Ron Paul discusses his article “Mosque Demagoguery Is Bipartisan” and the linkage between property rights and First Amendment rights, why the abandonment of the dollar will lead to an inflationary depression and why Dennis Kucinich’s anti-assassination bill is a redundancy (but deserving of support nonetheless).
Show: AntiWar Radio
Host: Scott Horton
Scott Horton: So, welcome back to the show. It’s Antiwar Radio. And our next guest is Antiwar.com’s man in the House of Representatives, Dr. Ron Paul. You can find all his foreign policy interviews at original.antiwar.com/paul. Welcome to the show Ron. How are you doing?
Ron Paul: Thank you, Scott. Good to be with you.
Scott Horton: I’m very happy to have you here and I was so happy to see your statement on the mosque issue. You know, before I ever learned, I think, even about George Washington and the cherry tree, or David Crockett, or anything, I learned from my Dad that the highest value in America, the most important thing about America as a place is freedom of religion. And that’s what we all value the most and is the most special thing about this land. And it’s just amazing to see the demagoguery. And it was just great to, of course you never do disappoint, but it was really great to see the stand that you took on this. And everybody can read your article “Mosque Demagoguery is Bipartisan” as the title goes at original.antiwar.com/paul. So thanks for that. And I guess, can we start, I guess, with what you think of that? Religious freedom as the highest American value?
Ron Paul: You know, in that statement I make the point that the conservatives who brag about being big property rights people are the ones who are demagoguing the most about why they shouldn’t build this. Newt Gingrich in particular. And, to me, it was an opportunity to defend property rights in the pure sense of the word because it is closely related to First Amendment rights. If we protected property rights, we would protect a lot of other amendments. You’d protect the Second Amendment, you’d protect the First Amendment because it would be your property that is being used. Whether you’re running a newspaper, whether you have a church, or whatever you’re doing. It’s the property that should be protected. And I think the conservatives wimped out on this, but the liberals are never good on this. So the liberals come along and they say “Oh, we got to protect freedom of religion and expression.” And they’re right about that. But they’re so weak on property rights. And they always want to regulate property. So this would have been a time that it should have been pointed out that the conservatives have sort of sold out and that the liberals, who don’t understand property rights very well, ought to learn a lesson. And I just thought I would give my two-cents’ worth and I find it interesting and fascinating and sometimes entertaining when I read a blog by some very, very liberal person and say “this is very great, but it really is confusing. What’s happened in the world, the world is turned upside down when I agree with Ron Paul. And he’s speaking more what I believe in than our own president”. But I think the most I can expect, or any of us can expect, coming from a libertarian viewpoint is that we stimulate people’s thinking. So those who give me some support say “Yes, I agree with Ron Paul on foreign policy or civil liberties, but…” – I keep thinking, the but always means, of course, the economic liberty, but maybe they’ll think about it and, of course, you know, Scott, that you’ve met people that will come to our side from the liberal side, as well as the conservative side, and say “Yes, it finally makes sense”. And I see it as a tremendous opportunity now to increase our ranks. Because the liberals, the Keynesians, the interventionists have failed so miserably with the economy. So, I just saw it as an opportunity. I hope I made a few points.
Scott Horton: Well, an important point you made too was: Islam was not the motivation for the attack. And that’s really the subtext of this entire thing is that it’s ‘us’ versus ‘them’, and ‘them’ is 1.3 billion people in the world.
Ron Paul: Yes. And this was, of course, the big motivation for writing this. As well, is that some who are promoting, and I don’t want, I didn’t take the position that everybody who said they were giving advice, they didn’t challenge the property rights but they were giving strong advice. “Well, perceptions are so bad. Just don’t do it. We don’t want you to do it.” There’s a lot like that. But the people who are really beating the drums, they need to continue to blame Islam for 9/11. They don’t want to blame a small number who belonged to Al Qaeda, who committed the violence. They want to blame all of Islam. “It’s a hate religion and it’s a religion of the devil.” And this kind of things. I have met and known and am friends with too many Muslims in the medical profession for me to even think, let alone let them challenge, the principle that you stated that this country was built on an understanding of tolerance of all religious beliefs.
Scott Horton: Well, and on the foreign policy theme too, you always make the comparison to medicine and say “If you diagnose the illness wrong, you’re going to get the treatment wrong”. And here we’re still operating on the false premise that they attacked us only for how nihilistic they are and how good we are. And, I guess, perhaps, we’re still operating somewhat along the premise that we still have to invade them and occupy them and give them democracy so that they won’t be oppressed and won’t want to be terrorists anymore. And I’m thinking, if we got the diagnosis wrong and we continue to act the way we’re acting, we’re going to end up having a lot more terrorism in the future.
Ron Paul: I think that analogy works both on the economic mistakes, if you continue to make the mistakes, and not change your course of action. And foreign policy is the same thing. If the war, the global war on terrorism is a good idea and we have to continue to do it and not realizing that we increase our danger to us, our national security, and we increase the odds and the chances of our national bankruptcy… it’s foolhardy, it’s insane. It’s almost national suicide to do this. So, but people don’t like to admit they made a mistake. Can you imagine George Bush analyzing this and saying “Well, now that I look back we made this mistake”, no matter how bad it gets, they’re not going to admit it. What are the expectations that Bernanke is going to say “Well, my whole life was wasted. My monetary theory is completely wrong. It’s made things much worse”. There’s no chance of that. So somebody else has to come in and offer a different alternative. And we have to convince people philosophically in order to persuade. And we can’t do it by out-demagoguing them. We have to educate people to come around, saying there is another way to look at this.
