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. chablisandbrie

    I have no problem with his message of personal responsibility, so long as it's consistent. If we stop treating HIV patients because of their lifestyle, then we must also stop treating the obese for heart disease and diabetes, smokers for cancer, drinkers for liver disease, and any personal injuries that come about from athletic activities. If he doesn't propose excluding the latter from healthcare as well.. well then it's just plain bigotry.

    December 30, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Luke

    When I hear, 'victims of their own lifestyle' concerning AIDS, I think that he's talking about people not using contraception and/or sharing dirty needles and the like. This is an attempt at media polarization. Think about it, the article doesn't out right lie, but it excludes enough, or leads you to infer through it's phrasing that he would be criticizing an 'innocent' person, rather than just asking that this country be comprehensively responsible, and not rely on tax payers or the government to save them from themselves. Does that sound clearer?

    December 30, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. TiredOfPolitics

    There is nothing wrong with what Ron Paul believes, unless of course you have no confidence in your ability to take care of yourself. Each human should have the same rights, and no government should be extending more rights to a particular group.

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

    Anyone who believes Ron Paul is for "personal responsibility" or "liberty" or "god" or "smaller govt" are just as blind as the republican and democratic candidate followers.
    A president cannot wave his wand and make anything happen. He can push, threaten but only congress can do this. (And they are not doing anything for any president) Every president before is proof of this. They make these grand statements and promises to get your vote. Then, they do what the hell they want, which is usually to continue with the status quo (it works well for the rich).
    All you pro-Ron Paul sheep are as embarrassing as the rest of the loonies proclaiming their "democrat" or "republican" candidate can save our country.

    We are embarrassing ourselves on the world stage every darn day.
    We formed the USA to get away from state mandated religion, as well as freedom and opportunity for all. We now have religion jammed down our throats and a govt. that works for the rich and corporations and opportunity for only some; so we are right back where we started.
    We only have “perceived freedom”

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

    I don't see anyone being offended by what he wrote unless they have a chip on their shoulder and have a very different view of what America should be like than the founding fathers had. Ron Paul is all about individual liberty AND individual responsibility, BUT he is not some heartless Ayn Rand clone like the liberals try to make him out to be. Just do a little research and you'll see.

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

    I give up. I couldn't get past the filter, so I will just post my final statement.

    Fear, Spin, Propaganda. These are the tools of the media. The establishment wants a Romney vs Paul matchup because either way it would insure 4 more years of the status quo.

    Do not let the media choose our next President. Ron Paul 2012.

    December 30, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Gregg

    Why should the general population take "personal responsibility"
    Corporations, politicians and the rich do not?

    December 30, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. Justin

    The "attacks" on Ron Paul are getting ridiculous. Everyone can see through these transparent smear attempts.

    December 30, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Joanne

    This is the man who will separate the hardworking people with independent, critical thought from the parasites & their enablers feeding 24/7 at the government trough! Go Ron Paul!!! Let's indeed return America to her former greatness!

    December 30, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Jack Tors

    CNN is just grasping now, trying to find ANYTHING THAT THEY CAN for the establishment. What a pathetic article, you should be reporting that he is ahead in IOWA, just like you would do with one of your establishment puppets. You don't have anything on ron paul, sorry. He continues to lead despite your complete nonsense. Wow, CNN is SHAKING at the thought of a REAL president.

    December 30, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Severgreen

    There is nothing "racist" about stating that its rational to be wary of blacks. Anyone here seen the crime stats for the last several decades? Even Jesse Jackson would agree. Remember his comment about hearing footsteps behind him at night, and being relieved it wasn't a black guy?

    December 30, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Spiraling Agony

    Yeah, because this is really a level playing field for everyone these days...

    just like it was back in the day with Jim Crow laws and Whites-Only signs...

    Civil Rights Act? What for?

