A few weeks before Bitcoin 2021, the annual Bitcoin conference hosted by Bitcoin Magazine Ron Paul was asked if he would like to come to Miami and speak.
“Will any of my friends be there?” he asked.
When he sauntered on stage after Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, he got his answer. “I have a lot of friends here,” the long-time Republican Congressman noticed. “And that, to me, is very meaningful. Because if you’re a friend of mine, you’re a friend of liberty, and that is what we need. We have a shortage of liberty. And I do know that people here are very much in tune about the principles of liberty.” That is just what Dr. Paul wanted to discuss in his talk entitled “Monetary Freedom.”
“Everybody wants monetary freedom, I would hope,” said Dr. Paul. “But, I want to clarify that title, because some people want free money, and that’s different. And there’s a lot of free money circulating out there these days, and it’s all fake. And, it’s all political corruption that goes on. And the free money, they either print it or steal it, and it doesn’t work. It makes the country poorer, no matter how many people get richer in the meantime.”
And they have to use a system called the Federal Reserve System for distribution, says Dr. Paul, who has a solution for that. “One of my solutions for foreign policy was, when we were in places we shouldn’t be in, they said, ‘Well, how can we do it? What should we do?’ I said, we just marched in. Let’s just march out. That’s the way we should do [it] with the Federal Reserve, too. We don’t need the Federal Reserve. It is built with corruption. So, what we need to do is repeal it. Get rid of the Federal Reserve. And I thought, that’s never going to happen, the Congress would never pass the bill. But…there’s encouragement out there for monetary freedom. It is that the Federal Reserve is running out of philosophic steam.”
The Federal Reserve, in fact, doesn’t have any idea what they’re doing, says Dr. Paul. “That’s leading to this chaos—and believe me there’s a lot of chaos out there that we have to deal with. The whole thing is, there’s a lot of people who are despondent, and a lot of people are euphoric, and they say ‘I know I am going to be a millionaire soon’ and there’s a little bit of discussion going on…But, monetary freedom, though, is an issue that is very, very necessary—we have to have options. There was a bill that I introduced many times in Congress, and the bill was [regarding] competition in currencies—no legal tender laws. If the modern monetary system isn’t working and you don’t like the dollar, you ought to have the absolute right to use whatever you want for money.”
And that means you have to repeal the legal tender laws Dr. Paul told the early attendees. “But, there’s a disadvantage of just trying to use anything for money if the government wants control, because they tend to want to regulate and tax. And you don’t regulate and tax money. That’d be like, if you’re into the dollar business—which I doubt if too many people would be doing this— that you buy dollars, and the value of the dollar goes up 10%, that’s a capital gains tax…They put a tax on it. But, that’s what they do, whether you’re using metals or cryptos. If they know what you’re doing, that’s what they’ll want to do: they will want to tax it. That’s what’s so neat about my continuing understanding of exactly how Bitcoin works, is that you try to avoid that nonsense in a very legal fashion, because you cannot trust the people who decide what monetary freedom means. The people who should make decisions are you. Individuals should make the decision on what you want to do.”
But, there’s a mess out there, says Dr. Paul. “And, many people in the past have used the term when they come and talk to a crowd like this…They’ll say, ‘I’m here from the government and I’m here to help you.’ Well, that is a joke. But, right now, I can’t even say that. I’m not from the government. Matter of fact, I never felt like I was part of that government when I was there. I was trying to change the government. But no, I’m not from the government.”
Dr. Paul shared his belief that the freedom movement is definitely there to help people. “One thing that I like about Austrian free market economics, that I learned along the way, is you don’t emphasize that this group is going to benefit, and this group won’t, and this thing here…big business needs to benefit, banks need to benefit, and labor unions need to benefit, and everybody has to have their group represented.”
He says the marketplace achieves that; it has its own director of who benefits. “Everyone of us qualifies for that,” said Dr. Paul, who ran for President on three separate occasions. “The market, when it’s free, is designed to help the individual. The consumer becomes the determinant factor. But, that only works when you have freedom of choice—total freedom of choice—whether it’s economic freedom, whether it’s social freedom, religious freedom, or whatever. But, it is not complicated. We’re born with natural rights. They’re ours. We own our lives. We own our bodies.”
