Home > Election, Liberal, Wedge Issues > Some Thoughts on Rand Paul and Civil Rights

Some Thoughts on Rand Paul and Civil Rights


Well first off I like him. First watch these two clips of Maddow for the background if you don’t already know it.

My first thought is, leave it to the Left to try and throw race and racism into the mix, when they don’t have anything else to go on.

I think Dr. Paul makes a good point, what does the Civil Rights Act have to do with a Senate race in Kentucky. If you look at his issues page on his website, I don’t see him anywhere talking about repealing CRA. I looked really hard too. But do Liberals really need any reason to throw out the race card?

What Dr. Paul was trying to say, is that any public discrimination should be prohibited. Race should not be an issue in voting, schools, courts etc. The issue comes down to should a private entity; restaurant, movie theater, etc, be allowed to discriminate? Well I hate to break it to the Liberals, but they always have and they always will. I get discriminated all the time at the movie theater. If I don’t have a ticket I can’t go in. I can’t hop from screen to screen all day. The movie theater can tell me where to go and not to go in the theater, and I have no problem with that. They own the building and they make the rules.

We know that discrimination of some form or another happens all the time, that just a fact of life. People discriminate and segregate themselves everyday. The old cliche that Sunday is the most heavily segregated day in the U.S. ring true. Should that be illegal? I hope everyone says no, unless you want the government to start “desegregation” of churches like they do schools, by busing parishioners across their cities in an effort to get the proper “racial mix.” What ever the hell that means.

I think the problem here is that Liberals take the CRA to be some sort of sacred cow. They don’t see any shades of gray, either your 100% for it or 100% against it. I don’t know anyone who is against it. Racism is wrong, as a society we have come to accept that and institutionalize that. Yet the question that Dr. Paul brings up is, how far does the Government get to go? It also brings up the question of legislating morality.

So how far can the government go? Well as we have seen from this past year, as far as they want. Any government that can force you to buy a product, authorize the assassination of an American citizens, can pretty much do what ever they hell they want. They know that, and we know that. Whens the last time Congress did anything that the people wanted?

One thing to keep in mind, is that the racism of the Jim Crow ever, was institutional. Meaning it was State sponsored. This is an excellent piece by law professor David Bernstein of George Mason University. (GMU is probably my most favorite school, with faculty like Roberts (Econtalk), Walter Williams, and Bernstein; how can you go wrong?)

So let’s compare the libertarian position to what the Supreme Court held in the 1880s, 1890s, and 1900s, and, more generally, to the situation in the Jim Crow South.

(1) The Supreme Court did hold that the federal government could not prohibit private, voluntary discrimination. Some, but not all libertarians, would argue that the Court went too far in allowing discrimination even in common carriers and other monopolies. On that score, the Supreme Court was, say, mostly libertarian. But the Court fails the libertarian test by every other measure, to wit: (2) The Court allowed state and local governments to discriminate with impunity, as with its endorsement of the constitutionality of separate and unequal public schools. The Supreme Court also upheld less well-known examples of discriminatory legislation, such as emigrant agent laws; (3) The Court upheld state and local segregation laws that applied to private parties, most famously the law in Plessy (opposed by the private train company, btw), including even laws that required segregation on interstate trains that traveled to the North; (4) The Court effectively banned the federal government from combating racist violence. (5) The Court failed to protect African-American voting rights.

I would also argue that the Courts asinine evisceration of the “privileges and immunities clause” of the 14th Amendment severely damaged the protection against State abuses that the 14th was intended to stop. The privileges and immunities clause protects the economic interest of every citizen. That the biggest damn privilege of being a citizen of this country to to contract with who you want and do business with who you want. Extending that protection to blacks was an integral part of the 14th.

As the historian Eric Foner has put it, “To Douglass, the wage represented not a mark of oppression but a symbol of a fair exchange, reflecting the fact that for the first time in his life he enjoyed the fruits of his labor.”

Another good essay from a GMU Law professor here:

As David Currie13 and John Harrison14 explain this view, states have substantial discretion what “privileges” and “immunities” to provide for their citizens. But once they have chosen whatever privileges and immunities they decide to provide, they must provide those rights on justifiably equal terms to all citizens.

I’d argue that the whole 14th is a very very libertarian law. Then SCOTUS castrated it in 1873. A proper reading of the “Privileges and Immunities Clause” would have made the CRA unnecessary. Since CRA codifies what was already written in the 14th. One reason, I think, that the “Privileges and Immunities Clause” isn’t talked about, is because it would make affirmative action illegal. And we know Liberals can’t have that can they.

Here is another post from Ilyh Somin at Volokh Conspiracy, fast becoming one of my favorite blogs, on the Rand Paul .

Not surprisingly, 1960s libertarians such as Ayn Rand did in fact favor federal action to curb discrimination against blacks by southern state governments. Rand, for example specifically denounced the use of “states’ rights” as justification for Jim Crow in several of her works in the 1960s. In Capitalism and Freedom, written in 1962, Milton Friedman criticized the Jim Crow policies of southern state governments and emphasized that “forced integration” of public schools was preferable to “forced segregation,” though he also argued that both could be avoided by adopting school choice policies. As David notes, many 19th and early 20th century antislavery and civil rights activists — including William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and many of the founders NAACP, such as Moorfield Storey — held what would today be considered libertarian views on economic and social policy. They saw no contradiction between that and favoring federal action against slavery and later Jim Crow. Neither should we.

