Ron Paul and Rand Paul Disagree on Ebola Travel Ban Proposal


Gage Skidmore

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), both doctors, disagree on whether or not the U.S. should institute a travel ban on countries affected by Ebola.

The younger Paul, who has criticized the Obama administration for "downplaying how transmittable" Ebola is, last week said that "a temporary hiatus on flights … ought to be considered" and that it's "only reasonable." In another media appearance he reiterated, "A temporary suspension of flights should be definitely considered."

His father doesn't agree. "Right now I would say a travel ban is politically motivated more than something done for medical purposes," he said today on NewsMax TV. Paul explained his view:

You've got to put it in perspective. We're talking about one person that's died, and we want to close down the world travel system. …

Over 500 people still die from tuberculosis every year, so you have a much greater chance of getting tuberculosis by flying an airplane, but you don't put a ban on everybody who has a cough to get on an airplane. …

Right now the flu season started, you know how many people are liable to die? Tens of thousands. Actually the estimate is between 3,000 and 49,000 people die every year from the flu, so if you really want to do good for the world let's ban all people who have a cold because they might have the flu.

Nevertheless, Paul did defend his son against criticism from Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who accused Rand of "politicizing" Ebola. Ron said Rand's "medical opinion [was] expressed in sincerity." 

Read Reason's Shikha Dalmia's explanation of why a travel ban would not be effective. 

NEXT: Tonight on The Independents: Ebola Politics, Jacob Sullum on Guns and Mental Health, LP Senate Candidate Chad Grimm, U.S. Aid to ISIS, Gay-Marry-Me-or-Else!, Keene = Ferguson?, and After-show

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  1. It’s pretty rare that Paul Sr says something more reasonable than Paul Jr. Here’s hoping Rand’s opinion is *not* sincere.

    1. Yeah, because there’s nothing worse than a principled politician.

      1. Would you rather he be disingenuous or stupid?

        1. The president is both.

      2. To paraphrase Lord Varys, a principled politician is as useless as a cowardly knight.

    2. No, it’s not “more reasonable.” It’s yet another straw man argument. Absolutely nobody wants to “close down the world travel system.” We just want to stop people from leaving Ebola epidemic zones, at least without suitable precautions (e.g. in-country quarantines) before leaving.

      Once again, the administration is schizophrenic about this. On the one hand, they say we shouldn’t send Liberians back to Liberia, because it would be unsafe for them. So they get visa waivers and extensions to stay. But if a Liberian wants to come to the US, no problem, because stopping them would somehow “make things worse.” In other words, people traveling into an Ebola zone are at risk (which contradicts the claim that it’s “hard to catch”), but people leaving an Ebola zone somehow don’t put anyone else at risk. It’s similar to “You can’t get infected with Ebola on a bus, but if you have Ebola don’t ride a bus because you can infect someone else.” Both are Logic 101 fails.

      (Note to Cytotoxic: If you want to argue with me about this, please try to avoid personal attacks, etc.)

      1. On the one hand, they say we shouldn’t send Liberians back to Liberia, because it would be unsafe for them. So they get visa waivers and extensions to stay. But if a Liberian wants to come to the US, no problem

        Yeah, the only danger in Liberia is Ebola. Liberia is totally safe otherwise. No persecution of gays at all.

        There is nothing suitable about ‘in-country quarantine’ for a non-threat like Ebola.

        please try to avoid personal attacks

        Please try to be smarter ex not using the term ‘logic 1010 fails’ while performing a basic logic fail.

        1. What, exactly, was my failure of logic? And why bring up Liberian gays? I don’t think Obama did. His visa thing was specifically about Ebola.

          1. This is the same cytotoxic who declared it was stupid to believe there could be any outbreak of ebola in the US. Right before the outbreak in Dallas.

            1. All three of them?

        2. Yeah, the only danger in Liberia is Ebola. Liberia is totally safe otherwise. No persecution of gays at all.

          While I’m on the fence on the issue, that’s just retarded. No one was hesitant about sending people to Liberia because of general conditions prior to the outbreak.