There are a couple rules, though. “The one prerequisite for this to work is you’re not allowed to commit aggression,” he said. “You can’t rob, steal, or kill, and that’s been known for thousands of years, those principles. But, it comes and goes. And sometimes it gets better. It improved a bit in our early history. But, most people…know they can’t steal from their neighbor, but they don’t think for a minute about getting their congressman to steal from their neighbor, and get what they want. So, this whole principle of not allowing [someone] to take somebody else’s property is very important for this whole system to work.”
Dr. Paul says these principles ought not be too difficult to fathom. “But, there’s another half of what liberty is all about that is more difficult, especially if it leaned toward a conservative social approach, and that is tolerance…I don’t tolerate the Federal Reserve and say, ‘Oh, just leave ‘em alone.’ I’m trying to stop ‘em! Tolerance in this setting would be that one individual should be tolerant of another individual’s lifestyle, personal liberties, how they run their lives, as long as they follow that rule, and they are not hurting and stealing from anybody. And that’s the hardest part, for a lot of people who love liberty or think they understand liberty, is that they go and they want to write rules about social orders and behavior.” It’s epidemic.
“Now, it’s political correctness,” said Dr. Paul. “Political correctness tends to have epidemic proportions right now, and is totally out of hand. And, if we as a nation don’t get hold of this whole concept of condemning certain people, because they’re not politically correct, and you mix that up with Cultural Marxism, I’ll tell you what, we’re all in big trouble.”
The freedom, monetary, and the Bitcoin movement is the perfect place to make these points, says Dr. Paul. “There’s a lot of things about bitcoins and other things that I don’t fully understand. But, I understand liberty. And I understand that, if you follow those rules, things will work out better. People, I really do believe, when they understand the issues, they really want to live with peace and prosperity. But, everybody has a condition. And, of course, it’s totally out of control with what’s happening in government.” Dr. Paul points out the national debt is $28 trillion, and noted the budget wasn’t going very well in 2021, either.
“I guess, in a sinister way, it’s going well for Bitcoin,” said Dr. Paul. “This thing is not going to last, it’s going to end.” Dr. Paul doesn’t think the authorities have any idea what to report.
“They have no idea what the revenues will be,” said Dr. Paul. “They have no idea how much extra money they’ll spend—just look at last year. But, basically, to round things off, they’re expecting to collect from the people that are still working $3 trillion. Wow, that’s a lot of money. But, they’re going to spend $6 trillion.”
What happens when you ask what they are going to do with that money? “‘Oh, no sweat. Deficits don’t matter.’ That’s what the new economic policy is. There’s no problem with debt. So, we just go on, ‘Look, the economy hasn’t toppled over. It hasn’t been ruined. And they’re spending. The more they spend, the higher the stock market goes, and the whole thing works.’ So the whole effort is to continue spending and buy influence. “But, it ends. It always ends. It can’t work.”
Dr. Paul points to “significant evidence here in the last month or so” of a coming economic crisis, although many Austrian economists and freedom-curious people have been warning about it for a long time. Of utmost importance is the debt.
“How does this get paid? It always gets paid. Spending is a tax. No matter how it’s paid for. Spending is a tax. Then they can tax people directly. Then they can borrow the money and let somebody else pay for it. Or they can tax you by printing the money, diluting the value of the dollar, and that payment is your tax.”
Dr. Paul is still impressed with the speed of the acknowledgement and how quickly things are changing on prices. “And the prices are an indication…that’s the last indicator that people will look at. And I can give you a pretty strong assurance that, from my experience in Washington, and people I knew in Washington, they are not going to deal with this. They’re totally incapable of doing it. They’re not going to balance the budget or cut spending. Never. They’re not going to do it. So, this is going to continue. And then you throw in the pandemic—that thing that they created for entertainment purposes—and this has made people very, very concerned.”
Dr. Paul talks about the 20th century. “I didn’t live through the whole 20th century, but a good bit of it,” quipped Dr. Paul, who was born in August 1935 in the middle of the Great Depression. “And, as a small child, I remember what depressions were like. I remember World War Two, and Korean War, and Vietnam War, and there were a lot of bad times. But, the worst thing was the violence, because they rejected this whole notion of freedom of choice. And that is, 100 million people were murdered by their governments. See, that has to stop. And the only way it’s going to stop is to have a better idea. The only way you can solve the monetary issue will be with people like you who understand the issue, and you want to assume responsibility for yourself and you. But, you have to have the government out of your hair, because that will be the greatest threat that we all have in everything that we do.”
