Ron Paul: "They're determined to have martial law"

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the most reliably libertarian member of Congress, went on the Alex Jones radio show last week. Some of his quotes, according to the show's website:

"If we don't change our ways we will go the way of Rome and I see that as rather sad.....the worst things happen when you get the so-called Republican conservatives in charge from Nixon on down, big government flourishes under Republicans."

"It's really hard to believe it's happening right in front of us. Whether it's the torture or the process of denying habeas corpus to an American citizen." [...]

Paul responded to President Bush's announcement last week that he would order the use of military assets to police America in the event of an avian flu outbreak.

"To me it's so strange that the President can make these proposals and it's even plausible. When he talks about martial law dealing with some epidemic that might come later on and having forced quarantines, doing away with Posse Comitatus in order to deal with natural disasters, and hardly anybody says anything. People must be scared to death."

Paul, himself a medical doctor, agreed that the bird flu threat was empty fearmongering.

"I believe it is the President hyping this and Rumsfeld, but it has to be in combination with the people being fearful enough that they will accept the man on the white horse."

Much more here.

Reason named Paul one of its "35 Heroes of Freedom" back in December 2003.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    And Sploid just posted an interview from Alex Jones with a CIA agent who claims that the U.S. government may be directly responsible for the next terror attack.

  • ||

    A little more info on another fairly libertarian Congressman here.

    Of course, the Mormon thing is always something to be wary about (see the thread on Scientology for more reference). :)

    Also, we can all admit that wikipedia is not always the most reliable source for info, but I can personally vouch for most of this particular entry as being valid.

    Unfortunately Mr Flake is supposedly limiting himself to 3 terms and I'm also about 5 miles too far west to be in his district, even if he does break that promise.

    Now, if he runs for AZ gov or Senate, I'll be able to vote for him.

    Unless, of course, there's an even better LP candidate.

  • ||

    Martial Law would be better, because you can turn off martial law.

    This is an effort to make civil law look more like martial law.

  • ||

    saw-whet - are you saying this Alex Jones fella makes stuff up, that interviewing with him lessens one's credibility, or that he's just a loon, with no particular connexion good or bad with what Ron Paul had to say?

    I thought it was an interesting point Dr Paul said about the 'martial law due to avian flu' thing was a response to the gov't being pissed off that people wouldn't give up their guns. Oh yeah, and about the Bush Jr admin being a Trojan horse.

    Ouch.

  • ||

    Martial Law would be better, because you can turn off martial law.

    In theory, sure.

    In practice? Let's ask some people in Latin America what life was like after a coup.

  • ||

    Dear god I love Ron Paul. Why can't he be president?

  • ||

    Alex Jones is a paranoid freak. He's like a Texas version of David Icke.

  • ||

    Who did Ron Paul vote for as Majority leader?

  • ||

    Thoreau,

    I think what joe's saying is that with martial law declared, at least we'd be able to revert to normal civil law afterward(whenever that might be). But if we continue alterting civil law to be more like martial law, we're pretty much screwed.

  • ||

    Lowdog - Nope. Never heard of Alex Jones until now. Don't know much about Ron Paul. Do I ever have a point? Nope.

  • Pastafarian||

    c'mon Warren, Matt gave us our opening to threadjack this and turn it into a Rome thread. Yes, there are unfortunately many simularities, with the exception that GWB isn't boinking the King of Saud's daughter.

  • ||

    Lawdog - isn't Barry Goldwater's grandson a mid-level unelected bureaucrat running for an elected bureaucrat position in AZ?

    And Sploid just posted an interview from Alex Jones with a CIA agent who claims that the U.S. government may be directly responsible for the next terror attack.

    Oh shit - is Bush going to invade CIA headquarters?

  • ||

    *Lowdog

  • ||

    I blather, you decide. Hey, and turning this into a Rome thread sounds cool.

  • ||

    Alex Jones is a talk radio host who thinks that every single event in history including a snake farting in Egypt is somehow connected to the Illuminati.

