During a Thursday night segment on MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell,” the host claimed Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was a "fake libertarian" because of the Congressman's position on sexual ethics and birth control.
“It’s time to rewrite who was the fake in last night’s debate,” O’Donnell said, referring to a moment when Rep. Paul accused former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum of being a “fake” conservative. “Now, we all know Ron Paul supporters love him. Just love him! And I don’t have to tell 'ya: love is blind.”
“It is also deaf,” O’Donnell continued, “Especially when Ron Paul is talking. When Ron Paul talks about legalizing drugs, the beneficiaries of that idea get so high on Ron Paul love, that they don’t hear anything else he says. When Ron Paul offends most of the people in his Republican debate audiences with his consistent, principled, defiant stance against American war-making, anti-war voters like me are thrilled.”
So where's the "fake?"
“When Ron Paul talks about his unyielding opposition to a woman’s right to choose, when Ron Paul says the government should prevent all abortions – the standard Republican Party line – the libertarian lovers of Ron Paul simply do not hear him!” O’Donnell said.
“They don’t seem to notice that fake libertarian Ron Paul takes the most anti-libertarian position on women’s reproductive rights. The fake libertarian does not dare say a word that violates the Republican Party line on abortion. Not one word,” he added, putting special emphasis on his last sentence, as though speaking to a child.
See O’Donnell rip Rep. Paul via MSNBC:
The MSNBC host went on to explain that "real" libertarians have a no holds barred view of sexual ethics. In fact, according to O'Donnell, libertarians are more like anarchists when it comes to sex; there are no rules and no one is allowed to suggest that there might be “right” and “wrong” way of doing things.
And because Rep. Paul uses words like "moral" and "immoral" when discussing contraception, abortion, and sexual ethics, he is not strictly "free love" and therefore not a libertarian.
This raises an interesting question: Is it possible to be both libertarian and pro-life? O'Donnell obviously doesn't think so. He argues that by opposing the "right to choose" and "reproductive rights," Rep. Paul tramples on individual freedoms.
But before we go any further talking about "rights" that have only existed since the '60s, we must address the "life issue" (i.e. "Are the unborn human beings?"). Pro-abortion advocates will usually attack their opponents for being "anti-choice" or "anti-reproductive rights," but they rarely (if ever) address this issue. Why is this?
As noted earlier on The Blaze:
…like many proponents of a “woman’s right to choose” (or as the columnist Ann Coulter likes to say, a woman’s “right to have sex with men they don’t want to have children with”), [abortion advocates] opt to avoid the “life issue” because the possible answer to that question — that it is indeed a human life — would render [their] position on “choice” indefensible. That is to say, should the debate over life ever conclude that the unborn child is a human being, but advocates of “choice” still want legalized abortion, they may find it awfully difficult to defend the Orwellian idea that all humans have a “right to choose,” but some have more "choice" than others.
“Those who are helpless are, it is all but universally held in America, to be protected,” the conservative author William F. Buckley Jr. once wrote. “The one-day-old child is protected with the full force of the law. The proposition that he is without rights when he is minus one day old is nothing more than a social convention conflating various concerns.”
Perhaps because people like O’Donnell recognize the apparent absurdity of the “minus one day” argument, they have chosen to avoid the “life issue” and instead focus entirely on a poorly defined notion of “choice.” So when Buckley asks if abortion involves the termination of a human life, his question is ignored and the response is something along the lines of “one can‘t infringe on a woman’s ‘constitutionally protected reproductive rights.’”
But is it a human life?
Rep. Paul thinks so: "People ask an expectant mother how her baby is doing. They do not ask how her fetus is doing, or her blob of tissue, or her parasite."
Furthermore, he argues that a very dangerous precedent is set once people get into the business of deciding whether an unborn child should live or die:
In the 1960s when abortion was still illegal, I witnessed, as an OB/GYN resident, the abortion of a fetus that weighed approximately 2 pounds. It was placed in a bucket, crying and struggling to breathe, and the medical personnel pretended not to notice.
Soon the crying stopped.
This harrowing event forced me to think more seriously about this important issue. That same day in the OB suite, an early delivery occurred and the infant boy was only slightly larger than the one that was just aborted. But in this room everybody did everything conceivable to save this child's life. My conclusion that day was that we were overstepping the bounds of morality by picking and choosing who should live and who should die.
There was no consistent moral basis to the value of life under these circumstances. Some people believe that being pro-choice is being on the side of freedom. I've never understood how killing a human being, albeit a small one in a special place, is portrayed as a precious right.
And this brings us to why O’Donnell may be wrong is his assessment of Rep. Paul's libertarian credentials. Because the Congressman believes an unborn child is a human being, and not just a "blob of tissue," his opposition to abortion has nothing to do with legislating morality (as the MSNBC segment suggests) but everything to do with the defense of individual liberty.
"On the right-to-life issue, I believe, I’m a real stickler for civil liberties," Rep. Paul said at the 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference, "It’s academic to talk about civil liberties if you don’t talk about the true protection of all life. [But] if you are going to protect liberty, you have to protect the life of the unborn just as well."