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Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom [Paperback]

Ron Paul
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 23 2012
In Liberty Defined, congressman and #1 New York Times bestselling author Ron Paul returns with his most provocative, comprehensive, and compelling arguments for personal freedom to date.

The term "Liberty" is so commonly used in our country that it has become a mere cliché. But do we know what it means? What it promises? How it factors into our daily lives? And most importantly, can we recognize tyranny when it is sold to us disguised as a form of liberty?

Dr. Paul writes that to believe in liberty is not to believe in any particular social and economic outcome. It is to trust in the spontaneous order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition and human cooperation. It permits people to work out their problems for themselves, build lives for themselves, take risks and accept responsibility for the results, and make their own decisions. It is the seed of America.

This is a comprehensive guide to Dr. Paul's position on fifty of the most important issues of our times, from Abortion to Zionism. Accessible, easy to digest, and fearless in its discussion of controversial topics, LIBERTY DEFINED sheds new light on a word that is losing its shape.

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About the Author

Dr. Ron Paul is a physician and twelve-term congressman from Texas who ran for president in 2008. He is the chairman of the domestic monetary policy subcommittee, and the author of eight books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Revolution: A Manifesto and End The Fed. An advocate of sound money, personal liberty, free markets, and international peace, he is chairman of the FREE Foundation, founder of the Campaign for Liberty, and distinguished counselor to the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He and Carol, his wife of fifty-three years, have five children, eighteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Ron Paul delivers another masterpiece April 19 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Liberty Defined" is just another magnificent book in the long line of thought-provoking books and essays by Mr. Paul extraordinaire. Having always been fascinated by Mr. Ron Paul's comments, views and written essays, I decided to pre-order this book (A first in my life).

The book consists of 50 (loosely) interrelated essays about core topics of liberty. Covering broad areas such as surveillance, taxation and abortion, Dr. Paul's well-written essays approach the (often contradicting) topic of freedom. Each essay/topic can be read separately without having to read the preceding essays leading to it- in case one issue concerns you more than another.

Overall, the book is thought-provoking, informative, prophetic and frank. Dr. Paul's obsession with truth, freedom, life and liberty in this book is truly inspiring. Much like Dr. Paul himself, the book manifests integrity, honesty, and credibility. I strongly recommend anyone out there to buy this book and read it a few times.

Warning: once you pick it up and start reading, it's hard to put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Will Set You Off Feb. 22 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Ron Paul is not the presidential candidate most likely to succeed. But he is easily the most unique, most consistent, and most interesting. He views an expanding Federal government as the greatest danger of our times. "The choice we now face: further steps toward authoritarianism or a renewed effort in promoting the cause of liberty. There is no third option."

Paul presents his own views of the proper role of government in our lives. The book reads like a libertarian encyclopedia, with alphabetized chapters from Abortion to Zionism. Here are quotes from five of the more interesting ones:

BIPARTISANSHIP - "If two parties with two sets of bad ideas cooperate, the result is not good policy, but policy that is extremely bad. What we really need are correct economic and political ideas, regardless of the party that pushes them... When the ideas of both parties are bad, there is really only one hope: that they will continue fighting and not pass any new legislation."

DEMOCRACY - "People should not be able to vote to take away the rights of others. And yet this is what the slogan democracy has come to mean domestically. It does not mean that the people prevail over the government; it means that the government prevails over the people by claiming the blessing of mass opinion. This form of government has no limit. Tyranny is not ruled out. Nothing is ruled out."

ENVY - "Envy is the painful awareness of another's good fortune. Policies driven by envy, such as the progressive income tax and the inheritance tax, do not help society. They... discourage the accumulation of wealth, punish success, and cause people to pull back from doing great things.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10/10 would read again Aug. 17 2012
By no
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a socialist, Paul brings in many interesting and shared views. 10/10 would read again, even if I disagree with some of his points. He does a good job pointing out hypocrisy regarding the death penalty and abortion.
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Format:Hardcover
Ron Paul again brings us a thoughtful, dispassionate, and common-sense based treatise on what he sees as the biggest issues facing our country today, and by extension the world.

