The Real Difference Between Liberals, Libertarians, and Ron Paul

Ron Paul

Matthew Desmond of AddictingInfo wrote a post attempting to distinguish between these three subjects because of some liberals supporting Ron Paul. However, his post was riddled with bias preventing readers from actually discerning the difference. Let’s start with his first point.

1. Women’s Rights:

Liberals believe: Women should have the right to choose what to do with their own body, and it is up to the Government to make sure women are granted this right.

Libertarians believe: Abortion is a personal choice, that shouldn’t be regulated by the Government.

Ron Paul believes: States should have the right to choose whether or not women can legally have an abortion. Ron Paul has sponsored legislation that would deny a woman the right to choose.

He is correct that Liberals generally believe women have the right to choose what to do with their own body which would include abortions. The government should not restrict this right, and in some cases should assist low-income women who couldn’t afford them otherwise.

However, libertarians are split between pro-life and pro-choice. Some agree with liberals, others believe fetuses have the right to life which cannot be infringed upon.

Ron Paul, an anti-federalist, would leave it up to the states meaning more conservative ones like Utah would ban it outright leaving those inside forced to cross state lines. However, his position seems to have intensified as he signed the Susan B. Anthony Pledge which requirements include:

FIRST, to nominate to the U.S. federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench;

SECOND, to select only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services;

THIRD, to advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions;

FOURTH, advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

The first position implies that Presidents would nominate pro-life judges who would overturn Roe V. Wade and leave abortion laws up to the state, but the second and third positions weaken the ability of even states to allow abortions as providers will be attacked and have the federal government ruthlessly against them. Finally, the last position, an Orwellian named legislation, would prohibit abortion after the first 20 weeks effectively limiting the right of state governments to choose their own laws.

So, Ron Paul, departs from his anti-federalist position in signing this pledge by agreeing to pursue a pro-life agenda as President which would limit the ability of state governments to let their own citizens decide.

2. Drug Laws

Liberals believe: The Government should reexamine its drug policies, to make them more relevant to the 21st Century.

Libertarians believe: Drug use is a personal choice, and shouldn’t be regulated by the Government.

Ron Paul believes: The government should legalize all drugs.

Desmond articulates this oddly, but Libertarians and Ron Paul agree that the government should not infringe upon the rights of adults to do what they want with their body. From a fiscal standpoint too, both would agree the government is wasting tremendous resources fighting the War on Drugs.

Liberals are divided on this issue, or at the least liberal politicians don’t seem to support legalization. Also, there is much higher support for legalization of cannabis than other drugs among Liberals. However, this is an issue many do agree with Libertarians on that the War on Drugs must end as it particularly harms people of color and lower-income communities brutalized by draconian drug laws.

3. Marriage Equality

Liberals believe: Marriage equality means that everyone should have the right to marry the legally consenting adult they love, and that the Government should guarantee that equality for everyone.

Libertarians believe: Marriage is a personal choice, and shouldn’t be restricted by the Government.

Ron Paul believes: State governments should have the right to decide whether they legalize same-sex marriage or not.

Desmond is generally correct on this issue. Liberals believe the LGBT community should be able to marry whomever they choose, as do libertarians. Libertarians, however, would likely advocate government no longer issue marriage licenses and leave it up to religious institutions while liberals believe LGBT should have the same rights as heterosexuals in receiving government recognition of marriage.

Ron Paul takes the anti-federalist position of leaving it up to the states here.

4. Corporations and Regulations

Liberals believe: It’s the government’s job to regulate corporations, to protect the people from predatory practices.

Libertarians believe: The Government shouldn’t have the right to regulate businesses.

Ron Paul believes: Telling businesses to do anything is unconstitutional, and so is investigating them. After the BP oil spill in 2010 Ron Paul was the ONLY congressman, out of over 400, that voted AGAINST giving subpoena power to the independent committee responsible for investigating BP.

Liberals fear big business as much as conservatives fear big government, so Desmond is correct in his first assessment. Libertarians are opposed to both regulation and subsidies of businesses believing the invisible hand of the market will solve all problems. Ron Paul is in agreement with Libertarians here, and Desmond’s point is silly. Paul did not oppose the investigation per se but opposed giving a commission crafted by the executive branch this subpoena power. The commission, in his belief, would become unaccountable to the public.

5. Discrimination

Liberals believe: Discriminating against anyone for any reason is unconstitutional, and the Government’s job is to protect the minorities from bigotry from the majority.

Libertarians believe: People are entitled to their own beliefs as long as they’re not hurting anyone else.

Ron Paul believes: Businesses should have the right to discriminate against anyone for any reason, and that it’s unconstitutional for the Government to tell businesses they can’t discriminate against people. Ron Paul has said repeatedly that he would vote against the portion of the Civil Rights Act which prohibits businesses from discriminating and segregating their customers.

