An Open Letter to Catholics on Behalf of Ron Paul

The letter below was published by Dr. Thomas E. Woods, Jr., in 2007, but apart from the names of the alternate Republican candidates, it remains of interest today. It is reprinted with the permission of the author.


In the tradition of Walter Block’s Open Letter to the Jewish Community in Behalf of Ron Paul and Laurence Vance’s Open Letter to the Protestant Community in Behalf of Ron Paul, I’d like to say a few words to my fellow Catholics.

Never in my life have I felt as strongly about a presidential candidate — or about any politician, for that matter — as I do about Dr. Ron Paul, Republican congressman from Texas. I’ve gone from being someone so disgusted with politics that I can’t bear to read about it to being a political junkie, avidly following the activities and successes of this great man.

As an American historian, I am not aware of any congressman in American history whose voting record is so stellar, and so consistently in accord with the Constitution.

Beyond that, Ron Paul is not a panderer. He’ll speak to an interest group and tell them to their faces that he has opposed and will continue to oppose funding their pet projects. Lobbyists know they’re wasting their money if they try to wine and dine him. He recently spoke before the national convention of an organization aimed at protecting the interests of a particular ethnic group, and began by saying: “Somebody asked me whether I had a special speech for your group, and I said, no, it’s the same speech I give everywhere.”

Already by 1981, Ron Paul had earned the highest rating ever given by the National Taxpayers Union, received the highest rating from the Council for a Competitive Economy, and won the Liberty Award from the American Economic Council for being “America’s outstanding defender of economic and personal freedom.”

Dr. Paul, who entered Congress in 1976 and returned to his medical practice in 1984, picked up where he left off when he returned to Congress in the 1996 election. I do not expect to see his like again.

He is also a good and decent man, who really is what he appears to be when you hear him speak. As a physician at an inner-city hospital, Ron Paul provided medical care to anyone who needed it, regardless of ability to pay. He never accepted money from Medicare or Medicaid, preferring to provide free care instead. That’s what people in a free society are supposed to do: be responsible for themselves, and then lend their assistance to those who are vulnerable and alone.

Ron Paul is a candidate who doesn’t insult his listeners’ intelligence, who answers the questions he is asked, and who doesn’t simply say whatever his audience wants to hear. And unlike other major names in the race, Ron Paul doesn’t have to run away from his record, which reveals an unswerving commitment to peace, freedom, and prosperity that is second to none in all of American history.

Although I would have supported Ron Paul back before I converted to Catholicism, I think Catholics will like what they see when they examine his record. Over at Defend Life, Ron Paul comes out decisively on top in a study of the candidates’ positions on the issues according to the guidelines recently established by the United States bishops. (If anything, I think this study understates Paul’s compatibility with Catholic teaching.)

On education and home schooling, Ron Paul is the clear winner. Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Duncan Hunter all voted for the execrable No Child Left Behind Act, and Governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have both come out in favor of it. Ron Paul — as did the Republican Party itself not so long ago — opposes any federal role in education, which is the responsibility of parents and local communities.

In other words, Ron Paul believes in a little something called subsidiarity, which happens to be a central principle of Catholic social thought. Subsidiarity holds that all social functions should be carried out by the most local unit possible, as opposed to the dehumanizing alternative whereby distant bureaucratic structures are routinely and unthinkingly entrusted with more and more responsibilities for human well-being.

On home schooling, Ron Paul has proposed legislation giving tax credits worth thousands of dollars to reimburse the educational expenses of home-schooling parents, as well as those of parents who send their children to other kinds of schools. What presidential candidate speaks like this?

Parental control of child rearing, especially education, is one of the bulwarks of liberty. No nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family. By moving to restore the primacy of parents to education, the Family Education Freedom Act will not only improve America’s education, it will restore a parent’s right to choose how best to educate one’s own child, a fundamental freedom that has been eroded by the increase in federal education expenditures and the corresponding decrease in the ability of parents to provide for their children’s education out of their own pockets.

When it comes to abortion, Ron Paul — an obstetrician/gynecologist who has delivered over 4,000 babies — has been a consistent opponent of Roe v. Wade, which he rightly considers unconstitutional. But he has no interest in the failed strategy of the past 35 years whereby we sit and wait for a remedy in the form of good Supreme Court justices. His HR 300 would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion, as per Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. That would overturn Roe by a simple congressional majority.

Then we could see who is sincere on the issue, and who is just exploiting it for votes. Few in either party really want to see the abortion status quo overturned, since it means they can’t scare their supporters into sending them as much money anymore.

