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Thread: 1988 TNA Interview - Ron Paul Offers a Choice

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    1988 TNA Interview - Ron Paul Offers a Choice

    Ron Paul Offers a Choice


    The New American
    September 26, 1988


    Ron Paul, the Libertarian candidate for President, was elected four times to the U.S. Congress from Houston, Texas, as a Republican. As a Member of the Banking Committee, he worked to establish a gold standard and curb the Federal Reserve. He was also the House sponsor of the U.S. Gold Commission and co-author of its minority report: The Case for Gold.

    Paul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1935. He received his BA from Gettysburg College and his MD from Duke University Medical School. He was interviewed by William F. Jasper, a contributing editor to THE NEW AMERICAN.

    Q. Why are you running for President on the Libertarian Party ticket?

    A. The American people ought to have a choice. They have no choice whatsoever between Bush and Dukakis. Although their speeches are a little different, their programs and their policies and their philosophies are very much the same.

    This has been true for many decades. Republicans have been elected to balance the budget and cut back on the size of the government, but nothing happens. Democrats are supposed to be good at keeping us out of war and protecting civil liberties, but they don't do a very good job at that. I tried working through the Republican Party for a good many years offering a change in direction, but after seven years of the Reagan Administration I concluded that the Republicans would never reduce the size of government.

    Q. How would you summarize the Libertarian's philosophy?

    A. The Libertarian philosophy is a philosophy based on the principle of non-aggression. We as individuals pledge never to initiate force against another individual. And we don't want the government to initiate force either to bring about social or economic changes. That principle is really the basic principle of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, and it merely means that we want to limit the role of government to the protection of freedom rather than to run a welfare state or to police the world or to invade our privacies.

    Q. In how many states will you be on the ballot?

    A. Forty-seven, maybe one or two more depending on some court cases.

    Q. In what states will you probably not be on the ballot?

    A. Indiana, West Virginia, and North Carolina. They were very difficult, and a lot of road blocks were in our way.

    Q. You've done this without any federal matching funds?

    A. That's right. If we had pursued it, we probably could have collected a million and a half dollars.

    Q. Why didn't you apply for matching funds?

    A. By taking money from the taxpayers, we would be more or less participating in the system that we condemn. We don't believe that the taxpayers should ever be required to fund campaigns through government coercion.

    Q. Many conservative Republicans might say that, if we do not vote for George Bush, we may end up with Mike Dukakis, who would be much worse. How do you respond to this view?

    A. I don't think it would be worse. Dukakis might have a philosophy that on the surface sounds a little worse than Bush's, but that doesn't mean it would be. If you want to see a real disaster for the conservative movement, just look at the vote on the INF treaty -- there were only five senators who voted against that. There was absolutely no resistance at all because it was a conservative Republican President that did it. If Jimmy Carter had done it, every single Republican would have opposed it. Even Ronald Reagan would have opposed it if Jimmy Carter had proposed that treaty. The same is true of the record deficits -- Carter would never have gotten away with them.

    Q. Do you think the liberal positions of Ronald Reagan have had an effect on the conservative movement and on how conservatives vote in the Congress?

    A. Well, I think it has literally undermined if not totally destroyed the conservative movement as it was known prior to Reagan's years. For the most part, those individuals who learned to go along with everything Ronald Reagan said are now in Bush's camp, and Bush is no more conservative than the man in the moon. For the hard-core Reaganite conservative to be endorsing George Bush is a rather sad state of affairs, and that's what it has come to.

    Q. How about the Democrats?

    A. The Democrats pride themselves in being a protector of civil liberties and anti-war. They are the peace party. Well, look at the record. They're the ones who got us involved in Korea and Vietnam, not the conservative Republicans. So when the Republicans are in office, they act more like Democrats; and when Democrats are in office, they act more like the Republicans in doing the things they shouldn't be doing.

    Q. What would your Libertarian Party federal budget look like?

    A. Greatly reduced, and it would be balanced. It depends on what year. It should be balanced the first year. Obviously, you can't achieve the reduction that you really want in a single year's time. Maybe it will take three or four or five years but it should get smaller with time. Ideally, although this is something we probably won't live to see, I think that 20 percent of our expenditures would be fine. Because we wouldn't be in the welfare business and we'd have a military designed for our defense rather than taking care of everybody else. So you could spend a lot less money. But in the practical world, I think that, if we could get enough spending cuts to at least eliminate 38 percent of the spending which is covered by the personal income tax, that would be a pretty good start for the first four years.

