Ron Paul: Renew devotion to freedom, limited government

On the fourth day of July in 1776, a small group of men boldly told the most powerful nation on Earth they were free. They declared that all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights.

One then has to wonder how Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would react to our current state of affairs.

We have lost sight of the simple premise that guided the actions of our founding fathers. That premise? The government that governs least is the government that governs best.
n our early history, it was understood that a free society embraced both civil liberties and economic liberties. But our government has significantly changed from one of limited power to one of pervasive intervention.

The practice of medicine is now a government-managed system, and very few Americans are happy with it. For decades, the U.S. health-care system was the envy of the world. Not coincidentally, there was far less government involvement in medicine during that time. Good medical care is delivered when the patient and the doctor are in charge.

We must also examine our foreign policy. Our troops are spread to the four corners of the Earth and stretched too thinly, meaning we may well have difficulty defending ourselves if we are ever threatened.

The situation in Iraq reminds us that we are to go to war only after a congressional declaration of war, as required by the Constitution. A coherent foreign policy is based on the understanding that America is best served by not interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.

We should also reclaim our national sovereignty by first securing our borders. By now, many have heard about the proposed "NAFTA Superhighway." This superhighway would connect Mexico, the United States and Canada, cutting a wide swath through the middle of Texas and through Kansas City. One proposed path takes the superhighway right through Iowa. This superhighway can be built only by sacrificing family farms through eminent domain.

Any movement toward a North American Union that erases the borders between the United States, Mexico and Canada would greatly diminish the ability of Americans to influence the laws under which they live.

Our economy is another victim of intense government intervention. The gold dollar of 1900 is now nothing more than a Federal Reserve note backed only by the promises of untrustworthy politicians and central bankers. No longer is there silver or gold available to protect the value of a steadily depreciating currency. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, middle- and working-class Americans have been victimized by a boom-and-bust monetary policy.

Abolishing the Federal Reserve will allow Congress to reassert its constitutional authority over monetary policy and put the American people ahead of special interests.

We can reclaim our heritage of freedom, but it will require commitment, work and a willingness to stand firm for our beliefs, refusing to compromise with those who would continue to push for more taxes, more spending and more government solutions.

Just as devotion to freedom and self-determination brought forth our great nation, a renewed adherence to those principles can move us to new heights.

U.S. Rep. RON PAUL of Texas is seeking the Republican nomination for president.