Rand Paul's 'crazy salad' Giving Lefties Uncomfortable Aftertaste

WHAT'S HE HIDING??? |||Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) continues simultaneously climbing up the GOP totem pole and assaulting the traditional (and traditionally unsatisfactory) left-right spectrum on issues ranging from civil liberties to foreign policy to immigration to criminal justice to industrial hemp. This is both a reflection of libertarianism's genre-defying principles, and of Paul's own canny sense of political possibilities. As he told Fox News this Sunday,

[T]his left-right spectrum doesn't always work for people, but I think because of some of that confusion, it shows that someone like myself, I think, could appeal to young people, independents and moderates, because many of them do think it's a mistake to put people in jail for marijuana use and throw away the key. So, I think there are people who would like a less aggressive foreign policy. There are all kinds of issues that don't neatly fit in the left-right paradigm that I think would help, because we're not doing very well in a lot of these states, these purple and blue states. So, we do need a candidate that would appeal across the left-right paradigm.

All of this has put left-of-center commentators in a pickle: Do you 1) applaud Paul for fighting some good fights, 2) dismiss him as a kook, or 3) both? Door #3 appears to be an increasingly popular–and occasionally delicious–choice. Some examples:

* Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, "Rand Paul Is Right On Marijuana, And That Should Scare Democrats Into Action":

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is one of America's most radical ideologues. He endorsed a discredited, century-old Supreme Court decision that would give employers nearly limitless power to exploit their workers. He opposes bans on employment discrimination and on whites-only lunch counters. He backs nationwide anti-union legislation that would reduce both union and non-union wages by $1,500 a year. And he backs a dangerous constitutional amendment that would have doubled unemployment and caused the economy to shrink by 17 percent. Few, if any, politicians would do more harm to more people if given the opportunity to turn their preferences into law.

Which is why Democrats need to take his effort to outflank them on drug policy very, very seriously. [...]

[I]f Democrats cede this issue to the likes of Rand Paul, they will give up a powerful opportunity to engage with young voters — and potentially empower one of America’s most dangerous politicians in the process.

* Kelli Goff, The Root, "Tea Partier Shows Up Obama on Drug Policy":

Get used to this replay |||To the extent that he is known to minority audiences at all, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is likely best known for his controversial criticism of the Civil Rights Act. But he may soon emerge with a much higher profile among black Americans, and a much more positive one, thanks in large part to his equally controversial comments on another issue: drug policy. [...]

The question now becomes whether or not President Obama has the courage to become a voice for those young men in his second term or if he is going to continue to allow a Tea Partier who questions the Civil Rights Act to become a more credible voice for young men of color than the first black president.

* John Cole, Balloon Juice, "This is Just Plain Common Sense":

I know that by writing this I am going to be accused of being a fan bois and told I am being duped by an insane crazy person, but you know what? Rand Paul is right [...]

I'd love a better spokesman, but at least some people were exposed to this opinion who might not otherwise agree with it.

Much less grudgingly complimentary is Frank Bruni in The New York Times, "Rand Paul's Loopy Ascent"

Frank Bruni is really good at posing for photographs. |||[H]e has managed, with remarkable speed, to migrate to the foreground of Republican politics. You could almost lose sight of what an albatross he really is. [...]

Paul's greatest hits include a denunciation of Medicare as socialism, a recommendation of stopping foreign aid to a few key allies, and the insistent introduction of Patriot Act amendments so loopy that one of them netted all of 10 votes from the 95 senators present while another garnered a whopping total of 4. [...]

He'd be a skunk in a presidential primary and a quixotic, doomed nominee.

He has railed erroneously about the Clean Water Act's effect on his toilets, indelicately quibbled with aspects of the Civil Rights and Americans With Disabilities Acts, and carped about the "nanny state" in relation to seat-belt laws. Yes, seat-belt laws. [...]

It's a crazy salad he's serving, no matter how it's currently dressed.

Conor Friedersdorf dispatches with Bruni's looneyisms here. Reason has pointed out Bruni's freedom-harshin' bonafides in the past.

In fact, isn't Rand Paul a valuable litmus test? I'm not saying that disagreeing with any given politician proves one thing or another about a person, but if you look at the bipartisan list of people who have been screaming themselves purple about the junior senator from Kentucky–Bruni, John McCain, Lawrence O'Donnell, William Kristol, Garrett Epps, Michael Gerson, John Yoo–you quickly detect one important trait in common: They are all reliable apologists for the government exercise of power. While the particular power being championed may vary, and the tenor of the argument will change depending on which political party is exercising it this season, the truism remains that Rand Paul poses a direct challenge to people who get irritated when there's any obstruction between their goals and government's ability to pursue them.

For that and other reasons, Paul is not only the most interesting man in the Senate, but I think the most interesting player in American politics today.

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  • phandaal||

    "But he may soon emerge with a much higher profile among black Americans, and a much more positive one, thanks in large part to his equally controversial comments on another issue: drug policy."

    Love it. Whether or not this is true, if someone outside of the left-spectrum had said this, they'd be denounced as a racist. If you're a liberal, saying that all them black folks are on drugs is just fine!

    Aside from that, their reaction to Rand Paul shows how viable he really is. They'd be forced to denounce socially liberal positions just because he holds them.

  • John Galt||

    Racism, even hardcore heart-felt racism, isn't a fault within Lefty. It's simply a tool Lefty uses to create division in order to conquer.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I know that by writing this I am going to be accused of being a fan bois and told I am being duped by an insane crazy person, but you know what? Rand Paul is right [...]

    I'd love a better spokesman, but at least some people were exposed to this opinion who might not otherwise agree with it

    John Coleslaw always has been a bandwagon-jumper.

  • Brett L||

    Also, fanboi is singular, fanbois plural. Even with his multiple personalities, he'd still be just a fanboi.

