Homeschooling: The Future of Liberty

by Ron Paul

A common feature of authoritarian regimes is the criminalization of alternatives to government-controlled education. Dictators recognize the danger that free thought poses to their rule, and few things promote the thinking of “unapproved” thoughts like an education controlled by parents instead of the state. That is why the National Socialist (Nazi) government of Germany outlawed homeschooling in 1938.

Sadly, these Nazi-era restrictions on parental rights remain the law in Germany, leaving parents who wish greater control over their children’s education without options. That is why in 2006 Uwe and Hannalore Romeike, a German couple who wanted to homeschool their three children for religious reasons, sought asylum in the United States. Immigration judge Lawrence Burman upheld their application for asylum, recognizing that the freedom of parents to homeschool was a “basic human right.”

Unfortunately, the current US administration does not see it that way, and has announced that it is appealing Judge Burman’s decision. If the administration is successful, the Romeikes could be sent back to Germany where they will be forced to send their children to schools whose teaching violates their religious beliefs. If they refuse, they face huge fines, jail time, or even the loss of custody of their children!

The Administration’s appeal claims that the federal government has the constitutional authority to ban homeschooling in all fifty states. The truth is, the Constitution gives the federal government no power to control any aspect of education. Furthermore, parents who, like the Romeikes, have a religious motivation for homeschooling should be protected by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

The federal government’s hostility to homeschooling is shared by officials at all levels of government. Despite the movement’s success in legalizing homeschooling in every state, many families are still subjected to harassment by local officials. The harassment ranges from “home visits” by child protective agencies to criminal prosecution for violating truancy laws.

Every American who values liberty should support the homeschoolers’ cause. If the government can usurp parental authority over something as fundamental as the education of their children, there is almost no area of parenthood off limits to government interference.

Homeschooling has proven to be an effective means of education. We are all familiar with the remarkable academic achievements, including in national spelling bees and other competitions, by homeshcooled children. In addition, homeschooled students generally fare better than their public school educated peers on all measures of academic performance.

It makes sense that children do better when their education is controlled by those who know their unique needs best, rather than by a federal bureaucrat. A strong homeschooling movement may also improve other forms of education. If competition improves goods and services in other areas of life, why wouldn’t competition improve education? A large and growing homeschooling movement could inspire public and private schools to innovate and improve.

When the government interferes with a parent’s ability to choose the type of education that is best for their child, it is acting immorally and in manner inconsistent with a free society. A government that infringes on the rights of homeschooling will eventually infringe on the rights of all parents. Homeschooled children are more likely to embrace the philosophy of freedom, and to join the efforts to restore liberty. In fact, I would not be surprised if the future leaders of the liberty movement where homeschooled.

I believe so strongly in the homeschooling movement that I have just announced my own curriculum for homeschooling families. Please visit this revolutionary new project at http://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com.

Posted in Homeschooling | 469 Comments

Ron Paul: Cyprus Crisis Highlights the Dangers of Fractional Reserve Banking

by Ron Paul

The dramatic recent events in Cyprus have highlighted the fundamental weakness in the European banking system and the extreme fragility of fractional reserve banking. Cypriot banks invested heavily in Greek sovereign debt, and last summer’s Greek debt restructuring resulted in losses equivalent to more than 25 percent of Cyprus’ GDP. These banks then took their bad investments to the government, demanding a bailout from an already beleaguered Cypriot treasury. The government of Cyprus then turned to the European Union (EU) for a bailout.

The terms insisted upon by the troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund) before funding the bailout were nothing short of highway robbery. While bank depositors have traditionally been protected in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation, the troika insisted that all bank depositors pay a tax of between 6.75 and 10 percent of their total deposits to help fund the bailout.

While one can sympathize with EU taxpayers not wanting to fund yet another bailout of a poorly-managed banking system, forcing the Cypriot people to pay for the foolish risks taken by their government and bankers is also criminal. In their desire to punish a “tax haven” catering supposedly to Russian oligarchs, the EU elites ensured that ordinary citizens would suffer just as much as foreign depositors. Imagine the reaction if in September 2008, the US government had financed its $700 billion bank bailout by directly looting American taxpayers’ bank accounts!

While the Cypriot parliament rejected that first proposal, they will have no say in the final proposal delivered by the EU and IMF: deposits over 100,000 euros are likely to see losses of at least 40 percent and possibly as much as 80 percent. “Temporary” capital controls that were supposed to last for days will now last at least a month and might remain in effect for years.

