Ben Adler just lost his respect for Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY.
Paul is a Tea Party favorite who wants to drastically reduce the size of the government to only those functions explicitly detailed in the Constitution. Sen. Paul is the son of Rep. Ron Paul and both are known for being libertarians.
Adler noted that Sen. Rand Paul introduced the Life at Conception Act, which would declare that children in the womb would also have rights under the 14th Amendment. Unlike a Constitutional Amendment which requires a 2/3rds vote of both Houses and 3/4ths of states to approve, this bill would only need a majority vote in both Houses plus the President’s signature of course.
Paul also has co-authored a Constitutional Amendment that would eliminate automatic citizenship for anyone born on U.S. soil. (Given our impending demographic downturn, I would not support this legislation now.)
Adler can’t help but be snarky on these two proposals:
“So Paul wants to expand the 14th Amendment to cover the fertilized embryos of American citizens while restricting it to exclude the babies of illegal immigrants. It’s not clear where the fetus in an illegal immigrant’s uterus would fit into this equation.”
Oh, how cute when writers think the wrote a funny.
But the last time I checked, Congress is tasked with determining who is a citizen and how. It’s not up to the states to determine this, right? Whether or not you support birthright citizenship or expanding legal protection to unborn children, both of these are worthy for Congress to consider.
But Adler referred to this as “hypocrisy.”
You see, Adler is getting a different Rand Paul than he was expecting. He thought Paul would focus, like his father, on “small-government conservatism” in the tradition of Barry Goldwater. Goldwater opposed LBJ’s government expansion of Medicare and the War on Poverty. In later years, Goldwater also supported legal abortion.
“While Paul might be expected to take after his father in this regard, the causes he has taken up have been surprising. Whereas Ron Paul has focused his career on fiscal conservatism and foreign-policy isolationism, Paul is promoting socially conservative positions.”
Notice how Adler thinks socially conservative positions are incompatible with an agenda of expanding liberty. And yet Adler would continue to deny expanding the right to life of millions of children in the womb.
There’s nothing wrong with liberals saying “I wish all Republicans were like ____.” After all, I recently wrote how I wished that all liberal Catholics were less like Ted Kennedy and more like Sargent Shriver (who was pro-life).
But it is worth noting that any time a liberal complains about conservatives and wishes that they were different, it is almost always about abortion. Despite repeated calls for increased taxation and government expansion into every industry imaginable, liberals like to fashion themselves as advocates of personal liberty.
That’s why liberals “respect” libertarians, who are often much stronger free-market advocates than standard Republicans, but who also (unfortunately) believe that pornography and marijuana should be legal.
To Adler, it is a contradiction for a libertarian like Rand Paul to be pro-life. It is sadly true that most libertarians believe that unborn children don’t deserve to be protected from the violence of abortion. Indeed, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who plans on running for the GOP nomination in 2012, is a pro-choice libertarian.
But both Rand Paul and his father Ron Paul are pro-life libertarians. Both are doctors, too. In fact, Ron Paul is an obstetrician who has delivered thousands of babies. Both of these legislators believe that all persons have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Sorry to break your heart, Mr. Adler.
UPDATE: Catholic blogger Lisa Graas suggests that Sen. Rand Paul’s introduction of this bill is just cover and that he is not truly pro-life. We’ll be watching his votes, that’s for sure. Nonetheless, the point still holds: You can be a libertarian and pro-life.