Ron Paul interviewed by Motorhome Diaries

On May 12, Ron Paul met with the Motorhome Diares guys to discuss immigration, the welfare/warfare state, civil disobedience, jury nullification, self-government, monetary policy and more.

Peter Eyre: Good to be with you guys. We’re here in Lake Jackson, Texas today, with Congressman Ron Paul. Thanks for being with Motor Home Dairies today.

Ron Paul: Good to be with you.

Peter Eyre: So, before you start I just want to give you my heartfelt thanks for all you have done for the freedom movement. I think it is fair to say without question that you have helped inspire and get more people active in the freedom movement than anybody around today. So, thanks so much.

Ron Paul: Hopefully it helped a little.

Peter Eyre: Yeah, and even our own Adam Miller here behind the camera credits you and the ideas you proffered during the campaign for getting him off the couch and get involved. So it’s been great. So I guess I have an idea how you got involved with this movement. I think it was through the Foundation for Economic Education. I’m curious to know what resources would you point to for people new to the ideas of liberty.

Ron Paul: Under today’s conditions?

Peter Eyre: Yes.

Ron Paul: Oh, there are so many. The Internet is the main source of so much of this material now that wasn’t available to me back in the 1950s and the 1960s, so that was the time when once I discovered there were others who tended to agree with a natural instinct which I think we all have. I think we all started off wanting to be left alone and we have our freedom. But then we’re brainwashed into thinking we’re oddballs. When I discovered the Foundation for Economic Education […], at least I could communicate with them and I could get books and things that way. But today there are so many. I depend for the most part on the Mises Institute for books and things like that if I want to get people interested.

Peter Eyre: Yeah, we’re going to get out there and visit them in a week and a half. As libertarians we pride ourselves on being intellectually honest, rigorous, and using reason and logic. So I want to ask you about your stance on immigration. Because I did a little digging and I saw that in 1988 you said there shouldn’t be any immigration policy, but during your campaign you advocated for border security. So my question is this: why allow for the government to step between a business owner and a customer, or a property owner and a tenant?

Ron Paul: I think you got it mostly right, but I remember back in 1988 I would made the statement that I thought the libertarian society might be a more closed society thank you would suspect, because all the property would be owned and therefore you didn’t have the problems of this mixed deal where everybody owns everything; they own the schools, they own the medical system and you can’t even get on a highway. Everything is government. So therefore just to say that everybody has free access to it complicates things.

You take our hospitals out here in Texas; they are actually closing down. So it’s a really mixed deal. So I think there should be some orderly approach to this. It’s less than perfect. And I had this question asked to me just yesterday at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. And half the Chamber of Commerce people want more workers because even under today’s conditions they don’t have workers. The other half wants build walls and barriers. We’ve only had one vote in the Congress on building a fence and I voted against that, although I have supported enforcing the laws so that the institutions like medical and educational aren’t overrun.

But, it’s far from perfect. I think that otherwise we’re in a mess. But ideally, you know, the freer the movement the better. This is what I told the Chamber of Commerce: if we had a truly free market economy would we be begging for workers? Would there be so much of a demand? Right now we still… I’m in favor but I do support the idea that we wouldn’t have just totally open borders and people coming and going and causing a greater economic problem because not only would a few hospitals be closing, I think all hospitals would be overburdened.

Peter Eyre: Why not then attack the welfare state as much as the warfare state. The “What if” video that came out based on the speech you gave on the house floor was, to me, one of the most powerful videos I’ve ever seen. I think, you know, hopefully it will cause a lot more concern in ordinary people to question their stance on these kinds of things.

Ron Paul: Well, I think I attack them both because I’d vote for neither one. I don’t vote for any appropriation bill, I vote against all the appropriations. But I think it’s a tactical mistake. The problem with constitutionalists, libertarians and conservatives, with conservatives is compassion.

So every once in a while conservatives decide in the US Congress, “Well, you know we’re spending too much money, we got to send a signal that we care”. So they cut out child health benefits. That to me is crazy. And that is why I talked about cutting warfare which I consider more dangerous than taking care of children’s health. You know, if you’re over there bombing like we are in Pakistan right now, that to me is so much more dangerous and I’d be willing to cut enough from overseas spending, to cut the deficit and deal with convincing people that health care can be delivered in the marketplace better.

I think it just compounds our political problems. It’s a strategy problem. I just don’t go out attacking poor people. Besides, when I went to Washington I thought all welfare was for poor people. But that’s peanuts. That’s peanuts compared to the military-industrial complex. And just look at the bank bailouts, most people now have really fallen into accepting this sort of a populous approach now because they see that when push comes to shove the bankers get bailed out and the big business people get bailed out and they retire with billions of dollars and that just doesn’t make any sense at all.

But I think if we’re not careful we lose the political [argument]. We can be 100% right but you’re not going to convey an attitude to people who are open to us that we do care about people. It is true, if everybody cared about themselves and took care of themselves and had not a drop of generosity, the world would be pretty good. But, believe me, it’s not the way to win friends and because I happen to personally believe that we should care about our fellow man.

Peter Eyre: To go back, you mentioned forcing the laws and things like that. What would you say to people who actively engage in civil disobedience or jury nullification?

Ron Paul: I think the last hope is that we come up with more people to understand jury altercation. I did a whole series on Jury Nullification when I was in between Congresses (I was in then out of Congress). I think that was one of the most important thing and that is sort of the last thing that we have. No, I think there is going to be a lot more of it. I encourage it but I’m always chicken. I’d probably choose to run for Congress before I choose to take on the IRS. But that’s my personal choice.