Furthermore, don’t think you’re better off because you have gold, says Dr. Paul. “What did they do in 1933, because there were bad conditions? …The first thing that Roosevelt did? We stole all the gold from all the Americans. We had to turn it in. For 42 years, you weren’t even allowed to own gold.”
Dr. Paul helped in the movement in 1975 to re-legalize the right of American-owned gold. “And this is astounding to think that in the land of the free, home of the brave, you couldn’t even own a gold coin,” said Dr. Paul.
Dr. Paul sees the Bitcoin community as making preparations and trying to be prepared to protect yourself against what the government is doing. “That is a responsibility for you as individuals,” said Dr. Paul. “It’s the responsibility of your families, your communities. And the neat thing that I like about a group like this, and I visit with a lot of you last night, as well as today, I talked to a lot of people, and I sense that you fully understand that, Yeah, the monetary issue is important, but liberty is important too, and we can solve our problems if we have our freedom.”
Dr. Paul doesn’t believe that the Congress is going to come around and make sense. “There’s too many special interests…Even before the pandemic was manufactured, the Fed was already in trouble. We had QE, and they were printing money like crazy. They tried to tighten up and shrink the balance sheet, and that didn’t work and it caused the markets to crash. This is something that now they’re locked in on a principle, because they’ve been taught all the same economic policies…they’re locked in on deficits don’t matter.”
And now the Marxists are marching, says Dr. Paul. “And that’s a big deal, this Cultural Marxism. Because they put the word culture on there, that doesn’t soften this stance of the authoritarians on how they want to run things…they have a new principle, because now we even elect people that are identified that way, socialists and Marxists, and all. They say, ‘Well, we have a new theory on what to do about this. And we keep spending, deficits don’t matter. But, we have a new modern monetary theory. ‘Well, What do you do?’ ‘Well, we just print money, as much as you want.’ So that is it. So, I would think that we don’t need more money—cash. We don’t need more cash.”
People won’t even go to work now. “Can you imagine that? …We have a system designed to pay people to stay at home. It makes no sense. But, it’s part of this modern monetary theory that you can do it forever. And, really, it’s just an exaggeration of what we’ve been doing all along. It never made any sense from the very beginning, because the founders thought we would restrain ourselves from printing the money, but it looks to me like the restraints are gonna have to originate in the marketplace. So, there has to be restraints out of the political system, and that’s why Bitcoin better be considered seriously.”
Dr. Paul believes the people who see him speak, and who have studied, understand and want to improve things are much more informed than anybody in Washington. “The problems with the system that we have today is that it negates the principles of liberty,” said Dr. Paul, who went on to note that, while there is information in Washington, the goal there is always somewhat nefarious.
“[T]he goal of Washington always is to restrain anybody who’s trying to figure out how to avoid the corruption of government,” said Dr. Paul. “But, government is basically very corrupt, because it’s based on the use of force. And, of course, they use it illegally. We have a system of money that pays for anything, but it’s there to subsidize the welfare/warfare state. Welfare doesn’t work…except for a while and some people, but it’s based on robbery. And you say, ‘Well, you don’t have a heart. You don’t care about people…But, I would say that, if you care about people, you have a humanitarian instinct that you ought to be a supporter of the marketplace.”
The most prosperous countries in the history of the world, says Dr. Paul, do so by living within their means and having free markets. “Then you have greater prosperity. And that symbol still exists, because so many other countries are so much worse, people still want to come here. But, I tell you what, basically the understandings are disappearing.”
The real problem, as Dr. Paul sees it, has developed over the last 100 years in our universities. “If you have kids, or you’re in a university and all, do it with caution,” he said. “Do it with an open mind and open eyes, because you’re not going to very often get the truth about economic policy.”
People are confused, believing their grocery bill is so high because there is not enough money. “They interpret it as there is not enough money. But the problem is they don’t have enough value in their money, because we live beyond our means and we print,” said Dr. Paul.
