The Need for Ron Paul

If libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

Paul, as expected, did well in Iowa. His strong third-place finish is substantially better than he did in 2008, and his national poll numbers are twice what they were back then. Paul’s appeal is easy to understand. His antiwar message of limited government, low taxes and federalism have strong appeal, especially to young people who oppose the war on drugs, take a pro-choice position on abortion and support gay marriage.

Paul scares people who purport to embrace freedom but fear the responsibility that goes with it. Privatize Social Security? Serious change in Medicare? Call off the war on drugs? End government welfare? He actually believes in the Constitution, an amazing document that many Americans ignore, have not read or are apparently waiting for the movie version.

Paul speaks passionately and persuasively about abolishing the departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, the Interior, and Housing and Urban Development. He wants to take a machete to the size of government when many Republicans insist on using a pocketknife.

When then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson spooked Republican colleagues into voting for TARP to “save” our financial system, Paul refused. When President George W. Bush supported bailouts for the domestic auto industry, Paul opposed them. When Bush signed the prescription benefit for seniors, Paul considered it a wrongheaded expansion of an already severely unfunded entitlement program.

Republican opposition to Paul is also easy to understand.

He opposed the Iraq War. He preferred to deal with Osama bin Laden through “letters of marque and reprisal.” This refers to a constitutional provision that allows the government to offer a bounty and target individuals rather than nations — as if the problem were just a handful of bad people.

Paul does not believe that we are at war with Islamofascists. He believes that U.S. actions are responsible for our bad PR in the Middle East. He argues that those who wish to kill us by strapping on bombs and murdering civilians feel this way because “we are over there.” On the other hand, he called Islamic terrorists “irrational.” If they are irrational, how does it matter that “we are over there”? And if we were no longer there, would Ayman al-Zawahiri, now head of al-Qaida, abandon his publicly stated quest for a worldwide “caliphate”?

Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein interviewed several of bin Laden’s top lieutenants.

Hussein outlined al-Qaida’s strategy of seven phases — the first one beginning as an “awakening” for Muslims worldwide following the Sept. 11 attacks. The plan culminates with the “definitive victory” of “one-and-a-half billion Muslims” and the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate by 2020.

Bin Laden, in his 1998 fatwa against the United States, said: “The killing of Americans and their civilian and military allies is a religious duty for each and every Muslim to be carried out in whichever country they are. … We — with God’s help — call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill Americans.”

Paul expects countries and stateless actors to play nice and fair if the United States plays nice and fair. If every country played nice and fair, we would not need a military. He even said Iran would be justified in blocking the Strait of Hormuz — through which 20 percent of the world’s oil demand travels — in response to Western economic sanctions imposed to deter Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Do all libertarians feel as Paul does on foreign policy? Most do, but certainly not all. Is there room for a “9/11 libertarian” — one who thinks we are at war against a ruthless, determined Islamofascist enemy that could not care less about the Geneva Conventions?

Look in the encyclopedia under “libertarian.” If a picture of Republican Nobel economics laureate Milton Friedman is not there, it ought to be. President Ronald Reagan considered him a giant in the conservative movement. Over 50 years ago, Friedman argued the then-radical case for education vouchers. Friedman said the money for education should follow the child, rather than the other way around.

Friedman took no position on the Gulf War, but had no Ron Paul-like ideological objection to it. As for the Iraq War, Friedman opposed it. But there was dissent in the Friedman household. Friedman’s wife, also an economist and co-author of their seminal economics book “Free to Choose,” supported the Iraq War.

What about a Paul third party candidacy, since he is not seeking re-election to the House? He would likely siphon more votes from the GOP than from President Obama — and do greater damage to the GOP nominee than Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in 2000.

It is quite extraordinary what the rumpled, unpretentious 76-year-old OB/GYN has already achieved. Many Republicans now agree: If the GOP listened to Paul on domestic and economic issues, their “brand” would look a lot better.



Larry Elder


Larry Elder is an American radio and television personality. His radio program The Larry Elder Show airs weekdays 3pm on talk radio 790 KABC in Los Angeles, California.

