Home News
Colgate News


Ron Paul brings message of liberty to Colgate

By Natalie Sportelli '15 on April 25, 2013
Ron Paul speaks at Colgate

Ron Paul speaks to a full house at Memorial Chapel. (Photo by Janna Minehart ’13)

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul may not be making another run for the White House, but that did not dissuade the three-time presidential candidate from answering student questions after his speech on Wednesday at Memorial Chapel.

“There is no one I know that serves as a symbol of liberty better than Ron Paul,” said Kyle Gavin ’13, president of Colgate’s College Republicans, the student group primarily responsible for bringing Paul to campus.

As a libertarian, Paul’s message centered on the idea of personal liberties and how an irresponsible and overly large U.S. government is endangering these liberties. Paul entreated students in the audience to step up and tell Washington, D.C., to respect their freedoms, saying, “Things down in Washington haven’t been going so well, and I’m looking forward to your generation doing something about it.”

During his lecture, several of his speaking points, including his desire to abolish the income tax and Federal Reserve System, and shrinking U.S. foreign policy by becoming less involved overseas, elicited hearty applause.

Paul also said the proliferation of laws directed at harnessing and manipulating personal liberties is not what Americans deserve from their democratically elected government, saying, “Freedom will take care of the people a lot better than a bunch of bureaucrats and politicians.”

In a lengthy question and answer period after his lecture, proponents and opponents of Paul’s political beliefs took to the microphone.

Javed Narejo ’14 asked Paul about whether or not America has a humanitarian responsibility to intervene in Syria. Paul, a supporter of decreasing the U.S. presence overseas, responded, “We don’t have a moral or constitutional authority to meddle in Syria.” Adding, “It sounds good, but may well backfire.”

A questioned posed by Janna Minehart ’13 detailed a system where a “loss of talent will occur when hardworking and intelligent, but poor people are not encouraged to succeed,” honing in on Paul’s stance on reforming the welfare system. “This is a perfect point on how we are giving stuff away that we don’t have,” Paul responded. “People have to have [their own] incentive. There are going to be inequities.”

Austin Collier ’15 asked about the dangers of martial law and the burgeoning national prison system. Paul responded by saying there are “too many laws and too many unnecessary laws,” especially laws criminalizing recreational drugs.

The event was sponsored by the College Republicans, the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization, the Institute for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, The Budget Allocation Committee, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, and The Colgate Entrepreneurs Club.


  • Alan F. Hall said:

    Paul’s a ideas and hence the Ideas of his son, the Senator, do not work. They have been time tested. Most recently under George W. Bush. Look what happened.

    The Republicans are far to the right of their Bible; Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Even Mr. Smith’s recommends regulations with teeth.

    Paul does not understand human naturel.
    To find people who understood human nature look no further than our founding fathers. They called it checks and balances. Now the extreme right, wants us to do away with all that. Why? So that their sponsors, the extremely rich can get extremely richer.

    Bottom line. We dodged a bullet with Romney’s defeat.

    Young people of the world unite. Do not fall for this line of thinking.

    Alan F. Hall JD Class of 1966.

  • aaron said:

    Fred: All I did was give another point of view, and your response is that the author of the huffington post is wrong because he agrees with some of Paul’s views. Yet you support your point via the extreme-left newrepublic and attempt to align me with (according to you) a racist and homophobe with a juvenile “whatever.” I don’t believe his Gold argument, but I also don’t believe he is for gutting programs for the poor. Back off the hate and attempt to understand. Your vitriole is the typical liberal attempt at persuasion without facts. I hope those reading this will investigate the situation rather that just believe a point of view because “lunacy,” “racist,” and “homophobic” are universally hated topics.

  • J.Balmuth said:

    Eccentric – to say the least – views on drugs, gold, money and the poor!! He worships the market as if everything is (or should be) a commodity, including health care, alleviation of poverty, education and money –grounded on the magic commodity of GOLD!!

  • Fred said:

    Aaron: That piece by a HuffPo writer is typical of Paulite dancing around the issue. Paul tried to bring people to his cause using Lew Rockwell’s philosophy of tapping into anti-statist feeling among racists and those on the hard-right. He was caught red-handed and has never given a convincing answer. But even if you don’t think he is racist or homophobic–fine, whatever. What do you think about his Goldbug lunacy or wanting to gut programs for the poor?

  • Liz Harrington said:

    I applaud the group(s) who brought Mr. Paul to campus. He is a true patriot and free thinker; it is good to see someone like him at Colgate so that there can be a truly diverse and balanced offering of speakers on campus. I thought the event itself was also very well run. Great job overall!!

  • aaron said:

    Just so people can have a fair view of Paul and not be slanted by Fred’s post (citing the newrepublic), here is something from Huffington (which is not quite as left-leaning as newrepublic) about Paul’s supposed “darker side:” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-perrin/the-liberals-ron-paul-pro_b_81465.html

  • Fred said:

    Paul likes to rail against the Fed, but it is simply not possible for a modern industrialized country to do without a central bank, Paul’s 19th-century fantasies notwithstanding. Moreover, Paul’s “liberty” would have us neglect investing in public goods and the working and middle classes. That’s a major problem. Finally, there is a darker side to Paul’s “liberty” talk–his past appeals to racism and homophobia to spread his message: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/politics/98811/ron-paul-libertarian-bigotry#

  • Austin Collier said:

    Ron Paul’s consistency makes it very hard to catch him tripping up during a Q&A, but i wish people’s post-event grievances had been more substantial. It just seemed that most arguments revolved around the idea that more individual autonomy couldn’t solve anything, and that welfare cannot be touched. It was weird to see someone considered a “conservative” arguing for change and self described liberals on a liberal campus promoting the status quo. All in all, it was a very congenial talk, I never new he was a doctor either! Great article!

  • Alex Tiktinsky said:

    I wish this article had discussed some of the less friendly questions asked, specifically those about generational problems of opportunity inequality associated with free market economics and about a woman’s right to choose. It is irresponsible journalism to shy away from the controversial aspects of news.