The Libertarian Dark Horse Is Still Kicking

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"Who the
heck is Ron Paul?” asked many Americans over the course of
the past year. The 70 year old, Texas Congressman’s name and
face adorned web pages, blogs, email spams, posters and pamphlets
throughout the nation. Out of nowhere, the Republican Presidential
candidate appeared on television for the Primary debates giving
blunt, hard hitting, no nonsense answers and lacerating jabs. He
criticized fellow candidates for their foreign policy, corporate
cronyism, and support of “big” government. His candid
demeanor, especially in calling out the Administration for its failure
in Iraq, helped win him over many independents, jaded Republicans,
and “on the fence” liberals who found his voice a refreshing
and legitimate “third option.” He dominates the Internet
search engines, wins most of the online polls, maintains an overwhelming
presence on Youtube, and recently scored a number one bestseller
with his manifesto: Ron
Paul: The Revolution
. Through independent, grass roots activism,
his campaign received over $6 million dollars making it the largest
one-day fundraiser in U.S. political history.

However, his
detractors suggest Ron Paul is more of an “internet sensation”
than a practical solution. His followers are seen as mindless and
rabid “acolytes” whose repetitive mantra of “smaller
government, de-regulations, pro free market” is naïve
and blind to the economic and political realities of the world.
Mostly, people suggest Congressman Paul’s rhetoric is simply
old school libertarianism masquerading as a “revolution.”
Regardless of your opinion, most admire his willingness to speak
his mind. In this interview, he discusses a gamut of subjects in
his characteristically frank and honest demeanor.

For nearly
an hour, we tackled The Republican Party, President Bush’s
legacy, Obama, Illegal Immigration, Abortion, Race in America, Foreign
Policy in the Middle East, Gay Marriage, the Housing Crisis, Iraq,
Afghanistan, and the American Media.

ALI: Many
people are asking: “Are you still in the race?”

PAUL: Well,
technically I am. I mean there’s not much of a race since McCain
has all the votes. But I am participating. And we still try to get
his votes. Like yesterday we got 15% in Oregon [Primary] and that
represents a solid base that we have.

ALI: Next
logical question, why still stay in the race?

PAUL: I think
what we’re doing is real important. I think the message is
important. The people who are involved, the volunteers, are enthusiastic.
Our numbers keep growing. We still have money in the bank. They
want to see the campaign continue to maximize our efforts and at
the same look forward to continuing this project even after the
election and make sure we reach as many people as we can.

ALI: It’s
going to be, most likely, Obama vs. McCain. Who do you think will
win? Who do you think should win? Can you move beyond partisan loyalty
to support Obama?

PAUL: I think
Obama will probably win the primary, but I wouldn’t bet money
on it. At one time, I thought it would be impossible for any Republican
to come close, but with the Democrats beating up on each other,
it’s given time for McCain to recover a bit. But I can’t
see how a Republicans can win, because this country does not like
it when we have a long drawn out war and a bad economy, and that’s
what we have.

So I think
Obama certainly has the edge. If I had to bet money, I’d bet
on Obama. As far as supporting Obama, I wouldn’t be able to,
because he has a lot of positions I don’t agree with. His rhetoric
is much closer than McCain on foreign policy obviously, but his
foreign policy is not a whole lot different than what McCain and
the Republicans have. You know, even the leadership in the House,
the Democratic leadership has done nothing to really change things
since they took over the House in 2006. I wouldn’t expect Obama
to really change foreign policy. I still think they’re very
much anxious to do something against Iran. [Nancy] Pelosi [Speaker
of the House] has been pushing that, and that’s the position
of both parties.

ALI: I want
to ask you about the Republican Party. What is Bush’s legacy
for the Republican Party, and what harm has he done to not only
the nation but also the Republican Party? Can the Republican Party
rebound in 2008 and, if so, what is its identity and how does it
define itself?

PAUL: Well,
they’re going to have a tough time, because they had their
chance. The culmination of it was in 1994 and 2000, when they finally
got the total control in preaching the gospel of less government
and balanced budget. Even in the year 2000, Bush talked about no
nation building and not playing the role of world policeman. The
failure of that is so overwhelming: that is the legacy. So, getting
credibility back is the main thing. And then going back to what
they claim they believe in: smaller government, balanced budgets,
personal liberty and the Constitution. They have a long way to go.

