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Rand Paul: Imprison people who attend radical political speeches. Well, Muslims, anyway.

3 June 2011 General 3 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

by Hunter for Daily Kos

Rand Paul, libertarianesque freedom-lover, makes me sad

PAUL: I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.

Like all good freedom-loving conservatives and libertarians, Rand Paul knows that sometimes, you just have to throw people in jail for saying things… well, not for saying things, but for being present while other people say things. This is known as the “unless we don’t like you” subclause of the First Amendment, written in lemon juice and visible only during a full moon.

Should you be able to imprison someone for “attending speeches”? Not making a speech, mind you, but attending a speech? That seems rather far afield from the Founder’s original intent, but more to the point, I wonder if Rand Paul would really be comfortable applying his proposed rule of imprisonment-for-listening-to-violent-rhetoric across the board.

Say, to the followers of people who advocate “Second Amendment remedies” if an election doesn’t go the way they want.

Or to people who support politicians who make bold claims that breaking up the United States may be needed, if their particular state doesn’t get to override the federal government.

Or to people that use gun-inspired imagery against their political opponents, or hold events in which they shoot live ammo at a representation of their political opponent. Well, not those people directly, but anyone present during such speech.

For that matter, what should we do with people who attend speeches by people who merely want to reform the country to do away with the more inconvenient sections of the Bill of Rights? Isn’t that an “overthrow”?

I think what Rand Paul clearly means to say here is that he doesn’t want to profile Muslim Americans… he’s just suggesting we investigate their religious leaders and, if he deems their speech unacceptable, imprison their followers for listening to it. But somehow I don’t think we’ll be subjecting Christian ministers to that level of scrutiny. Or militia-affiliated groups like the “Minutemen”. Or Republicans.

I credit Rand Paul for this much: he knows profiling would be wrong, which is an improvement over many conservatives. But he still seems to have a weak grasp of our other national values, especially for a supposed protector of our freedoms.

Original post: Rand Paul: Imprison people who attend radical political speeches. Well, Muslims, anyway.


  1. that’s unequivocally unamerican and unconstitutional. just like preventing non-subversive speech, even if it offends someone.

  2. Facts are facts. It is Muslims who follow radical leaders who end up performing acts of terrorism against America. It’s not Christians. It’s not the Minutemen. It’s not Republicans. Obviously the “firebrand” Muslim clerics who call for the destruction of America should be monitored. And we need to keep a close, close eye on their followers… chances are good that they’ll end up involved in terrorism.

  3. Everything comes down to the Economy. We have created and propagated terrorists with our ignorant politics by taking over Middle East lands for too long, selling them caches of weapons, stealing and controlling their rich resources, occupying their lands from every angle.

    If you could barely make money growing poppy for opium exports, (which is somehow turned into profit in North America)—and your only other choice to feed your family was to join a ragtag army, what would you do?

    Many honest working men ALL THROUGH HISTORY have turned to terrorism because there were no other jobs. Who is profiting off of the war between terrorists and “the good guys?” Oil companies? Ya think? Big Banks? Ya think? And who runs governments so they will go to war? Oil companies? Big banks? It pays to keep others so far down the only thing they can do is fight back dirty. And to own the media to only tell half the story.

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