The Wanderer interviews Dr. Ron Paul, Republican Congressman of Texas.
[As the Congress prepared to go out on its annual August recess, Dr. Ron Paul met in his Capitol Hill office with Wanderer contributing editor Christopher Manion].
The Wanderer. Dr. Paul thank you for your hospitality today. Let's get right to the point. Today, as the Congress is about to go out of session for the August recess, healthcare is the number one agenda item. Where does that stand, especially from the point of view of those of us who consider the life issues as paramount in this legislation?
Representative Paul. I think it's going to be very bad. I've always assumed that the worst tactic the left could use is to make pro-life people pay for abortions. That gets their attention like nothing else will. And they're going to do it. They been doing it for years -- I used to fight all this foreign aid and this pretense that we send this foreign aid and that they say “Oh, yeah, no abortions,” and yet you know it goes to certain groups – these funds are fungible, and they end up going to abortions, and it's going to get a lot worse."
Even the Hyde Amendment isn't perfect, but this actually blatantly violates or removes the Hyde amendment. I think ultimately the only way you can prevent taxpayer funding for abortions is no funding for those organizations.”
The Wanderer. The GOP has been regarded as the pro-life party in these past few elections, and the party hasn't done very well. What do you think the prospects are for the GOP as a vehicle for conservative ideas in general, and especially for pro-lifers?
Rep. Paul. I don't think -- you know it's shifting, but over the years we never suffered from it. I mean Ronald Reagan you know took a pro-life position, but it is true that the Republican party, like in many other issues, would speak more strongly than their actions -- you know, they didn't do a whole lot once they were in office. I think for the Republicans to be successful, they should stick with it, but I have a position that's slightly different than the average Republican. Which is less confrontational, because I don't want to use the cloud of the federal government to settle this dispute. I want to do it constitutionally, so I don't want to write national laws, and I want to go back to the states, which means that I want to repeal Roe versus Wade and I want the state of Texas to be able to write these laws and to be left alone, and lo and behold, that is not nearly so antagonistic as having constitutional amendments and more mandates. Sometimes our right to life groups get upset with me because they write laws up here and they use the clout of the government to punish, and I don't think that's the proper way to do it. I think it's an act of violence, and I think all acts of violence, whether it's robbery and murder and manslaughter – all these things are meant to be local issues. And I think that's where they should stay.
The Wanderer. A lot of people get rankled when I mention that you've delivered 4000 babies (he chuckles) because they don't want to confront the reality of a baby in your arms.
Rep. Paul. Yeah, that’s right.
The Wanderer. You are a champion of the Constitution with regard to the pro-life issue and with regard to the wars abroad. What is going to happen to the Constitution with all the new influx of American responsibility and troops into Afghanistan now, and in the Middle East in general?
Rep. Paul. Well, I would probably phrased the question in a slightly different way -- you say, "what is going to happen to our Constitution," and I might say, “what has happened to the Constitution?" Because, you know, I don't think we have a whole lot left of our Constitution. It gets worse all the time, whether it's in the executive branch, or the judicial branch, or the legislative branch. And we go to war without declarations, and we print money without authority to print money -- you know, in the Federal Reserve system -- and it all goes on and on. So I think it's going to continue. So often I make the point that we got into this financial and political mess and foreign-policy mess because we don't obey the Constitution. Maybe we could get out of it if we decided to follow the Constitution. I'm not hopeful that in the next year or two that were going to have any majority vote in the Congress changing the course that we've taken. But I am very optimistic about the number of young people who are really really interested in what we've been talking about and coming to our rallies. Our campus meetings that we’re having and our rallies have been very well attended, and they're very interested in the Constitution.
And that's what it takes. You know, Keynsianism in economics came in vogue in the 1930s. And that is a philosophic issue that is pervasive in the Republican and Democrat parties-- it is both. So a philosophic revolution has to affect both parties. Whether it has to do with gun issues or right to life issues or economic issues, to be successful you really have to have a philosophic change.
And that's why I'm encouraged. The young people are willing to look at these issues because they know they're getting dumped on, they know they're getting a bad deal. They're getting wars to finance, wars to fight, and these bills to pay. So I look at this as much as an opportunity as a danger that we have today.
The Wanderer. Dr. Paul, the Fed [the Federal Reserve Bank] has always been a mysterious institution. In the last six months, they’ve lent two trillion dollars to people whose names they won’t reveal. Isn’t that our money” I notice that your “Audit the Fed” Bill now has a majority of congressman sponsoring it. But it's clearly going to get resistance from the Senate and from the White House. Why is the Fed so important for our readers to understand?
Rep. Paul. Well, because of the assumption made, especially with your readership, who are people who have moral principles. The basic moral principle in dealing with the Fed is that it should be illegal to counterfeit money. People understand counterfeit, and the Bible says something about honest weights and measures, it's been around a long time that you're not supposed to cheat people. And when you're just printing money out of thin air, you're diluting the value of the dollar that we hold and there's no restraint on the printing press.
If an individual did it, they’d go to prison for counterfeiting. Here, we've created -- we've allowed it to be created by Congress -- a secret private organization that is not monitored and has no significant oversight, and they’re a government unto itself. They print money, and not only have they done this for years, but just recently with the financial crisis, they been able to bail out their buddies. You know, there are a lot of people who have gotten loans, and guarantees, they've allowed to get involved in loans to governments, and loans to other central banks, and in a way they're doing something that should only be done by treaty. They're actually having agreements with other governments. Here we are, having the Federal Reserve get involved and treaties, and they're doing it without the authority of the Constitution. The Constitution has not given any authority for a central bank, and we have been instructed to use only gold and silver as legal tender, so there's a lot of reasons why we should oppose the Fed, and it's also the reason that I’m writing a book that's coming out, it’s called End The Fed.
The Wanderer. Pope Benedict and America’s founders seem to agree that do have a society that enjoys liberty, morality is indispensable in the people. Can you restore liberty to this country without restoring morality?
Rep. Paul. No, there's no way. I think even the abortion issue is more of a moral issue than a legislative issue. I've admired Mary Cunningham Agee, she's very, very strong on pro-life, but she doesn't deal in politics. She deals in taking care of young women.
The Wanderer. When I was the pro-life faculty advisor at Boston University 20 years ago, she was very helpful in a very practical way to our efforts.
Rep. Paul. Well, she emphasizes doing something, caring for these girls and caring for the unborn. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have laws against abortion, because it is killing, and we should do it directly under the Constitution. I became very much aware of the abortion issue in the 60s when I was studying OB/GYN. I tell the story in my little booklet on right to life that I walked into a room -- and the law was still pretty strong against abortion -- and I walked in where they were doing a hysterotomy, because the fetus was fairly large, a pound or two, and they deliver the baby, and it was still breathing and crying, and whimpering, and they put the baby in a bucket and put it in a room and pretended that they didn't hear anything. And I thought, “Wow! Isn’t this something,” but the law was against it. But they were defying the law. Society had changed -- we had the drug culture, the Vietnam culture, and the so-called desire for these abortions on demand, then the law changed. We didn't become immoral because the courts said it’s okay to do abortions, we did abortions, society endorsed abortions, so the courts were reflecting society. And I think that's an example of how you need to be a moral society. The Constitution is a great document, but the document is only dependent on the people, and dependent on the quality of the people … [even] if you have a good document, it won't change the morality of the people.
The Wanderer. Dr. Paul, I think you've been a great inspiration to millions of people. Thank you for talking to us today, and keep up your good work for the cause of liberty.