But, when people come and tell, “I hate court cases. You ought to join in and fight this”, and I mean look at these poor guys that fought the IRS. They are 100% right and 100% of the time they go to jail. I am not going to be doing anybody any good if I’m in jail. But if people want to do it and they do it for educational reasons, I really do… you know, I look to people for guidance like Ghandi and even Martin Luther King because they were willing to practice civil disobedience. But they knew what the consequences were and they did go to jail and they got beat up and all these things. Peaceful disobedience is fine, but I think a lot more is coming. And matter of fact you know, there is a lot more talk of secession and states’ rights and getting the feds out of our lives and I think that’s all good. But I don’t think it’s going to be like 1861. But I think there is going to be secession, because in a way the dollar crisis which I predict will eventually come, will be a blessing. Because the feds can’t even deliver anything, they can’t deliver much now. Who trusts the federal government anymore. And you guys are young and of course you are not inclined to care about Social Security, but even if you were you wouldn’t believe it was going to be there anyway. That’s how we convert a lot of young people because they know they are being lied to.

So when the government fails and they can’t provide anything, why send them anything? You know, they’ll just live off us which they have been doing, but the country has been so wealthy that we didn’t worry about it. But right now, people are starting to realize the wealth in the last 2 or 3 decades has being fictitious; it’s been based on inflation and borrowing. So, conditions are changing a whole lot and I think that we who believe in liberty have to take advantage of it. Someday you have to make the decision about where you come down on the violence or not. But, I don’t think it’s going to be necessary. I see the revolution being philosophic and ideas are by far the most important thing.

We’ve been arguing about what the Republicans stand for and what the Democrats stand for. Well, philosophically they’re the same party and Nixon had the classic statement, “We’re all Keynesians now”. And that was when we got rid of Bretton Woods and passed this new monetary system. So, there is absolutely no difference when it comes to foreign policy, monetary policy, domestic policy and it’s all the same, so people say, “Well, are you going to work with this new revolution in the Republican Party?” I say, “Sure, but if it’s worth anything it’s going to transform the Democratic party”. Currently, of course, the laws are so biased against any competing parties that it has to be a philosophic revolution. That’s the only thing that really counts.

Peter Eyre: Right, yeah. Ideas have consequences and we’re trying to get out there and change minds one at a time.

You told us about federal government and coercion and this stuff, using force and you emphasize individual responsibility and freedom. So I know you stand for the constitution, but what do you say to people who advocate for self-government rather than interpreting the constitution.

Ron Paul: Great, fine. I think that’s really what my goal is. Isn’t it interesting that if you have a government they will want us all to be socialistic and use us, but they will never allow an enclave go and become libertarian and just accept nothing, receive nothing, accept no obligations. But, you know, if we had a libertarian society we’d have no qualms. I mean if a group of people want to go over and rent things socialistic like you had […] in our early history. They literally lived in socialist enclaves. And as long as they didn’t have to live off us… I mean even today the people like the Amish like to be left alone and they should never be required to be paying Social Security or income tax. So libertarianism is much more tolerant than socialism. Socialism has to live off all those that produce, that’s why they have to use coercion.

Peter Eyre: You have been around a lot of people and you’ve read a lot. What advice do you have for us, the Motor Home Dairies guys, and other freedom activists around the country who want to make a change? Some people are sitting on the couch and feel that they can’t do too much, they’re just one person. What advice do you have for all of them?

Ron Paul: I think the most important thing is to understand the philosophy and the issues. And once again talking about compassion; if you come out lacking compassion you’ll not win any hearts and minds. But I claim and believe sincerely that if you truly care about your fellow man, caring about yourself and your family and about everyone else, you will fight for freedom. Because history shows the freer the society the wealthier the society and the better it’s distributed.

But most people now claim that freedom is crony capitalism. Right now capitalism is being blamed for this crisis. So understanding economics and being able to take that and explain it in a few sentences… most people just laughed at the idea that I’m in the Presidential race and I talked about the Federal Reserve and monetary policy. And I kept saying, “it doesn’t seem that complicated”. You could talk to a ten year old and ask, “What do you think would happen if you got to print paper money and got to spend it.” Nobody would want it. They know that. So it isn’t that complicated.

But I think we have to learn how to do that to appeal to people. I think we have tremendous opportunity because this system of big government has failed. It’s failed oversees, it’s failed monetarily and financially. The welfare state doesn’t help. Who’s losing their houses right now? The people who were given houses through affirmative action and easy credit, they’re the first ones to lose their houses and their jobs. So we have to really understand and be able to defend it. Then what you do is everybody’s business, I’m very laissez faire on that, because you guys are doing one thing and I do something else and you may detest politics, I don’t. Some will only do education and others only do court fights. It’s the kind of thing that makes me nervous but it still probably is worthwhile. But it has to be done however the individual’s comfortable with. And the only one thing that I haven’t ever considered was just packing my bags and leaving. I can understand why somebody would, but my fight is here.

Peter Eyre: There’s a possibility that people like Peter Schiff or your son, Rand, or Adam Kokesh can get to run [for office] and maybe get some support.

Ron Paul: Yeah, that would be nice if that comes along. If we had ten more people in Washington it would make a little bit of difference, but that’s not the whole thing. You need a prevailing attitude in the country that has to be changed. When they asked me on television, “Who is responsible for this mess?” and they want me to say, “George Bush” or “Obama”… I said, no, Keynes! It’s stupid economic ideas.

Peter Eyre: Well, Dr. Paul, I thank you for your time so much and keep fighting the good fight and we hope we can advance the freedom movement in some capacity.

Ron Paul: Great. Great to be with you.