  • ||

    It doesn't matter. Anybody who says fanboi rather than fanboy deserves to be punched in the face.

  • ||

    It's pronounced "fan-bwah", you provincial baboon.

  • Curtisls87||

    Perhaps he was referring to himself as someone who drinks French fans - je bois, I drink, je fanbois, I drink fans.

  • John||

    In an ideal world, I would like to see 2016 be Rand Paul versus Nanny Bloomburg. Run two candidates who don't bother with a mask and sort a few things out for once.

  • derpules||

    Mongol General: Senator Paul! What is best in life?
    Rand: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

  • phandaal||

  • Brandybuck||

    "Hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper."

  • Gray Ghost||

    +1 Agatean Empire.

  • Ted S.||

    I hate it when my lavatory paper isn't shoft.

  • John Galt||

    Genghis Paul? I like it.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    But Bloomberg is a Republican. How could you possibly forget something like that?

  • John||

    yeah. He is going to run as an R for President real soon.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    You just know there are progtards out there who think Bloomberg isn't bad for a Republican, but if they had a Democrat, then the NYPD wouldn't be doing racist stop-and-frisks. That has Republican policy written all over it.

  • ||

    Actually, I'm pretty sure ElBloombito ran as an Independent last time.

  • John Galt||

    Originally he ran as a Democrat. Then when the winds benefited, as a Republican. Most recently he runs as an Independent.

  • ||

    Even better: Rand vs. Elizabeth Warren.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    The stories of that cosmic battle would be told throughout the centuries in story and song.

    Too bad we're getting Biden vs. Christie.

  • ||

    It's win-win. Either we get the most libertarian president since Coolidge or we get the first Native American President.

  • ||

    the first Native American President

    I think that was Calvin Coolidge too.

  • KPres||

    First Native American only? What, did she lie about being a woman?

  • CE||

    I'm not going to check.

  • ||

    It's a little known fact, but Martin Van Buren was also a woman. He was a very convincing cross-dresser.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Edith Wilson was the first female POTUS.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Conor Friedersdorf dispatches with Bruni's looneyisms here. Reason has pointed out Bruni's freedom-harshin' bonafides in the past.

    Bruni's the epitome of the modern left-wing, who believes that there's no problem so big or complex that it can't be solved with a government program and a few extra layers of bureaucracy.

  • Kuze||

    Don't you get it? They're smarter than you. They were smarter than most in high school even though the dumb jocks got the girls and now they're getting their revenge. People are stupid and irrational and need to be 'nudged' into the proper behaviour. These are the people to do it, they're smarter and of purer heart than you.

    Who will 'nudge' the 'nudgers' you ask? What are you some kind of right-wing nut? We have a body of sociological research that explains why your views are pathological. It's science.

  • Irish||

    Based on the picture and his writing ability, I'm pretty sure Bruni was one of the dumb jocks.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    There was a New Yorker cartoon when a woman had just offered a motion at an otherwise all-male board meeting and the chairman said, "that's a good idea. Maybe one of the men would like to suggest it?" Update the joke, and it's "that's a good idea; maybe someone other than Rand Paul could suggest it?"

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    You referenced a New Yorker cartoon.

    Turn in your gun and your badge.

  • John||

    and the insistent introduction of Patriot Act amendments so loopy that one of them netted all of 10 votes from the 95 senators present while another garnered a whopping total of 4. [...]

    I wonder what Bruni has to say about Russ Feingold? You know, the lone vote in the Senate against the act. Is Feingold crazy too?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Why are you changing the subject and criticizing Feingold's courageous dissent against the Patriot Act! We were talking about Rand Paul's crazy votes against the Patriot Act, a totally different thing.

  • MJGreen||

    My guess: He doesn't know what Paul introduced, just that it got so few votes (and therefore, it must have been loopy). I also assume that he either intended to mislead people into thinking, or mistakenly assumed himself, that Paul's amendments made the Patriot Act more odious. Though it also wouldn't surprise me if this guy thinks the Patriot Act is awesome.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Few, if any, politicians would do more harm to more people if given the opportunity to turn their preferences into law.

    Shouldering rudely into the pantheon of political villainy, Senator Paul makes pissant Indian killers like Andrew Jackson look like soft-hearted sob sisters.

  • Tony||

    Philosophy 101 question: What's worse, shooting one person in the head, or being in a position to feed a million starving people but doing nothing and letting them all die?

  • ||

    Are you the "one" or one of the "million"? If neither then this is a trick question.

  • SugarFree||

    Philosophy 101 question: Why would anyone feed a sockpuppet?

    Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • phandaal||

    And yet, here we are. Somewhere in the clammy recesses of the interwebz, a douchey man named Tony is furiously masturbating to the thought of all these silly folks getting so worked up over his posts.

  • John||

    The problem is that that question is a fantasy because it assumes that feeding the million people comes at no cost and no second order effects even assuming it could be done. Further, there is currently no famines occurring in the world. So there aren't even a million people in life or death need of food even if you wanted such a fantasy.

  • Tony||

    If Rand Paul had his way his policies would result in massive unemployment and the destruction of the safety net. So there would be a significant increase in poverty and starvation. Libertarians like to think that doing nothing to stop the proverbial train from hitting someone is morally superior than pushing someone in front of it. They're wrong.

  • Matrix||

    But when the government is bankrupt and the safety nets suddenly vanish for those who had been relying on them all along and lost the skills or the desire to fend for themselves, what then?

    Those people in a far worse position, and there will be many more of them. If the government had not propped them up all along, they would have found a way on their own or private individuals would have stepped in to help them.

    But no, you only see "if da gubmint don' doos it, no one will!"

  • califernian||

    Please! ALways with the fucking feeding the poor! Give us a break.

    Let's chop Leviathan down to the point where the question is whether or not ton continue forcing citiziens to pay for the government's food charities and THEN we might have an issue.

