Government Main Politics Principles

I voted for Mitt Romney in 2008, but in 2012 I’m voting for Ron Paul

I didn’t just vote for Mitt Romney in 2008, I donated to his campaign, asked others to donate, and volunteered at phone banks, fundraising events, the national call day in Boston, and at the Nevada caucuses. I’ve met him several times. I drank the Romney root beer (someone actually made some) and I have a Mitt Romney bobblehead. I even dressed up as Mitt Romney for Halloween 2007.

Mitt strikes me as exceptionally bright and a truly good man. We could certainly do worse than to have Mitt Romney as our president. And despite what we sometimes hear, I think I’d rather enjoy getting (root) beers with Mitt Romney. I found him to be plenty personable and warm.

However, I’d like to explain how I came to support Dr. Ron Paul. It’s been a really satisfying journey, and I’m far more enthusiastic about my candidate now.

In 2008

In retrospect, I didn’t have strong reasons for supporting Mitt Romney. I usually said something like, “Well, he’s a very successful businessman and has an incredible resume of turning around failed companies.” To be fair, his resume is far better than most candidates’. But I couldn’t say much more than that.

My response to many political issues was “it depends on the situation.” That’s what Mitt Romney often says, and that’s what most politicians say (I’ll consult the generals on the ground, I’ll gather together the experts, I’ll pull in my czars, etc.)

It doesn’t have to be this way. I came to learn that we can be guided by consistent political principles. The common thread in these principles is liberty.

From 2008 to 2012

Over the last 4 years, I studied a lot.

  • I read Ron Paul’s Revolution and End the Fed.
  • I re-read the Constitution for the first time in years.
  • I read George Washington’s farewell address.
  • I read Murray Rothbard, Peter Schiff, Ayn Rand, and Reason Magazine.
  • I listened to the CATO Daily Podcast.
  • I watched YouTube videos from Judge Napolitano, John Stossel, Tom Woods, and LearnLiberty.

Scales seemed to fall from my eyes. The principles I learned were coherent and satisfying. A bunch of topics “clicked” for me: macroeconomics, monetary policy, business cycles, political influence and lobbying, civil liberties, war, and foreign policy. Not that I know a lot, but these all make much more sense to me now.

I came to discover that liberty is a unifying principle. We can agree to live in a free society without having to agree on anything else. A free society is one that protects life, liberty, and property. The purpose of liberty is to allow us to develop “virtue and excellence”. Heaven to me is to live with family and friends in a state of complete autonomy as virtuous individuals, living correct principles because we want to.

A Few Observations

The two parties are isomorphic

Our two parties are philosophically isomorphic, meaning having the same “shape”. (It’s a large shape!) Both parties say, “I believe in letting you keep some of your liberty, but I can’t let you have liberty in areas that go against my morals.” A Democrat might say this about policies meant to stop poverty. A Republican might say this about policies meant to stop drug use. The problem isn’t in the intentions — both sides mean well — but in the use of coercion to attempt to bring about the desired results. You may have noticed that our “war on poverty” hasn’t eradicated poverty and our “war on drugs” hasn’t eradicated drug use (far from it.) We spend so much energy debating these differences, and the policies don’t even work! The better path is for individuals to learn and live correct principles, learning for themselves to take care of the poor and to avoid drugs for intrinsic reasons.

And that’s just the philosophy. In practice, the two parties aren’t just isomorphic, they’re nearly identical. Both parties break their own principles and are becoming increasingly like each other. For example, the Republican party is said to be the party of free markets and no social programs (anti-Solyndra and anti-Obamacare), but Bush signed the TARP bailout and the Medicare prescription drug benefit. The Democratic party is said to be the anti-war, pro-civil liberties party (anti-Iraq war and anti-Guantanamo), but Obama hasn’t closed Guantanamo, initiated a new war in Libya, and signed the NDAA bill that allows indefinite detention of Americans with no trial. Notice that neither party follows its own principles and both parties are very similar. (Can you name something you dislike about Bush or Obama that the other didn’t do?) Both are increasingly statist (in favor of a growing state).

Liberty is a set of the best principles from both parties (what they say not what they do), and would mean the reversal of the large, near-identical parties we now have. Ron Paul has consistently taught this liberty message for 30 years.

Video: The two parties are “two wings of the same bird of prey”.
Video: “It appears people now recognize that Obama is a 3rd term for Bush”
Video: Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum are all the same

The problem with a powerful, messianic presidency

Both parties have a similar attitude toward the presidency, seeming to say, “If I can just get my candidate into the presidency, all our problems will be solved.” The Democrats said “Obama will bring Change and Hope.” Republicans say “Mitt will bring a Bain-style Turnaround.” The president is ascribed an almost messiah-like quality.