    Why would Paul go on his show? It makes him look more like an Antony Sutton than a respected liberatarian.

  • ||

    thoreau, a declaration of martial law by an elected government that has to face the voters in a few months or years is a long way off from a coup regime that is not democratically accountable.

  • ||

    Adam - I don't know. How many grandsons does Barry Goldwater Sr have? I'm sure it's quite a few.

    Although it makes no difference one way or another, I'm very good friends with one of his grandsons. However the Barry Jr I know doesn't have many political aspirations, so I guess I'll just have to reiterate that I don't know and stop the name dropping. :)

  • ||

    For example, how are we going to be at permanent war (yipee! Iran is next!) if we have a limited number of loyal and willing troops and we have martial law at home?

    Forget WWJD? WWRD? (What Would Rome Do?)

  • ||

    If we go the way of Rome, does this mean that the seat of our government will move to Istanbul and continue on for another 1,000 years? Cool.

    Istanbul has a good head start on the role of U.S. Capital, what with the bad traffic and rotting infrastructure.

  • ||

    theCoach:

    Paul voted for Hastert as speaker, if that's what you mean.

  • ||

    I don't think avian flu has yet been over hyped. We'd better be thinking about it.

    Tyler Cowen noted a while back that martial law wouldn't be especially useful as far as containing the flu goes, so that is a goofy notion. Still, it could be ugly.

  • gaius marius||

    an elected government

    ah, mr joe, it would simply be too dangerous to stage an election -- for a long, long time.

    tell you what: we'll have the next election after we've captured osama. how bout that?

  • gaius marius||

    I don't think avian flu has yet been over hyped.

    me neither, mr ligon, but it depends on what you mean by overhyped. some people foresee a black death or some such -- the odds of that are not very large. but it is quite feasible for h5n1 to kill some millions of people worldwide, and that itself is a very significant event.

  • gaius marius||

    truly, i think the abject panic that h5n1 will induce in a bizarrely paranoid west will likely (hopefully) be more damaging to industrial nations than the flu itself.

  • R C Dean||

    Whew, there's gaius.

    Here we are, deep into a discussion of a post that actually refers to Rome and the decline of civil society, and gaius hadn't chimed in. I was starting to worry.

  • gaius marius||

    hey, i'm trying very hard not to use the r-word here. :)

  • ||

    joe

    You make a good point. North Korea, for instance, has not declared martial law. They don't have to; the civil law works just fine at oppressing millions.

  • ||

    Why would Paul go on his show? It makes him look more like an Antony Sutton than a respected liberatarian.

    I sometimes read Paul's columns of lewrockwell.com, and always had the impression that he's about *this far* from falling over into the chasm of wackiness.

  • Windypundit||

    I sometimes read Paul's columns of lewrockwell.com, and always had the impression that he's about *this far* from falling over into the chasm of wackiness."

    Yeah, but most people have that impression of all of us here.

  • ||

    At the risk of being labelled a threadjacker and/or troll...

    Rome got mentioned again. Why does Rome always seem to come up? It has absolutely nothing to do with anything in our world. Besides, considerations of personal hygiene aside, I'd take the barbarians over the Romans any day. Building a few aqueducts doesn't make you civilized.

    ...back to the galleries.

  • ||

    shecky,
    I`ll take the "wackiness" of my representative Ron Paul over any other rep. in the congress or senate.

    possible definition: "wackiness"= constitutionalist

  • ||

    In the even of an epidemic, wouldn't the army be used more to deliver medical aid than to enforce martial law? I'm not seeing a scenario in which a medical emergency would engender widespread lawlessness, overwhelming local police and requiring the military to intervene.

  • ||

    Paul also tends to go over the deep end on the gold standard. He seems to think that basing our currency on gold will basically eliminate inflation, which I think it a bit of a stretch. Even given his idiosyncrasies, he is a reliable "no" vote on spending, good on federalism (aka state's rights), and very strong on individual liberties.

    He has the typical libertarian "run and hide" attitude on all things military, if that floats your boat.

