Mr. Paul -- Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general?
My thoughts on Bitcoin and the other currencies is that they ought to be legal unless there is fraud involved. The government should not get involved in regulating private money if there is no fraud. I do not take a position on Bitcoin and other proposed currencies in a technical fashion, but I understand the political ramifications of them and I think that government should stay out of them and they should be perfectly legal, even though I don't endorse (technically) one over another.
He should have been punished because he confessed to breaking the law and he did practice Civil Disobedience. So he deserves some punishment, but he has already received (in my estimation) excessive amounts of punishment. He has been in prison for over 3 years as well as tortured, and most military personnel who are caught committing war crimes never receive any penalties. I think he should be released now, that he has done us a great service by letting the people know the truth, he's a whistleblower in my estimation (even the courts did not charge him with aiding the enemy), and I believe his goal was to inform the American people of the truth about what was happening in the Iraq / Afghanistan Wars.
Dr. Paul, where do you see your new "Ron Paul Channel" in the next few years and during the 2016 elections?
And I'm also very curious as to how you feel about this GIF of you: http://i.imgur.com/7drHiqr.gif (it's from the Feb. 2012 CNN Republican Candidate debate where you were almost skipped from answering a medical question).
Also, happy late birthday!
Well, I think that it will become more noticeable every day. It's very young in age (just a little over one week old) and we are very pleased with the way it's going. The interviews and the people I've gotten to talk to have been very exciting. So I believe that by the time the next election rolls around, there will be a lot of people very interested in our take on what is happening not just with foreign policy and the economy, but with how the politicians are reflecting on it.
As far as the image you shared, I am delighted to be here!
Thank you very much.
Dr. Paul, what is the bravest thing you've ever done?
To tell you the truth, I've never thought about it. I've never thought of me doing a whole lot that I would categorize as brave. Other people have said that what I do standing up to the establishment and speaking my piece of mind and not backing down as being something brave, but I don't think of it in that manner. So I don't have a good answer for that, but I appreciate it when people compliment me on sticking to my principles.
To me, you are the bravest politician alive.
Thank you for the compliment.
What can I go about doing to change away from the destructive 2-party system that currently dominates politics?
I think the first thing that we have to do is recognize that we don't have a two party system. I sort of kid about this by saying that we have a one party system, and someday I'm hoping for a second party! Because my experience in Washington has showed me that the 2 parties are much more closely aligned than the people realize. Both of them support our foreign policy of wars overseas (which is wrong), both parties support the Federal Reserve System and the banking cartel, both parties have endlessly supported deficit financing, and both parties unfortunately have supported the attacks on our personal civil liberties. Now the problem is, if we don't have a process whereby you disagree with the two parties, you don't have anyplace to go because it is very difficult to get on the ballot, it's difficult to get in the debates unless you participate in the "so-called" two-party system we have today, and ultimately the changes come about not by tinkering with either political party - it only comes through education and getting people to understand the wisdom of non-intervention in foreign policy, non-intervention in personal liberties, and non-intervention in the economy.
Dr. Paul, if you could reverse one decision Obama made in office, which would it be and why?
Taking his oath of office! No, I don't have any one because I believe he is just continuing a process that has been going on for a hundred years of government ever-growing. So there is no one thing that he has done other than (in a very general sense) continue the process. Continue the wars, continue the attack on our liberties - so it has to be a broad answer. Sometimes people would like me to say just one thing like "Obamacare" but it's not just one thing. It's the continuation of Big Government and the attacks on our personal liberties.
Doctor Paul, you’ve been a huge inspiration for me and millions of people across the globe and I would like to thank you for everything you’ve done. I just have one simple question for you. Do you have any plans for running for Presidency of the United States of America in 2016?
No I do not. I do not have any plans like that. I am going to pursue what I have been doing since the 1970s which is to promote the cause of liberty - the format and the technique will be different. But I have done the same thing for many years, but I have no plans to run for office at this time. (and I'd like to add that I will continue to build the Ron Paul Channel: http://www.ronpaulchannel.com)
While you were a congressman, you voted against an amendment that would have solidified net neutrality into law. As you would expect, many people on this website would be in favor of such a measure, so can you explain why you ultimately decided to vote against this? I understand that you may not remember this particular vote, but I have heard you've been against net neutrality in the past, so I'm just curious as to why.