    Until then, Leviathan blots out the sky so quit worrying about feeding the poor you disingenuous sockpoppet.

  • Matrix||

    the poor were never fed or taken care of until the mighty hand of government stepped in and saved them.

  • John||

    No one starved in this country before the New Deal even during the worst recessions when we were much poorer than we are today. The fact that you would even mention starvation as a price of cutting government shows how stupid you are.

  • Tony||

    I am fascinated by this right-wing meme that starvation doesn't exist and never existed in this country. Where do you people get this stuff?

  • wareagle||

    Where do you people get this stuff?
    ---------
    often from you folks who complain that obesity is our leading health problem. You can't have it both ways. And any starvation that does exist is A) damn near undetectable, B) the result of the worst of choices and C) made possible by govt policy that rewards stupidity.

  • John||

    I don't write the history books Tony, I just read them. And there hasn't been a real no kidding famine in this country since colonial times. Even during the horrible depressions of 1837 and 1873, people didn't starve.

    You really don't know anything do you? That is why you and the people on here constantly talk past each other. You are so ignorant of basic facts that there is no place to begin to argue with you. My guess is that you have no idea that there was such a thing as the 1873 depression or that it was in fact worse than the one in 1929. In some ways I should feel sorry for you. No one ever bothered to give you any kind of an education and it is probably too late.

  • Zeb||

    The bar for hunger keeps rising. Now it's food insecurity, which, as far as I can tell, means that at some point in the last month, you didn't have quite as much food as you wanted available to you. Which is not a fun situation to be in, but it is pretty far from starvation.

  • califernian||

    If you can find us a reference to the last reported death whose cause was starvation, in the USA, i'll take 75 years as the over/under. Go.

  • KDN||

    I'm sure you can find a few every year. It's hard to starve in this country but if you try really hard at it you can make it happen.

  • John||

    People who choose to starve don't count.

  • KDN||

    But why shouldn't they? If people are choosing to starve then only the government can adequately feed them. The very fact that some people choose to starve is itself an argument for expanded government control over and funding of food production and distribution.

  • ||

    I'm sure a few fools have starved due to natural disasters or poor wilderness vacation planning (see also: Into The Wild).

    Tony's response will be "the only reason people don't starve is because food stamps."

  • Zeb||

    There are probably some old people living on their own who starve to death too, I would think.

  • rts||

    Christopher McCandless tried to live off the land in Alaska. It ended... poorly.

    McCandless' remains were found, weighing only 67 pounds (30 kg); he died of starvation near Lake Wentitika in Denali National Park and Preserve.

    Also, Kurt Godel had an "interesting" death:

    He had an obsessive fear of being poisoned; he would eat only food that his wife, Adele, prepared for him. Late in 1977, Adele was hospitalized for six months and could no longer prepare Gödel's food. In her absence, he refused to eat, eventually starving to death.[20]
  • John C. Randolph||

    his policies would result in massive unemployment

    You’re a pig-ignorant boot licker, Tony. Rand’s policies would get us out of the depression, just like what happened when we cut government spending by 2/3 in 1946.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Dude, your name is attached to every comment.

    Stop signing them.

  • KPres||

    See also, 1921 (lasted two years even thought is much steeper than todays.

    The longest, most drawn out recessions, relative to depth, always follow massive stimulus.

  • Matrix||

    food magically appears out of thin air, John. It requires no work or effort on the part of humans. We should freely give to everyone who needs, because it costs us nothing to provide it.

    /progtard

  • Tony||

    My whole point is that it does cost, and Rand Paul doesn't want to pay for it.

  • wareagle||

    he doesn't want to pay becuase there is something to the adage of "give a man a fish..." vs teaching him to fish. Paul would rather pay to make folks self-sufficient. I get why the proggies hate that.

  • Tony||

    People pooling resources through government to solve big social problems is being self-sufficient. You guys have never been able to prove your case that we'd be better off with less resource pooling.

  • The Heresiarch||

    I heard China and the Soviet Union were really good at this resource pooling, such that they never experienced famines.

  • KPres||

    "People pooling resources through government to solve big social problems is being self-sufficient. You guys have never been able to prove your case that we'd be better off with less resource pooling."

    Uh, no. Pooling resources is self-sufficient when it's done voluntarily and NOT through the state. That's what corporations and non-profits are for.

  • califernian||

    My whole point is that it does cost, and Rand Paul doesn't want to pay for it.

    He doesn't want to pay for it in teh way you'd prefer but as always you, like all big government lovers, conflate the argument against governmetn doing something as an argument FOR that thing never happening at all. Don't be a fool and try to remember you're talking to libertarians here. We hear that fallacy EVERY DAY and sniiff it out easily.

    Please try again.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    My whole point is that it does cost, and Rand Paul doesn't want to pay for it.


    I thought your point was that it is ok to murder someone as long as 1 million people do not starve.

    Considering the total quantity of people that are not starving right now, which is around 6 million times a million, it would seem you're advocating for mass murder - i.e. shooting 6 million people on the head so 6 billion do not starve.

  • CE||

    That's 6 million times a thousand.

  • KPres||

  • John||

    So I guess you are now in favor of Bush saving all of those Shia's and Kurds from Saddam. Right/

  • Tonio||

    Happy Thursday!

  • Matrix||

    dammit! I forgot! SMH

    blasted trolls got to me again.

  • Lord Humungus||

    What is this, Ask Stalin Day?

  • ||

    "Dear Josef: My neighbor's barbecues always run late into the night. He always invites us, but when we return home I need to get to sleep for work, and the loud music is a problem. How do I let him know without appearing ungrateful?

    Sincerely, All Burgered Out".

  • Fluffy||

    Well, there is great doubt concerning what means we could use to feed the hungry without creating additional harms.

    So how about this? Let's concentrate on stopping all the SHOOTING IN THE HEAD, first, and then when we achieve that goal we can get together again and discuss how to achieve the second goal.

