Ron Paul, "Golden Rule" foreign policy and personal resposibility at home
Ubben Lecture series kicks off
Even a thunderstorm couldn't stop people from overflowing Kresge Auditorium for former Rep. Ron Paul's kickoff to the 2013-2014 Ubben Lecture Series.
The lecture, titled "Our Lives, Your Liberty & America's Future," focused on the changing political atmosphere and grassroots movements sparking change.
"I have never been so happy to hear somebody talk," sophomore John Lucciola said. "He is one of my favorite people."
Before becoming a politician, Paul was a gynecologist upset by the national debt and the actions of his government.
"He'd come home from work each day and tell me 'The babies I delivered today are already $xx in debt," said Carol Paul, Ron's wife.
One day, Paul came home after work and informed Carol he was going to run for Congress because he was fed up with politicians ignoring the Constitution.
"I told him, 'You can't run for Congress, you might win,'" Carol said. " 'I won't win,' he said."
Paul hoped to provide the American people with new ideas through his campaign. He did not expect to win because he was not making campaign promises.
But Paul did win, and he spent a total of 23 years in politics. Throughout his career, Paul has pushed back against an established political system that passes legislation he finds unconstitutional and harmful to the American people.
"Before I came [to the lecture] I read up on Ron Paul a little bit," said junior Brad Harris. "I had some great views on him. He appeals to a lot of college students."
Paul focused his lecture on three areas he believes the U.S government should play a smaller role: the Middle East, the economy and people's right to privacy.
Paul's foreign policy position can be summed up in three words: the Golden Rule.
"We don't do to other countries what we don't want them to do to us," Paul said.
According to Paul, the U.S was justified in attacking Afghanistan, but should not have entered Iraq in 2003, should stop sending drones to Pakistan and should not attack Syria. Paul also said the United States should no longer fund Middle Eastern governments, a stance that elicited cheers from the audience.
Economically, Paul supports laissez-faire economics, a policy that allows no government intervention. For Paul, deregulating the economy will bring prosperity to America because the people know what is best for themselves. Junior Kathleen Raymond-Judy is not convinced total deregulation is the answer.
"I agree that things need to change," Raymond-Judy said. "But you can't just remove the current structure and not offer anything in its place. There needs to be some level of control or else you will have anarchy."
Paul's belief that people know what is best for themselves also fuels his distaste for legislation that undermines the fourth amendment (the American people's right to privacy). In Paul's eyes, legislation like the Patriot Act and programs like the NSA are unnecessary and unconstitutional. For the U.S government to work properly, transparency and the people must rule.
"[The U.S government] should never be frightened by the truth," Paul said. "The American people can handle the truth."
Following his support for personal responsibility, Paul believes the War on Drugs needs to end and people should be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to use drugs.
"As a physician and a father and grandparent, I don't want people to use [drugs]," Paul said. "Philosophically, I don't like the laws, but frankly speaking, they don't do any good."
The audience erupted with cheers and applause in response to legalization of drugs.
Paul does uphold that law enforcement should step in if and when drug uses become a threat to others.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Paul said he is optimistic about the direction grassroots movements are leading American politics.
"The biggest challenge for Libertarians is to challenge the status quo," Paul said in the press conference. "It's what the Founders used."
At the grassroots level, Paul sees the challenge being overcome as libertarian views spread across the internet and social media.
"I think we're about to start the fire," Paul said in the address, "and [we're about to] reign in these out of control policies."
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