A Texan You Can Trust?

Ron Paul In His Own Words


Unlike Dick Cheney, George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, Paul served in Vietnam for duty… not booty. He knows the costs: when they’re worth paying and when they’re not. That makes him a credible candidate to put an end to the war in Iraq.

“As an Air Force officer serving from 1963-1968, I heard the same agonizing pleas from the American people. These pleas were met with the same excuses about why we could not change a deeply flawed policy and rethink the war in Vietnam. That bloody conflict, also undeclared and unconstitutional, seems to have taught us little despite the horrific costs.”

— “We Just Marched In (So We Can Just March Out),” April 17, 2007

“Why is it that those who never wore a uniform and are confident that they won’t have to personally fight this war are more anxious for this war than our generals?”

— “Questions That Won’t Be Asked About Iraq,” September 10, 2002


— for human life. As a medical doctor, he can actually do something besides shuffle paper and grease palms, which makes him an all but extinct species in the Beltway jungle. And while his training puts him squarely in the science-based community, he’s also a genuinely religious man who has the trust of social conservatives. People deserve hard science from principled people like Paul, not soft twaddle from front men for vested interests. Both a strong libertarian and a social conservative, he just might have the credibility to shape the issues in a way that’s rational and sensitive to rights.

“The bottom line is that mental health issues are a matter for parents, children, and their doctors, not government… It is important to understand that powerful interests, namely federal bureaucrats and pharmaceutical lobbies, are behind the push for mental health screening in schools. There is no end to the bureaucratic appetite to run our lives, and the pharmaceutical industry is eager to sell psychotropic drugs to millions of new customers in American schools. Only tremendous public opposition will suffice to overcome the lobbying and bureaucratic power behind the president’s New Freedom Commission.”

— “Don’t Let Congress Fund Orwellian Psychiatric Screening of Kids,” January 31, 2005.


“We’re often told that immigrants do the jobs Americans won’t do, and sometimes this is true. But in many instances illegal immigrants simply increase the supply of labor in a community, which lowers wages.”

The Immigration Question,” April 4, 2006.

“… immigration may be the sleeper issue that decides the 2008 presidential election.”

“More importantly, we should expect immigrants to learn about and respect our political and legal traditions, which are rooted in liberty and constitutionally limited government.

Our most important task is to focus on effectively patrolling our borders. With our virtually unguarded borders, almost any determined individual – including a potential terrorist – can enter the United States. Unfortunately, the federal government seems more intent upon guarding the borders of other nations than our own. We are still patrolling Korea’s border after some 50 years, yet ours are more porous than ever.”

“Immigration and the Welfare Stare,” August 9, 2005.

This is not xenophobic; it’s common sense in most countries in the world.


Paul is very clear on the importance of the separation of powers and the need for checks and balances in the government and he’s spoken out time and again for strengthening the power of Congress.

“…why not try something novel, like having Congress act as an independent and equal branch of government? Restore the principle of the separation of powers, so that we can perform our duty to provide checks and balances on an executive branch (and an accommodating judiciary) that spies on Americans, glorifies the welfare state, fights undeclared wars, and enormously increases the national debt. Congress was not meant to be a rubber stamp. It’s time for a new direction.”

“Searching For a New Direction,” January 19, 2006.

He’s also stood up against corrupt federal programs like the “war on drugs”:

“We have promoted a foolish and very expensive domestic war on drugs for more than 30 years. It has done no good whatsoever. I doubt our Republic can survive a 30-year period of trying to figure out how to win this guerrilla war against terrorism.”

“The drug war encourages violence. Government violence against nonviolent users is notorious and has led to the unnecessary prison overpopulation. Innocent taxpayers are forced to pay for all this so-called justice. Our eradication project through spraying around the world, from Colombia to Afghanistan, breeds resentment because normal crops and good land can be severely damaged. Local populations perceive that the efforts and the profiteering remain somehow beneficial to our own agenda in these various countries.”

“War on Terror? It’s as Bad as the War on Drugs,” October 30, 2001.


— not only in the constitution but in Anglo-American political history. Ron Paul really understands what some don’t: how central the second amendment is to the notion of a self -reliant, vigilant population. Especially now, the right to arms may be the only safeguard for citizens who don’t trust the police to protect them. That includes minorities who’ve been on the receiving end of police brutality.

“Gun control historically serves as a gateway to tyranny. Tyrants from Hitler to Mao to Stalin have sought to disarm their own citizens, for the simple reason that unarmed people are easier to control. Our Founders, having just expelled the British army, knew that the right to bear arms serves as the guardian of every other right. This is the principle so often ignored by both sides in the gun control debate. Only armed citizens can resist tyrannical government.”

