WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) argued for libertarianism, saying it is compatible with Christianity and will help Republicans win elections and attract minorities, at the gala for The American Principles Project, a socially conservative group founded by Robert P. George.
"There are some issues that can move the party forward, and some of those issues I would call libertarian issues," Paul declared. He admitted that "to some that's a bad word, but to others I think it's a word that may expand the party."
Paul argued that these issues do not have to come at the expense of social issues, such as life and marriage. "Libertarian and liberty doesn't mean libertine," he argued. The Senator referred to Don Devine's book America's Way Back, explaining that liberty and tradition go hand in hand.
Freedom and Tradition
"Freedom needs tradition to give it its balance and its stability, its sense of family and community, but tradition needs freedom to invigorate it and give it spirit and excitement," Paul declared. He claimed that, in libertarianism, there is a role for government, family, marriage, and the protection of life. "I asked last year at the March [for Life], 'Can a nation or a civilization long endure that doesn't respect life?' I don't think they can."
Paul also emphasized the marriage issue. "I think marriage is important, not only for social and religious and moral reasons, but it's incredibly important just for economic reasons," the Senator declared. He cited Charles Murray's book Coming Apart, explaining that the rich and the poor live in "two worlds" with different choices. "There's enormous amounts of poverty in the world that doesn't make it to college and doesn't get married," Paul summarized.
"This isn't a problem that government can always fix," the Senator warned, "but we all need to be part of trying to fix it."
Christians should support libertarian issues because they work well with Christian values, Paul argued. "As Christians who believe in forgiveness," he argued, conservatives should support forgiveness in the justice system. While some criminals need to stay behind bars forever to protect society, he argued that many merely make youthful mistakes and "deserve a second chance."
"In my state, you can never vote again if you're convicted of a felony," Paul explained. He illustrated the absurdity of this rule by pointing to a friend who has an MBA and a dry cleaning business, but he cannot vote or even own a gun, because he grew marijuana in college.
Paul also brought up the race issue when it comes to justice reform. "Three out of four people in prison are black or brown, but if you look at surveys about who uses drugs, whites and blacks and Hispanics use them at about the same rates." Blacks and Hispanics end up in prison more often because they cannot afford good lawyers, and prosecution focuses on areas where it is easier to convict people.
Helping the Poor
Paul also emphasized libertarian issues as a way to help the poor. He suggested that Republicans talk about inequality of income, an issue the Democrats have pivoted toward recently. Income inequality "is worse after five years under this President than it's ever been," Paul argued. He suggested that the situation of the poor is worse today because "when you borrow money you devalue the dollar." As wages remain stagnant, the prices for everyday goods increase.
The Senator argued for the idea of "economic freedom zones," which would dramatically lower taxes in areas of major cities which have a great deal of unemployment. "Dramatically lowering taxes will stimulate the economy and create millions of jobs," Paul argued, referring to Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, which helped create 28 million jobs.
Racial Makeup and Optimism
"If we want to win again, not only do we have to be a party that looks more like the rest of the country, but we also have to be a party with optimism," Paul declared. Focusing on liberty issues would not only attract more blacks and Hispanics, but it would also make Republicans look like the party of the future, rather than the party of the past. "When we become that party of liberty, and we proclaim the message like a man coming over the hill singing, I think we will win again," the Senator concluded.