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Deception and the Fight for Truth with Senator Rand Paul


In what ways do government overreach and misinformation manifest themselves? This week, Senator Rand Paul joins host Roger Ream for an eye-opening discussion as they delve into the revelations uncovered in Senator Paul’s latest books, “Deception: The Great Covid Cover-Up” and “The Case Against Socialism.” From the contentious debates surrounding gain-of-function research to the erosion of trust in public health officials, Senator Paul sheds light on the origin of the virus, the efficacy of masks, and the critical importance of preserving individual liberties. Senator Paul also shares insights into the resurgence of socialism among young Americans and the urgent need to safeguard fundamental freedoms in an increasingly polarized political landscape.

Elected to the United States Senate in 2010, Senator Rand Paul, M.D., is one of the nation’s leading advocates for liberty, championing constitutional liberties and fiscal responsibility. Fighting against government overreach, he advocates for a return to its limited, constitutional scope. Senator Paul is also a physician, graduating from Duke Medical School in 1988 and completing his residency in ophthalmology at Duke University Medical Center. He continues to practice medicine today, performing pro-bono eye surgeries for patients around the world. The Office of Senator Rand Paul partners with TFAS annually to host the Capitol Hill Lecture Series, sponsored by the Einhorn Family Foundation.

Episode Transcript

The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity.

Roger Ream [00:00:02] Welcome to the Liberty + Leadership Podcast, a conversation with TFAS alumni, faculty, and friends who are making an impact today. I’m your host, Roger Ream. I’m delighted to welcome Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky to the Liberty + Leadership Podcast today. Since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Doctor Paul has been a tireless advocate against government overreach and has worked to protect our constitutional liberties. TFAS has been honored to partner with his office to sponsor a Capitol Hill Lecture Series for staff and summer interns. Doctor Paul is the author of two relatively new books, “The Case Against Socialism,” published in 2019, and “Deception: The Great Covid Cover Up,” published at the end of 2023. Both books are highly compelling and written on extremely timely topics. We’ll be discussing them both today. Before we begin, I should mention that Senator Paul is a medical doctor, a surgeon in ophthalmology. He wrote both books with his wife, Kelly Paul.

Senator Rand Paul [00:01:16] Thanks for having me, Roger.

Roger Ream [00:01:17] Senator Paul, let me ask you first about your book, “Deception.” You were a leader in Congress, in the U.S. Senate, in trying to bring out the truth about the Covid 19 pandemic, including lots of questioning of doctor Anthony Fauci and all aspects of the virus, social distancing, the vaccinations, the mask, the origin of the virus, whether it came from a lab leak in Wuhan, China. What prompted you to pull all that together and write this book?

Senator Rand Paul [00:01:52] The first thing that got me intrigued by this was seeing the freedom of information exchanges on email from all of the leading virologists and scientists: Anthony Fauci, Francis Collins, the head of the NIH and all these virologists who were talking in late January of 2020. In private, they were all saying that there was a great deal of evidence looking like the virus had been manipulated in the lab, a great deal of evidence that it was a laboratory generated virus, and this is what they were saying in private and yet publicly at exactly the same time, they’re calling anybody who would make the proposition that this virus came from the lab, they’re calling them crazy. They’re calling them conspiracy theories. They actually send a letter to Lancet, and they use the words conspiracy theorist, in a letter to a scientific journal, which I’ve never, ever seen inflammatory words like that used. It turns out that everything they were saying publicly, they were saying the opposite privately, that many of them were pretty well convinced that it looked like it had been manipulated in that it came from a lab.

Roger Ream [00:02:57] Have they been forthcoming, even under the Freedom of Information Act, or are they still withholding a lot of information?