Dr. Paul takes a close look at those 50 subjects (from Abortion to Zionism) that most heavily effect our liberty (or lack there of). As usual with Paul's writings and speeches, he offers no political motivation for his thinking, and offers no grand designs for "fixing" the problems. He simply explains the issue, and then proposes common-sense, Constitutional approaches to mending the situation, based on the ideals of Liberty itself - not the Republican, Libertarian, or Democratic parties.

Ron Paul should be, and will be, ranked among the heaviest hitters in Western political thought. He will be included on lists with Friedman, Mises, Nopalitano, and Bastiat.

You owe it to yourself to read this book. 6 stars.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  505 reviews
283 of 304 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul's Most Daring Book Yet April 19 2011
By A. Maheshwari - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased the kindle edition and finished the book in 3 hours with several re-readings of some chapters/paragraphs.

This book is intended for rapidly imploding contemporary America, and could serve as some sort of ideological foundation for next 10 years to organize a political revamping of GOP which is in its death throes. It deals with Paul's unique approach as a conservative libertarian.

Surprisingly, the word libertarian has been mentioned only 6 times, whereas the word moral appears a good 109 times.

The writing appears to be universal in its appeal so that an Asian or African can also relate to part of its contents. Its main focus is on freedom, which together with diversity and harmony, forms the three principles of humanity.

The book is tabulated in 50 chapters and covers 5 principal themes.

1. Individual vs State: Chapters on Capital Punishment, Civil Disobedience, Public Land, Surveillance and Slavery deal with Paul's view of Washington DC's crack-down on "personal" liberty. Paul claims that Washington DC is violating personal and property rights of American people. Matters are at the tipping point so that in near future Americans will lose all remaining freedoms. However, he does not provide any timeline.

2. Foreign policy: Chapters on Assassinations, CIA, Conscription, Empire, Foreign Aid, Patriotism, Security, Terrorism, Trade Policies and Zionism. Paul claims that Washington DC's foreign policy is costing Americans in blood and treasure. These policies are advanced by neoconservatives, whose founders were Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol. But its executive roots lay in Wilson's presidency, who preceded Strauss & Kristol! Paul's prescription for Arab-Israeli conflict is Intermarriage, not war. But if the Congress declares war, would a non-interventionist Paul execute it as President? Further, if America withdraws, will terrorists stop attacking? If I (America) burn my neighbor's (Iraq/Afg) house and then withdraw and say sorry, will my neighbor drop the idea of bloody revenge? Unlikely.

3. Welfarism/ State Socialism: Chapters on Bipartisanship, Executive Power, Four Freedoms, Gun Control, Immigration, Insurance, Lobbying, Medical Care, Moral Hazard, Morality in Government, Prohibition, Public Land, Statistics and Unions. These chapters deal with centralization of power over individuals, families, towns and States. These chapters offer a grave warning to reader that charity and philanthropy is being replaced with government programs. Regrettably, Paul is crying in the wilderness for the noble concept of Tithe, which used to be customary in a bygone era. A revival of Tithe is the humane alternative to State Welfarism, so that the bottom 10%, the ones who have been left behind, can be helped.

4. Monetary/Economic Policy: Taxes, Monetary Policy, Keynesianism, Business cycle and Austrian Economics deal with the economic policy, monetary policy and Paul's pet topic, the Federal Reserve. Paul claims that Keynesianism confiscates all wealth from the poor, middle class, and the "justly" rich - to what he pejoratively describes as the "Goldman Sachs Elite". According to Paul, the Federal Reserve is more powerful than the Presidency. But if central banking and Keynesianism is so bad, how come Japan, China, Korea became so rich so quickly? Japanese, Koreans enjoy the longest life spans, the largest middle class. Keynesian Japan is the largest international creditor, and its huge public debt is almost all held by Japanese people, not foreigners. How is US different than Japan, Korea, China?

