Abortion rights (or wrongs) is not exactly the wedge issue it once was in political elections. Apparently, though, it still matters in Virginia, because Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is riding on it. It could be the issue that makes or breaks his campaign. Whether or not Rand Paul’s speech on abortion (which was apparently plagiarized in part) at Liberty University earlier this week has any impact on Cuccinelli’s campaign, though, remains to be seen.
Despite all the naysayers, Senator Paul’s speech was about personal liberty threatened by state sanctioned and controlled scientific advances—and it was excellent.
Although Paul did not directly address the issue of abortion specifically, he did refer to it in general. At about midpoint in his speech, Senator Paul referenced the complete mapping of the human genome, and he spoke about good and bad aspects of recent advances in genetics that are leading to a disease and disability-free life for many but could also lead to a world where a person’s genetics could determine one’s future.
His statement about eugenics, was powerful and true… to an extent. Historically speaking, there is a direct connection between eugenics, birth control, abortion, and race selection. Just read Margaret Sanger’s, one of the founders of Planned Parenthood, autobiography! The irony of Senator Paul had addressing a predominately white audience about eugenics does not escape me. Nonetheless, as much as pro-choice advocates want to repudiate part of their movement’s history, these are well-documented facts and are often used to support pro-life policy positions.
But… thanks to Rachel Maddow, the recent flap over Senator Paul’s “plagiarizing” lines from Wikipedia (of all things!) illustrates how Senator Paul’s arguments supporting Libertarian ideas get completely distorted. Ms. Maddow took Paul’s lines completely out of context, making me wonder who’s the real sophomore here!
For all of the good intentions behind Senator Paul’s speech, Stephen Colbert pointedly observes that by referring to the plot line of the 1997 movie Gattaca, is merely an illustration and not exactly a scientific, evidence-based argument against the potential “evils” of Democratic opponent Mr. McAuliffe’s pro-choice position.
Herein lies the problem I have with Rand Paul. He only tells part of the story. Perhaps he is speaking to his audience, or perhaps if he told the whole story he would lose his core argument. I don’t know. But the so-called “liberal media” picks up on this tendency of Senator Paul’s telling that part and then it misrepresents the true intent behind his positions, and confusion and comedy reigns instead of his true message of liberty prevailing. But in the end, it’s not his fault.
What I found so compelling about his talk was the way Senator Paul drew the connection between conceptual dystopian societies, such as the one in George Orwell’s novel 1984, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and yes even the one portrayed in the movie Gattaca, to the world in which we live in today. Paul had a great speech on his hands about the important connections between the utilization of drones in “security” surveillance of the public and who controls the access to these kinds of scientific advances and others. According to Paul, the ultimate state control of human activity is now a reality, no longer “merely fiction.” Paul asked his audience to resist this growing state control over all aspects of our lives while maintaining one’s essential humanity.
These are pretty weighty subjects for a “stump” speech, and I respect Senator Paul for bravely covering them. I only wish they got the attention they truly deserved.