Ron Paul, the former Texas congressman, doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with his son Rand, the U.S. senator from Kentucky and possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate. Take the subject of Ebola, for example. Rand isn’t so sure the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is playing straight about how you can catch the virus. But his libertarian/conservative father downplays the threat.
The senior Paul likens the current “hysteria” by some over the virus—including the attempted quarantining of healthcare workers just back from Africa—to other efforts to deprive Americans of their liberties. “There’s nothing wrong with being cautious. But my caution is, don’t overdo it, because it’s impossible to achieve what you want,” Paul said in Dallas today, a few minutes after addressing a luncheon meeting of the National Center for Policy Analysis. “You’d have to lock up everybody who has a cough.
“Every year, we have people die from the flu—between 3,000 and 49,000,” Paul continued. “If you really want to do some good, why don’t you lock up people who might get the flu, or if they have signs of the flu? It’s just a monster of a problem.”
But, this is a more narrowly targeted situation, aimed strictly at people who were in direct contact with Ebola patients, isn’t it?
“Yeah—and everybody they’ve come in contact with!” Paul replied. “If [Ebola] were airborne, you might have more concern. But so far, [it only involves] four people—two got it here and they’re better, and one is still sick, and one died because he got infected over there. I hope I’m not wrong, because who wants to see this horrible thing.
“But, this idea of ‘perfect safety’ is the motivation for so many people in government,” Paul went on. “[Conservative political commentator Charles] Krauthammer recently said, ‘Give up your civil liberties to protect yourself against a terrorist, [because] maybe there’s a greater chance you’re going to die from a terrorist.’ So, are you going to lock up everybody who looks different? No, you don’t; you try to protect their civil liberties.
Krauthammer “said we should do it for Ebola, too. He’s blunt, he’s honest—he said civil liberties aren’t that important when it comes to danger. And I’m saying, yes, when it comes to danger, the worst danger is that you give up your liberties,” Paul concluded. “Because I don’t think overreaction from government solves the problem. It’s too often that they make mistakes.”