I have two items for my write-up today on Ron Paul's Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom.
On pages 66-67, Ron Paul states: "Our Constitution was designed to
protect individual rights, and the Founders knew clearly that they
wanted a republic, not a democracy, where the majority could not dictate
the definition of rights of the minority. They did a reasonably good
job in writing the Constitution but yielded to the principle of
democracy in compromising on the slavery issue. The majority voted for
supporting second-class citizenship for blacks, a compromise that we
paid heavily for, not only in the 1860s but more than a hundred years
later as well. It would have been better if we had stayed a loose-knit
confederation and not allowed the failed principles of democracy and
slavery to infect the Constitution."
Ron Paul's point is that
democracy is not a good thing because it allows the majority to
undermine the rights of the minority. Case in point: By majority vote,
African-Americans were given second-class citizenship under the U.S.
Constitution. Paul does not state explicitly what he has in mind, but
he may be thinking of such provisions as Article IV Section 2,
which states that servants must be returned to their masters, or the
three-fifths compromise, which counted slaves as three-fifths of a
person for purposes of determining the representation of states.
don't understand what Paul means when he says "It would have been
better if we had stayed a loose-knit confederation". Is he expressing
preference for the Articles of Confederation? If so, what makes him
think that would have been better for slaves? Is it because slaves
presumably could flee to free states, without having to be returned?
Later in the book, there is a chapter on slavery, so I'll see what Ron
Paul says there. In any case, it's refreshing to read Ron Paul, an
adamant defender of the Constitution, acknowledging that the
Constitution is a human document that contains flaws.
question: If the Constitution protects individual rights, does that
imply that the federal government has the authority to restrict the
state governments from violating those rights? And would that not mean
that (contra Rick Santorum) the federal government can overturn a state
law that bans contraception, treating it as a violation of the right to
privacy? One could argue that the right to privacy had nothing to do
with contraception, but rather pertains to banning unreasonable searches
and seizures (Amendment 4 to the Bill of Rights). Perhaps the answer
hinges on what the un-enumerated rights mentioned in Amendment 9 to the
Bill of Rights could be.
See the discussion on The West Wing about the right to privacy here.
(UPDATE: On pages 123-124, Paul says that the Bill of Rights was originally intended to restrain the federal government.)
2. On pages 74-75, Paul says regarding
anti-discrimination laws (which he supports when they prohibit the
government from discriminating, but opposes when it comes to private
"The idea here is that if people are
left to their own devices, they will always and everywhere choose
homogeneity in their social associations. I can't imagine a stranger
view of the human condition. To me it demonstrates that the supporters
of antidiscrimination have an extremely low view of people and their
I myself am skeptical about human nature. I think that
there are many people who mean well, but there are also prejudices that
lock the door of opportunity to people who are different. Consequently,
I support anti-discrimination legislation.