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Ron Paul Adlerian Framework

Updated on September 13, 2012


This paper presents a brief look into personality theories as defined by Alfred Adler. Application of these theories is presented with a reverse engineered reflection on the personality profile of Representative Dr. Ron Paul in relation to Adler’s theory of personality development.

Alfred Adler, the father of Individual Psychology, laid the groundwork for many future psychologists and their understanding of personality development. Adler postulated that as a result of inherent feelings of inferiority stemming from our physical dependence on others as infants we are driven towards either personal superiority or social success Personal superiority theory dictates that the individual is motivated by personal agendas that are often self-centered with little concern for others, where as social success theory dictates that the individual feels a natural connection with humanity and finds success through the betterment of society without recognition of personal motivations (Feist, J, G. & Feist, J 2009).

To compensate for the inherent feelings of inferiority during early childhood a final goal is created. As reflected by Adler, this goal does not necessarily reflect the particular inferiorities of the individual, such as a goal of being strong and independent that is reflective of feeling of weakness and dependency during early childhood. The compensation may come in the form of balancing the perceived failing with success in another area. As an example; an individual limited physically may excel intellectually as compensation. Through the creation of this goal behaviors are elicited to accomplish it, thus directly influencing our style of life (Feist, J, G. & Feist, J 2009).

An individual’s style of life is inclusive of their attitudes towards self, others and the world as a whole. For example, an individual may view her or himself as connected and interactive with their environments whereas another may feel disconnected and at odds with their environments due to their perspectives self, others and the world as a whole. Directive of this established life style and facilitator of the set goal is our creative power. Adler proposed that creative power is the individual’s ability to overcome obstacles or be stopped by them in the acquisition of their set goals (Feist, J, G. & Feist, J 2009).
For the purposes of this evaluation Representative Dr. Ron Paul will be examined through an Adlerian personality framework. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1935, the third of five children he spent his youth working with his family, engaging in extra-curricular activities in school including being president of the student council. Meeting his future wife in high school he then went on to pursue a career in medicine eventually opening a private practice specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. Eventually his medical expertize became utilized by the United States Air Force. In1970 after returning to private practice Paul started his involvement in politics. Since that time he has been a tireless advocate of liberty as defined by our constitution while promoting a reduction of governmental control and inefficient economic practices. Throughout his career Paul has relentlessly attempted to spread his perspectives with the attitude of win or lose the message still gets out. Through several losses Paul has continually returned to try again and as a result has inspired a very large following despite the lack of media coverage (, 2012)

Although there was not a lot of information about the relationship Paul had with his parents and sibling it is safe to assume by his life style that he developed a social success perspective to his goal establishment. His service in high school and the military along with his tireless political career establish this. It would seem that at an early age Paul was taught to work together and to value commitment and accomplishment by working with his family at their business while establishing success as a result of the group rather than the individual. There is no representation of Paul’s inferiorities other than the ones inherent in all children. It is evident that as a result of his upbringing he developed health psychological perspectives and attitudes towards himself, others and the world at large.

His subsequent choice to study medicine is consistent with his earlier established goal of social success. It is possible that this choice was derived from his birth order. Being the third of five children may have put him in the position of being a care taker of sorts to his two younger siblings. Perhaps being nurtured by his older siblings and nurturing his younger siblings had a role in his decision to practice medicine and then serve in the Air Force in a medical capacity. Being raised in a working family who probably as a result of raising five children had to tightly manage their finances and were heavily affected by governmental policy concerning taxes and farming regulations Paul was able to see firsthand the role government has and its effect on its people. This would seem to be the clearest representation of inferiority compensation based goal setting.

Feeling subject and therefore inferior to the whims of those in power he has compensated by living a life style indicative of service to others for the betterment of the whole. If viewed as a timeline dating back to his youth when he worked for his parents and most likely established his perspective around the rewards of work in relation to the governments imposed limitations through tax and policy a clear pattern of increased capacity in service to others is present. Starting with sports in high school and attaining president of the student council, then medical school and military service his choice to enter the political arena in consistent with his goal and style of life, resulting in a personality motivated by social success that has positively influences many lives and society as a whole.


Feist, J, G. & Feist, J (2009) Adler: Individual Psychology, Chapter Three, Theories of Personality, pp. 70, 71 & 79

Ron Paul. (2012). Retrieved 07:44, Sep 12, 2012 from


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