SYRACUSE – Former presidential candidate and US Representative from Texas, Ron Paul, delivered a speech to hundreds at Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel on Wednesday night to discuss freedom, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Reserve, and the role of government as a whole.
Seats in the chapel were full and the event was sponsored by SU’s College Republican club.
Paul, who ran for president on the Republican ticket as recently as 2012 said, “The Republicans say it’s Obama’s fault, the Democrats say it’s Bush’s fault.” Paul said that while some say there needs to be more bipartisanship, it is the bipartisanship that is destructive to the country’s liberty.
“The government raises the taxes and spends more money, and then more money is just printed,” said Paul. “It’s not working now and it’s going to work less and less.”
According to Paul, issues facing Americans today are not just social freedoms or religious freedoms, as he said they are all one thing. “The system is deeply flawed. It has been slipping for 100 years.”
With regard to the NSA, he said it should be stopped as soon as possible. "The only good news is that the evidence of the spying is out there," said Paul. He commended whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, and the crowd responded with nearly unanimous applause.
“The good news is that the evidence is out there. Young people, like you about to graduate college, are realizing this. The internet is a blessing to us all,” said Paul. “We have the power to change the world. The government needs to get it’s mitts off the internet completely.”
Paul added that he is against sanctions and interference with foreign relations, and said the US should, “Mind our own business.”
On economics, Paul referred to Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises who wrote, “If the government destroys the monetary system, it destroys perhaps the most important foundation of inter-human economic cooperation. What we have to avoid is permitting the government to increase the quantity of money as it wants.”
Paul continued by addressing inflation and said the value of the dollar has been essentially destroyed.
Regarding liberty and freedom Paul said, “I believe and understand interactions should all be voluntary.” He referenced the benefits of a free and voluntary society.
“Mandates have grossly distorted the system,” Paul said. “People should have the right to make an agreement with whomever they want without the gun of the government.”
Said Paul, “We’d all be better off with voluntarism, but some people claim others won’t take care of themselves. That’s just a gimmick for more government control. Fear is a major contributing factor right now. Look at our foreign policy, it’s based on fear.”
According to Paul, the statistics are overwhelming regarding the distrust of government. “This is a very good thing,” he said. “We don’t want to go backward, we want to pick up the pieces and move forward.”
Paul added that ideas of freedom began with the Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus, which he said is being ignored today.
When a member of the audience asked Paul a lengthy question regarding taxation and the US Constitution, Paul responded with brevity saying only, “That’s easy. Get rid of income tax.” The crowd responded with nearly uniform applause.
“I drove three hours from Albany to listen to Ron Paul,” said 24 year-old Alexander Portelli. “I’m a small business owner who loves liberty. I grew up in New York and everything he has said has been on point. He is articulate and honest, follows his principles, and is the reason I became involved in politics.”
Said Portelli, “I see other places following liberty, like New Hampshire, and the Free State Project, and it inspires me even more. There is a reason so many people look up to Ron Paul, and it can’t be ignored."
Conner Dunleavy, 19, of Albany also took the drive to hear Paul’s speech. “I had a great time, this is the first time I’ve seen him in person, but he’s inspired me since 2010.”
“I used to be a neo-conservative, but am now a full-blown anarcho-capitalist. I’m a member of Young Americans for Liberty, and hearing him speak was just another jolt of energy and inspiration. I’m ready to fight for liberty even more,” said Dunleavy.
“It’s the irate, determined minority who is willing to start a brush fire of liberty, and that’s what will bring change,” said Paul.