    Q. How could we finance the government without a personal income tax?

    A. We could look to the states that don't have an income tax or sales tax like New Hampshire, and ask them how they fund their government. Their government is smaller for one thing. We might look at our own history and find out how we funded our government prior to 1913 [without the federal income tax], and certainly we got by. Not that we had a perfect tax system prior to 1913, but it was certainly better than the personal income tax.

    Q. You've been a long-time champion of the return to sound, honest money. What is honest money? And how do we go about getting it?

    A. It's money that is a commodity, and something that government can't counterfeit. So it would be the opposite of paper money or computer entries. History has shown that silver and gold are the most popular commodities. That is what is mandated in the law of the land, and it has never been repealed, so silver or gold coinage would be real money. That doesn't mean everybody has to carry all these coins around, but if they use certificates or checking accounts units they'd have to be convertible into gold and silver. This would restrain the counterfeiters. To me, the counterfeiters are the Federal Reserve members who create money and credit out of thin air.

    Q. The Federal Reserve System and the income tax are at the heart of our economic problems. What could you do about these problems as President?

    A. You can lead people in the direction of getting rid of the income tax and the Federal Reserve System, but a President by himself can't do it. Leadership does have something to do with what people are thinking and what Congress does. They should be eliminated the same way that they came into existence and that is through congressional legislation. If, miraculously, we had Constitutionalists in our Supreme Court, they could certainly rule all the aspects of the collection procedures of the IRS unconstitutional and they could rule the Federal Reserve unconstitutional. But for orderliness' sake, I think that getting the people to agree that these are bad institutions, getting Congress to repeal them, and taking the period of time from three to five years to phase them out would be the best thing to do.

    Q. So as president you would also be serving in an educational function?

    A. You have to convince people why you want to do these things, and that there will be much more chaos by keeping them in place than by going through a transition period.

    Q. You're a physician. You've seen the spiraling costs of medical care and the deterioration of medical care. What is the solution?

    A. The best way to look for solutions is to find out the cause of the problem, and I lay the blame at the doorstep of government. The government has been getting more and more involved in medical care for the last 30 or 40 years. The more that they're involved, the worse the care gets, and the higher the cost goes. They're working on the naïve assumption that, if you just throw money at it, then health care will get better, but that's not true. Generally, what happens is that the cost will go up and the distribution will become poorer. And certainly that has been the case. The cost of medicine has skyrocketed. The quality has not gotten any better. And we still have 38 million people in this country who have no insurance whatsoever.

    Q. The Libertarians are often characterized by critics as being uncaring and non-compassionate toward the less fortunate. How do you respond to that?

    A. I believe that somebody is really caring if he is a Libertarian free market person because it provides the greatest chance for people to have a job and wealth. Everybody should be caring. There are always going to be people in need, but it would be better for them to be helped in a voluntary way than by government.

    That's my personal philosophy. But in a strictly political philosophy, if you had all pure free market capitalists who cared only about making a good living, and they always followed the rules of nonaggression -- never cheated anybody, never defrauded anybody, never hurt anybody -- they couldn't help but be great humanitarians in the sense that the only way they could earn their own wealth would be to serve the consumer, run a good business, and provide jobs for people. Their results would be very humanitarian because they couldn't achieve success other than by helping people. But I still think it would be a better world for people who want to make a good living to take care of themselves and their family and friends, provide a service and provide jobs, and at the same time be generous enough to help those who are truly in need. That, of course, would be the ideal world.

    Q. What role should the Federal Government play in education?

    A. The Federal Government does not have any business being in education. The most dangerous thing that can happen to the country is for the government to become involved in education. And the more it is centralized, the worse it is. It should not be a government monopoly; it's one of the most sensitive areas of our society, and that is the control of young people's minds.

    If we can't reach a perfect private education system, which would be what we would like to see, we should at least get the Federal Government out of education. Ronald Reagan even supported the position of getting rid of the Department of Education, but did absolutely nothing to get rid of it. I don't think there should be any Federal Government involvement. The next step ought to be to get the state governments out of it. If we had only local, regional governments handling education, it wouldn't be nearly the threat that it is now. Even that would not be the perfect situation. But I think there's a lot that could be done immediately without even any major overhaul of the system, such as getting rid of the Department of Education.