Washington won’t change, argues Dr. Paul. “What you’re doing in studying monetary freedom, and trying to work it out, do your very best, because we’re all going to be in a survival business,” he said, knowing things are bad already. He’d never thought he’d see the day when he’d read about hoe in the great cities in this country, including even in Texas, people lived on the street. “…People are getting pretty upset and rightfully so.”
The answer won’t be found in the government, he says. “Creating more money is not creating wealth, and some people think that. Because the people who are getting those welfare checks for them in the short run, they get a check for $1600, and they say ‘Well, I can go and buy food and do these other things. And they see that as wealth. But it isn’t. It’s the dilution of wealth. It’s the establishment of taking care of a system that is rotting away, taking care of the bankers.”
Dr. Paul has been mulling over the implications of modern day Cultural Marxism, which he calls a tragedy. “Why is it that we’re living in an age where they come up with this extreme political correctness, which makes no sense, and just antagonizes everybody? Why is the businessman their closest allies? Why are they an arm of the government?”
The government makes these declarations. “They tell the business companies ‘do it or else’,” says Dr. Paul, suggesting they get such power through the monetary system. “You won’t get your loan. ‘We can buy and sell stocks.’ BlackRock and Larry Fink control now $9 trillion worth of assets, and they use it for political reasons.” They determine which investments are made.
“So it is this total corruption of the political system, as well as the financial system, and the banking system, and the business community,” said Dr.Paul. “That’s not new. You’ve read stories about why did the business people support Nazi Germany…it’s out of pure utilitarianism. They want in on the action, but some of them actually believe some of that stuff, too. And that’s what is going on with Blackrock. Some of them actually believe that this is the transition.”
It comes from the original mandate of Marxism, says Dr. Paul. “And Marxism is very, very clear. And it continues right now, because you’re witnessing every single day, because of all the stupidities going on. And their principle is, ‘We want a communist, Marxist takeover of the country. We need to rebuild it. We have to have a revolution, and the process of education—that’s too slow.’ The only way they can get their utopia that they want—and they firmly believe this, and it goes all the way back to Marx—is you gotta get rid of society; everything good and decent in society, whether it’s your churches, your schools, or anything that you have to destroy. And that’s what they are after.”
And that’s why we have to think about survival, said Dr. Paul.“It’s a philosophical issue, but there’s some practical things too, such as understanding the monetary issue.”
Dr. Paul likes to come to events like Bitcoin 2021 because there’s so many like minded people. He likes knowing his friends.
“If you do have to survive, you might pick the group that would be coming to an event like this, to look for and make your plan,” said Dr. Paul. “You’ve got your family, your friends, your neighbors, because it will get to that point, because the system will quit working. And somebody said, ‘Well, what’s that like? What would it be like? I said, Well, maybe it could work for 30% of the people in San Francisco. Maybe it’ll be something like that. And it could be. But it doesn’t have to be, because I think the answer to all this comes in the principle cause of liberty, personal liberty. Where does liberty come from? It comes to us in a natural God given way, and we have a right to our lives. And we should have an absolute right to the fruits of our labor. And we should not be told how we should live our lives.” The crowd cheered.
Dr. Paul concedes it doesn’t sound too complicated, at least for the crowd in attendance at his events. “As I go through campaigning and all, I see most people I meet are very decent people. Classmates and doctor, friends and neighbors. And why is it that things are so bad, if I claim most of the people I’ve met seem to be pretty decent? It’s because the evil people who are directed—many of them are sociopaths, some are psychopaths—and when they get into government, they are strongly motivated. That’s how they get their satisfaction to become an authoritarian government. And that is where the real problem is. And it’s responsibility that really counts.”
People tend to think that they have to have the government, says Dr. Paul. “…Look, get your freedom, that’s what you want. It’s your life. You run your life, you do what you want. And if you don’t hurt other people, you can go to whatever church, your social habits—the whole works— all up to you. Just don’t hurt anybody. And the one requirement is you have to be a bit tolerant of somebody else who has a different lifestyle. And that makes a difference. If you do that, if you get your liberties, you have to work. And that means you have to cancel out this whole idea that governments can write checks.”