    Although I suspect that if we achieve the first goal the second goal will take care of itself. And the last 15 years in SS Africa tend to support me in that view.

  • califernian||

    Fluffy I see you beat me to it. And you said it better.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Omelas is a super place. Those people who walk away need a Philosophy 101 lesson!

    Of course, in the story, Omelas actually works out as a society. Every time humans have tried to start a society based on the exploitation of the few for the good of the many, it's turned out poorly.

    It would be one thing if we genuinely found ourselves needing to sacrifice the needs of the one for the good of the many, or the few. But Tony's type want to gin up these situations whenever possible. They want to start with torturing a child and on the assumption that the perfect city depends on some kind of torture of someone or another.

  • Xeones||

    Fuck along now, Tony.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Unless you can make an argument that those million starving people have a legitimate claim on you, not feeding them is morally neutral. They are neither better nor worse off for your existence. And no, "but they're staaaarrrrrrrvvvviiinnnggggg!!!1!11!!" isn't a legitimate claim.

  • ||

    Yes, in the event of my non-existence, they'd still have the same problem.

    Oh wait, actually it IS my fault for third world poverty. My bad. Sorry about that, folks.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    No, it's not your fault. It's all the people with the free stuff that don't exist. They are to blame, since they can't give you any of the free stuff. Since they don't exist.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Not sure I follow your conclusion. If they'd still have the same problem, how is it your fault?

  • In Time Of War||

    Hmm, since I must assume those million people refuse to locate or develop any source of food without a central planner, they must be brain-dead, driveling progressives.

    How's about I shoot the one person who decides to feed the million?

  • phandaal||

    Win.

  • ||

    What's worse, shooting one person in the head, or being in a position to feed a million starving people but doing nothing and letting them all die?

    Assuming the one person getting shot is innocent of causing the million people to starve, then yes, shooting him in the head is worse.

    There is a moral difference between actively harming an innocent person, and passively allowing events to follow a course that you had no role in creating.

    No matter how much you would like there to be no distinction between action and inaction, no matter how much you would like to imprison people for murder for not saving a drowning man, that isn't how human beings are morally wired. taking a potive action that harms someone is morally distinct from not taking an action to save them, and it always will be.

  • Jordan||

    How many Africans have you murdered today?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    being in a position to feed a million starving people

    How do you plan to feed this million? Out of your own personally held supply of food? Or do you plan to seize other people's food and give it to this million?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Philosophy 101 question: What's worse, shooting one person in the head, or being in a position to feed a million starving people but doing nothing and letting them all die?


    It would all depend if the person that gets to be shot in the head is either you or me. If it is me, then I would say it is worse to be shot in the head than "letting" 1 million people die. If it is you and you have the mettle of a martyr, then I will leave that up to you.

  • KPres||

    They'll be starving in the streets!

    And yet, 50 years ago, when the safety net, not to mention GDP in general, was a fraction of what it is today, nobody starved. How on earth did they manage!

  • KPres||

    "Philosophy 101 question: What's worse, shooting one person in the head, or being in a position to feed a million starving people but doing nothing and letting them all die?"

    Whatever the answer, Rand Paul's policies would put those millions of people in position to feed themselves. Your policies created them (see 100 years of socialism).

  • mad libertarian guy||

    What are "false choices" Alex?

  • CE||

    What's worse, robbing a few dozen people at gun point of their cash on hand a few times a year, or soaking a hundred million workers every two weeks to support the largest band of armed robbers in the history of humankind?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Unless he raised taxes pretty dramatically, I'm pretty sure Rand Paul would be sharing the blame for any mass starvation with about 300 million other people.

  • CE||

    Because any effort to dial back government power or spending is a not so thinly veiled attempt to hurt the weakest among us.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    And he backs a dangerous constitutional amendment that would have doubled unemployment and caused the economy to shrink by 17 percent.

    OMFG, a balanced budget?

    *swoons onto fainting couch*

  • CE||

    Because "the economy" automatically includes the money the government prints, borrows and spends, and we'd all be worse off if they didn't print, borrow and spend so much.

  • Jim in Denver||

    And when we've borrowed so much that even if we taxed the entire populace at 100% it wouldn't cover the budget shortfalls and when the interest payments on the debt exceed our ability to pay... we just print and borrow more? Stupid much?

  • CatoTheElder||

    "screaming themselves purple"

    Team Red and Team Blue show their true color -- purple -- when their autoimmune system is triggered by a foreign substance.

  • JEP||

    "You could almost lose sight of what an albatross he really is."

    I'm really curious if Bruni realizes that the albatross was a symbol of good luck. You have to kill the albatross in order to wear it around your neck as a curse.

    I haven't read a NYT article since high school, but this was pretty pathetic. His article jumps from bird imagery, to music, to cars, to water, to animals, to food. Half the article is comparing reality to some abstract generalization. Maybe it makes the article more relatable? But I'm guessing it's just fluff to get a higher word count and not actually say anything concrete. Eighth grade reading level sounds about right...

    /engineer giving literary commentary

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What's worse, shooting one person in the head, or being in a position to feed a million starving people but doing nothing and letting them all die?

    That's a great question.

    Okay, class, who can tell me what logical subterfuge this represents?

  • JEP||

    Oh! Oh!

    False dichotomy!

  • Brett L||

    Wait, are the million starving people being actively prevented from eating by me?

  • tarran||

    Every morsel in your fridge is a morsel that doesn't go into the mouth of a starving waif. I'll bet your fridge is full of food, you hoarder!

  • Brett L||

    Actually, there's a half bag of frozen sausage, a tupperware full of questionable leftovers, a single yogurt, and some condiments. Its probably time to grocery shop.

  • ||

    bag of frozen sausage

    Ah, a fellow Costco man. I adore my Jones Farms brand bags of 80-82 frozen sausages.

