Ron Paul On His New Book, Swords into Plowshares


Liberty Report Co-Host Daniel McAdams interviews Ron Paul on his newest book on living through war and achieving peace. The book, Swords into Plowshares, goes on sale today!

Click here to buy the book now!

Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. With me today is Daniel McAdams. Daniel, good to see you.

Daniel McAdams: Hello, sir.

Ron Paul: Daniel, I understand that today is a little bit different, because you are going to ask me some questions. I hope I can give the right answers.

Daniel McAdams: Yes, you’re going to be on the spot.

Ron Paul: What’s the subject here? As if I didn’t know.

Daniel McAdams: As everyone knows and everyone is talking about, you’ve got a new book out ‘Swords into Plowshares’. The book is now on pre-order and it’ll be shipping on the 17th of July. Everyone is excited about this. I keep clicking on Amazon to see it just rising up in the rankings. Everyone is interested in this and I tell people this is really the first book if I’m not mistaken that you’ve done solely dedicated to the issues of war and peace and especially about peace and prosperity. Is that right?

Ron Paul: Yeah, that is right. I think almost every book I write has economics in it and different things and foreign policy, so I end up always talking about, because I recall one time in a debate, the announcement was ‘Last week we did economic policy, this week we are going to do foreign policy’, and I objected. You can’t do it that way, because foreign policy does have economic consequences. So, yeah, it is the only book that has been written in this manner, but one similarity would be that in many ways it’s been personalized in the sense I know about philosophy, but a lot of it comes from my memory and how I was raised and what I thought was true way back when. So often I have said that many of us who were taught in public education and even in colleges, and then when you discover what really is going on in the world and that you have to unlearn those things that the establishment have taught us, whether it’s the schooling system, or it’s by our TVs or out government or whatever.

Daniel McAdams: That’s the one thing, when I have read the early drafts of the book and we were working together on it and I was struck out, I’ve worked with you for 13 or so years in Congress. At least weekly, if not daily, so I felt like I knew you pretty well, but when I read the book what struck me so much was how personal it was, how personal it started. It was a side of you that I don’t think people really get to see that much. How was that decision for you to make it such a personal book?

Ron Paul: In a way that concentration and interest in the subject probably evolved over the years, because if you’d ask me what was the main issue that got you involved to do public speaking, because my public speaking started in a campaign, but the campaign wasn’t to win an election and that came in after the break down of Bretton Woods. I was very fascinated with monetary policy and I started speaking out and ran for Congress and I don’t know what happened, I ended up getting elected and other things happened. I didn’t enter politics and did public speaking because of my experience during the 60s when I was in the military. I thought about it a lot, but in time I saw the military and the war and peace thing all in one, so by the time I had the chance to pick a committee, I always picked banking, financial services, but then I would always go to foreign affairs and get on those committees. Sometimes they didn’t allow me on foreign affairs, because I didn’t support foreign aid. Can you believe such a thing?

The Republicans wanted me to be dedicated to foreign aid and we might let you on foreign affairs committee. But, over the years I have become much more intensely interested, then I would go back and think about when did I first think about war. It’s been a long time I can’t remember when I didn’t think about war, because my first memory in life was when my youngest brother was born and he was born in 1939 and I know I was remembering things when the war broke out and of course, those four years or less than four years in a matter of fact, through ’42, ’43 and ’44, a little bit in ’45, I remember very clearly every single night my parent were very intensely interested because we had several members in the family in the military and there was rationing and my dad was an air raid warden and we would listen intensely to the radio and it would have these warning signals to turn off all your lights. It was very vivid for somebody that was less than ten years old.

Daniel McAdams: Then you also even had some family on the other side in Europe, so you had this sort of strange…

Ron Paul: Yeah, we had a second cousin that, in a matter of fact they were twins, they weren’t close cousins, it was probably a second cousin but we knew about him and they would come to our reunions, but they were drafted and they were sent over and one got captured. I can remember so clearly, we were taught to say our prayers at night and we always prayed for our family and for those people in Germany we were trying to kill. As years went on this didn’t make any sense. We sent family members over to Germany where we have relatives still living and they are fighting us and it just made no sense. It was those kinds of inconsistencies built over the years and then I discovered that this happens in every war. Just think of the inconsistencies with our Civil War, brothers against brothers and everybody is misled into this. Of course, the final conclusion, which comes out in the book rather strongly, it’s not you and me and our cousins that start the war and I mentioned a quote from my grandmother about this when I, sort of, must have been questioning her about it and she said ‘The people don’t start the wars, the governments start the wars.’

