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If the American Republic Is To Be Restored

Ron Paul

This speech
before the House of Representatives, March 25, 1999, is collected
Foreign Policy of Freedom

Mr. Speaker,
today I rise with gratitude to Edmund Burke and paraphrase words
he first spoke 224 years ago this week. It is presently true that
to restore liberty and dignity to a nation so great and distracted
as ours is indeed a significant undertaking. For, judging of what
we are by what we ought to be, I have persuaded myself that this
body might accept this reasonable proposition.

The proposition
is peace. Not peace through the medium of war, not peace to be hunted
through the labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations; not
peace to arise out of universal discord, fomented from principle,
in all parts of the earth; not peace to depend on juridical determination
of perplexing questions, or the precise marking the shadowy boundaries
of distant nations. It is simply peace, sought in its natural course
and in its ordinary haunts.

Let other nations
always keep the idea of their sovereign self-government associated
with our republic and they will befriend us, and no force under
heaven will be of power to tear them from our allegiance. But let
it be once understood that our government may be one thing and their
sovereignty another; that these two things exist without mutual
regard one for the other – and the affinity will be gone, the
friendship loosened and the alliance hastened to decay and dissolution.
As long as we have the wisdom to keep this country as the sanctuary
of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever
mankind worships freedom, they will turn their faces toward us.
The more they multiply, the more friends we will have; the more
ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be our relations.
Slavery they can find anywhere, as near to us as Cuba or as remote
as China. But until we become lost to all feeling of our national
interest and natural legacy, freedom and self-rule they can find
in none but the American founding. These are precious commodities,
and our nation alone was founded on them. This is the true currency
which binds to us the commerce of nations and through them secures
the wealth of the world. But deny others their national sovereignty
and self-government, and you break that sole bond which originally
made, and must still preserve, friendship among nations. Do not
entertain so weak an imagination as that UN Charters and Security
Councils, GATT and international laws, World Trade Organizations
and General Assemblies are what promote commerce and friendship.
Do not dream that NATO and peacekeeping forces are the things that
can hold nations together. It is the spirit of community that gives
nations their lives and efficacy. And it is the spirit of the Constitution
of our Founders that can invigorate every nation of the world, even
down to the minutest of these.

For is it not
the same virtue which would do the thing for us here in these United
States? Do you imagine then that it is the income tax that pays
our revenue? That it is the annual vote of the Ways and Means Committee
that provide us an army? Or that it is the court martial that inspires
it with bravery and discipline? No! Surely, no! It is the private
activity of citizens which gives government revenue, and it is the
defense of our country that encourages young people to not only
populate our army and navy, but also has infused them with a patriotism,
without which our army will become a base rubble and our navy nothing
but rotten timber.

this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the
profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians who have
no place among us: a sort of people who think that nothing exists
but what is gross and material, and who, therefore, far from being
qualified to be directors of the great movement of this nation,
are not fit to turn a wheel in the machinery of our government.
But to men truly initiated and rightly taught these ruling and master
principles, which in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned
have no substantial existence, are in truth everything. Magnanimity
in politics is often the truest wisdom, and a great nation and little
minds go ill together.

If we are conscious
of our situation, and work zealously to fill our places, as becomes
the history of this great institution, we ought to auspicate all
our public proceedings on Kosovo with the old warning of the Church,
Sursum corda! We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of
that trust to which the order of Providence has called us. By averting
to the dignity of this high calling, our forefathers turned a savage
wilderness into a glorious nation, and have made the most extensive
and the only honorable conquests, not by bombing and sabre-rattling,
but by promoting the wealth, the liberty, and the peace of mankind.
Let us gain our allies as we obtain our own liberty. Respect of
self-government has made our nation all that it is. Peace and neutrality
alone will make ours the republic that it can yet still be.

the Ron Paul File

6, 2012

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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