Rand Paul has become something of a punching bag for me. Some libertarians claim that I’m too hard on the man and urge me to support him because he is just “playing ball” in order to gain a position where he can bring liberty to the masses. I have two problems with such plees. First there is the fact that we have no guarantee that he will every being to advance liberty. At what point in time will Rand’s secret liberty agenda be unleashed? Will it only happen if he gets elected president? If that’s the case what happens if he never gets elected as president, will he just continue advancing tyranny indefinitely? That brings me to the second problem I have with Rand. So long as “playing ball” involves advancing tyranny we’re not going to be better off under his “leadership.”
Consider the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA’13). If you look at the roll call you’ll notice something very interesting:
Paul (R-KY), Yea
None other than Rand Paul voted in favor of this $631 billion spending bill. Rand likes to come off as being fiscally conservative but nobody can really hold that title if they’re willing to vote in favor of a $631 billion spending bill at a time when the country is already massively in debt. On financial grounds alone Rand should have voted against this bill. But the financial side of the bill isn’t the only issue, there was a lot of garbage added to the legislation such as an amendment to impose stronger sanctions on Iran. The people of Iran are already suffering greatly under current sanctions yet the United States government wants to impose even stricter sanctions (is there any wonder why Iran hates us). If you look at the roll call for the amendment you’ll notice something very interesting:
Paul (R-KY), Yea
Rand not only voted on the NDAA’13 as a whole but he specifically voted in favor of an amendment that places stricter sanctions on Iran. This isn’t a minor issue. By voting for this amendment Rand is directly supporting increased violence and suffering against the people of Iran. If “playing ball” requires harming innocent people then the liberty movement can’t afford to “play ball.” The liberty movement is supposed to be about increased the liberty of individuals. Increasing violence and suffering against a group of individuals is nothing more than enhancing tyranny. Sanctions are an act of war therefore supporting any amendment that imposes or increases sanctions against another country is war mongering.
Through his votes Rand has failed to support his claimed fiscal conservatism and demonstrated that he’s a war monger, but that’s not all. Before voting in favor of the NDAA’13 Rand threatened to filibuster the legislation if an amendment wasn’t included that guaranteed citizens detained under the bill the right to a trial by jury. What’s ironic is the amendment actually made it easier to indefinitely detain individuals:
Afran explained that the new provision gives U.S. citizens a right to go to civilian (i.e. Article III) court based on “any [applicable] constitutional rights,” but since there are are no rules in place to exercise this right, detained U.S. citizens currently have no way to gain access to lawyers, family or the court itself once they are detained within the military.
“The biggest thing about the  NDAA was that you weren’t getting a trial … Nothing in here says that you’ll make it to an Article III court so it literally does nothing,” Dan Johnson, founder of People Against the NDAA, told BI. “It’s a bunch of words, basically,”
Afran noted that the newest version actually goes further than the NDAA that’s now in effect.
“The new statute actually states that persons lawfully in the U.S. can be detained under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force [AUMF]. The original (the statute we are fighting in court) never went that far,” Afran said. “Therefore, under the guise of supposedly adding protection to Americans, the new statute actually expands the AUMF to civilians in the U.S.“
Supporting legislation that has a pretty title but does nothing is par for the course for Rand Paul but supporting legislation that actually increases the state’s ability to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial is a new low.
I know a lot of people that are currently on the fence regarding Rand Paul. They have expressed a desire to wait and see what Rand’s record looks like. To those people I say his record is pretty obvious at this point and he’s proven to be no friend of liberty. He argued in favor of an amendment that actually makes it easier for the United States government to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial. Then he voted in favor of an amendment that stands to directly increase the violence and suffering inflicted on the Iranian people. Finally he voted for a bill that contained both of the previous amendments and allowed the spending of $631 billions the United States government doesn’t have. I’m sure Rand could create a more deplorable record if he tried but it would require quite a bit of work.