I think that is so true, so the challenge is how do we get the government to stop fighting these wars. Now, our Founders made an attempt at it, to have a restriction, to make sure that the people had a vote in the Congress and declare war and the President couldn’t do this, but that’s all gone right now. That’s been a real problem and I started putting it together, so I had the time growing up and in high school I knew about the Korean War and a teacher went over and got killed and then, of course, then in the 60s I was in the service for five years and the Vietnam War went on and that was a disaster. As years went on, in my mind it became more disastrous and now we’re in perpetual war. I still listen to my grandmother; it’s the government’s fault. Of course, there are some people who would challenge that by saying ‘Isn’t the government there to take care of us? What would you do, how would you protect ourselves?’ they raise those kind of questions.

Daniel McAdams: One of the things that struck me was how this book will, I am sure it will appeal to everyone, but I think it will especially appeal to young people, because if you think about it a young person today who grew up after the Cold War, maybe around 9/11 was born, that young person has never known life without the U.S. being in constant war and that’s how it was for you when you were growing up, so there’s a parallel there.

Ron Paul: Right and I think young people are very important and ideas are very important, both in the positive and negative way. If you watch old series about World War II and the Nazi youth groups, I mean these people were dedicated and they turned in to be pretty bad people, because they went along with it. Other young people are exactly the opposite, the people we run into now and that’s a different story. There was one song that I quote in the book, ‘The Universal Soldier’, it’s very, very challenging anti-war song, no doubt about it, but the conclusion’s a little bit pessimistic , because ‘The Universal Soldier’ is you and me and I admitted it in one of my major speeches during the campaign, that I became a universal soldier.

They said ‘Come’, so I march in and I participate, rather than resisting and I praise Mohammed Ali for giving up his career as a boxer and his title, to say ‘They didn’t do anything to me, why do I have to go kill these people?’ That’s a big difference and a reason for us to be more optimistic and try to reach to young people, because it’s only going to be the young people who don’t think they have to be the universal soldier and they can say the government’s doing this and why do we have to support it and the system so far hasn’t worked, so we need to do something about why we allow our governments to provoke these wars.

Daniel McAdams: It’s interesting, everyone look at a book differently and you told me a little while ago that when your wife Carol first picked up the proof copy of the book, she looked at something that you did that was unique, which is before every chapter you put a little quote of songs that mean something to you for the anti-war message.

Ron Paul: Yeah, that was easy, but I thought maybe she isn’t interested in that other stuff, but I do the same thing when I go to a book, if there are famous quotes in a book I think it’s fantastic. Even some things we put on our website, we put a person’s picture up in a quote and a lot of people are very interested, because they see the individual, they know the individual and even though it’s short and piffy. They think this is great, this is making a point. You don’t have to write thirty pages and write long speeches, which I do on occasion.

Daniel McAdams: So, let’s move into the lightning round section of the interview and that is what I appreciate about the book is that you can virtually open any page and there’ll be a subhead that will tell you what it’s about and each one of these are little speeches almost you can give. I was going to throw out a couple of these if you don’t mind and maybe you could just give a quick answer, because these are things that you handle. ‘War hurts the economy.’ The myth that the war helped stop the depression.

Ron Paul: Once again, as I said, the war issue didn’t drive me into politics, but the longer I was in Congress and thinking about it, the more I was thinking about it, the more interest I had. Then, I have listened to these arguments that people still use today that Roosevelt got us out of the depression with a war, which is total nonsense. Just killing people gets rid of unemployment, but what’s good putting 10 million people in the uniform and getting a bunch of them killed and consuming more wealth. That doesn’t do it. Some people profit, like some people would say with a profit today from the military industrial complex. If you build a bomb and you drop it over there in Syria some place, there’s been no improvement in the standard of living of anybody, even though somebody made some war profits. That’s completely different. You cannot solve the problem of the economy; wars always make the economy worse.

Daniel McAdams: You talk a lot about religion and people who manipulate, especially Christianity, to promote war and in one of your subtitles is ‘Killing in the name of God.’ I thought that was powerful.

