The New York Times, surprisingly, has published a quite level piece on the life and values of Ron Paul. Whatever you may think of the candidate, his life—particularly in this portrayal of it—gives us insights not only into his life but into American life over the past 76 years. Very important to consider:
His parents married two days before the crash of 1929. He was reared on nightmarish stories of currency that proved worthless, told by relatives whose patriarch had fled Germany in the dark of night when his debts were about to ruin him.
Hard times, and fear of worse, were constants in Ron Paul’s boyhood home. His father and mother worked tirelessly running a small dairy, and young Ron showed the same drive – delivering The Pittsburgh Press, mowing lawns, scooping ice cream as a soda jerk. He also embraced their politics, an instinctive conservatism that viewed Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman as villains and blamed Democrats for getting America into wars.
As a young doctor in training, dissecting cadavers or practicing surgery on dogs, he would tell all who would listen about how the country was headed down the wrong path, about the urgency of a strict gold standard and about the dangers of allowing government too much power over people’s lives.
“Once that got ingrained, that became his religion,” said his brother Jerrold, a minister and a psychotherapist. “He says he preaches the ‘gospel of freedom’ – that’s the money quote. Politics became his crusade.”
But for the silver hair, the baggy eyes and the grandchildren, the 76-year-old man running for president today – carrying the torch for a gold-based currency, agitating to “end the Fed,” warning of threats to personal freedom and prophesying imminent economic collapse – is almost indistinguishable from the Ron Paul of half a century ago. . . .
Thus hard work, distrust of big government, and distrust of government control of money have been the central focus since day one. This carried over into Paul’s private life and investing:
Social Security, a pillar of the New Deal, was signed into law a week before Ronald Ernest Paul was born in 1935. But his family believed Roosevelt’s economic policies were a threat to capitalism and an affront to the values of hard work and private charity.
From a young age, Ron, the third of five, and his four brothers earned pennies picking raspberries that their grandfather, a farmer, sold in Pittsburgh, and plucking dirty milk bottles from the crates of empties in their basement. Yet they saw their parents let customers short on cash slide on paying their bills for months at a time.
“I think Ron reflects that,” Jerrold Paul said. “He’s fiscally frugal, but he’s also a generous guy.”
Yet even he had things to learn, and it took someone stepping outside the government-mandated box to open Paul’s eyes even further . . . to the solution.
Wartime rationing also left a mark. When he saw a local butcher shop ignoring the rules on Saturdays and selling “all the meat you wanted, at a price,” Mr. Paul wrote, it was “my first real-life experience in the free market solving problems generated by government mischief.”
I have to skip so much for space and fairness reasons: you really need to read the full article to see the life of a true Christian American hero. Here are some final nuggets:
In 1971, however, President Richard M. Nixon’s abandonment of the gold standard propelled Mr. Paul to buy gold for the first time – and to embark on a new career. He saw it as a “declaration of bankruptcy for our country,” he later wrote. . . .
Mr. Paul ran for Congress in 1974 and lost, then won a special election in 1976. To keep up his medical practice, he took on a young partner, Jack Pruett.
In their first meeting, Dr. Paul laid down two conditions: They would perform no elective abortions, and they would not participate in Medicare or Medicaid. They treated poor women at a discount or free, Dr. Pruett said, sometimes receiving vegetables or eggs instead of cash.
But Mr. Paul’s mind remained focused elsewhere. His medical office was lined with economics textbooks, Dr. Pruett recalled. And when they closed the books one year and found that they had $60,000 left over to split, Mr. Paul proposed that they invest in gold coins.
“I still have my Krugerrands,” Dr. Pruett said. “We paid $132 apiece. They’re worth about $2,000 today.”