Interview with Ron Paul

What’s your response to those who say you’re not electable?

The idea of who is not electable is subjective. It’s early, no one knows, and only one candidate will win so everyone else will turn out to be not electable. The nomination is completely open now; the party is in disarray, the base is unhappy and I offer them an alternative and a return to their tradition of true conservativism. I think I’m quite electable. I’m not placing any bets, but to argue that I’m not electable is just trying to dismiss someone they don’t want to hear from. It’s more rhetoric than anything else.

Do you believe in open borders? That’s the Libertarian position, after all.

Some libertarians believe in totally open borders. I don’t. Remember, I was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president in 1988 and I ran as a Right-to-Life Libertarian. I don’t support totally open borders, because although I think the federal government should be small, protecting borders and providing national defense – which excludes occupying other countries – are two of its legitimate functions. I would beef up the borders and not worry about the Korean and Iraqi borders. It’s ironic that we’re taking border guards off our borders and paying them to go and train border guards over there. I do understand the libertarian argument. The more we deal with our neighbors, the better off we are. I like the idea of trade, I like the idea of free travel and friendship. When that happens, you’re less likely to fight. But that doesn’t mean anyone can come in and get easy citizenship.

My biggest argument is different than those who want to shoot anyone crossing the border. When you subsizide things, you get more of it, and we subsidize immigration. We need to stop that. I want to deny the benefits that draw people here. If we had a healthier economy, we could have a generous work program but we don’t need it.

Do you find the dichotomy between the excitement about your campaign on the Internet and the silence about it in the mainstream media to be a little strange?

I don’t see it completely. I think that might be true of the three or four major networks, but on the national talk shows, the Bill Maher and John Stewart-type shows, we’re getting a lot of invitations. I don’t think we’d have that if we didn’t have the Internet excitement. If we continue to do well, they’ll be forced to follow and give us more attention. This is true of a lot of things, a lot of stories break on the Internet. The networks are usually pretty slow on picking up what’s happening.

Do you think the endorsement of Rush Limbaugh would win you the nomination?

Oh, I don’t think so.

Some Republicans criticize you for opposing the ongoing military occupations, since that’s supposed to be a Democratic position.

There are some Democrats who oppose the war, although I oppose it in a different manner. But they argue about tactics, my objections are strategic, philosophical and constitutional. The big debate recently was about whether you have a surge or not, I want to change the whole debate and not get involved in these insane alliances in the first place. There’s a lot of arguments that support my position on non-intervention.

What is your opinion on intellectual property? Does it even exist?

I think it’s a complex issue. I think of the protection of inventions and copyright as a legitimate function of the government. It gets really complex when you get into the international aspects, though, it has to be worked out by a reasonable discussion between these countries. Ideas themselves, like the internal combustion engine, can’t be kept away from the world because ideas will always spread. I think it’s open for discussion, but writing one law that fits the whole world isn’t possible.

Do you think the Libertarian Party is moving towards a pro-life position?

I don’t think it’s as divisive an issue as a lot of people think it is in the Libertarian Party. A lot of people would just as soon the position doesn’t exist. I use a libertarian argument to argue against abortion. Every Libertarian Party member takes an oath against aggression. But if you take a four- or five-pound fetus and kill it, if that’s not aggression, what is? Right now, the definitions are difficult, both the medical and legal definitions. I think that’s why you have the pro- and anti-abortion sides. If we don’t resolve the difference between one minute before birth and one minute after, we’ll have difficulty defending political liberty. Under our law now, I can get paid for killing a child a minute before its birth and go to prison for doing it the minute after its birth.

What are the first five things you’d do if elected President?

There’s some things you’d like to do but you can’t necessarily do all five things in one day. You have to work within the system. On the big things, I’d reduce spending enough to get rid of the income tax and the IRS. I’d change our monetary policy so the Federal Reserve couldn’t create money out of thin air, causing problems like inflation, investment bubbles and the ups and downs of the business cycle. One thing the president definitely can do on his own is that I’d immediately start bringing our troops home from around the world. I’d also stop building up missile sites and antagonizing the Russians. The biggest thing would be to get Congress to balance the budget, and we could do that if we were willing to give up on this foreign policy where we’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars and getting nothing for it.

Of course, there’s a lot more things that we’re doing now that I would stop doing. I would never violate habeus corpus, the violation of which has now been legalized. I’d be very cautious not to violate the liberties of the American people. But you can only do what there is a consensus for doing, action requires the cooperation of Congress and the American people.

As a member of Congress, have you seen any evidence of attempts to merge the USA with Mexico and Canada?

I think they’re working diligently for it and that’s why this administration is weak. They don’t even believe in national sovereignty. It started with NAFTA, then SPP and now they’re moving to take the next step with this immigration bill. They’re going to advance that effort to put the three countries together and have a single currency. Now that’s something a president could do, is to let people know what plans have been made and express objection to it. I would work strongly against the NAU, the whole notion that we should have a single currency is frightening. There was a universal money once, it was called the gold standard, but when you have paper money in its place, that’s where all the mischief comes from.

Do you think being the only non-interventionist Republican helps your campaign?

I would think so. Of course, I see the philosophy as being very popular and common-sensical and people would respond to it. People like the message of the free enterprise system and letting people run their own lives with privacy. They are responding very favorably to minding our own business and besides, we can’t afford it. It’s very viable and could compete with any of them.