  • Brett L||

    Paleo breakfast of champions.

  • phandaal||

    True. Those cavemen did love their precooked spiced ground meat.

  • Jim in Denver||

    Is this a trick question, are they cannibals?

  • ||

    It's a loaded question. Asking which is worse suggests that both options are bad.

  • ||

    Okay, class, who can tell me what logical subterfuge this represents?

    Utilitarianism?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    It's sort of a variant on Broken Window Fallacy too. Not taking into account the unseen.

    And I think there is an assumption that just because situation A and B can be compared via revealed preferences, that the "evilness" of A and B can also be compared. I don't think that is necessarily true. Evil could just be one bit of information.

  • ||

    and carped about the "nanny state" in relation to seat-belt laws. Yes, seat-belt laws.

    I read things like this and still, still, still realize for the first time that there are people actually in favor of something as retarded and anti-liberty as seat-belt laws. We are so fucked.

  • John||

    Not just in favor of it, but couldn't imagine how anyone could be otherwise. Yeah, we are DOOMED!!

  • wareagle||

    true story: people in FL can still get tickets for driving sans seat belt, but motorcycling without a helmet is okay.

    I'm okay with people making their own choices about buckling up or helmets, but if you are going to be a safety nazi, which of those situations has teh potential end more badly -

  • Zeb||

    There are way more states without helmet laws than without seatbelt laws (I think I live in teh only state currently without a seatbelt law for adults). Bikers are a better organized lobby.

  • NeonCat||

    Florida is full of old people who need nice, young organs.

  • ||

    nice, young organs

    Light the SugarFree signal!

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Not only that, by the average person who's opposed to a nanny law is a moron who believes that seat belts are actually dangerous, smoking cigarettes doesn't cause cancer, drinking a quart of syrup a day won't make them fat, etc.

    The true friends of liberty are rare, and the average sensible person has been raised to think that repealing the ten thousand tiny infringements on liberty is an endorsement of recklessly stupid behavior.

  • phandaal||

    Seat belts are a great idea. Wearing them shouldn't be mandatory, though. If someone wants to launch themselves out of their windshield and into the nearerest light pole, that's their prerogative, sadly.

    What really gets me are the "Click it or Ticket" commercials. They essentially boil down to: "Buckle your seat belt. Why? BECAUSE FUCK YOU, THAT'S WHY."

  • phandaal||

    Nearerest (or most nearer) is even closer than nearest.

  • ||

    Seat-belt laws are based on the common argument that we're all responsible for others' medical costs. It's depressing, but not surprising.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Well, someone could be killed by being hit by a person who flies through the windshield because they didn't wear a SB.

    Your right to turn yourself into a human missile ends at my nose, etc.

  • ||

    Also:

    The question now becomes whether or not President Obama has the courage to become a voice for those young men in his second term or if he is going to continue to allow a Tea Partier who questions the Civil Rights Act to become a more credible voice for young men of color than the first black president.

    I won't be holding my breath for the answer to this question.

  • John||

    This will never happen, but indulge me for a moment. Imagine a white Libertarian/Republican winning the White House and doing something about the drug war and actually freeing tens of thousands of black men. Can you imagine the anger and bitterness that hacks like Bruni would feel? They would honestly tell people he did it to hide his real racist agenda.

  • Tonio||

    At that point the Bruni narrative would be about releasing thousands of hardened criminals into society, with perhaps some parenthetical sop about how they may not have been hardened when they went in...

  • John||

    Yeah. Paul is destroying black communities all over America by unleashing thousands of hardening criminals.

  • califernian||

    Thousands and thousands of seat-belt scofflaws! The horror!

  • ||

    They would honestly tell people he did it to hide his real racist agenda.

    Well he's a "Tea Partier", and everyone knows that Tea Parties are racist, so OBVIOUSLY, it MUST have someone to do with his secret racist agenda.

    I mean, these people's only reason for existing is becuase there's a black president. All that stuff about the budget deficit and TARP is just a big excuse to be racist.

    Only a CRAZY PERSON could care about the budget deficit when there is a black president in office.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    And if he pardoned thousands of black men in jail for minor drug crimes who were victims of police racism? It was probably part of some racist scheme that just happened to backfire, probably thanks to brave Democrats.

  • JEP||

    "who questions the Civil Rights Act"

    But..but..separating ends from means is haaard...

  • Xeones||

    I'm still a bit wary of Rand Paul's apparent comfort with social conservatism on a lot of issues... but damn, the dude sure has made the right enemies.

  • John||

    What is wrong with that? Does being a libertarian mean being a Libertine?

  • califernian||

    Basically, yes. At least you allow for and support the right of libertines to do their thing free of government coercion.

  • John||

    Allowing for other choices doesn't make you personally a libertine. And I don't see anywhere where Paul doesn't allow for other choices.

  • Zeb||

    He hasn't come out against prohibition, as far as I can see. Which is a big one.

    But I still like him better than anyone else who is likely to do well in national politics and I'd certainly give him a vote in a Republican primary, at least.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I haven't heard him say it out loud, so maybe I'm giving him more credit than he deserves, but isn't his position on prohibition very 10th-amendmenty ? And in the mean time he is doing his best to just move in the right direction, and not let the perfect be the enemy of the good?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If he comes out against prohibition he's done politically.

    We're getting close to the point, I think, where favoring full-blown MJ legalization is a non-toxic position for a politician to take, but not quite yet. Nowhere near the point where favoring legalization of coke and heroin, for example.

  • prolefeed||

    Allowing for other choices doesn't make you personally a libertine. And I don't see anywhere where Paul doesn't allow for other choices.

    Umm, RTFA. Rand is for DECREASING the prison sentences for people caught with the wrong kinds of drugs, not ending the prison sentences.

    Throwing people in a cage for making choices he doesn't agree with is not "allowing for other choices."

