In early book, Rep. Ron Paul criticized AIDS patients, minority rights and sexual harassment victims
December 30th, 2011
10:07 AM ET
11 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:

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

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

    ....but this isn't at all like the 'bad stuff' in the newsletters, right? Riiiiiight....

    December 30, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Seattle Sue

    I pray that Ron Paul is never elected President. He and his son Rand Paul are two of a kind. It really irritates me that part of my tax money has been paid for 30 years to this racist man and he will retire January 2013 and taxpayers will still pay him about $115,000.00 per year plus health care, until his death.

    December 30, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Dorel Gilad

    I don't see anything wrong with what he said. Frequently (Not the majority) of the time, HIV is spread via lifestyle and it is wrong for anyone to EXPECT anyone else to pay for them.
    And he is spot on with his analysis of special interest groups that get special rights.
    I guess when you have no dirt on someone you need to really strech to have something to talk about besides the issues. And you really don't want to discuss the issues with Paul because who wants to look stupid for not agreeing.

    December 30, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Tyler1982

    sounds like some things were taken out of context. Plus all MSM is biased toward and fear Ron Paul anyway (because he doesn't cater to them – he isn't corrupt).

    When you get to the heart of the matter is he STILL the only person that actually save this country from collapse. He's the only shot we have at getting Obama out of office.

    December 30, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Nick

    Go Ron Paull win Iowa.

    December 30, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Thomas

    It's a (slightly) less than tactful statement – but not a departure from the truth.

    The same statement can easily be applied to people who end up with lung cancer as the result of smoking (is it a hateful statement in this example?).

    December 30, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. cja100

    I agree with those comments and think they are spot on.

    December 30, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. TruthHurts

    This will only HELP Ron Paul WIN in 2012!!!!!

    December 30, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. John

    Really..... People are trying to criticize Paul for these writings??? Not only are they not racist, it is the basic philosophy of accountability and equality.

    December 30, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Scott

    "Recently an alcoholic who developed cirrhosis of the liver demanded a liver transplant, in the name of "equal rights." The state welfare program assumed the obligation to provide care for the man, but insisted he quit his alcoholic ways. The man refused, and the state held up on his liver transplant. For this reason he sued the state, demanding his rights."

    I guess I don't see anything wrong with some of the statements in the book.

    Similar arguments are why we should support a pyramid ponzi in the form of social security, knowing it won'd cover people unless twice as many citizens put in money into the system every twenty years.

    December 30, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. John

    On racial issues he says everyone should be treated equally. That's the only non-racists stance. Taking a stance of "you're black so you need more help then the rest of us" is actually an insult to the abilities of black people.

    On AIDS/diseases, the point is that while you have problems and it'd be nice to get help, that doesn't suddenly mean other people's time and money is owed to you. That's a very dangerous precedent to set.

    December 30, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. vivian

    Ron Paul says some great things once in a while, but he is unelectable, and for good reasons.

    December 30, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Solitaire

    His basic philosophy seems to boil down to "might equals right". This guy would throw the rape victim into jail for tempting the rapist. Of course, he would also throw the rapist in jail and tell us that they "both bear some responsibility".
    To save money, he would put them in the same cell.

    December 30, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Spiffy

    Yeah, because taking personal responsibility for your actions is such a horrible thing.

    December 30, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Mary

    "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.

    One of the problems with "group rights" is that you are considered privileged and outside the realm of consideration and empathy if you are not a member of "the group." Worse yet, instead of your being considered a unique individual, the concept of "group rights" stereotypes you, based upon characteristics that you share with other members of "the group." The concept of "Group rights" requires special privileges and considerations for members of "the group," while withholding them from people outside "the group."

    Our government was founded upon INDIVIDUAL rights, the concept that each of us deserves "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" simply because each of us is a unique being.

    The concept of "group rights" is stereotypical, discriminatory, divisive, and blatantly unAmerican.

    December 30, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. TimpleTonk

    LOL Grasping at straws here Peter Hamby? Your desperation is obvious, yes.

    December 30, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Brandon

    Shame on you, CNN. How can it possibly be argued that (unless transferred from the womb) contracting HIV can not in part be contributed to one's lifestyle. Many people remain abstinant until they are married. This is a lifestyle. This prevents HIV. I am not part of that lifestyle, but I know many who thoughtlessly screw around with dozens and dozens of people. This is a lifestyle, and is more risky.

    Why are you trying to make it sound like he is a racist and/or lying?

    December 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Mary

    An individual = a minority of 1

    December 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. RP

    @Seattle Sue
    Please check your facts... If you had done any research into Ron Paul's ideology or record you would know that he has always refused to participate in the congressional pension system and has cited it as being "immoral." In fact he has been a staunch supporter of your very sentiment and even tried introducing legislation that would decrease congressional pay at the same rate as inflation.

    December 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Daniel

    Seattle Sue, maybe in his heart RP is racist, who's to say? But the point is you can't legislate to certain groups. And not to worry, Ron Paul opted out of the lucrative congressional retirement plan (he's also never voted for a pay raise his entire career) so your tax dollars are safe to go to social welfare recipients.

    December 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Scott

    @Seattle Sue, actually Ron Paul has chosen not to receive a federal pension. So he won't be receiving $115K per year after he's done with Congress. Try to find that type of honesty amongst any other Congressmen or women.

    Trying to spin his comments as critical of minority rights is ridiculous. His support of equal rights for all is the most consistent of anyone running. Read the Declaration of Independence. Equal protection under the law.

    December 30, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. PatriotEyes

    Wow, You guys sure seem to make BS out of thin air, I hope Ron Paul knows he's dealing with some sick freaks in the Media

    Message to the MSM-GAME OVER

    December 30, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Doop

    In other words, you're trying to sling mud, but you're just getting yourself filthy.

    December 30, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. General Davis

    "Every year new groups organize to demand their 'rights," and this is exactly right. The US doesn't just give people their rights, people have to organize and demand them. And some of these people are successful and end up with more rights than the rest of us, and that is what Paul is pointing out. It's a ridiculous, piecemeal approach to obtaining rights that everyone should have to begin with.

    December 30, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Don E

    I agree with all that he said here. I am hispaic, but believe that we do not need help to succeed. We are a race that need not be on the Government's teet. I do believe rights do not come from belonging to a group. I have followed Paul for years and know he is not a racist. Most hispanics I know support Paul. We working hispanics are tired of paying for non-working minorities. Getting a felony is not right of passage for minorities and then you can't get a job. Stop embarrassing the rest of us. Ron Paul please relieve of us this tax burden and corparate inflation!. I want more of the money I earn from two jobs. Day (customer service) / night Martial Arts instructor.

    December 30, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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