ALI: The
name of your new book, a manifesto, is entitled “The Revolution.”
These are bold words – no subtlety there. But many say your
positions are merely rhetorical window dressing for old school libertarianism.

PAUL:
Well, I don’t know where the old school libertarianism came
from or where it is. It’s old school Constitutionalism. And
the Constitution is very libertarian, so I guess you could connect
it that way. But when thinking of conventional politics and Republican
politics, it’s old school Republican politics. When we had
a Robert Taft who was head of the Republican Party, he argued much
of what I argue today. As a matter of fact, another interesting
person who took that position was Warren Buffet’s dad, Howard
Buffet, when he was in Congress. His position was very similar to
mine. So, that may be old school Republicanism, but it just means
that we believe the government should be really small in size and
we should follow the Constitution.

ALI: Let’s
talk about your foreign policy positions. You clarify in your book
that you are not an isolationist but more of a non-interventionist.
Your opposition to the Iraq War and pre-emptive strikes against
Iran is now well known and quite popular with many progressives,
independents, the Left and the youth. However, you are also critical
of foreign aid to countries as well. If international actors, such
as The IMF, WTO, or even Super Powers were to abandon predatory
corporatism, couldn’t aid, such as educational aid to Afghanistan,
deter future blowback and help create friendship? Are you averse
to this form of “intervention?”

PAUL: No, and
there still would be that I don’t want to steal money from
people and give it to corrupt governments that would maybe misuse
this money. A free and prosperous country would do this in a voluntary
fashion. But, the point that people have to remember is that if
you want to impose our will on Iraq through bombs and promote democracy:
this is done with a “do good” objective. They’re
always saying we’re going to promote the goodness of America,
we’re going to promote democracy. They try to tell us this
is all done with “good intentions.” So, if you do that
and it backfires, then some of us will complain.

But doing the
same thing using foreign aid, people say, “Well, this is different.
This is economic aid.” So, that’s legitimate to tax poor
people in this country, or inflate the currency, or borrow and bankrupt
the country to do “good” on economic terms? But the whole
thing is using force again. So, I reject the use of force to promote
these good intentions. Besides, just as good intentions in foreign
policy backfire like they did in Iraq and Vietnam and so many other
places, the good intentions in helping poor people who are starving
in Africa do the same thing. Because if you send them food in the
midst of civil war, the government takes it over and they use it
as a weapon against certain factions, so it rarely does the job
it’s supposed to do. Just because economic aid is well intended,
it’s matter of fact identical to the “well intentions’
of those who want to use military force.

ALI: Will
you say that The Marshall Plan was a use of “good” foreign
intervention and aid? Subsequently, is there any example you can
give me where foreign aid was actually beneficial? Any way where
the U.S. could actually help?

PAUL: Well,
no, I wouldn’t have voted for The Marshall Plan for the same
reason I just stated. It was pointed out that if you look at all
the capital investments after WW2, the Marshall Plan came late and
it was small compared to what Germany did afterwards, under Erhardt,
he didn’t follow the advice of liberal economists over here
who told him, “Keep on with the wage and price controls and
bunch of other things,” he just de-regulated it. He created
an environment where a lot of capital came in. And that’s how
they got back on their feet again.

I can’t
think of anything where some good will come from it [foreign aid.]
There’s not a good argument for that. But there’s always
some good that appears to come from it. Like, if you do anything
here or domestically or overseas, you might say, “Well, look,
you might be opposed to it, but we built this hospital, and it’s
a wonderful hospital and it works. And we built this house for somebody.”
But, so often, what is not asked is what is the expense? How much
did it cost? Who lost their job? Who had to pay for this? How much
debt was there? How much inflation did it cause? How long did the
hospital last? Would the hospital last as long had it been developed
privately? So, you can’t look and say that because it looks
like it was beneficial in the short run for a small group, it never
can justify the use of force to redistribute wealth at the point
of a gun.