“The D.C. Gun Ban,” March 12, 2007.

In the same spirit Paul also opposes the draft, which allows the privileged and powerful to forcibly deploy less privileged young men as cannon fodder.

“I believe wholeheartedly that an all-volunteer military is not only sufficient for national defense, but also preferable. It is time to abolish the Selective Service System and resign military conscription to the dustbin of American history. Five hundred million dollars have been wasted on Selective Service since 1979, money that could have been returned to taxpayers or spent to improve the lives of our nation’s veterans.”

— “Rethinking the Draft,” November 28, 2006.


— by supporting national sovereignty against transnational organizations manipulated by global elites. With the same consistency, Paul supports the states against the Fed and turns power back to local communities and people, instead of bureaucrats.

“The superhighway proposal is not the result of free market demand, but rather an extension of government-managed trade schemes like NAFTA that benefit politically connected interests.”

“This will require coordinated federal and state eminent domain actions on an unprecedented scale, as literally millions of people and businesses could be displaced. The loss of whole communities is almost certain, as planners cannot wind the highway around every quaint town, historic building, or senior citizen apartment for thousands of miles.”

“The ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway, but an integrated North American Union — complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union. Like the European Union, a North American Union would represent another step toward the abolition of national sovereignty altogether …”

— “The NAFTA Superhighway,” October 30, 2006.

“All federal aid for Katrina should have been distributed as directly as possible to local communities, rather than through wasteful middlemen like FEMA and Homeland Security.”

— “Katrina Relief Six Months Later,” February 21, 2006.

That’s also why Paul is against a national ID:

“This legislation imposes federal standards in a federal bill, and it creates a federalized ID regardless of whether the ID itself is still stamped with the name of your state. It is just a matter of time until those who refuse to carry the new licenses will be denied the ability to drive or board an airplane. Domestic travel restrictions are the hallmark of authoritarian states, not free republics.”

— “The Worst Way to Fight Terror,” October 9, 2004.

Increased decentralization is the only way to allow polarizing social issues that are less central to take a back seat to the cardinal issues we face today — of war and economic recession. Contrary to its depiction by a biased media, Paul’s pro-life position is only opposed to Federal funding of abortions and stem-cell research. Nothing stops the states or private entities from funding them – a constitutionally sound position that allows diverse lifestyles and views to flourish without allowing them to tyrannize others.


and supports opening up the electoral process to more candidates from the grass roots:

“The two items I will be introducing on Tuesday embrace rather than disgrace the first amendment. The first is called the Voter Freedom Act of 1997. It will prohibit states from erecting excessive ballot access barriers to candidates for federal office. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to control federal elections, and I firmly believe that the more voices participating, the more likely it is that the entrenched, out-of-touch, Washington establishment will be swept to the side.”

“Another part of this vital process is opening the debates. So the second piece of legislation I am putting forward is the Debate Freedom Act of 1997… My legislation simply requires that if a candidate accepts the federal funding for his or her election, then that candidate can only participate in debates to which all candidates who qualify for federal funding — whether they take it or not — are invited to participate.”

— “If someone accepts federal cash, then they must follow rules taxpayers set and deserve,” September 15, 1997.


and eliminate the bureaucracy strangling small businesses that create jobs and wealth. Fortunately, in Paul’s lexicon, wealth doesn’t mean the paper-jive of money-sharpers on Wall Street. It’s hard work, innovation and savings. That’s why Paul is also appropriately wary of the IRS’s strong-arm tactics with citizens — and elected representatives — for political reasons.

“Imagine that you have taken a position contrary to the official dictates of the government in your nation. Instead of simply facing criticism from opposing political sides, you find your life turned upside-down; every aspect of your life is closely scrutinized. Without warning, your life savings are seized, your personal, private records divulged far and wide.
Suddenly, how willing are you to continue holding your views?”

“The answer is not to simply revise the code, or to make the IRS more independent, or to have an added layer of judicial review, the answer is to fundamentally change the way we collect taxes in this nation. The nonsensical body of law which governs the IRS is too far removed from sanity to be saved. And the graduated income tax system is neither fair, economically sound, moral nor useful.

“In my mind, the jury is still out on whether a flat tax or a national sales tax is the absolute best way to go (my main goal is for lower taxes, across-the-board), but both will go a long way toward eliminating the politically powerful weapon known as the IRS.”