  • wareagle||

    the man is willing to play politics to an extent and perhaps subscribes to the 80% rule - be in agreement with someone on about that percentage of things, and be willing to give a bit on the rest.

    Paul may also realize that this country has a lot of front-burner issues that are NOT social and, like the gay marriage debate, the oxygen sucked by a topic is not necessarily proportionate to its importance.

  • Lord Humungus||

    I've said it before, but I'll take a politician that scores 40-60% (and I think Rand "scores" higher than this) on the libertarianism purity test. It beats the 2%, or lower, we get these days.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    One genuinely fascinating aspect of all these dismissals of Dr. Paul's positions is the fact that none of them offer an actual reason for why he's actually, well, wrong. I see a lot of huffing and puffing, a lot of eye rolling, and a lot of invective. What I don't see is an actual argument against his position. You'd think, if Dr. Paul were so loopy or offering such "crazy salad", making a case against his positions would be pretty much elementary. And make for lots of fun for left-leaning commentators. Instead, on substance, all we get is crickets.

  • wareagle||

    it's not fascinating, it's liberalism 101. When unable to debate an opponent on point, immediately attempt to marginalize him by going the personal route to paint him as a kook/outlier/radical.

    Proggies tend to be so thoroughly marinated in their own bullshit that they are well past giving consideration to alternate viewpoints. They must, instead, attempt to destroy them if possible or portray them as unworthy of consideration if not.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I get your point. But, I have noticed that even proglodytes will pick apart an especially weak argument. It's simply a matter of intellectual ego. This case is one of the more obvious examples of stridency replacing the strength of a case.

  • sarcasmic||

    Progressives believe that ad hominems win arguments.

    Dismiss a person with a label, and then their ideas also to be dismissed.

    If you oppose minimum wage then you hate the poor. Who cares what your argument is? You hate poor people.

    If you oppose confiscatory taxation then you are an apologist for the rich. Who cares what your argument is? You lick the corporate boots that are holding you down.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Progressives believe that ad hominems win arguments.

    Dismiss a person with a label, and then their ideas also to be dismissed.

    When you are a collectivist, it's tough to not categorize everyone in to a collective. All they see are groups. Individuals are meaningless.

  • sarcasmic||

    They dismiss his positions simply because of the source.

    They do not judge ideas on merit. That would require thought and logic.

    They judge ideas by the source. All that requires is an emotional reaction.

  • Heedless||

    Who, whom?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Now that I think about it, I want to be the guy who shoots the saintly feeding-the-starving-millions guy in the head.

    People would know my name, and write books about me. I'd be immortal, like Che.

  • AlexInCT||

    You need to shoot a few more people in the head, after you torture them of course, in the name of collectivism and brotherhood, before you can have stupid kids wearing your mug on their shirt and thinking you are hip like Che.

    Hard work and lots of killing if you want the left to really like you.

  • ||

    It drives them MAD that a "Tea Party" Republican refuses to conform to their stereotypes of Tea Partiers.

  • Matrix||

    Most of them don't even know what the Tea Party really believes. They only accept what the talking heads on MSNBC and CNN have told them about Tea Party folks.

    Reading some of the leftrolls on those sites, you'd think the world was fine and dandy before the Tea Party came along and threw us into this mess we're in.

  • sarcasmic||

    Lefttards don't care what people believe. Remember that they judge ideas by the person, not by the content. So no matter what the Tea Party believes, it's bad because of who believes it.

  • ||

    Of course not. Most of them never bothered to find out what the Tea Party people believed in the first place.

    The logic was: "Black president" therefore "RACISM". That is all. No other analysis necessary.

  • Matrix||

    And the thing of it was, I remember back in March-April 2008 that people on libertarian forums were discussing having a massive Tax Day protest. Since it was too late to really organize anything at that time, they started preparing for the next year. Then a black president is elected, but the decision to protest still carried. All of a sudden "why now that they have a black president? RACISM!" Yeah. But when Fox News and a lot of right-wing folks started jumping in, I decided "nah... they'll drag it down." Just their presence 'validated' the leftards' opinion.

  • John||

    It really does.

  • Kurbster||

    you can't deny that the idea of collectivism did not grow within the tea party once Dr. Paul lost control of it....brought on by the SoCons like Bachmann and Santorum.

    Sorry, but the tea party does not speak for me anymore

  • ||

    We don't live in a good enough world for Rand Paul to become president. What have we done to deserve the delicious liberal tears we'd see in the media?

  • John||

    It would totally force them to stop pretending they give a shit about civil rights. They hate him for for that than anything. See Republicans are supposed to always be worse on civil rights issues then Democrats. This allows their defenders in the media to still pretend they care while simultaneously supporting horrible policies.

  • ||

    Of course he's worse on civil rights. He's against the Civil Rights Act! That means he's against civil rights.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    This is almost as bad as if he were making blacks into an independent, successful, and well-educated minority.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Seat-belt laws are based on the common argument that we're all responsible for others' medical costs.

    If that were true, your insurance company would be able to refuse coverage if it could be shown you were not wearing your seatbelt (a concept I came up with long, long ago). It has more to do with the "No one should suffer*..." syndrome.

    *Not only "suffer" physically, but "be subjected to emotional discomfort" by knowing/ reading about/ witnessing on the side of the road the horror of being made aware of the inherent hazards posed by hurtling around the countryside in a large powerful mechanism.

  • ||

    Not only "suffer" physically, but "be subjected to emotional discomfort" by knowing/ reading about/ witnessing on the side of the road the horror of being made aware of the inherent hazards posed by hurtling around the countryside in a large powerful mechanism.

    P Brooks, you are right on as usual. I was being a little facetious above because the seat-belt law thing is actually something my father is super in favor of, because "it would be unfair to a driver if you got in an accident and the other party was killed because he wasn't wearing a seat belt and you felt like you were responsible for killing someone" no matter whose fault the accident was etc etc. God he is an emotional tool.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    "Look, I'm not driving you anywhere unless you buckle up, asshole."