    December 30, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. DSBsky

    O.M.G.. Are you kidding me? You people at CNN fail so miserably. You guys keep screaming about this nonsense that he has "DISAVOWED" for 20 years +.. ( Here you go since you obviously don't know the definition of the word Disavow) This is what the news does when the person they want to win an election proves to suck so badly that no one will vote for them. They slander the one man who will stop them in their conquest to dominate the finincial market. You think I'm overstating the truth but I'm not. CNN is owned by people who directly oppose Ron Paul and his outlooks. They don't want him to win because if he does they will not be able to rape the economy like they have been doing for so long. RON PAUL WAS NOT AWARE OF IT AND HE DISAVOWED IT, LIKE HE HAS SAID A MILLION TIMES SINCE 1980... How about you guys go out and do your job for once and stop reporting lies and slander.. Seems that's all your good at now a days... News? Where? None here, that's for sure.. This is just a flat out, misleading lie.

    December 30, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Monica

    He suggests a victim of harassment quit their job rather than stand up for themselves by either demanding their harasser be punished or fired or requiring compensation for leaving? The victim should have a right to keep both their job and dignity – not the victimizer. Solitaire's rape analogy is spot on.

    December 30, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Restore America Now

    I'm not sure if the intent of this article was to smear Dr. Paul's excellent character or not. After reading it confirmed just a few of the reasons why my entire family is voting for him. My family completely agrees with Ron Paul. We should be respected as individuals & yes we should be responsible for our own actions. Ron Paul is the only candidate who understands true freedom for everyone! God bless him for being truthful & caring about individual rights for EVERYONE. By the way he is NO racist in any way shape or form.

    December 30, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Just make it up

    "Not only are they not racist, it is the basic philosophy of accountability and equality." Is what John said in response to this article. Really??? To say that it is alright to have white only clubs... where is the equality there? When he says that those who get aids were just reckless and no one should feel obligated to help them... he just shows his lack of compassion and what is even more frightening is that he is suppose to be a medical Doctor... rather ignorant statement. He is dangerous.

    December 30, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. brian

    The Smear campaign is in full-swing. Ron Paul 2012,

    December 30, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. nell

    Seems to me, folks will vote for anything and I mean anything to get Obama out of office!. Any species who voted Bush
    in the Wh twice should be sent to some far off land in Siberia. Dumbness doesn't matter and I hope, deep down inside
    that the reps. cut everything, social security, medicaid and everything else, even the kitchen sink. See how well grandma and grandpa likes that!

    December 30, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Joel

    Wow, honestly this article is terrible. Nothing he says is an incorrect statement in any means. Its called accepting personal responsibility for your actions.

    December 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. liberty

    Will the mainstream media just get over the fact Ron Paul is the cleanest candidate and start focusing on Romney's serial flip- flopping and Gingrich's serial hypocrisy?

    December 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Woody

    Seattle Sue, you don't like Paul, fine, but learn something before you bash him. You don't have to pay Paul a cent for congressional retirement because he opted out of it. Plus he gives back a portion of his congressional paycheck every year.

    December 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Andre

    Victim of one's lifestyle can be extended to almost anything and where healthcare has to set a strict meaning of a normal and acceptable lifestyle. Do people who drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and eat unhealthy foods get the same benefits? How about people who hurt themselves accidentally while skateboarding or skiing? If someone does not where a seatbelt and gets injured in a car crash, are hospitals supposed to turn him back?

    So when you talk about "victims of their own lifestyle" you start to include thousands of more cases.

    December 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Scott wrote:

    I guess I don't see anything wrong with some of the statements in the book.
    I guess I don't see anything wrong with some of the statements in the book, either. But, there is a lot wrong with some of the other statements. You cannot be correct some of the time. The POTUS must be correct all of the time.

    December 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Noodle Nose Johnson

    C'mon Paul nutters, let's hear your spin. Should be good for a laugh.

    December 30, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Hippienick

    I love how one guy complains about his tax money goes to ron and rand paul.
    A. Ron gave a lot of money back
    B. Look where the majority of your tax money goes.

    Laughable at best.

    December 30, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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