Senator Rand Paul held a press conference yesterday announcing his intent to seek legal action against the federal government for the seizure and surveillance of millions of Americans' phone data. Sen. Paul was joined by Representatives Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Mick Mulvaney, Louie Gohmert and Mark Sanford, as well as representatives for the ACLU, Freedomworks, EPIC, Campaign for Liberty, and YAL.
Senator Paul opened the press conference today by reminding the American people that it is our historic respect for the rule of law that separates us from the terrorists. The Bill of Rights was adopted as part of our Constitution specifically to ensure that government would not infringe upon our natural rights, one of which is the right to our own property.
If our government is routinely collecting records of our private phone conversations, text messages, and emails, then we can no longer say that we are enjoying the right to our own property. Our government does not have the luxury of suspending any part of our Constitution just because it becomes inconvenient to their methods of intelligence gathering.
If the government continues to disregard the rule of law, we lower ourselves to the level of those we fight.
The first weekend of March opened with big events in Texas. Specifically, the Young Americans for Liberty State Convention! Saturday March 2nd was a day filled with exciting speakers, thought provoking discussion, chapter networking, and of course free food, with members from all over the state gathered at UT-Arlington’s Lone Star Auditorium. We here at New Mexico State University felt it was only natural to visit our neighbor state and join in.
The day prior began with an early morning meeting at our chapter co-founder’s home, ready and eager to make the ten hour drive — forgotten suits and missed alarms notwithstanding. After a brief once-over to designate drivers and fill up tanks, we filed into our vehicles, got on the road and drove… and drove… and drove, luckily managing to stick together for most of the drive.
The earliest highlight of the ride up would have to be the border patrol checkpoint and a meeting with an officer who was none too fond of being recorded. The next several hours blurred into a conversation whose topics shifted from video games and mathematicians to snoring and jokes, all undertaken in the name of our firm belief in personal liberty… and to prevent the driver from clocking out behind the wheel between stops for gas and beef jerky, among other things.
Recently at CPAC, Rand Paul criticized the modern Republican Party and then said that, "the new GOP will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and the personal sphere. if we're going to have a Republican Party that can win, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP."
We've heard his father, former congressman Ron Paul, communicate similar sentiments but in different words. Rand Paul has found a way to communicate with and even lead the Republican Party — instead of being ostracized for his critiques like his father was, Rand Paul has been complimented by the likes of talkshow hosts Sena Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. These same people have previously had mostly negative words for his father.
What would a GOP party look like if they became the pro-liberty party that embraced all of the civil rights embodied in the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution without exceptions? What if the party boldly stood for all of the 10 amendments as boldly as they do for the 2nd Amendment? What If all of the GOP sternly took bold positions on due process, freedom of speech and of association, opposing warrantless wiretaps as well as search and seizures without consent or warrant? What if they left the issues of drugs up to the states in the manner that they do for alcohol?
Ron Paul libertarians are typically labeled “radicals.” I don't like this word because it carries a pejorative (rather than merely descriptive) connotation and thus is often used to glibly dismiss the views of people without bothering to thoughtfully engage them.
Radicals are often dismissed as impractical people who uncritically hew to abstract principles no matter the real-world consequences. But this criticism misses the broad social impact of radicalism.
By virtue of their existence, radicals help frame debates. Social science has shown that if a “radical” position (minarchist Ron Paul libertarianism, let’s say) is perceived to have a politically significant following, then the “mainstream” (or "median") in some respects moves to accommodate their views. By developing a politically significant (if still "radical") following, libertarians won’t be able to compel them to legalize all drugs, but they’ll make a difference in legalize marijuana; they won’t abolish the Military Industrial Complex, but they’ll cause the nation to consider more severe military budget cuts than it otherwise would have. They may not (yet?) be able to abolish the Federal Reserve, but they'll compel Congress to seriously consider a thorough audit of it. These are the pragmatic, real world consequences of radicalism.
One of the more persuasive criticisms of radicals is that they dogmatically adhere to abstract, a priori principles, and that this prevents them from engaging the real world. Yet there are two sides to this coin. For mainstreamers, by being so entangled in often trivial battles of "real world" politics, can lose sight of the moral principles that supposedly inspire his or her activism.
