JEFF DEIST: What makes you optimistic, what makes you pessimistic about what you see in the US?
RON PAUL: Well, if I look at the big picture including a long span of time, I would say conditions aren't that bad, even though I often talk about all the bad things I anticipate and how it could get worse in terms of the economy and foreign policy.
When you think about it, I was born in 1935, in the middle of the Depression. I remember my early life. I remember when I was 3 years old and 5 years old and the Depression lasted through World War II and the conditions were such as I remember very clearly, but it wasn't a big deal for me even though we lived in close quarters and we didn't have a lot of shoes and were just skimping by.
So, we went through a Depression and World War II. Those were pretty tough times and since that time — since the war issue's always been a big issue with me — I remember the tragedies of World War II. We had relatives in Germany, so it always caught my attention. Then we had the Korean War. I could remember my mother saying, "another war this soon?" We just got over one, so she was negative on that and then we had the Vietnam War and I knew that I probably would be drafted and that was one of the reasons that helped me move toward medicine.
So, those were pretty bad times. Think of the people that were dying over those first 30 or 40 years. Things weren't great economically either. In America, we were not even
allowed to own gold.
Those were conditions that existed that changed for the better to some degree. Philosophically, I think, we're still on the wrong track overall, although some things have improved. Once again, we're able to own gold. The United States government and I pushed it along when I was in Congress to mint gold coins again and talk about monetary policy.
Philosophically, we are making progress in some areas, though, and I give a lot of credit to the institutions that do this, like the Mises Institute and FEE. And of course, I want to participate in changing foreign policy and we keep working on that through the Ron Paul Institute.
But, on the downside of all this, I see we're on a disastrous course even though the official economic indicators look great and wonderful. Everybody's practically euphoric and
Trump is a good cheerleader. But, there is a lot of weakness behind the numbers, and we're engaging in self-deception and unsupported hopefulness that things will be all good, there will be no inflation or high unemployment, and there'll be no major war. I think when I look at the seeds that have been sown, the future looks rather bleak in many ways, even compared to what it was like as we finished World War II and Vietnam.
We're in a mess partly because our major universities are still very Marxist-oriented and they're very anti-liberty and therefore, I think for people who care about liberty, we have a big job ahead of us.
JD: You talk about this in your book, Swords into Ploughshares. Is there a particular moment or recollection from your childhood during the Great Depression, or World War II, that started you on the path to being liberty-minded?
RP: Not at that young age. I think I had a natural instinct — and I claim everybody has a natural instinct — to be an individual. I think we express that when we are 2 years old and when we are 4 years old, when we're teenagers and it's always a struggle of being independent-minded and minding our own business and taking care of ourselves. And then, we have that beaten out of us. Of course, discipline is very necessary and good. But it depends on where it's coming from. If it's coming from some wise parenting, I think this is very, very good.