For close to 30 years Ron Paul has been one of the most outspoken advocates for Libertarianism in America. He has earned a reputation for valiantly defending libertarian view points despite opposition, criticism and ridicule. While member of the US House of Representatives, he on more than one occasion cast the lone vote against policies he viewed as anti-libertarian. Below is a summary of the Libertarian views of Ron Paul.
In terms of domestic policy, Ron Paul is a strong proponent of reducing the powers of the Federal government. This is in line with the libertarian belief that the government should have as little influence on the individual as possible. Ron Paul articulated his approach his “Plan to Restore America” which was launched during his 2012 presidential bid. In this plan, he set a goal of cutting down government spending by $1 trillion within the first year, and balancing the budget in three years. He proposed to do this by closing 5 major departments including Interior, Education, Commerce, Energy and HUD. He also proposed to privatize the Federal Aviation Authority.
According to Ron Paul, these reductions would have enormous benefits the American tax payer. The major benefit would come in terms of tax reductions. With fewer government expenditures to fund, Americans would end up paying less taxes. Ron Paul actually advocates massive reductions in taxes for both individuals and businesses. For individuals, he proposes a total scrapping of income tax. He believes that paying less in taxes will leave people with more money to spend it as they please.
In line with his belief in a smaller government, Ron Paul believes the federal workforce should be reduced by 10%. Also, the automatic increases of the salaries of Senators and members of the House of Representatives should be stopped. All their perks and bonuses should be slashed. The president’s salary should also be reduced from $400,000 per year to $39,000. To him, this will not only massively reduce government expenditures; it will also ensure that people aspire for such positions out of a genuine desire to serve.
In terms of foreign policy, Ron Paul believes the US should adopt a non-interventionist approach. To him, US participation in wars such as the Iraqi invasion is a wastage of American lives and resources. Such wars not only make the US less safe, but it erodes their credibility in the eyes of the world. He also believes that covert actions by the CIA to undermine regimes; overthrow governments and carry out assassinations only cause trouble. His approach is not isolationist. He just believes that using American power to bully other nations – often at the cost of American lives and tax payers’ money – is wrong. He also believes that US foreign aid does not offer any tangible benefits to US citizens. As such, all foreign aid donations should be stopped.
In terms of civil liberties, Ron Paul has been one of the most vocal critics of the Patriot Act. He believes that blanket spying on Americans without any suspicion is a violation of one of the most fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution – the right to privacy. He believes that the government should not be able to wiretap anybody without a warrant signed by a court judge. To Ron Paul, security or terrorism should not be an excuse for violating civil rights liberties. Just like the Founders emphasized, giving up civil liberties to the state for the sake of security is one step towards totalitarianism. Ron Paul believes that the civil liberties of innocent, law-abiding citizens should be upheld no matter the circumstances.
That same perspective shapes his views on personal choices in terms of marriage. Ron Paul is a vocal proponent for the rights of gays to form civil partnerships and marriages. He believes that one’s sexual orientation shouldn’t be a reason to deny them an opportunity to enjoy a life-long loving relationship. To him, the state should not form a narrow definition of marriage as being between a man and woman. Marriage should be an expression of intimacy, love and affection. Whether the gender of both parties is different or the same is of little consequence. As long as two people love each other, and they are willing to live together, they should have every right to marry.
In a nutshell, those are a few of the libertarian views of Ron Paul. His other libertarian positions include supporting recreational drug use, opposing capital punishment and supporting a free market economy. It is these and other libertarian views which inspired Ron Paul to run as the Libertarian presidential candidate in the 1988 elections. He has also consistently articulated these positions in the House floor, media appearances, newspaper articles and books. Even though he retired from the House in 2013, he still remains a key figure and an inspiration for Libertarians allover the world.