Ron Paul: The Founding Fathers Were Libertarians

Ron Paul is interviewed by Alan Colmes on private property rights, civil rights and Rand Paul’s nomination in Kentucky.

Show: Fox News Strategy Room
Host: Alan Colmes
Date: 05/21/2010


Alan Colmes: Dr. Ron Paul, Congressman Paul from Texas. Congressman Paul, you must be a proud dad right now.

Ron Paul: Very much so. We’re very pleased how it turned out in Kentucky. Thank you.

Alan Colmes: Are you surprised?

Ron Paul: A little bit. Toward the end we knew what was happening. The polls were pretty accurate. But you know, when he first started, he had never run for anything before so I wasn’t all that optimistic. Like I’ve already been quoted, you don’t like to see anybody put a lot of energy into something, especially your son, and then come up way behind. I didn’t have any reason to worry, I shouldn’t have had any reason to worry because he did so well.

Alan Colmes: I had a chance to meet him and you during the campaign when you were running for president and he was very instrumental in your campaign so I guess he got his political legs there, didn’t he?

Ron Paul: Yeah, and he was very much involved in the early years to his teenage and college years, and even in the presidential campaign. He had a particular interest in it. I kid when I say “Well, what did you learn by being in my campaign?” and he said “I’ve learned all the things not to do.” Hopefully it wasn’t all that way.

Alan Colmes: Do you and he part company on any major issues? Is he very much where you are on major issues of the day?

Ron Paul: I would say on the major issues we’re very close, but I think his tone is different, I think his approach is a little bit different, I think he’s a little bit more into legislating and working things out, and I’ve been more into the philosophic end of things. So I think the approach is slightly different, the wording is slightly different, but if it comes to issues like the Federal Reserve, he’s not going to come out and say “I love the Fed and I don’t think it should be audited” or “I love the income tax, we should raise taxes.” Nothing major is going to be different.

Alan Colmes: So you would say that he’s probably a libertarian Republican much as you are versus one who might follow the party line about a lot of issues.

Ron Paul: Yes, I think so. But he answers that question almost like I do. “Am I a Libertarian?” I say “Well, first I take my oath of office seriously and I believe in personal liberty.” But I happen to believe the founders were Libertarians. They didn’t want to regulate the market nor did they want to regulate personal lifestyles. And they had a non-intervention foreign policy. So that’s libertarianism and I think people who want to use that word usually want to use to that make us look negative. But it’s getting to the point where believing in liberty is not necessarily a negative anymore. I think we’ve made some progress.

Alan Colmes: People need to be reminded, you were the Libertarian party candidate for president back in, was it 1984?

Ron Paul: It was 1988.

Alan Colmes: 1988.

Ron Paul: I could hardly deny my associations with libertarianism.

Alan Colmes: That’s right. Let me ask you about, as you know, there has already been a controversy about a position you took when interviewed by the Louisville Courier-Journal or Journal-Courier, I should say about this. It’s a philosophical debate about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the part that bans discrimination in private businesses. I understand the differences between public and private, I also understand that this is not a matter of being… he’s very clear. He’s not a racist. He would have marched with Martin Luther King. I don’t want to in any way, shape or form suggest that there’s any racism here in this philosophical debate.

Ron Paul: Right. Okay, that’s nice.

Alan Colmes: But it is a philosophical debate. Perhaps you can characterize it your way, but there is a lot of controversy about the idea that we should allow private businesses, if he had his way and perhaps your way as well, to allow discrimination. For example, allowing only whites to sit at lunch corners and deny blacks.

Ron Paul: Yeah. But you know, don’t you think that they’ve resurrected this? I mean, that was settled in the 1960s before we went to grade school. To bring this up and being the big issue of the day, you know, financial crises and war going on. So I think this to me seems disingenuous. But at least you had the courtesy to say that you know there is no racism involved and I absolutely [agree]… it is philosophic. He’s actually taken a position to Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King wanted to repeal laws. He believed in boycotts. He believed in peaceful disobedience. Those are the things that Libertarians believe in.

And property rights, we do see property, but we don’t distinguish between your house and your business. That’s all private property. How do you draw these lines? If you want your personal privacy protected, if you want your religious protection, if you want your choices on sexual activities protected, that means your house has to be sacred.

But you say “Oh yes, but it’s unfair, it’s unfair.” But think of all the unfair things and ugly things that come out of the First Amendment.

But to me, it’s a moot point. I thought the great people in the 1950s and the 1960s were people like Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. I mean, that’s how real integration occurred. Where did the real segregation come from? From government. Government-endorsed slavery. Government-endorsed segregation law. Government-endorsed… how long did the government have segregation of the armed forces? Up until the World War Two. So to say that we who defend private property are labeled “racists”, I think that’s, and you didn’t. You didn’t.

Alan Colmes: Yes, I want to be very clear about that.

Ron Paul: You didn’t do it. But I think that recognizing private property and the role of government in segregation is what we’re trying to make a point. But once again, this wasn’t the prevailing issue in the campaign in Kentucky and it’s not going to be because it’s been settled. Economic power is wonderful because who would say “I believe in this, I want to prove this point, and I want to sign up. I’m only going to serve such and such.” That would be stupid. Wouldn’t it be stupid business? I mean, that’s all past, it’s all done. To make this an issue I think is very very unfair and of course, others have jumped on it. I don’t mind you bringing it up because you’ve always been very fair and above board on issues like these.

Alan Colmes: Well, it is an issue at least in this particular news cycle, so I’d be remiss if I did not bring it up.

Ron Paul: Yeah, right.

Alan Colmes: By the way, there still is a segregation in the military in terms of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.


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  • Captain Moroni

    IF any business or private non profit organization receives any form of subsidy or special consideration from any level of govt, then they IMO have given up their right of private property to “discriminate.” Public monies trump this right as govt is esta blished under the Constitution to protect the rights of all parties no exceptions with fairness and nondiscrimination. So if special rights and/or monies are accepted by private organizations then they have agreed to abide by the nondiscrimination requirements.

    That said, IF I find out that any business or organization is dicriminating based on race, gender, religion then I will NOT support that organization with my purchases and/or time.

    • Brian Mueller

      Captain Moroni, I agree with your post here as far as it goes, but the problem is, individuals have a right to participate in the free market. In 1954, African-Americans in the south were severely disenfranchised in that they could not buy various items, even if they could afford it, because of “whites only” signs. That’s wrong ethically, constitutionally, and morally. “Separate but equal” is never equal. Slavery, and the reduction of minority races to a class of people who did not have the same rights as whites, were great evils, and it was a great triumph for this Nation to end them.

      Anyone who thinks Martin Luther King Jr. did not support the Civil Rights Act is either a moron or illiterate, or in the worst case, very much a racist. Observe, from the Columbia Encyclopedia (associated with the world renowned “Columbia University in the City of New York”):

      “He spearheaded the Aug., 1963, March on Washington, which brought together more than 200,000 people. The protests he led helped to assure the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

      So, to all users on here: if you think someone who marched with Martin Luther King Jr would not support the Civil Rights Act, you are WRONG and a RACIST.

      Anyone who thinks the Civil War was not in any way about slavery needs to read the Confederate Declaration of Independence:

      “But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.”

      “The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress.”

      This paragraph from the Confederate Declaration of Independence should be especially offensive to anyone who purports to believe in liberty:

      “We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection. ”

      I have a severe problem, personally, with anyone who is against the Civil Rights Act or the abolition of slavery. Such people should get out of my country and go live in a lesser one.