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

    Search for a video by typing "compassion of paul"

    December 30, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Garrett

    ...and your problem with those passages are? You cannot and will not accept truth over a "la la land" outlook.

    December 30, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Keith

    "Paul has blamed the writings on ghostwriters" - WHEN are these GOP candidates going to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. They keep denying their past actions or trying to blame them on somebody else, rather than taking personal responsibility for them. "Ghostwriters?" Really Paul? "Ghostwriters" write things on YOUR behalf. YOU are responsible for what they end up publishing if you give them the right to publish under your name. Com'on GOP, take some PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for all your anti-social behavior.

    December 30, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Ned

    Hey Seattle Sue,

    Ron Paul has disavowed taking a pension from the federal government after retiring so you don't have to worry about paying him after he retires. Any other politician ever done that?

    December 30, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. rick

    as i thought,not as smart as your average doctor

    December 30, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. Jake Addams

    Seattle Sue, it might make you feel better if you knew that Ron Paul is one of only a few congressmen that returns tens of thousands of dollars of his congressional office allowance every year to the treasury.

    He also sponsored a bill to lower the congressional pay to around 40,000 to reflect the national average salary.

    He also refuses many of the government benefits, like their retirement program that you are worried about.

    Give Freedom a chance. Ron Paul is the only candidate who wants to stop all wars, increase your personal freedoms and privacy, and decrease the power of the president. These are not opinions, just facts. Ron Paul 2012!

    December 30, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Anon

    @SeattleSue – You do realize he is not taking part in any congressional pension after he retires, right? Oh right.. You didnt know that because you dont know anything about the man.

    Also – He isnt saying certain groups shouldnt have rights, he is saying we all, as individuals have the same rights as the next person. Stop taking this out of context.

    December 30, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. jwf99percent

    Ron Paul is an economic disaster and a social menace just waiting to happen. People hear "legalize marijuana" and stop there, never delving into his crazy notion of economics and his overt racism and bigotries. Thirty years ago, a person like Ron or Rand Paul would have been pariahs at best. Americans have been so drowned in selfservative idiocies since Reagan, they hardly can tell walking-around crazy when it's running for president. Ron Paul is just one more example of "conservative" lunacy, in the same clown car with the likes of Perry, Bachmann, et al. Any one of those as the selfservative nominee would be the best thing that ever happened to the Democrats.

    December 30, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Me


    "Yeah, because taking personal responsibility for your actions is such a horrible thing."
    December 30, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |

    Yeah, because "every man for himself" is such a great way to get anything done.

    December 30, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Pat

    I am for Obama 2012 but there is nothing wrong with what he says. Personal accountability is required but there is a role for govt also.

    December 30, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Nobama

    @Seattle Sue, I like where you explained why he shouldn't be elected. Just proves you know very little about Dr. Paul or you're simply just stupid. When he is the president, he will make only $35k/year, and that's a fact. Look what $300k+/year has got us for the past 3 years

    December 30, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. unsub

    i like paul!

    December 30, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. BAJ

    @Seattle Sue, Dr. Paul has refused to accept the lucrative pension paid out to congress after they serve and also gives a portion of his pay check back to the treasury every year.

    December 30, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Steve, New York City

    Maybe people won't take issue with all of the things he said, but will take issue in the way that he said them.

    Unfortunately, some of the things he's said seem to be NUTS. I retract much of the earlier respect I'd once voiced for Ron Paul. In my opinion, Huntsman now seems to be the only rational GOP Presidential candidate.

    December 30, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Jason

    One day soon, our reckless economic and military ignorance will be called an act of war. Who will come save us from ourselves? Will they say they are defending their strategic interests? What if they say they are protecting the freedoms of humanity?

    What if sound money and jobs are only possible when we aren't sending $5 billion out of this country every day?

    What if Christianity teaches peace and not preventative wars and aggression?

    Ron Paul & Jon Huntsman 2012.

    December 30, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Moose

    Watch people try to explain it away....

    December 30, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Henry Fox

    If you're going to slander your betters, I'd suggest not providing the actual quotes.

    December 30, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. TJ

    Getting scared MSM (main stream media)? Keep trying to hate on Ron Paul. You can't keep pulling the wool over everyones eyes forever! Ron Paul 2012!

    December 30, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. LiveFreeor

    These quotes make no sense to people who do not value liberty and individual responsibility. These people do not deserve Ron Paul for President. I think Ron Paul would be the best President this country has had in decades.

    December 30, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Chris

    In my mind this validates that Ron Paul is NOT a racist. What he is saying is that ALL of us should have EQUAL rights. If a person cannot understand the logic of these philosophical arguments maybe they shouldn't be allowed to vote in the first place. There should probably be an IQ test for voting. Only an dimwit would derive a racist tenet from these quotes.

    Seems like more media bias.

    December 30, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Sammy

    @ Seattle Sue,

    If you knew anything about Dr. Paul you would see how stupid your comment makes you look. Dr. Paul gives $100,000 of his salary back to the government, yearly. Dr. Paul does not use his health benefits because he feels he can pay his own way on his medical bills.

    The more you slander Ron Paul the more people look him up and support him. When you call hima racist, blacks laugh at your ignorance. So, thank you for the good work, keep it up and stay desperate.

    December 30, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. itsonlyfair

    Here's the problem with what Paul is saying about minorities: on the one hand he's claiming that everyone should be treated equally in our society, but on the other hand he's also saying that there shouldn't be interference from "social do-gooders" when problems with equality are identified. How could you possibly provide equal treatment in society if you also claim you should never do anything about it when it's been identified? It's a ridiculous point of view.

    December 30, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Ryan

    And the point of this article is what? These are views Paul has been stating for the past two decades. If I wasn't going to be voting for him before, I sure as hell would be after reading this.

    Individuals need to take responsibility for their actions – check. The government needs to stop catering to minorities and special interests – check.

    I don't know at what point Americans became so delusional and began thinking it was the government's job to take care of them, because it isn't. Work hard and you'll get what you deserve, it's as simple as that.

    But what about the homeless, what about the disadvantaged, so on and so forth? Here's an idea: stop expecting the government to take of them, and do it yourself. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you see someone in need, help them. Stop expecting Uncle Sam to make a difference, and make a difference yourself.

    December 30, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Burger

    @Seattle Sue – Ron Paul has REJECTED his federal pension on the grounds that it is Immoral for public servants to collect a pension.

    December 30, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |

    I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says and I may or may not vote for him come election day, but I will say I respect the man for speaking his mind, and telling us what he thinks rather then saying what the voters want to hear like the other candidates do to get votes.

    December 30, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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