At the heart of Paul's worldview is a conviction that people are born free and should govern themselves – and that free markets make better decisions than governments do.
"Some people think I don't love governing, but it's different," he says in a Monitor interview. "I believe in self-governing and family governing. The responsibility is put more on the individual than on some huge monstrosity in Washington."
Paul traces his values of personal responsibility and self-reliance to his early family life. His father, Howard, the son of a German immigrant, ran a family dairy business in Green Tree, Pa., near Pittsburgh, where he pasteurized and bottled milk. The third of five sons, Paul learned responsibility and the work ethic at age 5 in the family basement. There, milk bottles were washed by hand, and he and his brothers earned a penny for every dirty bottle they spotted coming down a conveyer belt.
"We learned the incentive system," he says. The boys soon figured out that one of their uncles was a worse bottle washer than the other. "We liked to work for that one uncle, because we got more pennies," he says.
The five boys shared a small bedroom in a four-room house. From spring through fall, they slept outside in a small, screened porch. His grandmother and two uncles lived in the same family compound. His father hoped that all five sons would become Lutheran ministers; two of them did. "Confirmation was a big event in my family; birthdays weren't a big event," Paul says. His mother, Margaret, urged her sons to read and get an education.