Senator Rand Paul [00:03:02] The Biden administration has steadfastly withheld every scrap of information. We bicker and fight over any piece of paper. But the real thing that we’ve been wanting to get to is there had to have been a discussion in our government within NIH about the research being done in China. There had to have been a discussion about whether or not it was gain of function, or whether or not they were creating viruses that gained in function, that gained infectiousness or gained in lethality. There had to be a discussion. We actually know they have a weekly meeting called gain of function dual use Research of Concern meeting. We know the meeting exists and yet they won’t send it to us. We voted unanimously in the Senate and the House, and it became a law to declassify all of the Covid information so the public could get access to this. The problem is, is most of it was not classified to begin with, they’re just withholding it. It’s a real war with the administration trying to get any information. Just this week, just today, we’ve announced that we have discovered from some of the information we’ve gotten that a project to create a virus that looks a lot like Covid 19 was proposed in 2018. And now we’ve learned that 15 different government agencies knew about this proposal, and yet no one came forward and said: “Oh, wow, it looks like the virus, the pandemic looks like the virus is very, very similar to this proposal that Wuhan was asking for money for in 2018.” Not one person in government. I take that back. One person did. A brave marine who’s now a lieutenant colonel went through the proper channels. He told his superiors, he told the inspector general and he became a whistleblower, but he revealed that this was going on. Anthony Fauci knew about this and has lied repeatedly under oath to say he knew nothing about the project, but we now have documentary evidence that the NIH was briefed, that the NIH ID, which is a specific division of NIH, that Anthony Fauci added, that they were briefed not only that, the proposal included an NIH lab in Rocky Mountain in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain lab was included in the proposal. And yet, to this day, Anthony Fauci denies that he knew anything about this proposal and that he is adamant that the virus came from animals. I think he’s been dishonest and deceptive the whole time.

Roger Ream [00:05:30]  In your in your piece today, you talk about this diffuse project and the fact that it was submitted to 15 federal agencies, and then in your book, you mentioned, maybe this is who your reference here, doctor Robert Redfield, who was then head of CDC, I guess, and he at the time even was crying wolf about this or crying foul about what Fauci was saying in his hearings, right?

Senator Rand Paul [00:05:55] So, Robert Redfield was head of the CDC under Trump. He’s a virologist. He’s been around since the days of Aids. So has Anthony Fauci. Anthony Fauci is actually not a virologist, he’s an immunologist, but they have gone back and forth for probably 20 years over this. At least ten years ago, there was a debate over whether or not the avian flu, the avian flu is when they kill millions of chickens. It infects chickens, and they kill off the entire flock when this happens. It rarely infects humans, but when it does, it’s about 50% fatal. Well, about ten years ago, a scientist in the Netherlands took the avian flu and said: “Wow, I wonder if I can make it more easily transmittable through the air to mammals,” and he did. He did it with eight mutations. It was sort of genius, if you call evil can be genius. He did this and the whole scientific community had an uprising and there was a debate back and forth: should we be doing this dangerous research, creating viruses that are more dangerous than the ones that exist in nature? And many good scientists from big universities: Stanford, MIT, Rutgers, they came forward and they said: “No, it’s too dangerous,” but the person on the other side of this was Anthony Fauci, and in the end, he won. He basically controlled the entire NIH, and when push came to shove, he actually fired an entire commission because they were being too restrictive on gain of function. He replaced them with people that were for gain of function research.

Roger Ream [00:07:29]  I mentioned in the introduction, you’re a medical doctor. Is there some benefit to doing gain of function research if it’s controlled and done properly? Can you learn from that?

Senator Rand Paul [00:07:42] Their argument is that we are modifying these viruses to make them more infectious in humans, so then we can develop vaccines for it. But the argument against that is, is that so far we’ve been doing this for 15 years, and no vaccines ever been developed in advance of a disease. And the reason is this: yes, they can create viruses, they can make the virus more infectious to humans, but they don’t know what nature’s going to do. So, the way mutations work in a virus is it’s random. So, if I tell you that a virus has 30,000 different nucleotides, the basic building blocks, imagine how many different ways you can arrange 30,000. It’s a number so big I can’t tell you. It’s in the trillions of different possibilities. So, when nature spits something out of that 30,000 mutation, it’s going to be random, and the idea that we could figure that out in advance, which way it’s going to create that virus and then create the vaccine. Even when we had the virus, even after the virus, they created the mRNA vaccine. It worked, and it was fascinating for a little while, but it would work for a month or two, and then the virus would adapt and change. And so, really the program overall, if we’re honest, the vaccine program for the Covid 19 wasn’t very successful because the virus escaped too quickly, giving someone a vaccine the last 3 or 4 months. Is it really that beneficial? And so, most people would say that the gain of function research has yet to produce any real vaccines, and it’s not worth the risk, but Anthony Fauci was asked about this in 2012, and we include this in the book. He was asked: “What about the risk of a pandemic occurring?” He says: “Sure, a scientist could be bitten or infected and a pandemic could occur, but the knowledge is worth that risk.” But that’s to me a horrific decision and a terrible judgment call that he made. There are many good scientists who disagree with him, and there ought to be a full throated debate over whether we should continue to do this research.