Upon the Pope’s death in 2005, Ron Paul paid tribute to John Paul’s consistent defense of life. On another occasion, he offered an additional tribute, of the sort few politicians would utter:

To the secularists, this was John Paul II’s unforgivable sin — he placed service to God above service to the state. Most politicians view the state, not God, as the supreme ruler on earth. They simply cannot abide a theology that does not comport with their vision of unlimited state power. This is precisely why both conservatives and liberals savaged John Paul II when his theological pronouncements did not fit their goals. But perhaps their goals simply were not godly.

Speaking of John Paul II, it is important to remember that that pope was a strong opponent of the U.S. government’s attack on Iraq, sending his personal representative, Cardinal Pio Laghi, to Washington shortly before the commencement of hostilities in order to insist to the president that such a war would be unjust. The Pope’s first comments after the war broke out were these: “When war, as in these days in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is ever more urgent to proclaim, with a strong and decisive voice, that only peace is the road to follow to construct a more just and united society.”

Before his election as Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked if a U.S. government attack on Iraq would be just. “Certainly not,” came the reply. He predicted that “the damage would be greater than the values one wishes to save.”

After the war ended, Ratzinger said: “It was right to resist the war and its threats of destruction…. It should never be the responsibility of just one nation to make decisions for the world.” “There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq,” he elsewhere observed. “To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a ‘just war.'”

Hundreds of thousands lost their lives in this obviously avoidable war, a war that was based on falsehoods that we would have laughed at if they’d been uttered by Leonid Brezhnev. But since they came from the White House we cheer as for a football team, and duck the appalling material and moral consequences. A country that (by regional standards) once had an excellent health care system, opportunities for women, liberal gun and alcohol laws, and — yes — lots of immigrants, was turned into a disease-ridden basket case, filled with dead, wounded, and malnourished children, for no good reason.

That’s just wrong, and it isn’t “liberal” to say so.

Likewise, Ratzinger/Benedict is not a “liberal” for opposing the war. He is a moral conservative, but a man whose conservatism is more mature than the sloganeering jingoism of so much of what passes for conservatism in today’s America. Ron Paul is an equally sober and serious statesman, and for that reason was one of very few Republicans with the courage and the foresight to oppose this economic and moral fiasco from the very start.

It is especially satisfying to learn that in the second quarter of 2007, Ron Paul received more donations from active duty and retired military personnel than any other Republican candidate. By the third quarter, he was receiving more than any other presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican. Want to support the troops? Then support Ron Paul.

My main argument to you, though, is not a specifically Catholic one. It’s one that should resonate with anybody who values honesty, integrity, and decency. Ron Paul is a good man who believes in justice and the Constitution, and who cannot be bought. His ten terms in Congress have proven that again and again.

And that is why the media fears him. Unlike the rest of them, Ron Paul is unowned.

Now every establishment hack out there wants you to vote for one of the business-as-usual candidates. Are you really so happy with the establishment that its endorsement or cajoling means anything to you? If anything, it should make us all the more interested in Ron Paul — the one candidate the establishment fears, since they know their game is up if he should win.

Far from being in the unhappy position of a candidate whose children won’t even speak to him, Ron Paul is fortunate to have family members all over the campaign trail on his behalf. He has been married to the same woman for 50 years, and has been blessed with five children and eighteen grandchildren. There are some family values.

Just think: for once, you don’t have to choose the lesser among evils. You can finally vote for someone. You can not only be happy, but actually honored, to cast your vote for Ron Paul.

But don’t just vote for him. Find out about him, and get out there and spread the word.

Thomas E. Woods Jr.


Thomas E. Woods Jr. is the author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization and the first-place winner in the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Awards for The Church and the Market. His most recent book is Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts will Make Everything Worse. Dr. Woods earned his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.

  • Michael J. Ard

    Paul has many good qualities. But he’s unelectable. This election is about beating Obama, not making a point.

    • Dave

      Paul and Romney are actually the only two candidates that normally poll within the margin of error of beating Obama.

  • L E Gabriel Smith

    Our strongest candidate is the candidate who we can support with conviction and strength. Such a candidate is the most electable.

    I do not like the way Dr. Paul will send the abortion issue back to the states. He is not pro-life enough for me. Democrats run my state.

    My support goes to more pro-life candidates – like Rick Santorum.

    • Dave

      So, a world government would be the best, if only it would legislate according to your desires?

      I like the idea of sending the abortion issue back to the states. It’s the best we can do right now anyway, and I accept the Catholic principle of subsidiarity.

      Paul and Santorum are the only two acceptable candidates to me, and Santorum is barely acceptable. He’s strongly pro-life so that’s great, but otherwise he’s just another big government crony who loves to project American power around the globe.

