We know about Ron Paul, the humble doctor and family man who turned statesman and advocated for peace, liberty and prosperity for 30 years. Many compare Ron Paul with the founding fathers but the more I learn about our founders the more I am convinced that Ron Paul stands above them.
Take George Washington. What churned Washington into a revolutionary wasn't a quest for liberty for the American people but his own bruised and colossal ego. Early in his life, he was furious and humiliated that as a member of Virginia's slave owning aristocratic plantation class, he was denied a commission in the British army. Washington also lobbied hard for a land grant from George III to expand his already gargantuan land holdings and slave plantations. Washington deemed himself a high ranking and noble member of the privileged ruling aristocracy. His anger with the British stems from the fact that America's ruling aristocracy was denied equal recognition and power that was conferred upon Britain's own ruling aristocracy. The real George Washington vs. the fictional Washington legend that we find in our history books is a story of conflict that includes the good, the bad and the ugly.
Thomas Jefferson, another aristocratic member of the Virginia slave holding plantation class, is difficult and perplexing because of his extraordinary mind, prose, philosophical views and writings. Jefferson may have believed what he wrote, but he didn't live it. In fact, Jefferson was a compulsive spender who lived way beyond his means and was always in debt to fund his lavish lifestyle. While Jefferson did call slavery a "moral and political depravity", he never freed his slaves except for 5 slaves who were members of the Hemmings family and possibly the children he fathered with his slave Sally Hemming. Jefferson was so in debt at the time of his death that his slaves were auctioned off on the front lawn of Monticello and Monticello itself was auctioned off for a pittance. In reality, Jefferson lived his entire life as a reckless slave holding aristocrat. Jefferson's private life in no way comports with his incredible public life. Despite his flaws, Jefferson was an extraordinary man.
Alexander Hamilton was a most unusual character. He rose up from the lower middle class and was born and raised on a Caribbean slave plantation island. Hamilton revered and worshiped all things British including its empire and aristocratic merchantilism. Hamilton was catapulted to power and fame when he got noticed by Washington early in the Revolutionary War. Hamilton was smart, brave, dashing, loyal and hardworking. However, Hamilton also had an obsession with himself who he perceived as a rising Napoleon Bonaparte. After the Revolutionary War Hamilton ferociously fought for a new army and a war with France. Fellow Federalist John Adams, who was president at the time, squashed his war and military ambitions. Hamilton was so incensed with Adams that he successfully waged a campaign to guarantee that Adams would be a one term president for the crime of refusing to pursue a military US empire and costly wars.
Benjamin Franklin was an extraordinary and noble man by any measurement. He may have been America's first voluntarist because he was always organizing voluntary groups like fire fighters and he also lobbied the rich to donate books and money for libraries and public schools. Franklin belonged to many groups that voluntarily sought to solve problems without government and public money. Ben Franklin was 100% self-made and rose from humble beginning as the son of a Boston candle maker. He was also an incredibly astute diplomat who knew how to play the French against the British and vice versa. Without Franklin's superb diplomacy skills, it's doubtful that the French would have ever intervened on behalf of the American Revolution. But even Franklin, who truly believed that a deal could be cut with the British to keep America a sovereign nation but a loyal component of the British Empire, lobbied the British for a land grant for himself.
John Adams was, in my humble opinion, the founder closest to Ron Paul in ideology, morality and principles, even if Ron Paul and John Adams are temperamentally quite different. Adams was the son of a farmer who lived a simple life but throughout his life he never flinched or waivered on his principle, even though Adams had a few missteps and errors in judgment, particularly with the Alien and Sedition Acts. The enduring legacy of John Adams is that he fought Hamilton and other Federalist warmongers, the neocons of the day, and even sacrificed a second term as president to save the nation from war with France. For more on John and Abigail Adams, see:
John and Abigail, the Original Adams Family
At the end of the day, our founders are still extraordinary men and like all men they have their own flaws, limitations and motivations. Still, they were willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of their Revolution. Jefferson narrowly escaped capture by the British when they literally showed up at Monticello to arrest him. Washington was well aware that he gambled the house and everything he owned on the Revolution. It's also fair to say that our founders were products of the times and despite their flaws they successfully forged a new version of human liberty that for the most part recognized natural rights as a guiding principle.
I think our founders would all be very proud of Ron Paul for ideologically perfecting and clarifying their dream in a context that is far more moral and relevant. Ron Paul never asked for anything and he never got anything. Ron Paul never sought glory or power or land or privilege. It's hard to find a human being alive or dead whose motivations are purer than that of Ron Paul.