5. Moral Decline: Chapters on Abortion, Demagogues, Discrimination, Education, Envy, Evolution, Global warming, hate crimes, marriage, political correctness, racism, religion and liberty. Paul claims that organized special interests claim wealth, territory and power at the expense of unorganized (libertarian?) groups. He decries government imposed affirmative action and claims that it harms American people. But in Japan, Korea, Israel that's not the case. The State enforces the ethnic interests of the majority.

Paul warns that the ultimate goal of State Socialism is to transform Americans into helpless, subservient and docile cattle in the name of equality so that the 99% masses will toil, while the Washington/Wall-Street elite will enjoy. The book has some personal anecdotes and the reader gets a glimpse of some events from Paul's life.

Throughout the book Paul tries to convince that Golden Rule is wonderful. He cites passages from Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity in support of Golden Rule. On paper its appeal is undeniable. But 2600 years of Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism did not make China, India more peaceful. Indians invaded Malaya in 11th CE, Central Asia in 8th CE. Lower caste and outcaste Indians are still brutally oppressed. China invaded Vietnam, Korea, Central Asia many times. Middle East has been a cesspool of war and invasions since the dawn of time. Just look at the history of Europe under North Africans, Arabs, Turks, Persians...

Paul invokes George Orwell's 1984 several times to assert that this is where America is now. Towards the end, this book calls for character and action to save the "Republic". Not "utter cynicism", "endless policy details" and resignation.

In the age of 24/7 TV, sexualized culture, pleasure seeking "me me me" individualism, the capacity to achieve political success required to rejuvenate or even save a Third World America is just not there. Since libertarians are at the one end of individualism/collectivism scale, how do they plan to stick together "collectively" for decades until their libertarian dreams come true? Isn't Libertarian party a kind of collective?
370 of 405 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America's Cicero April 19 2011
By Charles Stampul - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
For one who wants to see Ron Paul win the 2012 Republican nomination, the congressman's latest book is a bit of a let down. In contrast to a hard-charging campaign book like Harry Browne's The Great Libertarian Offer, or a memoir, it offers little of the kind of material media people look for. If Dr. Paul decides to enter the 2012 presidential race, it will do little to garner mainstream media coverage in the crucial early months of the campaign.

But Ron Paul is more interested in being right than he is in being president. Perhaps the only truly reluctant presidential candidate since George Washington, his primary aim is to educate. And he does it in the way of the Ancient Greek teacher; by challenging the untested points of his students' preconceptions, so that they come to the answers themselves.

One of the most interesting chapters in Liberty Defined relates to the obstacle Paul confronts in his aim to educate: demagogues who "manipulate a political issue in a manner to obscure or distort truth with emotionalism and prejudice...to take a principled stand by the proponents of liberty and reason and turn it into support for something ugly and mean."

As one illustration, Paul indirectly addresses the uproar his son, Senator Rand Paul, faced during his 2010 campaign when he suggested that business owners had the right to pick and choose their customers. "What liberal authoritarians don't quite understand," Paul writes "is that, if government has the power to control business establishments and all their decisions, they have justified the intrusion of government in every social aspect of our lives."

Though leaving specifics alone with respect to the Rand Paul controversy, there are enough personal anecdotes in Liberty Defined to satiate those waiting for a Ron Paul autobiography. In "Democracy," he discusses his experience with a stolen election. In "Evolution versus Creation" he recounts how he felt in a debate moderated by Chris Matthews and John Harris when asked to raise his hand if he believed in evolution. And in "Empire" we learn what quote is contained on a laminated card Paul carries with him and the story behind it.

If there is one thing in Liberty Defined that could put Paul at the center of a debate at the start of the 2012 presidential campaign, it is his remarks on civil disobedience. Though he has chosen political action over civil disobedience, he has great respect for those who, understanding what is at stake, challenge laws non-violently, and envisions a day when civil disobedience is the only option.

But to really compete in the Republican primary, Ron Paul needs to present a comprehensive agenda. The majority of journalists and political pundits view libertarian ideas as impractical. For those with a textbook to test paper view of history, libertarianism is a great unknown. Paul would do well, therefore, should he make the decision to run, to go beyond what other candidates offer in the way of details.

