Most orthodox Libertarians just want the government to stay out of their life. That’s good Libertarian philosophy. Curiously though some seem to believe the government has a role to play in our bedroom
It was an early April day with temperatures approaching thirty degrees centigrade. That’s higher than it should be in the Mojave Desert for this time of year, and predictions are that it will soon hit the low thirties regularly, and climb. After months of wonderfully mild, sunny weather and reasonably priced power bills, the thought of turning on my AirCon in April was rapidly ruining my afternoon walk with the dog.
As is our habit, the dog and I stop to collect the post. Just so I don’t forget she stops automatically at the box, even on Sundays, when there is no post. I opened the box and there it was; a big yellow envelope addressed to me from Kentucky Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul. I have no idea how he got my name and address; I don’t live in Kentucky. I’m thinking it probably has something to do with the NSA and that worries me, but, of course, that’s just how it is in America today. If they can listen to Angela Merkel’s cell phone calls, they’ll have no problem locating me.
I hurriedly tore open the envelope as I find Senator Paul intriguing. A graduate of prestigious Duke University School of Medicine, he’s a Conservative, but unlike the Tea Party type, he likes to depict himself as a Libertarian.
Most orthodox Libertarians just want the government to stay out of their life. In March, Senator Paul spoke about the government NSA spying program and said, “I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.” Undoubtedly, Mrs. Merkel would agree. That’s good Libertarian philosophy. But Paul’s Libertarian credentials are suspect. Curiously, Paul seems to believe the government has a role to play in our bedrooms. A Kentucky Right to Life survey in 2010 shows that Paul opposed hormonal birth control methods like ‘the pill,’ and supported a theoretical constitutional amendment banning all abortions, including cases of rape or incest. Understanding a little about strict Libertarian ideology, I find this perplexing. It made me think about Paul’s popularity and what his true appeal is, because being anything but a Democrat in America is a real challenge.
If you’re a Democrat, things are fairly black and white. You believe government has a role to play in our lives, and that indisputably means higher taxes, a sort of ‘nanny’ culture with lots of laws about what we can and cannot do, lots of advice as to what we should eat and drink, and that the environment in which we live is worth looking after. Then there are those huge, costly social programs that everyone else has to pay for to sustain those who have grown accustom to big government, abuse their health or just loathe taking personal responsibility for their actions. Being a Democrat in America is sort of like living in Scandinavia. The welfare state seems to work well there, albeit with a very heavy tax burden. And Scandinavians always rank very high as some of the most content people on earth. Democrats like the Scandinavians.
Republicans are far more challenged. They believe in less government when it suits their ideology (e.g. repeal Obamacare, don’t tamper with the Second Amendment right to bear arms, etc), but they also believe in more government when that suits their ideology (e.g. what you do in your bedroom and who you fall in love with isn’t your business, it’s the governments business!). It must be terribly confusing for Republicans.
Even Senator Paul seems disorientated. His letter to me is all about gun laws and preserving the Second Amendment right to bear arms. On page three he asks: “Do I believe that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the supreme law of the land?” If my answer is “Yes,” he says I should be “joining him” in his crusade. Well, yes Senator, I do. But doesn’t that also mean women have the right to choose, that all men are created equal, what people do in the bedroom is their business, and that Obamacare is now the law and upheld as such by the U.S. Supreme Court? Oh, and doesn’t that also mean that your colleague, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, cannot possibly become president because he was born in Canada? Geez, Republicans just had this big thing about whether or not Obama was born in the USA or Kenya, didn’t you? And if folks choose to use contraception, why should you care? Why all the dithering? Why all the “yes, but…?” Why all this stuff about supporting the constitution when you agree with it, and then creating an immense upheaval when you don’t agree with it? Why all the hypocrisy?
Democratic voters accept that their decision is going to cost them money. Democrats like big government and all its intrusions, but Republicans do too if that suits their ideological twaddle. What about our cell phones, emails, text messages and Skype calls Senator? Our beloved former Vice President and Conservative stalwart Dick Cheney says NSA spying “needs to be preserved.” And why does Republican Paul Ryan’s budget give all those tax breaks to the rich while you guys don’t even want to raise the minimum wage or give women equal pay for equal work?
Short of those who value hypocrisy, I’m still not sure what your appeal is, Senator. All the same, I suspect there are probably millions of Americans who, as you say, should be “joining” you. But please Senator, you’ve got to make that choice as easy for people as it is to be a Democrat. Because it’s just too damn hard to be a Republican.