Ron Paul

Ron Paul's "Exit Interview" with Washington Post: Hopeful, Humble, and Hating Welfare for the Rich

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The Washington Post's web site this morning runs its "exit interview" with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) who is packing up his D.C. condo and selling it as he leaves Congress, having chosen not to run for re-election for the seat he's held from Texas since 1996 (after two previous stints in Congress from 1976-84).

You can watch the video here, it's about five minutes long.

In the interview, Paul fingers the military-industrial complex and the Federal Reserve system of inflation and big bank giveaways as the most dangerous special interests in government today, and laments that "those who just want their freedom and to take care of themselves" are the least influential group in today's government.

The Post's Brook Silva-Braga asks Paul why he thinks his freedom message can't manage to build a 51 percent coalition; Paul observes that more generic expressions of a liberty message–general belief in free enterprise and keeping what you earn, keeping government out of our private lives, not being policeman of the world–get surprising assent.

But "when it comes to particulars people don't necessarily stick with it. "Yes, but you go too far, you want too much freedom!" (A common phenomenon when it comes to libertarianism, which I have long found gets greater assent the more vaguely you express its principles.)

Paul then sounds more like the "Man of the Left" I framed him as in my feature article in Reason's November issue, noting that while he started out as a more standard Republican worried about welfare for "those who won't work and get food stamps" he has a "completely different" opinion now. He's more concerned now with the special benefits that the wealthy get from a government dedicated to crony capitalism.

He dismisses both his Republican Party and the Democrats as "dinosaurs" and explains that he didn't seriously contemplate a third party or independent run after failing to win the GOP nod for president because it's "not practical" given the legal, ideological, and media barriers to such presidential runs.

Paul says he is still hopeful about the future because of his time on college campuses. Speaking about liberty (a practice he'll be continuing even as he leaves electoral politics) gets such great reception there, and the kids, he says, know that the system is bankrupt and that the seeming health of our debt-driven dollar system can collapse quickly and unexpectedly allowing a "new system" to arise.

Paul ends with one of his most winning qualities as a public figure (and one that aggravated the political pros around him): an utter refusal to vaunt his own significance, even when handed an opportunity to do so. He's asked what he's proudest of in his political career, and his first remark is "nothing in particular" and then he goes into a vamp on how he finds it funny how other political pros wonder at his "consistency" and thus admit to their own inconsistency.

Silva-Braga presses: "You changed the discussion in this country…." 

Paul can only respond: "That would be nice. Time will tell…."

It will. As a writer of a history of American libertarianism pre-Paul's past two presidential runs (Radicals for Capitalism), and a history of his political career (Ron Paul's Revolution), I can say that Silva-Braga is certainly right.

NEXT: New Homes Sales Stall

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  1. I’ll be interested to see what he does to continue speaking on liberty – TV/radio, live events, a racist newsletter…? I’ll look forward to it.

    There are none more like him. At least his son is cut of the same cloth, although he’s clearly his own man.

    Vaya con Dios, Rep. Paul!

    1. Also, free-est!

      1. Secondarian!

    2. Maybe he’ll write a newsletter?

  2. Everybody wants to be free … to have your stuff if you’re better off.

  3. and the kids, he says, know that the system is bankrupt and that the seeming health of our debt-driven dollar system can collapse quickly and unexpectedly allowing a “new system” to arise

    How cute that he thinks that. I suppose given his age he probably won’t be around to see how wrong he is.

    1. Yeah, there’s a bit of selection bias going on there. For every Paultard on the average college campus there are 100 Occutards.

  4. Can we just build Ron Paul a library, and skip Obama’s?

    1. Count me as a yes.

    2. I’d contribute to that

    3. Libraries are just a place for the homeless to mastubate to internet porn and free child warehousing.

      So, it sounds good to me and I’ll start a Kickstarter project for it.

    4. Gotta keep all those unsold copies of “Ron Paul’s Revolution” somewhere.

      1. Distribute free copies to “the fleetest of foot”.

      2. they are all available in the Library of Congress and on the internet

    5. It most likely will be building the Federal reserve former Building

  5. worried about welfare for “those who won’t work and get food stamps” he has a “completely different” opinion now. He’s more concerned now with the special benefits that the wealthy get from a government dedicated to crony capitalism

    Both are just as troublesome. The freepers keep blindly electing the ones that keep up the cronyism.

    Speaking about liberty (a practice he’ll be continuing even as he leaves electoral politics)

    Very glad to hear him say that, is what I was hoping for.

    1. Freepers need to be kicked in the nuts.

      And I used to be one.

      That’s why as long as the majority of the “freedom and liberty” people keep talking about “Paulers”, “Paulbots”, “Paulestinians” and (my personal favorite) “Paultards”, Ron Paul’s message will remain lost in the wilderness.

