Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told an American Principles Project audience
in Washington on Wednesday that "libertarian" need not mean "libertine," Politico
Paul called for the libertarian and social conservative wings of the GOP to find mutual ground.
Speaking as a libertarian to a socially conservative gala, Paul said, "To many of us libertarian means freedom and liberty. But we also see that freedom needs tradition."
Libertarianism does not mean "do whatever you want," said Paul. There was a place for government, family, marriage, and the protection of life, he told the audience.
His talked of "moral” and "religious" virtues that are imparted by family and community.
He also called for the place of Christian forgiveness in reforming the criminal justice system, particularly regarding mandatory sentencing for drug-related felonies, and for the rehabilitation of non-violent drug offenders.
Paul, who is leading a GOP task force aimed at building bridges to the African American community, spoke about the importance of these issues in areas blighted by drug crime and violence.
"I'm not talking about legalization. I'm talking about making the criminal justice system more fair and giving people a second chance when they serve their time," he said.
He raised the banner of tax cuts and less government spending, while rejecting easy compromise on Republican budget principles.
"Fighting doesn't have to be impolite. It doesn't have to be rude, but there needs to be a struggle over the direction of the party. We have to decide: Are we gonna go bold, are we gonna go big, or are we gonna go Democrat-lite?" he concluded.
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