Whether you
go and use a gun to take taxes and benefit Halliburton, it’s
the same thing. Even when we do good here in this country, it’s
interesting, we did the same thing where we had to help Katrina
victims. It was terribly unsuccessful, but Halliburton was doing
no bid contracts! So, that’s the kind of thing I object to.
But the most important thing is that a lot of this could be taken
care of and the fact that the government doesn’t do it, doesn’t
mean it’s not going to happen, it’s going to likely happen
in a much better manner.

ALI: What
is your opinion on the government subcontracting crucial public
sector functions to private military firms such as Halliburton and
Blackwater? We’ve witnessed several public relations debacles
and overspending and waste resulting from the government’s
over reliance on this outsourcing in Iraq alone. Should both the
private actors and the government be blamed? Isn’t this kind
of a marriage between the government and corporate actors both going
awry?

PAUL: Oh, yeah.
That’s what militarism and all this government activity does.
Militarism encourages the military industry complex. Once the government
takes over medical care, then you have the medical industrial complex.
In finance, you have the banking complex, because the banks are
in bed with the Federal Reserve and they control the money and the
interest rates. Very often the media, because it’s licensed
and controlled by the government, they become the propagandas for
war. So, you have too much of this, and if you had a strict constitutional
society, you’d have none of it.

ALI: Congressman
Paul, you voted for the use of military force in Afghanistan. However,
Afghanistan now sees the rise of the Taliban, Hamid Karzai [Afghanistan’s
President] is effectively useless, there’s a beaten and wounded
population, and no infrastructure. Do you regret that initial decision?
Was it part of the pro war, patriotic fervor that gripped the nation
post 9-11?

PAUL: Well,
no, but if you go back and look at that authority, I’d probably
vote for it again, but it does prove the point that even with the
best intentions it doesn’t work out well. But precisely it
didn’t work out well because the President didn’t do what
he was asked to do. He was asked to go after Osama Bin Laden and
catch the guys that had something to do with 9-11. That’s what
we were targeting, and he didn’t keep his eye on the target.
He dropped the ball at Tora Bora, they escaped into Pakistan, and
then Bush went into nation building.

First in Iraq,
then in Pakistan, and he’s been there ever since. That authority
wasn’t to devise a foreign policy that ultimately was tremendously
beneficial to Iran: he got rid of Saddam Hussein and he got rid
of the Taliban. This was not beneficial for our interests. I would
say the failure of that was because he didn’t do what he was
supposed to do. The only argument against the vote would be that
I don’t trust the President because he won’t use the authority
right and he’ll blow it, and I’m not going to give him
the authority to do this. But, under the circumstances, I thought
we should’ve done something.

ALI: What
can we do about Iraq? If we cut and run, we will see chaos. Don’t
we owe the Iraqi people a moral responsibility to at least establish
a modicum of functionality after having decimated them for the past
10 years, including the catastrophic UN sanctions? Or, do you favor
staying there for several years? What’s your take on this?

PAUL: Nah,
I’d get out of there. We do have a moral responsibility, but
it’s the people who perpetuated the war. So, the Halliburtons
of the world and all the private groups that made the money and
all the Neocons that made the policy, yeah, if you can hold them
accountable, they’re the ones who are morally responsible and
they should pay. But the average American citizen didn’t do
it, and the money isn’t here, and we just further injure our
economy and it causes more unemployment and inflation. So, I would
say just quit the bleeding literally and figuratively.

So, I would
say, “No, come home.” The people who say it’s going
to be chaotic if we leave are the ones who said it would be a cakewalk
and the oil would pay for everything. Of course back then oil was
$27 a barrel and now it’s $127 a barrel or more. I remember
the Sixties they told us we couldn’t leave Vietnam because
it would be a domino effect, well, it didn’t happen. Vietnam
is now capitalistic and they trade with us and we visit there and
invest in there. And China is our backer, so it doesn’t always
work out the way these people predict. But the whole argument is
“ If we leave now, there will be chaos.” What do we have
now? I think both countries are a lot worse off than they are telling
us. And I think it’s going to get a lot worse.