  • ||

    Mark Borok

    That's an interesting question. Whenever we think about medical emergencies (specifically epidemics), I think we may let our imaginations run wild. We envision something from a Stephen King novel or horror movie: society completely breaks down. Yet, if my inadequate knowledge of history serves, this rarely (if ever) really happens. E.g., the cholera epidemic in Victorian England didn't cause chaos; the 1918 flu didn't seriously disrupt civil order; even the Black Death didn't cause any great upheaval--the same lot who were in charge before were in charge after, almost as if nothing had happened.

    BUT, just because there is no need for a military intervention doesn't mean we won't get a military intervention.

  • ||

    Well Mark, Bush himself was the one talking about quarantining a city or somesuch if there was such an 'epidemic', so you tell me. While I don't have a problem with the military providing airdrops and whatnot of supplies, I sure as hell don't even like hearing about the possiblity of marshall law.

  • ||

    Ron Paul's wacky enough that I wouldn't want 534 clones of him in Congress alongside him. But I'd sure like to have significantly more people like him in Congress.

  • ||

    Lowdog,

    I don't know what you mean about mormons being "cultish". About the only "secret" things I'm aware of in the mormon religion is how non-mormons aren't allowed into temples (which, here in MA, got waived for tours when they built their big new temple in Belmont) and some of the meetings of church elders. But otherwise it seems pretty open. A coworker of mine is mormon and I've asked him some pretty pointed questions of the religion, and he was more than happy to answer them and point me towards the relevant scriptures. To my knowledge all their scriptures and dogmatic texts are publicly available.

    Then again, seeing how the US government and lynch mobs have chased them halfway across the continent for the past 150 years or so, I can see why they'd want to be secretive.

  • ||

    "I sometimes read Paul's columns of lewrockwell.com, and always had the impression that he's about *this far* from falling over into the chasm of wackiness."

    Yeah, but most people have that impression of all of us here."

    really?? well that would explain my treatment at this blog:

    http://www.env-econ.net/

    of course it could just be me. :)

  • gaius marius||

    I'd take the barbarians over the Romans any day

    sigh.

  • ||

    Regarding reason's top 35: I'd love to know joe's opinion of Jane Jacobs.

  • ||

    Ok, I googled it. joe ranks Jacobs as one of the "top 10 thinkers of the past century". Cool.

  • ||

    rafuzo - Well, Mormons have some cult-like beliefs. And they are pretty exculsive. Although I will agree with you that being run across the country might do that to you.

    In the NW part of my state (AZ), you've got polygamists. The LDS church has a long history (begining with Joseph Smith) of having visions and actually acting on them. There were some lynch mobs created by Mormons on their own due to some whack-job leader of one of their communities saying he had a vision to kill someone or string someone up. And of course, if you're a good Mormon, you get your own planet to be the god of once you die.

    I really have nothing against them, per se, but being an atheist I'm always a little wary of politicians and their religion. (Wary as something to keep an eye on, not wary as in I don't want to associate with them, period.)

  • ||

    Ron Paul for Prez!!!

    Too bad Bush's dog has more chance of getting the top job...

  • ||

    I was digging this article until the last, unsubstantiated, delusional sentence concerning "arch-liberal" Harriet Miers and the "Bush crime family".

  • ||

    There is a Goldwater running for an elected bureaucrat position in AZ

    http://www.goldwater4governor.org/

  • ||

    Rhywun:

    Because there is no basis for either charge?

  • ||

    I think gaius is dead wrong on the solution (going Medieval) but he's dead right on the problem. If they declare martial law in response to a flu, then the Rubicon will be officially crossed.

  • ||

    The history of early Rome was mostly good, mostly moving in a more democratic and free direction. (Read Livy's Early History of Rome.) It was only later on that things turned rotten (speaking of crossing the Rubicon) and they ended up with an emperor. Hmm...maybe the parallels with Rome don't bear thinking about.

