14 May 2012

Sen. Rand Paul Gets in Trouble Again

Politics, Ron Paul 37 Comments

The Facebook outrage of the day is now because of this inappropriate joke:

Look, my view here is the same thing as with his dad’s newsletters: This was a joke in poor taste. Does Rand Paul hate gay people? Well, he says he doesn’t, and here he’s “preaching to the choir”; these aren’t his after-the-fact explanations offered up on CNN.

I also can’t help but point out that a lot of the people who are flipping out over Rand Paul’s remarks on Facebook, were also flipping out over Obama’s flip-flopping and dumb justifications too.

Do you think that Rand Paul would have made this remark about someone who had consistently been for gay marriage for the last decade, and whose justification was “equal rights before the law” or something like that? Of course not. The reason Rand Paul attacked Obama is that Obama’s justification is self-evidently silly pandering. He is making the statement for political reasons, and he knew he had to come up with some official justification so he cited the Golden Rule. That is absurd, just like the Facebook supporters of gay marriage were pointing out last week.

37 Responses to “Sen. Rand Paul Gets in Trouble Again”

  1. Daniel Kuehn says:

    I think you’re being too generous to Rand here. And thanks for bringing in the whole video – that solidifies my take on him. It’s not (just) Obama here that he’s trying to diminish – it quite clearly is gay people that want to marry. This isn’t just a bad joke from a guy that is open-minded about gay people and tough on Obama.

    I didn’t go nuts on Facebook over this because I don’t think it’s worth going nuts over. But I do think you’re letting Rand off too easily.

    And I’d strongly disagree that the Paul newsletters were a “joke in poor taste”. The views expressed there were quite serious and not framed as a joke. Now, whether those views were sincerely Paul’s views or whether they were not Paul’s views but used cynically in the newsletter to protect his Washington job, I don’t know. Neither would surprise me. But reading those newsletters it didn’t strike me as a “joke” at all.

    And to all those on the look out for statists lurking around, note that this is a post in which Bob is defending the positions of two Washington politicians who arguably both have presidential aspirations. I know you statist-watchers are right on the message if Obama or Romney gets defended (it must be because the defender an apologist for the state!) – don’t slouch on the job now!!!

    • Carrie says:

      Daniel Kuehn, I absolutely agree with your assessment of Rand Paul’s comments.

      Rand is right that Obama’s stated views on gay marriage are insincere and/or politically motivated. But to use the word “gayer” as slang for anything disgraceful, vulgar, or worthy-of-mockery is playground bullying. It is uninspiring at best and offensively off-putting at worst. If Obama had announced, with just as much insincerity, that he supported additional school programs for handicapped children, would Rand have joked that “Obama’s views on disabled children couldn’t be any more retarded?” No. Homosexuality seems like the last taboo that polite society still treats as fair game for ridicule.

      Even had Rand not made the initial homophobic comment, the rest of the clip should still concern freedom-minded individuals. He says:

      “Now that doesn’t mean we have to be harsh and mean and hate people… we understand sin, we believe it’s a sin… we’re not out there preaching some sort of hateful dogma against people…”

      Yes, you are! Claiming that gay people are sinners IS hateful dogma!

      He continues,

      “But that doesn’t mean that we have to go ahead and give up our traditions… there’s a lot of stability… in the family unit… The family is a really important thing; we shouldn’t just give up on it.”

      Tradition is not inherently a virtue. There was “tradition” and “stability” in slavery and preventing women from voting. Further, this “family values” appeal is disingenuous; there is no evidence or reason to believe that a child raised by two caring gay parents does not receive the same love and attention as a child raised in a traditional home.

      • Seth says:

        Ah yes. Maybe he should have used the Seinfeld disclaimer that makes that joke comedic fodder for major networks in prime time.

  2. Daniel Kuehn says:

    btw – I have a Sunday post request: what is the biblical view of committed (i.e. – non-promiscuous) relationships that are not heterosexual dyads.

    I’m not particularly interested in biblical views of civil marriage per se. I’m sure there’s a great Christian anarchist/David Lipscomb position on that. I’m more interested in the moral question. In particular, I’m interested in the distinction between polygamy and homosexuality – presumably both condemned under modern readings of the scripture, but polygamy obviously approved of by God in the past – and how you juggle all that.

    Just a request, of course. I know and respect that that’s in large part your personal reflection time, but I think we’d all find it interesting given the events of the last week (which, given the Newsweek cover and that godawful campaign, are likely to stay with us).

    • Ken B says:

      This is an engagingly evil request Daniel Kuehn, it’s a great idea, and I will dash any hopes of it being granted by seconding it.