    WOW A MAGIC INCANTATION THAT CAN OBVIATE THE NEED FOR AN ENTIRE CLASS OF LEGISLATION

  • NoVAHockey||

    really? I've helped remove a bodies from a cars and they only thing I thought was "what and idiot. this was survivable. oh well. hope i get back to the station to catch the end of the game."

  • ||

    God he is an emotional tool.

    Way to wear the emotional pants in your father-daughter relationship Nicole.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I'm with you PB. I fucking HATE that argument. It can be applied to nearly any law that the nannies want to pass. Any activity that may cause medical damage is open for legislation.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What is this, Ask Stalin Day?

    Holy shit, an "Ask Uncle Joe" advice column would be awesome!

    Dear uncle Joe,

    My neighbor has a large family, and when they all come over for dinner, sometimes they park their cars at the curb in front of my house. And they never even invite me, or bring me cake. What should I do?

    Oppressed

    ---

    Dear Oppressed,

    Your defense of the Collective must be stalwart, forthright and merciless.

    These wreckers and hoarders are cheating and robbing the People with their incorrigible self-gratification and exclusionism. Burn their cars. Burn their homes. Confiscate their holdings, and redistribute them. To me.

    You have a great future in the Service of the People.

    Fondest regards,

    Uncle joe

  • John||

    I never do twitter. But I am thinking @askunclejoe would be a hell of a twitter handle.

  • Matrix||

    Hey, careful now... Tony will get super excited at the prospect of Uncle Joe coming around. I'm sure he's fawning over this letter.

  • phandaal||

    Uncle Joe just had bad advisors. If it were up to him he'd have shat candy all over Russia, and no famine would have occurred.

    If he's good enough for Truman, he's good enough for me.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Re criticizing the Civil Rights Act: Radfems are now screaming themselves hoarse because anti-discrimination laws are being used in ways that they don't like. Yeah, it sucks when the god that you worship decides to smite you for a change.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Hearing feminist harpies harp because they can't have a "women only" or "lesbian only" bar/restaurant/gathering place where they can "feel safe" from "patriarchal society" does indeed create some mighty fine tasting tears.

    If they supported private property rights they would have standing to complain, but they don't, so fuck 'em.

  • Killazontherun||

    All food in the state. No food outside the state. No food to feed discenters against the state.

  • Not a Libertarian||

    He'd be a skunk in a presidential primary and a quixotic, doomed nominee.

    While 2016 is still a relatively long time away in politics, is this truly an outlandish statement by Bruni?

    Is it obvious that Senator Rand could not be demagogued both during and after the 2016 primary season?

  • CE||

    Ron Paul was a quixotic, doomed nominee, who regularly offended the conservative base, called America an imperial power, ranted and raved regularly in the House of Reps, and he was a top 3 or 4 candidate in the primaries, with the most grassroots support.

    Rand Paul has all of his father's positives (true fiscal conservative, respect for the Constitution, reliable voting record) and none of his negatives. He's going to be a very serious contender, and have a lot more appeal to independent voters than the establishment Repub candidates would.

  • Kurbster||

    I suppose Americans can't swallow the cold, hard truth of their foreign policy yet

    Ron tells it like it is....Rand weasels his way out of offending the neocons for political gain

  • Russell||

    What will the left do afterthe tenth seasonpremier?

  • John||

    Look at Bruni in that picture. Is is just me? Does Reason pick the pictures to look that way? But it seems like every lefty hack journalist looks like a stereotypical smug douche bag.

  • tarran||

    That's their war face John... with their words they will reform and save humanity.

  • sarcasmic||

    Carla Bruni? I think it's the botox.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Anytime I start to not hate the statist quo media with a burning rage, I can just google Rand Paul. In all articles, even when he is 100% right on an issue, and in agreement with the writer, they still just can't help but bash the guy and convert the article into low information attack. Actually the low information ones are OK, most of them are negative information because they are misleading. Fuck those people.

  • MJGreen||

    To the extent that he is known to minority audiences at all, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is likely best known for his controversial criticism of the Civil Rights Act.

    Yep, you know them minorities: they only follow the news when it has to do with 'minority' issues.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Who knew that all that salad was missing to be awesome was a little bit of crazy.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    carped about the "nanny state" in relation to seat-belt laws. Yes, seat-belt laws.

    I don't think of myself as an old man, but I'm old enough to remember the debate over seat belt laws back in the late 1980s. Back when we were assured that cops would never be sitting on the side of the road looking for people without seat belts on, and they would only give you a ticket for it if you were already stopped for something else. Of course, that rule didn't last.

    Now, 25 years later, seat belt laws are offered as the epitome of rational legislation.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is one of America's most radical ideologues.

    Ad hominem is always the best persuasive technique to start with.

    He endorsed a discredited, century-old Supreme Court decision that would give employers nearly limitless power to exploit their workers.

    Why do you hate the 14th Amendment? More importantly why do you not want people to work as much or as little as they choose to?

    He opposes bans on employment discrimination and on whites-only lunch counters

    Way to both purposefully misunderstand and try to talk past Paul. Paul is talking about the right to control one's own property. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn't address segregated lunch counters because the issue of segregation as a matter of law was already addressed by Brown v. Board of Education a decade earlier. The 1964 Act required legally enforced desegregation of public schools, forced busing and federally-established racial quotas in those schools to be met.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Brown v Board only dealt with public schools. It had zilch to do with discrimination by private businesses. The Rosa Parks incident was years after Brown.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Dammit, I got my court cases mixed. I was thinking Heart of Atlanta Motel

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    He opposes bans on employment discrimination and on whites-only lunch counters

    And that isn't even true, as a blanket statement. He is fine with bans on employment racial discrimination* by the government. And I imagine he is fine with bans on laws that require private citizens to engage in racial discrimination. He is not fine with bans on private citizens engaging in racial discrimination. I realize to a progtard who doesn't believe in private property the distinction isn't important. But still, it shows either a misunderstanding of Paul's position, or just plain dishonesty.

