In early book, Rep. Ron Paul criticized AIDS patients, minority rights and sexual harassment victims
December 30th, 2011
10:07 AM ET
3 years ago

In early book, Rep. Ron Paul criticized AIDS patients, minority rights and sexual harassment victims

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Texas Rep. Ron Paul has distanced himself from a series of controversial newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s that bore his name and included inflammatory and racially charged language.

As the newsletters burst into view, first during his 2008 presidential bid and again in recent weeks after he climbed to the front of the Republican race in Iowa, Paul has blamed the writings on ghostwriters. He said he was not aware of the "bad stuff," as he described it.

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But one of Paul's own books, published solely under his name, contains several passages that could be problematic as he attempts to push his libertarian message into the political mainstream.

In his 1987 manifesto "Freedom Under Siege: The U.S. Constitution after 200-Plus Years," Paul wrote that AIDS patients were victims of their own lifestyle, questioned the rights of minorities and argued that people who are sexually harassed at work should quit their jobs.

The slim, 157-page volume was published ahead of Paul's 1988 Libertarian Party presidential bid and touches on many of the themes he continues to hammer on the stump.

Returning again and again to the of concept of "liberty," he hails the virtues of the gold standard, attacks the Federal Reserve and defends the rights of gun-owners.

But the book, re-issued in 2007 during Paul's last presidential bid with a cover photograph of an ominous SWAT Team, has so far escaped scrutiny amid the latest furor over his newsletters.

In one section of the book, Paul criticized people suffering from AIDS or other contagious diseases for demanding health insurance coverage.

"The individual suffering from AIDS certainly is a victim - frequently a victim of his own lifestyle - but this same individual victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care," Paul wrote.

In another chapter on the rights of individuals outside of government – the central theme of Paul's libertarian philosophy - he sharply criticized the "absurdity" of politicians who try to bestow differing rights on various social and ethnic groups.

It's dangerous to craft a separate set of rights for groups like Hispanics, African-Americans, children, employees and the homeless, Paul wrote.

"Until all these terms are dropped and we recognize that only an individual has rights the solution to the mess in which we find ourselves will not be found," Paul explained.

"Every year new groups organize to demand their 'rights,'" he continued. "White people who organize and expect the same attention as other groups are quickly and viciously condemned as dangerous bigots. Hispanic, black, and Jewish caucuses can exist in the U.S. Congress, but not a white caucus, demonstrating the absurdity of this approach for achieving rights for everyone."

Paul also defended the rights of an individual to "control property and run his or her business as he or she chooses," without interference from "the social do-gooder."

In a passage first flagged by the Houston Chronicle in 2007, Paul then claimed that sexual harassment should not be a violation of one's employment rights.

"Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity," Paul wrote. "Why don't they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem? Seeking protection under civil rights legislation is hardly acceptable."

Paul's campaign manager Jesse Benton defended the book and said the candidate "has been speaking out for decades that rights do not come from belonging to a group."

"Rights come because we are all individuals, endowed by our creator, and Americans must look beyond race or creed and recognize that we all deserving of the same Liberty," Benton told CNN in an email. "This truth is a tenant of natural law and the only way we will achieve a color blind and truly free society."

Also see:

Nearly half of Iowa ads attack Gingrich

Romney and Paul battle for top spot in new Iowa poll

DNC video asks 'What is Mitt Romney hiding' in tax returns

Top Bachmann aide out after flap over campaign switch


Filed under: 2012 • Ron Paul
soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. EndFedWars

    Seattle Sue,

    He also has declined to receive the congressional health benefits. Unbelievalbe!

    December 30, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. RonnieReagan

    My god – these people are reaching back decades to find inconsistencies, when with the other candidates you can reach back only a matter of months to find them glaringly swaying back and forth on the important issues of today. Thanks CNN. I'm going to head out and put a Ron Paul sticker on my car because of this ignorance. Ron Paul 2012!

    December 30, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Bill L.

