A Ron Paul Information Index

Editorials

This page contains links to and copies of editorials and op-ed pieces written by Ron Paul which give particular insight into his policies and beliefs.

People interested in further reading may find an extensive collection of Ron Paul's editorials on a variety of subjects at the archives at LewRockwell.com.


"The War On Religion"

www.lewrockwell.com, December 30, 2003

As we celebrate another Yuletide season, it’s hard not to notice that Christmas in America simply doesn’t feel the same anymore. Although an overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, and those who don’t celebrate it overwhelmingly accept and respect our nation’s Christmas traditions, a certain shared public sentiment slowly has disappeared. The Christmas spirit, marked by a wonderful feeling of goodwill among men, is in danger of being lost in the ongoing war against religion.

Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view. The justification is always that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended or feel uncomfortable living in the midst of a largely Christian society, so all must yield to the fragile sensibilities of the few. The ultimate goal of the anti-religious elites is to transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity.

This growing bias explains why many of our wonderful Christmas traditions have been lost. Christmas pageants and plays, including Handel’s Messiah, have been banned from schools and community halls. Nativity scenes have been ordered removed from town squares, and even criticized as offensive when placed on private church lawns. Office Christmas parties have become taboo, replaced by colorless seasonal parties to ensure no employees feel threatened by a “hostile environment.” Even wholly non-religious decorations featuring Santa Claus, snowmen, and the like have been called into question as Christmas symbols that might cause discomfort. Earlier this month, firemen near Chicago reluctantly removed Christmas decorations from their firehouse after a complaint by some embittered busybody. Most noticeably, however, the once commonplace refrain of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced by the vague, ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” But what holiday? Is Christmas some kind of secret, a word that cannot be uttered in public? Why have we allowed the secularists to intimidate us into downplaying our most cherished and meaningful Christian celebration?

The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life.

The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.


"Protecting Marriage From Judicial Tyranny"

www.lewrockwell.com, July 22, 2004

Before the House of Representatives, July 22, 2004.

Mr. Speaker, as an original cosponsor of the Marriage Protection Act (HR 3313), I strongly urge my colleagues to support this bill. HR 3313 ensures federal courts will not undermine any state laws regulating marriage by forcing a state to recognize same-sex marriage licenses issued in another state. The Marriage Protection Act thus ensures that the authority to regulate marriage remains with individual states and communities, as the drafters of the Constitution intended.

The practice of judicial activism – legislating from the bench – is now standard procedure for many federal judges. They dismiss the doctrine of strict construction as outdated, instead treating the Constitution as fluid and malleable to create a desired outcome in any given case. For judges who see themselves as social activists, their vision of justice is more important than the letter of the law they are sworn to interpret and uphold. With the federal judiciary focused more on promoting a social agenda than on upholding the rule of law, Americans find themselves increasingly governed by judges they did not elect and cannot remove from office.

Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court last June. The Court determined that Texas has no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because these laws violated the court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment. Regardless of the advisability of such laws, the Constitution does not give the federal government authority to overturn these laws. Under the Tenth Amendment, the state of Texas has the authority to pass laws concerning social matters, using its own local standards, without federal interference. But rather than adhering to the Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a state matter, the Court decided to stretch the "right to privacy" to justify imposing the justices’ vision on the people of Texas.

Since the Lawrence decision, many Americans have expressed their concern that the Court may next "discover" that state laws defining marriage violate the Court’s wrongheaded interpretation of the Constitution. After all, some judges simply may view this result as taking the Lawrence decision to its logical conclusion.

One way federal courts may impose a redefinition of marriage on the states is by interpreting the full faith and credit clause to require all states, even those which do not grant legal standing to same-sex marriages, to treat as valid same-sex marriage licenses from the few states which give legal status to such unions. This would have the practical effect of nullifying state laws defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman, thus allowing a few states and a handful of federal judges to create marriage policy for the entire nation.

