Ron Paul is leaving the House of Representatives with a roar.
"Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed," the Texas Republican said in what he described as probably his last speech on the House floor before he retires this year. "The founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified."
Paul's libertarian views captured the imagination of many voters, especially young people, in his unsuccessful bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. He returned to some of his favorite campaign themes in his House speech Wednesday and summarized much of his political philosophy.
"All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state, and frequently their own wealth and power," Paul said.
He added: "If it's not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties."
Paul, 77, says he will continue spreading his message in a series of speeches on college campuses after he leaves Congress.
His son, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, is expected to pick up where his father left off and possibly run for president in 2016.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He has written five books, most recently Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.