Roger Ream [00:09:42] Yes, and then funding it in Wuhan, China, of all places.

Senator Rand Paul [00:09:46] Yeah, they’re real trustworthy, right? This doesn’t include a lot of things, for example, people say: “Oh, well, we have bacteria that we program to make insulin.” That’s not what we’re talking about. If you program bacteria to make insulin, you haven’t made that bacteria more infectious or more deadly, you’ve just used genetics to make it produce something we want. So, there are a lot of good things you can get through genetics. There’s Crispr technology that someday may cure genetic diseases, where your child’s born with every cell has a mutation in it that causes a deadly disease, we may be able to fix some of those things through this technology. So, I’m not against technology in any way, shape or form, but the very specific aspect of taking a infectious agent and purposely making it more infectious or more deadly, I think is a death wish and we shouldn’t do it.

Roger Ream [00:10:35] In your book, you write about a number of other aspects of the Covid 19 pandemic outbreak that involved deception by U.S. Government officials, particularly Anthony Fauci, including questions of the efficacy of masks, the need for people to get vaccines if they’ve already been infected, the social distancing question, whether schools should be closed, all sorts of things. Why do you think so much of that was so contentious? We had the impression that government officials were trying to hide the truth and not provided to members of Congress like yourself. Is it the money that’s involved in this thing?

Senator Rand Paul [00:11:15] I think money is a corrupting influence, but in Anthony Fauci’s case, almost everything he said in private was, fairly accurate or true, and almost everything he said in public wasn’t. They don’t agree with each other. I mean, the Anthony Fauci of private conversation is completely diametrically opposed to what he says in public. So, in private, he said what most scientists believe. A coworker asked him about using a mask, she was going on a long trip, and he says: “We’ve studied this. There’s no, indication that masks work in the prevention of respiratory disease.” This had been studied for a long time with influenza. When we have flu outbreaks, we wanted to know how can we keep the people in the hospital from all getting sick from the flu by wearing masks and they studied it many times over, and it didn’t work. And then we spent billions of dollars studying what to do during a pandemic. We had all these simulations. You know how the government is. They spend a ton of money looking at this. In none of the simulations did they advocate for masks. The mask thing came out of the blue when everybody believes that had been debunked. Massive for blocking larger particles. The viruses are 600 times smaller than the pores in most masks and even the masks that might have some benefit in a limited way, the N95 masks, most people can’t wear them properly, and they really would have to be thrown away about every four hours, and you couldn’t touch them and you’d have to wash your hands after you touch them. The other thing that has been reported on the N95 masks is after about four hours of breathing into them, your exhaled air has moisture in it, and it reduces the electrostatic charge, and the electrostatic charge is part of what blocked bacteria from getting through it, or viruses from getting to it. So, they aren’t as effective after you’ve worn them for a while, and most people can’t wear them pressed up against themselves without touching them for a very long period of time. I think what would have been better, and this is something Anthony Fauci could have done if you would have asked me, and even if you ask me now: “How should we use masks?” I would tell you this: if your mother is 75 or 80 years old and, she has Covid and you don’t want to catch it to transfer it to her father, or your father has to go in and visitor, the short periods of time you visit someone with Covid that you go into their sick room wearing an N95 mask and gloves and then taking them off and throwing them away and washing your hands, there’s a chance you could reduce your transmission, but that’s a lot different than wearing an N95 mask 24 hours a day outside, inside, around people who aren’t sick. Specifically, around people are sick, there might be some value. People are more inclined to do it, if you tell them that it might work in a very specific situation, but instead we were told just to wear them all the time, and we’re told to put our two-year old in them. And it turned out the two-year old’s don’t die from Covid. Not a little, not even some. Two-year old just don’t die from Covid at all. So, your two-year-old should never have been put in a mask, and yet we did it to every two-year-old in the country that was in daycare. It was just obscene.

Roger Ream [00:14:08] We were using just these cheap masks. Not even the ones that work.