  3. Adrian says:

    Rand is a statist like Obama. They’re both two peas in a pod, just like Romney and the rest of ’em. Rand knows nothing about Austrian Economics let alone economics in general. He is pandering to the libertarian crowd just like Obama is pandering to the liberal crowd and Romney to all crowds. They are all terrible people that promote croniness and need to learn something from Robert Murphy or Rothbard. Krugman, Mankiw and all the other statist economists Rand, Romney and Obama like, create these silly scenarios. Rand only talks about social issues and never speaks anything of relevance, just like the other two aforementioned. It’s this easy, when Ron Paul ends his reign, Libertarianism will take a huge blow. Rand is another Reagan, two idiots that are just like the Democrats.

  4. Yosef says:

    Bob, you wrote “Does Rand Paul hate gay people?”

    Of course not. Christians don’t hate. Though I think he was told to kill them all the same (Hey, you said Christ is consistent with the Old Testament God right?)

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Do you think Christ wants His followers to stone adulteresses, since that was part of the OT law too? Fortunately we don’t have to speculate, since He was asked this very question.

      If you want to directly attack my thesis about Jesus being compatible with the OT God, that’s fine, but you should do it on that point, not make sarcastic references when you know full well Jesus doesn’t want people to kill gays.

      • Egoist says:

        Leviticus 20:13 + Matthew 5:17 = Jesus wanted gays to be put to death.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Egoist and Yosef, you can continue to ignore what I said. Yes, there are difficulties in resolving the OT Law with Jesus’ commands and His claim that He came to fulfill the Law. I’m not denying that that is a hard problem, and if you want to say, “Ah, total contradiction, Christianity is dumb,” then OK I can understand at least where you’re coming from.

          But this silly insistence that “Jesus wants us to kill gays” is just that, silly. I already pointed you to an example where the religious authorities on purpose put Jesus in a situation where they thought He would have to say, “Stone this adulteress.” And how did He handle that? He said let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

          So, you are being as obtuse and spiteful as the religious hypocrites, and Jesus’ answer beats you too.

          • Ken B says:

            “He said let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

            Not so. By any reasonable standards or evidence he did not. See my earlier comment on this story.

            This is another example where we see skeptics taking the book more seriously than believers, who only want to mine it for confirmatory snippets, not confront it or its history.

          • Egoist says:

            Luke 19:27 says Jesus was not against killing per se, so you can’t use John 8:7 as some sort of gotcha that Jesus was against killing in principle, by using the sneaky “fact” of Christianity that everyone has sinned, and so nobody is permitted to kill.

            John 8:7 tells us that Jesus condoned killing the adultress, which is consistent with Luke 19:27, as long as the people who throw the stones are without sin. So taking all of the passages together, it means Jesus either:

            1. Contradicted himself in Luke 19:27 and John 8:7 by cryptically not condoning anyone to kill on the basis that everyone are sinners in John 8:7; or

            2. Believed his followers in Luke 19:27 were sin-free and thus permitted to kill people, which is the same thing as saying Jesus believed that it was in principle possible for people on Earth to be sin-free and hence permitted to kill.

            There, I just beat your answer, which you believe is “Jesus’ answer”. And I didn’t even have to put my ego in a magical person allegedly immune from criticism.

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Are you saying Jesus now endorses the actions of everyone in his parables? If I tell my son the story of the boy who cried wolf, does that mean I’m for animals eating people? I think I have to stop with this conversation, Egoist.

              • Ken B says:

                “Are you saying Jesus now endorses the actions of everyone in his parables?”

                Were you saying the Landsburg endorses the sayings of every Limbaugh in his Fluke parables?

              • Bob Murphy says:

                You’re too much, Ken B. At the end of this parable Jesus didn’t say, “Man, I wish I had thought of slaying those people.”

              • Ken B says:

                Exactly Bob, And at the end of his piece Landsburg didn’t say he endorsed Limbaugh’s slurs. You inferred it. Just as you criticize Egoist for doing. But sauce for the Egoist is sauce for the Murphy.

              • Ken B says:

                Did everybody see Bob’s rhetorcial trick? I had a long spat with Bob when he made inferences from silence in a Landsburg piece. Then Bob slams Egoist for Egoist’s silly inference from silence. I point out the double strandard, and Bob then implies that I *endorse* Egoist’s argument from silence. Clearly I rejected both.

              • Egoist says:

                Are you saying Jesus now endorses the actions of everyone in his parables?

                No, I am saying that according to biblical scripture, Jesus condoned killing gays.