If we think our president will solve our problems, we’ll give him any amount of power. Later, when the presidency changes hands, the power accumulates, and the presidency becomes more and more powerful over time. The Founders didn’t intend for the presidency to be powerful. It’s not correct to think of the president as the CEO of the country; he’s not supposed to “run” the country. We simply need a government that will protect principles of liberty, and then we can live our lives and solve our problems.

Ron Paul says “I’m not running for President because of the things I want to do, I’m running because of the things I don’t want to do. I don’t want to run your life, I don’t want to run the economy, and I don’t want to run the world.” Source

Instead of an attitude of “our president will save us,” we should change our own attitudes toward the proper role of government. We should be leery of the mindset that fixing our country is about finding the right candidate, not about making changes in ourselves. The concept of liberty requires you to make some changes in your own mindset: I won’t fear terror. I won’t expect something for nothing. I don’t need government to enforce everything I believe. I’ll work. I’ll be self-sufficient. I’ll take care of my family and the poor around me. The change needs to happen in us.

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney Are Not the Same

The Republican party of today has drifted from traditional conservatism — free markets, small government, and the Constitution. I wouldn’t have believed this in 2008, but unfortunately Mitt Romney is more typical of today’s drifted Republican party, while Ron Paul is more typical of traditional conservatism. In fact, this is where Ron Paul shines; he has consistently advocated the principles of traditional conservatism. Here are a few issues on which Mitt Romney sides with today’s Republican party and on which Ron Paul sides with traditional conservatism and liberty:

Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve

It’s hard to find an economist who thinks price-fixing is a good idea, and conservatives are against central economic planning. However, our interest rate (the price of money over time) is centrally planned and fixed by our central bank, the Federal Reserve (also called “the Fed”). This means that the price of money, which is half of every financial transaction, is centrally planned. If you believe in free markets, you should take issue with this!

The temptation is strong for government to lower interest rates too far, print too much money, and use it to pay for large programs. No matter what political side you’re on, the devaluing of our currency via the Fed is probably being used to pay for programs you disagree with (domestic social programs or war or foreign aid, etc.) Without the Fed, the U.S. government could only spend what it could borrow or tax, like a state or city government, so we’d have to have some serious conversations about what we really want from government. With the Fed, we’ve been able to postpone that conversation, and it comes at the expense of savers (disproportionately elderly) and the low- and middle-income.

Ron Paul is the only candidate even talking about The Fed. Ron Paul’s book End the Fed was one of the most eye-opening books I’ve read in the last few years.

I know you’ll be tempted to think, “Mitt’s a smart guy; if he’s not worrying about this, it must not be a problem.” Fight that temptation.

Video: Tom Woods on inflation, deflation, and money
Documentary: Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve
Lecture: U.S. Monetary Policy in 2012

Capitalism / Bailouts

Republicans rightly defend capitalism. However, without a correct understanding of capitalism, there’s a growing tension between populist movements like Occupy Wall Street, some of whom mistakenly think capitalism is to blame, and Republicans, some of whom think their opposition to OWS is the defense of pure capitalism.

The liberty message makes a distinction between capitalism (free markets) and corporatism (certain businesses being favored by government.) Corporatism is also called crony capitalism.

Much of what Occupy Wall Street considers wrong about capitalism is actually instances of corporatism — large banks or defense contractors or auto manufacturers receiving special contracts or bailouts or favors from government. In pure capitalism, you can’t get rich without selling something that someone wants. In corporatism, you can get rich by receiving a bailout or contract from government.

Ron Paul is the only candidate I see making the distinction between capitalism and corporatism. Mitt Romney, like most politicians, says he is in favor of capitalism, but has occasionally disregarded his own principles and favored corporatism including bailouts for large companies.

Video: Top 3 Common Myths about Capitalism
Video: Makers vs. Takers at Occupy Wall Street

The Sixth Amendment

On Dec 31, 2011, President Obama signed a bill allowing the indefinite detention of American citizens. This contradicted the 6th Amendment, “the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” The ACLU said, “We are extremely disappointed that President Obama signed this bill….” The president said he had “reservations” but signed it anyway. This seems to contradict who Democrats thought their president would be.

Mitt Romney said he would have signed the same bill. Romney said “Obama won’t abuse it, I won’t abuse it, and we simply need to elect presidents that won’t abuse it.” If you follow that logic, then we could safely grant ALL power to the presidency and then simply elect presidents who won’t abuse it. In my mind, that’s not how the 6th Amendment works.

