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:

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. John

    Libtards go away, you're making a fool of yourselves...

    December 30, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Really, that's all you got?

    When you give someone special rights just because they fit into a certain category that leaves you being racist to all the people outside of that category. That's no worse than not giving people rights because they aren't in a certain category. Ron Paul wants us to treat everyone equally regardless. Everyone gets treated the same, no special rights for anyone. The MSM has angered so many people by calling RP a racist. Many many minorities have openly given an account of their personal encounters with RP after these accusations to prove that these statements are false, yet you continue to ignore them. Why? Because this is the only dirt you think you have on him. It works only slightly. I could say that my neighbor was racist just to say it and ten mindless people would believe it just because it's more interesting than believing the truth BUT anyone who is even a half decent person would use their own minds and seek the proof before spreading the lie. All of you so called journalists who can only spread lies to your mindless followers will never amount to anything because you will only be as strong as your weakest link. You are catering to idiots and therefore you will never be more than a big one yourself.

    December 30, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Ain't life strange?

    Yes, it's true. AIDS is can be result of one's chosen lifestyle, but not always. Still, what concerns me about the comment is that their lifestyle didn't create AIDS, it only spreads it. There has been no cure for any disease since the cure for polio. Why? Because it would stop the flow of money into those who are doing the research thereby eliminating a need for AIDS research. There will never be a cure for cancer, AIDS or any other disease that has become the sole life support of research scientists. Who wants to work themselves out of a job??

    December 30, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Ben Chase

    When people of a specific race group together and start saying they aren't being treated fairly, suddenly it becomes "us vs them." And that just fuels the fire to more "group" ways of thinking and assessing the problem. There are people of all nationalities not being treated fairly, why can't they all band together instead? Because "whites" have it easier than us. Do you understand now?

    Every person is different, and when you start saying they lost their jobs because of their race, we lose sight of the individual values each person holds, and the real problem is overlooked because we're too afraid to judge them now for fear of being racists. Fear being the word here, preventing a true course of action.

    Paul supporters are brave by nature, something which most attribute as stupidity. It's also stupid to charge into mortars and a rain of fire, but when it comes to fighting for your country's freedom, the heroics and the necessities far outweigh the personal consequences. Demonize Paul supporters, call us arrogant and stupid. We're fighting for you and your individual rights, and we will continue to whether you like it or not.

    December 30, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Monk Daddy

    You guys are trying to hard to derail this movement, its kinda cute : )

    December 30, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. M in Memphis

    I agree that multiple things have been taken out of context. It sounds like he wasn't really criticizing minority rights, and I agree that special interest groups shouldn't get special consideration.

    That being said, I disagree with his stance on workplace harassment. Clearly he is out of touch with "normal people" if his response is that harasees simply quit their jobs. Most of us, myself included, have been victims of some type of workplace harassment or bullying. Unfortunately, a hostile economy means we may have to endure more hostile workplaces if we don't want to go broke.

    December 30, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. jfwaveman

    "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.

    As with most things, he is right.

    December 30, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Stuart Hughes

    So what he's writing is Paul is pro financial security, anti socialized health care, and anti affirmative action? Given Hamby's establishment past he has much praise for the good congressman!

    December 30, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. I See What They're Doing

    So what in the book is racist? As a Native American, I couldn't agree mnore with Dr. Paul!

    December 30, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. stlouisjake

    amazing! paul has it all wrong. his "special interest" groups do not form to get special or extra rights. they are in existance to insure that their members enjoy the same rights as wasp's enjoy. whites don't need special groups to protect them from "the man." they are the man.

    December 30, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    The racial remarks are some of the worse things that I have heard coming from a politician since the 1960s.

    December 30, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Randy

    Ron Paul is a CAREER POLITICIAN!

    He has a base that he caters to in order to maintain his political JOB and make money doing speeches and selling books.

    None of the things he wants could ever be implemented in a democratic government system. But he will continue to sell these silly fantasies of his knowing full well he will never have to take responsibility and ownership of them because they would never pass Congress.

    Ron Paul would be worst than Sarah Bachmann as President.

    December 30, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. I See What They're Doing

    Btw, I actually read the book!

    December 30, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Josh

    Not very smart folks, not very smart.

    December 30, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Jason

    Every time you libel and slander Ron Paul, people look him up, and he gains support. Every time you tote the asinine assertion that he "can't" win, people look him up, and he gains support. When you ignore him, people wonder why, look him up, and he gains more support. When you call him a racist, black Americans laugh at your ignorance.

    Ron Paul’s governing stance is, has always been, and will always be, individual liberty for all Americans, period.

    What is disturbing at this point, is not that you continue to unapologetically persist with your outrageous lies and mischaracterizations, because that is predictable; but rather your inability to see just how badly this irreversibly damages your credibility.

    So please, keep up the good work and stay desperate, we thank you for aiding in the Ron Paul Revolution.

    December 30, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. willie floyd

    Thankfully he will never win the presidency.

    December 30, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. San

    I have been saying for months that this man is crazy. He also cannot react without anger to any question that bothers him. This is who we want interacting with world leaders? Oh, wait. He doesn't think we should get involved in world affairs. He is dangerous, and his son is nuts. The apple fell not far...

    December 30, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. johnmenacherjr

    What a load these comments are AIDS is a life style choice??? What about a ciggarette smoking lung cancer person. My god get over this bS! And what the heck does on spot mean? Obviously a poor choice and that individual has not got a clue. As far as the vote goes in Iowa, it means vertially Nothing! Look at what it really is and the meaning it has , has nothing to do with delegate selection. As for Paul he is one hell of a grumpy old man!

    December 30, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. rightospeak

    There were only 2 comments when I wrote mine. I critisized the media for smear compain against Ron Paul. My comments were taken away-to "mold the public opinion". What Democracy ?

    December 30, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. madmaninthemiddle

    1st, pls visit the Elizabeth Glasser Pediatric Aids Foundation website to better understand the fact that not all AIDS patients suffer as the result of lifestyle choice.

    Second, in the beginning of the crisis no one knew how the disease was transmitted. If I drink a glass of water today and fine out tommorow that water causes cancer, am I failing to take personal responsibility if I submit an insurance claim?

    December 30, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. EndFedWars

    Seattle Sue,

    Please take the time to do some research before repeating what you see on the news. Ron Paul is not a racist, every action he has ever done 30 years of public life proves it. Also, he has declined his pension plan because he believes it to be too lucrative. Again, do some research before you sound off. Thanks.

    December 30, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Annie

    CNN, why don't you post how Romney erased the hard drives when he left office as Governor of Massachusetts? How about his destruction of several companies in order to enrich himself? There's a lot there. What is he hiding? As you rip apart Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, where is your outrage at Romney? I guess you will attack Santorum next.

    December 30, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Equality

    @Seattle sue, because demanding everyone be treated equally makes him a racist...right

    December 30, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Nunya Biznezz

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

    Unfortunately Spiffy, that is the current mindset.

    December 30, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Sachs

    So what was wrong with what was in this book??? Oh yeah the way he said it....

    December 30, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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