Thanks for your time.
Well, it's a complex issue, but I saw that legislation as an intrusion and controlling the internet - and that's been my promise to do anything and everything to keep the government out of doing ANYTHING with the internet, and not giving any one group or any one person an advantage on the internet. But I will admit it was a complex issue.
Hi Dr Paul! Happy late Birthday!
My question is with Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning exposing government abuses, and subsequently being hunted - and prosecuted in Manning's case - what do you think needs to be done to protect whistle blowers?
Well they obviously ought to be protected and politicians pay lip service to that and pass laws to protect whistleblowers - but then they disobey the law, disobey the Constitution, and arrest people who actually reveal the truth. The only way that it can work is that the people themselves have to want the truth and tolerate the truth and understand that whistleblowers are trying to help us and not believe the propaganda of those who are trying to defend the Empire.
There's a saying that I use quite often - "Truth becomes Treason in an Empire of lies." It's a change in attitude where people don't want to live in an empire, or with a government that is abusing our rights or pretending to police the world and doing all these wonderful things. So we should do everything we can to protect the whistleblowers, but we need better people in government to achieve that.
What are your thoughts on Gary Johnson and Judge Napolitano as possible presidential nominees?
I think that they'd be great! Both of them would be outstanding. They are both very close to each other in beliefs, and pretty darn close to what I believe in, and they are both friends of mine - so I think they'd be great candidates for any office, to tell you the truth.
Hi Ron Paul your name is an anagram for "Our Plan." What's that mean? Who are you? Did we create you? Please explain.
Well, I hope OUR PLAN is a good plan and the plan that I describe is that of defending individual liberty and limited government - so I think that's a good plan!
Dr. Paul, who is your favorite historical figure in (American) politics and why?
You know, I don't have one favorite historical political figure. Most of the pictures I had in my Congressional office were pictures of economists, which included Von Mises, and I essentially didn't have pictures of politicians. I had a picture of one president who was my favorite (Grover Cleveland) and under his picture the quote was (paraphrased)
"What is it worth to get elected, and re-elected, if you don't stand for something?"
He was a man of principle, who believed in the Constitution and the Gold Standard.
Dr. Paul, I am a big fan. My question is, What is the most effective way for regular citizens to oppose NSA/FISA overreach?
There's a couple things to oppose.
One is to become very well educated, to understand how they came about and how terrible they are.
The next thing we do is we have to get other people to agree with us, which means we have to educate other people to know that it's important and in their best interest to know about them.
And the next thing we all should do is our very best in influencing our members of Congress to not vote for these things and oppose them when they come up and become politically active.
If one does this, they should not have to wait until they are penalized by these laws (and we are at this point today because every American is being spied on by our government and from my viewpoint, it is all illegal except for the very few instances when there is a proper search warrant received from a judge).
Dr. Paul, we have seen the expansion of libertarianism over the past several years. How much of it do you think is enabled by the internet, and what are your thoughts on the recent, repeated attempts to limit the freedom of the net and our right to privacy?
Well that's a great threat - the attack on the internet - because the internet is our best vehicle. It has been the best thing for us to have to spread our message. So it has been VERY instrumental in being able to get the message of libertarianism out. The other thing that has helped us with this message is the evident failure now of our Keynesian economic system which we've had now for close to 100 years, and also the obvious evidence that our foreign policy is a complete failure and people are looking for answers, especially the young people, because they see it deeply flawed.
I was too young to vote for you in 2007, but as a teenager trying to find my place in the world, I followed your campaign with close interest. It was your campaign that inspired me to educate myself in the theory and practice of liberty, both of which have opened doors for me that I could never have imagined. So, thank you for everything.
My question is: What is the easiest, most significant thing than an average American can do right now to advance the cause of liberty?
EDIT: Thank you for answering! Doing my part for personal liberty by plugging CryptoReddit.
