Rand Paul is the U.S. Senator from Kentucky who is favored by many to win the 2016 Republican nomination for president. He appeals to a broad range of constituents from the Tea Party to Evangelical Christians, African Americans, Gays, Independents and Democrats concerned about Civil Liberties. He has picked up the Civil Rights torch and now leads the most active effort to reform criminal justice. His father, Ron Paul, was a U.S. Congressman from Texas, who ran for president three times.
Here’s how they differ.
The father, congressman, Ron Paul, is a classic Libertarian.
The son, Senator, Rand Paul, is a practical Libertarian.
The father believes in the personal freedom of the individual. The son recognizes that there are times when the needs of the wider community must be considered. For example, the father would allow local communities to decide for themselves about legalizing marijuana. The son agrees but openly favors laws against marijuana – for the greater good.
In foreign policy there is a big difference. Both men believe that the nation should not go to war without congressional approval. They both believe it is a mistake for Congress to forfeit war making powers to the president alone. Both men believe that the United States should not assume the role of policeman of the world. But the difference is in degrees. And it is huge. The father, Ron Paul, would prefer that American stay out of everybody else’s business. For example, he does not see Iran as a threat to American security. In an ideal world, Senator Rand Paul would agree but in a world of terrorism and nuclear weapons he sees genuine danger.
Rand Paul sees Israel as one of America’s most important allies.
The best example of a Rand Paul foreign policy would be that of former President Ronald Reagan. For Reagan, the security of the United States was the paramount concern and thus his focus was on the Soviet Union and the threat it posed. Reagan’s wars were always proxy wars against the Soviets. For example, Reagan did not go after Cambodian leader, Pol Pot, the man who killed half of his own people in a nationwide genocide. Reagan did not go after Idi Amin, who had slaughtered hundreds of thousands in Africa and had just been driven from office when Reagan arrived in the White House. Both of these despotic leaders, left untouched by Reagan, were far more evil than Saddam Hussein.
When Reagan stuck his toe in the Middle East in 1982 and it resulted in the death of 241 marines, he withdrew our forces. He decided that it was not in America’s security interest to be involved in the intractable problems of the Middle East. How wise that seems in retrospect.
Likewise, Senator Rand Paul has refused to support the endless calls for international adventures from his colleagues in the Senate. And yet, when the ISIS threat emerged Paul had razor sharp focus. He was the first public figure to call for a declaration of war. He saw ISIS as a threat to America’s national security.
Both men, father and son, would like to see Foreign Aid reformed. Both men believe that the process has become corrupted. The father, Ron Paul, would eliminate it immediately. “Why should we borrow money from China and give it to Pakistan?” he asks.
Likewise, Senator Rand Paul would move to end the corruption in Foreign Aid, where money really comes back to American lobbyists and their interests, but would see even that process of reform as an ongoing process. He would start by ending aid to countries that allow the killing of Christians simply because of their religion. Or persecute women. He would end aid that is going to terrorists groups that target Americans and Jews, such as Palestinian aid now being passed through to the terrorist group Hamas.
Perhaps the most striking issue associated with Senator Paul has been his call for reform in criminal justice. He favors strict incarceration of violent criminals but is appalled by the unfair application of the law which allows for young African Americans to be disproportionately sentenced for the same drug related crimes as white youth. Rand Paul sees this as unjust.
Then there is the Federal Reserve and the study by UC Berkeley where the rich continue to get richer and the poor get poorer. He would like to see us return to free markets, away from corporate competition to game the system by upping their government subsidies and upping their money supply from the FED. Let in more of the natural forces of supply and demand. Let the 99% have a chance to play.
Finally, there is style. The father was a great provocateur and a born teacher. The son is a superb politician, a natural pleaser.
Here is a CBS report on the Rand Paul balancing act.
17 thoughts on “The Difference between Rand Paul and Ron Paul”
Delighted to know Rand is not in favor of marijuana legalization. I am convinced that we would be in danger of serious national decline if we allow another industry that facilitates addiction. Thanks, Doug for parsing the differences between these two fine men.
Kimberly, I would like to point out that, regardless of my view or your view or any other view, the United States federal government has absolutely no legal foundation on which to enact and enforce anti-drug laws. That has been the case since the passage of the 21st Amendment and was the case prior to the passage of the 18th. If Congress and the States desire to have the federal government involved in the prohibition and criminalization of such substances, then a new Amendment is required. It really is that simple. If Rand favors *States* enacting laws against the use/possession/sale of marijuana, then that it a matter of opinion and he is entirely free to hold that opinion. If he should promote continued enactment and enforcement of federal drug laws, then he would be completely off the Constitutional reservation.