                If I tell my son the story of the boy who cried wolf, does that mean I’m for animals eating people?

                If you said to your blog readers to bring your son before you and then slay him, I would say you’re not against your son being slain.

                I think I have to stop with this conversation, Egoist.

                So you would rather infer in Jesus what you want him to think and do, rather than what is explicitly written in the bible as him thinking and doing.

                Just more proof that you’re only attempting to put your own ego in Jesus, or some other spiritual realm under which you enslave yourself.

              • Egoist says:

                What “silence” are you talking about Ken?

                Jesus certainly wasn’t “silent” in Luke 19:27 when he condoned his followers to kill people, and he certainly wasn’t “silent” in Matthew 5:17 when he said he came to fulfill the laws of the prophets, not to overturn them, which is of course a sanction of Leviticus 20:13.

                The fluffy version of Jesus being presented by Murphy is contradicted by the brutal biblical Jesus.

                Just because Jesus let the adultress go (probably so that he can have sex with her), it doesn’t mean he is against killing people. There are numerous passages in the bible where Jesus called for killings. He was just screwing with the Pharisees to make them mad. He wasn’t doing what Murphy claims he is doing, which is cryptically creating a whole new set of laws that overturn the OT laws and thus paint Jesus as someone who is against killing gays.

                I’ll go by the bible when it comes to what Jesus said and didn’t say, not Murphy’s false interpretations thank you very much.

              • Ken B says:

                “What “silence” are you talking about Ken? …. I’ll go by the bible when it comes to what Jesus … didn’t say …”

                Et voila.

              • Egoist says:

                Except my statements are based on Jesus’ NON-silence.

          • Yosef says:

            Bob, I did not think that I was ignoring what you said.

            You pointed to one instance where Jesus was put in a position to uphold the Law and refused. Yet that law was still the Law. My point is that since Jesus is also God, he is responsible for having made that the Law in the first place.

            My point was: Jesus is God. God commanded people to kill gays. Therefore Jesus commanded people to kill gays. That is, why is Jesus not accountable for the rule already being in place?

            That is why I asked, in earnest, if God and Jesus disagree.

            Look, we agree that the OT Law says that certain people should be killed. We agree that Jesus in that case says that the person should not be killed. So is Jesus saying the Law was wrong?

            That is why in my first comment ” Hey, you said Christ is consistent with the Old Testament God right?”. If Jesus disagrees with God, and changes the Law, then that is not consistent.

            Also, I wasn’t trying to be spiteful. You take the time to not only post your thoughts on this, but also to reply to comments. I think that’s great

            • Ken B says:

              Bob conflates you and Egoist because you both ticked him off. He does it with me too. Bob responds to the irritation one causes him, one’s actual words be damned.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Ken B, it’s possible I overreacted with Yosef, but make no mistake, you irritate the heck out of me. I’m not getting mixed up with some other person who thinks Landsburg vomited after hearing Rush Limbaugh call Fluke a you-know-what. That’s all you, Ken.

              • Ken B says:

                I can’t even parse your second sentence Bob, but I will not note you have UNDER react to what I SAY — ignoring my facts on the adultress fable for instance — and OVER react to the irritation my comments cause you, leading you to repeatedly mischaracterize what I do say. This does not average out to a happy medium.

                In your (excellent) critique of Nordhaus you demanded that he accurately characterize what his opponents actually said, yet when I demanded the same of you you called it anal word games.
                Someone said something about motes and beams; can you help me recall just who that was?

      • Yosef says:

        Bob, God wanted his followers to kill gays, and Jesus IS God. Therefore he is accountable for that. The sins of the Father…

        Or do God and Jesus disagree? Does Jesus say “Dad/Me was wrong about stoning, so I/Jesus am changing the law so that you do not stone any more”?

      • Ken B says:

        Interesting you should mention that. That is the woman taken in adultery story from John, and it is a later addition. It is in NONE of the earliest manuscripts, including the best ones (Sinaticus, Vaticanus) and shows linguistic differences from the surrounding gospel.
        It does not appear until centuries after the crucifiction.

        It’s a crucial fiction,

  5. JohnSaleh says:

    I agree with the opinion you said in the video.

  6. Dune says:

    Who thinks that many libertarians want government off their backs so they can be freer to bully and discriminate against minority groups?

    “I do!”