          If you’re going to insult people for a lack of intelligence, you might want to avoid looking like an imbecile.

      2. You know who else sent black people back to Liberia…

      3. (Note to Cytotoxic: If you want to argue with me about this, please try to avoid personal attacks, etc.)

        That’s not going to happen. He can’t get around without that crutch.

  2. I don’t think you can really equate stopping flights from Liberia and Sierra Leone with “closing down the world travel system”.

    That said, of Paul’s statements are certainly take into effect some political considerations. But so what? He has to do what he can to appease the Fox News/Breitbart crowd if he is to have any hope of getting the nomination.

    1. There’s no commercial flights directly between the US and any of the affected countries as is.

      So unless you mean a entirely symbolic ban with no actual effect on anything, the “flight ban” would have to be affecting flights from non-affected countries as well.

      1. Nope. Check the passport stamps.

        1. Exactly. As long as they don’t end up here, or really, any other Ebola-free area. Luckily Nigeria came down with both feet on the threat, probably using methods that Cytotoxic would disapprove of….

          1. The BBC World Service covered that this morning. They interviewed the governor of River State (Port Harcourt – big city that had some cases).

            He credited first the speed with which the Nigerian government acquired additional PPE for health workers, and second the aggressive and comprehensive contact tracking. He only discussed border/flight restrictions when Roz Atkins specifically asked completely within the context of the Western hue and cry about it.

            The governor responded in such a way as to completely downplay the effect of (and the execution of) said restrictions and reiterated his opposition to it on several grounds.

            Effectively, Nigeria beat ebola so far with minimal restriction of movement in West Africa.

  3. OT: Google rumor has it that BMW and Mercedes yanked their ads from Gawker.

    I’ve become a real fan of these gamergate knuckleheads. I figured they were gonna get steam rolled by the establishment. However they seem to be running pretty hardcore high volume email campaigns.

    1. Why doesn’t Netflix have a western genre?

    2. Didn’t stop NPR from doing a hit piece on them this weekend. Leftards are nothing if not persistently true to the narrative.

      1. They are, but they have hit something that’s at least knocked them off their game for a while. Hopefully it’s their Waterloo, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

  4. It’s about time the government stopped restricting our freedom with empty promises of protection.

    The question is: Is it the right time?

  5. A planet where a father and his son don’t agree on something?

    1. The Pauls are Hanoverians?

    2. Arrakis?


  6. Over 500 people still die from tuberculosis every year, so you have a much greater chance of getting tuberculosis by flying an airplane

    I would probably die from initial extreme trauma through rapid deceleration if I ever flew an airplane because besides a few stints at Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, I can’t really fly an airplane.

    But maybe I can catch TB traveling inside an airplane. Maybe.

    1. Iraqi Head to Seek Arms.

      Clinton Wins Budget Battle but More Lies Ahead.

      I once shot an elephant in my pajamas, how he got there I’ll never know.

  7. The hardest part of OldMexican’s death was making it seem like an accident.

    1. I suck at replies.

      1. In more ways than one 😉

  8. Uh, yeah, they’re both doctors, but their areas of expertise and specialization have nothing to do with infectious diseases. You’d be daft to see an obstetrician or an opthamologist about an Ebola infection.

    It’s like asking a tax attorney to represent you at a murder trial.

    1. Well, what if it was Eyebola?

    2. Um, except that all doctors are trained in Infectious Disease through most of their school and training. Yes, you’d want to see an ID specialist for assistance with an undiagnosable or rare infection, but it doesn’t mean the average internist, hospitalist or even surgeon couldn’t do a very competent job with most infectious conditions.

      By the way, it may not get around much, but the top graduates of medical school classes (e.g. valedictorian types) tend to mostly go into ophthalmology. I wouldn’t ever guess that they weren’t the smart ones.

