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. cassidy

    grasping at straws

    December 30, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. bob

    I'm tired of people saying the Libertarian philosophy is the strongest survive. No, It may seem this way but is it not because We respect the right of consenting individuals to gather their resources into any kind of collective without the government or anyone else interfering because they do not agree. So the communists can go have their commune.

    Personal liberty gives everyone the choice and freedom from persecution by others on their life decisions.

    CNN is now launching smear campaign against an ideal they obviously do not understand. CNN wants bigger government more hand outs more war and is a propaganda machine, a tool of government.

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

    Seattle Sue, Ron Paul has always said that he will not participate in the congressional retirement plan so your comment is erroneous at best.

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

    These statements are nothing like what is written in the newsletter. CNN is a joke.

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

    For all of you who wonder why CNN "spins" information. Jut dial into Fox news for 30 seconds. This is exactely what "personalized" media has become. it is not wonder CNN publishes its bias, it has to keep up with the outright lies of Fox news.
    PS: for those of you who are concerned that CNN is smearing the name of the good dr. keep in mind, Obama has been smeared before, during and will be smeared after he is gone from office. Republicans and conservative loonies "invented" the smear tatics you are complaining about.

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

    Wow what a terrible spin opinion piece. They try and spin these ideas as "bad", but really they're centrist ideas.

    I can tell you this, when "liberty" is considered extreme, we're all boned...

    December 30, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. exnihilio

    "Frequently (Not the majority) of the time, HIV is spread via lifestyle and it is wrong for anyone to EXPECT anyone else to pay for them." If I told you that standard HIV treatment cuts the risk of future transmission by 60-80 percent would you still be so hostile to paying for treatment? After all, people who don't get it will live longer taxable revenue generating lives. Seems like your solution actually leaves money on the table.

    December 30, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. Rick C. Hodgin

    Go Ron Paul. Win Iowa!

    December 30, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. dreamer96

    What I'm amazed at is Ron Paul a John Birch Society member,wants to make so many wild changes to our country, but did he ever get any bills he wrote through Congress...any at how is he going to do anything as President?....We have a smart good President with Obama..he just deserves a second term without the Tea Party blocking his every move...The Republicans are determined to make Obama a one term matter what it does to the country..

    December 30, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Independent Thought

    Cool, those quotes make him sound like a Founding Father.

    Thanks, CNN!

    December 30, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    Great to see all the RP apologists making excuses for the nutbag. Keep up the good work useful idiots – Love Ron & Rand.

    December 30, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. wLiberty

    ahahahhahhahahhaaa = today's headlines across the WWW

    Public meet Gloria Borger, Gloria Borger meet press, press meet Lance Morgan(Gloria's Husband), Lance Morgan meet American Public, American Public meet BU!! SH!!T(CNN).

    December 30, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    Annie wrote:

    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.

    Annie, I have been asking the SAME thing. They constantly protect that low life Mitt Romney while they go after everyone else. I can't wait for the attacks to start coming full force AGAINST him. Watch Mitt run.

    December 30, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. Gamer Geek

    By the way, Actively funding FEMA when there are no disasters cost us Billions a year, please do take a moment and review the fabulous history of FEMA and all the wonders they have created for that cost. Give the money to the engineers to make safer buildings and improve the infrastructure. You cant take the bullets out of natures gun, but YOU CAN reinforce your bulletproof vest.

    FEMA = Funds Engineers Must Attain... create more good paying private jobs, reduce disaster impact, and get government out of the business, rescind government policy to us FEMA to inter you when the fell like it..

    December 30, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Chris N.

    Shame on you CNN. Do your homework. The same quotes keep being rehashed over and over. If there are so many pages of bigoted statements let's see some other quotes. This is all taken out of context, and it's no doubt a fear campaign against Ron Paul and his beliefs. It's failing and so are the establishment politicians, which is why they are running scared. Ron Paul 2012.

    December 30, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. dem_from_ne

    Groups of people should have rights. Corporations are groups of people. Therefore, corporations should have rights!! But corporations are not people, but groups of people have rights..... Uh oh... Anti-Paul head explosion in 3...2...1.

    December 30, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |

    Hah! Thank you for reminding us why we SUPPORT Ron Paul!

    December 30, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. cn

    lol at the paul fans. your rabidness is what makes him intolerable with your fantastic claims about him using catch phrases–"paul is for FREEDOM FOR ALL," "dr. paul is for WE THE PEOPLE," etc., etc., when a minimum study of his positions conclusively shows otherwise. yes, there are times when patients should take responsibility for their actions–but a study of history shows that the religious right obfuscated the truth about HIV (that condoms could protect against it) for fear that it would promote promiscuity. this EXACTLY mirrors their behavior during the great pox and what they are doing in africa even now. why don't you paul fans simply state the truth about him: he is a libertarian with socially conservative values, the former allowing him to tolerate certain aspects of society that he finds distasteful that is fiscally conservative as well instead of all this WE THE PEOPLE and PAUL WANTS TO RESTORE YOUR FREEDOM nonsense.

    December 30, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Don

    The scary story is that even if Ron Paul is elected, the bad guys that brought our great country to its knees outnumber him. Every American should read his books. If nothing else, study for yourself and see that our freedom is being traded for more security. We are being attacked from our own.

    December 30, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Greygd

    Nice try CNN. Is this the best you got? Maybe you'll pull something out a little deeper after he wins Iowa...

    December 30, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Paul Ron

    Unbelievable! I can't believe people are actually considering voting for someone that won't give special interest groups special privileges because of the color of their skin! If this nutjob becomes President, how are we going to explain the concept of 'race' to our kids? Such an reprehensible idea to take away special caucuses and groups that are based on race. Don't you see that we WANT to remain racially distinct so that we can keep the concept of race alive.

    December 30, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Yakobi

    It's quite funny to watch all the Ron Paul sockpuppets try to defend this nutjob. Which begs the question: Who is nuttier, they or him?

    Disclaimer–I am not responsible for anything I say here, as Ron Paul is my ghost writer.

    December 30, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. jimboe

    I like Ron Paul, but huis statements about HIV and AIDS are wrong.

    It i nothing like smoking and getting cancer, or drinking aqnd getting chirrosis of the liver.

    It is a communicable diseasde that needs to be erradicated and it starts by slowing down its progression and infectibility. The drugs given do that...Fact.

    Anyone who has HIV should be given drug treatment because it lessens everybody elses chance of contracting it.

    All it takes is one time, one transfusion, one fling and you've got a disease where most people cant pay for treatment.

    December 30, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. gary1847

    If Americans reject Ron Paul they are sentencing themselves to living in a country without a middle class, high inflation, a world constantly angry at the United States, and what will eventually be a totalitarian government that will allow you zero freedom.

    Ron Paul is 76 years old. He does not need to work yet he is willing to spend the rest of his life (not for money or power) defending YOUR freedom and protecting YOUR money. If you reject Ron Paul he will not be the loser... You will.

    December 30, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. skarphace

    Ron Paul is right. The vast majority of AIDS victims got that disease because of their lifestyle choices.

    Ron Paul is right. Giving more rights to a single group of people based on their race is racist.

    By the way, I meant to say, in my previous comment, that the media wants a Romney vs *Obama* matchup (not Paul) because 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 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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