ALI: What
would be your plan to get out if you were elected President?

PAUL: I’d
just come home as soon as the military could get them out. Whether
it was 2 or 3 months, as long as they could get them out safely.
And I’d announce to the world our policy is changing, the Navy
would be backed off from the Iranian shores and that we’d be
willing to talk to people. I think the dollar would go up and oil
would do down and they’d probably start talking to each other.
You know, they’re talking to each other right now. If we weren’t
over there, Israel would probably be talking to the modern Arabs,
the Arab League would be involved, even with the civil strife in
Lebanon, they would talk to each other, and I think they would do
it more so if we were out of there. So, I think sooner we leave
the better.

ALI: You’re
a fan of the free market. However, many, such as those in third
world countries, lament the use and abuse of free market exploitation
by predatory actors who subvert ethnical norms for self-profit at
the expense of the country’s labor, environment and resources.
How can you, if at all, ensure the free market isn’t ruled
by an iron fist of the few and truly allows for efficient and fair
distribution of capital? It has never worked that way has it?

PAUL: Well,
it depends. If you have true, free market capitalism and property
rights it works. But, if you have people who don’t understand
and recognize private property rights and contracts and sound money
like we did in this country – that’s why it worked up
until it started to change from the Depression on. That’s why
we don’t have real wealth anymore; we have apparent wealth
based on borrowing. A country that would follow capitalistic viewpoints
would become very wealthy. Anything in the West where they had famine
at one time, the only thing that got rid of famine and child labor
and all the poverty that so many countries suffer from all came
about with the recognition that people are allowed to make profits.

But that doesn’t
mean you have the right to do anything immoral: you can’t steal,
you can’t defraud, and you have to live up to your promises.
So, the government has a role in setting the ground rules and yet
they do the opposite. The government now violates property rights,
they take our currency and debase the currency, and they do so many
things that contradict the market place. And that’s why we’re
slipping into the same situation as Third World nations have and
this is why our middle class is getting poorer. So, we have to wake
up or we will be like a Third World nation. The big mistake is blaming
capitalism. This is what we did in the Depression. They blamed the
capitalism gold standard for the Depression, and it was absolutely
wrong. They’re about to do that again. Every time something
happens, “Oh there’s not enough regulations!” “Housing
bubbles collapses! Oh, we need more regulations!” Enron comes,
“More regulations! More inflation! Bail out everybody!”
That’s not capitalism.

ALI: You
mentioned The Depression. A Keynsian model of economics as applied
during FDR’s presidency helped usher the New Deal, which increased
the scale and scope of the U.S. government. This form of government
expansion and regulation created several agencies, which effectively
helped pull us out of a Great Depression. Can’t this be an
example of proactive government regulation that can help us if motivated
towards collective social, economic reform? Can’t a form of
Keynsian economics help dig us out of our current predicament?

PAUL: I don’t
agree with that at all. Matter of fact, the pro-activism of the
‘30’s is the reason it lasted 15 years. The Depression
didn’t end until after World War 2, and some people say, “Oh,
yeah, we got out of the Depression with the War! War is good for
the economy!” That’s a bunch of nonsense. It helped unemployment,
but everybody was getting killed. If you have 3 or 4 million people
in the military and ship them overseas, yeah they’re fully
employed, but in 1921 we had the natural correction of the abuse
of the Federal Reserve during WW1. The inflation, the correction
had to occur. Back then they believed you keep your “hands
off”, and the Depression of 1921 lasted one year.

Then, they
went back to doing the same foolish things again with the booms
of the ‘20’s. Then, when the correction came, the stock
market collapsed, they immediately said, “ We can’t keep
our hands off!” And that’s when Hoover started all these
programs, and Roosevelt ran on balanced budgets and he ran on a
Conservative platform. But he comes in and he doubles and quadruples
everything Hoover was doing, so he prolonged it. Unemployment was
back up to 17% again in 1937 to 1938, and they had all kinds of
problems later on. So, the pro-activism of the government actually
prolonged the Depression, it didn’t shorten it all.

