When you ran as a third-party Libertarian presidential candidate in 1988, you said you hoped that what you were doing would expose a new generation to the movement's ideas. Are the stakes higher now?
Oh, I think so. The seeds we planted back in the '80s have come to fulfill some of those plans because quite a few who work in the campaign, on the staff, even some people here, worked for the campaign in 1988. I met them when they were in college, and they became fascinated and interested. I'm a strong believer that ideas have consequences and nothing happens by accident. If there had not been some groundwork laid for Austrian free-market economies, sound money, and this foreign policy, which has been going on, it wasn't there in the 1970s when I came here. But many organizations have popped up that have taught this. There have been documentaries made, books written, more professors than ever before. So I've just tapped into something that has been going on. The intellectual revolution has been going on for a generation. It's just that when they asked me first to do this, I didn't think the time was right. I wasn't sure how the young people would respond. I figure they'd only ask me about student loans and nothing else, and they haven't. If they would, I'd just tell them, "No, that's not part of it. Talk about what it would be like if we didn't have government: Tuition would be a lot cheaper, you could have a job, and I wouldn't tax you. You could take care of yourself. . . . "
If you don't get the nomination, what is your best outcome? What will you have done in this process?
Only time will tell because I never knew from the very beginning if anything would come of it. So all I know is there may be more people thinking about this.
Why are Republicans having such a difficult time?
I think they've lost their way from their traditional beliefs of being conservatives. They are big spenders. They pass entitlement programs, create new departments. They pass more regulations. They have prompted a monetary crisis because of their irresponsibility. And they haven't lived up to their foreign policy that they've generally followed in the past—less intervention than the Democrats overseas. . . .
Do you feel like a Republican?
I think I feel more like a Republican than they should. They're not conservatives, they're neoconservatives, and neoconservatives are big-government people. Why they get called conservatives or Republicans is beyond me. Some people feel loyal to the party, and people hate to break with this loyalty. But when I talk to people and they say, "You can be against the war and still be conservative?" I say, "Certainly." The conservative position is to not start wars and to obey the Constitution. Ronald Reagan not too long ago ran against the Department of Education and the Department of Energy, and he did quite well, and there's this whole idea that all of a sudden that I'm strange to the Republican Party? . . .
Where should decisions about legalizing abortion lie?
If you don't protect life, you can't protect liberty. And we now are at a stage where we allow the national government through the Supreme Court to permit the killing of an unborn baby anytime before birth. How do you protect somebody's right to go out and drink alcohol and smoke marijuana if you can't even protect life? As a physician, it's a legal entity. I could be sued if I hurt a fetus. I've been strongly pro-life, but I don't support nationalization of any of these problems. I voted against the marriage amendment. I want this to be held under our traditional form of republican government and let the states deal with it. . . .
Do you need to court conservative evangelicals?
I think so. I have to talk about the Christian just-war theory. We're not supposed to start wars. I talk about civil liberties, and they say, "That lets people do bad things." I say, "Yes, but these are the same liberties that allow you to pray in school, that allow you to have your home-schoolers, to have your own churches."