In 1996 Congress exercised its authority under the full faith and credit clause of Article IV of the Constitution by passing the Defense of Marriage Act. This ensured each state could set its own policy regarding marriage and not be forced to adopt the marriage policies of another state. Since the full faith and credit clause grants Congress the clear authority to "prescribe the effects" that state documents such as marriage licenses have on other states, the Defense of Marriage Act is unquestionably constitutional. However, the lack of respect federal judges show for the plain language of the Constitution necessitates congressional action so that state officials are not forced to recognize another states’ same-sex marriage licenses because of a flawed judicial interpretation. The drafters of the Constitution gave Congress the power to limit federal jurisdiction to provide a check on out-of-control federal judges. It is long past time we begin using our legitimate authority to protect the states and the people from judicial tyranny.

Since the Marriage Protection Act requires only a majority vote in both houses of Congress (and the president’s signature) to become law, it is a more practical way to deal with this issue than the time-consuming process of passing a constitutional amendment. In fact, since the Defense of Marriage Act overwhelmingly passed both houses, and the president supports protecting state marriage laws from judicial tyranny, there is no reason why the Marriage Protection Act cannot become law this year.

Some may argue that allowing federal judges to rewrite the definition of marriage can result in a victory for individual liberty. This claim is flawed. The best guarantor of true liberty is decentralized political institutions, while the greatest threat to liberty is concentrated power. This is why the Constitution carefully limits the power of the federal government over the states. Allowing federal judges unfettered discretion to strike down state laws, or force a state to conform to the laws of another state, leads to centralization and loss of liberty.

While marriage is licensed and otherwise regulated by the states, government did not create the institution of marriage. In fact, the institution of marriage most likely pre-dates the institution of government! Government regulation of marriage is based on state recognition of the practices and customs formulated by private individuals interacting in civil society. Many people associate their wedding day with completing the rituals and other requirements of their faith, thus being joined in the eyes of their church – not the day they received their marriage license from the state. Having federal officials, whether judges, bureaucrats, or congressmen, impose a new definition of marriage on the people is an act of social engineering profoundly hostile to liberty.

Mr. Speaker, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to stop rogue federal judges from using a flawed interpretation of the Constitution to rewrite the laws and traditions governing marriage. I urge my colleagues to stand against destructive judicial activism and for marriage by voting for the Marriage Protection Act.

Americans don’t need new federal programs, and they certainly don’t need more federal control over their schools. They don’t need a disastrous government-run medical system. What Americans do need is a federal government that provides national defense, secures our borders, and does very little else. Needless to say you won’t hear the parties suggesting such a platform anytime soon.


"The Imperial Judiciary"

www.lewrockwell.com, October 5, 2004

Last week’s debate over the constitutional marriage amendment brought even greater attention to the issue of activist judges. From gay marriage to Boy Scouts to frivolous lawsuits to the Pledge of Allegiance, Americans have grown increasingly distrustful and suspicious of our federal courts – and rightfully so. Never in our history have unaccountable federal judges wielded more power over our lives.

Judicial activism, the practice of judges ignoring the law and deciding cases based on their personal political views, has intensified in the decades since Roe v. Wade. This practice is now standard for many federal judges. They dismiss the doctrine of strict construction as hopelessly outdated, instead treating the Constitution as fluid and malleable to create a desired outcome in any given case. For judges who see themselves as social activists, their vision of justice is more important than the letter of the laws they are sworn to interpret and uphold. With the federal judiciary focused more on promoting a social agenda than upholding the rule of law, Americans find themselves increasingly governed by men they did not elect and cannot remove from office.

But what is to be done? Since many citizens lack basic knowledge of our Constitution and federalist system, they are easily manipulated by media and academic elites who tell them that judges are the absolute and final arbiters of US law. But the Supreme Court is not supreme over the other branches of government; it is supreme only over lower federal courts. If Americans wish to be free of judicial tyranny, they must at least develop basic knowledge of the judicial role in our republican government. The present state of affairs is a direct result of our collective ignorance.