ALI: You’re
a constitutionalist and defender of individual liberties, and you
strongly support state rights. The California courts, last week,
said it’s unconstitutional to ban gay marriage; stating gays
had a protected right to marry just like heterosexuals. Many right
wing Republicans and Conservatives say this is another sign of liberal
judicial activism, since the will of the people in California was
expressed in 2000 through a vote. What’s your position on this?

PAUL: I’d
let California do what they want. And I didn’t vote for the
Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage, but the states can
do it. This can be solved so easily, all you have to do is legalize
contracts, you shouldn’t even be involved in defining marriage.
I think marriage should be a religious and personal ceremony and
anybody who wants to call themselves married can. And if they don’t
want to, that’s all right too. If I don’t like somebody
else calling themselves married, so what? It doesn’t bother
me any, so I just leave them alone. It’s when people call themselves
married and want to impose their will on other people and say, “Because
now I am married, you will treat my spouse in a certain way,”
and demanding something either from government or from certain insurance
company, that is forcing themselves on somebody else. People should
be left alone. If they want to be married, fine. If they want to
call it marriage, fine. But they don’t have the right to impose
it on other people.

ALI: But,
do you think American society or maybe just even human behavior
would allow that ideal to take place? That you marry whomever you
want?

PAUL: Sure.
I’m all for that. You know when you cut the licensing –
see, I don’t even want the licensing – but if you’re
going to have licensing, the states do this, you know, it would’ve
been convenient for me to take my Texas medical license and go to
Florida whenever I wanted and practice medicine, but I wasn’t
allowed to do that. They still recognized the jurisdiction. So,
I think anything in which there is licensing, the states still have
the prerogatives of doing it. I just think we should have a lot
less licensing. Even in the medical profession I think these things
should be settled in the marketplace rather than the government.

ALI: Based
on what’s happening right now with the sensationalist news
about the Mormon cult, would you also be willing to respect people’s
religious beliefs that allow for polygamy or bigamy? Or no?

PAUL: Yeah,
I would tend to lean in that direction or at least recognize that
the states have the right to write the laws, but I would be sympathetic.
But just think if you’re a member of Congress and you have
two wives and children in two homes, and all of a sudden the government
comes and says, “A-ha! Two wives! We better gather up these
kids, they might be being abused.” Why is it a whole lot different
than a person practicing it a little bit more honestly, “Yeah,
I have two wives, three wives and a bunch of kids.” But the
government has to come in and gather up the children? That’s
my personal belief, but I still recognize the state has the right
to regulate that. I don’t want any federal laws against drug
usages and yet the states are allowed to regulate the use of drugs
and alcohol.

ALI: Here’s
a topic that’s been controversial for you. If indeed you support
individual liberties and rights, then why are you so critical of
Roe vs. Wade that allows women the right to abort before the third
trimester and not be oppressed by undue burdens. Isn’t this
the right of the woman to decide? A woman can say, “I’m
not forcing you to abort or not abort, but shouldn’t I have
a choice and shouldn’t that choice be respected by the government?”
Is there some tension between your philosophy of civil liberties
and your pro-life, anti Roe v Wade stance?

PAUL: Well,
no, but it’s absolutely consistent with the Constitution. If
it is an act of violence, which I believe it is, then an act of
violence should be dealt with at the local level. If there’s
a manslaughter charge or murder, you don’t have the federal
government involved. So, first off you don’t have the government
involved. Therefore, the Supreme Court should have never heard the
case. So, Roe vs. Wade is an unconstitutional ruling and they shouldn’t
have messed with it.

But, if you
want to get into the arguments about rights, it isn’t so much
a woman’s right to kill, as much as it is about asking does
the unborn have the right to life? I’ve come down on the side
saying that it’s alive and human and viable, and why shouldn’t
they have the right? If you have a baby that is just born and it’s
born in a crib and your hallowed home is your castle, nobody says,
“Yeah, yeah, it’s her home, so that’s private. Privacy
protects the mother, so she can kill the baby, she doesn’t
need the baby, so we’ll kill it.” But one minute before
birth it’s okay! You know, that’s the way it is today:
a doctor can get paid for killing a fetus before birth, but at the
same time a girl delivers a baby and throws it away, she gets arrested
for murder. The question is about “Is this life that deserves
protection?” That is the issue. Not the mother’s privacy,
that’s not the relevant question.