Senator Rand Paul [00:14:13] Exactly. It went on and on, all because of Anthony Fauci deciding that he was going to become popular in public as the person extolling all of the things that you should or shouldn’t do. Most of them turned out to be his opinions, and many of them were not backed up by science.

Roger Ream [00:14:32] Well, in your book, you mentioned scientists such as Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins, Scott Atlas and Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford, and others like him who were willing to speak the truth and challenge the government officials on these issues. Those were three I name because they’ve been on our Capitol Hill Lecture Series that you’ve had come speak to the staff and interns.

Senator Rand Paul [00:14:56] The interesting thing is Francis Collins and Fauci actually said: “Oh, we want to take these people down. We got to destroy their reputations.” When you look at what these people are proposing, they’re actually very moderate. These are not anti-vax people. They’re not people who say the vaccine doesn’t work at all. They’re saying what I would say. So, if you ask me: “Should your two year old son get a vaccine?” And then you ask me: “Should your 80-year-old mom get it?” I’d give two different answers because it’s based on the risks and the benefits of the two different populations. So, I’m not adamant against people getting it. My in-laws, we still let them get the booster and more boosters for Covid, frankly, because at age 93, your risk for dying from an infectious disease, particularly Covid, is like thousands of times greater than a young person. So, we give different advice. But it would always be advice, it wouldn’t be mandated. It would be a suggestion to you as to what I think is the best advice. I think Marty Makary, Martin Kulldorff, Scott Atlas, we’re all in that category. And they said that we should direct our resources as much as we can towards those most susceptible because we don’t have infinite resources. Why don’t we instead trying to force some two-year-old to wear a mask and some five year old or four year old in the plane, berating the parents to death to put a mask on this kid that’s screaming and wailing away, why don’t we instead of doing stupid stuff like that, why don’t we do everything we can to have elderly people protected? In fact, before the vaccine, one of the things they could have done on planes and would have been a same thing you could have done in nursing homes is have the people staffing the plane be people have already recovered from Covid? Because natural immunity works, they’re very unlikely, particularly in the first several months to a year, to get the infection again, have them be the flight attendants, have them be the pilots, or have them be the caretakers and nurses and nurses aides in the nursing home. That alone would have prevented deaths, but instead we got Anthony Fauci talking about not playing baseball in October and just ridiculous things that he came up with on a whim and closing all the schools. So, one based on science, much to the chagrin of all the leftists, they said: “Follow the science,” but they weren’t. And so, it’s worth debating because this could happen again, and if it happens again, we can’t let our government shut us down. We can’t let them shut the schools down. We can’t let them shut our churches down. We’ve got to resist.

Roger Ream [00:17:18] Well, in your book, you also addressed the issue of the vaccines and the the fact that people from government come very close to denying that having had the virus, you’re going to still be required of the vaccine because the vaccine still necessary to protect you, even though you have the antibodies from the virus. I mean, it’s remarkable, some of the testimony you put in here when you’re pressing these government officials on basic science about infection.

Senator Rand Paul [00:17:50] There’s still some of these questions that exist. You know, for example, let’s say you’re 75 years old and you’ve had two vaccines, you’ve also been infected twice, what are your risks now dying or going to the hospital if you get Covid again? I think it’s probably zero, but none of their studies and none of the information they putting out involve they have all vaccines versus no vaccines, but I want to know vaccines plus infection versus no vaccines plus infection. There needs to be a variable in there of whether or not you’ve been sick or not, and we presented this. There’s this famous C-SPAN clip of Fauci in 2004 or whatever, and a mom calls and says: “My daughter’s been sick. She’s 14, she’s been sick for two weeks with the flu, but she’s now getting better. Does she need to get the vaccine?” He says: “Absolutely not. There’s no better vaccine than nature’s vaccine. When you’ve been infected, she’s now immune.” And that’s what has been understood for thousands of years. You mentioned Martin Kulldorf. He’s a famous epidemiologist, was at Harvard, and he tweeted out something I just thought was hilarious. He said: “Yes, we’ve known about natural immunity from disease since the plague in 436 A.D. and Athens, and we knew that knowledge until 2020, and then we lost that knowledge completely for three years, and now we’re starting to rediscover that.” That’s about that how sad it was. Is that all basic immunology and basic common sense? Look, George Washington knew about immunology. He demanded that Martha get the smallpox vaccine, which was dangerous. It was a live vaccine, but it was better than smallpox, and smallpox was a 30% death rate. He demanded she get it before she come to the camps, but he didn’t take it. Why? Because he had pox on his face? Because he had already had smallpox. They understood immunity in the time of George Washington. This is 1776 or 1780s. Every day reporters are coming up to me saying: “You don’t know you’re immune. You don’t know you’re immune.” I said: “I have antibodies, I was sick.”  I wasn’t sick, but I had I tested positive, I have antibodies, and yet they’re all like: “Oh, you don’t know you’re immune.” And what we learned is that, the best immunity is from getting it naturally. It doesn’t mean you want the disease, but if you got it naturally, why don’t we tell you the truth of what that means for you now, if you’ve survived it?


