Former Congressman Dr. Ron Paul held his second Ask Me Anything (AMA) Thursday on the social media network, Reddit. Timed to coincide with the launch of the liberty-minded politician's 'Ron Paul Channel,' which debuted last week, the AMA drew over 3,500 comments in the first hour. Dr. Paul answered questions with the user handle RonPaul_Channel. Within two hours the retired politician answered 36 questions.
Predictably, questions of the 2016 presidential field were brought up, specifically his feelings on a potential bid from Judge Napolitano or Gary Johnson. To which Dr. Paul responded:
"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."
Eschewing another presidential campaign, Dr. Paul is planning to focus on his media outlet instead:
"I do not have any plans . 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."
The highest rated question from the start of the AMA was by user hansjens47, "What can I go about doing to change away from the destructive 2-party system that currently dominates politics?" Dr. Paul responded with,
"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..."
Ron Paul Channel:
OrganizingforMoloch: What are some guests that you'd like to interview on future Ron Paul Channel shows?
Dr. Paul: 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.
Lark_Vi_Brittania: Dr. Paul, where do you see your new "Ron Paul Channel" in the next few years and during the 2016 elections?
Dr. Paul: 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.
ianp: What are your thoughts on Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general?
Dr. Paul: 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.
rolldownthewindow: Dr. Paul, you have been the most outspoken critics 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?
Dr. Paul: 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.
National Security and the NSA:
Carl_DeRon_Brutch: My question is about Bradley Manning. How do you think his trial should have been handled? On the one hand, I appreciate his bravery and sacrifice in the pursuit of transparency in government, but on the other hand, he did break the law. Do you think his sentence is too strict, too lenient, or do you think he shouldn't have been punished at all?
Dr. Paul: 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.
JasonGD1982: [W]hat do you think needs to be done to protect whistle blowers?
Dr. Paul: 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.
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).
Can you explain why it is you missed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act vote?
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...
GoldMine44: 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.
Dr. Paul: 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.
OzarkMountainMan: 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?
Dr. Paul: 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.
Lark_Vi_Brittania: And I'm also very curious as to how you feel about this GIF of you. (it's from the Feb. 2012 CNN Republican Candidate debate where you were almost skipped from answering a medical question).
Dr. Paul: As far as the image you shared, I am delighted to be here!
Other Questions and Answers:
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.
[W]ho 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.
Wkorsakow: Congressman Paul, why did you vote YES on an amendment, which would have banned 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?
Dr. Paul: 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.
gerudo_pirate: [I]f you could reverse one decision Obama made in office, which would it be and why?
Dr. Paul: 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.
Bkries: Hi Ron Paul your name is an anagram for "Our Plan." What's that mean? Who are you? Did we create you? Please explain.
Dr. Paul: 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!
itachi1998: What is your favorite color?
Green. I'm a "greenie."
How do you feel about Texas banning the sale of Tesla cars?
Dr. Paul: 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.
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...
Jamesfd94: 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 are your thoughts on free migration? Do you think restrictions against immigration violate the non-aggression principle? Do you agree with economists who say that the World's GDP would increase by magnitudes if you allowed free migration?
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.
AlphaWolf101: [C]an you give us an official response on your stance of separation of church and state?
Dr. Paul: 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.
eqqs: 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.
Bryanwalsh: why did you name your son Rand?
Dr. Paul: 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.
[This post is currently being updated]