      1. I don’t get offended by being called a Paulbot.

        Don’t forget, Paulistas. I sort of find that one curious because it is what Brazilians often call residents of Sao Paulo.

        1. I sort of find that one curious because it is what Brazilians often call residents of Sao Paulo.

          Half right. That is what a Paulista is; someone from Sao Paulo. Someone from New York is a New Yorker; someone from Sao Paulo is a Paulista.

      2. Ron Pauls’s message isn’t lost. When the United States has collapsed and has been lost the amnesia will suddenly end

    2. Ealth redistribution from poor to wealthy is a matter of much greater concern since it is accomplished through stealing

  6. John Mahoney should play Ron Paul in the inevitable biopic.

    1. E. G. Marshall (RIP) woulda been perfect

      1. “You’re goofy.”

        1. Don’t piss me off, Art.

    2. Don’t count on ever seeing a Ron Paul biography on a major TV network, ever, unless it is a totally fictionalized smear campaign.

      1. It’ll just be “Downfall” re-dubbed.

      2. The post United States era will again control of the networks and truth will start to reappear.

    3. A picture of Ron Paul in his youth reminds me of Edward Norton.

  7. SODDI
    11/28/2012 6:50 PM EST
    The most damaging special interest would be Grover Norquist.
    Share
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    The unwashed are well coached, I see.

    1. Why do you hate the children?

    2. GOLDSTIEN!

  8. Sad to see him go…. the last true voice and the last of the real patriots….

    1. We still have several in congress. Paul is, imo, the founder of the new freedom movement, but he’s not the last of the Mohicans.

    2. Not even close, Chad. There are more libertarian-leaning voices in Congress now than there have been in 100 years. Granted, that’s like 6, but still….

      1. No way. There were way more libertarianish people in Congress in the 1920s and 1950s, for instance.

        1. you may be correct. But there was no talk then of the Cliff or loss of Global reserve Currecncy Status, or using the Armend Forces within the United states, or arming DHS with 500 billion hollow nosed bullets. or removing Habeas Corpus from the National defense act of 2012
          Or naming Seals as Traitors or Allowing private banks (Fed) to arm and create its own police force. or the creation of the event description phrase False Flag

      2. and growing
        It would seem as if the rulers of our time sought only to use men in order to make things great; I wish that they would try a little more to make great men; that they would set less value on the work and more upon the workman; that they would never forget that a nation cannot long remain strong when every man belonging to it is individually weak; and that no form or combination of social polity has yet been devised to make an energetic people out of a community of pusillanimous and enfeebled citizens.”

    3. God Bless our Patriot Ron Paul

  9. he finds it funny how other political pros wonder at his “consistency” and thus admit to their own inconsistency.

    Does he find it as funny when political pros wonder at his lack of accomplishments?

    Listen, I love RP as a person and, for the most part, as a thinker, but he was an awful politician. I don’t think it’s intentional, but he’s bought into the hype of his supporters about the greatness of being “consistent”. He may have succeeded in injecting discussion of the Fed into the mainstream but guess what? The mainstream has already developed the antibodies against it. Likewise with the anti-war and anti-drone stuff. And the US is much further from libertarianism now than it was in 1976.

    I’m marginally more hopeful for his son, but Rand has displayed a lack of political savvy a few times already as well. We need a libertarian Machiavelli in office, who’s willing to be a bit inconsistent in order to advance liberty in a way a purist couldn’t.

    1. ” but he was an awful politician.”

      Perhaps the greatest compliment you could pay him.

      1. Would that all politicians were as bad.

    2. All political pros are funny and they would’nt know an accomplishment if they ran into one.He had integrity and this spark may yet reawaken this nation, before the U.S.A. sinks into obscurity
      God spare us from your wish being fulfilled. “everybody feels the evil, but no one has courage or energy enough to seek the cure”
      What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish?

      ***There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in. The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry.

  10. “Paul then sounds more like the “Man of the Left” I framed him as in my feature article in Reason’s November issue, noting that while he started out as a more standard Republican worried about welfare for “those who won’t work and get food stamps” he has a “completely different” opinion now. He’s more concerned now with the special benefits that the wealthy get from a government dedicated to crony capitalism.”

    Shut up Doherty and your beltway buddies.

  11. Mr. Paul is overly humble. When the Fed collapses again (its three predecessors all did). Patriot Ron may very well become A key figure in the Government such as President. and if not in the government then as head of the Cartel of private bankers operating as Federal reserve system which is neither federal, nor does it have any reserves

  12. There most likely will no longer be a dollar in existence when his body passes away. He will never pass away in American history

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