Roger Ream [00:20:11] Well, in your book, you also, tell remarkable stories about when you quote in your tweets the results of scientific studies, and then someone facts checks your tweets by going to the scientists saying: “Did you really say this?” And all you’re doing is quoting directly from the study results and they’re fact checking it.

Senator Rand Paul [00:20:33] That’s some of my favorite fact checks where a scientist says something, and I actually directly do a quote tweet and link to their article and they call the scientists up and he says: “Oh, yeah. Now that we’ve seen it being used this way, we’re going to change the paper to change that sentence.” We were quoting like, how long immunity last? The first SARS, 17 years. They’d shown every test really, and still to this date, every test shows continued antibody protection and memory production of both B and T cells. And yet the own researchers were so woke that when challenged that a Republican or a conservative was actually using their data, they began to deny their own data because there’s so desire to conform.

Roger Ream [00:21:19] Well, I hope the book is getting attention it deserves because after reading it, I come to the conclusion that the only way to prevent something like this from happening again is for the truth of this whole story to get out there, and I know you’ve been traveling the country and talking about this a lot. I hope the book selling well and you’re finding a lot of interest and having opportunities to media around it.

Senator Rand Paul [00:21:41] Well, thank you. We have been successful with it. And to me, the success ultimately is we have to get the other side. Republicans, I think, are now fully understanding, and conservatives, libertarians are fully understanding that, one this in all likelihood came from a lab, there’s a danger to this type of research that the lockdowns were bad, but the other side really is are not convinced of this. I think if the other side, if the Democrats dominated the white House and the Congress through another pandemic, I think they’ll do exactly the same thing. They’ll shut it down. And then the question is: “are the people who were in charge that were Republicans at the time all learned their lesson?” Really, the people that we should have in charge of our agencies shouldn’t be the heads of board members of drug companies. Because, look, Pfizer may have had some great inventions and great discoveries, but they shouldn’t be in charge of approving the vaccines since they make the vaccines and neither should their board members go back and forth to government. So, we do have to really watch that the FDA and other agencies don’t get so many rent seekers in there manipulating the rules for their own benefit that there’s a corruption of government. I fear that that’s really what is going on in our government now for 10 or 20 years.

Roger Ream [00:22:57] That that sure seems to be the case, in this instance, based on what you have in your book there. You wrote a book, just four years ago, “The Case Against Socialism,” also with your wife, Kelly Paul. Another great book, which I recommend to people listening and another book that’s necessary. So, we learn the lessons of what we see right out there in front of us. Why do you think so many young people in particular are still taken in by socialism, when you know, the results that you can see in the world have just been so awful and it’s caused so many lives, it’s reduced our prosperity and made misery in so many countries. Yet, young people still seem to be attracted to the likes of Bernie Sanders and AOC and the idea of socialism.

