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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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. Steve

    Ron Paul doesn't insist on the gold standard anymore. He has moderated his position and now advocates competing currencies (ie: freedom). This would keep everyone honest. That said, the Federal Reserve's monopoly is far more dangerous than the gold standard.

    December 30, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Laura R.

    I am so happy when CNN posts these articles about Ron Paul! I was talked out of voting for him during the last election, my well-meaning father in law convinced me it would be a vote for our wretched current president if I voted for anything other than the republican nominee.

    Not this time, though. I email or text every article like this to my contact list, and have convinced many many many people to vote Ron Paul in 2012. Thanks CNN for helping me open their eyes to the truth! Great job -keep it up!!!!

    December 30, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Mike Jones

    Stop running stupid little stories about things Ron Paul has written 20 to 30 years ago. I wasn't even born yet and I don't give a dam. People change, I want to hear what Paul has said in the last 10 years. Running these stories makes Google news look like a high school news paper. And the things you bring up about Ron Paul are so insignificant; it makes you look again like amateurs news reporters. Makes me want to vote for the guy. Grow up and cover real news!!!

    December 30, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Andy

    Is it that Paul is somehow racist? Or is it somehow that the people interpreting what he wrote as "racist" are incapable of thinking individualistically, and can only see "groups". If being racist, is when you DON'T want to give any group political favoritism; then what is not racist? What a crazy upside down world we live in!?! Seriously, the mental gymnastics people exercise is astounding. From intellectual exceptionalism, to social exceptionalism, we truly have not left the caves. One puts forth a rational well-thought-out idea, and people just yell; "RACIST!" We are doomed.

    December 30, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Oscar

    RON PAUL 2012
    When you get to the heart of the matter is he STILL the only person that actually save this country from collapse. He's the only shot we have at getting Obama out of office.

    December 30, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Brian

    Another MSM rag smear on Ron Paul. Digging up old news letters? That's the best you can do? CNN is a joke and the days of your propaganda are numbered. Ron Paul 2012!

    December 30, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. itsonlyfair

    I'm not sure how Ron Paul believes that everyone will be treated equally in our society if he also believes that "social do-gooders" shouldn't be allowed to take action when problems with inequality have been identified. He's really just providing lip service to equality while also providing convenient cover for individuals who choose to ignore equal rights entirely.

    December 30, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Oscar

    RON PAUL 2012
    When you get to the heart of the matter is he STILL the only person that actually save this country from collapse. He's the only shot we have at getting Obama out of office.

    December 30, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. robrocket

    So it's OK FOR MITT ROMNEY TO SIGN A PLEDGE TO OUTLAW GAY MARRIAGE. But not for Ron Paul to sound off about not using a condom. Where is the outrage against Mitt Romney?

    December 30, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. mike

    Oops, Ron must be polling near poor ol' Democrat wannabe Mitt! Now the media is going after Ron so Mitt will have that Republican Spot that's up for grabs. Liberal media playing the can't lose game again.

    December 30, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. ddblah

    Ron Paul is going to say "I did not read it".

    December 30, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Oscar

    Shame on you, CNN. How can it possibly be argued that (unless transferred from the womb) contracting HIV can not in part be contributed to one's lifestyle. Many people remain abstinant until they are married. This is a lifestyle. This prevents HIV. I am not part of that lifestyle, but I know many who thoughtlessly screw around with dozens and dozens of people. This is a lifestyle, and is more risky.

    December 30, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |

    Who cares? He won't win the GOP nomination nor will he be POTUS.

    December 30, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. ddblah

    And, his supporters will say "he is not a racist".

    December 30, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Dan

    So now you are trying to attack him because he holds libertarian positions? Nothing he said in those comments are racist or even negative. It is what virtually all libertarians believe. I am dumbfounded that this writer is so unaware of the fact libertarians believe all rights belong to individuals. How is it racist to say that a black man, white man, purple man, etc. have the same exact rights and no group can be granted no special privileges? These attacks are hilarious. Only someone who has never studied what liberty is all about or just out right hates liberty would have a problem with this great book.

    December 30, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. WhereIsPalin

    Hey Paul-bots. Dr Quack is a sick man. His policies will sink the US. Let Texas deal with him.

    December 30, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. qwertypad

    Really makes me laugh sometimes when people will believe anything that their beloved idiot box tells them. CNN is owned by Time Warner, and they're just doing what they're told, because they're jobs are at stake. They don't care about the people, they're just making sure their pockets are lined with dollars.

    December 30, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Mark C

    "This is a smear and an outright lie lacking any evidence or credibility. He did not write the news letters..."

    Actually, dimwit, there is no question that he wrote he newsletters, as he admits as much. The only question is whether h wrote certain things in them. He claims not. He's probably lying.

    Paul could not be further from MLK's principles by the way.

    December 30, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Steve

    I recommend that everyone perform these searches and then make their own decision:

    Go to the "daily paul" and search: "breaking racially charged"

    Go to you tube and search: "Ron Paul is winning, so Iowa doesn't matter [short+ version]" and 'TPM's Josh Marshall: On Ron Paul "He's The Candidate Who Thinks Gays Should Be Executed" '

    This should prove to you how badly the corporate media is manipulating everyone. Every person in the news media following their bosses orders to smear Ron Paul should be absolutely ashamed of themselves!

    December 30, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. JohnRJ08

    Ron Paul's ideology parallels the mission of the John Birch Society, a racist, isolationist and anti-union sect of the Republican Party that was founded in the 1950s. In the early 60's the JBS was thrown out of the GOP for being too extreme. And that was when the Republican Party was doing everything it could to block the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Ron Paul is an extremist who is playing possum. But, even in his toned-down mode, he still talks about letting people who are uninsured die and permitting states to decide if they want to enforce the Civil Rights Act or not. His most obvious connection the JBS is his view of foreign policy and US involvement in world affairs. He wants to go back to the isolationism that was being promoted by people like Charles LIndbergh back in the 1930s. The other Republican candidates may sound crazy and ignorant, but Ron Paul is the only candidate who sounds dangerous.

    December 30, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Steve

    The country is falling apart, the economic system is failing, our military kills hundreds of thousands of innocent people, we have a higher percentage of our people in prison than any other country in the world, many of them non-violent offenders, and this is what the media chooses to focus on?

    December 30, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Truth Detector

    Again , smear the one you fear ..... dont let facts and figures get in the way , they can mess up a good hit piece.

    December 30, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Frank

    Like a multi-colored, cloyingly sweet fruitcake with too many different ingredients–nuts, cherries, raisins, rum–it may look good but once one tastes it one realizes it's unpalatable. This is Ron Paul.

    December 30, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Socrates

    I read the article and really I didn`t see anything wrong about what Ron has said. Life is tough and if you want to survive from diseases such as HIV you have to change your lifestyle. What is wrong with that. It is reality. Being politically correct is fine but don`t take it to the extreme. Ron Paul can be a great president, the rest of the republican contenders are just a bunch of clown opportunists. If Ron wrote in the past something that today is seen as politically incorrect I am sure he has changed his mind. How many of us thought wrongly in the past and we regret it now. Everybody have skeletons in the closet, that is human. Those who think they don`t have any are the worst or hypocrites. Ron for president. By the way, I am not a Republican.

    December 30, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Hazel Adkins

    Peter Hamby, How can you suggest that it's right to create laws that discriminate based on one's social position and ethnicity? It's shameful!

    December 30, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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