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."

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

    "Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another... --Thomas Paine

    December 30, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Jacob

    I don't see much wrong in this at all. I am black and I want to be treated as an individual and not as a member of all African Americans. Ron Paul seems like the only candidate that actually cares for liberty. These news stories are just for all the people who read headlines to make their judgments. This is a great example of how broadcast news is horrible.

    December 30, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Jessica

    MEDIA you suck. Ron Paul isn't a racist. I hope he sues all of you for discrimination!!!!

    December 30, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Ambrose Smith

    Okay Paul defenders. If you agree with him on these writings then why don't you ask Paul himself to stand up and repeat all of these points during his campaign.

    December 30, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. cmohr

    On what basis do you say he would throw a rape victim in jail? This is an incorrect assumption based on nothing. Actually take a couple minutes to read Dr. Pauls ideas in context, not just the msm soundbite clips and you will probably find you cannot debate his views with any credible argument. Just like every other supporter of the status quo you display no understanding of political philosophy.

    December 30, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Joel

    He's not racist. I don't think it could be any clearer. He simply believes everyone should have the same rights and that I as a tax payer am not responsible to pay the healthcare for my neighbor who does not have insurance.

    December 30, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Jon

    And???????? I 100% agree with all of that. You are doing EXACTLY what he's talking about! PROOF!!! You just slammed yourself CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby.

    December 30, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. koto

    It seems that might is right, just like white. You all agree because you are still have a majority, the world is cyclical, civilizations rise and fall.When your majority is no more then you will feel the effects of your mob justice, disdain for minority rights type of thinking.

    December 30, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. JC

    Ron Paul is 100% right. Creating certain rights for certain groups is discrimination. Thank G he is in this race to bring sanity to the insane dialog our media spews. CNN, how about reporting how Ron Paul delivered black babies for free in the 70s, or how he spoke out against racist laws in the 80s? CNN is the hateful one here, not Ron Paul.

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

    Solitaire you said it perfectly:
    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 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. billy

    wheres the controversy? all he is sayin is ALL people have rights not groups.......As far a the aids thing......all he is saying is......EVERYONE needs to get out of the logic that everyones problems should be paid for by government....which is ludicrous esp since WE CANT AFFORD IT ANYMORE

    December 30, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. Dutch

    @Seattle Sue, he didn't participate in the government retirement plan, your tax dollars won't be going there. Meanwhile you can bet the Democrat and Republican establishment will retire and kill a bunch of foreigners with your money. But you're fine with that right?

    December 30, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. Feeding the Abscess

    Actually, Seattle Sue, Ron Paul turned down Congressional pension, so after he's out of office, he's out of office.

    December 30, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. alan seago

    To Solitaire: I am not a Ron Paul supporter, and I doubt I would ever vote for the man, but even so - your comment isn't fair. Nothing Paul has ever said, of which I'm aware, would suggest that Paul "...would throw the rape victim into jail for tempting the rapist." Criticize the man's positions if you will - I might agree with you when you do - but be fair.

    December 30, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Dscol

    "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."

    WRONG. He has actually opted out of the Congressional pension program because he doesn't feel its right for him to get a better deal than the taxpayers. This article is a hatchet job. What was in his newsletters was disgusting and it is up the individual to decide what involvement they think Dr. Paul had in writing them. But to try to link that garbage to thepolicy positions listed in this book is a bridge too far.

    December 30, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. Jim McClarin

    Yes, most STD victims became victims from not using precautions but a reasonable portion became infected through cheating spouses or supposedly committed significant others as well as infected blood in transfusions. Paul would have done well to qualify his remarks. Whether these quotes were lifted out of a qualifying context I don't know.

    December 30, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. think4yourself

    this isn't real journalism - CNN is obviously biased against RP here... if you take just Ron Paul's passages from this book, they ALL make sense and agree with his philosophy - CNN's just trying to paint his philosophy as against the MAINSTREAM... I say the heck with the MAINSTREAM - mainstream is what got us into this mess. Think for yourself people and do realize that Ron Paul is this nation's last potential chance for fiscal sanity and real capitalism (as opposed to crony capitalism). Vote RP 2012!

    December 30, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Gid

    I love how all the Paul supporters on this thread and people who defend the statements gloss right over and don't address the harassment stand Paul has. Which is if your harassed, just quit or give "it" up, but don't complain. Ron Paul would love to live in the Mad Men world where he gets to swat his secretary on the toosh when she walks by and she just giggles. You know, The good ol' days. crazy..

    December 30, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. billy

    more absurdity everywhere.......OF course doctors should continue to treat people for all kinds of things but govt shouldnt have to pay for it because THEY CANT AFFORD IT(just like wars)

    December 30, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Santiago

    Was this meant to be a negative piece? He says the same things in the Revolution: A Manifesto. Groups do not have rights, people do. Saying one group is special when compared to another group is what brought race-based slavery to this world.

    December 30, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. DragonX

    Pual is the only presidential candidate who is not a hypocretic and speaks the truce.

    December 30, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. EdSantaFe

    Typical millionaire Republican

    December 30, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. Oldfan

    What would CNN do without propganda?

    December 30, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. skarphace

    David: "Ron Paul [says] statements like we should dismantle FEMA and let disaster victims fend for themselves or hope a church comes to their rescue."

    You only show your ignorance with statements like that. Ron Paul thinks that emergency funding should reside at the State level since each state knows how much funding they need. Funding at the Federal level is just wasteful spending because of the added level of bureaucracy.

    Next time, please learn Ron Paul's stances on the issues before spewing such nonsense. Thank you.

    December 30, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Bigz85020

    I agree with everything that Ron Paul said in that book and will be voting for him in the primary.

    Groups don't have rights. Only Individuals have rights.

    December 30, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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