Senator Rand Paul [00:23:43] I think it’s being taught in our schools. So, there is a uniformity to thought in our public schools. The people who teach are from unions, are predominantly Democrat, predominantly believe socialism is a good idea. I also think that kids aren’t exposed to capitalism the way they once were. When I was a kid, even though we were probably considered to be an upper middle class or well-to-do family, I was never given any money. I got shoes and clothes, but if I wanted to buy something, I had to earn my own money from a young age. So, I mowed lawns, I did landscaping, I put roofs on houses, I used a chainsaw, I used tractors. I was aware of what work was. And then it required work to get money to get the stuff you wanted to buy. And that is capitalism. Most families, particularly when kids don’t work, it’s sort of a socialist model. The head of the family, a mom and dad may work, but the kids don’t work, and they see the benefits of capitalism, but they don’t ever have to to see what it’s like to work. I think because less kids are exposed to work, maybe they’re more complacent and we all are richer. I mean, capitalism has done marvelous things. Our kids are richer than we are. We’re richer than our parents. Wealth is accumulating, productivity is increasing. And really, we just have so many things and we have so much more free time. But bad ideas are really, I think, being promoted in the public school system. There’s an indoctrination going on. I mean, it’s not just sort of this idea that they’re going to change your kid from being a boy or a girl at school, all that ridiculous nonsense, it’s also they’re feeding them the climate change crap at school, too, that the world’s ending, the polar bears are drowning. And of course, if you look at the science close to that, there’s nothing true there either. But it has similarities to Covid in the sense that there’s a climate consensus also. We’re told that you have to be part of the consensus, and if you don’t that you should be suppressed. All of the Sunday programs will not have anyone on a Sunday program who’s a climate denier. So, I guess if you’re a Covid denier, if you deny that the vaccine worked or was good for children, now you’re no longer acceptable either. There’s a real danger to anything becoming a consensus. Disputation and argumentation is how you find the truth. If you don’t have that, you’ve got a real problem if the government’s defining the truth.

Roger Ream [00:26:08] Well, you’ll be happy to know that we’re partnering at The Fund for American Studies with The Fraser Institute, and we’ve developed curriculum for high school teachers to use to teach what we call it’s called “The Realities of Socialism Project,” and it’s lessons they can use in their economics classes in high schools to teach kids about the experiences of countries like Poland and Estonia under communism, to compare it to Sweden and learn that Sweden is not really a model of a socialist country. It’s a very free market country in many ways with free trade and country that likes business and commerce. And so, we’re trying to get as many teachers as possible trained in the U.S. And Canada as soon as possible so they can bring this into the classrooms and counter some of that propaganda you’re referring to.

Senator Rand Paul [00:26:59] Are you trying private and public schools to use the curriculum?

Roger Ream [00:27:02] Yeah, we’re doing teacher training programs and we get mostly public school teachers, a lot of privates as well. We’ve created these lessons that then they can take into the classroom. Some teachers tell us that they don’t know how to respond to students who ask them questions about socialism, and others, of course, aren’t sure that socialism is that bad. So, we’re trying to give them what they can use in this. They’ve used people like Peter Bottke at George Mason University. He’s written some of the original materials we’re turning into the curriculum.

Senator Rand Paul [00:27:34] I think that’s a great idea.

Roger Ream [00:27:36] I know we’re getting a little short on time, but do you have another book you’re thinking about or with your wife? I must say, I applaud you especially for the dedication, I’ll say poem you wrote at the front of this book to your wife. It’s wonderful.

Senator Rand Paul [00:27:52] Thank you, thank you. I don’t have anything particular in mind. I’ve had something percolating for a couple of years, and I’m not gotten around to it, so I don’t know if and when I will, but, I think the idea that there have been great dissenters in history, but also great dissents, particularly with the Supreme Court and that it takes a long time, and if society, civilized and peaceful enough, society can change over that period of time. So, one of the great dissents in Supreme Court history is, Justice Marshall Harlan in Plessy versus Ferguson. Plessy versus Ferguson says: “It’s okay, we’ll just separate whites and blacks as long as the schools are equal,” and really, virtually everyone, myself included now thinks that that was wrongly decided that we ought to just treat people equally no matter what, but they shouldn’t be separated. Harlan is the dissent in there. He says it civil rights should be colorblind. And it takes probably 50 some odd years for that to come true through Brown versus board and in 1954. But you have a 50 year history. In fact, we go the wrong way. We had a school in Kentucky that was integrated in 1859, was integrated all the way to 1905, and then the Democrat state legislature, made integration illegal and actually enforced segregation within their segregated until 1954, but I think the heroic dissent was in 1898, Justice Harlan being a minority of 1 or 2 in the Supreme Court. And he finally wins today, 50 years later, after he’s long gone. But he was, I think, brave enough in that time and courageous and insightful enough to know what was correct no matter what time he lived in.

