I am not a Rand Paul supporter

Rand Paul sometimes says very good things, and I’ll cite them when it’s appropriate. However, I’m not going to support him as a presidential candidate, and I’d be very worried if he became president. He is, by his own statement, not a libertarian, and on an issue which greatly matters to me, he’s less libertarian than many mainstream candidates. He thinks the US border is insufficiently militarized. From his own website:

However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge and causing a clear threat to our national security. I want to work in the Senate to secure our border immediately. In addition, I support the creation of a border fence and increased border patrol capabilities. … Instead of closing military bases at home and renting space in Europe, I am open to the construction of bases to protect our border.

The southwest of the US has been turned into a police state through anti-immigrant hysteria. People are stopped and questioned on major highways without cause. Some are forced to undergo body cavity searches just to satisfy the sadistic wishes of the Border Patrol. So far this hasn’t happened in New England, which falls entirely in the so-called “border region” which the Obama administration has declared to be outside the Fourth Amendment Zone. Attempts to implement this in New England have been relatively rare and have faced strong protest. Under a Rand Paul administration, I might well be living in the same “Your papers, please” world that people in southern California, New Mexico, and Arizona have to submit to. Bostonians recently showed that they’ll submit to suspicionless searches on public streets if the threat of terrorism is waved at them enough; Paul might well conclude he can get away with it here.

Electoral politics isn’t, in today’s world, the path to freedom. No candidate today has a chance of being elected without pandering to people’s desire for other people’s money, hatred of foreigners, or desire to be shielded from the tiniest of risks at any cost. Rand Paul, if elected, will betray the principles of freedom, and the left will say, “See? This is what comes of reducing government power.”

It’s necessary to focus on ideas, not dreams that some candidate will provide a short cut to freedom.


2 Responses to “I am not a Rand Paul supporter”

  1. Eyal Mozes Says:

    I agree with you that Paul’s positions on immigration are very wrong. But I don’t think you’re fair in attributing to him Obama’s idea of exempting the “border region” from the 4th amendment. Everything Paul had said about “securing the border” has focused on the border itself, and on preventing people from illegally crossing the border into the US; I haven’t seen him say anything in support of letting the Border Patrol loose on people who’re already inside the US in a “border region”. And he has been very vocally critical of the Obama administration’s disregard for the 4th amendment in general; I see no basis for expecting him to make an exception for the “border region”.

    If he’s elected president, he will very likely act to increase enforcement at the border itself; and that would be unfortunate. But I see no basis for expecting him to allow the current practices in the Southwest to continue, let alone to extend them to New England.

    Remember also that Paul is very strongly against E-Verify. I regard E-Verify as such a great threat to all our freedoms, that this alone is enough to make Paul’s position on immigration much better than that of any pro-E-Verify candidate.

    Of all the presidents the US has had within your or my lifetime, the best one on immigration issues – the one who was most outspoken about the benefits of immigration, the most supportive of liberalizing immigration policies, and the least hysterical about the alleged dangers of illegal immigration – has been George W. Bush. He was also, of course, one of the most disastrous presidents in that period on almost all other issues. Sadly, there seems to be an inverse correlation between how good a candidate is on immigration and how good he is on other issues.

    Of course I whole-heartedly agree with you that the only way to promote freedom is to focus on ideas, not on expecting short-cuts from electoral politics. But that shouldn’t stop us from recognizing those candidates who can do some good. I wouldn’t call myself a Paul supporter, because there are some issues on which I consider him very wrong. But I see no reason for thinking that he is not sincere about his many good positions, or that he will betray them if elected. A Paul presidency will certainly not be any sort of final libertarian victory; but I think it could greatly improve our freedoms in many areas, and I would very much like to see it happen.

  2. Gary McGath Says:

    Every reference to the Border Patrol that I can find him making talks about increasing its capabilities or requiring it to report when the border is “secure.” If he’s raised any objections to the Fourth Amendment-free zone, I haven’t been able to find them.

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