Especially affected have been the elderly, who were unable to use ATMs or to transfer money electronically. Despite the fact that ATMs severely limited the size of withdrawals during the two week-long bank closure, reports indicated that account holders who had access to Cypriot bank branches in London and Athens were able to withdraw most of their funds, leading to speculation that there would be no money available when banks finally opened up again. In other words, the supposed Russian oligarch money may well be already gone.

Remember that under a fractional reserve banking system only a small percentage of deposits is kept on hand for dispersal to depositors. The rest of the money is loaned out. Not only are many of the loans made by these banks going bad, but the reserve requirement in Euro-system countries is only one percent! If just one euro out of every hundred is withdrawn from banks, the bank reserves would be completely exhausted and the whole system would collapse. Is it any wonder, then, that the EU fears a major bank run and has shipped billions of euros to Cyprus?

The elites in the EU and IMF failed to learn their lesson from the popular backlash to these tax proposals, and have openly talked about using Cyprus as a template for future bank bailouts. This raises the prospect of raids on bank accounts, pension funds, and any investments the government can get its hands on. In other words, no one’s money is safe in any financial institution in Europe. Bank runs are now a certainty in future crises, as the people realize that they do not really own the money in their accounts. How long before bureaucrat and banker try that here?

Unfortunately, all of this is the predictable result of a fiat paper money system combined with fractional reserve banking. When governments and banks collude to monopolize the monetary system so that they can create money out of thin air, the result is a business cycle that wreaks havoc on the economy. Pyramiding more and more loans on top of a tiny base of money will create an economic house of cards just waiting to collapse. The situation in Cyprus should be both a lesson and a warning to the United States. We need to end the Federal Reserve, stay away from propping up the euro, and return to a sound monetary system.

Posted in Fiat Money | Tagged | 199 Comments

Ron Paul on the Lew Rockwell Show: Empire, Blood and Banking

Transcript

Lew Rockwell: Good morning, this is the Lew Rockwell Show, and what an honor it is to have Dr. Ron Paul as our guest. What do we say about Dr. Paul, I can take up the entire podcast just describing his qualifications and his achievements. And I’ll not even begin to go over them, I’ll just simply say he’s the great leader for liberty, free markets and Austrian Economics, he has influenced millions of people all over the world, especially the young people. Ron, it’s great to have you with us, and I thought we’d get started by talking about your wonderful last column where you discussed the neo-cons, the people who seem to want perpetual war, the role Will Kristol and similar intellectuals are playing in promoting the warfare state and the empire.

Ron Paul: Yes, Kristol had written this recent article and he was lamenting the fact that the problem with Americans is they get war-weary after ten years or more and many, after many deaths and hundreds of thousands of people suffering, and an epidemic of suicides. And people get sick and tired of it, and he’s crying about it. But he goes in and tries to expand on this that we didn’t end the World War II right, we didn’t fight Vietnam long enough, 60,000 lives lost weren’t enough, so he goes on and on. But, hopefully, he’ll lose credibility. Unfortunately, the neo-cons have a lot to say about the war propaganda that gets out and converts the people into a pro-war stance. But maybe he went over the top this time, but I’m not holding my breath, because, so often, the American people start off being quite opposed to war. Just look at the Iraqi war, 60% – 70% people were opposed to it then the neo-cons came in with the war propaganda and changed that. Even before World War II, most Americans were opposed to us getting involved until things were orchestrated in a certain way that the people more or less had to join in. But no, I think the neo-cons should lose credibility, which means that he doesn’t want us to ever leave Iraq, ever leave Afghanistan, he wants us to continue to build up in Syria, and he’s the kind of guy that anxious for us to march on to Iran. It is scary, and I wish the people would wake up, but I’m sort of subtly optimistic that this will have to end, and, in a sad sort of way in one sense, in that this country we will be bankrupt and we will have to quit, more of less how the soviets had to give up their empire. So, maybe some good could come out of a bit of a financial crisis that will come, and we have to admit that this financial crisis has been perpetuated and extenuated by the fact that we spend all this money on the military and on all these useless wars.

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Posted in Interviews | Tagged | 1,011 Comments

Ron Paul: Neo-Con War Addiction Threatens Our Future

by Ron Paul

William Kristol knows what is wrong with the United States. As he wrote recently in the flagship magazine of the neo-conservatives, the Weekly Standard, the problem with the US is that we seem to have lost our appetite for war. According to Kristol, the troubles that have befallen us in the 20th century have all been the result of these periodic bouts of war-weariness, a kind of virus that we catch from time to time.

He claims because of the US “drawdown” in Europe after World War II, Stalin subjugated Eastern Europe. Because of war weariness the United States stopped bombing Southeast Asia in the 1970s, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. War weariness through the 1990s led to Rwanda, Milosevic, and the rise of the Taliban. It was our fault for not fighting on! According to Kristol, our failure to act as the policeman of the world is why we were attacked on September 11, 2001. Of the 1990s, he wrote, “[t]hat decade of not policing the world ended with 9/11.”

