SIOUX CENTER, IOWA — Ron Paul stood before a crowded public library conference room here and warned the packed house that the United Nations is coming to take their land and that America is this close to riots in the streets against a government that is becoming more and more like a dictatorship.
Though he was well-received, these two classic Paulisms fell somewhat flat.
This was vintage Paul, the kind of fear of the one-world government and terror over the Amero (North American currency conspiracy) that has been a fixture of Paul’s persona on the national stage. Even as Paul has pushed into the top tier of the Iowa caucus contest, he hasn’t toned down his core rhetoric. This kind of consistency is why people like Paul, even if they don’t entirely buy into the paranoia he’s selling.
Here’s what that sounded like in Sioux Center, a small town in the northwest of the Hawkeye State.
Paul warned of the pro-United Nations lobby coming to take control of your property:
If you want to use your property, you have to get a lot of permits. If you’re in the development business, from the low-level all the way to the top, you have to get permission from the federal government…I’m fearful because some people would like us to go all the way to the UN and have the UN controlling our lands, too.
And here he is warning of the coming violent riots that he hinted are already showing signs of developing on America’s streets:
Freedom has been tested just rather rarely in all of history. In most of history, 90-99 percent of the time, people have had to live under dictatorships. And as our government gets bigger, and violates our civil liberties with laws like the Patriot Act that invade our privacy they become more dictatorial. … We are losing those liberties.
Our system was the greatest and I fear that we’re going to give it up. And as it’s given up, if we don’t deal with these problems, I am afraid that there will be more violence. People will get angry because they’re not going to get what they believe they have a right to. So if you’ve been providing for something else that other people are providing they get angry.
We already see this in Europe, we already see some of it in our own streets where people get angry and upset, where people get angry and upset and if we don’t understand these issues to change the policy it’s going to get a lot worse and then there will be chaos and people will be even more willing to give up their liberties.
Even a fervent Paul supporter thought the riots in the streets thing was unlikely.
“I think, yeah,” John Anderson, a bearded, college-age local, told me after Paul was done when I asked him if he was worried things could get as bad as Paul says. “More than ever, we’re having a bunch of divides between people.”
Asked if he really thought America could actually experience the kind of street violence of, say, Greece, however, Anderson was less ready to back Paul up. “Um,” he said with a long pause, “I think it’s a little far-fetched.”
Curtis Jacobs of Rock Rapids, Iowa, just to the north of Sioux Center, headed into the Paul event undecided about who he’ll caucus for. He left feeling the same way, though he said Paul was on his short list. He was more willing to stand with Paul on the coming chaos in the street talk, explaining he thought Paul was referring to the Occupy movement, which has made him nervous at times.
“I can’t know what he was thinking in his head, but from my point of view I could equate a mild evidence of that [violence in the streets] from the Occupy Wall Street, or at least how the media has reported some the reactions in some of the cities to the cleanup and the amount of money it’s cost,” he said.
“If that’s what he was calling violence, yeah I could see that happening,” Jacobs said. “But beyond that? Anything’s possible, I suppose.”