There is absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, even remotely consistent about claiming a passionate support for personal freedoms and being simultaneously anti-choice.
I acknowledge that Paul has tried to jury-rig together something vaguely coherent by proposing federal legislation to define conception as the beginning of life, thereby suggesting he's a zealous defender of the civil rights of blastocysts, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still advocating forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term against her will, which, by any definition, is—at best—an encroachment on her civil liberty.
That is the very definition of hypocritical hackdom.
And it's but one example of such inconsistencies. Yes, he commendably voted against the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but he also voted to ban gay adoptions. If you're a white, straight, Christian, American-born male with limitless self-interest, Ron Paul's a great candidate who surely does look like a grand champion of personal freedom.
For everyone else, not so much.
UPDATE: Glenn responds to my post with an argument that despite the appearance of tension between Paul's anti-choice position and "personal freedom" ideology, there nonetheless remains "a consistent, anti-choice libertarian position."
Libertarians generally believe that government coercion is illegitimate except to prevent one from directly harming another (hence the justification for laws prohibiting murder, assault, etc.). Thus, libertarians who believe on scientific grounds that a fetus is a "person" are arguably acting consistently (even if misguidedly) by advocating anti-abortion laws.I acknowledge that the position as it relates to fetuses presumed to be persons is consistent. The failure of consistency is not as the policy relates to fetuses, but as it relates to pregnant women.
I'm mystified, quite frankly, by the argument that government coercion to prevent harming an "unborn person" makes for a consistent libertarian philosophy, despite the fact that said coercion does, by any definition, limit the freedom of the women who are forced into indentured servitude in service to the "unborn person." Like any other anti-choice argument, it only makes sense if the rights and interests of women are eradicated from the argument.
Federal law, state law, Jude Law—I don't care about the federalist consistency or the fetus-as-a-person framework. I'm saying, and I don't know how to make this any simpler, that if I have an wanted pregnancy, and Paul doesn't support my right to terminate it should I so choose, then he does not support my personal freedom, not to mention my basic right to bodily autonomy.
That's inconsistent with a libertarian ideology of personal freedom—unless libertarianism is only applicable insofar as it seeks to defend the freedom of men and "unborn persons."
UPDATE 2: Also Drum.