Ron Paul, who introduced a bill to repeal the above bill, falls on the side of Thomas Jefferson, who said, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

Foreign Policy / Foreign Aid / War

Ron Paul’s foreign policy is to trade with all, maintain diplomatic relations with all, and give no foreign aid to any. Sometimes he’s called an “isolationist”. Mitt Romney’s foreign policy, on the other hand, is like all the other candidates’, designating some countries as special friends and others as enemies.

The foreign policy George Washington outlines in his farewell address more fully agrees with Ron Paul.

“The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.

“So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

Again, fight the temptation to say within yourself, “Things have changed; the world is a different place.” Ask yourself, if these are true principles, should we not live by principles?

Ron Paul’s policy is that wars should be declared by Congress, started, fought, and ended, and that we should go to war when there is imminent danger, not as a preventative measure. Mitt has shown a propensity to side with most politicians (from both parties) in favor of pre-emptive wars and nation building. Ron Paul makes the distinction between defense spending and military spending, the implication being that much of our current military spending doesn’t contribute to our defense and may actually endanger us.

Here, the troops are on the side of Ron Paul: active-duty military donate more to Ron Paul’s campaign than to all other Republican campaigns combined.

Text: George Washington’s farewell address
Video: Tom Woods on changing his mind on Ron Paul’s foreign policy
Video: You Like Ron Paul, Except on Foreign Policy
Video: Tribute to our Troops
Video: CIA Chief Endorses Ron Paul
Video: 10 years of foreign policy predictions by Ron Paul
Video: Ron Paul’s “What If” speech
Video: The Golden Rule applied to foreign policy
Opinion: Which GOP candidate would the Founders support?

FAQ / Objections

But Ron Paul is too far left / too far right
The modern left and modern right offer a false dichotomy; they’re actually very similar. Ron Paul offers something actually different.
But I’m a moderate
The liberty message includes the best principles of both the left and the right. (Too often, moderatism or bipartisanship is simply agreeing to give up your principles mutually and leads to the large, homogeneous parties I mentioned above.)
But I’m a liberal
The liberty message has several positions that should appeal to liberals: pro-peace, anti-war, pro-civil liberties, anti-drug war, anti-bailout, anti-cronyism. In fact, in all of these listed issues, Ron Paul is a stronger candidate than even President Obama, who has gone against these principles he said he supported.
But I’m part of the 99% / Occupy Wall Street
See my section above about capitalism and corporatism.
But I’m apathetic
Perhaps you’re sick of politics because it seems like nothing ever changes. See my section above about the two parties being the same. The liberty message is real change.
But Ron Paul is unelectable
Did you know that only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are on all states’ ballots? Gingrich and Santorum are not. In head-to-head polling against Obama, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are in a statistical tie. Gingrich and Santorum trail by 10-12 points.
But Mitt Romney is articulate and looks presidential
I don’t dispute this. Ron Paul has even said he wishes he were better able to deliver his message. However, if Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are in a statistical tie against Obama, and Mitt’s outward appearance is so much better than Ron Paul’s, what does that say about the message?
But Ron Paul is too radical
Compared to whom? Ron Paul is indeed very different from other GOP candidates, but he’s very similar to the Founding Fathers. The Founding Father might have considered Romney, Gingritch, and Santorum radically different from how they envisioned government.
But Ron Paul is an isolationist
Are you sure? Which candidate is in favor of trade with all nations? Which candidate, on the other hand, is in favor of “preventative” wars and economic sanctions?
But Ron Paul will never get Congressional support for his policies
Ron Paul’s message is about changing opinions about the role of government. For example, he wants to eliminate the income tax. I’ve never heard him say that he wants to eliminate it immediately and plunge us into more debt. He wants the people to have different expectations about government so they no longer want the programs that require an income tax.
But Ron Paul wants to eliminate the Department of Education, Department of Commerce, etc.
The liberty message requires a new mindset that separates wanting some objective from requiring that a federal agency provide it. Eliminating the above departments doesn’t mean actual education or actual commerce would disappear. (There’s no Department of Happiness, no Department of Optimism, no Department of Entrepreneurship, etc.. We don’t need a department for every worthwhile cause.)
But life with a President Ron Paul would be a wild, godless, anarchy
The proper role of government is to protect life, liberty, and property. Ron Paul says the purpose of liberty is to allow us to pursue “virtue and excellence”. Law doesn’t produce virtue; that must come from inside of us, by our learning and living correct principles. We won’t legislate our way to an ideal world; we’ll get there by learning and teaching correct principles.
But I’m in favor of Buddy Roemer / Larry Lessig / Campaign Finance Reform
It’s noble to seek to remove the influence of money in politics, but campaign finance reform is like plugging holes in a bucket; if money wants to talk, it will find a way to talk. This isn’t the root of the problem. The larger government gets, the more reason there is to lobby for favors. The smaller government gets, the less reason there is to lobby for favors. In my mind, all Buddy Roemer supporters could live in their ideal world by joining the liberty movement and voting for Ron Paul. Ron Paul is already running a campaign free of large corporate donations because the liberty message doesn’t accept corporatism. (Buddy’s other large issue, banking reform, is also solved by restoring capitalism, not corporatism, to the banking sector.)