Ron Paul's greatest trait is his authenticity. When he sounds optimistic it is because he is feeling so. When he questions whether politics can change things, he does not hide it. You can trust what he says. For this, many philosophical differences are forgiven. His admission that civil disobedience might be the only option suggests a growing pessimism.

In perhaps the most revealing part of the book, Paul tells the story of Cicero, who "heroically refused to join Julius Caesar's betrayal of the Roman constitution and the rule of law." When Caesar was crowned dictator, Cicero wrote a series of books on history and politics and war. "Cicero," Paul writes, "would have been remembered for what he did to save the Roman constitution and the Republic. But his legacy was sealed for more than 2000 years by his philosophic dissertations that, once it was clear to him that the Roman Republic was dead, sprang from his effort to reflect on it."

But Liberty Defined was penned before the recent uprising in Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations. These pro-freedom movements demonstrate that the poorer people grow the more likely they are to revolt.

The price increases that ignited rebellion overseas are starting to be seen in the United States. While prices are rising, wages remain flat. Economists, meanwhile, are using nominal percentage gains in GDP to say that the U.S. economy is growing. Americans are growing poorer and they are being lied to. They are ready to hear a real libertarian agenda. Ron Paul is the person to offer it.
162 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open and Honest April 19 2011
By R. Paradis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whether you agree with Dr. Paul or not is not an issue. This book is about clarity, not persuasion.

What I find most staggering about this new book is that Dr. Paul, a Congressman, surprises everyone by openly and honestly stating his views on 50 separate topics. A lot of these topics are controversial and a representative in the Congress would need strong determination in order to address these topics. By offering his views on these controversial issues, Dr. Paul makes himself incredibly vulnerable to any and all political attacks.

I am consistently impressed by Dr. Paul's resolve, courage and honest dialogs. He initiates a debate that goes well beyond the political punditry and dives straight into the philosophy of the issues.

Well done, Dr. Paul. Well done.
187 of 207 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Careful reading reviews.. Feb. 2 2012
By Edmvnd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a great intro book if you are new to the political game. He sets out his views clearly and concisely.
If you've been following Paul and politics, you probably won't find much new information here.

As for the negative reviews: I noticed among the reviews of "The Case for Gold" by RP, there were 43 comments, 28 of which were negative. Of the 28 negative reviews, all of which were attacks on his character, ALL of the persons reviewing it simply went around on Amazon and commented on RP books with no legitimate argument. You can check this out for yourself. Simply go to the neg reviews from "The Case for Gold" and comb through each persons review history. It's easier to do than it is with 'Liberty Defined.'

You'll notice some similarities: 1) These people ONLY reviews RP books 2) ALL negative with NO substantive comment as to WHY they dislike it 3) Most have NO comments on ANY other amazon related product.

It simply appears that a small group of people are attacking him via amazon in order to dissuade you from purchasing or reading his books.

If you're still hesitant because of the comments, check out what he's about through google video, youtube, etc.. before you write him off as a "crackpot" or a racist.
80 of 89 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1-Star Reviews Revealed as BOGUS Jan. 18 2012
By Bobby D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I HAVE NOT YET READ THE BOOK. I HAVE CALLED IT A 3-STAR SIMPLY TO STAND OUT AND REVEAL THE RESULTS OF MY RESEARCH.

After painfully walking through all 9 pages of the 1-star reviews, I was in search of one which was an "Amazon Verified Purchase" (AVP) since I would then be interested in their comment.

Result: of the 87 1-star comments on 7 pages, THREE show up as an Amazon Verified Purchase!!!

I decided to review the 5-stars. In the first 3 pages, there were 15 Amazon Verified Purchase comments (may have changed slightly since this review).

Conclusion: VERY high probability that 1-star reviewers are liars when they imply that they've read the book since there's a high probability that they don't even own the book. Conversely, 5-star reviews have a high incidence of purchasing the book.

Its those 5-star AVP commentators that I take seriously as I do any-star AVPs.
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