— “Fear of IRS misplaced, the real problem is the system,” April 20, 1997.


and opposes taxation by inflation. Paul’s been speaking out for years against the destruction of the dollar. He’s one of the few who sees that cheap credit is destroying savings and retirement money, pushing up the cost of living and devastating US standing in the international economy.

“But as a physician I know that I must diagnose an illness before I can treat a patient. In the current instance the diagnoses indicates that the squeeze of the middle class is caused not by low wages, but rather by increased costs resulting from central planning. And the key pillars of our current central-planning regime can be found in tax and monetary policies.

The fact that government creates money out of thin air must be addressed, because it is the entire reason why costs of living increase and standards of living decline… Again, there is only one reason why prices are rising instead of falling. Because the government, through its credit-creation mechanism, is engaged in a sort of price controls, it is in fact following a policy that eventuates in price inflation as well as recession. Plus, this credit creation is at the heart of recent instability in the markets, thus threatening retirement security.”

— “Answering the Middle Class Squeeze,” March 27, 2000

“The biggest rip-off of all — the paper money system that is morally and economically equivalent to counterfeiting — is never questioned. It is the deceptive tool for transferring billions from the unsuspecting poor and middle-class to the special interest rich. And in the process, the deficit-propelled budget process supports the spending demands of all the special interests – left and right, welfare and warfare – while delaying payment to another day and sometimes even to another generation.”


Paul understands the real reason low-wage earners are taking it in the neck. Instead of pandering like the populists with misplaced price and wage controls, he strikes at the root:

“Our tax burden is at its highest peacetime levels. This means wage earners are being squeezed by the cost of government as well as the cost of living. Had Congress not stopped the Clinton-Gore tax on BTUs, (which they called an economic stimulus package), fuel prices would be significantly higher than they are right now. This points to why government is not the answer.

Increases in costs of living are a real problem, especially for those at the lower end of the wage scale. Those costs will continue to rise if we allow central planning to continue, but the solution to central planning is freedom, not grant further control over wages to government.”

— “Answering the Middle Class Squeeze,” March 27, 2000.


Paul has consistently fought the kind of federal power grab represented by the creation of a national ID as another expensive, corrupt, abusive government boondoggle.

“The Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act also contains a blanket prohibition on the use of identifiers to “investigate, monitor, oversee, or otherwise regulate” American citizens. Mr. Chairman, prohibiting the Federal Government from using standard identifiers will ensure that American liberty is protected from the “surveillance state.” Allowing the federal government to use standard identifiers to oversee private transactions present tremendous potential for abuse of civil liberties by unscrupulous government officials.

I am sure I need not remind the members of this Committee of the sad history of government officials of both parties using personal information contained in IRS or FBI files against their political enemies. Imagine the potential for abuse if an unscrupulous government official is able to access one’s complete medical, credit, and employment history by simply typing the citizens’ “uniform identifier” into a database.”

— “Statement of Ron Paul on the Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act (HR 220),” May 18, 2000.

“This legislation gives authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to expand required information on driver’s licenses, potentially including such biometric information as retina scans, finger prints, DNA information, and even Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) radio tracking technology. Including such technology as RFID would mean that the federal government, as well as the governments of Canada and Mexico, would know where Americans are at all time of the day and night.

There are no limits on what happens to the database of sensitive information on Americans once it leaves the United States for Canada and Mexico – or perhaps other countries. Who is to stop a corrupt foreign government official from selling or giving this information to human traffickers or even terrorists? Will this uncertainty make us feel safer?”

— “HR 418- A National ID Bill Masquerading as Immigration Reform,” February 9, 2005


“Those future obligations (of entitlements) put our real debt figure at roughly fifty trillion dollars- a staggering sum that is about as large as the total household net worth of the entire United States. Your share of this fifty trillion amounts to about $175,000.

… If present trends continue, by 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare alone. The only options for balancing the budget would be cutting total federal spending by about 60%, or doubling federal taxes. To close the long-term entitlement gap, the U.S. economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.”

— “The Coming Entitlement Meltdown,” March 5, 2007.


to deal with healthcare, where government interference has already created a disaster.

“The problems with our health-care system are not the result of too little government intervention, but rather too much. Contrary to the claims of many advocates of increased government regulation of health care, rising costs and red tape do not represent market failure. Rather, they represent the failure of government policies that have destroyed the health care market.”

“As a greater amount of government and corporate money has been used to pay medical bills, costs have risen artificially out of the range of most individuals. Only true competition assures that the consumer gets the best deal at the best price possible by putting pressure on the providers. Patients are better served by having options and choices, not new federal bureaucracies and limitations on legal remedies.”

