Thursday, May 20, 2010

Disingenuous Reactions to Rand Paul Comments on the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Now that Rand Paul is one step closer to the Senate, all of the media establishment (as if from nowhere) seems concerned with his ideas. However, their the media's sudden interest in Paul is disingenuous. Headlines are misleading, hoping (and probably knowing) that many folks will simply skim them on Google News and form an opinion without reading the article or further inquiring into the matter.

msnbc's headline and article "Paul admits political slip in civil rights remarks: Kentucky Republican Senate hopeful faces storm after questioning '64 law" (when did journalists stop capitalizing words in titles?) immediately implies (by the headline) that Paul spoke out against the act, but manages to make him look like a politician desperately trying to backtrack by opening the article with
In the wake of Rand Paul’s comments on MSNBC’s "Rachel Maddow Show" Wednesday night questioning provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Kentucky Republican Senate nominee said Thursday he supported the law and would not favor its repeal.
So what exactly did Paul say? According to the same article:
In his 15-minute interview with Maddow, Paul repeatedly declined or sidestepped opportunities to endorse the provisions of the 1964 law which require hotels, restaurants, and other businesses to accept all customers without discriminating on the basis of race or ethnicity.

He repeated several times that he opposes racial discrimination. “I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form, I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race,” he said. At the end of the interview, Paul added, “I don’t believe that any private property (owner) should discriminate either.”

But he did not say whether he supported using federal law to enforce non-discrimination in privately owned businesses. He said “had I been around” in 1964 “I would have tried to modify that.”

He also said the debate over the civil right law’s limits on rights of private property owners “is still a valid discussion.”

So Paul repeatedly condemns racial discrimination, but he's obviously for repealing the Civil Right Act because "he did not say whether he supported using federal law to enforce non-discrimination in privately owned businesses" because he is wary of limiting property owners' rights?

He's for repealing the act because he did not say that he loved it? Or is it because he said that he "would have tried to modify" it? Since when does "modify" mean abolish?

Left out of the msnbc interview is this clarifying excerpt from the interview:

I`m not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race," Paul responded. "What about freedom of speech? Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking? I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that`s one of the things freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn`t mean we approve of it. [source]

And yet the media is posting headlines like this gem from theAssociated Press "Ky. Senate candidate questions Civil Rights Act"

Or this one from "Rand Paul would turn back civil rights."

What's so ridiculous is that the media doesn't (because it can't) assail Paul for his opinions on race and racial discrimination. It attacks him for having a consistent belief in freedom, property rights, and federalism/limited government.

The real lesson is this: If you think that we've got too much freedom, that property rights are old hat, and that the federal government isn't strong or intrusive enough, then Rand Paul is certainly your enemy.


Even if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were to be repealed, which companies do you think would revive Jim Crow style policies?



  1. This article
    suggests that a Libertarian must believe in abortion, because "government shouldn't control a woman's decision." I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

  2. I would reply that abortion is not a viable decision for the same reason as murder. Anti-abortion laws will restrict a woman's choice the same way that laws against murder restrict an assailant's choice.


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