I'd brought Ron Paul's A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship along with me on the trip I made to Florence, Italy last fall, figuring that it would be easy enough to knock down over two trans-Atlantic flights. Unfortunately, I had not counted on how slow a read this could be, and it ended up taking a the whole trip and then some to plow through.
Now, as regular readers of my main blog know, I'm a Ron Paul fan (albeit not a "rabid follower") and looked forward to reading this. What I hadn't figured in that this is, minus a paragraph here and there of introductory material, simply a collection of speeches that Rep. Paul has made from the floor of the House of Representatives. Yes, even the concept is deadening. Sam Kinnison would have been muted playing that hall. These range over a 30-year period, from a 1976 commentary on the death of Mao Tse Tung, to a 2006 note about dialog with Iran. While the specifics of Ron Paul's "concerns" have shifted in tone and focus over the decades, they still range within personal freedoms at home, and the very likely ill-advised attempts of turning our Republic into a global Empire.
As a "conservative Libertarian", the biggest shocker in here is the extent of our global military commitment. According to Paul, we have over 700 bases in 130 countries around the world. Can you name 130 countries?
While I don't necessarily agree with his stance that none of that military presence is needed, the financial burden of it is horrendous, and we have, essentially, made it possible for Western Europe to become the soft socialist morass it is by funding the bulk of their defense for the past 50 years. I'm certainly with him on the idiocy of domestic programs that use the weight of the government to steal from the productive citizens to coddle (read: buy the votes of) the unproductive, leading ourselves down that same disastrous socialist path.
Of course, given the nightmare scenario of leftist programs sinking the financial markets just in time to put a Communist in the office of the Presidency, many of the "niceties" that Paul addresses here seem to be drowned out by the tsunami of leftist insanity that is coming from Washington these days.
Frankly, in the current crisis, I would find it hard (unless one really wanted to see the consistency of Ron Paul's message) to recommend A Foreign Policy of Freedom, being, long, dense, and (of nature) rambling. Better to go get a copy of Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto, as that's what we need at the moment! Anyway, were you wanting to check this out, it is in print, and available at a discount from Amazon that as good as the cheapest used copies when combined with shipping.
Hopefully getting this out of my "to review" pile will break the logjam there!