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John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul On Legalizing Drugs And Prostitution

by @ 11:50 am on December 9, 2007. Filed under 2008 Election, Politics, Ron Paul

ABC’s John Stossel, who is probably the only outspoken pro-free market/pro-individual liberty journalists in the mainstream media, interviewed Presidential candidate Ron Paul recently, and their talk will be featured by ABC as a six-part series on ABCNews.com:

Over the last few months, I’ve received hundreds of e-mails from people who wanted me to interview the unconventional Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex. So this week I did.

In our hour-long interview, Paul and I discussed illegal immigration, the Iraq War, when war is necessary, the proper role of government, health care, drug laws, prostitution and more.

Despite relatively low poll numbers, Paul has had a big influence on the presidential campaign. That’s in part because he’s raised a ton of money, and in part because of the passionate following he has on the Web. It’s one reason we’re posting my interview with Paul only on the Internet, where the debate about Paul is very active. In fact, he’s the most Googled presidential candidate.

In Part One, Paul defends what have been traditionally considered two of libertarian thought’s more controversial positions — the War on Drugs and prostitution:

“I think the government’s role should not be involved in personal habits. When you defend freedom, you defend freedom of choice, and you can’t be picking and choosing how people use those freedoms . . .whether it’s personal behavior or economic behavior, I want people to have freedom of choice,” Paul asserted.

Freedom of choice, what a radical concept in a society where the government tells us what we can serve our children in school cafeterias, whether or not we can eat trans-fats, and what we can drink and when we can drink it.

Watch the whole interview for yourself:

12 Responses to “John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul On Legalizing Drugs And Prostitution”

  1. Shaun Kenney says:

    After watching this, I am going to be very interested in how he weaves his pro-life credentials into a “freedom of choice” argument (especially after Paul seemingly defends the right of the individual to smoke crack).

    Here’s where the libertarian argument begins to unravel… not at the moment where freedom of choice is asserted, and not at the moment where freedom of choice is exercised, but where those poor decisions (1) affect others and (2) degrade one’s rationality — a necessary precursor to a libertarian society where rational actors are necessary.

    I’ll be interested to see how his answers on abortion compare to his answers on the “drug war” — e.g. a pregnant woman chooses to smoke crack… freedom of choice, or a personal violation of the principle of non-coercion where society has a duty to step in?

  2. David Wilson says:

    Actually it is very simple. Smoking crack hurts no one. An abortion can terminate the life of a human being. However, he is for a federalist solution to abortion, and thus does not advocate a universal ban on it, unlike the universal ban on drugs.

    Pregnancy is a very ambiguous time for any logical definition of rights, choice, and “life.” However, if you are specifically talking about a woman who chooses to smoke crack (let us hypothetically assume it is legal), then she must take responsibility for the consequences.

    What about those who drink or smoke while they are pregnant?

    The act of an abortion however implies a personal dedication to the act of terminating a pregnancy. Establishing a motive for such with your example of smoking crack would be much harder.

    I do not think the Libertarian argument here unravels. I do not know where you get your second premise in the middle paragraph, but it seems to be one that could fit under proposition one. Why is it needed seperately?

    The argument does not “unravel” any more than any other. The fact is that such cases of casuistry are much more complex than the universal laws of action with which we try to solve them. When we do not have a black and white definition of life, and when rights are endowed, it is hard to say much of anything. This may not be a failure in the philosophy per se, but a failure in how we judge rights and the beginning of life. I do not know if either can be epistemologically certain.

  3. Cato says:

    GOPsters wish the libertarian argument would unravel so they could continue their BIG government ways and only talk about limited government in fundraising letters and on campaign trails with no one to hold them accountable bu t their rank and file “sheep”.

  4. [...] John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul On Legalizing Drugs And Prostitution   [link] [...]

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  8. real_libertarian says:

    I think his argument unravels when he says states should be able to ban guns, censor, pass sex laws, teach creationism in science class,… Oops, he didnt say that did he. That is what his anti-Bill of Rights incorporation philosophy would lead to though.

    Thats something most people dont realise. They dont understand that he’s only talking about the federal government not being tyranical, not that he doesnt care at all what state governments do. We’d lose alot of freedom if the country was governed by his philsophy imo.

  9. [...] John Stossel Interviews Ron Paul On Legalizing Drugs And Prostitution John Stossel Talks To Ron Paul On The Proper Role Of Government John Stossel & Ron Paul On Foreign Policy John Stossel & Ron Paul On Immigration John Stossel & Ron Paul On Health Care   [link] [...]

  10. Prof. Stepelevich says:

    Did you know that both Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine defended prostitution? Here it is:

    Found in: St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica – Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) > QUESTION X.: OF UNBELIEF IN GENERAL. > paragraph 1012

    “Human government is derived from divine government, and ought to imitate it. But God, almighty and supremely good as He is, nevertheless permits sundry evils to happen in the universe that He might prevent; lest if they were taken away, greater good might be taken away, or even still greater evils ensue. So then also they who preside over human government, do right in tolerating sundry evils lest sundry good things be hindered, or even worse evils be incurred, as Augustine says: “Take away prostitutes from human society, and you disorder the world with lustful intrigues.” So then, though unbelievers sin over their rites, they may be tolerated, either for some good that comes of them, or for some evil that is avoided thereby”.

    There is another rendition of this text which has Aquinas saying that without the prostitutes there “would be the deflowering of virgins and the cultivation of unnatural vices”. Something to think about. Vote for Ron Paul.

  11. [...] John Stossel interviews Ron Paul for 20/20 on the topic of “freedom of choice.” On Below the Beltway. [...]

  12. dan says:

    I like his basic position, and I think the two major criticisms of him here misunderstand.

    On abortion, Paul thinks — as most jurist do — that children’s rights are a legitmate state interest since they are not yet competent but only when the parents fail to care for them. His extension, about which I differ, is that a pregnancy is a separate life from the mother which she, as with a 1 year old, has a responsibility to protect.

    On states rights, he does not allow the states to regulate a except in so far as that is allowed by the constitution, and that is very limited. His point is that those limited powers have usurpted by the feds.

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