A Word to my Mormon Friends

I happen to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a “Mormon”), the same faith to which Mitt Romney belongs.

To me, the teachings of the Church allow for the liberty positions I’ve outlined above.

Several scriptures and quotations from Church leaders speak to the importance of agency — the freedom to choose. These seem to imply that free exercise of conscience is a virtue worth granting to everyone, even if they do things with which we disagree.

“Every man may act according to the moral agency which I have given unto him” (D&C 101:78)

“We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.” (D&C 134:2

“A man may act as his conscience dictates so long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others.” (David O. McKay)

We are also taught, “Principles compatible with the gospel are found in the platforms of all major political parties.” Despite hearing this repeatedly, in the past I was often too quick to think of my party as having all the truths and the other party as having none of the truths. The cable news shows frame the parties this way, in absolute terms. However, if it’s true that “principles compatible with the gospel are found in…all major political parties”, which of the other party’s principles do you accept? Once I started looking through a lens of liberty, I was able to easily see true principles in both parties (in what they say, not in what they do.)

Video: 1. Our problems come from the breakdown of the family and our own values, 2. Government is a reflection of the people, 3. The purpose of liberty is to allow the pursuit of “virtue and excellence”.
Video: Christ is a God of peace
Video: Is libertarianism compatible with Mormonism?
Audio: Is libertarianism compatible with Mormonism?

Update 05/26/2014: I removed a portion of the section to “my Mormon friends” to leave behind the stronger portion.

173 replies on “I voted for Mitt Romney in 2008, but in 2012 I’m voting for Ron Paul”

I’m a little late to the conversation, but a friend of mine referenced this post the other day so I wanted to stop by and read it. I’m not super knowledgeable when it comes to politics, but I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said. Although I would have like to, I didn’t get a chance to vote for Ron Paul in the primary election because I joined the Libertarian party a year ago. (I signed up at a booth at a street fair and the old men running the booth were beyond excited to have me switch over.) Funny enough, I decided to switch parties, not after studying politics, but after studying the Captain Moroni chapters in Alma in the Book of Mormon. People told me that it’s like throwing away my vote, but I agree with you, I feel like my vote counts more for a growing movement than it would voting as a Republican in California anyway. And besides, it just doesn’t make sense to not vote for what you believe in, just because you might not, or probably won’t win. Thanks for the great read, I hope you’re doing well!
Hey Brittany great to hear from you. Interesting to hear that you’ve taken a similar journey. For me, politics seems much more understandable and satisfying and no longer about the false dichotomy of blue vs red. I agree with your thoughts on “throwing away your vote” and instead voting your conscience. Hope you’re doing well too!
I just heard on the “Morning Joe” show, I think Monday this week, Ron Paul quite clearly explained these points, that he as president would not phase out social security and medicare(medicaid) abruptly. It may take a generation or so. It is his point I believe, that these cannot be sustained the way the economy is and by the way they are financed, on an indefinite basis, .
I have heard Ron Paul explain this numerous times.
Excellent read; not quite convincing enough to return to backing Ron Paul however….his positions on Medicare and Social Security worry me. There are too many “Baby Boomers” who have invested in these programs over their entire working lives and now that they are old enough to collect what they have earned they are treated as if these programs are “Entitlements” NOT Insurance. I do believe that SSD and Medicaid are a sham and contains millions of people who are NOT disabled and are parasites on the system. The illegals are draining social services yet being courted by both parties. Perhaps if Ron Paul had run as an INDEPENDENT I would support him but right now millions of folks like me HAVE NO CANDIDATE WE CAN TRUST !!!!
Hi John. I know how you feel. I felt the same way about the elderly being dependent and too far into the government programs, just to take it away from them. I then actually read Ron Paul’s position on this. He actually agrees with you and me. He wants to keep the older people on a similar system that they have uses to, but setting up a plan for younger people to opt out, then gradually phase out the programs. This practical solution made tons of sense to me.
Hey I went down that same exact path to discover the liberty movement. Apart from supporting Romney, I was on my mission in 08, and my dad didn’t like him anyways. Tom woods=awsome, same with Schiff and those others. the Judge is my Homeboy. you have read Bastiat right?
Richard, thanks for the great article and as a fellow LDS Christian I add my sentiments to yours. Romney has great leadership abilities and is a smart man and proabaly has good intentions, but for people like you and I who have studied a lot, he cleary lacks undrstanding of constituitonal principles and therefore he facilitates more evil than I can allow for.

