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Ron Paul’s Exchange with Santorum Says It All

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Ron Paul, [right] Rick Santorumby Jacob G. Hornberger

The exchange over Iran between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in the recent Republican presidential debate goes a long way in explaining why the mainstream statists, including those in the Republican Party and the mainstream media, wish that libertarians would just go away.

Santorum pointed to 1979, the year of the Iranian revolution, when the Iranian people took U.S. diplomats hostage and held them in captivity for about a year. Santorum pointed to that pivotal event to show that the United States has been at war with Iran ever since.

For statists, Santorum’s point is the end of the discussion. The U.S. government is good. It is innocent. It was just minding its own business when Iranian revolutionaries attacked our country without any reason whatsoever.

We saw the same phenomenon after the 9/11 attacks. “They just hate us for our freedom and values,” U.S. officials cried. We were just minding our own business when the terrorists decided to kill Americans. The sentiment was the mindset of American statists.

And what happens if a libertarian says, “Wait a minute. The story isn’t that simple. Let’s look at what motivated these foreigners to do these things. Let’s examine what the U.S. government has been doing in foreign affairs”?

Well, we all know what happens. The statists go ballistic, both in politics and in mainstream newspapers across the land. “Oh, you’re blaming America! You hate our country! You must be a terrorist yourself. America, love our government or leave our country!”

In fact, Paul’s exchange with Santorum wasn’t the first time this has happened. Recall that famous debate exchange between Paul and Rudy Guliani four years ago. Paul pointed out that the terrorists came here on 9/11 to kill us because our government had been over there for years killing them.

Guliani went ballistic, as did his fellow statists on the stage. Their fellow statists in the mainstream media went crazy too. No one, and certainly not a presidential candidate, is supposed to say such things. It’s considered beyond the pale. Everyone knows that our government is good, wise, and benevolent, believes in freedom and democracy, and would never do anything bad to foreigners.

Yet, that’s actually when Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign took off. Tens of thousands of ordinary Americans instinctively knew that here was a man who wasn’t feeding them pabulum. Here was a man who had the courage to speak the truth about U.S. foreign policy. He was willing to observe openly that the emperor wore no clothes.

And that’s why the statists wish that Ron Paul would just go away. It’s why they wish libertarians would just go away. That’s why they resent us. We cause people to confront reality, which is sometimes not a comfortable thing to do. In a sense, we libertarians are therapists, people who help their patients confront realities that are oftentimes quite painful to face.

Look at the drug war. The statists just want to keep doing what they’ve been doing for 40 years — busting drug sellers, busting drug users, and locking people up for the rest of their lives. Along come libertarians and point out the utter inanity of the whole thing. The never-ending deaths, destruction, corruption, violence, gang wars, and infringements on privacy and liberty. Libertarians say: End this idiocy by legalizing drugs.

But that’s considered outside the pale for the statists. It’s okay to call for reform of such programs. But abolition? “Oh my gosh! I wish those libertarians would just shut up and go away. Everything is working out so fine without them.”

Look at how Ron Paul responded to Santorum. He explained to Santorum that the history of bad relations between Iran and the United States did not begin in 1979 but rather in 1953. That was the year that the CIA, the U.S. government’s secret intelligence force, entered into Iran and ousted the democratically elected prime minister of the country, Mohammed Mossadegh, a man who had been named Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year.”

Why did the CIA do that? No, not for freedom and democracy, as the statists would like to believe. Instead, the CIA interfered with the internal affairs of Iran to retaliate for Mossadegh’s nationalization of British oil concessions. Yes, the CIA’s anti-democracy coup was about oil, not freedom and democracy.

In fact, having ousted a democratically elected prime minister, the CIA proceeded to install a non-elected brutal dictator, the Shah of Iran, into power. The CIA then proceeded to train and work closely with the Shah’s counterpart to the CIA, his brutal and tortuous Savak intelligence force. The Shah then proceeded to impose one of the harshest dictatorial regimes in the world on the Iranian people, with the full support of the CIA and the rest of the U.S. government.

Of course, U.S. officials didn’t care one whit what the Shah was doing to the Iranian people. All that mattered was that he was “our friend.”

Imagine if Savak had assassinated John Kennedy in order to get Lyndon Johnson into power. How would the American people feel about that some 50 years later? I’ll tell you: the deep anger and rage would still be palpable.

Well, that’s how the Iranian people felt about the U.S. government in 1979. That’s why they took the U.S. officials hostage. They were still angry about the CIA’s ouster of their democratically elected prime minister. They were still angry about the Iranian people who had been brutalized, incarcerated, and tortured by the Shah and his goons, with the full support and cooperation of the CIA.

That’s what Santorum and his fellow statist cohorts don’t want to confront. They want to continue living their blissful little lives of delusion. For them, the federal government is god. It is all-good. It is all-knowing. It is all-powerful. It doesn’t support dictatorships. It believes in freedom and democracy. It never does bad things to people, not even conduct syphilis experiments on them.

That’s the myth that is inculcated in every public school across America and in most government-licensed private schools. That’s the mindset that is produced in people like Santorum and the other statist candidates on that stage.

It’s also the mindset of the mainstream news media reporters asking the questions. That’s why they feel so comfortable with the statists on stage. That’s why they feel so uncomfortable whenever Ron Paul is answering their questions.

Let’s face it: the statists wish that libertarians had never been born and are extremely concerned about the rising popularity of libertarianism among the American people. That’s why they’ve done their best to lock the Libertarian Party out of the political process with their inane ballot-restriction barriers. That’s why they kept Ron Paul, a long-serving congressman, out of the early presidential debates four years ago. That’s why they are keeping Gary Johnson, a popular two-term governor of New Mexico, out of the current round of debates. After all, Johnson, another libertarian, is also calling for ending the drug war and bringing the troops home. Why should it surprise us that they’re locking him out of the presidential debates, as they tried to do four years ago with Ron Paul?

They think that if they can just keep hewing to their little myths and delusions and keep teaching them to their children in their government-approved schools, everything will be fine. If they could only shut out those pesky libertarians who confront people with truth and reality, everything would be hunky dory.

But truth will out, which is why so many people are gravitating to Ron Paul. They instinctively know that he’s speaking truth to power, and they can see that power doesn’t like it.

Ron Paul summed up the problem most eloquently when, in response to Rick Santorum, he stated, “We just plain don’t mind our own business. That’s our problem.”

Of course, that’s the problem with statists. They mind everyone else’s business but their own.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.


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