In this remarkable clip, Rand Paul goes off on deputy assistant energy secretary for efficiency on how she’s restricting consumers’ free choices yet doesn’t see the hypocrisy in being simultaneously “pro-choice” for abortion.
Senator Paul is echoing a very common argument among libertarians that they repeat amongst themselves to laugh at those inconsistent liberals! Ha ha ha. Oddly, Paul is against a woman’s right to have an abortion so it’s a bit strange for him to be making the argument but oh well. I could hammer him for his hypocrisy, but that’s not what bothers me.
PZ Myers, who I got the clip from, and Irin Carmon (PZ got it from her) bash Paul because of the degree of conflating a woman’s choice with a choice to buy a toilet. But it’s not the degree (or not just the degree) for why Paul is wrong. It’s quite simple. Having an abortion is a personal choice without large negative externalities that shape other citizens’ choices. Buying products that use wasteful amounts of energy, deplete common resources, or pollute the public environment affect other consumers, which restricts their choice to breath clean air and drink safe water. Conservation isn’t a leftist plot for capricious power to control; it’s to conserve scarce resources so the rest of us can make more choices.