The ultimate solution to the problem of unbridled judicial activism at the federal level is clear: Congress must reassert its constitutional authority to define and restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts. This power is plainly granted in Article III, and no constitutional amendments are required. On the contrary, any constitutional amendment addressing judicial activism would only grant legitimacy to the dangerous idea that social issues are federal matters. Remember, when social issues are federalized, conservatives always lose. Giving more authority over social matters to any branch of the federal government is a mistake, because a centralized government is unlikely to reflect local sentiment for long. If anything, the marriage amendment would have given the secular left an excuse to impose gay marriage on all of us in future years, as the issue would have been irrefutably federalized.

Congressional cowardice enables judicial activism. Just as Congress ceded far too much legislative authority to presidents throughout the 20th century, it similarly has allowed federal judges to operate wildly beyond their constitutional role. In fact, many current members of Congress apparently accept the false notion that federal court judgments are superior to congressional statutes. Unless and until Congress asserts itself by limiting federal court jurisdiction, judges will continue to act as de facto lawmakers.

The political left increasingly uses the federal judiciary to do in court what it cannot do at the ballot box: advance an activist, secular, multicultural political agenda of which most Americans disapprove. As a society we should reconsider the wisdom of lifetime tenure for federal judges, and pay closer attention to the judicial nomination procedure. It’s time for the executive and legislative branches to show some backbone, appoint judges who follow the Constitution, and remove those who do not. It’s also time for Congress to start establishing clear limits on federal judicial power.


"A Texas Platform for the GOP"

www.lewrockwell.com, August 31, 2004

As the 2004 national GOP convention begins Monday, we should be prepared to hear a Republican agenda that sounds more like FDR or Woodrow Wilson than Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan. A party that once defined itself by the fundamental conservative principle that government power should be used sparingly and judiciously, now supports a program of bigger government at home, more militarism abroad, and less respect for constitutional freedoms. An examination of the Texas state GOP platform reveals just how far the national Republican party has strayed from true conservative principles and the ideal of limited constitutional government.

First and foremost, the Texas GOP is serious about reducing the size and scope of government. The party platform calls for strict congressional adherence to the 10th amendment, and the abolition of all federal agencies not authorized under a strict interpretation of the Constitution. It urges a return to truly republican government, based on limited federal powers and states rights. The language of the platform is refreshingly frank, with quotes like "We believe that government spending is out of control and needs to be reduced" and "We respect our Founders' intent to restrict the power of the federal government over the states and the people." In fact, whole sections of the document are devoted to worthy subjects like "Limiting the expanse of government power." Contrast these words with what you'll hear this week from the big spending, big government Republicans from Washington.

The Texas party platform is similarly bold when it comes to terrorism, civil liberties, and privacy. Rather than promoting the current mantra that security is our ultimate goal, the platform reminds us that liberty is our most important value. The platform calls for repealing portions of the Patriot Act, calls for less information gathering by government, opposes property seizures without due process, and opposes the creation of a national ID card. The platform asserts that "A perpetual state of national emergency allows unrestricted growth of government," and "We believe the current greatest threat to our individual liberties is overreaching government controls established under the guise of preventing terrorism." You won’t hear this kind of language at the national Republican convention.

The Texas GOP platform also calls for a congressional audit of the Federal Reserve Bank, and demands full public access to the written minutes from Fed board meetings. Such an audit could at the very least serve to educate the American people about Fed inflation and the dangers of fiat currency. In Washington, the Federal Reserve System is virtually never discussed by Congress or the administration, despite its enormous impact on our economic well-being. Monetary policy is simply off the table as a political and policy matter for both national parties, but the Texas GOP recognizes the importance of sound money.

When it comes to 2nd amendment rights, the Texas GOP platform is uncompromising. It calls for outright abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. It also calls for repeal of all laws infringing upon 2nd amendment rights. This is another example of grassroots conservatives in Texas taking a position that Republicans in Washington lack the courage to endorse.

Education? The Texas GOP platform calls for the abolition of the Department of Education. Taxes? Texas Republicans urge the repeal of the 16th amendment and the abolition of the IRS, an agency the platform says is "Unacceptable to taxpayers." On dozens of other issues, from abortion to activist judges to religious freedom, the Texas Republican party promotes true conservative values and strict adherence to the Constitution. Real conservatives should demand the same from the national Republican Party this week in New York.


Work in progress.


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