Rand, Rush and the Religious Right
Thomas Jefferson once said, ” I don’t care what my neighbor does as long as he doesn’t pick my pocket or break my leg.” I wish Rush and Rand Paul believed the same thing.
Recently President Obama changed his mind on gay marriage. That’s not a big surprise since one out of six of his bundlers, those who raise huge amounts of cash for his campaign, are gay. Neither is it a big surprise that Rush Limbaugh and the Religious Right are still against gay marriage. What is surprising is that Rand Paul agrees not with those who want more liberty for folks but with those who want some people to have less. I had hoped that Rand Paul would carry the Torch of Liberty into the 2016 presidential race, but I don’t think so after his remarks he made last Friday.
Rand Paul has been an ardent supporter of Liberty in the Senate since being elected. Often times he has been the lone dissenting voice arguing against war in Syria and Iran and the expansion of the federal government at home. That is why it shocked me to hear what he said about Obama and the president’s stance on gay marriage. Rand Paul said that “Obama’s remarks could not get any gayer.”
That is a shocking statement coming from a man who is on record as being a champion of Individual Liberty. Now he did make that remark while speaking in front of the Faith and Freedom Foundation, a part of the Religious Right. So I’m not sure if this is what it takes to win an election in Kentucky, or since he said it in Ames, Iowa he is groundwork for a run for president in 2016. This maybe his ploy to garner votes in the future but it is the wrong way to advance the cause of Liberty today. Unfortunately, this is the remark that will be remembered come 2016 and not all of this other statments concerning the $16 trillion deficit, the massive Military Industrial Complex running rough shod over the world, and the growth of the government regulatory apparatus at home.
Rand Paul would have been a whole lot better off reading from his father’s book, Liberty Defined, at the Faith and Freedom talk. This would have been a better way to talk about gay marriage not as a moral issue but one of Individual Liberty. Ron Paul believes as Rand does that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But in Liberty Defined Ron Paul stresses that the reason that this is even a political issue is that it’s the growth of the meddling government into the private lives of individuals that is the real problem. Whether you personally agree with the choice of who someone marries, it is still their God-given natural right to choose.
Ron Paul asks the fundamental question in the chapter on Marriage in Liberty Defined:
“Why should the government give permission to two individuals who want to call themselves married?”
Even though Ron Paul is not in favor of Gay Marriage for himself, he understands that Liberty is indivisible. Everyone’s Natural Rights are Inalienable. Ron goes on to argue that he believes gay marriage is actually a First Amendment issue.
“Though there may be a traditional dictionary definition of marriage, the First Amendment should include allowing people to use whatever definition they like as long as force and fraud are excluded.”
Ron Paul, also in Liberty Defined, believes that marriage should be a private contractual matter.
“In a free society…all voluntary and consensual agreements would be recognized. If disputes arose, the courts could be involved as in any other civil dispute.”
Marriage is a partnership between two people who voluntarily agree to share their life and their property. If a religious organization doesn’t approve of the union they should not be forced to perform the wedding. And if a person doesn’t agree with gay marriage they have no legal obligation to marry a member of the opposite sex. There is no need to use the force of government to prevent people from engaging in peaceful voluntary behavior.
Ron Paul goes on to equate government licensing of marriage to that of any other government licensing, which Rand Paul is usually opposed to.
“In economics, licensing is designed by the special interest groups to suppress competition. Licensing for social reasons reflects the intolerant person’s desire to mold other people’s behavior to their standard. Both depend on the use of illegitimate government force”.
While Rand Paul’s position on gay marriage was a surprise to me, Rush Limbaugh’s is not. He had a discussion with himself on his radio program about how the people in this country do not want gay marriage. He made a point to show that what Obama really said was that he was for gay marriage and that the states should decide the issue. Rush said that 32 states had decided that gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed. Why I’m even brining up Rush’s name is that he went on in another segment to talk about how ”conservatism” was based upon Liberty. I’m sorry Rush you can’t advocate for the use of government force to limit individual’s ability to choose how they live and call that “Liberty.” Conservatism actually agrees with the fundamental tenets of collectivism in which the majority has the right to use government force to mold other people’s behavior. I’m sorry to tell Rush and Rand Paul that Liberty is not based upon the will of the collective.
“Man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken away from him by any other man, nor by any number, group, or collective of men.” Ayn Rand ”Textbook of Americanism”
A lot of conservatives and members of the Religious Right do not believe that if they vote to prevent two individuals from entering into a voluntary contract of marriage they are expressing authoritarian collectivism. Conservatives, the Religious Right and Obama all believe that Government is not limited but it is “unlimited” according to the will of the masses. I’m not surprised at their agreement in the matter. But I am surprised that Rand Paul is on the opposite side of Individual Liberty when it comes to gay marriage. Maybe he will come out and clarify his position like his father did in his book Liberty Defined and realize that it is about Individual Liberty and not religious belief.
During his speech in Ames, Iowa, Rand Paul further disappointed those who love Liberty when he said “It did bother me though that he (Obama) used the justification for it (his reversal on gay marriage) in a biblical reference. “He said the biblical Golden Rule caused him to be for gay marriage. And I’m like what version of the Bible is he reading?”
For me the Bible’s basic tents are to treat others the way you want to be treated, love yourself and love others, and be self-responsible. Gay marriage in no way violates these basic tenets. Just as gay marriage doesn’t violate the basic tenets of the Natural Right to Life, Liberty, Property and the pursuit of happiness of those who oppose it. It is hard for me to understand how those who claim to “Love thy neighbor as thyself” could be against the right of two people to enter into the most meaningful of human contracts; marriage. When you deny a person or group of person’s their Natural Rights you are in essence dehumanizing them and unfortunately in the past when this has occured it has led to the commiting of horrible attrocities.
Gay folks have been persecuted for centuries if not for millenia. In fact so many gay people were burned alive in the Middle Ages they were called as a disparaging term, by the common word for kindling — “Faggots.” During WWII thousands of gay men were killed in concentration camps and through the extermination through work programs. Himmler one of Hitler’s henchmen set up in 1936 the “Reich Central Headquarters for Combating Homosexuality and Abortions.” When you use the force of government to prevent people from getting married it is a form of violence and follows in the horrible tradition of persecuting people for who they love. And once people get used to thinking that someone is “less than” they are or “sinful” in the eyes of their God its much easier for them to close that gas chamber door or work them to death in concentration camps.
What is encouraging though today is that gay people are a lot less likely to be persecuted physically for their biology. But the “us” vs “them” mentality of many Christians and conservatives who view gay people as immoral still allows them to justify preventing same-sex marriage. Its so easy to forget that we are all just individuals on this blue and green orb trying to live our lives the best way we know how. The only real difference that matters between people is not their sexual orientation but if they use force or fraud to limit the peaceful behavior of others. Peace and love are always a better way than hate and war and freedom is always better than slavery.
Rand Paul’s Remarks about gay marriage and the president hurt the cause of Liberty and not just for those who want to marry a member of the same sex. When people hear a high-profile, up until now, defender of Individual Liberty, say something that is totally anti-Liberty it makes all his other positions seem hypocritical or insincere. When politicians pander to the Religious Right or conservatives who don’t like “people who are different”, it undermines everyone’s liberty. Either government is limited or it is not. Either you have the right to live your life as you see fit and marry who you choose or you do not. This goes the same for those who believe in any form of collectivism as well, and that is why its a shame Rand Paul missed a great opportunity to further the cause of Liberty last Friday by simply expressing the views of people he admires; Thomas Jefferson, Ron Paul and Ayn Rand.
“The Smallest Minority on Earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities” - Ayn Rand