Twenty-five percent of the 2,930 attendants at the convention cast their vote for the junior Senator from Kentucky. Marco Rubio took a close second at 23 percent, far ahead of former Sen. Rick Santorum at 8 percent.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) concludes each year with its ever-popular and influential straw poll. This year, the survey was co-sponsored by the Washington Times and was conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.
Sen. Rand Paul is the son of Ron Paul, the three-time presidential candidate and retired Congressman. The elder Paul had previously won the CPAC poll in 2010 and 2011, before losing to Mitt Romney last year in the midst of their primary contest with Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich.
If you have been keeping an eye on the news lately, you’ll know that Young Americans for Liberty is having one of our most amazing years at CPAC yet!
CPAC 2013, the largest annual conservative conference in the country, began the weekend with a media firestormthat was centered on the grassroots youth support for the libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul.
Senator Paul, who gained international media attention for his historic 13-hour filibuster last week, was greeted by a large crowd of students and new fans during his CPAC speech Thursday. He emphasized the importance of being consistent advocates of freedom, and claimed the GOP has “grown stale and moss-covered” and needs to embrace liberty in both the economic and personal sphere.
Watch Senator Paul’s speech at CPAC!
Prior to Senator Paul’s speech, dozens of students wandered throughout the convention center handing out “Stand with Rand” t-shirt, stickers, and signs to fellow supporters. 1,000 shirts were given away in about four hours, and worn in the support of the Senator during his speech. Many attendees also stood throughout the course of the speech in reference to his filibuster.
This video and unofficial transcript were provided by Sen. Paul's office. Follow YAL's live coverage of this historic filibuster on Facebook and Twitter.
I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in bowling green, Kentucky, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country. I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle. The principle is one that as Americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the bill of rights, to give up on the Fifth Amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted. This is a precious American tradition and something we should not give up on easily. They say Lewis Carroll is fiction. Alice never fell down a rabbit hole and the White Queen’s caustic judgments are not really a threat to your security. Or has America the beautiful become Alice’s wonderland? ‘No, no, said the queen. Sentence first; verdict afterwards. Stuff and nonsense, Alice said widely – loudly. The idea of having the sentence first? ‘Hold your tongue, said the queen, turning purple. I won’t, said Alice. Release the drones, said the Queen, as she shouted at the top of her voice.
Lewis Carroll is fiction, right? When I asked the President, can you kill an American on American soil, it should have been an easy answer. It’s an easy question. It should have been a resounding and unequivocal, “no.” The President’s response? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. We’re supposed to be comforted by that.
The President says, I haven’t killed anyone yet. He goes on to say, and I have no intention of killing Americans. But I might. Is that enough? Are we satisfied by that? Are we so complacent with our rights that we would allow a President to say he might kill Americans? But he will judge the circumstances, he will be the sole arbiter, he will be the sole decider, he will be the executioner in chief if he sees fit. Now, some would say he would never do this. Many people give the President the – you know, they give him consideration, they say he’s a good man. I’m not arguing he’s not. What I’m arguing is that the law is there and set in place for the day when angels don’t rule government. Madison said that the restraint on government was because government will not always be run by angels. This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican. Were this a Republican President, I’d be here saying exactly the same thing. No one person, no one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country.
This isn’t even new to our country. There’s 800 years of English law that we found our tradition upon. We founded it upon the Magna Carta from 1215. We founded it upon Morgan from Glamorgan and 725 A.D. We founded upon the Greeks and Romans who had juries. It is not enough to charge someone to say that they are guilty.
Now, some might come to this floor and they might say, “Well, what if we’re being attacked on 9/11? What if there are planes flying at the Twin Towers?” Obviously, we repel them. We repel any attack on our country.
Guaranteeing the security of Israel sure may earn some quick political points with the GOP, but it also completely abandons the principles of non-interventionism. There is also something terribly perverse about assuring defense for Israel while giving them carte blanche to build settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Surely we have not already forgotten the concept of blowback.
Just as a refresher, unyielding American support of Israel was one of the main grievances that Osama bin Laden used to justify his 9/11 attack. This uncomfortably close relationship continues today, and still ignites hatred among Muslims throughout the world. Rand Paul was elected to change foreign policy in D.C., among other things. He was not elected to maintain America's most serious foreign policy blunder in recent memory.