Why We Support Ron Paul for President

by | Jan 2, 2008 | Scott Horton's Articles

From Prof. David Beito, cowritten with Scott Horton The Volokh Conspiracy

Voters who want more liberty and smaller government have only one realistic choice in the upcoming presidential race: Dr. Ron Paul. No other candidate comes close to matching his record. For more than three decades, he has consistently opposed spending, tax increases and burdensome regulation.

Paul is perhaps the most dedicated defender of free trade in the history of American politics. For this reason, he votes against agreements such as NAFTA, the WTO, and CAFTA, which advance managed trade more than they do free trade; empowering unelected bureaucracies and pitting one country against another. Instead, Paul wants the United States to follow Milton Friedman’s call to lead by example, reducing trade barriers, regardless of what other countries do.

“Free trade is not complicated,” Paul argues, “yet NAFTA and CAFTA are comprised of thousands of pages of complicated legal jargon. All free trade really needs is two words: Low tariffs.” Paul is the best hope to breathe life into the largely moribund unilateral free trade tradition championed by Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Richard Cobden, and Frederic Bastiat. By contrast, Fred Thompson, who is probably the best of the other candidates on this issue, has voted to impose sanctions on Japan for failing to reduce tariffs.

Paul’s unilateral approach combined with his calls for a foreign policy of humility, prudence, and diplomacy stands in stark contrast to other candidates who vow to meddle in the foreign affairs of other countries through sanctions and military force. Paul, of course, is the only Republican to call for ending the embargo on Cuba. He insists that private property rights and free markets are the only answers for Latin America, but knows that by trying to force these principles, we only drive their people toward socialism.

Paul breaks completely from the others in monetary policy. His long-term goal is to phase out the Federal Reserve, which he compares to a price fixing agency. As recent events, such as the lending crisis, devaluation of the dollar and roller coaster on Wall Street have shown, the Fed is incapable of managing the money supply in a world of uncertainty and constant flux. Paul would follow the course recommended by Nobel prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek, fully legalizing competition in currencies as well as eliminating legal tender laws and capital gains taxes on gold coinage.

Paul is the most consistent champion of civil liberties in the presidential race. He voted against the PATRIOT Act and has fought against the Real ID, personal income tax and attacks on habeas corpus.

Among the Republicans, Paul stands alone in calling for an end to the ruinous federal war on drugs. By contrast, none of the other Republican candidates will even endorse the moderate reform of letting states legalize medical marijuana. He is also unique in calling attention to the racism inherent in the drug war and the death penalty.

Only Paul has a realistic plan for Social Security. He will allow young Americans to opt out. To pay for the transition costs, and ensure that no one is thrown out on the street, he will close the foreign bases and reorient the military to national defense rather than world policing. Such a policy will foster peace and stability in the world. As examples such as Iraq, Iran, and now Pakistan show, foreign adventurism only leads to blowback and stokes anti-Americanism.

According to Michael Scheuer, the man whose bin Laden Unit at CIA gave Bill Clinton ten chances to capture or kill bin Laden before September 11th, Dr. Paul is the only candidate running who truly understands the terrorist threat and what should be done about it. Paul is determined to finally get those al Qaeda members who attacked and continue to threaten our country, while at the same time reversing the policies that drive their recruitment efforts.

No candidate, of course, is perfect. We differ with Paul on immigration and abortion. Even in these cases, however, he compares favorably with his opponents. While Paul, like Thompson, has spoken in favor of ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, he believes that a Constitutional amendment is necessary to make the change. And although Paul, an obstetrician, favors abortion restriction, he will allow the states to choose. Given the plurality of views on abortion, this is a sensible compromise.

Paul has shown time and again that he will act according to his conscience regardless of the personal consequences. When a draft resister named Paul Jacob went on trial in the early 1980s, Ron Paul did not hesitate to help. At considerable political risk in a time of Cold War, he traveled to the trial at his own expense and spoke on behalf of a powerless young man. This is the kind of courage we need in a president.

Ron Paul, the champion of the Constitution, the Air Force veteran for peace, the doctor for free market medicine, is by far the strongest candidate to face Hillary Clinton in the general election. He is the only member of the Congress to win three times as non-incumbent and has repeatedly won reelection by overwhelming majorities despite attempts of Republican leaders, including George Bush and Tom Delay, to defeat him.

Voters of all political descriptions, including anti-war and Reagan Democrats, independents, moderates, and conservatives have rallied around this man, in large part because they know he means exactly what he says and will stand up for what he believes in. If he wins the Republican nomination, most of the rest of the 68 percent of Americans who say that we’re “on the wrong track” so far in this new century will be on board the Revolution by fall.

Ron Paul is hands-down the best hope for real change; for liberty, economic freedom, and limited government in this presidential race. His efforts to spread the message of individualism and constitutional government have already changed America. With your help, Dr. Paul can win and restore the republic.

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