Scott Horton: Well, now, one of the most important issues going on right now is the expansion of the war on terrorism under the special forces. I’m sure you’ve seen these New York Times and Washington Post articles about this. And I’m sure you know from your experience on Capitol Hill about what’s going on in Yemen and the drone strikes and expansion of that kind of thing. And I believe that Dennis Kucinich has sponsored a bill to, at the very least, ban the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen who is said to be hiding out in Yemen. Are you a co-sponsor of that? And could you take it further to ban this global assassination program in general?
Ron Paul: Well, I think somebody did this, this might have been one of the better executive orders. I think one of our presidents actually said that the law was supposed to be that. But you shouldn’t even have to have a law. Just common sense and common decency should mean that you don’t assassinate people. But no, it could be done more explicitly. It could be done on the House floor, in the Senate, in due resolutions. The whole problem is, presidents especially, don’t necessarily follow the law. There are a lot of laws on the books, laws that violate the Constitution. The Constitution is the real law. So, we don’t live in a lawful society. They generally do what they want. Congress does what they want, the Executive branch, the courts do what they want. But any legislation that would suggest that we ban and not participate in assassination, obviously, I would be strongly supportive of it.
Scott Horton: Now, you’ve brought up Ben Bernanke, the complete failure of his economic theory. I just heard on the top of the hour news that he gave a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I think where Dick Cheney lives part of the time. And, in that speech, he said he wants to reduce the interest rate that they’re paying the banks to keep their reserves at the Fed to nothing and to force the banks to go ahead and lend out all the new money he’s created. Are we facing an inflationary depression? Or is there still so many bad debts left to be repaid that we’re still going to have deflation anyway, you think?
Ron Paul: Well, there’s a strong contest going on. Markets always want to deflate, governments always want to inflate. Now, he thinks that he’s been, they talk about pushing on a string and not having it work. Well, he’s been hammering on a string and it hasn’t worked. So, now what he’s trying to do is force the banks to loan this money rather than just putting it back in reserves. If they make less, maybe they will take a little more gamble. But a lot of people don’t, there’s a lot of people who are skittish about borrowing money right now and banks are going to be held accountable. So, keeping reserves, making zero interest, may, from their view point, be a better deal than going out and making loans in an economy that nobody knows what it’s going to be like. And there’s now a growing consensus that the economy is going to continue to get weaker. So, no matter who is running the bank, they might think it’s more prudent to keep the reserves in reserves without interest. That’s almost like putting it in a shoebox. But I think what’s going to happen is the inflationary impact is going to come. This money will eventually filter out there. And, as things go on, when you’re not earning any interest, you’re going to find more and more people putting their money in gold and silver. And I think that will be done by foreign countries as well. And there’s going to be alternative currencies, as we can, difficult as it is for people to deal in euros, I think people will start using euros and other currencies. So, I don’t look forward to any economic expansion here any time soon.
Scott Horton: So, we’re looking at, more or less, as a model the 1970s, where they called the stagflation, right, the high unemployment. But all the stimulus and all the inflation in the world doesn’t solve the employment problem. Now we just have high prices too.
Ron Paul: Yes, but I think it’s going to be a lot worse than the 1970s. There was always a little bit of growth and things seemed to move along. But price, the inflation was the main thing. But I think the economy is going to be much, much weaker. And then, when the dollar’s rejected, you’re going to have a lot more inflation. So, probably, there’s going to be an inflationary depression, rather than just stagflation.
Scott Horton: Oh, you’re talking about, once the world gives up on the dollar as a reserve standard, and all those dollars come back.
Ron Paul: Right. And they’re going to come back. I mean, what’s China going to do with a trillion dollars? If this market starts to slip, they will try to moderate their dumping of dollars for a while. But if it moves rapidly, they’re going to have to invest those dollars rather. And I think they’re already doing this. We’re wasting lives and money trying to protect our oil in the Middle East, while they’re over there actually being able to bid on some contracts in Iraq to drill oil. And, of course, they’re friends with Iran and they’ll have inroads to that country’s oil. But it just seems like they’re a little more capitalistic than we are. They make stuff for us and we give them money. And now they’re starting to invest around the world. I think we live in very dangerous times, where things could change rather quickly. If something breaks out in Iran, which a lot of neocons would like to see happen, this could be devastating to the markets.
Scott Horton: Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll make you a deal, Dr. Paul. You run for office again, I’ll vote one more time.
Ron Paul: You will, one more time? Ok, well, we’ll see what happens. It’s a little bit premature to talk about it, I guess.
Scott Horton: All right. Well, here’s waiting for February. Thank you very much for your time on the show, as always.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Scott. Good to be with you.
Scott Horton: Everybody, that’s Doctor Ron Paul, he represents District 14 in South Texas in the US House of Representatives. You know what you ought to do? You ought to read his book “The Foreign Policy of Freedom”. That’s really good.