Ron Paul
1999 Ron Paul Chapter 24

Closer To Empire

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25 March 1999
Thursday, March 25, 1999

1999 Ron Paul 24:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise again today to consider the effect of our current actions in Kosovo, but this time I do not wish to address the folly of war, for attempts to prevent war measures against that nation are now futile. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to address a long term concern, a problem larger even than war. I am referring to the folly of empire.

1999 Ron Paul 24:2
Our involvement in Kosovo and in Iraq, and in Bosnia — when combined with America’s role in Korea, and in the Middle East and other places around the world, is now lurching our republic ever closer to empire. Empire is something that all Americans ought to oppose.

1999 Ron Paul 24:3
I remind those who believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition that opposition to empire is to be found in the warnings found in the book of Ezekiel, warnings against the empowerment of a king. And it is this same principle which is evident in the story of the Tower of Babel, and in that admonition of Christ, which reminds that those things which are of Caesar are not of God.

1999 Ron Paul 24:4
To pragmatists, agnostics and such, I point to the decline and fall which has historically attended every other empire. The Ottomans and Romans, the Spanish and the British, all who have tried empire have faltered, and at great costs to their own nations.

1999 Ron Paul 24:5
Mr. Speaker, to liberals I would remind that these interventions, however well-intended they may be, all require the use of forces of occupation, and this is the key step toward colonialism, itself always leading to subjugation and to oppression.

1999 Ron Paul 24:6
To conservatives, I want to recall the founding of our Republic, our nation’s breaking from the yoke of empire in order that we might realize the benefits of liberty and self-determination, and that we might obtain the blessings that flow naturally from limitations on centralized power. Empire reflecting the most perfect means yet devised to concentrate power in the fewest hands.

1999 Ron Paul 24:7
Now, Mr. Speaker, our own nation faces a choice and we may well be at the very precipice. Indeed, to move even one step further down the road to empire may mean that there will be no turning back short of the eventual decline and fall. Will we act now to restore our Republic?

1999 Ron Paul 24:8
It is oft repeated that we do not realize the import of our most critical actions at the time that we begin to undertake them. How true, Mr. Speaker, this statement is. Were Mr. Townshend, or the King in England the least contemplative of the true cost which would eventuate as a result of the tea tax or the stamp act?

1999 Ron Paul 24:9
Now we must ask, is our nation on the verge of empire? Some will say no, because, they say, we do not seek to have direct control over the governments of foreign lands, but how close are we to doing just that? And is it so important whether the dictates of empire come from the head of our government or from the Secretary General of some multilateral entity which we direct?

1999 Ron Paul 24:10
Today we attempt, directly or indirectly, to dictate to other sovereign nations who they ought and ought not have as leader, which peace accords they should sign, and what form of governments they must enact. How limited is the distinction between our actions today and those of the emperors of history? How limited indeed. In fact, one might suggest that this is a distinction without a substantive difference.

1999 Ron Paul 24:11
And where now are we willing to commit troops and under what conditions? If we are to stop all violations of human rights, what will we do of Cuba, which recently announced new crackdowns?

1999 Ron Paul 24:12
And what of communist China? Not only do they steal our secrets, but they violate their own citizens. Who should be more upset, for example, about forced abortion? Is it those who proclaim the inviolable right to life or those who argue for so-called reproductive rights? Even these polar opposites recognize the crimes of the Chinese government in forced abortion. Should we then stop this oppression of millions? Are we committed to lob missiles at this massive nation until it ceases this program?

1999 Ron Paul 24:13
Will the principle upon which we are now claiming to act lead us to impose our political solutions upon the nations that now contain Tibet, and Kurdistan, and should the sentiment rear, even Quebec and Chechnya?

1999 Ron Paul 24:14
The most dangerous thing about where we are headed is our lack of historical memory and our disastrous inattention to the effect of the principles upon which we act, for ideas do indeed have consequences, Mr. Speaker, and they pick up a momentum that becomes all their own.

1999 Ron Paul 24:15
I do believe that we are on the brink, Mr. Speaker, but it is not yet too late. Soon I fear the train, as it is said, will have left the station. We stand on the verge of crossing that line that so firmly distinguishes empire from republic. This occurs not so much by an action or series of actions but by the acceptance of an idea, the idea that we have a right, a duty, an obligation, or a national interest to perfect foreign nations even while we remain less than principled ourselves.

1999 Ron Paul 24:16
When will we, as a people and as an institution, say “we choose to keep our republic, your designs for empire interest us not in the least.” I can only hope it will be soon, for it is my sincerest fear that failing to do so much longer will put us beyond this great divide.

1999 Ron Paul 24:2 a long term concern probably should be hyphenated: a long-term concern.

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