    The news is such a joke...those statements are perfectly acceptable. Yes, if you go around sleeping with shady people and don't wear a condom you might get some bumps, or itches. Since, when common sense not PC?

    December 30, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. RonnieReagan

    Good grief – these people are reaching back decades to find inconsistencies, when with the other candidates you can reach back only a matter of months to find them glaringly swaying back and forth on the important issues of today. Thanks CNN. I'm going to head out and put a Ron Paul sticker on my car because of this ignorance. Ron Paul 2012.

    December 30, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. CM

    If you dont have any dirt to dig up you have bring something to talk about, right CNN?!

    None of the passages are problematic. All of them are important positions which needs to be discussed –
    HIV -there is nothing wrong in what he stated! In fact it will be a good topic for discussion. I suppose this is the primary reason why universal healthcare is being opposed!

    December 30, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    This faux pa should be enough to reject Paul as a serious presidential candidate if Tea Party and social conservative voters are truly concerned about character and moral values.

    December 30, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Lethalmiko

    Sorry to say this, but CNN is really getting irritating with their endless smear campaign against Ron Paul. They will not rest until they bury him and the sad thing is that many Americans buy into all this nonsense like brainless sheep. Just look at how CNN dishonestly edited the Gloria Borger interview to make RP look bad. Now they pick up a book that is actually telling the truth based on sound logic and they engage in argumentum ad hominem without actually addressing his arguments and showing WHY they are wrong. This may be the last time I am coming to this website or watching their biased political reporting on TV.

    I cannot help but be cynical about CNN. Who owns them? Who is giving the orders from above? They completely resemble the corrupt Fox News in having an agenda. No wonder Jon Stewart has trashed CNN and Fox News time and time again. He has more sense than them combined.

    December 30, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. RonnieReagan

    Good grief – these people are reaching back decades to find inconsistencies, when with the other candidates you can reach back only a matter of months to find them glaringly swaying back and forth on the important issues of today. Thanks to the media, I'm going to head out and put a Ron Paul sticker on my car because of this ignorance. Ron Paul 2012.

    December 30, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. CNNsheep

    I don't understand why CNN keeps posting negative stuff about Ron Paul. Everyone knows the main stream media wants to brain wash the American sheeple into voting for the best candidate that suits the main stream media's needs, not the sheeps.

    December 30, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    Yo' moron, if you have signed YOUR name to something, you cannot later "disavow" it or worse yet, "say you never read" it. You signed it, YOU own it. End of discussion, period, stop!

    Your name should only be attached to things you believe in, OR you have absolutely NO ethical standards.

    With those attributes you could ONLY have gotten into Congress via Texass, you certainly will never be President!

    December 30, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Adam

    How can this be construed as racist???

    The majority of the human herd is so brainwashed by the media it is sickening. Who could have forseen that heading into the year 2012 the average American seems to think they need to be protected from themselves and given what they want just because. Sans a huge infectious outbreak or a nucular bomb this country will continue to grow in population while the living conditions deteriorate until eventually big government will have no choice but to become more and more in line with socialism to stop people from killing eachother for their fresh drinking water. This, of course, is all only my opinion.

    December 30, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. David

    Ron Paul is a kook with some valid ideas. He starts off saying the right things, then veers off into lunatic territory with
    statements like we should dismantle FEMA and let disaster victims fend for themselves or hope a church comes to
    their rescue.

    I'm not voting for him and neither will most of the country. Come debate time with Obama, he will come across as
    the nutty old uncle. Besides, the 1% wants Romney as the nominee.

    December 30, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    So much hate is being casted at the good Doctor, Ron Paul is showing us the light, and yet the mainstream media continue to thow feces at him.
    When it all collapses and the money wont talk, you all will crawl back to him.

    December 30, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Becky

    He could win the primary with these comments (thought not likely) but never the general election. Obama would easily , very easily win at least 40 states. I have no doubt he is praying for a Paul nominee (or Gingrich).

