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. Nick

    Ron Paul said "I would like to believe if we were a free-er society that would take care of whites, blacks and everyone EQUALLY because we are all individuals". He goes on to say, "Blacks make up 14% of those who use drugs, yet 36% of those arrested are blacks, and it ends up that 63% who end up in prison are blacks and this needs to change".
    He also quotes "We need to repeal the war on drugs because it does not work". The topic of this debate was "Jena6 and Racial Justice" where he spoke at "The All American Presidential Forums On PBS". Ron Paul is far from being a racist and anyone who challenges that should go look this up.

    December 30, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Denver Lawyer

    @LMC – I believe Ron Paul wants you to have the very best in healthcare, afforded to you by the state. HIs position is that the same taxes you are paying to the federal government right now for certain healthcare programs could be much more efficiently used at the state level to provide better coverage for you. He absolutely cares about YOU, and that's why he has been fighting for YOUR civil liberties, and other rights for 30+ years. As for the Gold Standard, you miss the economics in this. The reason the price of gold fluctuates today (which is artificial and arbitrary) is because the Federal Reserve prints money at will and therefore devalues the Dollar. The Federal Reserve is also the reason why we have so may booms & busts in our economy. A Gold Standard, would stabilize our economy, and the price of gold would not fluctuate in the way that you think. It would slowly increase as the population grows, to account for any inflation that occurs naturally as a result.

    December 30, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. DSBsky

    LMC he doesn't care how? He says be accountable for yourself.. How is that wrong? How is that not caring? if people and "state run agencies, not federal" had been accountable this whole mess of an economy would of never happened and the people going through hard times your so considerate about would not likely be going through those hard times. Don't be mad at Ron for a situation he did not create. Get on his side and help us turn the problem into a solution. You have a health care gripe with Ron?! you want Obama care?! really?! I worked for united health care and WOW.. Do you even know whats in your current health care plan? Have any idea? Or do you just pay the co-pay and deal with what you get? I'm inclined to think the latter.

    December 30, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. Time2Leave

    Wow, I feel if people actually read this article with half a brain they'd realize that Ron Paul is dead on with everything he says. Giving special rights to certain groups of people at the federal level is ILLEGAL. It's discriminating against those groups who aren't allotted those same rights. The rights and programs the government have allowed for certain groups of people have only further divided the country. They've hurt some group while helping others. They're wrong. And completely discriminative. In my opinion, the federal government shouldn't even know what my race, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, or even age. If the state or local government wish to know my age, that is acceptable, but anything else, just leads to discrimination on some level.

    December 30, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Commander

    So what is wrong here. I see logic: The primary transmission mode of AIDS is behavior. A true vision of equality: if you divide by race etc., as is common with the govenement and progressive "multi-cultural" movement, is inherently unequal relative to an individual-human universal right as discussed by Paul.

    The last quote is so completly out of context as to be incomprehensible...

    What is messed up is that people are so messed ideologically that they are incapable of logic and reason.

    December 30, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. gravy86

    It's amazing how many of these hit pieces CNN can muster in such a short time. When they write about Paul, it's always this negative nonsense reaching back decades. Let's forget about having a discussion on the issues and attach a man's character, that's what this media seems to be saying – I'm not sure what school of journalism this comes from... What people need to understand is that these statements are politically incorrect in 2011 (accurate or not), but not nearly back then (1987!). Don't be a tool – think for yourself and stop being so sensitive, it makes you easy to manipulate. Ron Paul is the only candidate in either party that will keep us from starting another war with Iran and bothers to explain history to us. He is the only candidate that predicted the 2008 meltdown and bothers to explain economics to us. He is the candidate overwhelmingly supported by the military. He is the only candidate not sponsored by wall street and money interests (they don't even bother trying to bribe him). The media and both established parties HATE him. Connect the dots, he is the real deal. It's been so long since we've seen a president that actually represents the people that we don't even recognize one staring us in the face. Why are his supporters so passionate? Because the veil has been lifted.

    December 30, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Greg

    I actually hope Paul wins the GOP nomination. He's the biggest idiot of all GOP candidates and would be the easiest to defeat in a general election.

    December 30, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. ddblah

    This guy is nothing but a spokesperson for powerful and rich, in the name of "liberty". Yeah, rich and wealthy need a lot more liberty than the poor and underprivileged, at the expense of the liberty of the poor and underprivileged. You know what, government supposes to protect people so that everybody can have a chance to have equal liberty.

    December 30, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    Andrew wrote:

    Exactly the reason ROMNEY 2012 makes the most sense. Paul is too old and too backwards in his opinions.

    I agree Andrew but let me replace some words.
    Exactly the reason OBAMA 2012 makes the most sense. Paul is too old and too backwards in his opinions.

    December 30, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Scattel2z

    Quoted 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.

