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”.


  • svenp

    Man the media loves this race card. They love, love, love it! (We’ll I have to bring it up “IT’S IN THE NEWS CYCLE”. Spineless choad….

    Like Rand is fighting to overturn the Civil RIghts Act! PLEASE!

    Ron answered this question very, very well at least.

  • JessicaBelle81

    Property rights and self-ownership are the ultimate rights and where all other rights are derrived from.

  • I4ce

    Ron Paul needs more leadership responsibilities in our country.

  • ltrizzle84

    I tell you what, Rand needs to take a couple of note from his dad on how to speak. We need more intelligent people like Ron Paul in our government. Maybe a mandatory IQ test?

    • fred the protectionist

      No it’s the other way around.

  • COMALiteJ

    The Founding Fathers were indeed libertarians, but Dr. Ron Paul is not, and neither is his son.

    They’re Neo-Confederates (not to be confused with Neo-Conservatives, which they most definitely are not [we got too many of those as it is]).

    What’s the difference? A true libertarian holds that the Inherent, Unique, and Unalienable Rights of PERSONhood is the highest law.

    A Neo-Confederate puts the (false) concept of States’ Rights AHEAD of the Rights of Personhood.

  • Apsu88

    May Ron Paul live forever!

  • 1shabuti1

    I get it. FED OUT OF OUR LIVES!! The market and your state should pass the laws to deal with their particular situation and always by the vote of the people never violating the Constitution. We take responsibility for our freedoms and live life based on reality not a paper promise from a gang of crooks called the Federal Reserve. It is AMAZING to realize that we do not need a federal government with so much power.. it only leads to wars and greed.

  • rougeliter

    As I understand it, Colmes and Paul are getting at the fact that it’s the business and/or property owner’s right to say who can and who cannot patronize their business or enter their property. Choosing to allow or disallow anyone to patronize their business comes with consequences; As Paul stated “That would be stupid. Isn’t that stupid business?” But as he lightly touched on, it’s the proprietor’s prerogative to make that choice, stupid or not. That’s freedom. The power to choose.

  • Firebirrd85

    Years from now there will be a statue built of Ron Paul (just like the abraham lincoln statue). Another one of the greats.

  • d0861

    God damn, I love this man… Dr. Paul, not Colmes.

  • jlailman

    What about a store that has a sign saying “No Shoes No Shirt No Service”…is that a discriminatory policy towards the barefoot and shirtless. How dumb. Like Dr. Paul said, we have important issues of the day that deserve our attention, not issues that have been settled for over 40 years.

  • JackOffVille

    Great point about the Founding Fathers being Libertarians!

  • ThinkMink15

    I think the best response to these media questions I’ve heard is when Rand Paul said something to the effect of: Part of ensuring freedom is allowing abhorrent speech and opinions. Couple that with the stance that government may step in when things raise to a point where physical harm is a threat and I believe this assault on Rand Paul’s character can become a teaching lesson in role of government

  • harveybirdmannequin

    Private businesses must have the freedom to do business as well as the freedom to not do business. Gov’t has no right telling you to conduct business with anyone. Whether it’s forcing you to buy health care or to service someone that you think will cause problems for your business long term. It has nothing to do with racism. Let’s say a business doesn’t serve blacks. Well that business is not going to make as much money as a business that doesn’t discriminate. It’s the racist owner’s loss.

  • mx3g02

    how come alot of poeple hate on libertarians??

  • MrSleeps

    Ron paul is the man out for true liberity and limited goverment. let see if we can get him enough support to get him to run in 2012

  • kardentyrell

    Liberty is an ideal that brings people together, from any background, any race.

  • enuvune

    ron paul is adorable. :3

  • mrbasil0

    Ron seems to be a much more experienced speaker than his son, nevertheless I support both just as much.

  • mycatisamoron

    What channel is Alan Colmes’ show on?