 1988 when this book was written.

This means that all associations are voluntary and by mutual consent of both parties. Contracts drawn up without force or fraud must be rigidly adhered to. This sounds reasonable, and most people would agree this outline of mutually agreed-to associations. But it also means that free people have the right to discriminate – in choosing a spouse, a friend a business partner, an employer, an employee, a customer, etc. Civil rights legislation of the past thirty years has totally ignored this principle. Many “do-gooders,” of course, argue from the “moral high ground” for their version of equal rights, knowing that they can play the sympathies and the guilt of many Americans. Yet the real reason for some of these laws is less than noble. For instance, minimum wage laws are popular, but the proponents rarely admit that this protects higher paid union-jobs and it increases unemployment.

AIDS victims are frequently a victim of their own lifestyle. They should not have any legal protection if they are fired by an employer for simply having the disease. This is fairly consistent with “Flown The Koop”, “AIDSomania”, and “Congressional Courage”:

Victims of the disease AIDS argue, with no qualms of inconsistency about rights, for crash research programs (to be paid for by people who don’t have AIDS), demanding a cure. And it’s done in the name of rights. Victims demand health care as well and scream “discrimination” if insurance companies claim they have a right to refuse to issue a policy to someone already infected with the AIDS virus. The rights of the insurance company owners are not considered, while legislation is passed forcing insurance companies to provide the insurance demanded by the victims. The individual suffering from AIDS certainly a is victim — frequently a victim of his own lifestyle — but this same individual victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care. Crash research programs are hardly something, I believe, the Found Fathers intended when they talked about equal rights.

The Supreme Court, in 1987, ruled that persons with contagious diseases are “handicapped” and are entitled to protection under affirmative action rules. If a person is fired because he has AIDS, typhoid fever or hepatitis, he can now pursue his case in court.

From the newsletter, “Congressional Courage”:

My old colleague, Congressman Bill Dannemeyer (R-CA), speaks out fearlessly despite the organized power of the gay lobby. He has become the target of violent attacks whenever he speaks, and he has even been advised to wear a bulletproof vest. Want to see why? Here are some excerpts from one of his recent speeches:

AIDS was “originally known as GRIDS–gay related immune deficiency syndrome.” For political reasons it was changed to AIDS. “A whole political movement has been created and sustained on a single notion: homosexual sodomy.”

“The average homosexual has 1,000 or more partners in a lifetime, and the average homosexual has only one sexual encounter per partner and never sees the person again after that encounter.”

From “Flown The Koop”:

[Surgeon General C. Everett] Koop then attacked private property rights and the real public health by urging that civil rights laws to [sic] applied to carriers of a fatal, communicable disease. And he condemned parents who worry about sending their healthy kids to school with AIDS victims.

The newsletter author has an obsession with David Rockefeller, and so does Paul in Freedom Under Siege:

Paul Volcker once admitted to me (to my surprise) before a banking committee hearing, that leaks did indeed occur regarding secret monetary policy. We also clearly know that appointments to the Fed require approval from the international bankers led by David Rockefeller.

Another point made clear in this book: while Paul views the state with animosity, which should not sculpt the values of any individual, there should be no mistake that he ultimately does believe that the religious life is the only righteous path. It should not be surprising that an evangelical should be able to vote for Paul, as long as he does not wish the state to actively sculpt the values of individuals through prohibition and other measures.

What one does with one’s life and property is a personal decision and it may or may not include religious beliefs. In a free society a person can “turn his life over to God” or squander it as he chooses. The important thing is that the state not be permitted to assume any ownership role of the individual.

There appears to be a binary choice, and a wasted life is one that does not choose the religious option.

Paper money is not simple economically inefficient but immoral:

Even if by some quirk paper money provided a net benefit to the economy, it would still have to be rejected for moral reasons. The power to create credit out of thin air is the moral equivalent to counterfeiting. Applying the Robin Hood ethic, robbing the rich to help the poor, cannot justify the process. Money creation dilutes the value of money already earned. It is a deceitful tax, unseen by all but a few and is equivalent to a farmer diluting his milk supply with water.

Also, paper money requires an authoritarian government. The use of paper money is what will trigger the fight between the forces of freedom and tyranny:

The breakdown of international trade eventually comes when enough people discover that the monetary policy is a charade and a fraud. A contest between market forces and government forces then erupts. The name of the game for the monetary authorities is maintaining power over the economy and political events. When paper is rejected by the market, governments inevitably retaliate by enforcing rules regarding currencies, flow of capital, financial privacy, and freedom to travel. The conflict is already visible and we can expect it to get much worse (including a new paper currency) before it’s all over. The monetary crisis will end when one side is victorious. If paper wins, an authoritarian government will be required. If gold wins, a free society will prevail.

There is one last interesting detail connecting this book to the newsletters, which I believe marks Paul’s authorship. He is credited as writing Freedom Under Siege; he denies authoring the newsletters.

From “Just Another Day’s Work for David Rockefeller”, in the September 1988 Political Report:

There is no “excess of democracy” this year, of course. The banksters have seen to it. One choice is George Bush, the Rockefeller candidate. No matter who is elected, the big bankers will be able to continue their policies of looting us.

This word “bankster” is an ancient piece of slang; it’s from the depression period, which fits with Paul’s age. He learnt it then, and still uses it. It’s been out of circulation since.

Harold Evans, in this article, “Banker + gangster = bankster”, provides an explanation:

Words pop in and out of our language as social conditions change. The American gangster, which is still with us, has been around as a noun and a reality since 1896 according to my Shorter Oxford, but it seems to have dropped another Americanism from the 1930s and I think now is the time to revive it.

The word is bankster, derived by a marriage of banker and gangster.

It was coined, as far as I can deduce, by an American immigrant, a fiery Sicilian-born lawyer by the name of Ferdinand Pecora. He was the chief counsel to the US Senate Committee on Banking set up in the early 30s to probe the origins of the Crash of 1929.

Ron Paul uses this same out-of-circulation word in Freedom Under Siege twice:

The bankers, by now more properly called Banksters, wanted the ability to inflate together uniformly. Why inflate? In the same way counterfeiting benefits the counterfeiter, so inflating the money supply benefits the banker who is in charge of distributing credit.

But at what expense? The banksters have deluded the value of the 1914 dollar to about eight cents. And its value is still shrinking.

So, this word that was entirely out of circulation ends up in an article in a newsletter Paul is associated with, but which he denies authoring, supervising, or even knowing anything about, and several times in a book he is credited with writing. I see the possibility of a distinguishing mark linking both writers, the known of the book and the unknown of the newsletters.

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