Despite Desmond’s adamancy, Libertarians and Ron Paul are in agreement on this. What is your property (i.e. your business) and who you let on your property is your business alone, not the state’s. Businesses are entitled to not hire minorities solely because of their race because forcing them to do so would be a violation of property rights.

Considering a lot of these issues, one might wonder why any Liberal would dare support Ron Paul? Sure, he might end the War on Drugs, but what else entices some?

For one, he has been a consistent opponent of the Patriot Act and other infringements of civil liberties post-9/11. President Obama, on the other hand, still supports wiretapping. Further, Paul is a fervent believer in limited executive power which many Liberals feared eroded after the Bush administration.

Also, any anti-war voter knows Paul is a strict isolationist who would have immediately withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan unlike President Obama who ramped up the effort in Afghanistan and supported a military operation in Libya.

This is where all overlaps end between Ron Paul and liberals, though. No liberal who supports a safety net could ever vote for Paul as he wants its destruction.

And there you have it. The real difference.

Saad

Enrolled at the University of California, San Diego, Saad is pursuing a degree in Political Science. He has written multiple articles for the College Democrats' newspaper on campus, The Left Coast Post. Recently, he circulated petitions for the California Democracy Act initiative. His interests include national and international politics along with economic issues. 

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  7 comments for “The Real Difference Between Liberals, Libertarians, and Ron Paul

  1. September 4, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, and simply everyone should re-register Republican and vote for Ron Paul for the following reasons, in order of importance.
    (1) President Barack Hussein Obama will win California’s June 2012 Presidential Primary with or with-out the votes from Orange County.

    (2) Republican Ron Paul is by far the lesser of the Republican evils in the Presidential 2012 Primary. It’s only an open primary for Congressional, Senate, and Assembly races. The Republican Presidential Primary is restricted for registered Republicans.

    (3) Ron Paul is anti-war, – anti-wars that had no edit strategy, anti-wars that had no clearly defined reason for going to war in the first place.

    (4) Ron Paul is known for his book, “End the Fed” (Federal Reserve System); also known for his legislation to audit the FED.

    (Senator DeMint’s op-ed “The FED’s Shadow TARP”).
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/62358.html

    (LaRouche would place the FED under the Department of the Treasury).

    • Amanda
      October 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

      I’m actually a liberal researching Ron Paul, and you are wrong on the anti-gay issue. Ron does not say that it’s up to the state to determine wheather or not to ban or legalize gay marriage. He says the state should not be involved what so ever, and that marriage is between to willing people.

      I don’t know whether to believe the rest of your article.

  2. Kathy Findley
    September 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Great article Saad. You did your research.

  3. September 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    The last person I would vote for is Ron Paul. It is apparent through Saad’s well written article that Paul has no idea what he wants for America but it does not seem to have anything to do with the American dream.

    Sadly, this article tells us that we have no good, viable, MODERATE candidates on either side to stand up for Middle America. The class warfare has reignited and the political pundits on the left and the right are doing their best to argue their case. The right advocates for business without regulation and the left advocates for the social good at the cost to the individual. Until we ignite a fire under Middle America, we will not have what the majority seek but we will continue to have those who don’t truly speak for us desire.

  4. Kathy Findley
    September 5, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Well put! I would love to hear more of what you have to say on that subject. I went to your blog and read a few entries. Good stuff. Now, would you consider expanding on your comment on your blog? I am sure it would be a good read.

  5. Timothy Seward
    September 5, 2011 at 9:46 am

    This article was very poorly defined. Your whole premise is less about Ron Paul and more about liberal continued lack of understanding of states’ rights. Ron Paul supports the return of legislation to the state level where representative government is still maintained. Your whole argument is based upon the fact that states cannot be allowed to make their own decisions because they will be the “wrong” decisions. To say this concept is anti American is a demonstrable fact. The whole concept of a representative government is clearly lost on you. We have lost this at the national level and is the main reason why so many are frustrated. You marginalize the “red states” because they do not agree with your liberal ideals. Therefore they must be prevented from exercising their constitutional rights to representative government. Your understanding of civics is an epic fail. Liberals pretend to be the champions of freedom but in reality you are the champions to those who agree with you. You pretend to be tolerant but in reality are incredibly intolerant to any opinions but your own. I realize you mentioned Ron Paul many times in this article but it has very little to do with him or libertarians. Like a true liberal, you only understand your own point of view.

  6. September 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Kathy, sorry I didn’t see this before. And, thank you for reading my blog. I do have an article planned in the near future on these issues.

    Timothy, maybe we all got something different from this article but, I found it well written and articulate. That doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with everything he says. I don’t see Ron Paul as a serious candidate for President. His views sometimes border on anarchy. That is not what we really need. But, the fact that people even think of him as a viable candidate shows how out of sync the Republicans and Democrats are with Middle America.

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