“On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, a man said goodbye.
Standing at the lectern where he had stood so many times before, in obstinate opposition, like an American Cicero, to the decline of the republic that so many had fought so hard to build and so many have given so much to preserve, this man spoke not only to the gallery above or the people sitting at home, but through the pages of history to every yet unborn child who may grow up and learn of what it takes to save their country. And, to the extent that it was in his control, he held firm in his convictions, even when he was standing alone in the cold, wilderness of principle that exists in an age of compromise and vice. “Freedom” was his call and, for a time, nobody listened; for a time, nobody cared.
Yet, he was only a man. Let us not place him upon the mantle of history as anything more than that. For what is it that we pursue? Against whom do we resist? Do we not fight for ourselves and for others so as to be able to live in peace and happiness without the burden of a tyrannical state? Do we not fight the hoards of those seeking to take from us everything we have? In short, do we not fight in order to be, simply, a man or a woman; to be simple and human? Then, do not betray that noble cause. Do not destroy the integrity of its pursuit by placing those most articulate and passionate in its defense into an echelon as anything more than what they were, for the real battle is not in preserving the credibility and image of our greatest of warriors on the tempestuous battlefield of liberty, but in providing for our posterity a nation of one people, united in their stand against the growth of tyranny.
In other words, we need not one man, but hundreds, thousands, millions of people, dedicated to the virtue of our republic as the ultimate attempt to hold back the vices of men and bind them down with the chains of law. We need a moral people, a principled people, who are not so easily swayed towards the ease of avarice and dependence, but have the character to ignore the false promises of security and luxury that the merchants of slavery will use to attempt to steal their republic from them. The fight is not one that is short and dramatic, but is long, enduring, and obstinate.
This is not to say that the virtue of one man cannot be advertised to those yet uninformed of the cause that is required of them should they desire their God-given right of freedom. Indeed, it is often one man or one woman, that does more to change opinion and set ablaze the brushfire in peoples minds than any army could ever do. This man, however, was more than a spokesman or salesman; he was more than an eloquent messenger of liberty; he was an archetype of what is required to secure it. So if his example be followed at all, then it be because his actions serve as reminders to all of us that there is no maximum that one can give to this cause and that, to secure it, we must attempt to give more than we thought possible.
Patriotism is not without hardship.
Indeed, being that the responsibility is ours to fight this fight, it merits further discussion as to what we must become if we are to succeed in our endeavor.
As I have said, we must recognize that the fight will be long and difficult. This does not mean that, in the face of enormous adversity, we are anymore forgiven if we sacrifice ourselves to our enemies simply because it has become too hard. There used to be a time when this truth was self-evident. When the strongest, most-powerful army in the world marched up to their doorstep, the weak buckled and strove to do everything they could to avoid the conflict before them. They sought every means to avoid fighting for was rightfully theirs. However, for those who would succumb to cowardice, there existed those that would explain to them that the cause is far more noble than safety to which they should pursue. In words that should echo in the heads of every freedom loving American to this day, one of the more eloquent defenders of freedom shouted, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet so as to be bought at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”.
Furthermore, do not believe those who may tell you that the cause of liberty is radical and unjust. That it is inequitable and selfish, or worse, idealistic. We do not seek some Utopian ideal, some unheard of radical departure from what it means to be American. Liberty is America’s oldest tradition. Resistance to tyranny her birthing virtue. We need look no further than the Declaration of Independence itself for proof of this claim; that these values were merely an exposition of what Thomas Jefferson called the “American mind.”
In short, it is not we who must explain ourselves to the salesmen of statism, but they who must explain themselves to us. We have tradition on our side. This country is ours. They must explain why liberty is so at odds with their goals that they must dismantle it in order to succeed. I, for one, will never lose my suspicion. No goal is so noble and important that I must sacrifice my liberty to achieve it.
John F Kennedy once said, “There is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation, if our traditions do not survive with it”. There is no value in the survival of America if it must destroy her tradition of liberty to do so. Indeed, it would only serve to make America a shell. A hollow effigy of what it once was.
Because America is more than the land beneath our feet. America is an idea, nay, it is an ideal. America was built upon the foundations of liberty. Where the state exists not to take from you what you have, but to protect the liberty that is your right. If we are to survive as a nation then we must unite behind the banner that united us from our beginning: Liberty. Indeed, I can say it no better than Mr. Franklin said so long ago, “Where liberty dwells, that is my country.” I say, let it dwell here, again. For if we fail to preserve freedom, then mankind will lose it forever. We are its last hope, America, if it dies here, it dies for good.
This is why we must never falter; why we must never give up.
We must put away our petty differences. Race, gender, religion, sexual orientation – liberty welcomes you all. It is not in the nature of individualism to look at someone’s similarities to another group and assume they are identical, nor is it in the nature of liberty to restrict the freedom of other peaceful individuals simply because of this difference. These are the vices of collectivism.
But more than demographics, we must put away our pride. Some of those most active on the front of liberty, and you know who you are, are threatening the goals they universally understand to be right for sheer lack of common sense. A wiser man than I once said, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” We must not succumb to the damages that befall the proud. Correctness in the face of each other is irrelevant if it is only with each other that we prove ourselves to be correct. To succeed, we must grow, but we cannot grow if the foundations of our pursuits are continuously cut from beneath us, if only so some may save face.
We live in an age that could become legendary in the history of this great country. We are the heirs to the revolution that was fought so long ago. Yet, it is not over, it did not end at Yorktown. The revolution was more than a fight against a country, but it was a fight for an idea. While there exist threats to freedom, then the fight will continue.
So, what shall we do? Ron Paul has said goodbye. He has passed the torch onto us. It is our turn to hold back the tide of despotism. It is our turn to fight for what is right. He has given all he could and more than was ever required of him. The time has come to continue his fight, our fight, America’s fight. We must put away our petty differences. We must unite in the pursuit of that noblest of American traditions.
I want to thank Mr. Paul one final time, and, to echo his sentiments, may future generations look back upon our efforts, may they see a people which stood up to the politicians and special interests, and may they be able to say that they saved their country.”