Last Wednesday Ron Paul gave his farewell speech to Congress, having represented Texas’ 14th Congressional district for thirty-six years. ‘My goals in 1976,’ he said, ‘were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.’
Paul’s unwavering commitment to these goals has certainly cost him allies and standing within his party: during the Bush years, he was one of just six Republicans who voted against military action against Iraq 2002, and one of just three Republicans who voted against the PATRIOT Act. Staunchly pro-life, he has stuck to his principle that this is a matter for state legislatures, opposing not only federal funding of abortion but the federal criminalization of sex-selective terminations as ‘unconstitutional’.
Because of this, as he acknowledged in his speech, his career has not been a success in the conventional sense. Nevertheless, Paul’s effect on Republican politics has been considerable. His long-standing advocacy of the gold standard and opposition to the Federal Reserve have been instrumental in edging these ideas closer to the mainstream of political discourse, while the recent election was notable for the success of ‘Ron Paul Republicans’, those candidates endorsed by Paul or the Young Americans for Liberty PAC. Continue reading