Ron Paul is still defining libertarianism. Over the years he has been a predominant spokesman for libertarian ideology, and as an individual has molded and shaped libertarianism to a sharp and personal point. He ran as the Libertarian candidate for the presidency in 1988. He initiated the libertarian advocacy group Campaign for Liberty, and has penned numerous published articles and books. Currently he places as much emphasis on the favor of the Tea Party movement, and the opinion of the social conservative voters.
The 76-year-old physician, who has delivered thousands of babies into the world over the years, spoke particularly about the case for life, and his opposition to abortion at the Iowa Straw Poll event on Saturday, in which he placed second, a short distance behind the very popular Michele Bachmann. She scored only 152 more votes than Paul, in a contest in which a total of 16,892 votes were cast.
Ron Paul was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended and was graduated from Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine. Then Dr. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. At the end of his enlistment, he began a medical practice in Brazoria county, Texas, where he specialized in obstetrics and gynecology. Paul and his wife Carol reside in Lake Jackson, Texas, and have five children and 17 grandchildren. Dr. Ron Paul favors less restriction on health care providers.
Many in Iowa ran a campaign based on opposition to Democratic President Obama, insisting that Obama is a one-term president, and blaming the failing economy and other matters on him. Some in Iowa seduced voters by professing strong family backgrounds, or strong regional backgrounds; Bachmann cited her sixth generation in Iowa, and demonstrated a knowledge of people in Iowan high places. In Iowa and other recent venues, Ron Paul chose to address several important concerns, including economic problems in America and foreign issues.
Regarding foreign issues, Paul takes a far different stand on global matters than some other candidates. He reflects libertarian principles in referring to ongoing and recently ended wars as having been “undeclared and unwinnable.” He seems to take issue with the Republican Party and with the George W. Bush position that we were justified in the war in Iraq. He often mentions that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. He takes the unusual position that anti-American terrorism is simply a reaction to our actions. He alludes to Rudy Giuliani’s belief that the September 11th terrorists hated our wealth and freedom enough to provoke the attack. Ron Paul goes on to quip that, “Of course, our government bombing their countries, propping up their dictators and supplying their enemies with money and weapons had nothing to do with it.”
A fundamental precept of libertarianism is that we must end all foreign intervention, including economic aid and diplomatic meddling. We should avoid entanglements, foreign quarrels, and “imperialist adventures.” Ron Paul is in direct contraposition to leading Republican contender Michele Bachmann, who believes that the incarceration and enhanced interrogation of those accused of terrorism in facilities such as Guantanamo Bay are productive and necessary, and believes these tools should continue to be implemented when dealing with terrorists. Paul believes these things are the products of hysteria and mob rule, and are intolerable. He also opposes assassination on the same grounds. He advocates reason and disdains emotional responses to important problems.
A basic libertarian principle is that nuclear weapons are a threat to everyone’s wellbeing, and should be disallowed. Paul specifically addresses the Iranian nuclear threat, saying that Iran has as much right to nuclear weapons as anyone. He mentions several nations in that region and elsewhere, including China and the United States, which possess nuclear weapons. In his assessment, we should ignore what is viewed by many politicians as a threat. Paul says there is no evidence of Iran being in pursuit of nuclear weapons. With no air force and a limited economy, they have no capacity for war. His view is consistent with the libertarian outlook in that he opposes sanctions, and favors no involvement. He says we should “bring the troops home.” Paul makes the claim that in a span of a few short years we turned Iraq into the world’s leading breeding ground for terrorists. He says that, in general, we should “mind our own business.”
Bringing the troops home is one of Ron Paul’s predominant ideas, both for foreign policy reasons, and to shore up our failing economy. He would bring home all troops and end all interaction in every corner of the world: Japan, Germany, etc. Critics may be aware that Paul shows his age when he says all these interventions produce agitation and worry. Similarly, we are aware that Paul is annoyed by searches and such inconveniences at airports. This seems to be an afterthought to the politician.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Congressman Ron Paul established a firm background in banking and the economy. He served on the House Banking Committee and advocated sound monetary policy while being a harsh critic of the Federal Reserve’s inflationary measures. Paul consistently voted to lower or abolish federal taxes, spending, and regulation, and used his House seat to actively promote the return of government to its proper constitutional levels. He is dedicated to the Constitution, and has never wavered from that stand. As a firm constitutionalist, Ron Paul reminds us that currency still must be based on gold and silver.
Ron Paul, while still seeking liberty, and more importantly, life, has backed away from many libertarian basics. Libertarians would permit all manner of pornography, drugs, gambling, and unlimited statements in print, including the internet, and would disallow many searches and seizures. Libertarians would allow professional jurists, and not support forced jury duty. Insider trading would be allowed. Drivers couldn’t be stopped in search of alcohol or drugs without probable cause. Those tried for crimes and found innocent would be entitled to compensation. This entitlement would in many ways tie the hands of prosecutors, and restrict prosecution of criminals. But these are libertarian standards, and Ron Paul speaks his own mind.
Paul is one of the few Republican candidates to actively address issues, and to express ideologies and beliefs. He, like many in the Tea Party movement, would make severe changes to American government. Changes may be warranted, but the nature of the changes is soon to be in the hands of the American voters.