Become self-educated. Understand how important it is to know why it's in the interests of everybody to defend individual liberty in 3 areas:
Education is the key to this, and then after that, there will always be a job for somebody who is (if they make themselves available) educated to spread the message. There is always a vehicle for the individual to help spread this message - whether as a teacher, as a politician, even as an intern or a college student.
What are some guests that you'd like to interview on future Ron Paul Channel shows?
May I suggest former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio who allegedly stood up to an NSA blanket surveillance request pre-9/11. He was later imprisoned on insider trading charges, but he'll be a free man next month.
Well we are going to have a lot of interviews - Glenn Greenwald has done one already - and I will probably interviewing Julian Assange, as well as others individuals who have participated in doing something special to promote the cause of liberty. Or anyone who has done something extraordinary in their lives: I've already done 8-10 interviews along these lines.
how do you propose battling climate change?
Well - thinking that I have the power, authority or knowledge to change the climate. Does man have much influence on the climate? Probably, a little bit. Regarding pollution, nobody has the right to pollute their neighbor's property. But when I look at the history of the issues, temperatures have gone up and temperatures have gone down, a long time even before the industrial age, so I would not claim that I had any unique ability to regulate the climate.
why did you name your son Rand?
My wife had the children and she had the privilege of naming the children. Afterwards there was a little bit of discussing with her husband, namely me.
But his name is not after Ayn Rand. His name is RANDALL despite some things that have been around on the internet. He was called "Randy" at home, and he became "Rand" after becoming a physician.
Dr. Paul, as an owner of your family cookbook I must say I am quite jealous of your wife's incredible culinary talent.
Yes, she has done quite well over the years! I'll tell you what has done quite well has been the cookbook though. For a difficult political campaign my wife created the cookbook. I used to kid her about it being a silly thing to do, but it was one of the most popular political pieces we ever sent out and the people in the district loved it.
Your continued strong relationship with your wife is inspirational for married people across the country.
What's your #1 tip for a successful marriage?
Well I think it's respect. It's love and respect too. And that is something that a lot of people forget about, and in tough times there is less respect, but everybody should be respected - but for a marriage to succeed, you have to have respect along with the love.
Hey Doctor Paul, thanks for doing this AMA! I'm a giant fan of yours, and of all libertarian schools of thinking. You probably get asked this a lot, but what's your position on legalizing marijuana? Has it changed since your last AMA? Also, have you seen http://RonPaul2016.org yet? It's a sort of unofficial fan site dedicated to getting you elected in any position really. Thanks for your time!
No I have not seen that website. My position on marijuana has not changed for a long time, but the position has always been that it should be legal and there should be no criminal penalties at all for the use of it. When people do things that may harm themselves, the government should not be involved, therefore I do not believe in any drug laws. If there is going to be any regulation at all, it should be at the state level. The federal government should not be engaging in a war against drugs.
Fortunately, the people are waking up and the states are rebelling, and I think that at some point in the near future there will not be much enforcement of the federal laws against marijuana.
Hi Ron! I am a huge fan of you and you new show, and I have a few questions I would like to ask you.
Do you have a stance on animal rights? If so what is it?
Which members of the 113th congress are you most impressed with so far?
What issue is most important to you and why?
Who would you like to see be elected president in 2016?
And on a lighter note, what is your favorite movie?
Thanks for doing the AMA!
I have a stand: I think rights are for individual human beings. I don't have a good conception on where an individual animal has rights. That leads to confused thinking on my part. That doesn't mean that abuse of animals should be tolerated, but in terms of rights, I am very precise. Individuals have rights, I do not believe in collective rights (because a person belongs to a particular group) and I don't believe in the principle that an animal would have the same rights in court as an individual like you or I.
Well you know that's a dangerous question because if I name 2-3, I might forget 3 and get myself into trouble! I know a senator from Kentucky that I"m related to that would have to be one of my favorites, but there are so many in the House now - there might be 6 or 8 or 10. The one individual who is one of my closest friends in Congress is Walter Jones from North Carolina because he has become very anti-war. Jimmy Duncan from Tennessee is a close friend, and Dustin Amash, and Thomas Massie are some others.
