Government can't create moral society, Paul says

Published July 4, 2007

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul shared his views this week on a variety of controversial issues. Here are his responses to questions posed by the Herald-Journal.

SHJ: You're against abortion. How do you counter the view that's the government telling a woman what she can or can't do with her body, infringing on personal freedom?

PAUL: There are two lives. You have a right to privacy in your home - I don't want any cameras or any invasion in the home. Your home is your castle in a free society. That doesn't give you the right to kill a baby in the bed. If there is another life involved, and that crib happens to be the uterus, the issue is not telling the woman what to do. The issue is whether there's another life. I tell my libertarian friends that if you have a live fetus, and it's 4, 5, 6, 7 pounds, and it has a heartbeat, and brainwaves, moves and sucks its thumb, and you kill him, you're committing an act of violence. So, it's a little more complicated than saying a woman can do what she wants with her body, and that's why it's been difficult for a lot of people to sort this out. The one thing I say is that we should repeal Roe v. Wade, and it should be a state issue.

SHJ: You have a huge online presence. Should the government regulate the Internet? If so, how?

PAUL: No. There are lines that can be crossed. If people are defrauding individuals, or telling lies, then the government would have a right to intervene. And that's only after the fact, and you say, 'Someone has done this to me' … I'm for no taxation and no regulation (of the Internet), and that's a pretty risky political position because there's some pretty nasty stuff out there. But the First Amendment is out there to protect controversial speech, not non-controversial speech. I certainly don't want the United Nations involved. One day, I'm sure they'll want to be.

SHJ: This is an issue close to Spartanburg: What can or should be done to combat youth violence, particularly when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of children?

PAUL: This is not a federal matter. You could just tell me a story of somebody having been killed by a knife. What are you going to do to keep a knife out of the hands of children because they might hurt each other? The weapon itself isn't the problem. It's the breakup of the family, the culture and the society that's so violent. But that's only going to be solved when you have a more moral society, and a more family-oriented society.

SHJ: Then, how do you do that? How do you fix society?

PAUL: The government can't do that. Government's not a social worker. Government is to make sure that if there is injury to one person from another, that they punish that individual and stop it from happening. But to be responsible for a complete moral education for all of society … It might turn out that divorce is the single most important feature. What are we going to do? Force people to stay together? No. That's a reflection of the society. Freedom is not going to work unless you have a moral society. And that raises a serious question because certainly we can't force that type of morality on a society. It's like the same notion that we're going to force our values on the people of Iraq because they didn't have a good democracy, but we're going to go over there and start bombing them and killing them until they act good like Americans. The federal government can't force families to come together and treat their children better. That is a spiritual issue, and the government's responsibility is mainly to maintain order and punish violence. And almost all that responsibility falls on the local government.


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Yes, in the greater context...

It was mentioned below that some women may find it hard to jump from the Dems to Ron Paul's view on abortion/state's rights.

What needs to be brought up (although many people refuse to believe this to be true) is that when our nation collapses under its own bureaucratic weight as well as the financial debt, abortion rights will be the last thing these ladies will be concerned about while they are standing in a bread-line.

Bottom line, let's get the FEDS out of our lives - in accordance with the Constitution - so we can debate the issues within the states rather than becoming complete slaves under an out-of-control federal government.

Sadly, most Christians ALSO want the feds involved in our morality, such as with marriage amendments, etc. They don't realize they are perpetuating big-government just the same as those who they label as "liberals".


...and on this same subject - Ron Paul in 1988 (video)

Check this video of Ron Paul in 1988 on the Morton Downey Show telling a young man about how the government cannot take care of everyone's personal morals:


Government DOES regulate the internet

through regional monopolies granted to telephone and cable companies. There is far less competition in the ISP business than there would be if there weren't common carrier laws dictating who can build communication infrastructure where.

    Computer networks (for example, the Internet) that are built on top of telecommunications networks are Information Services or Enhanced Services, and are generally regulated under title I of the Communications Act (other networks, such as cable video networks or wireless taxi dispatch networks, are neither telecommunications carrier networks nor information services).
    Previously, thousands of ISPs had access to the telephone network. Now, with no broadband telecommunications carrier service available, there are generally only two Internet broadband providers in a residential market: the cable Internet provider and the DSL Internet provider. Cable ISPs and the DSL ISPs have market power and have both the incentive and opportunity to discriminate with regard to content and applications used over their networks.

People want to argue that net neutrality would be regulation of the internet and that would be bad (I agree), but they never say that regulation of telecommunications has actually caused the problems that have driven people to call for net neutrality laws.

The slippery slope of Regulation

History seems to repeat itself over and over again. Well intentioned people call for government regulation to correct problems which are caused by governmnet regulation to begin with. Then later people call for more government oversight of the government regulation. Then we need anti-corruption laws to deal with the corrupt people doing the government regulation.