    *I'll give him the benefit of the doubt,which he totally doesn't deserve, and assume that by "discrimination" he means "racial discrimination". W

  • mad libertarian guy||

    But still, it shows either a misunderstanding of Paul's position, or just plain dishonesty.

    Both. Definitely both.

  • yonemoto||

    White people who complain about these lunch counter laws just don't understand. No civil rights act protected my family from not being served, probably on account of our race, at Bob and Edith's diner in Arlington, VA, in 1985.

  • yonemoto||

    *complain about opposition to these...

  • Matrix||

    here's the question... would you WANT to patron a restaurant where the owners hate you? Would you want to work for someone who hates you? But because of civil rights laws, that kind of hatred gets masked. Who knows what kind of shit racists put in the food of people they serve of a race they don't like. And becaues they are forced to serve them, they would be even more mean spirited about it.

  • OldMexican||

    Economics ignorance 101: Government creates prosperity. Example:

    Re: Tony,

    If Rand Paul had his way his policies would result in massive unemployment and the destruction of the safety net.


    First of all, history shows this is not the case as the recovery of 1921 and 1947 show.

    Second, you immediately assume that people will simply curl up and cry after government slashes spending. Government spending comes from somewhere since government produces nothing. So once the spending is reduced, the resources and capital thus released will be used by the private sector to generate goods and services. Again, history shows us this is exactly what happened after WWI and WWII.

    So there would be a significant increase in poverty and starvation.


    There's no historical data to back this up. In fact, it runs contra basic economic laws. I believe you're just making shit up.

    Libertarians like to think that doing nothing to stop the proverbial train from hitting someone is morally superior than pushing someone in front of it. They're wrong.


    This has nothing to do with government spending or the safety net. Your proposition is just a red herring.

  • Tony||

    Name a single country where you'd like to live that doesn't have a social safety net.

  • CE||

    Somalia.

  • The Heresiarch||

    Non sequitur.

  • prolefeed||

    Name a single country where you'd like to live that doesn't have a social safety net.

    Name a single country where you'd like to live that doesn't have air pollution. Clearly air pollution is a good and beneficial thing.

    Name a single country where you'd like to live that doesn't have bedbugs or mosquitoes. Clearly bedbugs and mosquitoes are a good and beneficial thing.

    I can go on all day.

  • Tony||

    So what you're saying is you have absolutely no evidence to support your preferences.

  • GILMORE||

    NEEDS MOAR TEAM

    "We can't have a rethuglican take our black folks away from us!! They're so handy and useful around the fields! Quick - remind them how good we've been to them! You remember, the mule? The collard patch? The public housing, food stamps and welfare checks?? Thats because *we're not the racist ones*!! Those meanies want to take it all away! Don't you listen to their crazy 'freedom' talk..."

  • minarchist||

    The full message of liberty is a bitter pill for some republicans and conservatives, but it's a freaking turd sandwich for liberals to swallow. I hope Rand Paul makes them choke.

  • Kurbster||

    they're both equally bad

    one side hates unrestricted liberty because of fairness
    one side hates unrestricted liberty because of jesus

  • CE||

    Yeah, imagine supporting "discredited, centuries old" ideas, just because they're in the Bill of Rights. And if you can only get 4 or 10 US Senators to stand with you in defending the rights of American citizens against a totalitarian government, your effort must by definition be "loopy".

  • BeBraveUSA||

    I'm a big fan of Rand Paul. Now if we can just keep the establishment "RINO" consultants from giving him bad advice...

    William Kristol, John McCain; Irrelevant!

  • Jefferson's Ghost||

    "but if you look at the bipartisan list of people who have been screaming themselves purple about the junior senator from Kentucky–Bruni, John McCain, Lawrence O'Donnell, William Kristol, Garrett Epps, Michael Gerson, John Yoo–you quickly detect one important trait in common: They are all reliable apologists for the government exercise of power. "

    Nail meet hammer

  • Tom Beebe||

    Here are suggestions to advance Libertarians like Paul. 1. Let us examine to what extent the "military-industrial complex" influences our arms contributions to international conflicts, such as the recent shipment to Egypt. Was Eisenhower a crazy to issue such a warning 60+ years ago? 2. Let us amend any increase in the minimum wage by adding a youth discount (90% of the adult rate for age 19, 80% for age 18, etc to 50% for age 15, to bring in youth, particularly black youth, into the workforce. The black community would support Libertarians as we address their #1 problem? 3. End corporate income taxes, which are paid by their customers to pay (who else?) and most heavily upon the poor. 4. Propose a flat tax with a very large personal exemption, something on the order of the minimum wage annualized, (see above) and a high flat rate, something in the range of 35-50%. Exempt also savings to turn our culture from "borrow to buy" into "save to buy", and health care and educational expense, broadly defined, so that 35-50% of these costs are offset be tax reduction, instead of entitlements. As to the drug policy, advocate a policy matching those regulating alcohol, perhaps with even tougher treatment of those providing either to youth. Pretty big menu, no? But we must be a party of big ideas. Its a wide-open field.

  • Kurbster||

    you're forgetting that Rand is fighting for neocon votes. He will say whatever the neocons want him to say to keep his future campaign afloat...like every other politician in the GOP

  • Gretchen||

    Stop calling Rand Paul a Libertarian. He has introduced legislation to disallow women from getting an abortion. Get out of my uterus, dude. That is the antithesis of libertarianism.

  • Astorix||

    Just come out strong in favour of marijuana legalisation PLEASE. The insane criminal laws just need to be dedicated. I don't want to visit again until they are. It just looks like a police state from over here.

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