is a question I thought I would bring to light in lieu of some Libertarians
deciding to back Ron Paul for President.
It is clear that Ron Paul has a wide appeal among Libertarians and has raised
large amounts of money for President. Perhaps much more than his running for
While I think some of Paul's stances are notable (like his opposition to the
Iraq war and other U.S. military adventures), as a Libertarian, I would have a
very hard time backing him for a number of reasons:
Abortion - Ron Paul has repeatedly voted in favor of restrictions on
a woman's freedom to choose with her doctor to have an abortion. Unfortunately,
he is not of the mindset of opposing abortion personally but refusing to use
government to interfere in a woman's ability to choose to have one.
For example, according to an article at the Free Liberal website, during
the 2005 congressional session, Rep. Paul introduced H.R. 776, entitled the
"Sanctity of Life Act of 2005." The article goes on to say: “Had it
passed, H.R. 776 would have recognized the personhood of all unborn babies by
declaring, "human life shall be deemed to exist from conception."
The bill also recognized the authority of each State to protect the lives of
unborn children. In addition, H.R. 776 would have removed abortion from the
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, thereby nullifying the Roe v Wade decision,
and the only positive feature of the bill is that H.R. 776 would have denied
funding for abortion providers.
In plain language, H.R. 776 would have ended abortion on demand. It is also
interesting to note that none of the religionist's pet politicians, including
George W. Bush, even bothered to support Paul's bill. Back in 2005 The Free
Liberal (which is a left-libertarian online publication) highlighted Paul's
support of immigration restrictions. See the article here:
I can only conclude that his opposition to abortion is not only philosophical,
but also grounded in his trade. Its a well-known fact that Rep. Paul is an
OB/GYN by trade and, from my vantage point, it would seem to me that Paul is
using the force of government to maintain his employment in delivering babies.
Immigration - Rep. Paul has also routinely voted in favor of
immigration restrictions. In lieu of his claiming to be a
"libertarian" one would think that Paul would not be in favor of
government interference in labor markets. However, his voting record indicates
exactly the opposite.
Don't get me wrong; I think screening immigrants for criminal histories and
contagious diseases prior to allowing them entry is a proper function of
government to prevent the initiation of force. However, a commentary by Free
Liberal editor Paul Gessing came to my attention on an e-mail list I belong
to that was published at The Free Liberal website December 25th 2006.
Ron Paul casted a vote in favor of a bill to further restrict the number of
immigrants wanting to migrate to the U.S., increased the number of border
inspectors and new requirements on employers to screen employees via Social
Security number verification.
For all of his good points, Paul does himself and the libertarian movement a
disservice for kow-towing to the anti-immigration faction of the libertarian
and conservative movements. Especially for his support of a number of measures
backed by social conservatives.
One other issue that comes to mind is I believe Paul supports allowing states
to allow prayer in public schools.
Furthermore, according to ontheissues.org, Paul has also voted to keep the pledge of
allegiance, ban gay adoptions in the District of Columbia, keep the Cuba travel ban until political prisoners in that country are released, vouchers for private education (except for DC schools) and he
supports a constitutional amendment for school prayer.
At one web blog Paul is quoted as saying:
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in
either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On
the contrary, our Founders political views were strongly informed by their
religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at
the federal government’s hostility to religion.
one could argue that states should be able to call their own shots with how
their schools are run. However, such a policy would be a clear violation of the
Prior to becoming an atheist, I distinctly remember reading a commentary in a
religious-oriented newspaper by an Episcopal priest who, as a kid grew up in
Alabama when prayer was recited in public schools. One student who was Jewish
in the priest's class refused to pray and was summarily rapped on his knuckles
with a wooden ruler by his class teacher each time the Jewish child would not
pray since the school prayed in Christian prayers. Tears streamed down the
Jewish child's face due to the humiliation and pain of his punishment in front
of his classmates.
do not think we would want to have situations like this come up again.
This is a long list of un-principled votes Paul has cast and, while I
realize this maybe nit picking, based on these elements of Ron Paul's voting
record, he is not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination.
While I respect every Libertarian's decision in whom they will back for
President, Libertarians should disassociate themselves not only from Paul, but
from 'the right' in general and should only back candidates and elected
officials that are truly dedicated to consistently and honestly upholding the
rights of the individual and not those, like Paul, who pick and choose.