The “Morton Downey Jr. Show” was always something of a freak show, and 1988 — when the War on Drugs was at its high-water mark — was no exception.
Ron Paul, then the Libertarian Party candidate for president, appeared on the July 4, 1988 episode, attacking the federal government’s drug policy based on his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In this clip, he was bit a more energetic than today’s presidential-candidate Ron Paul, but he made the same case against the drug war.
“I detest the use of drugs and I think we would have a lot less drug use if they were legal,” Paul said. “I think it is part of the American system to let people make freedom of choices. We let them read literature and pick and choose what they read on Sundays. We let them pick which religion they want to follow — very important subjects. We let people in a free society make decisions on what’s best for their body.”
Paul also displayed the same views on foreign policy that he holds today. But instead of weighing in on the Middle East, he was espousing a hands-off policy on dealing with the Soviet Union, particularly with regard to treaties and extending foreign aid to communist countries like the Soviet Union.