In my latest reading of Ron Paul's Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom, Paul made four points that stood out to me:
Paul criticized capital punishment, making the excellent point that the
government botches things up, so why should we give it the power over
people's life and death (especially considering the innocent people who
have been executed)? At the same time, his view appears to be that
there should be no federal death penalty, but that the states should be
able to set their own policies. This illustrates why I find Ron Paul's
political philosophy puzzling: He talks a lot about liberty (i.e.,
freedom to live, for example), yet he also seems to want for the states
to have the latitude to restrict liberty, if they so desire.
In his chapter on the Central Intelligence Agency, Ron Paul is all for
gathering intelligence, but he's against the CIA assassinating people,
as that breeds resentment and invites terrorist attacks against
America. I think this is a reasonable position on Ron Paul's part.
I especially enjoyed Ron Paul's discussion about civil disobedience:
Paul's admiration of Mohammad Ali for sacrificing what was dear to him
to oppose the Vietnam War, and Paul's mixed feelings about Martin Luther
King, Jr, for, although Ron Paul admires King's stand for racial
justice and opposition to the Vietnam War, he did not care for King's
anti-free market economic views. (Moreover, Ron Paul in his chapter on
"Demagogues" criticizes the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it is the
government telling private interests whom they can associate with.)
Paul laments that people in the United States either oppose war while
supporting socialism, or support war while opposing socialism, when a
consistent position is to oppose both war and socialism, since both
expand the power of the state. I tend to fall more in the leftist
category, but I enjoy reading the writings of anti-war conservatives,
such as Bill Kauffman's Ain't My America.
Ron Paul criticizes the draft because it's the government controlling
people, plus he says that the rich can get out of it, which is unfair.
What interested me, however, was Paul's discussion about the history of
the draft. He says that the draft was not used in the War of 1812, when
the British were attacking America. But Lincoln used it, inciting
riots, and Woodrow Wilson employed it as well. I was amazed that we did
not have the draft in the War of 1812.