Rand Paul's Challenge to Students - Published in The Intercollegiate ReviewSubmitted by NowOrNever on Mon, 02/03/2014 - 19:19
"To better communicate our message, we must marshal the facts and have a deep understanding of the principles that informed our Founders. Policy battles are important, but if we don’t have a firm grounding in principles, politics becomes sport, with our focus narrowing to follow electoral returns, legislative vote tallies, and other short-term measures.
Without that foundation in principles, we can easily lose sight of our real goal: securing for ourselves and for future generations the freedom and prosperity that have always marked America’s greatness.
As students, you have a great opportunity to immerse yourself in America’s history and the principles of liberty. I am a proud Republican, but I am a conservative first. That is to say, my conservatism has always been more philosophical in nature than partisan. I am a Republican because I believe my party is the best outlet for the defense—and advancement—of the principles of liberty. I encourage you to discover those principles yourself and become an advocate for them.
There is no substitute for studying history. When you look to history, you quickly see that debates about the proper role and scope of government are nothing new. Founders Alexander Hamilton and James Madison fought from the beginning about how the federal government would be limited. Madison, the “father of the Constitution,” was unequivocal: the powers of the federal government are few and defined; the power to tax and spend is restricted by clearly enumerated powers. That is a simple proposition too many Americans forget (or ignore).
I also encourage you to study what great thinkers have had to say about both individual liberty and personal responsibility. In school I read the great nineteenth-century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky, whose brilliant narratives illustrate the importance of conscience and faith—the belief that if there were no God, everything would be permissible. I also began to read a lot of free-market economists from the Austrian School, including Nobel Prize winner F. A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Murray Rothbard. With books like Hayek’s Road to Serfdom—a must-read for any conservative—these thinkers show why government intervention never works but in fact prolongs and worsens the problems it is intended to fix."
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