Source: Young Americans for Liberty
Date: February 2009
Patrick J. Ford: Younger people, specifically members of the Young Americans for Liberty, are looking for ways to educate themselves on issues in ways that they’re not going to be educated by college professors or by the media, things like that. What was it that initially interested you in Austrian Economics and liberty and what were some of those fundamental texts that got you involved with it, and has led you to where you are now?
Ron Paul: It was a lot more difficult to find books when I was growing up in high school and college and I didn’t have a whole lot of interest in college but more on when I got into medical school I started looking around. But in the late 50s some of the books I read, all the Ayn Rand novels and Doctor Zhivago, got my attention, and then Hayek got my attention with “The Road to Serfdom” and then I went one book to another and become fascinated with Austrian Economics.
But the group that helped me the most back then get the literature was the Foundation for Economic Education, which is in a town called Arlington on the Hudson in New York, and Leonard Reed ran it back in those days. So when everything else was Keynesian, we had no Mises Institute, there was no Cato group and none of these things existed, but the Foundation for Economic Education did provide a lot of literature and I can remember getting Bastiat’s Law from there, and that’s still being circulated; great little book. But then later on I did get to meet a lot of the Austrian economists, I’ve met, at least heard lecture; heard Mises lecture, met Hayek, had dinner with him, knew Murray Rothbard real well, knew Sam Holtz very well, and I’ve stayed close to that whole movement.
And now of course with the Mises Institute, a group that I helped start in the early 80s, and lately Rockwell does an excellent job in providing literature. Today to find the textbooks and the things to read, if you’re really interested in Austrian economics, you ought to know about the Mises Institute to find this literature.
Patrick J. Ford: Now that all the Students for Ron Paul groups have sort of molded into this Young Americans for Liberty organization, what are your hopes for an organization like that moving forward, and what kind of role does activism on a college campus have for the freedom movement at large?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s to galvanize and to educate. I mean on campuses you’re supposed to be learning, so I would hope that it’s more than just a political action group to chant and cheer Republicans over Democrats; that would be pretty boring. Some of our meet-up groups, you know, but after campaign was over we didn’t have immediate directions like do this, do this, do that. A lot of them evolved into reading groups, and of course they joined the Campaign for Liberty and a lot went into Young Americans for Liberty. But I think the number one thing is education, and campuses are a good place to do that, and then, becoming politically active, and I don’t know what kind of college activities there’ll be but there are local elections and state elections and referendum and all these kinds of things that get involved, and our greatest receptions were on college campuses. So to keep this spirit alive, I think is a pretty important role for Young Americans for Liberty.
Patrick J. Ford: Why don’t you think that, considering the response that you got from college students in regards to the Federal Reserve and to the gold standard and this sort of issues, that you wouldn’t think resonate with young people, why don’t you think there is more of a push in Congress for sound money? Why is it that you’re the only one fighting for this, you’re the only one that seems to be talking about this?
Ron Paul: I think it’s the lack of understanding, that’s the most important reason. Probably 99% of the members of Congress have been taught in government schools, and they’ve been taught Keynesian economics, and it hasn’t not fascinated them at all to study any further than that, and those individuals who really understand it and like it, because of all the power and control where you control money, and they wanted to go. And those who benefit tend to just either go along with it because they don’t understand it, or they think it must be a benefit.
And for years it has been because deficits didn’t really matter, and they could be monetized and we could keep borrowing and there was no pain and suffering until this financial bubble built, which was predictable, and now it burst and we’re seeing the consequence. But they go along with it, because they don’t know, but the impressive thing is that these young people who are responding, will and must play an important role, because it’s their numbers and as they graduate and go into teaching and go into journalism and go into politics and influence government that this will be the big issue. And it has been big issues; it was a big issue the time of our revolution, it was a big issue the time of Jackson, it was a big issue after the Civil War because they had gone off the gold standard, it was a big issue with election in 1900 and they talked about money, but we really haven’t talked about it since then, so it must be the big issue.
There are a lot of discussions going on right now trying to replace it with the worldwide fiat standard run by the United Nations; that would be a disaster. The competition has to come from the next generation of Americans who understand sound money and can answer the questions on why we should never give this authority and power to a secret central bank like the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air.
Patrick J. Ford: And just as a final note, there have been some rumors that you’re writing a book on the Federal Reserve; is that true? What points would you like to get across on the Federal Reserve that you think aren’t being…
Ron Paul: It is true, and if the publishers accept the title, which they probably will if I insist on it, very simply I’ve come up with a title that somebody else gave me at a rally, “End the Fed”.
Patrick J. Ford: That’s been the rallying cry of you.
Ron Paul: That might have been one of the greatest parts of the campaign. College kids all of a sudden start saying “End the Fed, End the Fed” without prompt. I used to chuckle over it. So yes, I have written it down and I’m having some editors work with me. It’s not going to be big, I mean just like the “The Revolution”, it’s a small book; easy to read and easy to distribute. The goal is to distribute it and hopefully within a few months we’ll have it done, but I believe it will come about.
Patrick J. Ford: And “The Revolution” was first on the best-seller list so if a message about the Fed can get out in that sort of way then that would be one of the most very significant…
Ron Paul: That would be interesting. I keep getting a little bit concerned about whether the Fed will get the attention, because even though we did well with the other book, you know, I travel all the time and I go to every bookstore in every airport, I never saw the book once.
Patrick J. Ford: Sure.
Ron Paul: So it still sold, but I still saw books right out in front of the other candidates. Huckabee… They all had their books out there but I never saw “The Revolution” out front; but the strength of the message is probably what sells it. I think though, in this day and age, they say all the publishers, there’s a great grand conspiracy that they’re not going to let me publish it; then we’ll self-publish it. We can sell a lot of books just on the Internet, but there’s still a profit motive out there. Even though I see leadership book parties working in collusion, there’s still bookstores and publishers that like to make money. As a matter of fact the publisher so far has expressed a lot of interest in saying, you know, they sold this other book, and if they can make a few bucks, maybe book sales might even go down in the recession but our book sale might go up, who knows, if we offer an answer.
Patrick J. Ford: Sure.
Ron Paul: There’s certainly a lot more interest in the Federal Reserve today than there has been in a long, long time and I would say it’s about time.
Patrick J. Ford: And there would certainly be more interest if the book does well.
Ron Paul: Yeah.
Patrick J. Ford: And that’s another way to apply people’s…
Ron Paul: That’s right. It will get more attention to it.
Patrick J. Ford: Sure. Thanks a lot Doctor Paul. I really appreciate you sitting down to talk to me.
Ron Paul: It’s very good. Nice being with you.
Patrick J. Ford: Are you interested in running in 2012?