That revisionism is too much even for fellow neo-conservatives like Paul Wolfowitz to swallow. In a 2003 interview, Wolfowitz admitted that it was the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia that led to the growth of al-Qaeda:

“(W)e can now remove almost all of our forces from Saudi Arabia. Their presence there over the last 12 years has been a source of enormous difficulty for a friendly government. It’s been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda. In fact if you look at bin Laden, one of his principle grievances was the presence of so-called crusader forces on the holy land, Mecca and Medina.”

But for Kristol and his allies there is never enough war. According to a new study by Brown University, the US invasion of Iraq cost some 190,000 lives, most of them non-combatants. It has cost more than $1.7 trillion, and when all is said and done including interest the cost may well be $6 trillion. Some $212 billion was spent on Iraqi reconstruction with nothing to show for it. Total deaths from US war on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have been at least 329, 000. None of this is enough for Kristol.

The neo-con ideology promotes endless war, but neo-cons fight their battles with the blood of others. From the comfortable, subsidized offices of magazines like the Weekly Standard, the neo-conservatives urge the United States to engage in endless war – to be fought by the victims of the “poverty draft” from states where there are few jobs. Ironically, these young people cannot find more productive work because the Federal Reserve’s endless money printing to keep the war machine turning has destroyed our economy. The six trillion dollars that will be spent on the Iraq war are merely pieces of printed paper that further erode the dollar’s purchasing power now and well into the future. It is the inflation tax, which is the most regressive and cruel of all.

Yes, Americans are war weary, concedes Kristol. But he does not blame the average American. The real problem is that the president has dropped the ball on terrifying Americans with the lies and imaginary threats that led to the invasion of Iraq. Writes Kristol: “One can’t, for example, be surprised at the ebbing support of the American public for the war in Afghanistan years after the president stopped trying to mobilize their support, stopped heralding the successes of the troops he’d sent there, and stopped explaining the importance of their mission.”

If only we had more war propaganda from the highest levels of government we could be cured of this war-weariness. Ten years ago the US invaded Iraq under the influence of neo-conservative lies. Those lies continued to promote US military action in places like Libya, and next on their agenda is Syria and then on to Iran. It is time for the American people to shout “enough!”

Posted in Foreign Policy | 1,479 Comments

Ron Paul: The Fed and Congress Should Return to Fiscal and Monetary Sanity

The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it will continue its easy credit policies – to no one’s surprise. But its statements on fiscal policy are confusing and contradictory.

While the Fed has for several years criticized Congress’ inability to get its fiscal house in order – ignoring its own responsibility in enabling the government’s massive deficits and debt – the Fed is now alarmed about the across-the-board sequestration “cuts.” But the cuts that so worry Bernanke are not even real cuts, as, under sequestration, the Federal budget will still increase by trillions of dollars over the next ten years.

The Fed’s third round of quantitative easing amounts to asset purchases of $85 billion per month, yet the federal government cutting $44 billion* over one fiscal year is considered “restrictive fiscal policy” that might slow economic growth and job creation. One month of Fed money-printing undoes more than a year’s worth of sequestration, yet Chairman Bernanke expects us to believe that “monetary policy cannot offset a fiscal restraint of that magnitude.”

If $44 billion can’t be eliminated without raising alarm, then getting to long-term fiscal stability, as Chairman Bernanke frequently exhorts Congress to do, can never happen.

The Fed, on the one hand, says that the economy needs fiscal stability, while with the other hand it enables profligate government spending. Just since the beginning of the year, the Fed has purchased nearly half of the federal government’s monthly deficits as part of quantitative easing. During QE2, the Fed bought $770 billion of government debt. It has kept interest rates near zero for six years now, giving the government a free ride on the backs of savers and those who have been responsible with their money.

The Fed’s power over the dollar enables the government to keep spending and paying its debts with cheapened, devalued, debased dollars. And the American people suffer the consequences of high prices, distortions in the marketplace, and the aftermath of burst economic bubbles created by easy credit. It’s well past time to return to fiscal and monetary sanity. The Fed and Congress should be ashamed.

*According to the CBO, the sequester only reduces spending by $44 billion this year, with the rest of the reported $85 billion in cuts taking place in future years.

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Posted in Fiat Money | Tagged | 450 Comments

Ron Paul: Gold Is the Ultimate Money

Posted in Economy, Fiat Money, Interviews | Tagged | 933 Comments