How would you describe a perennial presidential candidate who insists in a televised debate that government has no more right to interfere with prostitution or heroin than it does to limit the right of the people to “practice their religion and say their prayers”?
The phrase “crackpot” comes immediately to mind—and in any contemporary political dictionary that term would appear alongside a photograph of Congressman Ron Paul.
The Mad Doctor, who proudly consorts with 9/11 Truthers and Holocaust denying neo-Nazis, announced his third race for the nation’s highest office on Friday the Thirteenth (appropriately enough) by declaring that, as President, he never would have authorized a lethal strike against Osama bin Laden. The firestorm over this remark distracted attention from previous controversial comments just eight days before, when he used the first debate of the 2012 race to stake out exclusive territory on the lunatic libertarian fringe.
Asked by Chris Wallace of Fox News about his insistence that “the federal government should stay out of people’s personal habits,” and his specific opposition to restrictions on cocaine, heroin and prostitution, the candidate claimed that social conservatives would nonetheless vote for him “if they understand my defense of liberty is the defense of their right to practice their religion and say their prayers where they want to practice their life. But if you do not protect liberty across the board it’s the First Amendment type issue…You know, it’s amazing that we want freedom to pick our future in a spiritual way but not when it comes to our personal habits.”
In other words, as long we’re free to seek salvation in heaven that means we must be free to enjoy drugs and hookers while we’re alive?
This addle-brained attempt to equate religious freedom with liberty to pursue profit as pimps or pushers counts as daft rather than deft. As a preening “Constitutionalist,” Dr. Paul ought to understand that the First Amendment explicitly protects “free exercise” of religion, but says nothing about a right to operate bordellos or market recreational drugs.
In the follow-up question, Chris Wallace asked the crotchety candidate if he was “suggesting that heroin and prostitution are an exercise in liberty?” In effect, Dr. Paul agreed that they were. “Well, you know, I’d probably never use those words, you put those words some place,” he stammered, “but yes, in essence, if I leave it to the states, it’s going to be up to the states.”