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  • inrikatieguy

    I can’t really tell if this article was meant to help or hurt Ron Paul. Your title and first paragraph are quite schizophrenic considering this is posted on a Catholic website.

    When people who know nothing about what Ron Paul really believes and has been consistently advocating for in congress read things like “libertarian Rep. Ron Paul” and “especially to young people who oppose the war on drugs, take a pro-choice position on abortion and support gay marriage.” combined with the false sound bite rhetoric the MSM spews out all they come away with is Ron Paul is a libertarian who wants to legalize drugs, abortion and gay marriage!!

    Let’s set the record straight and I hope you will do the same by writing another piece about Ron Paul with less confusing statements.

    Ron Paul is a Republican…he is fiscal and social conservative, not a neo-con!

    Ron Paul is 100% pro-life

    Ron Paul want to decriminalize drug use at the federal level, not legalize drugs. He wants the states to regulate the drug laws just like they do murder laws.

    Ron Paul supports traditional marriage. He supports the Defense of Marriage Act which prevents a state from being forced to recognize a same sex marriage license issued in another state.

    If your article was meant to help Ron Paul, you might want to take another shot at it. If was meant to hurt him, well I believe you have accomplished your goal.

    God have mercy on our country.

  • dpolcari

    Ron Paul should discuss the true concept of liberty…which I believe is what the Founding Fathers had in mind…

    “In Latin, …there is a clear distinction between libertas (liberty, freedom for excellence) and licentia (license, freedom from constraint).

    The English word “freedom” comes to us from Norse mythology. The goddess Fri (also called Frigg or Freya and for whom Friday is named) was believed to be the goddess of love. In the Teutonic myths, Fri remained with Odin, her husband, not because she was coerced, like Odin’s slaves, but because she loved him. For this reason, freedom (from an Old English word meaning “love”) originally connoted the bonds of love and friendship. The word “friend” also developed out of this connection between freedom and love, in recognition that we feel most free with our friends and those with whom we share the bonds of love and family.

    In the modern era, however, the meaning of freedom underwent significant changes . During the revolutionary period of the 17th and 18th centuries and with the rise of modern democracies, many secular thinkers began to view the traditional bonds of love and family as an infringement on freedom. Such thinkers used the term “freedom,” in spite of its etymology, to signify a lack of constraints, or the ability to do whatever one wants without regard for traditional morality. Influenced by modern individualism, the word “freedom” was sundered from its association with love and marriage; it came to mean the right to do whatever one wants—so long as that desire did not harm the freedom of others.

    But because a word undergoes a change in definition, that doesn’t always mean the older meaning is abandoned. Just as we use the word “keyboard” when talking about computers and when talking about pianos, the modern, secular, individualistic understanding of freedom didn’t wipe out the older notion of freedom. The idea that freedom flows from a properly ordered affection for those one loves still resonates with us, even as we find it natural for artists to depict freedom as a woman (such as the Statue of Liberty) who reflects the loving maternal devotion of the Norse goddess Fri.

  • soartoeagle

    I can believe your argument in favor of Mr. Paul’s advocacy of state regulated drug laws, however I have a problem with your understanding of his stance on choice/ gays. My understanding is that he votes more often than not against pro-life measures and DOMA type measures. In all of the exceptions he has made charismatic speeches reconciling these positions with the libertarian point of view. For instance, he supported DOMA, not because he is pro- conventional marriage, but because he is a strong advocate for a return to state’s rights. I understand that I cannot keep track of all the doings of congress and the feelings that they have on issues, so I would appreciate that if you still disagree with my opinion of your candidate, could you please provide better evidence that he is in fact pro-life and pro-marriage.

  • inrikatieguy


    What is so unbelievable about allowing states to decide how to prosecute drug offenders?

    This is how murder is prosecuted. The federal government allows each state to decide how to prosecute murder in all it’s forms, well except abortion.