More Government is almost never the solution to problems. More often than not, more government exasperates the problems and benefits the few who are able to lobby to get the laws written and enforced in a manner that benefits them.


Dear Dr. Paul

Your statement above on the abortion issue is a cheap shot. I sincerely doubt that very many pro-choice advocates would disagree with your example. Your statement does nothing less than characterize the pro-choice advocates as wanting to “kill babies” I thought you were better than that. Please do not use the same dishonest tactics employed today by so many of our leaders to make your point.

Your arguments about government not being able (or authorized) to regulate society’s moral issues are correct. Reversing Roe v. Wade is a reasonable goal to get the federal government out of our personal lives unless it is replaced with an opposite ruling. Then your arguments fall short of your stated intentions.

With your lifelong dedication to the medical profession as an ob-gyn doctor you have great credibility on this issue. Who knows better than you the stages of pregnancy and their effect on a woman and unborn child?

You have a chance to heal this nation on an issue that affects so many Americans, not just women. You are in a unique position to bring fairness and equity to this issue by defining in medical terms the difference between the potential for human life (conception) and the fulfillment of that potential (the descriptions you gave above are good examples but obviously not early enough).

If this issue can not be resolved with the help of someone as capable as you, then we will once again be condemning women to be prisoners of their own bodies. Forcing a woman to carry out a pregnancy that she did not plan for or want is nothing less than slavery. Our founding fathers were not just concerned about protecting life but the quality of life, or they would not have included the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in their ideal "more perfect union".

Yes, human life must be protected, even within the womb, but so must be the rights of a woman to have, for at least some short period of time, the right to decide her own fate; her own right to the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If the medical process of aborting an unwanted pregnancy falls to the extreme pro-life agenda, the obvious outcome will be another war. Let’s add the War on Abortion to the War on Poverty, Drugs, and Terror. Please let’s not regress to the days when the right to chose leads to the back-alleys of our society.

Sincerely Yours,

I Wish To Add

I agree the comments that started this thread and wish to add to them.

For some reason, Ron Paul avoids discussing whether abortion should be legal during months 1-3. (I've not seen anything online and he always leaves it out during interviews.) In the interview above, he mentions
brainwaves. But he omits the fact that brainwave activity begins at the end of the 1st trimester. He also never mentions special cases of incest, rape, fetal malformation and genetic disease.

Certainly I understand that Dr. Paul is a Representative and that his House
seat is always on the line. Technically, he never stops running for office
and he needs soundbyte answers to questions. He has wonderful thoughts on many government issues and doesn't need his precious interview time getting bogged down on the fine points of the abortion issue. But would it take too long to state simply this?:

"The abortion issue should not be decided at the Federal level but by the states. I deplore abortion for religious reasons and for a basic love of all life -- and if I were a woman, I would never have one. But I can understand why some states might legalize it completely during the first trimester and up to the viabilty point for cases of fetal malformation or genetic disease."

Is that not quick and easy enough to say?

Ron is a political hero to me. He and I agree on political issues 99% of the time and he will definitely be getting my vote for the Republican primaries (and hopefully for the presidency). Still, I wish he would adopt into his soundbyte lexicon the quick and easy retort for abortion questions that I offer above. It would make it easier for me to recruit women to his presidential race if he would.

Very Insightful

Hello Paintersmurf

Thank you for your very insightful post.

I understand that "air time" is a precious commodity but the results of an interview will be "in the public eye" forever. Am I being too hard on him? Not that my opinion is sooo important or will even be seen by Dr. Paul.

The sound bite that I would write, while close to yours, would not be the same. But I have no doubt yours would be the preferred one to Dr. Paul. I think yours could be shortened a little to not be so technical by simply ending with:

“But I can understand why some states might legalize it completely during the first trimester."

Your last statement about recruiting women voters is, I believe, a crucial issue. Many women who would really want to vote for him may find it hard to make the jump from the Democrats when their rights on this issue are not being considered. A little understanding would go a long way to assuage those concerns.

I want Dr. Paul to win this election but I'm concerned whether he can do it without some support of women who are Democrats mostly because of this very issue.

Respectfully Yours,

What I believe he is saying

The feds would be taken out of the abortion issue and it would be left up to the states. I don't have a problem with that. Do you?

Yes I do

Hello Granger,

Sorry I wasn't ignoring you. You asked me a direct question. I will give you a direct answer.

Yes I do have a problem with letting this issue up to the states. They are no more capable of dealing with this than the Feds are.

In my ideal world, here would be the process:

First, a woman discovers she is pregnant. She would then way the pros and cons of whether or not she wants to continue to be pregnant. If she has any doubts, she could discuss this with her husband, family or whoever is close to her. If she is Christian she could talk to her priest or minister who could offer advice and guidance but who would not be able to force a decision upon her (remember this is my ideal world). It is still her choice.

