Ron Paul's Last Speech to Congress: 30+ Strangely Ordered Questions

The longtime legislator, doctor and three-time presidential candidate is retiring at year's end.

On Wednesday, Ron Paul stood on the floor of the House of Representatives, where he has spent 23 years, to deliver his last speech to the body prior to his impending retirement at year's end.



His sprawling, poorly organized, deeply principled remarks lasted nearly 48 minutes. The video is above. A transcript is here. "He wrote this speech out and read it, not his usual style," Brian Doherty explained at the libertarian magazine Reason. "For my taste, the extemporizing Ron Paul of the campaign trail is a little more appealing, but this was still a good and important talk." It is basically impossible to summarize it, but reading through the successive questions Rep. Paul posed during one particularly engaging stretch is a pretty good way to get a flavor of his full remarks.

Here they are in the order he asked them: 

  • Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
  • Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
  • Why can't Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
  • Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
  • Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York?  Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
  • Why do our political leaders believe it's unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
  • Why can't Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
  • Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
  • Why should there be mandatory sentences--even up to life for crimes without victims--as our drug laws require?
  • Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
  • Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?
  • Why haven't we given up on the drug war since it's an obvious failure and violates the people's rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can't even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
  • Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
  • Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
  • Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
  • Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
  • Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
  • Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
  • Why can't people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
  • Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a "kill list," including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
  • Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it's wrong.
  • Why is it is claimed that if people won't or can't take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
  • Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
  • Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
  • Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren't they the same?
  • Why don't more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
  • Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
  • Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world's great religions.
  • Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and  foreign policy?
  • Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it's the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
  • Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there's such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?

One needn't agree with the premise of every question to conclude that the United States - and especially its most unjustly treated citizens - would be better off if more legislators were grappling with them.

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.


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