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5.0 out of 5 stars The Conscience of a Constitutionalist, April 20, 2008
This review is from: The Revolution: A Manifesto (Hardcover)
THE REVOLUTION: A MANIFESTO
by Dr. Ron Paul

If you've been following Ron Paul's candidacy, you probably already own some of his books. You may have donated money or time to his campaigns, or even had a chance to see him speak in person. But since he's not the "presumptive nominee", you may be wondering, "is it necessary to read more of this man's ideas"? The answer is yes.

The reason for this is simple: Ron Paul is the most visible proponent of authentic constitutionalism in the U.S. political arena at this moment. The book contains chapters on the issues that Paul is well known for, including noninterventionist foreign policy, "sound money" and the defense of civil liberties. The core of these positions is a deep understanding of the U.S. Constitution. As Dr. Paul correctly notes, the debate about the role of government has mutated over the years into a squabble between various groups for government favors. This pits all the groups against each other, but what's even worse about it is that it weakens our own sense of individualism and expands the role of government into our lives. The Presidential race doesn't dominate the content, and this book will certainly be read and recommended by pro-freedom Americans long after the November 2008.

The concepts that Dr. Paul advocates have been called "radical". Certainly they stand in bold contrast to D.C. conventional wisdom of all the administrations during my lifetime. Therefore one would expect a book like 'The Revolution' to be emotionally charged and aggressive or cranky. Fortunately this is not the case. The words in this book are written in a style that is informative but easy to understand. Dr. Paul demonstrates that he is considered an outsider for holding ideas that used to be held as conventional wisdom by freedom-loving Americans. As such, they aren't his own ideas, but those of a great tradition in U.S. political thought. You will read decades-old quotes from economists that seem just as timely today as when they were first spoken. You will also encounter some of Dr. Paul's inspirations, and hear anecdotes about his time in congress and his medical career. Although he isn't afraid to criticize negative tendencies in the political class, the book is refreshing in it's optimism and appeals to human dignity. What has been done with this book is very difficult, especially considering some of the ridiculous accusations leveled at the Paul campaign.

During the course of the presidential race, Dr. Paul has been criticized by some Republicans for "not being conservative enough". In particular, these issues are NAFTA-style trade, the drug war, foreign policy, "pork spending" and his states' rights position on abortion. He addresses these debates in this book, and makes it clear that his positions are more in step with the Founders than any of his critics. But even in these segments, Dr. Paul rarely mentions his opponents by name, and the tone isn't hostile or bitter. I believe that this is because his priority isn't in making people tear each other down, but instead to return our focus back to the values of respect for life, liberty and private property. The reality is that Ron Paul has talked about all these issues for years, and has been principled and consistent in his political career. This book contains the words of a man that we should listen to, partly because he is better informed than most, but especially because he speaks truth to power.

"During my public life, I have earned the nickname Dr. No, a reference to my previous occupation as a physician combined with my willingness to stand against the entire Congress if necessary to vote no on some proposed measure. As a matter of fact, I don't especially care for this nickname, since it may give people the impression that I am a contrarian for its own sake, and for some reason I simply relish saying no. In those no votes, as in all my congressional votes, I have thought of myself as saying yes to the Constitution and to freedom."
-Dr. Ron Paul
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