— “Diagnosing Our Health Care Woes,” September 25, 2006.


that distort the market and burden tax payers, like the bailout of international speculators with tax payer money in the Mexican and Asian crises in the 1990s.

“But many investors today are eager to embrace the philosophy of free-market economics when it comes to making money and keeping their profits, but at the first sign of those investments going sour, they want the government to socialize their losses at the expense of the taxpayers.

And since these investors have also heavily “invested” in American politics, it is easy for the politicians to use your money to help them out. After all, it is very easy to be generous with other people’s money.”

President opts to use taxpayer fund to bail out wealthy investors,” December 29, 1997.

“For a long time I have advocated getting rid of the Export-Import Bank. It is unconstitutional for the federal government, using your money, to be subsidizing the risky business ventures of corporations. And often, these ventures involve giving large sums of money and aid to oppressive foreign governments, like China… Subsidizing big corporations is unconstitutional and violative of the laws of free-market economics, no matter what Congress calls the mechanism. Those who are addicted to corporate welfare have no need to worry; USEX will be doing the same thing as Ex-Im.”

— “US shouldn’t cast stones with Religious Persecution,” October 6, 1997.


and the charade of aid that funds foreign dictators. He also understands the dangers of national armies in the service of global international bodies, a position firmly rooted in the ideas of Madison and Jefferson. And firmly opposed to the deluded “liberventionism” of today’s Trotskyites and humanitarian bombers who fancy themselves as global Supermen

“Neither, of course, does the Constitution allow us to subsidize foreign governments through such taxpayer-supported entities as the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, OPIC, Ex-Im/USEX or any number of other vehicles through which the U.S. Congress sends foreign aid to a large number of countries (including those who engage in religious persecution). It is time we stopped both policing the world, and funding the totalitarian thugs of planet.”

” It is ironic that the same federal government which killed innocent children at Waco for their parents “odd” religious beliefs, now proclaims itself ready to judge the world’s nations on their religious tolerance.”

— “US shouldn’t cast stones with religious persecution,” October 6, 1997.


besides the Middle East; Paul isn’t piped at the umbilicus to energy companies or in bed with oil executives, unlike our current crop of carbon-dating fossils.

“Yes, we need Middle Eastern oil, but we can reduce our need by exploring domestic sources. We should rid ourselves of the notion that we are at the mercy of the oil-producing countries- as the world’s largest oil consumer, their wealth depends on our business.”

— “Our Incoherent Foreign Policy Fuels Middle East Turmoil,” December 3, 2002.


not the World. Wow! What a revolutionary idea.

“We should stop the endless game of playing faction against faction, and recognize that buying allies doesn’t work. We should curtail the heavy militarization of the area by ending our disastrous foreign aid payments. We should stop propping up dictators and putting band-aids on festering problems. We should understand that our political and military involvement in the region creates far more problems that it solves. All Americans will benefit, both in terms of their safety and their pocketbooks, if we pursue a coherent, neutral foreign policy of non-interventionism, free trade, and self-determination in the Middle East.”

— “Our Incoherent Foreign Policy Fuels Middle East Turmoil,” December 3, 2002.

“The best reason to oppose interventionism is that people die, needlessly, on both sides. We have suffered over 20,000 American casualties in Iraq already, and Iraq civilian deaths probably number over 100,000 by all reasonable accounts. The next best reason is that the rule of law is undermined, especially when military interventions are carried out without a declaration of war. Whenever a war is ongoing, civil liberties are under attack at home. The current war in Iraq and the misnamed war on terror have created an environment here at home that affords little constitutional protection of our citizen’s rights. Extreme nationalism is common during wars. Signs of this are now apparent.”

— “Iran: The Next Neo-Con Target,” April 5, 2006.


Paul opposes unconstitutional legislation like the Hate Crimes Bill, not because he doesn’t understand the fears of the vulnerable, but because he’s long-sighted enough to know that the danger of creating a category of thought-crimes outweighs them. Eventually, hate crime laws always end up making political protest or the expression of religious conscience difficult or impossible.

“It’s also disconcerting to hear the subtle or not-so-subtle threats against free speech. Since the FCC regulates airwaves and grants broadcast licenses, we’re told it’s proper for government to forbid certain kinds of insulting or offensive speech in the name of racial and social tolerance. Never mind the 1st Amendment, which states unequivocally that, “Congress shall make NO law.”

— “Government and Racism,” April 16, 2007.