Ron Paul: That’s probably one big disappointment I’ve had the more I’ve studied and the more I’ve realized that, but that’s been around a long time and that particular thing challenges the Christians, because there were a segment of Christians that were very, very super hawkish and endorsing preemptive war in the Middle East. That is disappointing because, I would cite some biblical things in the debate; a foreign policy of non-aggression, looking toward what the prince of peace would say. There are some Christians that do this, but it’s not what I understand from Christianity. This is not to indict Christianity alone. I think every religion is vulnerable toward stepping over bounds and using brute religion to motivate people to kill.

I think that is wrong and actually grows distortion and some people who are anti-religion would like to say ‘See, it’s those religious people. Religion causes all these wars.’ Then, the question I have to ask is, what, 3-4 hundred million people killed in the 20th century, I wonder how many of them were killed as a consequence of some atheistic dictators, fascists and communists, that even though they were atheists, they became the God, the government became the God and they wanted to be worshiped like, even still today they consider the dictator of North Korea like a Godlike and, of course there was a Godlike figure in Japan and these different places. That doesn’t mean they are reflecting true Christian values or the values of most religions, because I think that there are some good things that bring major religions together, like the Ten Commandments and striving for peace and recognition of private property and endorsement of the Ten Commandments. That isn’t like the monopoly of the Christian faith.

Daniel McAdams: Yeah, just war theory. Speaking of great Gods, you talk a lot about the war Presidents and I think you are decry the fact that the great presidents in the U.S. history are the ones that are considered to be great war presidents and that’s upside-down, right?

Ron Paul: Right, I have been the one who wrote the book about re-assessing the presidents and re-assessing Mount Rushmore, because we were taught from the very beginning in grade school, on up that the great presidents were the war presidents, from the very first president, which we, sort of, exclude from this category, but certainly from Lincoln on. Lincoln was a great president, he saved the nation and then we had Wilson and then we had Roosevelt and then we had Johnson and fortunately, so far, our most recent super war hawk, George W. Bush, isn’t getting the positive statement then these others, evidently it’s going to be a while before he gets put into the category of great presidents, because he instigated all these wars and I hope that is a lesson. Some people believe that and George W. Bush thought this, he wanted to go down history as a great president, he sort of needed to be a war president. War time presidents are more likely to be chosen, but hopefully we as a people and especially our new generation will not reward people who use violence to promote a certain cause.

Daniel McAdams: It wouldn’t be a Ron Paul book without a positive and happy ending and that’s what’s so uplifting toward the end. One of the later subtitles is ‘Spreading truth can bring resistance to war.’

Ron Paul: I think that’s the only thing that can do it. I do think that people have a right to defend themselves; you should have the right of self-determination and certainly on a personal level. I am suggesting that the next stage for the human kind is to go advance the cause of civilization, which is a bold statement. Just think, what impresses me so much is, 200 years ago and I think about my dad who was born in 1904 and he could look back with someone who was a hundred years old, in that short period of time, they saw machinery and steam engines and cars and trucks and now we are into computers. So much has been achieved and it’s fantastic.

In spite of the waste in the wars, there’s been such a tremendous improvement in living conditions. Not for everybody, I mean for the people who still haven’t become advanced in that technology still live very poor and the world is getting poor. So, my suggestion is that if the human race can advance and if technology advances to improve our living standard and unfortunately, that was used in warmongering too, you can have nuclear energy, but think that nuclear energy can be a very useful thing, but if it’s used for nuclear bombs it isn’t. Much of our expenditures go not to just improve the benefits of human kind, it goes to enhancing the killing.

That has to be rejected and there is no reason in my estimation that we can’t go to that stage, but we have to admit a couple of things. Government starts war and if you can’t get one to live within the law, like our government doesn’t live within the Constitution, that eventually if we truly believe in this, we have to refuse, we can’t be the universal soldier and always obediently go and say ‘Whatever you want us to do, you need some cannon today I’ll send some kids and make heroes out of them’, like they do in the Middle East on both sides. I believe that’s a possibility, but it’s not going to be immediate, it’s going to take time to do this, and this is what, of course, that I strive for and of course I claim that it will come, once they realize that ideas have consequences and good ideas should have good consequences.

Daniel McAdams: Millions of people are going to read this book and I think it is very exiting what they are going to get out of it, so we should be very uplifted and positive about it.

Ron Paul: Thank you everybody for tuning in today and I hope you enjoyed our little interview and come back to the Liberty Report soon.

Click here to buy the book now!

This video was published by the Ron Paul Institute.