In essence my position is this, since Slavery was a government enforced institution against freedom, then I see “no contradiction between that and favoring federal action against slavery and later Jim Crow.” I generally don’t agree with government action but since the cultural norms that developed in the Jim Crow South were in part caused by State enforced laws, then the Fed government needed to pass laws to protect people against abuses by the States. Yet, all that wouldn’t have been necessary had the Court not eviscerated the 14th in the late 1800s. And of course there are other factors that come into play, since society is a highly complex system.

Reconstruction had a devastating impact the South. It made people angry at the North for a very brutal and restrictive regime. Since people couldn’t openly rebel again, they took their anger out on blacks as a proxy. Had the North acted civilized during reconstruction, institutional racism in the South might never had come about. It’s important to remember that slavery and racism in the South was dying before the civil war, and would have continued to do so had the war never happened. The ending of slavery by natural process would have been free from any hint of racism, since it is society driven, not imposed.

Think about it like this, how often, growing up, did we see the wisdom in what our parents told us? We hated it when our parents told us to do something. I know I did. I didn’t see the reason why I couldn’t do this or that. It wasn’t until I got older and when I discovered that wisdom for myself did I truly appreciate it. Only when you discover it for yourself, do you really understand the reason behind it.

I think Dr. Paul’s problem was going on NPR and Maddow to begin with. Maddow lets her feeling be known about the Tea Parties, she doesn’t like them. She, like most liberals, think they are all racist. Is it any surprise that she uses the CRA as some sort of moral bludgeon?

Rand should have known better. He is a Tea Party candidate, why is he doing interviews with clearly anti-Tea Party pundits? I’d say that is a rookie mistake. Although his dad should have warned him about it. But as I said above, maybe he needed to learn on his own?

Is it no surprise that Rand Paul’s numbers are still high. The voters know the tricks that Liberals love to use. They can see the race card being played. After seeing the master of the race card at work throughout the whole 2008 election, people can easily see through Maddow amateurish usage.

I think this will backfire on the Democrats, yet again. The people are smarter than they think. They can see through the lies and deceit. Hell that’s the whole reason behind the ass pounding the Democrats are going to take in 160 days. People are talking about government’s role in creating institutional racism, which doesn’t bode well for big government liberals. This should get people thinking about another form of institutional racism, affirmative action.

Here’s Rand Paul talking about this issue.

It just makes me like Rand Paul more.

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  1. yttik
    May 26, 2010 at 20:15

    Welcome back.

    I like Rand Paul and I understood immediately what he was saying. I don’t like everything he supports, but I think he’s a much needed voice in the crowd.

    Civil rights has gone way beyond race. Some of the precedents have led to the legal debates now happening in my state, for example, it’s illegal to smoke in your own private business because it violates the “civil rights” of non smoking customers. There was recently an attempt to ban guns in coffee shops, which the left thought was great, but Starbucks said, hey, that’s our decision to make, not the government’s.

    Absolutely people’s civil rights need to be protected when it comes to race or gender, especially in governmental services, but how far do we plan to take this? Some people think they have a civil right to not be offended, or a civil right to force their personal beliefs on private business. At that point we’ve crossed the line.

    • May 29, 2010 at 06:55

      I agree, he is a much needed voice in the crowd. He gets people to think about their positions, at least a bit.

      I think the problem with “civil rights” today, is that both sides define rights in totally different ways. I think you and I define rights as things that are inherent to all people but don’t infringe on other peoples rights. This would exclude such rights as rights to health care, since you’d have to infringe on someone else to provide for your rights…whereas the Left takes a totally different view of rights.

  2. Seth
    May 30, 2010 at 08:38

    Good post.

    In the 2nd video, Maddow claims that there’s nothing in Paul’s worldview to stop lunch counters from re-segregating. That’s worth discussing. She says that as if government mandate is the only way to get anybody to do anything. I wonder if she hosts her show by government mandate? Of course there’s something in Paul’s worldview that can stop lunch counters from re-segregating. If it’s important enough to enough people, they won’t do business with that lunch counter. I wouldn’t. Maddow’s fear is that it won’t be important enough to enough people to stamp it out categorically. Yet, even government mandate does not stamp it out categorically. Private segregation happens now and its not just whites segregating.

    The fundamental divide between Paul and Maddow wasn’t whether private segregation is bad or not. Both clearly think it’s bad.

    Their fundamental divide is whether government has the power to do something about it or not. Maddow does, Paul does not.

    I think where Maddow’s argument falls apart is that if government has the power to force desegregation in private enterprise, it then also has the power to force segregation in private enterprise and the only thing that stops it from exercising the latter is who’s in charge. In Paul’s world view, you don’t have to worry about who’s in charge.

  1. May 29, 2010 at 06:53

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