Yes, Ron Paul really said this:
We should be like 1900. We should be like 1940, 1950, 1960. I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district. There's no magic about FEMA. They're a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don't have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states. A state can decide. We don't need somebody in Washington.
Where to start with this nonsense? Firstly, why is Ron Paul running for President of the United States of America if he only believes in a 'voluntary' coordination between states? The US only functions as a country because of the Federal government – otherwise it would be 50 separate countries. If Paul were running for President of Texas as a separate country, I'd understand, but he isn't. Which leads me to believe he's either a charlatan or completely mad. And given his unbending dedication to one rigid ideology, I'm starting to lean towards the latter. The notion that the Federal government should sit back and watch a hurricane devastate several of its most populated and economically important states is, well, insane.
I've never understood this about ideologues – that no matter how much evidence is presented to them, they will never, ever admit to gigantic flaws in their theory. Paul believes free market capitalism works, not because it does, but because he believes it does – a highly convenient circular logic that essentially allows him to believe and justify anything he wants.
Chez Pazienza asks, perhaps more pertinently, what the point of Paul is these days:
The only way Paul will ever see the inside of the Oval Office is if he's invited there by whoever happens to be president. And that's partially because he can stand up in front of a group of people and honestly say, without a hint of irony, that this country needs to return to the way it was 111 years ago. I get that today's Republicans tend to fetishize the 50s, but at least everyone had electricity by that point.