  7. Matt Flipago says:

    Am I the only one confused on how Rand Paul’s joke was an offensive joke? The statements didn’t connect, and made no logical sense. How is support of civil unions=gayest view. Consider the meanings of gay, 1)Homosexual, obviously not gayest. Support of gay marriage via federal law is perhaps the gayest reasonable position. 2)Lame/bad. Is supporting civil unions the lamest position. But that would mean that fully supporting gay marriage(unlike what Obama is doing now) is less lame/bad, and hence not very offensive. 3) Happy, Obama’s support was not happy at all, so again obviously not this meaning. I don’t know of any definition of gay that forms a coherent joke that makes this offensive. Therefore we should cut him slack, he’s just a bad comedian, not necessarily a homophobe or bigot.

    “Obama’s views on disabled children couldn’t be any more retarded? that’s a joke, Rand Paul’s was just garbage.

  8. Greg says:

    unbelievable. any credibility this man had with me is gone after he said that being gay was a sin. all support is withdrawn. if he thinks like that, what does his father think???

    at least we have gary johnson.

    • Dan says:

      As always it’s easy to find out what Ron Paul thinks about an issue. That specific question is asked first in this video.


      Although, I don’t know why people would be surprised that a Christian would view homosexuality as a sin. I only care if they want to impose their views on me. Gary Johnson with his support for “humanitarian” wars and most of the drug laws is way worse than Rand Paul in my opinion.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        Also I suppose you guys will groan if I say that technically, it’s sodomy that is a sin in the OT, not one’s preferences…

        • Joseph Fetz says:

          Now, I’ve heard the term sodomy used to describe slobbing the ‘ol knob, as well as poking the balloon knot, am I to believe that both of these acts are forbidden? Also, does differentiation between the giver and the receiver matter? Just curious.

  9. K Sralla says:

    “gay people are sinners IS hateful dogma”

    Well here is what conservative evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics all over the world have believed for scores of centuries:

    Homosexuality is a sin. Generally conservative doctrine lumps together homosexualityadultery [corrected per his note below–RPM], fornication, homosexual behavior, and insestuous relationships as covered under the same Old Testament repression 1) Thou shalt not committ adultery. In the New Testament these same repressions are highlighted by Paul’s very explicit language: (vile affections; even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature, and likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another, men with men, working that which is unseemly, and recieving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet)

    In terms of social order, repression of certain personal behaviours (formal rules and informal norms) have *always* been repressed in every society through both public and private (or hybrid) institutions. These have been enforced through both formal legal sanction and the informal institutional sanction of “shunning” the person committing the restricted behavior (“with such a person, do not even share a meal”. In practical application, the enforcement of these moral sanctions evolve with the institutions that enforce them, and over time may be overturned through a struggle for dominance by competing institutions.

    The fight over a government sanction of homosexuality (granting of a marriage license) is a fight rooted deeply in those fundamental institutions of society, one of which is the church. For many, this issue represents a struggle for the very survival of the kind of church conservative Christians believe is “Thee Church”. If “sin” can be remitted by a government through the granting of a marriage license, then the power of the church to define sin and enforce morality has been diminshed. Eventually the church loses all ability to enforce moral discipline, and inevitably loses its identity as an institution that matters in society. At that point the government monopolizes the formal enforcement of moral behavior.

    So as those in support of gay marriage look at this issue, please be mindful that for many, this legal and political stuggle is not personal, but involves a fight for survival of one the key instituions that has shaped the development of Western Society, but is now obviously in significant decline. The political attempts to personalize this issue and reduce the arguments to “gotcha” soundbites, hide the deep social evolutionary struggle underlying the surface noise, and masks what is really at stake. In Hayekian terms, it also strikes a blow at many of our “learned morals” taught us from childhood by traditional institutions of family and church.

  10. K Sralla says:

    I confess that I only listened to Paul *after* I wrote the above. May I also confess that I completely agree with *everything* Paul said. If that is hate speach, then I am *seriously* out of touch with where societal norms have moved in recent years. Count me in with that kind hater, and if that kind of speech ever gets outlawed, I will proudly go to jail.

    The real problem I see here is that it is hard for many to reconcile Rand Paul the libertarian, with Rand Paul the conservative evangelical. And I admit if one is a Benthamite/Rand/Rothbard libertarian, that must be plenty shocking to hear from the son of Ron Paul. Now I have not read Rand Paul, and confess to not being that familiar with his politics, but please be aware that it is quite possible to be a classical liberal in the Burkean sense, and still hold the view given by Paul in these statements.

  11. K Sralla says:

    This sentence should have read:

    Generally conservative doctrine lumps together *adultery*, fornication, homosexual behavior and insestuous relationships as covered under the same Old Testament repression 1) Thou shalt not committ adultery.

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