Ron Paul’s Answer to the Question ‘What Should I Do?’

by | Apr 11, 2016

Speaking with host Marc Clair on the Lions of Liberty Podcast this week, Ron Paul Institute Chairman Ron Paul answered the question he says he has been asked many times by people on university campuses: “What should I do?” In other words, what should an individual do to advance ideas Paul seeks to advance, such as respect of liberty at home and pursuit of a noninterventionist foreign policy?

Paul answers this question with a focus on not dictating to people a particular course they should take. Instead Paul answers “to each his own.” Yet, Paul also opines that there is a “moral responsibility” for someone who has discovered libertarianism to take action to advance “the cause of liberty” and mentions some examples of productive and creative activities people can pursue to advance that cause.

Here is the exchange between Clair and Paul regarding how people should advance liberty:

CLAIR: Dr. Paul, there is a certain segment of the libertarian community that is very vocally anti-politics, some to the extent that they openly oppose any political action whatsoever. Now, obviously, you spent many years in Congress, so you can’t be completely opposed to political action. But, I’m just curious how would you respond to those who would openly discourage political action in the pursuit of a more free-er, more liberty-leaning society?

PAUL: I think “to each his own.” You know, let them do it. They’re not hurting me by not participating. So, it’s up to the individual. But, if they don’t participate at all, I might have some criticism that they ought to do more to promote the cause of liberty because some people just get involved in education…. I would think that if I have accomplished anything at all it’s probably been more contributing to education and understanding about monetary policy and foreign policy. So it was the educational benefits I had by having a congressional seat. So it was sort of in a minor way a bully pulpit for me.

But, if a person says, you know, “I know all this, you’re completely right, but I don’t feel like doing anything about it,” well, that’s OK — you’re not hurting me by not doing anything. But, I think there’s a moral responsibility on individuals who discover what libertarianism is all about and why it’s important out of their own self-interest why they should support the cause of liberty.

But, I get questions frequently from the young people on campuses: “What do I do? I agree with you, but what should I do? Should I run for Congress or whatever?” And I just tell them: “Do whatever you want to do, you know, but be creative.” Some people have radio talk shows, you know, to promote liberty. And some people run for office; some people support other candidates. Some people deal strictly in education and just promoting a sound economic policy.

Listen here to the complete interview, in which Paul also talks about other matters including United States foreign policy, three books that helped him gain an interest in studying liberty, and his decision to run for political office for the first time in the 1970s:


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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