When he says "strict," he means it. As a member of Congress, he refuses to vote for any bill not explicitly set out in the Constitution, earning him the nickname "Dr. No." He routinely votes against new taxes, deficit budgets, government surveillance, gun control, war funding, and the war on drugs. He would abolish the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve, the US Departments of Education, Energy, and Commerce as well as other "unconstitutional domestic bureaucracies." He has called for America to withdraw from the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.
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.