If, of her own free will, she decides to continue to carry the pregnancy, she would do so.

If, however, of her own free will, she decides that it is in her best interest not to be pregnant, she would go to her doctor. This is where the standards should be set on the issue of abortion; not the state. If the doctor finds that the pregnancy has progressed to where there is a heart beat, brain wave, whatever the medical criteria are, she would be told that unless there is an eminent threat to her life, an abortion is inappropriate. If these medical criteria defining life have not occurred, the doctor would perform the procedure.

I don’t see this as an issue between the Feds or the States. I see this as an issue of who is charged with setting the criteria for life, the medical profession or religion.

Respectfully Yours

Hi Anti-Stupid

I don't believe women need the feds and the states making their choices for them through establishing and protecting bad laws. The laws of a state are enough, and when it's a bad law, then the citizens of the state have an easier time changing that law than when it is a federal law too. Legalization of marijuana is a good example. People in several states have voted to make it legal, and the feds keep it illegal.

My personal feeling about abortion is that it is a medevil torture imposed on women and their doctors by law (funded) and represents a "choice". Science doesn't have a chance to help men or women when the law is protecting earmarks for abortion rights.

I firmly believe no woman wants an abortion because I have never met a woman who planned for an abortion before she became pregnant, and furthermore, I feel men are getting off the hook far too easy. The "other half" walks away without the sacrifice, the pain, the shame, the torture.

What if there was a law that claimed the "fathers" of aborted fetus by mutual consent, had to get a vasectomy? "Shock horrors how could I say that!? Because a vasectomy is not killing a fetus, which should be more horrofic by comparison to proceedure, cost and life. I promise you, abortions would reduce dramatically if such a law existed. I find abortion unfair and cruel, blocking science, and the worse form of birth control.

Have you noticed that new methods of birth control are for the rich or available in other countries, like the IUD or morning after pill? The Government is not subsidizing these methods. The government is fixed on abortion, and like the war on terror, it's a war built of FEAR. Women FEAR they will lose their right to choice, not gain more choices by eliminating bad laws, that claim to protect choice, but actually reduce choice.

The real cause of abortion

Hello Granger,

I agree with almost everything you say. However I do think calling abortion medieval torture is a little bit of a stretch. Abortion is no less a medical procedure than an appendectomy. If there is any torture involved it is in the killing of a viable fetus; which I do believe is just plain wrong.

The natural proclivity of a woman is to have children. Unless a pregnancy endangers a woman’s life, abortion is never the preferred choice (some women would even chose the life of her unborn over her own). Why then has abortion become such an issue?

I lay it right at the feet of a government that has stolen our prosperity. I would venture a guess that in 95% of the cases, financial survival is the dominate issue; not just for the individual woman but for her family as well.

If Dr. Paul can lead this country away from its current course of global intervention and its attacking the rights and pocketbooks of all but the richest Americans, I believe that abortion would become an uncommon event based only on medical safety conditions.

Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice on this issue, it is imperative that we vote for Dr. Paul. He is the only candidate I see that will do everything he can to dismantle this outrageous pro-death behemoth of a government that is destroying our lives. With private research (not funded by our tax dollars but by a free market) in the area of birth control (for those who chose it), abortion will become a non-issue; a thing of the past.

Respectfully Yours,


Respectfully yours too,

The Granger

Medical criteria

Anti-Stupid, I see that you would like medical people to set the standard for the definition of when life begins. States certify doctors, not the federal government. I think you will find that opinion among doctors is pretty varied on that subject. Ron Paul is a doctor himself, and his opinion does not match everyone else's, and he clearly recognizes that. The point of the federalist approach to this problem is that there is no clear national consensus on when exactly life begins, and there is not likely to be one any time in the near future. The people of Alabama (including doctors) are likely to come to a different conclusion than the people of California. I'm perfectly fine with that. That's the Constitutional way of deciding these difficult issues. It's not ideal, but I really think it's better to take this divisive issue out of the hands of the central government. The states decide other life and death issues, like murder. That is their role in our system. Religion is going to play a role in people's opinions. There is no avoiding that. I'm an agnostic myself, but I do understand that very clearly. I believe that Dr. Paul has staked out the best middle ground we have available to us.

Sam Marsh

Moving On

Hello Sam

You are correct. It is certainly a better scenario then having a central government deciding these issues. It is a step in the right direction. I think we have probably reached a consensus on this issue. Get the Feds out of our social and moral decisions.

At least at the state level, you have some "wiggle room". If you don't like your state’s position on certain issues you can move to a state that more favors your own views. This is our right to free association. But when the central government decides these issues, you have nowhere to go except to leave your country behind as hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised Americans have done.