  • Darren

    Would love to see Ron Paul get elected. Unfortunately, if ever got into power he would probably be shot Kennedy-style or experience a terrible plane-crash

  • Paul

    In the past could have voted for Ron Paul very easily – he is one of the only men in power in DC that tells the truth. However his stand on marriage and the Middle East make him, in my estimation, un-electable. However he is spot on when it comes to National issues other then marriage.
    IMHO Rick Santorum is hands down the best hope for our nation. I am certain he can win against the miserable excuse for a president that we have now.
    Please pray for Rick!

    • Dave

      Huh? Paul does not favor gay marriage, but he does favor the fact that according to the Constitution, each state has the right to decide for itself.

  • pammie

    RP is only unelectable if you do not vote for him. Corporate Media does not always tell the truth, in case some of us havent noticed by now. RS, NG or MR are electable ONLY if the young voters, disaffected Democrats, Liberterians and Independents are willing to come out and vote for basically the same bought and paid for politicians they have had in the past. I wont, given the choice between Obama and Obama Lite. Leftists are counting on that to reelect the president I assume.

    In any case, bombs will still be dropping and our children (and others’) will be dying so there’s always that to look forward to in the event that RP doesnt get the Republican nomination. A win-win for the neo conservative electorate to whom endless war seems to be the most important concern and deciding factor.

  • Jennifer Roche

    Ron Paul represents hope. Without him, we have such dark clouds ahead. I say this with my Ron Paul Revolution T-shirt on!

    • Dave

      Indeed, Jennifer! Where do I get one of them there T-shirts?

  • Cord Hamrick

    As far as I can tell, the candidates’ electability is as follows:

    Romney: Most electable
    Gingrich: Second most electable
    Paul: Third most electable
    Santorum: Fourth most electable (and likely to bow out soon anyway for lack of money and momentum)

    I fear that Ron Paul is too easily pilloried as an anti-Semite and a racist because of his past associations. Granted, those associations are no closer than Obama’s associations with radical leftists like Ayers and Dorne. Paul’s former fellow travelers are folk who ought to be scorned and vilified; Obama’s ought to be decently hanged.

    But it’s not a fair world or even a particularly free press, so we can count on Paul’s past associations to haunt him incessantly (and why didn’t he repudiate them a bit more firmly, anyhow?). Not so the Obama team. (But then the press tend to regard a history of dabbling in left-wing terrorism as adding a bit of endearing color to a person’s biography.)

    This is why I place Paul below Gingrich for electability. But who knows, I may be mistaken. (I hope I am, actually.)

    Who else here finds themselves wanting to play Mr. Potato Head with the GOP field?

    You know: “I’ll take the pro-life credentials of Santorum, the likeability and skin color of Cain, the diction, marital history, and managerial experience of Romney, the debate skills of Gingrich, the welfare-state and corporate-welfare opposition of Paul, and, well, the daughters of Huntsman, and cobble ’em together. The Ideal Frankencandidate: Would that somewhere in the world, it were alive.”

  • RK

    There are polls that say Paul is, along with Romney, one of the two most electable candidates of the remaining GOP field. I’m thinking such polls are at least as reliable as other media fed opinions.

    Paul resonates because he is disarmingly honest, is willing to address difficult issues head on, and has a cogent and cohesive vision.

    The economic crisis is poised to cripple this country and unless a sound economic policy is implemented we face dire consequences. Paul understands this much better than the other candidates. He recognizes that the Leviathan is killing us.

    Our interventionist foreign policy hasn’t made us safer and has resulted in enormous losses in life as well as treasure. Paul hasn’t been bought and paid for by the military industrial complex. The other three have been.

    Paul’s Sanctity of Life amendment couldn’t be more pro life. it defines life as beginning at conception and essentially reverses Roe. This is much better than the status quo push-me-pull-you policies of other GOP politicians who merely pay lip service to ending abortion.

  • Robert Brennan

    Just a point of clarification. The war in Iraq was a mistake in hindsight. Given the context of the post 9-11 world, an event that Ron Paul has said dubious things about, every major intelligence organization in the world, MI5, CIA, KGB, Mossad, and even the French were convinced Sadaam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He had already used chemical weapons against the Kurds. He was already protecting and promoting terrorism aimed at the U.S. and its allies. To suggest that some cowboy in the white house went off to war as people cheered isn’t a fair depiction. And with regard to just war theory and proportionality, now I am not a cannon lawyer and do not play one on t.v. either, but as long as we’re calculating the loss of lives, I wonder how many U.S. soldiers and Marines were killed because of very strict rules of war. If the United States was the oil mongering monster some people suggest, the middle east would have been a glass factory a long time ago and there would be a Southern BBQ stand selling pulled pork sandwiches on every corner in Mecca.

