Civil liberties

Sexual Harassment Laws? Meh. Who Needs’em?

During an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Ron Paul, the supposed champion of civil liberty, reiterated the position stated in his 1987 book, Freedom Under Siege, that sexual harassment laws are unnecessary and that it should be left up to the individual to deal with on their own.

WALLACE: Let me just interrupt, I’m sorry but we have limited time and we want to get to the other two candidates as well. I want to ask you about one other thing that you wrote back in your book in 1987 about sexual harassment in the workplace.

You wrote this, “Why don’t” — this is about the victims of sexual harassment. “Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously, the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem?”

You said that sexual harassment should not be a violation of someone’s employment rights?

PAUL: Well, the whole thing is, is you have to get a better definition of sexual harassment. If it’s just because somebody told the joke and somebody was offended, they don’t have a right to go to the federal government and have a policeman to come in and put penalties on those individuals. I mean, they have to say, well, maybe this is not a very good environment, and they have the right to work there or not there.

But if sexual harassment involves violence as libertarians, we are very opposed to any violence. So, if there is any violence involved, you still don’t need a federal law against harassment. You just need to call the policeman and say there’s been an assault or there’s been attempted rape or something.

So, you have to separate those two out. But because people are insulted by, you know, rude behavior, I don’t think we should make a federal case out of it. I don’t think we need federal laws to deal with that and people should deal with that at home.

According to Ron Paul's own words, both in his 1987 book and during his interview with Chris Wallace yesterday, if "sexual harassment," and I'm putting that in quotes because Paul seems to think there's no such thing, occurs in the form of sexual innuendo or a joke, we don't need laws for that. And if it occurs in the form of sexual violence, well, we don't need laws for that either.

What would be the purpose of calling the police if there is no law against sexual harassment? If your only solution is to "take care of it at home," which roughly translates to "either quit your job or stop bitching."

I can't see how any of Ron Paul's views have changed since the creation of his newsletter and his book in the 1980s. The only thing that has changed is he has learned which views to keep to himself and which views are vague and dogwhistle-y enough to become a frontrunner in the Republican primary.

And I would reiterate the fact that Ron Paul is running as a Republican candidate. The same Republican party that started the wars, ballooned the deficit, and presided over the largest expansion of government in recent history with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The same Republican party that seeks to legislate morality.

He may wear libertarian clothing, but he's still a republican.