      A Medical School graduate who would have been a terrible ophthalmologist

      1. Interesting. Maybe you’ve written about it here before, but what’s your take on Ebola these days? On a 10-point scale, with 10 being Zombie Apocalypse, I’d say Cytotoxic is a 0 or 1 (“Nothing to see here”), and I’m fluctuating between 3 (“Not many Western deaths but a lot of money spent”) and 6 (“A heck of a lot worse than Top Men are claiming”).

  9. Yes, you’d want to see an ID specialist for assistance with an undiagnosable or rare infection

    …such as Ebola?

    Fact is neither Dr. Paul knows much more about Ebola or how to control its spread than you or I do. I’m sick of this “he’s a doctor” garbage.

    1. Are you a Doctor?

      If the answer is no, than chances are you don’t know more about Ebola than a doctor.

      1. The fact that a lot of doctors and scientists have been killed by this strain of Ebola tells me that even the most expert don’t know everything.

        1. I don’t think Doctors know everything, and yes, many of them have been killed trying to save people from this disease.

          They still know more about Ebola than most non-Doctors. This is a silly argument.

    2. Tman is exactly right that this is a silly argument. Even to use your example, one would of course prefer a criminal attorney to a tax attorney at a murder trial, but I’d damn well prefer a tax attorney on my side to defending the case myself, picking a random name from the phone book, or having someone named “Smash” as my counsel.

      This is not pulling rank, it’s just a fact. All of us physicians have spent many years in the treatment of infectious disease as it overlaps into virtually all of our specialties. To say the average physician knows no more about ID than does the average man on the street is just absurdity posted to get a response. And you got mine, so congratulations, but this is the end of it.

  10. My Uncle, e wen bowling. Ebola perfect game.

    1. This just gets more and more funny every time you or someone else posts it.


  11. Rand Paul merely suggested “a temporary hiatus on flights ? ought to be considered,” which is perfectly reasonable to most Americans.

    The libertarians are getting ahead of themselves on this issue. I imagine the nation implemented and eventually lifted (temporary) flight bans in the past for various reasons. If Isis took over Syria and became a nation state, some “hiatus” on flights there would be considered.

    Several private airliners have suspended flights to Ebola affected areas. Some African nations bordering those areas tightened their borders.

    And as some have pointed out, a flight ban doesn’t have to affect aid going into those countries.

    Inflexible libertarian purism is going to alienate potential supporters, which include independents as well as conservatives. Rand has learned a lesson his father has ignored for years.

  12. tis is wy we roll wityh the punces


  13. Rand is probably more focused on the 50-90% (depending on strain and whom you read) mortality rate. Out of the many people who get flu or even Multi-Drug Resistant TB, the mortality rate is much, much lower. And our health professionals have already proven that our local hospitals are not particularly competent in the practice of containment. A travel ban is politically unenforceable for 2 reasons: 1) we seem to be compelled to bring infected Americans home for treatment and 2) to enforce a travel ban would result in racial profiling (since the outbreak is in Africa, we would ban travel from those countries, but then people would try to evade the ban by traveling to a third country, and if they lie, how is one to determine their origin? Hmmm . . . Africa . . . yep, a whole racist can of worms opens up) . . . So, as practical as a travel ban may or may not be, it simply can’t be done anyway . . . the emotional result of one would be politically destructive . . .

    1. You can check them traveling through other countries with passports.

    2. Seriously??!!!

      How do you determine someones origin when they’re traveling internationally? You look at their fucking passport!! Racist? Nope.

      Now a travel ban would require the DHS to be ready to handle infected travelers trying to get into the United States at ports of entry, but that’s better then letting them get on more flights across the country.

      It just seems like all the “The travel ban won’t work shit!” is just tourturing the logic for not being perfect.

      Perfect is the enemy of good here. Keeping infected people from traveling on planes within the United States is the goal. Minimizing that (i.e.. not being perfect with a travel ban) is still desirable.

  14. “I think we should consider temporary travel restrictions”

    “Oh my god, he wants to shut down all travel around the world.”

  15. If Shikha Dalmia’s for it, I’m against it.

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