Democracy Has Prevailed.

May 21, 2010

More On Rand Paul from Tony Norman and TPM

From Today's P-G:
While insisting that discrimination in any form was abhorrent to him, Mr. Paul told [Rachel] Maddow that under the Constitution, the racist owners of private businesses should have the latitude to refuse service to anyone they want. Such brutal logic is based on the arcane theory that Title II of the Civil Rights Act violates individual liberties by denying a bigot his right to free speech and association.
And then:
Thursday, the Paul campaign issued the following statement declaring that its candidate considered the 1964 Civil Rights Act settled law and that he would not support its repeal:

"I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws."
Talkingpointsmemo has a run down of Rand Paul distancing himself from himself:
  • Paul on Maddow, circa 9 p.m. Wednesday: I don't agree with the Civil Rights Act, but I don't believe in racism.
  • Paul statement, noon Thursday: I wouldn't support repealing the law.
  • Paul campaign statement, 2 p.m. Thursday: I support the law and the government's power to enforce it.
  • Paul on CNN, 5 p.m. Thursday: "I would have voted yes" for the law. "There was a need for federal intervention."
That was fast - but what's this about a Libertarian admitting the need for federal intervention?


Bungle Jerry said...

Sigh. All the buzz surrounding the word 'libertarian' - there are few words out there, especially in the political arena, that seem to garner respect from across the spectrum - hides a view that can be ludicrously naive if left unchecked. I get that the current trend in the United States is toward small-government, but the presumption that not having a law is always better than having a law to the extent possible - it strinks me as dangerously naive. I wonder how much Americans are going to have to dismantle their government before realising that having a government that intervenes on a day to day basis is actually a _good_ and desirable thing.

Unknown said...

I generally consider myself libertarian, but I'm conflicted about Paul's position (which, by the way, is absolutely mainstream for austro-libertarian anarcho-capitalists, such as those found at the Mises Institute). For what they're worth, here are my thoughts:

Liberty, Law, and Civil Rights

Anonymous said...

@Eric Williams -

Interesting comments but this one is just stunningly naive (and very untrue):

"The free market does not fail. It always gives us what we want, whether it’s good for us or not. I am confident that there are nearly always market-based (i.e., private) solutions to societal injustices. Nearly always. What if prejudicial discrimination doesn’t have an achievable private solution?

Was the Civil Rights Act good and necessary after all? I don’t know. What are your thoughts?"

There's no question that the CRA is one of the most important pieces of legislation ever signed into law. And we wouldn't have a "free market" without regulation.

Let's consider environmental or workplace safeguards for a moment. We've seen time and time again, even w/ regulations, that private businesses will violate those regulations in the name of profit if they think they can get away with it. Should we just rely on industry not to pollute our air and water or abuse their employees? Should we have just tolerated it until the "free market" found a solution? Should the people have no recourse other than to "vote with their wallets?" I'm sorry but that notion is antithetical to the very nature of representative democracy. To argue that the government, as an actor for the people, has no place in correcting societal ills is simply foolish.

Should the Suffragettes have just waited until the "free market" realized that letting women vote was good for our society? Should child labor have been allowed to exist until the "free market" realized that it's horrible, cruel, and unnecessary? Should cities like Pittsburgh, at the height of industrial production in this country, been allowed to continue polluting until the "free market" realized that poisoning consumers was a bad idea?

It would be great if we could rely on businesses to do the right thing. And many do. But many don't and won't if given the opportunity.

I just do not understand how libertarians expect to be treated seriously when they are still debating the value of legislation like the CRA. Even most conservatives appreciate the enormous good that the CRA has achieved.

Unknown said...


Thanks for the feedback. :) Please consider cross-posting your comment on my blog. Perhaps we can get some dialog going. :)

Mark Rauterkus said...


Above statement, "... businesses will violate those regulations in the name of profit if they think they can get away with it. ..."

So, let's not let them get away with it. As consumers, we can dish out our dollars as we SHOULD.

Furthermore, another absurd element, ... "Should we just rely on industry not to pollute our air and water or abuse their employees?" --- NO.

Libertarians are okay with damages paid to those who suffered from those that made the damages. So, I say that there can be and should be much more as per recourse other than to "vote with wallets," yet still legit libertarian.

Government today, as an actor for the people, may work in correcting societal ills, and by and large, GOVERNMENT benefits the most, not the one's that suffered the ills.

Seriously, Libertarians are NOT still waged in a debate on the value of the CRA legislation -- but a LIBERAL, gotcha, MASS MEDIA ATTACK PACK is swarming like hungry dogs to strike up fear among citizen.

Think again.

For example, I've been on the front line in trying to work against SWEATSHOPS. We've got PA, County and City buying agreements, as are there some with the universities, so that we do NOT obtain goods from SWEATSHOPS. Well, it isn't working. The legislation and administrative orders (i.e., from Gov Rendell) are not being effective. We have to be smarter in our purchasing by GOV.

Let's talk about THIS modern problem locally as it is something we can discuss.

Put down the broad brush that paints ABSURDITY.

Unknown said...

"Should the Suffragettes have just waited until the 'free market' realized that letting women vote was good for our society?"

The market didn't forbid women from voting. The State did. State problem, state solution.

The rest can be addressed, as Mark circuitously states, by civil law in civil courts. I'm not an anarchist, but even if I were I could point out that anarchy does not ipso facto entail anomie.

Blue Number 2 said...

So the answer is less government, more lawsuits?

That would be fun. Good idea.

Unknown said...

Some interesting thoughts on State vs market failure:

Bruce Bartlett Explains How Libertarianism Created Jim Crow