I spoke with Ron Paul in my latest weekly podcast about the former U.S. representative’s advice for the growing number of young people who want to get involved politically, and about the changes Libertarians are bringing about in Washington.
Below are some highlights from the conversation.
Goyette: What do you tell students and others about a career in politics and running for office?
Paul: “I do get a lot of young people coming, especially as I visit the campuses, because they do get fascinated with this, and all of a sudden they see the whole message coming together, with how the freedom philosophy deals with foreign policy and domestic economic policies and personal liberties.”
Paul’s main piece of advice: Don’t run for office as an end in itself. More important, he said, is being “very inquisitive, to analyze problems in the country and how the freedom philosophy can answer those questions.”
“I urge them not to set being in Washington as a goal, because that’s how most of them got there and that’s why we have so many problems in Washington today,” Paul said.
Goyette: Dozens of your supporters from cities and states across the land have run for office. … How do you judge the results, so far, of people who have jumped on the Ron Paul bandwagon?
Paul: “I don’t discourage those who get directly involved in politics, but just think of how we’ve had some minor victories, you know, with holding off on the bombing of Syria. Now our government is actually talking to the Iranians. I think this is a reflection of people’s attitudes being changed, and also we’ve made progress on educating people in the Federal Reserve. I mean, it’s been around for 100 years, but it’s been in the last five years that people have started talking about it.”
Goyette recalled that before Paul ran for office, he sought advice from a Georgia Democrat, Larry McDonald, whose advice was that “parties don’t really stand for much in this process.”
Paul: “People should go where it’s best. Some people say, ‘You ran as a Libertarian. Why don’t you keep running as a Libertarian?’ I say, parties are secondary, the system is biased, you can’t get on the ballot. But if you want to do it, that’s fine. Work hard, do the best you can.
“I never discourage people from working with the Libertarian Party or, for that matter, with the Green Party. I want competition, and today there isn’t any.
“When I first thought about running, before I even talked to Larry McDonald, I went to somebody to check out the law on how I could run as an independent — because that was my natural instinct, to run as an independent — but it’s very difficult. So someone who wants to be independent can run as a Democrat or Republican or Libertarian. You get into office, just stay independent.”
For your Freedom and Prosperity,