News Anchor: One person who didn’t go along with the government program back in 1976 was a freshman Congressman, a doctor from Texas, none other than Ron Paul. Well, tonight I spoke with him about swine flu then and now.
So Congressman, you’ve been through all of this before, you saw it back then, you saw what happened now. What’s your take on it? Are we doing too much? Are we overhyping this? Meaning all of us, the media and the government.
Ron Paul: Yes, they are. It’s overblown, grossly so. And I just wish people would back off a little bit, stop and think for a minute and not panic people. There’s too much hysteria in the country, and so far there hasn’t been that much danger, so the sooner we get calmer the better off we are.
News Anchor: So take us through it. It was back in 1976, I believe. You were a freshman Congressman. Take us through what happened. The same sort of thing: swine flu. People were concerned about it. Talk to me about it.
Ron Paul: In 1976 I was sworn in in a special election and I obviously was very new to the situation. It was at that time that Ford was running against Reagan and it was a tight race and it was politicized and the flu came in and it was a big deal. We had a vote to indicate that we should inoculate everybody in the country. Medically it made no sense to me and politically it sounded like a bad deal. There were two of us who voted against it, another doctor, Dr. Larry McDonald, and I. I said it was bad medicine, it was bad politics, and it turned out that it was pretty perceptive because we only had one person die from the flu, and that might have been from other reasons. 25 people died from the inoculations.
News Anchor: So if you were in charge, what would you do?
Ron Paul: I would probably do a lot less and just think about it and see if there is any need to do anything at all. This idea that government has to come to the rescue I think is more or less a reflection that we have too many people in government that like the idea that they have to justify their existence. So whether it’s in foreign policy, scare the people to death, create fear, then you can do what you want. If it was an economic crisis scare the people to death and then you can socialize the economy. In medicine, scare the people to death and then you’ll say, “Oh, only the government can take care of us”.
So, I think a lot of that is happening and we’re on the move to socialized medicine, so we’re scaring the people and saying, “The only people that can save us will be the government”.
News Anchor: What’s your response? What have people said to you since you made this video and you came out and said, “Hey you know what, tempt this down a little bit, come on lets stand back and don’t be so crazy about this”. What have people said to you?
Ron Paul: You know what, I have to tell you the honest truth, I have not had one person say to me that I have undermined anything about dealing with this problem. Everybody comes up and say, “You know, that’s exactly what I thought. It’s about time somebody said it. It is just an attempt for government to scare the people”.
I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that might disagree, and I don’t downplay the seriousness. As a physician, I don’t say there is no danger at all whatsoever, but you got to put it in perspective. If you put in perspective of HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis and all these things, really it’s a total non-event.
News Anchor: There we go. Everything old is new again. Some are saying “better safe than sorry”.