Government printing presses will once day cease, says Dr. Paul. “That’s going to end. “And that’s why people will have to do it. But, you have to work…And one thing is, if you get your liberty, and you’re allowed to do this, you’re allowed to keep what you earn, but if you screw up, you can’t go to the government, come back and say take care of me, steal stuff from my neighbor, so that I can survive. That won’t work.
“The welfare state is ending,” said Dr. Paul, who has long been anti-Drug War, but, also, anti-drugs. (Just ask his kids). “It is financed by the government. So that eventually will end and compound all our problems.”
Dr. Paul was influenced by what happened 50 years ago, in 1971, when Nixon took the dollar of the gold standard. “I was learning about Austrian economics. In 1971, Nixon closed the gold window, put on tariffs, and no limits at all in printing money, and this got a lot worse. But, because we have been very rich and very blessed, both because of our country, because of the way that we have been able to maneuver, and can have control of the reserve currency of the world, we’ve been able to export, like nobody else ever exported before, Federal Reserve Notes—that’s what we export in. And, of course, because of the trust in America, and the dependence on our ability to create money out of thin air, and then do what we want around the world—put on sanctions—and, unfortunately, participate in all a senseless war.”
Dr. Paul thinks the American people should rise up. “Twenty years is long enough to have troops in Afghanistan. We ought to just come home. And that whole issue can be solved just by the principles I’m talking about.”
One time, Dr. Paul recalls getting into a little trouble for suggesting US foreign policy shouldn’t include approaches we wouldn’t want taken with the US. The folks in Washington apparently don’t like that old fashioned principle.
“If you don’t want people to do it to you, you shouldn’t be doing it to them,” he said. “…“And we throw around interventionism, and our military, and our weapons, and our ships, and our planes, just looking for problems. It’s not an accident. It has to do with this unlimited supply of Federal Reserve Notes…The military industrial complex, that is one of the biggest lobbyists out there, and even today they’re talking about, ‘We need more nukes.’ We don’t need more nukes. What we need is more sense in Washington—that’s what we need.”
Despite a belief the problems outlined in his talk are going to grow worse, Dr. Paul remains optimistic. “The answers are not complicated. Freedom is not a complicated issue. What is complicated is all this mess that we created. And the good news is, it’s all going to end. The big challenge is, who’s going to pick up the pieces? Are we going to move toward more authoritarianism, and the absence of monetary freedom, where you can have the freedom to help devise it?”
Money generally comes from the people, says Dr. Paul. “They develop it. Governments generally don’t develop it. But, when the money comes from the people, whether it’s metals or whatever, then the government comes in. And believe me, that attitude is still alive and well with the people who are willing to do anything to get into political office, and want to run your life. “ Still, it is not difficult for Dr. Paul to be encouraged.
“A free society is conceivable,” he said. “It’s not complex. I am so happy when I come to a crowd like this. And I meet people that I didn’t know, and they say, ‘Well, you know, in that one campaign, you said this, and this is what I’ve been doing.’ And you have no idea…You have the monetary issue, you have a proposal…All I would ask is try to present [Bitcoin] in the context of liberty, in the context of freedom.”
Dr. Paul says he is sometimes known as the guy who wants to legalize marijuana. “And I do, I do,” he said. “But, I’ve never seen this stuff, and I never smoked the stuff, and I am not anxious to do it. But, what I [say] is, ‘No, I don’t have a proposal to legalize marijuana. I have a proposal to legalize liberty, and let you do whatever you want.”
“And the other thing that I challenge you, and it looks like you don’t need this advice, is when you get together with likeminded people, and you generally agree with a lot of what I said—and the government has messed this up, and there should be another monetary option—that when you get together or when you aren’t together, have a little fun doing it. Because we don’t know exactly what’ll come tomorrow. We don’t know what the consequences will be. But, it is a lot better associating, and that is why these conferences are so successful—not only in the sharing of the ideas and the finance, and all that’s important. But, also, it should be enjoyable. And, if you look at it, that [Bitcoin as a solution] is available.”
He adds: “A Marxist can’t handle that, because their whole life is designed to destroy every remnant of the Western civilization, and then they will rebuild it. Well, it’s going to be destroyed. But, let’s all of us participate in the rebuilding of it with the principles of liberty. Thank you very much.”