Does Rand Paul Support Using Drones to Kill American Citizens? Yes!

My Wednesday column:

It must be difficult to be a Republican these days. Since 2009 we’ve witnessed an ongoing strategy by party leadership of taking the exact opposite position of the White House, regardless of whether the opposite position will make Republicans seem unreasonable, self-contradictory or just plain ludicrous.

You name it: they’ve reversed themselves on the individual mandate, cap-and-trade, background checks (even the NRA used to support them), government spending and so forth. While chiseling Ronald Reagan’s ebullient noggin into the facade of the make-believe Mount Rushmore residing within the fantasy cortex of their lizard brains, they routinely demonize policies that Reagan himself once supported. No wonder so many Republican voters are out of their gourds — they’re being whipped around on a psychopolitical Tilt-A-Whirl controlled by sociopaths like Reince Priebus and Mitch McConnell.

And so it goes with Saint Rand of Paul, who, at this point, doesn’t seem to know what the hell he believes about the use of drone technology. By now I’m sure you’ve heard about what he said yesterday when he appeared on Fox Business Channel and completely reversed his position on the use of drones against American citizens on American soil. [continue reading here]

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  • GrafZeppelin127

    Speaking of conservative/libertarian inconsistency, I’ve been observing a fascinating phenomenon over at HuffPo.

    I started a couple of threads (look here and here) with the result of my recent thought experiment concerning the price of guns as a potential “infringement” of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The best answer to the question of why gun control laws infringe but gun prices don’t, was that guns are property, meaning the manufacturer/seller has ownership rights to that gun until you pay for it. Guns are property, therefore gun ownership can only be a property right, not a human or civil right. More importantly, guns are consumer products, manufactured and sold for profit, and the only consumer products (or category of products) the ownership of which is expressly and specifically protected by the Constitution.

    Predictably, conservatives/libertarians/gun fans took exception to this characterization in their usual way. Read the comment threads for the details, and my responses. What I’m trying to figure out is why they take exception to the idea that gun ownership is a property right. I never made the argument that this makes gun ownership any more or less subject to “infringement,” that its being a property right diminishes it in any way, or undermines any of their arguments against gun control.

    See, here’s the thing: Most conservatives and libertarians I know are huge fans and proponents of property rights. Most of them believe property rights are more important than civil rights, and that property rights should always trump civil rights. Some of them don’t believe in civil rights at all, and insist that the only legitimate rights that exist are property rights. Yet when it comes to guns, gun ownership and the Second Amendment, there is this automatic, intense yet inexplicable resistance to the idea that guns and gun ownership are property rights instead of civil rights.

    Perhaps they object to the idea that the Second Amendment directly and purposefully benefits the gun industry, by making the purchase and ownership of their specific product a protected and unique Constitutional right that “shall not be infringed.” But conservatives and libertarians also tend to support and encourage capitalism and corporate profits, so I don’t see why they have a problem with that either.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      Well, if you’re looking for logic, the only reasoning that makes sense to me goes like this. While they don’t value civil rights above property rights they KNOW that the rest of the country does. So they think that if gun rights are equated to property rights it won’t have as much “status” in everyone’s else’s mind. And they think that would doom gun rights in the long run. And, they’re actually right. The American people and jurisprudence have routinely put civil rights above property rights. So if it comes down to a debate between living in a 3rd world hell where everyone is armed making the pursuit of “life, liberty and happiness” nigh unto impossible versus Jim Billy Joe Bob has the right to wear his AR-15 strapped over his chest everywhere he goes….the court of public opinion will shift to believe that gun rights don’t trump our right to live and live without being in constant fear. So even though they don’t give a shit about civil rights, they are demanding that everyone else treat gun rights as being a civil rights issue.

      Another explanation is that it’s just another example of their hypocrisy/cognitive dissonance. We’ve seen this pattern so many times, it’s almost too obvious. They believe that property rights trump civil rights so long as those standards are being applied to other people. But once the spotlight is on them, they’re ALL for civil rights being primary. I think Rand Paul’s comments about not wanting drones to see him in his hot tub is the perfect example. He’s A-Okay if they kill a convenience store robber but heaven forfend they spy on him in his skivvies. Rand Paul’s property rights trump everyone else’s civil rights.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        What a great response. Thanks.

        • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

          Thanks and same to you. Always enjoy reading your take on things. You make me see things in new ways.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        I was thinking also; maybe property rights are not heroic enough for them. I think it’s related to your analysis here, in that the priority of conservative/libertarian gun strokers is to feel heroic and worship their own heroism. A lot of their rhetoric seems designed to demand that they be acknowledged as heroes (as “responsible, law-abiding citizens” or whatever) and congratulated for their heroism by others. So maybe the idea that gun ownership is a “mere” property right and not something more noble and selfless like civil equality or freedom of speech, undermines their private mythology.

        • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

          This is at the root of it too. Although I think the cause of it is a deep seated insecurity based on a variety of factors…perceived (as opposed to real) loss of power on a variety of fronts. Not to be childish or reductionist but the “small penis” theory is not far off the mark. I don’t think it’s that simple but it’s in the right ballpark at least. There are other major psychological factors that feed into it. One of them is the myth of “rugged individualism”. It is so played up by the right that they have a ton of slogan and catch phrases for the idea (e.g. Bootstrapping). It’s so ingrained in our culture that it’s almost absurd. So I think the use of mythology is a very good term for this phenomena. They HAVE TO see themselves as heroes for a number of cultural reasons that have been inflated to the point of a religion and it’s why we see such desperation when those delusional assertions are made.

          One last anecdotal thought…I have known many, many people in my life in law enforcement, private security, and in the military. The ones who are always tooting their own horn are usually the least skilled and least trustworthy. A real hero doesn’t need to brag or demand respect….they do because of their actions. When shit starts happening words are meaningless.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        Another thought, based on the ongoing conversation, in which my counterpart keeps talking about “he physical means to engage in a civil right”, “the materials needed to express a right,” using as an example the First Amendment, which I have to remind him protects speech and expression, not the “right to keep and bear” newspapers, TV sets and PCs. He’s trying to analogize the First Amendment to the Second, viz., guns, like newspapers and radio stations, are just the tools, the “physical means” of “expressing the right.” But the Second Amendment “right” is the right to own (“keep and bear”) guns (“Arms”), nothing more. The Second Amendment doesn’t provide or protect a “right” to do certain things with those guns. Apparently this person, like a lot of gun fans, needs to believe that it does, i.e., that the Second Amendment provides and protects a right to [fill in heroic deed(s) here] with a gun, not just to own one.

        • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

          I actually enjoy when the try to equate it to free speech because it’s a dead end argument for them. The gotcha being we even put reasonable limits on free speech because every right HAS TO be balanced with a corresponding responsibility to society. They want gun rights to be special in this regard and it’s so easy to corner them on this point.