Check out this awesome 5-minute clip from an interview of Jeffrey Tucker by Brett Veinotte of the School Sucks Project in which Jeffrey Tucker talks about the whole point of Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns.
Brett Veinotte: How did you feel when Ron Paul first appeared in 2007?
Jeffrey Tucker: To me, liberty is not really about having the right person in charge. And the thing—even though I worked for Ron and I love him dearly, and he’s a good friend—I always worried about those campaigns that they would send the wrong message. That the answer would be to elect the right person to enact the right policies from the top. And our only job is to become wildly devoted to this person. The Ron Paul movement was weird because most of the movements are better than their leader, like the Taft—if you go back to the Taft movement—Robert Taft. He was never that great, but the Taftians themselves were wonderful. You know? Sort of the origin of modern libertarianism in America. But Ron was kind of the opposite. I always thought he was much better than his followers.
Brett Veinotte: Why?
Jeffrey Tucker: His followers were looking for a leader on the white horse to lead them to some dreamy land, to give them their rights. And Ron never believed that. I mean, he always ran as an educator, but his followers never saw him as that. Ron always had to deal with this problem. And I think it was very unfortunate in a way. I mean, Ron sought the presidency in order to give himself kind of a stage to talk about ideas, but he could never make that message stick, in a way. I mean, he created this relatively robust but small movement of fanatics who found themselves dedicated to politics as a means of change. And here we are, 2015. Where are we with this movement? I mean, everybody I know who was ever deeply involved in that world is now demoralized.
Brett Veinotte: Yeah, they seem to think the goal was to get…
Jeffrey Tucker: To get him in office. They never understood. It’s like they didn’t really listen to what Ron was saying. I mean, look, I don’t think I’ve ever said publicly.
Brett Veinotte: Thank you.
Jeffrey Tucker: Yeah. These are thoughts I’ve had for a long time. So, I’m just telling you that was my perception all along. And my prediction was that these people—well, I could see it happening—this messiah thing going on, you know, and it broke my heart in a way because it’s not what Ron ever wanted. And I knew—because we all knew—the truth about politics is it leads you to nothing. Peoples’ hearts are broken. Their spirits are broken. Their financial resources are exhausted. Their emotional attachments are betrayed. I mean, that’s what politics does for you. It’s terrible what it does to peoples’ spirits. But, you know what, here’s the thing: We need to realize, like now, it is not about politics. It’s about the change that we can make in the spheres of life that we can control, which is mostly just ourselves.
Brett Veinotte: Jeeze. Amen. We talked about this a hundred times on my show, but I want to get your thoughts on it. We deal with school a lot. School is a place where people—young people—feel very small. They don’t feel very efficacious. They don’t feel very powerful. And when people start to wake up to some of these realities of the world—especially the political world—part of the tragedy is that they suddenly gravitate to the biggest things, the furthest away from themselves, the hardest to control.
Jeffrey Tucker: Yeah. That’s so interesting.
Brett Veinotte: And I did it. I mean, in 2007, when I found Ron Paul, I was like, yeah, this guy probably should be president. And, yeah, we probably should end the Fed, now that I’ve read a little about it. This doesn’t sound like a good thing. Doesn’t sound like it’s helping us out. But all this energy that could’ve been devoted to a personal liberty mission…
Jeffrey Tucker: Yeah. Changing the world, changing your life, fixing up the world as far as you can control it. I think what you said is really profound. And I hope the lesson is not to become hopeless. Right? Not to just say, oh, if we can’t get our guy elected into office there’s no hope whatsoever. My hope is that ultimately Ron Paul’s legacy will be as a teacher and drawing us to certain ideals. That would be awesome. But the question is then, what do you do with those ideals? And, I think the answer is, you find out ways to make your own life freer, and gradually spread that freedom as far and wide as you possibly can from your center of where you live right now. And, you know what? That’s going to be essential because it’s the only answer. I mean, we are not going to reform the system from the top down. It comes through decentralized, unpredictable, exciting, surprising, innovative ways from among the people, you know, starting with our lives. And in that sense I’m wildly optimistic.
Just by realizing our ownership over our own lives and by living our lives as best we can, we can change the world—starting with ourselves. Because, like Jeffrey Tucker said, “it is not about politics. It’s about the change that we can make in the spheres of life that we can control, which is mostly just ourselves.”
Live free with me. 🙂