Paul’s made it clear that he’s against regulation of the Internet, one of the last remaining forums for free speech, especially on political matters, and one of the few places you can get independent news. Think what would happen if that freedom disappeared too.

“I trust the Internet a lot more, and I trust the freedom of expression. And that’s why we should never interfere with the Internet. That’s why I’ve never voted to regulate the Internet.”

— “California Republican debate transcript,” May 7, 2007.


Unlike most of our representatives, Paul looks like he actually reads what US intelligence (and just about every other intelligence service in the world) has been saying about terrorism for years:

“Consider Saudi Arabia, the native home of most of the September 11th hijackers. The Saudis, unlike the Iraqis, have proven connections to al Qaeda. Saudi charities have funneled money to Islamic terrorist groups. Yet the administration insists on calling Saudi Arabia a “good partner in the war on terror.” Why? Because the U.S. has a long standing relationship with the Saudi royal family, and a long history of commercial interests relating to Saudi oil. So successive administrations continue to treat the Saudis as something they are not: a reliable and honest friend in the Middle East.

The same is true of Pakistan, where General Musharaf seized power by force in a 1999 coup. The Clinton administration quickly accepted his new leadership as legitimate, to the dismay of India and many Muslim Pakistanis. Since 9/11, we have showered Pakistan with millions in foreign aid, ostensibly in exchange for Musharaf’s allegiance against al Qaeda. Yet has our new ally rewarded our support? Hardly. The Pakistanis almost certainly have harbored bin Laden in their remote mountains, and show little interest in pursuing him or allowing anyone else to pursue him. Pakistan has signed peace agreements with Taliban leaders, and by some accounts bin Laden is a folk hero to many Pakistanis.”

— “Hypocrisy in the Middle East,” Feb 26, 2007.


Horses go before carts, says Ron Paul in his revolutionary way.

“What is the moral argument for attacking a nation that has not initiated aggression against us, and could not if it wanted?”

“Why are we taking precious military and intelligence resources away from tracking down those who did attack the United States — and who may again attack the United States — and using them to invade countries that have not attacked the United States?”

“Was former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro wrong when he recently said there is no confirmed evidence of Iraq’s links to terrorism?”

“Is it not true that the CIA has concluded there is no evidence that a Prague meeting between 9/11 hijacker Atta and Iraqi intelligence took place?”

“Where does the Constitution grant us permission to wage war for any reason other than self-defense?”

” Is it not true that a war against Iraq rejects the sentiments of the time-honored Treaty of Westphalia, nearly 400 years ago, that countries should never go into another for the purpose of regime change?”

” Is it not true that the more civilized a society is, the less likely disagreements will be settled by war?”

” Is it not true that since World War II Congress has not declared war and- not coincidentally- we have not since then had a clear-cut victory?”

— “Questions That Won’t Be Asked About Iraq,” September 10, 2002.


Ron Paul’s America is the old Constitutional Republic not the new-fangled Empire. He’s consistently stood up for the Bill of Rights against an arrogant executive and supine Congress who’ve sold them out to jack up their own power at home and abroad:

“It is with the complicity of Congress that we have become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrolled spying on the American people. Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home.”

— “Getting Iraq War Funding Wrong Again,” May 1, 2007.

“It is clear, however, that the Patriot Act expands the government’s ability to monitor us. The Act eases federal rules for search warrants in some cases; allows expanded wiretaps and Internet monitoring; allows secret “sneak and peek” searches; and even permits federal agents to examine library and bookstore records. On these grounds alone it should be soundly rejected.”

— “Trust Us, We’re the Government,” August 26, 2003.

“We should remember that Iran, like Iraq, is a third-world nation without a significant military. Nothing in history hints that she is likely to invade a neighboring country, let alone do anything to America or Israel. I am concerned, however, that a contrived Gulf of Tonkin-type incident may occur to gain popular support for an attack on Iran.”

— “The Irrelevance of Military Victory,” January 16, 2007.

Disclosure: Since publication of this article, it appears likely that Ron Paul will supply a blurb for my upcoming book.

Lila Rajiva is a freelance journalist and the author of The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the US Media (Monthly Review Press, 2005) and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets (with Bill Bonner-Wiley, September 2007). She has also contributed chapters to One of the Guys (Ed., Tara McKelvey and Barbara Ehrenreich, Seal Press, 2007), an anthology of writing on women as torturers, and to The Third World: Opposing Viewpoints (Ed., David Haugen, Greenhaven, 2006). Read other articles by Lila, or visit Lila's website.