Roger Ream [00:29:29] In a recent podcast with the Reagan Foundation, you commented on how people are often judged by shades of ideology and went on to talk about how we see our legal system more and more being used to attack opponents who have differing political views. How do we reverse that trend? I mean, we’re seeing it, of course, with President Trump, with cases coming from everywhere. But we see it beyond just President Trump, where the legal system has been turned on its head and we seem to be losing the rule of law.

Senator Rand Paul [00:30:02] I think the best way is to try to put it in the context of how important equal protection under the law is, and we did. We fought that battle in our country with the color of your skin that people often weren’t being treated equally under the law based on the color of their skin. They were being treated differently. And the whole movement behind the civil rights movement was the idea that we should have equal protection under the law. That law is going to treat you the same no matter what color your skin is or what your religion is or what your ideology is, but really, it was a lot of it was about race at that time. I think we’ve gotten beyond a lot of that. I think our court system is, by and large, does have equal protection according to race, but my fear now is that the prosecution, particularly from government, from the Department of Justice, is actually indeed discriminating once again, but this time on the shade of your ideology that if you’re a homeschooler, you might be not be treated the same. Or if you’re a father of seven protesting abortion outside of an abortion clinic, you might not be treated the same. Or if you’re Donald Trump, I think there’s nobody who’s objective in this country, who’s an honest liberal Democrat can really say what they’re doing to Donald Trump, to the court system is fair. There are some who just love it because they’re gross partisans, but there have to be some honest liberals somewhere who believe: “my goodness, we’re becoming a banana republic, that we’re going to just go after former presidents, where they’re very unpopular politically and put them in front of a jury and then just try them.” It used to be that people were very objective about these things. And the ACLU and other people would defend people, even people they disagreed with. This is how far we’ve come in the wrong direction. In the 1960s, Brandenburg versus Ohio is a free speech case. And Brandenburg, this despicable person, he’s a member of the KKK and he says all kinds of vile things that we won’t even repeat anymore of the things he said. But he was defended by the ACLU. And one of the defenders was Eleanor Norton, who’s now a district advocate or a representative for D.C. And she did the right thing. She was an African American who defended a despicable person just to defend the idea of freedom of speech. But now they ask her recently about Donald Trump and whether he had the right to say: “March peacefully in protest and do whatever on January 6th.” We had the right to say those things, and she says “Absolutely not. He should go to jail,” and it’s like: “Really, can’t you put yourself in the same position where you defended something you really just detested and despise because of the principle and people?” I think we’re losing the ability, or at least many on the left, are losing the ability to defend a principle like speech, even when you don’t like what the person is saying.

Roger Ream [00:32:46] Well, thank you very much for all you’re doing to protect our liberties and to preserve our constitutional protections of those liberties. Thank you for this book, “Deception.” I encourage people to get a copy of it. In fact, I went to see one of our supporters in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, and she had gone to an event with you, not knowing much of what she was going to. She said she picked up the book that day and she couldn’t put it down. It is riveting. It’s quite a story. And so, thanks for all you’re doing. It’s a pleasure to work with you and your office on the Capitol Hill Lecture Series. I’m looking forward to this coming summer. Getting in front of as many young interns and young staffers on Capitol Hill who will be in positions of power like you in the future, and trying to infuse them with some of the ideas of liberty while they’re young.

Senator Rand Paul [00:33:35] And then we can remind ourselves, Roger, of what we were like 30 years ago when we were young staffers and interns on the Hill, right?

Roger Ream [00:33:41] When we first met back in the late 1990s.

Senator Rand Paul [00:33:44] Maybe more than 30 years ago.

Roger Ream [00:33:45] That’s right. Thank you, Senator Paul, it’s a pleasure to be with you.

Senator Rand Paul [00:33:51] Thanks Roger.

Roger Ream [00:33:52] Thank you for listening to the Liberty + Leadership Podcast. If you have a comment or question, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org and be sure to subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app and leave a five-star review. Liberty + Leadership is produced at Podville Media. I’m your host, Roger Ream and until next time, show courage in things large and small.


TFAS has reached more than 49,000 students and professionals through academic programs, fellowships and seminars. Representing more than 140 countries, TFAS alumni are courageous leaders throughout the world forging careers in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy, law and the media.

Liberty + Leadership is a conversation with TFAS alumni, faculty and friends who are making a real impact. Hosted by TFAS President Roger Ream ’76, the podcast covers guests’ experiences, career stories and leadership journeys. 

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