Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Monday night and delivered more detail on his Libertarian perspectives, with particular focus on free markets and individual liberty.
As has been done with big-ticket guests in the past, "The Daily Show" produced a long-form interview with Paul, airing a portion of it on-air and releasing the entirety online on "The Daily Show" web site
In the extended web-only version, Congressman Paul was given the opportunity to expand on his positions, and he happily took advantage of that opportunity.
"There's so much that you say that appeals," Stewart said. "And then I always feel like 'Ron Paul, he's really telling it like it is,' and then you'll go one step and I'll go 'No, Ron, oh.' We were talking about the drug war and the legitimacy of the drug war, and you were saying that this was failing, and I was listening to you and thinking 'Yes. Ron Paul, he's schooling these guys.' And then you went, 'Like heroin for instance.' And I went, 'No! Ron!"
But Paul sees the drug war as a dangerous violation of civil liberties, a consequence more disruptive than the drugs themselves.
"We've spent over a trillion dollars on this war in the last 40 years, and I fear the war on drugs more than I fear the drugs themselves," Paul said. "And I think drugs are horrible. I think they're dangerous; prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs. I think they're very, very dangerous. But the war on drugs, which violates civil liberties; getting people busted in their houses. That is the danger to our civil liberties, and that is just one example of the violation of our civil liberties."
The drug war is a failure, according to Paul.
"Do you worry that you trust us more than you should," Stewart asked, expressing his concern for unregulated markets.
"When I talk to young people, and I talk to a lot of them," Paul replied. "I say, if we can get your freedom back just remember the decisions you make affect yourself and you can't come crawling to the government for some help. When I make a decision or the government makes a decision, it's for everybody. When you make a bad decision, it only hurts you. So, if you have great faith in people, then you have to say, well, the people are the politicians. And quite frankly, the people I know in Washington aren't capable of telling you what you ought to do."
But the issue to Stewart is one of public empathy.
"Doesn't trusting the people also then accept the fact that people won't let their fellow man be in a position where they fail," Stewart asked.
"A free market system is the only true humanitarian system," Paul said. "When there was a time that you had only government tyranny you had famine. But no, if you truly care about solving these problems you have to understand how the market works, how personal choices work, but it doesn't that people won't be helped. If you want less people to be sick and without care, you don't want a totalitarian government. It doesn't work. It's the kind of system we have now. Our problem with medicine today is a result of forty-some years of government which delivered the care to the bureaucrats and to the corporations. The corporations run medicine today; the drug companies and insurance companies. So, all these good feelings doesn't solve the problem."