Q: For those who don't know the difference between a “classical liberal” and (the late) liberal New York Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, can you tell us the difference?
A: Well, the classical liberal, or the libertarian, or the constitutionalist, believes that government is designed to protect our liberties and to allow people to solve their own problems. It is not designed to regulate the economy, nor our personal lives.
Under the classical liberal viewpoint, government was there to restrain force and to allow people to use their own creative energy to solve their problems. Today, the modern liberal -- and many conservatives -- believes government has a much bigger role in telling us what to do, how to live and involvement in our personal lives, as well as regulating the economy.
Q: Who are your favorite classical liberals?
A: In the economic sense, and for the 20th century, my favorite is Ludwig von Mises, because he has done the best job in explaining how a free-market economy can work if we allow it to work.
Of course, I also like John Locke. And of course, the one who in a very simplistic way influenced a lot of the modern day libertarians was Frederic Bastiat. He wrote the book "The Law," which simplifies the whole debate so succinctly. It's easy for everybody to read and understand, the principle being that government should never do anything that you, yourself, can't do. And if it's illegal for you to steal from your neighbor, it should never be permissible for you to send the government to steal from your neighbor in order for you to have some material benefit.
Q: What kind of Republican are you?
A: I call myself a constitutional Republican. Some others call me a libertarian Republican., which is OK too, because I believe the Founders were very libertarian. They wanted a very limited government and they emphasized individual liberty. In many ways to me that’s a traditional Republican, because there was a time when Republicans stood for smaller government and actually they stood for nonintervention overseas. They argued always against the Democrats starting wars. They argued in the past for sound money and civil liberties. It’s just that they’ve lost their way and Republicans and Democrats are pretty much the same these days.
John Stossel also has a series of columns on the candidate:
My Interview with Ron Paul
Ron Paul on War
Dr. No, R-Texas
Ron Paul on Immigration
Live and Let Live, Says One Candidate
From the last column:
"Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul opposes things like prostitution and drug use, but he says the federal government has no business trying to stop adults from engaging in them. Freedom of choice, he says, shouldn't just be restricted to choices he approves of. It's the job of the federal government, says the congressman, to protect us from external threats, but it should not try to protect us from ourselves." ~ Stossel
"I think when you defend freedom, you defend freedom of choice. You can't be picking and choosing how people use those freedoms. I don't believe government can legislate virtue. I can reject (vice) personally and preach against it, whether it's drugs or prostitution, but my solution comes from my personal behavior and how I raise my children. Whether it's personal behavior or economic behavior, I want people to have freedom of choice." ~ Ron Paul