The most important issue to me is the broad issue of personal liberty because I believe it can answer all our questions if we can recognize that the individual is sovereign, and that sovereignty should be protected. But there are so many issues that are secondary, and are a reflection of individual liberty - because I speak quite a lot about non-interventionism in foreign policy, sound money, and free markets and property rights. That can all come from the concept of our natural rights to our lives as individuals.
I think it's too early for that - they started talking about 2016 the day after the last election! We don't even know who the candidates yet. I haven't even talked to my son the Senator about what his plans are, but I think it's too premature to be talking about what our plans are three years from now.
I'm not much of a moviegoer. But my wife and I have watched several times and really enjoyed "The Sound of Music."
Congressman Paul, why did you vote YES on an amendment, which would have
banned discriminated against adoption by same-sex couples and other couples who lacked a marital or familial relationship in Washington, D.C? Do you still oppose adoption by gay couples?
Edit: It appears that the amendment in question didn't outright ban gay adoption but tried to discriminate against gay couples by denying them financial benefits married (i.e. straight) couples would recieve.
Not as bad as a ban but still discriminatory and inexcusable.
The amendment would in no way have recuced overall federal spending btw.
Well I don't recall that particular vote but my position on it is that the government should be out of it. Sort of like the marriage issues, and adoption issues, I do not like the idea of any government writing prohibitions in these areas. I may have personal preferences and all, but it should be handled through contracts rather than government prohibitions. I was involved with adoptions when I was doing medicine, and it was always a voluntary contract - we would find a family who would take a baby and the mother would sign a voluntary contract, and it got more complicated with more legislation.
First, thanks for answering congressman.
I do not like the idea of any government writing prohibitions in these areas.
That's exactly what the bill you voted for was trying to do.
I'll go back and look into it and get back to you.
Dr. Paul, you have been the most outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve. However, no matter how much I look into your positions on the Fed, something is still a little unclear. Would you prefer to have the Federal Reserve powers returned to the United States Congress and have congress control the money supply and interest rate, or would you rather those powers be left to the free market and have private competing currencies?
The second. I would allow the market to do it. I would not trust Congress either. But the guidance can come from our Constitution, because it says we are not allowed to print money and only gold & silver can be legal tender and there is no authority for a central bank. But I like the idea of competing currencies, especially in a transition period, because it would be hard to take what we have today and suddenly have a gold standard without some problems.
Hi Ron! Just wanted to say hello. And while I highly agree with many of your policies, can you give us an official response on your stance of separation of church and state?
Yes. The church should never run the state. They should never be synonymous. And the state should never interfere with the church. The responsibility of the government should be to protect the right to free choice, whether it is religion, philosophy, or our personal habits.
That might be the ideal to seek and it should be talked about and maybe someday we can reach that. That is essentially what our 13 Colonies set up under the Constitution - we could move back and forth as freely as possible, and it's worked out rather well. The problem that we have today deals with the economy and the Welfare State. Because if the doors are wide open and you let all individuals in, all individuals suddenly qualify for welfare benefits - and you are looking for lots of problems. In a free society that is prosperous, the doors should be open as wide as possible. Even today we could do that if we could say "Come and work, come and play, but you don't get automatic citizenship or benefits." Those open doors would be very beneficial to us, but it's been messed up because of the demagoguery and welfare state. But in an ideal world, there would be an economic benefit to it.
The Tea Party had so much steam in 2010. Everyone was afraid of the Tea Party's political influence. Everything fell apart by 2012 and the GOP blew the Presidential election. What went wrong and what will you do to regain and maintain political relevance?
Separately, what is your response to the charges that you're speaking at an "anti-Semetic" conference?
Well I don't deal with the Tea Party (or the Republican party or any of that) per se, we must deal with the idealogy of the concept of liberty. The Tea Party was actually started during the Ron Paul presidential campaign in 2007 when there was a spontaneous moneybomb that was done on the anniversary of the original tea party. And it was strictly related to the issues and ideas I have just finished talking about. What happened after that was that a lot of people came onboard - including Republicans - who watered down some of the beliefs, and certainly changed the opinion of some on foreign policy so that the original Tea Party movement was taken over by the Republican Party, which I think was part of the problem.