If I may add to your argument, I wrote a short page that addresses ideas of who’s electable and “we have to win this battle” etc. You can go to and read it. It’s a short page, but in my bumble opinion is worth the read. Hopefully others of faith who need a little help deciding will read it.

Don’t disagree with your comments about RP but let’s get real. The man has as much chance of being elected president as snowball won’t melt in hell. I like what he says but this is a country run by politicians and big money and big business and big lobbies. Remember ole Ross Perot … he ran independent and who did we get for 8 years … Bill ” didn’t sleep with that woman” Clinton. Yeah, I like Ross, too! You want 4 more years of Obama? Put your money behind Paul and that is what you will get. I personally don’t want to throw my vote down the toilet and allow this country to go down the tubes with Obama at the helm! I personally prefer Santorium because I think he has the best chance of defeating Obama but I would support Romney if nominated. Like Paul but give your money to a candidate that can beat Obama … that is the goal!!!!
Hey Jimmy. Your premise assumes that “anybody but Obama” is actually better than Obama. My contention is that 3 of the 4 Republican presidential candidates aren’t much different from Obama. Sure, they’ll spend in different areas or fight different wars, but things won’t change all that much. So for me there’s little risk in voting my conscience. If Ron Paul loses the Primary, I won’t have a real choice in the General election anyway.

If you don’t disagree with the principles, I say vote your conscience and tell people to do the same. Maybe we lose this election but momentum will grow.

(If you need reasons to take heart about RP’s actual electability, remember that delegates not votes determine the winner in caucus states, and the RP campaign says it may have won in Maine, Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, and Nevada. See . Also, Santorum’s recent surge means Mitt is no longer the presumed winner. I think the race is as winnable for RP as ever.)

If Ron is elected to go against Obama, all the people who were going to vote for Mitt, Rick, etc. , because they want anyone but Obama, will now vote for Ron. But Ron is very strong with Independents, and can get many Democrats who are upset at Obama for the bailouts and the wars. I think he has the best shot against Obama than any other.
If anyone thinks Ron Paul can garner the Repulican nomination, they’re as gullible as all the other citizens of this country who think Obama is God’s gift to America. If all the voters in this country were well informed, knew the facts, and voted the way a hot-blooded American would vote … yeah then Ron Paul would be the man. But that is a dream world. Lets do a reality check … it isn’t that way. The very young don’t care and most won’t even go vote. The Democrats have got stick to gether and it is the blind leading the blind. This country cannot afford another 4 years of Obama and you think he is an option then your not as convicted about your conscience as you state. Obama is not who God would want in office. He has done more to destroy Christanity in this country in three years that Satan has been able to achieve in 235 years. You are an upstanding Christian man? Then vote for a man who will do his best to lead this country back to a place where it was when Reagan left office. It certainly isn’t Obama and Ron Paul doesn’t appear to be a strong advocate of morality or Christian in ths country. The debate last night brought out that Obama doesn’t stand behind anything Christian but he is there for the muslims. I for one believe Obama is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. By his actions, he has demonstrated a desire to persecute religious freedom, degrade this country’s image, wreak havoc on our economy and to weaken us militarily. I wonder why?
Jimmy, I sense your passion, but the facts don’t support your claims. The youth vote was a big part of Obama’s win in 2008, and among Republican candidates in 2012, youth overwhelmingly favor Ron Paul. Because he can attract youth, moderates, independents, and even some Democrats, Ron Paul does very well in head-to-head polling against Obama.

“…young people provided not only their votes but also many enthusiastic campaign volunteers. Some may have helped persuade parents and older relatives to consider Obama’s candidacy. And far more young people than older voters reported attending a campaign event while nearly one-in-ten donated money to a presidential candidate.”

“Why Ron Paul, graybeard of GOP race, lights up the youth vote”

“Ron Paul dominates youth vote during Iowa caucus”

“The Republican candidate who does best in Iowa matchups against Barack Obama is Ron Paul…. A constellation of reasons draws some Iowa Democrats, Republicans and independents to Paul, not one unifying issue.”

The point of religious liberty is that the peaceful Christian, peaceful Muslim, and peaceful Jew can each exercise their religious conscience as freely as each other. While I sense Ron Paul is a devout Christian, the president’s faith doesn’t matter if he’s willing to protect religious liberty.

