In one of his earliest books, the libertarian-leaning Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) explained just how deep his ideology runs, with the Civil Rights Act, equal pay for women, laws protecting workers from sexual harassment and the sufferers of AIDS drawing portions of his ire.
In his 1987 book “Freedom Under Siege: The U.S. Constitution After 200 Years,” ominously flanked on its front cover by police in SWAT gear, Paul attempts to outline what has happened to the enforcement of the nation’s core laws and principles, and, in his view, where it has gone off track. But among the passages found in his 157-page tome, Paul takes issue with people suffering from AIDS, workers targeted by sexual harassment and the very basis of the Civil Rights Act, suggesting that using government to protect these individuals runs counter to the nation’s founding document.
The book was first released before Paul’s run for the presidency as a libertarian, then re-released again in 2007 ahead of his second shot at the nation’s highest office.
“Victims demand health care as well and scream ‘discrimination’ if insurance companies claim they have a right to refuse to issue a policy to someone already infected with the AIDS virus,” Paul wrote. “The rights of the insurance company owners are not considered, while legislation is passed forcing insurance companies to provide the insurance demanded by the victims. The individual suffering from AIDS certainly a is victim — frequently a victim of his own lifestyle — but this same individual victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care.”
He also wrote that the government should not have the power to demand equal pay for equal work, a core principle feminists have fought for over the course of decades.
“The concept of equal pay for equal work is not only an impossible task, it can only be accomplished with the total rejection of the idea it’s of the voluntary contract,” he opined. “By what right does the government assume low power to tell an airline it must hire unattractive women if it does not want to?”
On the same page, Paul takes issue with laws protecting employees from sexual harassment, suggesting that requiring a measure of respect in the workplace also violates the nation’s core principles.
“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?”
He went on to further criticize the Civil Rights Act as the establishment of “special privileges” for a certain group of people, which he and many other libertarians view as running counter to constitutional principles.
“Every year new groups organize to demand their ‘rights,'” Paul explained. “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.”
Although virtually all of his arguments are cloaked in what he calls a dogged focus on the U.S. Constitution, critics will point to these arguments much in the same way they have with Paul’s decades-old newsletters, which contained racially inflammatory rhetoric and conspiracy theories about homosexuals.
Paul has insisted that he did not write those passages and that a ghostwriter was responsible, but he’s accepted a modicum of responsibility for allowing the newsletters to go out with his name on them.
To be fair, Paul attacks these subjects in his book seeminly because they clash with his view that the freedom of contract and the freedom of association are core to preserving a free society.
Then again: Try making that same argument to black families who struggled for decades to earn the right to vote, only to find that they couldn’t even dine at a local restaurant or send their children to the local public school, and one might get an earful in return.
A copy of Paul’s book was available online (PDF).