Ron Paul champions individual liberty at Syracuse

The former Congressman from Texas and presidential candidate discussed national issues to a sold-out audience at Hendricks Chapel.

Former U.S. Rep. and Republican candidate for president Ron Paul spoke at Hendricks Chapel Wednesday night about many issues, but heavily emphasized individual liberty.

“The answer isn’t in more government, the answer is for more liberty for individuals to take care of themselves,” Paul said.

Brought to Syracuse University by the College Republicans, Paul was welcomed with cheers, but a few people sprinkled in the audience sat silently as he discussed topics like government participation and healthcare.
Paul said the United States tries to police other nations too much. "If we weren't the policeman of the world, maybe we'd need less policeman of the world," Paul said.

Photo: Emma Baty
The lecture, free to students, filled Hendricks Chapel with people eager to hear the former U.S. Rep. speak.

The audience erupted when Paul said he believed "the government's mitts" should be kept off the Internet completely. "Most important thing for people to have is information," Paul said. "I think the information we've gotten from Edward Snowden is a blessing."

He spoke out against President Barack Obama's reform idea to have a private business house national security information until it is needed. "It's a bad thing when business and government are bed buddies, let me tell ya,” he said.

Paul called the American media “uninformed,” commenting that it was not partisan media that hurt Americans but rather the one-sided results of media. "Have you heard two sides of what is going on in Ukraine? No," he said. "We've been involved in it for 20 years and we can't afford to do much more."

When it came to healthcare, Paul reminded the audience of his ties to medicine as an obstetrician. He said the store Hobby Lobby, which was forced to provide healthcare that covers birth control, should not be decided by the government. Instead, no one should be forced to be mandated by the government to do anything. "There is an interesting case with Hobby Lobby and how their leaders don't want to be forced to go against their religious belief," Paul said. "But I think this argument is dangerous to all of us. It doesn't have to do with religious belief but more the belief in liberty."

After his speech, Paul answered five questions from the audience, with topics ranging from the use of political correct speech to abortion and taxes. He ended his lecture by telling the crowd they have a base for their ideas and are able to change the landscape of the country. "Get together and talk but also have fun doing so," Paul said. "Most importantly, be well educated."

Paul spoke to a sold out crowd Wednesday night. Zach Weiss, the director of communications for the College Republicans, said it was an opportunity for SU students to attend the lecture for free. "The College Republicans are so lucky to have such a renowned defender of liberty on our campus,” Weiss said. "There is no better figure to bring these values to SU." While Syracuse community members were in attendance, college students made up most of the audience.

Political science and history junior Cassie Chechile, one of the many students at Hendricks Wednesday night, agreed with a majority of Paul's thoughts. "He's an important guy and shows another minority side to the Republican party that may get overlooked," Chechile said. Toward the beginning of his speech, Paul spoke about the education budget and how he believes more could be done to help students reach their potential. Chechile said she suspected he would talk about education on a college campus. "I'm glad he pointed out that our budget could be handled more efficiently," she said.

Two local residents, Jeff Stevenson and John Humphrey, drove more than an hour each way from Adams Center and Brownville, respectively, to hear Paul speak. “The drive was worth it in my opinion because I was able to hear Dr. Paul speak about issues that truly affect each of us and I agree with him on how to better each issue," said Stevenson, who retired from the Army.

Humphrey was impressed with not only Paul's talk but with how many college students attended the event. "I don't think young people trust anybody, but to see them out listening and educating themselves on our nation is a great thing," said Humphrey, who retired from the Navy.

Both men agreed that Paul's ideas are supported by his research. "Some have called Ron Paul a conspiracy theorist, but everything he said tonight has showed me he really does know what he says and his ideas could help our country," Stevenson said.

Some audience members were not as keen on Paul's ideas but were more curious on what he would say. History senior Allana Gauzza was one of those audience members. "I find him to be an interesting speaker although I don't agree with his political opinions," Gauzza said. "It was interesting to see someone with his stature and power speak and I wanted to see what he said."

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.