Q & A: Ron Paul on Leaving the Episcopal Church, and Whether to Legislate Abortion, Narcotics, & Same-Sex Marriage
Domestically, how do you balance government involvement and the Christian call to serve the poor and needy?
It shouldn't be done with force. It should be done with love, and government is force. If you defer to the government that means you endorse theft. If somebody is poor and you want to help them and you have money, you go help them, or encourage them, or provide an environment where they can take care of themselves. But it doesn't endorse the government to go to that person and say "Look, this person is hungry. I have the moral authority to take from you, and if you don't give it to him, to put you in jail in order to help this person who is hungry." I do not endorse that. History and economics are on my side. If you care about the poor you would never use force. The most humanitarian system ever has been a free society and free markets and sound money, and it takes care of the maximum number of people. That is where you would cure the problem of poverty.
Should the government regulate narcotics?
Sure, sort of like alcohol. Force doesn't work and the Prohibition was a disaster; our government gave up on it. So yes, if you want to talk somebody out of abusing themselves with alcohol or other bad habits, just writing a law will not make them moral.
Does it make sense on a state level to regulate it?
It probably won't be all that successful, but they have the authority to do it. It tends to help. I think there's some help with protecting children. Children can't walk into a store today and buy alcohol or cigarettes because of state laws, but they can get all the marijuana they want just by going out on the street. That's why the system just doesn't work. On the state level, I think protecting children it will probably never be perfect, but a child is not quite ready to make adult decisions and be responsible for the mistakes they make.
Along those lines with marriage, if you were on the state level for something like Proposition 8, would you vote for or against?
Well, I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
At the state level, then, would you endorse a particular policy?
I don't think the laws would change morality.
Along those lines, if Roe v. Wade was reversed, what would you do from there?
I'm always disappointed that my proposal to remove the jurisdiction from the federal court has been ignored. Some people are overly confident about the federal government. As long as you have to have the courts or amend the Constitution, they play with that for years and years or decades and that never gets done, so the abortion continues. Our Constitution doesn't permit it, but it doesn't work. That's what Roe v. Wade was about. It was nationalized, but the wrong way, and that's what permitted the abortions.
So if it were reversed and became a state issue, would you regulate it?
No, to me the government has very, very little responsibility for molding us and our personal behavior, you go to church and all that. But taking life, protecting life is a responsibility of the government. But we don't have any — all our laws are written by the states about murder and first-degree murder and manslaughter and actions that kill people. That's all dealt with at the state level, and that's where the abortion issue. I say it's taking a life and it has to be dealt with at the local level.