    Here is a quote from Ron Paul on abortion…

    On the right-to-life issue, I believe, I’m a real stickler for civil liberties. It’s academic to talk about civil liberties if you don’t talk about the true protection of all life. So if you are going to protect liberty, you have to protect the life of the unborn just as well.
    I have a Bill in congress I certainly would promote and push as president, called the Sanctity of Life Amendment. We establish the principle that life begins at conception. And someone says, ‘oh why are you saying that?’ and I say, ‘well, that’s not a political statement — that’s a scientific statement that I’m making!“

    I know we’re all interested in a better court system and amending the constitution to protect life. But sometimes I think that is dismissing the way we can handle this much quicker, and my bill removes the jurisdiction of the federal courts from the issue of abortion, if a state law says no abortion, it doesn’t go to the supreme court to be ruled out of order.

    Does that sound anti-life/pro-choice to you??

    If more people in congress had supported this bill we would see abortion automatically illegal in many states effectively saving millions of babies a year. Instead we now have people working tirelessly on legislation that passes and only saves a handful of babies a year.

    As far as gay marriage goes I addressed that in my above quote. Did you research into the Defense of Marriage Act?

    Paul’s Position on Gay Marriage

    Ron Paul bases his positions on gay marriage on the Constitution. In 2004, Ron Paul spoke in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996. This act allows a state to decline to recognize gay marriage or same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries, although a state will usually recognize legal marriages performed outside of its own jurisdiction. The Defense of Marriage Act also prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even if a state recognizes the marriage. Paul co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act, which would have barred federal judges from hearing cases pertaining to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

    In 2005, Congressman Ron Paul introduced the We the People Act, which would have removed from the jurisdiction of federal courts “any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction” and “any claim based upon equal protection of the laws to the extent such claim is based upon the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation.”[144] If made law, these provisions would remove sexual practices, and particularly same-sex unions, from federal jurisdiction. As Ron Paul explains, this removes the gay rights issue from the federal government.

    The second paragraph means that a state can outlaw sodomy without the Federal Government coming in and trumping their law…

    It always amazes me that Christians clamor to have the Federal Government define morality. As we can know from history this almost always backfires, especially when society itself is repugnant. We need to be careful what kind of legal precedent we set and always keep in mind that the other side could use our exact same methods to further their own cause. We know that judges legislate from the bench and sadly we are outnumbered by them, for now. They will twist and turn Stare Decisis to fit their agenda as they see fit.

    It’s just like conservatives not being concerned about the Federal power grabs done under Bush because he was a Republican, well these unConstitutional powers were passed right on to Obama and he has expanded them to complete tyranny. Unfortunately, not very many people seem concerned about this.

    I think these two quotes are great ones to ponder on. Especially when considering if we should have the Federal Government in a completely secular humanist society in control of every aspect of our lives.

    “Power tends to corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” Lord Acton, Catholic historian, politician and writer

    The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.
    -G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News (1924)

  • kdfhuber

    Excellent points inrikatieguy.

    I support him mainly because he adheres to the principle of subsidiarity which states that human affairs are best handled at the lowest possible level and closest to the affected person(s). Paul is not saying we should pull the plug on established federal regulations and see what happens as a twisted social experiment. But we should ask ourselves how far should the federal reach extend? Many of the federal regulations we “enjoy” today came about via the industrialization of living processes that should never be industrialized. They have given us a modicum of security for a bad systems. Paul is asking us to reflect on exactly how much should we really entrust to a federal governing entity? Then let states reflect on issues more closer to home where our individual voices will be better heard.

    The past two Commanders in Chief have waged an unjust war resulting in the deaths of millions of innocents. —An interesting fact to point out is that Paul has received not only more donations from the military than any other candidate but twice as much than our current president and more both parties candidates combined. This happened last election as well. Our military wants our imperial presence out of the Middle East and that right there would be HUGE caring for people/planet….why aren’t we listening?

    So although I appreciate the anecdotal information about Paul I don’t make political decisions based on someone telling me that he is a racist or their experience with a candidate. (FYI there have been plenty of false flag operations where it has been proven people were planted in Paul rallies adorned in KKK attire.) We should look at the history of consistency in the voting record backing up the rhetoric and if that voting record echos what we believe in then we should act accordingly.