You know, I read about that yesterday. I have not read the article that was written so I was pretty surprised about this. I recall when I received the invitation from my speaker's bureau about this group that was strongly anti-war and they wanted me to speak to a Conservative Catholic Group about non-interventionist foreign policy and I said "wow, that sounds right up my alley." The topic I was planning to talk on was "Peace, Prosperity and Tolerance."
The article that came out yesterday is disturbing, and I have not read it yet, but the question is raised - exactly who is making the allegations. I have not yet sorted it out, and it makes me uneasy, but frequently the opposition uses tactics which are pure demagoguery and falsehoods, so I'm looking into it. The problem there is: should one be intimidated by someone who is saying something true or saying something false to undermine an individual like myself who preaches a message of tolerance and peace?
Can you explain why it is you missed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act vote? A great deal of your rhetoric is about advocating for civil liberties and decrying government encroaching on basic Constitutional protections, but when the 2012 NDAA, which includes provisions which authorize any sitting president to order the military to kidnap and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, was up for a vote, you abstained. Aside from this being a fairly obvious violation of our Bill of Rights and international law, I have to imagine your constituents would object to the president being given such legal authority.
I would also like to how how a medical doctor, presumably someone who was required to understand concepts of vaccination and herd immunity, could be against mandatory vaccinations. Certainly you are a man who has strong convictions, but taking a stand against well-understood science that's saved countless lives because, if you'll excuse me, of people's ignorance of said science, seems to pass being principled and go into an area better described as fundamentalism. While I respect that you believe government should only perform a very small amount of services and overall have very little power, my family in Texas is now in danger of getting the measles, which is almost unheard of in an industrialized country in which people have access to vaccinations. While I can accept your religious views on abortion, I cannot understand your stance on vaccinations and would appreciate any clarification or explanation.
Well I agree that it was an atrocious bill. Sometimes you get to vote on those bills 2-3 times. I was probably the loudest opponent to that piece of legislation. It was a piece I talked about endlessly on college campuses. The fact that I missed that vote while campaigning - I had to weigh the difference between missing the vote and spreading the message around the country while campaigning for office. But my name is well-identified with the VERY very strong opposition to NDAA.
I reject coercion. I reject the power of the government to coerce us to do anything. All bad laws are written this way. I don't support those laws. The real substance of your concern is about the parent's responsibility for the child - the child's health, the child's education. You don't get permission from the government for the child's welfare. Just recently there was the case in Texas of Gardasil immunization for young girls. It turns out that Gardasil was a very dangerous thing, and yet the government was trying to mandate it for young girls. It sounded like a good idea - to protect girls against cervical cancer - but it turned out that it was a dangerous drug and there were complications from the shot.
So what it comes down to is: who's responsible for making these decisions - the government or the parents? I come down on the side of the parents.
Is there anything that Obama has done that you DO support?
That's a narrow question. How long since it's been since I've strongly supported what ANY president have done? Unfortunately our Presidents and our Congress have been systematically moving in the wrong direction. They have been undermining our freedoms and bankrupting our country and supporting perpetual war.
I would bet Dr. Paul's safest answer would be "quitting smoking".
That's a good idea.
How do you feel about Texas banning the sale of Tesla cars? Doesn't seem very American or Libertarian.
It's un-American and it's unpatriotic and it's bad economic policy, and it should not be any business of the government what car you can buy.
What's your opinion on NASA, or any space program in general?
Essentially I've never voted for the appropriations for NASA. It was not that I was hostile to it, but I just didn't see how going to Mars for entertainment purposes was a good use of taxpayer money.
Now we have some wealthy individuals who are interested in space travel, that is how it should be done. In a free economy, there should be a lot of capital to invest in space explorations and technology.
The token exception would be space technology that had to do with National Defense. But this was not the easiest position for me to take consistently because NASA was in my home district (Houston).
What is your favorite color?
Green. I'm a "greenie."
What's your favorite part about being a politician?
My favorite part with politics has been interacting with young people, especially on college campuses, because their minds are more open to the principles of liberty, they generally are against war, and they understand the importance of following the Constitution. A lot of young people said that I got them interested in politics and in the Constitution, but I would credit them with inspiring me.