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.
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.