    Q. What would your foreign policy be?

    A. It would be the foreign policy of the Founding Fathers. It would be non-intervention. We would follow the advice of George Washington, no entangling alliances. We would not fight undeclared foreign wars. We would spend a lot of money on our own national defense. But the danger to the country would be greatly reduced if we didn't bankrupt ourselves by paying for everybody else's defense and subsidizing our enemies.

    Q. And your defense policy?

    A. We would have a strong national defense for the purpose of defending the country. General MacArthur had good ideas about having a very strong reserve unit. Have people available. Have everybody participate, not just an 18-year-old. Everybody should be willing, and we should have a strong voluntary defense. But our defense should be modernized. We should not have World War II-type troops in Japan. We live in a space age. We should be looking at space technology; we should be looking at SDI and finding out whether it is really feasible and wise to deploy a system capable of knocking down missiles -- that to me seems like a greater threat than tanks coming in through Alaska.

    A lot of people just love manned bombers. The truth is a manned bomber is oldfashioned. We hardly need to have somebody to sit in a B-1 that doesn't work, and pretend we can send him to Moscow and back again. The electronic system is all fouled up, and birds can knock it down. Submarines make a lot more sense than surface vessels and manned bombers. Cruise missiles make more sense, too, than a bomber. We should be wise in our choice of weapons. By spending wisely, we can have a lot stronger defense.

    But the most important consideration is policy. What good is it if we spend $300 billion a year on defense but have a Chester Crocker in the State Department selling us out? We had the weapons, the money, and the draft during the Vietnam War, but we couldn't win because we didn't have the right policy. One thing that a Libertarian president could do without having to get permission from the Congress is to clean out the State Department. I don't know why Ronald Reagan didn't do it.

    Q. He has been promising to do that for many years.

    A. Yes, and what happened? Reagan hired George Shultz and Alexander Haig and the old cronies in the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. The same people. There was no cleaning out. It was all a maneuver to pacify the naive conservatives. At the same time, they kept their military-industrial complex going.

    Q. How do you view the proposed changes under Gorbachev?

    A. I think they obviously had to be in bad trouble to do some of the things that they've done. I hope it's a trend rather than a token effort that they'll back down on. I don't think we should trust them. We shouldn't be naïve.

    Q. Would you enter into treaties?

    A. No treaties. But I'd be willing to talk to them; and, if our farmers wanted to sell them wheat, I'd let them because our farmers would benefit.

    Q. At market price?

    A. At market price and no subsidies. But no military technology. We can't give them military technology.

    Q. Many conservatives have lined up behind the President on the Persian Gulf issue. Where do you stand?

    A. We're way over-extended in the Persian Gulf, and we shouldn't have been there. We have American ships in a war zone between two dictators who have been fighting each other. We shouldn't be supporting either side.

    It's sad that we needed a War Powers Act. This came about because Truman and Kennedy fought wars that were undeclared; they were wrong, and somebody thought that we ought to curtail their powers. We ought to just follow the Constitution, under which no President can fight a war without it being declared. If we did this we wouldn't need a War Powers Act.

    Q. How would you deal with the threat in Central America?

    A. The Communists would not be very successful in Central America if we stopped all the funding to the Soviets. The Soviets couldn't fund the Castros. We are so concerned about Ortega, who is not likely to invade Texas, but at the same time we have honored the commitment made by Kennedy to never do a thing about Castro. It would have made a lot more sense to throw Castro out and get him away from our shores instead of going to Vietnam and fighting a half-hearted war there. The only think that I would say is that we only do it through congressional action. You have to have the people and the Congress consent to fight the war, and then you ought to right to win. And that would be the big difference. But not the CIA. Intelligence should be obtained through the military, not through a secret organization such as the CIA -- which is more or less a government unto itself. Even members of Congress know very little about what's going on with the CIA. It's not part of the American system. We've only had the CIA since 1947, since we've moved into this area of internationalism.

    Q. The Libertarian Party Platform supports "the right of women to make a personal choice regarding the termination of pregnancy." You disagree with this position, do you not?

    A. I strongly disagree, and the delegates at our Convention knew it. They nominated me on the first ballot because the majority there didn't think that that would be enough to exclude me from being their candidate. It is ironic that the Republican platform is strongly pro-life and George Bush is very weak on that issue. In my case, the platform doesn't agree with what my intent is; but you elect the person, you don't elect the platform.