I am very happy right now. You said that so beautifully. I have had these same feelings but lacked the ability and the know-how to put it together in such a powerful way. My husband and I have often felt like we were alone in our views, sometimes even ‘especially’ as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, but you have reminded us that we are not. Thank you for your cheerful, non-defensive confidence in what you believe. Your enthusiasm is inspiring.
Hi Richard. I was referred to this page by a common friend here in AZ, Dave Johnson. This was well written. It’s so funny. I’ve come across so many people with such a similar story as yours and mine. Voting for Mitt or McCain in 2008, just going along with the established Republican machine, thinking they really understood politics. Then, learning little by little about what that crazy old man, Ron Paul, was rambling on about during the debates.

Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, Tom Woods, the Mises institute, Peter Schiff, The Judge, John Stossel, and several others, opened my eyes to a more complete and simple understanding of economics and Liberty. 1 year after the 2008 election, I was kicking myself saying, “Ahhh! Ron Paul was right!”

Again great article. Hope to meet you in the future, fellow freedom fighter!

PS – I’m still working on Dave to be full board on our side. 🙂

Hey Randy, thanks for your comment. I’m not familiar with Orrin Woodward or Chris Brady — I’ll check them out. I should be in AZ before long, so maybe we can together with Dave to talk politics over tacos.

Thank you for this wonderful article. I feel like my “conversion” story to Ron Paul was similar to yours. As soon as I started learning about Ron Paul five years ago, I couldn’t get enough (and still can’t!).

I just forwarded your email to a number of my LDS family members because I feel like you do a great job of breaking down why supporting a principled candidate who supports the Constitution is so much more important than supporting a “popular” candidate.



I feel that it may take some time for Rand to focus as tightly to the principles of liberty that his father Ron Paul now has. It is good Rand stood up to the TSA in Nashville a very good sign among others he has displayed through speech and action.

Do we have four more years to put Rand in office or someone else truly up to the task of liberty restoration??

Having a mormon background myself I was familiar with the “white horse prophecy”Joseph Smith jr,it is said, gave in May 1843 dealing with the saving of the constitution by the LDS people or elders when it(the constitution) would hang by a thread. Even though Mitt Romney is LDS it appears to me Ron Paul has much greater aptitude to be the instrument of this accomplishment. I certainly am inspired in that direction watching and listening to Paul vs Romney.

Well stated Richard–Thanks for bringing all this together. Your message agrees with Glen Beck, who preaches that it is the progressives in both parties that we should fear, rather than the “left” or “right”. You strengthen my realization that I am a Libertarian. No matter how right he is, however, I fear that Ron Paul is unelectable. But his son Rand (Senator from Kentucky–with seemingly similar views) is increasingly campaigning with him. Is Ron grooming Rand? Will the Paul machine embrace Rand? Is Rand our future? Again, thanks for your effort and intellect in putting this all together.
Hi Ken, thanks for your comment. I do find Rand to very promising and would love to see him take up the torch for the principles Ron Paul has advocated. (Here’s to Karl coming back to Boulder soon.)

Thanks for your article. Much appreciated. My question is: Do you think that americans (not to mention people throughout the world) are ready to accept libertarian (i.e. liberty) principles? Hoping not to unfairly judge the intellect of others, but it just seems like people aren’t either educated or maybe thoughtful enough en mass to accept these principles because they run counter to conventional wisdom. I think that on an individual level the message of liberty rings true, but it has been twisted so deeply by the government at large, special interests, and various communication outlets. So many people believe that what we currently have is a maximum of liberty and it is only after making the time and effort to become educated that there is a hope of being “enlightened”. Most just aren’t willing to make that effort.

My worry is that someone like Ron Paul would be bludgeoned by a democrat political machine with very good organization and almost unlimited resources. Even though Romney is not as committed to the some libertarian principles as Ron Paul, he does have the organizational and fund-raising ability that Dr. Paul lacks. There are some immediate practicalities that are difficult to ignore. He has one 2nd place finish, two 3rd place finishes, and two 4th places. I do think he is electable, but he has to get the nomination and it doesn’t seem likely.

As you said in your post: We could certainly do worse than to have Mitt Romney as our president. He has an incredible track record of performance in the private and public sector. What do you think about a Romney/Paul ticket this fall?

Justin, I think my switch over time is good evidence that it takes time to study the issues and come to principle-based conclusions. It doesn’t happen en masse, but I think it’s happening, and once it’s happened it’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

I’d vote for a Romney/Paul ticket if it were to happen, but I just don’t know if those two would come together. I assume that would mean Romney coming toward Paul on some issues, since I don’t suspect Paul would bend.

Ron Paul blows liberty and freedom out of proportion. He’s so devoted to his principles that it jeopardizes all compromise. He’s therefore unelectable.