Kimberly – aside from the fact that it’s well established that the Federal government had no legal basis under which to prohibit any substance, including drugs, you should really reevaluate your position. Now that we have several states that have legalized marijuana, we have empirical evidence that most of the negative consequences predicted by the prohibition advocates have been proven baseless. And furthermore, unforeseen benefits have been discovered that have actually improved the overall quality of life and safety in states where pot is legal, like the demonstrated decrease in traffic accidents, believed to be a result of “substitution”, where people who may have otherwise used alcohol (an extremely dangerous drug) and then driven used marijuana (a demonstrably safer drug) instead. Since studies have shown that marijuana does not significantly impair the ability to drive safely, this substitution can contribute to an overall reduction in traffic accidents and fatalities. Many of the studies I reference can be found in this article in Forbes magazine: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/04/03/more-pot-safer-roads-marijuana-legalization-could-bring-unexpected-benefits/
Are you also in favor of a government department to regulate at what time we sleep and wake up, and if everyone gets adequate sleep? Because sleep deprivation related unhealthy habits will lead to serious national decline. Shouldn’t there be a new big government department of bureaucrats to save us from ourselves?
there cannot be freedom if nature is illegal.
While I disagree with some of Rands views, and align more with his father. I think Rand Paul will make a great president and he has my support! Thanks for the great article Mr. Wead.
Doug, thank you for publishing this analysis.
I take issue with exactly one of your noted differences. You state that Ron Paul is a “classic Libertarian”. That is most definitely not the case. A “classic Libertarian” would never hold the strong pro-life, anti-abortion position that Ron Paul holds. Ron was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, to file “Sanctity of Life Act” type legislation in the wake of Roe-v-Wade, and continued to support the unborn throughout his years in public office. In a beautiful confluence of ideologies, he also filed his “We the People Act” legislation to specifically back up via legislation what we know the US Constitution already does – prohibit the federal court system from involvement in issues of marriage and abortion. It is the federal courts that are causing most of the problem in these two areas. If Congress had been able to summon up the will to right the overreach of the federal courts, and had passed Ron’s bills, we would be on solid constitutional ground with these issues right now, and there would only be a couple of states that allowed same-sex marriage contracts, because the people of the states (rightly) made the choice to allow or disallow.
Neville, you are so right about that. I was going to mention the pro-life exception but there are so many nuances in making this comparison that I felt I had to resort to a generalization. The problem with these blogs is that they have to be 800 words or less or they will not be picked up. Ugh.
Doug, I disagree with Neville (and you in that he’s not “so right” at all). Advocate of liberty does not mean advocate to be able to muder at all. Ron Paul is not at all inconsistent with his libertarian non-agression principles.
Chief (did you just grow the final ‘e’? I don’t remember it being there in the past), I was using “classic Libertarian” (note the capital ‘L’) to mean the same, basically, as “poster-child for the Libertarian party”. Ron Paul is definitely not that, and I am thankful for his few departures. As a party person, I would have to be lumped in with the Constitution Party, not the Libertarian Party, and I think Ron Paul would fit there as well. That is all I meant.
Neville, thanks for the clarification; and in that case I take my tirade back. Sorry. This “libertarian” vs “Libertarian” stuff is sure to cause enough confusion.
P.S. I always did have that ‘e’ at the end, in Auld English style. 😉
Thanks Doug. I also agree with Neville above on the drug laws. It is for each state to decide. I am one that does not use any drug, but believe that they should all be legal. I especially would like to see Cannabis legal! I know many children with epilepsy that benefit. There are many health benefits from the High CBD medicine. Research is stalled due to the Federal government. Big Pharma does not like competition.
Doug – was super impressed with you every time I saw you interviewed in the context of Dr. Ron Paul campaign – especially the way you were able to handle hostile biased members of the press. Would absolutely love to see you involved with Rand campaign, perhaps as press spokesman or something similar. I think Rand is a bit better at packaging his message for the common person than his father was, but he still can’t be everywhere, and once the inevitable”press blackout” starts, Rand is going to have to maximize each opportunity for exposure.
FYI, since most non-Texans and even most Texans, don’t know this: The GOP of Texas, State Chairman, Steve Munisteri, just recently resigned to go to work for Rand Paul on Paul’s campaign. Steve is a big fish for Rand to catch.
Ron Paul is the better man. But, I wish Rand the best and will most likely vote for him in the upcoming election – (Ringo)
Hamas is a “terrorist group” that targets Americans???
What exactly are your sources of information Doug?
The Likudnik Netanyahu Channel?
Sheldon Adelson Network?
“He decided that it was not in America’s security interest to be involved in the intractable problems of the Middle East.”
Millions of people, including most active and retired politicians, disagree with President Reagan. Everybody likes Reagan’s light and radiance, but only one person dared to explain that policy of not messing around with tigers and demons to Reagan, in the interest of the whole country. This person is Ron Paul, and he did it in the 70’s, when every conservative loathed Reagan’s guts.
If a person thinks he is a Conservative, and he has not read the “Washington’s Farewell address”, and/or he does not agree wholeheartedly, then he is not a conservative.
“Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European Ambition, Rivalship, Interest, Humour or Caprice?
‘Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.”
Conservative leaders today are fools spouting folly, and lead the people to destruction.
Lastly, I’m not moved at all by Rand Paul’s oratory. But I’m sure that once he becomes President, hundreds of aspiring politicians will imitate him, and that particular style will become mainstream and the standard of public speaking for a while. It is always the same.
I think the only politician in the US who could cause Rand Paul to exert his brains is Elizabeth Warren. That woman is a natural born politician. If she plays well her hand, she could snatch the Presidency from Rand Paul.