    Q. Do you disagree with any other parts of the platform?

    A. That's the significant one. I don't think there's any other one. I'm sure there are some little points, but that's the only one that's been fully discussed.

    Q. As a third party candidate, it's extremely unlikely that you will win the White House in November. Are you campaigning for that objective?

    A. That is the objective -- to win. All campaigns should be run that way; otherwise the campaigns aren't taken seriously. But that doesn't mean that we are naïve and believe that we're on the verge of victory. This is a political activity to mobilize people to speak out to change the political course of the country, and there's a lot of ways to winning without literally winning the election.

    Q. Such as by building for future elections?

    A. Yes. We were only on the ballot in two states in 1972, and we'll probably be on the ballot in 47 states this time. We have more than 100 people in office. The party is building -- it's steady and it's solid. If we have a big boost in our vote tally this time, it will set the stage for playing a dominant role in politics in the 1990s.
    Last edited by FrankRep; 03-26-2013 at 09:56 PM.
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  3. #2
    Consistency.
    "Integrity means having to say things that people don't want to hear & especially to say things that the regime doesn't want to hear.” -Ron Paul

    "Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it." -Edward Snowden

  4. #3
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  5. #4
    What did he mean by this?

    Q. Would you enter into treaties?
    A. No treaties. But I'd be willing to talk to them; and, if our farmers wanted to sell them wheat, I'd let them because our farmers would benefit.

    Q. At market price?
    A. At market price and no subsidies. But no military technology. We can't give them military technology.
    Companies shouldn't be able to sell military technology to foreign governments?

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by tsai3904 View Post
    What did he mean by this?



    Companies shouldn't be able to sell military technology to foreign governments?
    I suspect he meant that it is a form of interventionism when we only sell to some not others. But I don't know precisely what he was talking about, with that reference.
    "Integrity means having to say things that people don't want to hear & especially to say things that the regime doesn't want to hear.” -Ron Paul

    "Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it." -Edward Snowden

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sailingaway View Post
    I suspect he meant that it is a form of interventionism when we only sell to some not others. But I don't know precisely what he was talking about, with that reference.
    I'd imagine that Ron Paul views selling "military technology" as promoting aggression, which would violate the Libertarian "non-aggression" principle.
    ----

    Ron Paul Forum's Mission Statement:

    Inspired by US Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, this site is dedicated to facilitating grassroots initiatives that aim to restore a sovereign limited constitutional Republic based on the rule of law, states' rights and individual rights. We seek to enshrine the original intent of our Founders to foster respect for private property, seek justice, provide opportunity, and to secure individual liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

  8. #7
    I tried working through the Republican Party for a good many years offering a change in direction, but after seven years of the Reagan Administration I concluded that the Republicans would never reduce the size of government.
    How prophetic.

    Q. Do you think the liberal positions of Ronald Reagan have had an effect on the conservative movement and on how conservatives vote in the Congress?

    A. Well, I think it has literally undermined if not totally destroyed the conservative movement as it was known prior to Reagan's years. For the most part, those individuals who learned to go along with everything Ronald Reagan said are now in Bush's camp, and Bush is no more conservative than the man in the moon. For the hard-core Reaganite conservative to be endorsing George Bush is a rather sad state of affairs, and that's what it has come to.
    This is a chief concern of mine regarding Rand.

    Anyway, this is a great Q&A. Thanks FrankRep.
    Last edited by Feeding the Abscess; 03-27-2013 at 12:46 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul
    Perhaps the most important lesson from Obamacare is that while liberty is lost incrementally, it cannot be regained incrementally. The federal leviathan continues its steady growth; sometimes boldly and sometimes quietly. Obamacare is just the latest example, but make no mistake: the statists are winning. So advocates of liberty must reject incremental approaches and fight boldly for bedrock principles.
    The epitome of libertarian populism

  9. #8
    Good Q&A!
    "When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it—without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud—to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed." - Bastiat : The Law

    "nothing evil grows in alcohol" ~ @presence

    "I mean can you imagine what it would be like if firemen acted like police officers? They would only go into a burning house only if there's a 100% chance they won't get any burns. I mean, you've got to fully protect thy self first." ~ juleswin



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ClydeCoulter View Post
    Good Q&A!
    And except for a few current event details, it could have been given yesterday...
    "Integrity means having to say things that people don't want to hear & especially to say things that the regime doesn't want to hear.” -Ron Paul

    "Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it." -Edward Snowden



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