    Each state has a duty to their citizens to establish a national guard for the purpose of dealing with disasters. You have this mindset that these services never existed prior to such bureaucratic sinkholes like FEMA. FEMA was an invention of the Carter administration in 1978 and has grown in responsibility and power. It's danger to the American become apparent in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the gulf of Mexico and FEMA went into action coordinating a relief effort. While FEMA spent weeks putting together a plan to distribute aid to the victims, they prevented individual organizations from mounting an aid effort. The conditions were so horrific when FEMA eventually mounted their effort that people were getting killed over bottles of water. The question remains, "Where was FEMA?". People had to fend for themselves because of FEMA.

    December 30, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Herewego

    Continued CNN smear campaign of Ron Paul. Excerpts from his book taken out of context and then spun to the flavor of the "journalist" (more like a TMZ or E! reporter). Hope American's can see through this biased character assassination by CNN.
    There should be a defamation of character lawsuit filed because this continued reckless reporting needs to be brought under control.

    December 30, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Ron Paul's public flirtations with idiocy are legion. Check sources, check the web. There have been so many over the years that these idiocies are clearly not just individual mistakes or mis-quotes or mis-interpretations, as he and his supporters would like you to believe. These idiocies are actual policy statements and beliefs, directly from the horses mouth itself.

    It does show some sign of self-awareness and embrassement that he and his supporters would now like to HIDE from all this idiocy. And Paul does also say some semi-intelligent things every once in a while. But he and his supporters like to cherry pick only these items as they try to hoodwink the rest of us by burying/ignoring the rampant idiocy that has tumbled out of Paul's mouth.

    You'd have to be as dumb as a Bachmann or Perry or Santorum supporter to vote for the backward nonsense that is Ron Paul. And, God help America, there are plenty of you fools out there.

    December 30, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Justin

    Well CNN you seize to amaze me...yet another attempt to smear paul which is a FAIL.

    My lord, it must really upset you that nothing you try to attack him with sticks to him because the people know your news is propaganda BS.

    Ron Paul is going to be the next president, whether your corporate elites like it or not. It's WE THE PEOPLE this year, not another Obummer.

    December 30, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney baldwin ventura sheehan perot carter

    Would ZNN use the same words they used in 1987

    when do we want to stop learning new information?

    December 30, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. RoadtoSurfdom

    Completely non-controversial.

    A non story people. Move along

    December 30, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. garrett4538

    You cant beat this man CNN. Its just not possible like you did with Cain. Ron is legit, the Black folks cant be fooled that he is racist if one hears what he says and sees the way he votes. Just stop... seriously... you are losing any credibility you have left.

    December 30, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Paul doesn't rep

    This revolting, sickening and nauseating old man doesn't represent the core decent, and classy qualities that make us AMERICANS! He's a throw back and a very UGLY one at that!

    December 30, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Neal

    What is right with placing certain folks in a 'hands off' category? Ron Paul wants people to be responsible for themselves and not tap the state for help when they abuse themselves. We are all Americans and why do some demand/receive special treatment? Ron Paul writes what others are afraid to write. Please look at his words carefully and ask yourself are they true.

    December 30, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Jilli

    Paul needs to be held responsible for the comments in the newsletter (they were published by him, under his name) and for the comments in his book. These are the rantings of a neanderthalic lunatic, not a serious presidential candidate. He doesn't seem to hold dear the concept of the "United States" of America. Mr. Paul, how about you take a 1 year sabbatical to Somalia and see how well your ideology works in practice, and leave the presidency to the serious folks.

    December 30, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Corey

    Sorry, not seeing anything racists, as a matter of fact I see the opposite of racism here. The Aids comments could be considered a little extreme, but they aren't hateful or inspiring of bigotry, they're just unfortunate facts. Where are you attempting to go with your story?

    December 30, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. JOEJOE

    Run Paul Run......U will win cause U tell the truth. It hurts....but still the truth. USA really needs somebody honest enough to say it.

    December 30, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. nathan

    Oh but its all lies put out by the liberal media! RIght? Right?

    December 30, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    If this book doesn't convince you that Ron Paul advocates a dog-eat-dog world, where the bullies rule and money trumps everything, then I don't know what will.

    December 30, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. PJ

    Romney's expensive machine is at it again. He wont stop until all the dirt comes out on any of his opponents.

    December 30, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Thaddaeus

    Great job. I was wondering when CNN was gonna post anything positive about Ron Paul. First you ignore that he exists. Then you make fun of him and say he has no chance to win, then when the voters (WHO ARE AMERICANS) choose him. You say he doesnt matter. Ron Paul is the one candidate that stands out from the rest. Try killing him with kindness cause your really annoying a lot of hard working Americans right now with your attacks. Ive never seen anyone more pure and with better character running for President. I know I will be considered a Paulbot or some other nasty name you can come up with, but I am just a Man who wants to live in a Country that is Free and Stable. Our previous systems have made it more dangerous than ever, and continue to start trouble with countries that dont need us. Stop spreading gossip and start reporting NEWS.

    December 30, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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