(political cartoon by Bob Englehart via CagleCartoons.com)

Rand Paul is not a Libertarian; he’s a Corporate Libber

Berry Craig
Berry Craig

By BERRY CRAIG

Sen. Rand Paul has said he wears the libertarian label as a “badge of honor.”

Libertarians are supposed to be zealous champions of personal freedom, including a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. Paul is zealously anti-abortion.

Like nearly all Republicans, Paul is a neo-Libertarian or Corporate Libertarian. More on that in a minute.

Kentucky’s junior senator, Paul is seeking a third term on Nov. 8. He never misses a chance to burnish his “pro-life” creds, including touting his proposed “Life at Conception Act.”

Rand Paul’s dangerous bill

Should Paul win another term, his “top priority” will be getting the Senate to pass his “dangerous” bill, says a fund-raising email from Charles Booker, the Democrat who is after Paul’s job. (The Kentucky State AFL-CIO unanimously endorsed Booker.)

“The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known – that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore, is entitled to legal protection from that point forward,” Paul says.

Scientists and almost everybody else disagree on when life begins. “… Scientists can't establish when a fertilized cell or embryo or fetus becomes a human being,” Sahotra Sarkar, a University of Texas professor of philosophy and integrative biology wrote in Salon last year. “... The overall point is that biology does not determine when human life begins. It is a question that can only be answered by appealing to our values, examining what we take to be human.”

The Booker email calls Paul’s measure “the next step” toward “a total and unequivocal nationwide ban on abortion, without exception for rape or incest. …This law is so extreme 80 percent of the country does not support it.”

Paul probably figures most Kentuckians — especially his Tea-Party-cum-MAGA base — are not in that whopping 80 percent. After all, the state is largely white, rural, Republican, and Bible Belt conservative. But so is Kansas, where voters recently — by a big margin — rejected a constitutional amendment that would have given the state legislature (Republican like the Kentucky General Assembly) the power to go so far as to ban all abortions in the state. (An anti-abortion amendment is on the ballot in Kentucky this fall.)

Paul, the Corporate Libertarian

Paul rode the Tea Party bandwagon to his first term win in 2010. That almost all-white, far-right movement was the forerunner of Trumpism. Both are rooted in neo-Libertarianism or Corporate Libertarianism, mirrored in the greed-is-good, only Rich-White-Lives-Matter faith of almost the whole GOP these days.

“What the neo-Libertarians of the tea party propose is Corporate Libertarianism, where we allow a libertarian system for the corporate elites while forcing a police state for the working class,” Jesus A. Rivas wrote in the Lexington Herald-Leader in 2010.

For example, neo/Corporate Libertarians oppose laws that safeguard the rights of racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, women, LGBTQ folks, and other marginalized groups from discrimination. (Paul gets a rock bottom “F” — nine percent out of a possible 100 percent — on the current NAACP Federal Legislative Report Card.)

Neo/Corporate Libertarians believe that the government has no responsibility to provide welfare to poor people, to shield the environment from polluters, or to safeguard the rights of workers to bargain collectively against avaricious, union-busting  employers. (Paul, who has also sponsored a national “right to work” law, has voted the AFL-CIO position on issues just 11 percent of the time since he’s been in Washington.)

Too, if it were up to neo/Corporate Libertarians, there would be no worker safety and health laws, no workers’ compensation, no unemployment insurance, no minimum wage, no pure food and drug laws, no Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

“While Rand is plotting his next anti-science, anti-woman bill, the people the state he represents — my family — are suffering,” Booker's email also says.

Paul must figure his loud opposition to abortion is all he needs to win again.

What happened in that other “K” state ought to be food for thought for the captain of Team Rand.

“Pro-life is a lie, you don’t care if women die,” protestors chanted against the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v Wade. Jeff Wiggins, the state AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer skipped the rhyming, declaring of politicians like Paul: “They’re not pro-life. They’re pro-birth. They don’t care what happens to the mother or to the baby after it’s born.”

Kansas suggests a lot of people — even some Republicans — are wising up to the neo/Corporate Libertarian crowd ... and maybe not just on abortion.

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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