    • pammie

      There are many sources of information online that will discuss the amounts of misinformation that was fed to the public about the situation in Iraq, including the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. For example: all was a concerted effort to build up public fears and garner support for an attack on a country that was never a threat to the USA in any way. Exactly the same as is being done in regards to Iran right now.

      And dont forget: I cant think of one example where a sitting president has been voted out of office during an on going war (LBJ came close), so BO will have that going for him too. Please the lobbyists and stay in office for another four years. Win-win!
      Who thinks the doves are trying to tell us something?

      • trad_cat

        ” including the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11″

        Iraq’s supposed connection to 9/11 was never a reason for going to war with them the second time. That is an argument liberals manufactured. Saddam violated the cease fire from the 1st gulf war for 10 years and he himself admitted after he was arrested that he wanted the world to think he still had WMD’s (which is another violation of the cease fire) so he would not look weak tot he Iranians. You are using a liberal tactic of arguing against your own misconceptions of the facts.

        • pammie

          RB: “Given the context of the post 9-11 world, an event that Ron Paul has said dubious things about……”

          pammie: “….including the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.” is a reply to the above. Nothing more. But hasnt turning Iraq into a chaotic dump turned out well for whatever our goals were and also for Iraqi Christians? Shites are the only winners so far. And it only took 10 years to accomplish! On to Iran and Syria!

          • trad_cat

            Ron Paul and I would agree with you that we should end this progressive liberal practice of policing the world. If we had done that we would not have been involved in the 1st gulf war. The fate of the Christians in Iraq have nothing to do with the US. It is muslims who are attacking them. The Iraqi Christians should recognize their natural right to protect themselves and pick up a rifle and get to work.

            • pammie

              “The fate of the Christians in Iraq have nothing to do with the US.”

              Even though the US was responsible for taking down their firewall of protection when they destroyed the secular government of Iraq, bad as it was? Leaving them unarmed and at the mercy of fanatical muslims and various warlords? It’s easy to see you’ve never lived in circumstances such as we made possible for them. Your attitude toward your fellow suffering Christians is typical but not edifying.

              • trad_cat

                The US did not leave them unarmed. Arming themselves is their responsiblity. Getting and carrying a rifle for each adult is a fairly easy thing to do in Iraq. Your support for murderous dictators is disgusting and not Catholic. Personal protection is an individual and family duty not a governmental one.

  • Sarto

    The Vatican said the war was a mistake before it even started, because it violated several of the requirements for a just war. You said you are not a cannon lawyer? Er, its Canon lawyer. Maybe a Freudian slip. And just war theory has nothing to do with Canon Law, only with simple morality. But for me, morality is always the bottom line. That’s why I oppose abortion, whose proponants know how to rationalize as well as the lovers of war.

    • trad_cat

      The Chruch does not make judgements on whether a war is just. It only puts out the criteria to make that judgement. Can you provide a link to a statement from the Pope on the justness of the war?

  • Robert Brennan

    Thanks for the editorial heads up regarding “canon” lawyer. But if “morality is always the bottom line” with you I suggest you run as fast as you can from Ron Paul and his proposals to legalize drugs and prostitution as well as his neutral position on “gay” marriage.

    • trad_cat

      Your statement is is inaccurate. Paul wants the states to make their own laws on drugs and prostitution and gay marriage. He corectly recognizes that the Fed gov has no authority to do those things under the constitution. The time when abortion was least available is when the states had their own laws, most of which outlawed it. If you want the fed gov to regulate these things legally then the states (not the executive branch) needs to propose and pass additional const amendments.

  • Electability is the line fed us to keep us quiet. If we lose this election because we tell the GOP we aren’t to be pandered to anymore, maybe someone sane would pursue high office.

  • Coeur_de_Lion_7

    Pease everyone vote for Rick Santorum. Santorum 2012!

  • MarkRutledge

    There is a lot to like about Ron Paul, but the core philosophy of contemporary libertarianism has too many serious faults for the Catholic to consider.  While progressives falsely believe they can alter basic human nature, libertarians simply deny human nature is important to consider.  We cannot simply “leave each other alone” and expect our society to remain civilized.  Without the pressures of opprobrium, man’s will overtakes his intellect, and he tends to pursue what is desired over what is needed, what is expedient over what is good.  There is no such thing as  a perfect candidate and there never will be, but Rick Santorum’s politics are the closest to the Catholic political philosophy of subsidiarity.

  • Mttoppel

    Sorry but Ron Paul is for legalizing prostitution and heroin.  To me, that is absolutely horrendous!!!