I’ve noticed that some Americans (like those we heard from in Canada) will be supporting Dr. Paul. (I wonder how many of our soldiers serving in harms way would vote for our good doctor, if they knew his position?)

I think it’s fantastic that even those who have pretty much given up on our country’s political process are now becoming involved in what could be one of the greatest changes in the course of American history.

Vote for Dr. Ron Paul for President!

Respectfully Yours,

Ron Paul, the ideal candidate

What's unique about Ron Paul is that he is willing to place his personal views on abortion in second priority to upholding the constitution! He understands that the Constitution governs government - not individuals!
Whether a girl's pregnancy is due to reckless or promiscuous behavior or rape, the state is to sort it out.
Most other politicians use their power to implement their own beliefs or line their own pockets.

Thank You Dr. Paul

Dr. Paul's articulation of the role of government in a free society is refreshing. He can do this because he doesn't have all the baggage that all the others have. It is clear that he lives by a creed (Bible and US Constitution) and he is consistent.

Any Christian who truly understands the Bible is a fool not to vote for this man. Dr. Paul reminds me of Abraham Kuyper of The Netherlands and William Wilberforce of England. A true statesman!!

May God's blessings be upon you brother. For the Glory of God!!


Hello NJvote

What you believe about religion is your business. However, the only law that the President of the United States should uphold are the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Even though the President may place his hand on a bible when being sworn into office, he is not swearing to uphold the bible. He is swearing to uphold the Constitution.

If the literal word of the bible were ever instituted into our “law of the land”, we would not have a republic, we would have a theocracy and a pretty brutal one at that. If you want an example of a theocracy just look to the middle-east.

The Law

Hello Anti Stupid

I am completely fine with the US Constitution being the law of the land because it was founded on a higher law.

You know that this great document didn't just fall out of spaceship. It was actually written within a greater context. And speaking of states rights and the 10th ammendment, I think it would be a good idea if you read some of those original state constitutions so you can get a better taste of that context.

But for the sake of the gracious host of this website and the campaign of Dr. Paul, I do not want to debate you here on matters of theology and politics. We can do that somewhere else and allow this blog to be a forum of support for Dr. Paul and his attempt to bring us back to our nations roots of limited government based on the assumption of man's sinfulness (even you and me) and his propensity to abuse power.

Shalom. Ron Paul 2008!!!

Leave it to the states

If the FEDERAL government were forced to abide by the 10th Amendment, it would solve most of the problems we have in this nation:

“ The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people. ”

I am a Christian - but abortion, marriage, welfare, education, and a myriad other areas which the feds are now involved SHOULD BE LEFT TO THE STATES AND/OR PEOPLE.

That's not to say we shouldn't have national leaders who inject their spiritual guidance with words into the national debate, but the feds are to keep their hands off the states unless the Constitution specifically states otherwise.

IF we need to change with the times, that's when the amendment process begins. 99.9% of the legislation, Supreme Court rulings and executive orders have been blatant violaters of the 10th Amendment over the past 100 years.

Even if you are pro-"choice", you should appreciate that Dr. Paul wants to try to move that debate to the states instead of the feds having an unconstitutional monopoly over our morals, etc.


Appreciation for Dr. Paul

Hello America Loves R

I agree with you in the most part and I do appreciate Dr. Paul. I have followed this government's slide away from a Republic of individual rights to a Democracy of mob rule bordering on socialism for many years. Since 94, I have had a running battle with many of the US and state agencies for stealing my rights and property. It is still ongoing.

Each election, I have watched presidential candidates lie through their teeth. Instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, I disenfranchised myself by not voting for any of them. (If I lived in Dr. Paul’s district I would have been voting for him all along). For the first time in 40 years, I see in Dr. Paul a presidential candidate worth voting for.

However, it truly bothers me that Dr Paul says he is against the federal government being involved in this issue and then sponsors H.R. 2597 "Sanctity of Life Act of 2007 intending to make “life begins at conception” the law of the land. I think that's one of the reasons why I have been so vocal on this subject. It doesn't matter what Dr. Paul says about government, it's what he does.

I want Dr. Paul to win this election for many personal reasons. He understands and will address so many of the issues that I have been fighting for in my own life. Abortion is not even an issue that has much affects on me personally. But everything he says and does will be scrutinized by those coming into this election process. I want everyone to see him for the most truthful honest and courageous individual that he is.

Oh and the aspect of this issue that I disagree with is that the states should decide this issue. In my experience, the state governments are no less intrusive and no more capable in dealing in our personal lives than the Feds are. Abortion is an individual, family and medical issue and that’s were it should be decided. All possible options should be available. None should be decided for us by anyone else. Not church, not state, no one!

Guidance is proper; making laws prohibting choice are not! That's my opinion.

Respectfully Yours,