ALI: You
think there’s no difference between a doctor removing the fetus
from the womb, or as you said, a woman throwing her baby in the
trashcan?

PAUL: I think
you can make a moral case for the fact that if you have a 3 or 4
or 5 pound baby and you look at it on the Ultrasound, and you say
it has no value. Well, yeah, I think it’s pretty close to being
equivalent.

ALI: Congressman
Paul, you’ve won a lot of support from many Muslim Americans
based on some of your policies, specifically your views on foreign
policy and U.S. non-interventionism. Suppose you have the power
or means of making peace or bridging a peace with Muslims worldwide.
What do you think the United States must do, either through diplomacy,
rhetoric, or action to ameliorate some of the tensions? Palestine,
for example, is a hot button issue.

PAUL: Well,
the first thing I would do is have a different position on the Middle
East. I’m pretty certain the Muslim-Arab world sees us as very
biased in our dealing with the Palestinians and Israelis. So, I
would treat them both the same. I would not be helping either side,
but I’d talk to both sides, I’d trade with both sides,
I’d be friendly with both sides. And, of course, the people
who are pro-Israel say, “Oh, that would be terrible, you wouldn’t
give foreign aid to Israel.” Yeah, I know, but the Arab nations
get more money than Israel gets, so it would be very fair. Besides,
it would put more pressure on Israel to get along with their neighbors,
and it would give more incentives to the Arab League to be interested
in talking and understand Syria and Israel, who probably would like
to talk to each other.

The worst thing
is we’re always telling countries what to do: Israel what to
do, and the Arab countries what to do, and putting pressure on them.
If they want to talk, we object to it, if they think they have to
do certain things which are in their best interest we shouldn’t
be that judgmental. And we’re always passing these resolutions
that’s condemning one side over the other. I would never support
those resolutions, I don’t vote for them here even though I
could. Personally, I might have some criticism when some of these
violent acts occur, but I think we’re stirring things up when
we’re picking one side. So, I think just that tone would be
so much different and would help to stabilize things so much better.

I think we
get into trouble not only because we do so much propping up of Israel,
but we also prop up dictatorships in the Arab world. I don’t
think it does us any favor by guaranteeing the absolute security
of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Most people can see through that
and that condition has existed since WW2. So, it would be an argument
for neutrality and friendship and trade with everybody, and I think
we’d have a much better chance with getting along with a lot
more people and a better chance for people in the world.

ALI: Why
is the administration moving towards an aggressive rhetoric against
Iran and Syria? And would you be open for talks and negotiations
with them?

PAUL: Sure.
Sure, we should talk to them. I mean if Kennedy could talk to Khrushchev,
and he had 40,000 nuclear missiles, and they were unconditioned
talks in order to smooth things over in October, 1962. I mean we
could surely talk to a country like Iran that really doesn’t
have that much of an army or navy or air force or intercontinental
ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons. And, we’re so frightened
of ourselves; I think it’s just a sense of insecurity and pressure
put on by different special interests around the world to not talk.
I think we should talk! If they want to talk, fine. If they don’t,
then we should treat them fairly. I wouldn’t put sanctions
on them either. Sanctions on all these “threats” is just
looking for an opportunity to satisfy people who want to start bombing
over there, and I’m scared to death it’s going to happen.

ALI: We’ve
seen the rise of the Christian right and Neo conservatives, an alliance
that steeps itself in Evangelical narrative to advance social causes
as well as military hegemony overseas. Some have declared this as
a new form of “American Fascism.” How has the Republican
Party drifted so “right” of center, hijacking God for
sake of political punditry, and can you reform it without alienating
that niche constituency – the Neocons and the fundamentalist
evangelical Baptists?

PAUL: Nah,
I think they’re going to be offended, because if you point
out to them that the Constitution is what they should be defending,
then they’re going to be annoyed. I think that they’re
a very vocal group. But I consider myself not too far from that
group. I have very fundamentalist beliefs. I’m Christian, and
I believe in home schooling. I’m pro-life, but I don’t
fall into that category of making alliances with Neo conservatives.
But, there’s a large segment of the home schooled Christian
community that have a different attitude than the more moderate,
Christian community, who don’t buy into that. Certainly, the
Evangelicals have gotten a lot of attention.