Mitt Romney is the Michael Jordan of superintending charisma. If he walked into a room that had a large group of people and the people there didn’t know anything about his life, much less his politics, everyone in the room would still say, “He’s somebody. He’s definitely somebody.”

Your people’s best bet is to stick with Mitt, because even if he turns out to be someone different than what you thought he was, it wouldn’t make his background any less presumptive.

Brian, I certainly thought (and still think) of Mitt Romney as someone with charisma and who is “somebody”. But I no longer think they’re important to the presidency. I prefer a platform that’s based on principles and a candidate who has consistently taught and lived those principles. That’s Ron Paul.
Now if only my Mormon friends (and everyone else!) supporting Romney would read this and take it into consideration…..
Another thing for LDS people to consider (and I am one), is that liberty to choose is more important than safety as we learn from the “war in heaven”. Temporal “life” is less important that the right to choose and freedom. To me, this picking of which is more important was a huge red flag for me about where Mitt stood with my beliefs one “acting for myself, rather than being acted upon”

In a debate for the 2008 election, Mitt stated …

“If it means we have to go into a mosque to wiretap or a church, then that’s exactly where we are gonna go, because we are going to do whatever it takes to protect the American people. And I hear from time to time people say, ‘Hey, wait a sec, we have civil liberties to worry about”, but don’t forget… the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive.”

That’s the Romney quote I was referring to, In my long post above (I wouldn’t blame you for not reading it..;)

So I’m LDS, but very new. I’m 28, and investigated the church for about a year before getting baptized last Nov. (RIchard baptized me actually.)

I’m curious as a new member where that temporal priority tenet might be found. No worries if you can’t remember. I’m still working through the literature, so I’m curious.

Honestly I’m a little hesitant (and this is probably coming from my secular upbringing) to bring religious texts into a dialogue like this. Foriegn policy effects non-mormon americans…perhaps they have different priorities? Also, as I slowly absorb this LDS stuff, it’s very meaningful, but only in a very visceral, personal sense, but that could just be me or whatever LDS developmental stage I’m in. Applying religious principles to government policy idea seems, I dunno, something you’d want to do carefully if at all.


Earth Life is “Act 2” of a “3 act play” (see –

Protecting us from everyone that may want to wrong or harm us, means forcing all to act a certain way, and taking away our agency. That is not Gods plan or the one we fought for (see below)

We fought to be allowed to do Gods Plan (agency/freedom) rather than the other plan of force – lack of agency. It is true that agency provides opportunity for bad things to happen, but that needs to be in order to have agency.

If we give up our agency for “safety” we loose both. Some lost them in “Act 1” (pre-earth), some will lose it in “Act 2” (earth), etc.

Mitt’s plan did not sound much like Gods plan of agency .. it sounded like the alternate plan of force and protection.


For more details, try these:

Use Google with the following search criteria “ agency force” and you will fine plenty.

Here are a few to note.

Gospel Principles – Chapter 4 – Freedom to chose –

The Forces That Will Save Us – Ensign, January 2007
By President James E. Faust – Second Counselor in the First Presidency,4945,2043-1-3945-1,00.html

Preparing for Exaltation: Teacher’s Manual – Lesson 2: Agency: The Power to Choose –

“[Satan] wanted to take away our agency and force us to do right”


Welcome aboard … Being LDS is a long hard ride … full of the greatest blessing possible as we follow the Savior.

His life was not easy, safe or free from those that wanted to kill Him. YET, He choose to follow the Fathers plan too (not my will but thine be done) and allowed wicked evil conspiring people to participate in this death – of course they had no power to take the Saviors life, but they played there part thinking they did. They only participated in “temporal” death, but in reality played a part in the Savior providing “eternal life”.

Preparing our lives for eternity is FAR more important that saving our lives during earth life. How many of the Apostles in the New Testament gave up their lives for to follow the Savior and Father’s plan? How many of the “reformers” gave up their lives to further the work of the Lord and follow the plan. How many of our pioneer for-fathers gave up their lives for the same thing.

This earth life is NOT the most important … Mitt as a former Bishop and Stake President SHOULD know these things!

If he does not, he does not understand the most important things. If he does understand this, but is saying something different to the people, he is not being truthful and teaching things he aught not teach or believe.

That is my $0.02

LDS people are not the only ones that understand agency/freedom is more important than safety/life. Our founding fathers thought the same and THAT is why they were willing to give their lives for freedom. Many others, throughout all ages, are the same.

