I know Ron Paul will never sit in the White’s House as president, but just to demonstrate how indefensible is his weird brand of libertarian-conservatism, I direct you to an interview Candy Crowley did with Ron Paul on CNN’s State of the Union.
Here is the pertinent exchange and I have highlighted the parts that need further explanation:
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about a couple of your rivals. Rick Santorum has had quite a ride in the polls. Do you believe from what you see today that Rick Santorum can beat President Obama in November?
PAUL: Well, I don’t see how that’s possible. And this whole idea about that talking about the social issues and who is going to pay for birth control pills, I’m worried about undermining our civil liberties…he wants to, you know, control people’s social lives…
CROWLEY: …certainly Rick Santorum is the one who has been in the forefront of some of this talk on social issues…Are you uncomfortable with this talk about social issues? Do you consider it a winning area for Republicans in November?
PAUL: No. I think it’s a losing position. I mean, I talk about it because I have a precise understanding of how difficult problems are to be solved. And they’re not to be at the national level.We’re not supposed to nationalize these problems. The founders were very clear that problems like this, if there needs to be legislation of sorts, the state has the right to write the legislation that they so choose. And that solves a lot of our problems…
Now, let’s get this straight:
Paul, a libertarian Republican, says he is “worried about undermining our civil liberties” because Santorum wants to “control people’s social lives.” And Paul says his “precise understanding” of problem-solving convinces him that they are not supposed to be solved at the “national level,” not supposed to be “nationalized,” that the states have “the right to write the legislation that they so choose.”
Okay, now that we understand what Paul is saying, we can look at how phony it all is. This man signed a “Personhood Pledge,” which commits him to,
supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,” and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I “support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.”
The pledge also commits him to defending the following:
I believe that in order to properly protect the right to life of the vulnerable among us, every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise…
I oppose assisted suicide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and procedures that intentionally destroy developing human beings.
I pledge to the American people that I will defend all innocent human life. Abortion and the intentional killing of an innocent human being are always wrong and should be prohibited.
Now, remember that this is the same man, Ron Paul the libertarian Republican, who is “worried about undermining our civil liberties,” and criticized Santorum for wanting to “control people’s social lives.” Yet there he is proclaiming that he will:
oppose a woman’s reproductive rights,
oppose an individual’s right to make an end-of-life decision,
oppose scientific research involving certain kinds of stem cells,
and essentially oppose in vitro fertilization, which sometimes involves destroying unused embryos. (The Catholic Church, by the way, officially opposes all forms of in vitro fertilization.)
It is true that Paul wrote an “addendum” to the Personhood Pledge, which he thought, I suppose, cleared up the matter for his fellow libertarians, who might be alarmed that he is pledging to do the same thing Rick Santorum wants to do (Santorum, as well as Gingrich, also signed the pledge).
But to show you how convoluted—and superficial—is his thinking, I will quote the relevant part in full:
A Human Life Amendment should do two things. First, it should define life as beginning at conception and give the unborn the same protection all other human life enjoys. Second, it must deal with the enforcement of the ruling much as any law against violence does – through state laws.
To summarize my views – I believe the federal government has a role to play. I believe Roe v. Wade should be repealed. I believe federal law should declare that life begins at conception. And I believe states should regulate the enforcement of this law, as they do other laws against violence.
I don’t see the value in setting up a federal police force on this issue any more than I do on other issues. The Fourteenth Amendment was never intended to cancel out the Tenth Amendment. This means that I can’t agree that the Fourteenth Amendment has a role to play here, or otherwise we would end up with a “Federal Department of Abortion.” Does anyone believe that will help life? We should allow our republican system of government to function as our Founders designed it to: protect rights at the federal level, enforce laws against violence at the state level.
Here we have Paul affirming his support for both a Human Life Amendment that gives “the unborn the same protection all other human life enjoys,” as well as a “federal law” declaring “life begins at conception.”
He also declares that although these two methods would impute personhood to a seconds-old product of conception, the enforcement of “any law against violence” should be left to the states and not the federal government. This is his way of preserving the Tenth Amendment, he believes.
But the problem here is obvious: What if, say, New York state decides not to enforce the federal law declaring life begins at conception? What if the citizens of that state wanted to keep abortion legal, as most certainly would happen? Would a Justice Department run by a Paul Administration simply ignore such flouting of the law? Would a man who pledged that,
every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise…
not seek to at least enforce the “civil rights” of those human beings who were victims of violence in New York state? And let’s not mince words: “violence” would be murder under any interpretation of the law. Murder.
And if Paul were to successfully remove “abortion from the jurisdiction of the federal courts,” as he said he would do in his addendum, then what would be the meaning of any Human Life Amendment to the Constitution or any federal statute, if either could not be interpreted by federal courts and enforced by the federal government?
The truth is that Paul’s libertarian philosophy, mixed with his desire to annihilate reproductive rights, renders him intellectually drunk. He says, using capital letters:
We CAN both fight for life AND liberty. We can remain true to our principle of following the Constitution while also fighting for our moral values.
No, you can’t, Mr. Paul. Sober up.