ALI: You’ve
won over many liberals by critically lambasting the government and
Bush for his abusive exercise of his Executive Powers in waging
war. We’ve seen wireless taps and intrusive surveillance, the
terrorism surveillance act, the Patriot Act, and even torture. We
also see Congress supporting The Patriot Act. How do you prove to
America you’re keeping her secure without appearing “weak”
to those in America who would rather feel safe than be free? What
argument can you give them that these abridgments of their 4th Amendment
rights are more damaging than the alleged benefits of a more “secure”
nation?

PAUL: I think
much of what we do comes from a sense of insecurity when we have
to register the American people with national ID cards and pester
them at airports – that’s a sense of insecurity. But I
don’t think you can achieve that goal, which would be my goal,
without changing the foreign policy. And that won’t happen
overnight. People all over the world have to be convinced that we
aren’t the king maker, and we’re not going to use our
CIA to overthrow and implement dictators. I mean how long have we
been doing this? In ’53 we started doing it in Iran. So, yeah,
we have to convince people that we don’t want to do that, and
it’ll take a while to do that, but I think that’s what
we should be doing.

ALI: Here’s
a question, and it’s controversial because some people still
need an explanation for this, even though you gave an explanation
already. But just listen to the question. There was that Ron Paul
political newsletter released 16 years ago which had some very racist
language particularly against African Americans suggesting the L.A.
riots stopped after “they” picked up their welfare checks.
You have repeatedly said you are neither racist nor endorsed or
said these comments. You have a quote saying, "Libertarians
are incapable of being a racist, because racism is a collectivist
idea.” Many would disagree that racism can poison on an individual
as well as collective level. If you do believe as you say in your
book that we are no longer mired in racism as a society how do we
explain the Rev. Wright-Obama debacle and the White voters swooning
to Clinton? We can see evidence of that in Kentucky Primaries.

PAUL: I didn’t
say racism doesn’t exist, but if you’re a true libertarian,
you see people as individuals and you don’t even know what
group they bond to. I think the instrument that causes so much of
this is sort of a subtle thing by the media, and it annoys me to
no end. Because every time they analyze campaigns or elections,
before or immediately after elections, they immediately go out and
say, well, they never say, “How did the individuals vote?”
they say, “What did the Muslims do? What did the Jews do? What
did the women do? How did they vote?” And everyone is put in
a category endlessly. So, we’re conditioned to think we’re
not important because we’re an individual, but only because
we belong to a group and that was the point of mine making that
statement. If people are truly racist, they see people in groups,
because if you’re a true libertarian, you don’t see that.
Now, there might be some libertarians that drift off, but I think
they lose their libertarian credentials if they’re able to
do that.

ALI: Do
you think what we’re seeing with White voters going for Clinton,
specifically in Kentucky, what do you think that’s about? Specifically
the fact that almost 2/3 of them said they wouldn’t for Obama
even if he gets the Democratic nomination?

PAUL: Yeah.

ALI: These
are White Democrats, mind you. What’s the explanation you think
behind that?

PAUL: Well,
I’d be suspicious about what that means. I thought in both
camps they were getting blunt. I mean using terms which sounds like
they’re thinking only in racial groups, which doesn’t
make me very comfortable.

ALI: Let’s
talk about illegal immigration – it is a reality that cannot
be ignored. It seems a security fence and denying those undocumented
people without any benefits is draconian. Many, liberals and conservatives,
say the 2006 Bush plan was the most moderate and best plan, imperfect
sure, that dealt with the illegal immigration problem pragmatically.
Many say the resistance to it in Congress was purely race hysteria
and panic. Undocumented workers are a backbone of this nation’s
hidden labor force – you know in Texas, like I know in California,
our state’s respective economies would collapse without them.
What’s a practical and enlightened policy taking all that into
consideration when it comes to illegal immigration?