Thank you Richard! I am so thrilled to read the comments I wished I had the ability to utter with such profound and honest simplicity and truth. Indeed the truth sets us free. I am still high with gratitude that someone has expressed my exact feelings and thoughts, but lacked the courage to put into words. Without a doubt this is the spirit that our noble Fathers had when putting pen to paper to bring forth one of the most profound God inspired documents in history, which when understood correctly can only be interpreted the same way—-we are all endowed with God given rights to pursue a course that brings us peace and happiness. As Mormons, our Prophet Joseph Smith divinely gave us The 13 Articles of faith. Number 11 states: We claim the privilege of worshiping almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege. Let them worship how, where or what they may. With this and the # 12 article that follows it, it sounds pretty much like Ron Pauls never ending friendly persuasions to get back to the Constitution and The Golden Rule, with the understanding of what “The Law” is, which by the way represents true “Liberty”.
Excellent article! Thank you so much for pulling this all together. I hope lots of Latter-day Saints will read your article and think this through instead of just voting for Mitt because he’s “one of us.”
There are still brains that have refused to be brainwashed by the establishment. So young and firm in his convictions, Richard is a promise for America.
It is only the frail minds, those minds afraid to change for fear to work hard and be a contributing citizen that keeps our nation down. On the other hand, only a mind that has been trained in the right direction, under God’s wisdom, can think and act freely. God created all of us free -to choose GOOD and avoid evil, that’s authentic freedom.
Awesome piece… I’m posting a link on FB next. Thanks for your thoughtful article. This “Intellectual revolution”, as Dr. Paul called it this week in Colorado, is the largest tent for all thinking people, and is destined to grow, I can’t wait for the tipping point to be reached! That will happen as liberals, conservatives, Greens, anti-war, pro-liberty people of all walks realize there is much more that unites us than divides us. Welcome to tent of Freedom!
Probably the most lucid read I’ve come articulating the message of Liberty. Great job! …and I’ll be spreading far and wide!
Richard – thankyou for such a clear and concise article, it was a pleasure indeed to read your words, all your time and effort is very much appreciated. You have addressed many aspects and issues and explained them all in very simple terms that all readership should be able to comprehend and understand. Majority of politicians and GOP candidates (excluding Ron Paul) could not address your topics either due to lack of knowledge or a wish to deny the truth. I strongly believe that your article should get viral publicity as it will surely ‘educate’ those that are politically complacent – it would be great if you could precis this into a video for YouTube then it would really take off in support of Ron Paul for President – thanks again for all your time, effort and good work.
Richard, nice article in addition to your conversion to Ron Paul. You are one of many (whom were self described Neo-Conservatives,, whom became ( as we state on Daily Paul, The moment I became “Enlightened” converts to the “Truth”.
Great article Richard as well as commentaries, however, is there any room for a Paul supporter who is venturing over from what is considered the extreme Left…The Green Party. I’ve been totally opposed to the Foreign Policy of the U.S. since Viet Nam. I live as a back to the land homesteader for some 40+ years and I find myself totally involved in Minnesota Ron Paul politics. I get it and don’t find too many inconsistencies with my Transition lifestyle. We are a fairly large group that I suspect and could add to a expanded dialogue due to our Grassroots approach and a stewardship of our planet. And yes, the Patriot Act scares me to the edges of sanity. Our people…a community of four families live in a remote, heavily wooded/natural area in Northern Minnesota….We are Bio-Regionalists in many ways I guess and find ourselves very supportive of Dr. Paul for many reasons. Well I could ramble on, but is there a point to our contribution to such a well written analysis that is what I/We would consider mainstream life’s lifestyles and experiences. We are into soft technology, organic and permaculture approach to food, heat with firewood, live off the land and believe passionately in Freedom…probably pre-dating Paul’s conversions. Before filling out more ideas and comparisons and similarities, I’ll wait and see how these thought could be received…Anyhow, I found clarity in the article and even more solidarity with Libertarian priciples…Pardon my typing and grammar, the computer is still radically new to me.
Hi Fulton, thanks for your comment. I don’t see any reason not to consider yourself fully a part of the the liberty movement. Ron Paul’s platform more than any other would give you the freedom for you and your family/friends to live peacefully however you like.
Fulton, we want very much to be doing what it sounds like you and your families are doing now. And we are full Ron Paul supporters. I don’t see any conflict at all.
Nice job Richard. I went through a very similar process in 1992 at the age of 26 – a US Naval Officer at the time. I was fortunate to have been handed a copy of Bastiat’s “The Law”. I’ve considered myself a libertarian ever since. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s exciting to see the message of liberty being advanced today.
Hey Richard, saw this in my DailyPaul RSS feed. I’m also a big fan of Rothbard, Schiff, and Mises. Way to spread the message of liberty!
Hope you don’t mind that I post this to my Facebook page. I am a Ron Paul supporter and the televised media has not painted a nice picture for him, let alone has been very clear about what he believes in for this country. Thank you for writing such a great article!

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