  • ||

    �Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.� - Julius Ceasar

  • ||

    Jake-
    A wonderful quote, but unfortunately Caesar never said it.

    http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/w/war-rightsquote.htm

    and

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/caesar.htm

  • ||

    Ron Paul for Prez!!!

    What's to stop the LP from nominating a sufficiently libertarian candidate in the Republican primaries?

    ...I suppose that would be suicide for the party. I guess it's more likely that the Republicans will pull one of our candidates and run--someday.

    Hey! I can dream, can't I?

  • ||

    There are good reasons why we have laws like Posse Comitatus. The federal government and most especially the military has no business doing local law enforcement and disaster relief absent the most extreme circumstances. Perhaps people might want to think about the long term consiquences of whining and knashing of teeth that went on because Bush didn't invade and occupy Louisiana before Katrina. Yeah, lets all have a fit over the prospect of martial law after spending the aftermath of Katrina demanding nothing short of it.

  • ||

    John, for once I agree with you completely. The reaction to Katrina, however justified or unjustified or whatever, has provided the cover for martial law the next time there's a disaster.

    How did our country survive previous flu epidemics without martial law?

    I'm going to move to Switzerland if they declare martial law. Time to learn French.

  • Dave W.||

    joe . . . You make a good point.

    Yeah, that civil law as martial law thing was a zinger.

  • gaius marius||

    I think gaius is dead wrong on the solution (going Medieval) but he's dead right on the problem. If they declare martial law in response to a flu, then the Rubicon will be officially crossed.

    now when did i say that was a solution, mr thoreau? :) it's not, clearly.

    what is a solution is collapse and dissolution, following the conclusion of this pursuit of an empire of cultural preservation, clearing the way for a religious age.

  • ||

    I think joe got it backward. This is an effort to disguise martial law to look more like civil law. The "slippery slope" scenario is what Ron Paul is warning against. If the American public quietly accepts martial law in response to an avian flu outbreak a new baseline will be established. It will make it much easier for a governor, president, or mayor to impose martial law in the future for lesser dangers (such as an anti-war demonstration, rumors of terrorist attacks, or watering your lawn on the wrong day).

  • gaius marius||

    (Read Livy's Early History of Rome.)

    ok, rome it is.

    of course livy wrote in the early imperial period, at a time when the fractious internal strife that is the inevitable result of lawless populism was already alienating romans and making them long for a romantic return to the past. livy's history is a response to that impulse -- less a history than a myth manual of what it should mean to be roman. it can be seen as a part of a romantic primitivist program of reforms installed by octavian augustus following the second triumvarate. as such, it's more than a bit idealized -- and subtly romano-graecophile, for all its primitivist bluster.

    he makes the romans out to be morally superior to the etruscans, who were indeed the transplanted remnant of syriac civilization and a hellenized decadent society from whom the barbaric tribal romans essentially learned everything that eventually made them civilized, including republican concepts. but livy, fighting the onset of hellenic decadence in his own society, decidedly rewrites the history of early rome to emphasize the heroic virtu of simplicity and selflessness while ignoring that hellenic/etruscan influence which made rome more than another primitive latin village.

    this is all very reminiscent of our own situation, which is why i bring it up. our own meritocratic republican system wasn't a product of simplicity and barbarism but of the high western civilization we are the children of. it's loss cannot be cured -- as augustus and livy presumed, along with many backward-looking conservatives today -- by forcibly reinstalling that which is past. such exercizes are ultimately not archaic in nature but revolutionary, resulting in totally new institutions and social patterns (such as empire).

  • ||

    This may help protect us from the iraqi terorists who were responsible for 911, if it keeps us safe then go for it. Anything that keeps us all safe from the terrorists and helps us win the war on islam is inherintly a good thing, I'm all for it.

  • ||

    Too much, "jane."

    Take it down to an 8, 8.5.

  • ||

    Crap I've been found out! LOL. It just fit so well with the way the post was going I thought I'd stick it in. This one IS real.

    "Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering (paraphrased)

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.htm

  • gaius marius||

    ah, the advent of mass politics.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement