Blogs > Liberty and Power > Paul on HR 1094....Wow

Aug 27, 2007 1:31 pm

Paul on HR 1094....Wow

From a discussion thread on a discussion group I moderate...

VOLUNTARYTRADE: Paul is the primary sponsore of HR 1094, the "Sanctity of Human Life Act," which states, in relevant part: "The Congress finds that present day scientific evidence indicates a significant likelihood that actual human life exists from conception....The Congress declares that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception, without regard to race, sex, age, health, defect, or condition of dependency." So where in the Constitution does Congress have the authority to make either of these findings/declarations?

ANOTHER MEMBER'S RESPONSE: No where --- and most certainly not in any part of Art.I Sec.8! But then, how long has it been since the `minor detail' of "un-Constitutionality" has stopped the majority of members of Congress from voting to pass a Law? however, arguably what the authors of this Bill are trying to do is to extend 14th Amendment Protection to the "pre-born." Such a Bill would provide a legal "fig leaf" for anti-Abortion legislation --- notwithstanding the fact that Congress was never delegated the power to make such legislation, unless perhaps one wants to try to argue that the "Necessary and Proper" clause granted them that Power after the 14th Amendment was passed (which would make the entire argument circular).

VOLUNTARYTRADE: Funny you should bring up the 14th Amendment. Paul wants it applied to zygotes, but not certain (*cough* Mexican) children actually born in the United States. He's proposed the following constitutional amendment: "Any person born after the date of the ratification of this article to a mother and father, neither of whom is a citizen of the United States nor a person who owes permanent allegiance to the United States, shall not be a citizen of the United States or of any State solely by reason of birth in the United States." So the great libertarian saviour opposes individual rights to brown-skinned infants and those who don't "owe permanent allegiance" to a government. Wow.

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Otto M. Kerner - 8/29/2007

Well said.

Gary McGath - 8/28/2007

Whether he's preferable to the other candidates is irrelevant, since he stands effectively no chance of winning. The question is whether supporting Paul has a positive or negative effect on the political climate. A couple of months ago, I thought it would have a positive effect. Now he's clearly abandoned any pretense of being a libertarian, yet he's still widely perceived as one; supporting him can only damage the libertarian cause.

Steven Horwitz - 8/28/2007

Fair enough Stephan. I think the "probably" qualifier was "probably" unnecessary. I don't think I can make a case that any other candidate is "better" from a libertarian perspective than Paul. My point is only that my qualms about him are such that I simply can't get all whooped up about him in the way that other libertarians can.

Frankly, the best domestic policy result for libertarians within the realm of feasibility is divided government of some sort, though it's not clear that either division would be more likely to end the war than the other.

And for the record, I was opposed, though not strongly, to the invasion of Iraq from the start. That opposition has grown significantly in the intervening years.

Stephan Kinsella - 8/27/2007

Steve, here you say Paul is "probably better than the rest", but you assert the abortion and immigration issues as on the equivalent of the Lincoln-play pun, i.e., the most important issues around. But at least Paul is anti-Iraq war--which you seem to be now too (as you admirably conceded, "The anarcho-capitalists have been much more anti-Bush, and esp. anti-War, than have the minarchist or limited government libertarians. Whatever my other problems with the Mises Institute, there is no question they have been the most reliable and consistent anti-war voice among libertarians (though not always with arguments I'd use), and they are mostly anarcho-capitalists.";;bheaders=1) ; though I gather that, unlike Paul, you were not so, at first? ("I haven't blogged much about the war here because my opposition to it is less strong than most of my co-bloggers. I described myself as "marginally opposed" to the War in Iraq from the start, with the "marginally" mostly due to not wanting to be associated with the variety of other questionable causes of the anti-war movement. I did and still do share the skepticism of many of you about the ability of the US gov't to rebuild a nation when it can't even deliver the mail. However, I also believe that the demise of Saddam Hussein, taken in isolation, was a significant step forward for human freedom, and was willing to be convinced it might be worth it. I also have more sympathy for the plight of Israel in the turmoil of the mid-east than perhaps others here do (obligatory note: that does not let Israel off the hook for its many wrongdoings)."

So I'm just curious why you say, given your obvious belated realization of the importance of the war issue, Paul is only "probably" better than the rest. Do you really think it's questionable? Let's say you also are a fervent libertarian supporter of abortion rights (including late-term abortion) and totally open borders (no matter the consequences; in any circumstances). Do ya really think Paul's views on these issues are worse than the other mainstreamers? And does his unique and principled position on the Iraq war alone not justify having a wee bit of perspective, here? Is the ever-so-slight-threat that abortion might get gradually handed a bit back over to the several states instead of the the central state a burning issue on the level of this trillion-dollar mass-murder?? One that you only "marginally" opposed, unlike Paul, who has opposed it from the beginning?

Anthony Gregory - 8/27/2007

I'm neutral on birthright citizenship, but I don't see citizenship as a libertarian issue. In a free society, citizens would have no more rights than non-citizens. A truly libertarian society would have no citizenship whatsoever. The federal government shouldn't violate the rights of non-citizens, so its designation of people as citizens or non-citizens should matter much less than it does in our hyper-statist world. As for voting rights, how can anyone have a right to vote?

Stephan Kinsella - 8/27/2007

I find this comment interesting: "arguably what the authors of this Bill are trying to do is to extend 14th Amendment Protection to the "pre-born.""

This may well be true. I don't know. But if it is, this is yet another reason to *oppose* the centralization imposed by the 14th Amendment. Centralist libertarians who want the feds to be able to "strike down" "bad" state laws seem not to be concerned that once you give the feds this power it can be used in bad ways too. Take, for example, the issue of medical marijuana: some states want to permit it, but the feds say NO. You can't just give the feds a negative veto over bad law; once you give them the veto power, they assume a dominant position and will use it to enforce federal policy on the states. Where federal policy is "better" than the state law, you have a "better" result at the state level; but where the federal policy is worse, then it spreads to the states.

Steven Horwitz - 8/27/2007

Yup, he's probably better than the rest, but these two issues are important ones and the fact that he's using constitutional amendments is interesting, given his fealty to "the" Constitution.

In any case, at what point does this become "aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

And, as in an earlier thread, I thank Wendy for bringing these issues to our attention. I find the fawning over Paul to be a little over the top sometimes, and it is his stance on a number of social issues (including immigration) that is the cold water for me. I think it's important for libertarians to know where he stands and to talk about the places where we might disagree with him.

Aeon J. Skoble - 8/27/2007

Yeah, I don't agree with him on this stuff. But he seems preferable to all the others, no?