John Stossel Plays Softball with Ron Paul


John Stossel has interviewed Ron Paul and portions will be placed on line this week. In the first segment (video above) Paul discusses his views on keeping the federal government out of areas such as drug laws and prostitution:

I think the government’s role should not be involved in personal habits. When you defend freedom, you defend freedom of choice, and you can’t be picking and choosing how people use those freedoms . . .whether it’s personal behavior or economic behavior, I want people to have freedom of choice.

Having Stossel interview Ron Paul is a lot like having Fox News interview members of the Bush administration. Stossel brings out the best of what Paul has to say but ignores the hard questions. I suspect we won’t hear any questions regarding Paul’s views on conspiracy theories, which would make him unfit to be president even if I otherwise agreed with him one hundred percent on matters of policy. I suspect we will also not hear anything about Paul’s denial of important principles such as separation of church and state or his belief that the founding fathers intended to create a Christian America as opposed to a secular government.

Paul does make a good argument that the war on drugs is ineffective. I certainly agree with Paul’s opposition to the DEA raids on those who use medical marijuana, even in states where this is legal, but all the Democratic candidates for president also share this view.

The interview fails in ignoring Paul’s argument for making regulation of drugs and prostitution matters for the state. Classical libertarian philosophy places rights in the individual, not state governments. To a true libertarian, as opposed to a state’s rights advocate such as Paul, restrictions are no more justified if legislated at the state as opposed to the federal level. Paul’s views on state rights could actually lead to less as opposed to more freedom in much of the country as it is easier to obtain a majority vote to restrict the rights of the minority on a statewide or local level than nationally.

Paul’s views on states right are neither libertarian or based upon fact. I’ve recently quoted from historian Joseph Ellis’ book American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies At The Founding Of The Republic and note that two of the core achievements of the founding fathers, creating “the first wholly secular state” and creating “over-lapping sources of authority in which blurring of jurisdiction between federal and state power become an asset” contradict Paul’s interpretation. Even Paul contradicted his views on states rights when he supported a national ban on so-called partial birth abortions and supported federal legislation which would override state laws which are scientifically accurate in differentiating between a zygote and fully developed human.

Ron Paul does make the race interesting as he does inject views beyond what we normally encounter. An in depth interview with Ron Paul regarding his beliefs could be fascinating, regardless of whether one agrees with him. Unfortunately I doubt that we will see anything beyond the softball questions Stossel has already asked Paul.

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  1. 1
    Deeptoad says:

    I don’t know that this was so ‘softball’. Stossel let him talk and that’s quite a bit more than most in news media do. And, try to recall that Paul is running under the Republican banner and not the Libertarian one. I realize he leans in that direction, but he calls himself Republican and is registered as such.

    I understand you may not agree with his positions. Fine. I was happy, however, that Stossel gave him plenty of talking time. Unlike the View presenters who just talked over him.

    The guy makes some points and hearing them is probably beneficial to the voting public.

    Well… thanks for your take on it.

  2. 2
    jmklein says:

    The federal war on drugs is a huge portion of the total drug war and although its eliminations will not end all manifestations of prohibition, it will drastically reduce it.

    Remember that the repeal of prohibition still allows states to impose it, but after the federal ban lapsed, it became slowly legalized everywhere.

  3. 3
    hiimallen says:

    The difference between Ron Paul and the Democrats is he really means what he says.

    Did anybody else notice what the Libritarian Party was doing lately?

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    A tyrannical state, while bad, is not as as bad as a tyrannical nation state. And look at the direction our “federal” (quotations added because central would be a better description) government is going.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    There are far more cases of tyranny coming on a more local level than at the national level. It is our Constitutional liberties and heritage of liberty nationally which acts as some restraint on the federal government. Paul’s failure to extend Constitutional liberties to the states would lead to greater tyranny.

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