Ron Paul is a member of Congress and was the 1988 U.S. Libertarian Party presidential nominee. For much of the period from 1976 onward, Paul, a physician from Texas, has been the only consistent libertarian in the U.S. Congress. He served briefly in 1976, from 1979 to 1985, and returned to Congress in 1996. He has always insisted that he never votes for anything that is not authorized by the U.S. Constitution, and he never votes for any bill that would increase taxes or government spending. He is an outspoken opponent of the Federal Reserve Bank, the United Nations, and most foreign wars. In 1979, he prodded Congress to create the U.S. Gold Commission to study the feasibility of a gold standard. As a member of the commission, he coauthored with Lewis Lehrman a minority report that was published as The Case for Gold. In 1988, he was the Libertarian nominee for president, receiving 432,000 votes, about half of 1%. Back in Congress after 1996, he has been a leading opponent of a national identification card, the proposed “Know Your Customer” banking regulations, the hastily passed USA-PATRIOT Act of 2001, and the war in Iraq. In May 2007, Representative Paul announced his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination for president. He participated in the presidential debates held during 2007 and generated a surprisingly strong level of fundraising and intense support on the Internet and in other venues.

David Boaz
Originally published