    December 30, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. CM

    Contd – hit the post button early!
    -Special interest group – Spot on. You cant justify groupings only for certain set of people and not for others.
    -harassment – this is the only one that may bring differing opinion. But its a good point to discuss in the open rather than bury it under the carpet.

    December 30, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. michael

    How were those bad things? He was pushing for equal rights in the book..great comments.

    December 30, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Beck

    "White people who organize and expect the same attention as other groups are quickly and viciously condemned as dangerous bigots. Hispanic, black, and Jewish caucuses can exist in the U.S. Congress, but not a white caucus, demonstrating the absurdity of this approach for achieving rights for everyone."

    – This actually sounds the opposite of racist. Doubt people will actually take the time to read what he wrote in context though...news headlines with removed quotes must tell the whole truth...right?

    December 30, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Deeptoad

    The reaching continues...

    There isn't a thing objectionable there, if you understand the context. But, hey. Let's keep bashing the only candidate who will bring the troops home, work to end the drug war, work to secure the reserve value of our dollar, restore Habeas Corpus, etc.

    Jeez, you establishment types are shaking like leaves. You can cool it, now. You're not impacting Paul's supporters in th least. Thanks.

    December 30, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. sanjosemike

    I can subscribe to many of Paul's ideas of personal responsibility and libertarianism. But there is a price to pay, and that price is Israel. Of course many people don't care about Israel, and certainly do not believe Israel should get any more support from the US. Fine. I can live with that.

    Ron Paul detests Israel (and probably most Jews). I can live with that too. But I respectfully remind Dr. Paul that Israel will do what it takes to survive, even if that means making a glass paved parking lot of Tehran, Mecca and Medina, and also contaminating the crops of all Northern African farmlands for a century. And if Israel doesn't survive, then neither will most Muslim countries around it. Never again means exactly that. If the price is a semi-Armageddon, then...sobeit.

    That is the lesson that Dr. Paul needs to learn about Israel, even though he detests it.

    sanjosemike

    December 30, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Severgreen

    The overwhelming majority of those who are HIV+/AIDS become so due to their lifestyle. It takes, on average, hundreds of exposures to HIV before one actually contracts the virus. With very few exceptions (in terms of percentage of those with HIV/AIDS), only the very promiscuous or frequent IV drug users will contract HIV. Its an absolute shame when one contracts the illness through blood transfusion or some other rare method – especially so when its a child. But HIV/AIDS is almost entirely a lifestyle disease.

    The level to which we have promoted minority "rights" does, in fact, infringe on individual rights. Do you not have a right to determine who you interact with? Not anymore. And remember, "racism" is decided not by disparate TREATMENT, but by disparate IMPACT. If a city police department gives everyone the same test, the test is graded fairly, and is 100% relevant to the job; but blacks do not do as well as whites and Asians, the test is deemed to be (somehow) "racist." In other words, blacks MUST be passed, even when they are treated fairly and can't compete on merit.

    December 30, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Fan

    Go PAUL! Win Iowa...We need you. You are the only hope for a full democrat victory in 2012

    December 30, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Brad

    No one's buying the smear campaign CNN. The Gloria Borger interview was enough for all of us to see where you stand.

    December 30, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Oldfan

    Personal responsiblity apparently is the new enemy, along with Ron Paul.

    December 30, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. Brian

    CNN has nothing better todo but call Ron Paul horrible things and constantly publishing negative articles. Look up these video on Youtube "Compassion of Dr. Ron Paul" Busted!", "Ron Paul racist rant caught on tape! OMG! OMG!", and "Do Black Americans Believe Ron Paul Is Racist?"

    RON PAUL 2012

    December 30, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. Tex71

    Ron Paul's philosophy boils down to the survival of the most vicious. His idea of everyone deserving what others are strong enough, or vicious enough, or devious enough, to do to them is an EXACT recapitulation of Hitler and Goebbels.

    December 30, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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