PAUL: Well,
I think it should be looked at economically and through personal
liberties. Economically, I think if you subsidize something, you’re
going to get more of it. So, if you promise people who break the
law an easy road to citizenship, they’re going to do it. So,
people will get in front of the line by sneaking over the border,
because they do get earlier citizenship and amnesty. Also, I think
rewarding people with free medical care and free education just
further compounds the problem, because that means you just impoverish
the people who, in this country, are trying to work, because they
end up with inflation and loss of jobs and a weak economy because
this contributes to the deficit. Now, if you had a free and prosperous
economy, these programs would be very, very generous. People would
come and work. They know they’re not coming here for automatic
citizenship or bringing their families for free medical care. They’d
come and work and I think we would be very generous. I think there
would be a great need. I don’t think some Americans would be
looking for a scapegoat like they are today.

I think the
welfare state is part of the problem, because it encourages some
people not to work and that’s another incentive for people
to come over. Also, trade policies help destroy the economies in
the Third World nations, Mexico and Central America. Because we
subsidize some of our crops that could be better raised in Mexico,
and we put their farmers out of business. So, trade policy is another
economic issue that makes it a bigger burden on the immigrant countries.

ALI: The
housing market is such a troubling aspect right now with all the
foreclosures. You’ve said you’re averse to the government
reducing the interest rate in the short term, because it would be
a short-term help but perpetuate long-term problems. If not reduction
in the interest rates, what could help and what would you do differently
to alleviate the suffering of so many Americans who are losing their
homes?

PAUL: Well,
keep your hands off. Just like I said by interfering in the early
Depression we kept prolonging the Depression. What you want to do
is allow those people who made those mistakes – business people
and investors – to correct those mistakes. Lot of people bought
houses with no down payment, literally given the house for, say,
a $100,000. Then, the house goes up to $150,000, and then they borrowed
against it, then they got into trouble and they want you to bail
them. Well, that wasn’t a very good deal, you know, to deserve
to be bailed out, so you want the prices to come down. And that’s
what the market is trying to say. Every time you try to bail out
the homeowner or mortgage company, you’re trying to keep prices
up. I mean if you have a $100,000 house that goes to $150,000, you
have to correct it? Well, what happens if it became $150,000? Well,
somebody’s going to buy it. And that’s what you want.
You want someone to buy it on their legitimate terms, a legitimate
loan that they can afford and get it into the hands of stronger
people rather than propping up the bad mistakes.

ALI: Many
people who saw the Primaries and the debates on CNN, in which you
were included, ask, “Why is American media so god awful and
stupid sometimes?” You see the Primaries and the debates on
CNN and sometimes you want to cry. Why, do you think, is there such
an aversion in asking the hard questions and calling out the politicians,
such as the Senators, all who voted for the Iraq War? How come many
people don’t see real dialogue, and where can you find such
a space to engage the politicians in such a dialogue over real matters?
Is the Internet the last place?

PAUL: Yeah,
I think the Internet is the saving grace right now. One time during
the debates – we had a break – and I asked the moderator,
“How come you didn’t go to me? I was trying to get you
to call me. I would’ve answered that question.” Then he
pointed to his earpiece and he said, “I get my orders from
my ear piece.” So, somebody has these things orchestrated as
far as who gets the time and what the questions are going to be,
and it’s all well planned out. It’s probably not an accident
on how these things come about. And I do think the major media is
too much in tune with the military industrial complex as well as
the government.

ALI: What’s
the future of your “Revolution?” Where do you think it’s
going to go?

PAUL: Well,
it seems there’s a lot of momentum and a lot of interest and
the book is doing well. And I’m going to continue to try my
best to keep the momentum going to help people stay energized, give
them information, promote education, give people a chance to get
involved in politics, run for Office, and all those things that
will change the country. So, we have a lot to do here. And, soon,
because the total Primary will be ending pretty soon.

May
29, 2008

Wajahat
Ali [send
him mail
] is a Pakistani Muslim American playwright and lawyer,
whose work, u201CThe Domestic Crusadersu201D is the first major play about
Muslim Americans living in a post 9-11 America. See
his blog
.

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