I finished reading Ron Paul's manifesto just now. I am impressed, though frankly it is a more basic primer than I personally would have liked. It explains to the average American (without financial knowledge or political interest) what is going on in our country, and what the Constitution was designed to do. It is plainly written and provides the reader with concrete examples and historical context for our national financial situation, our foreign empire and the decline of our currency. Perhaps I will now begin to be able to articulate better why I think we need to bring home the vast majority of our troops from around the world, eliminate the Federal Reserve and a lot of federal departments, and reverse the trend of imbalance that has led to complete disregard for our constitution. This document was written by men who had already seen and understood the workings of governments, the problematic logic of paper money, and the disaster that comes from empire. We need to listen to them more carefully now, before our nation is destroyed by the same mistakes that England and other nations have made before us. This one is from his section on the war on drugs:
"...the law cannot make a wicked person virtuous. According to Aquinas, God's grace alone can accomplish such a thing. The law is simply incompetent here. What the law can do is provide the peace and order within which men can conduct their affairs. But so much of what is important in human life takes place far removed from law, and in the domain of civil society, families and communities. These salutary influences, apart from the state, have a responsibility to improve the moral conduct of individuals. We ought not to shirk our own responsibility by looking to politicians--who are not exactly known for living beyond moral reproach themselves--to carry out so important a function." [pages 126-127 in the hard cover version published 4/08]
It occurs to me that part of the challenge in the return to a civil society that does not expect legislation of morality lies in the fact that our institutions are decrepit, our families are scattered, and our communities are spider web thin. That is why it is scary to think about giving up governmental programs to protect us. We feel exposed already.