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Rand Paul may not be a racist, but he is an extremist

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It's safe to say Rand Paul's first few days as the Republican nominee for the open Senate seat in Kentucky are not going well. When you can't answer the question "Should [the] Woolworth lunch counter have been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or no," it's fair to say you're off-message.

Over at Right Now, Dave Weigel offers up the generous and, I think, correct interpretation of Paul's opposition to the parts of the Civil Rights Act that desegregated private businesses. "Paul believes, as many conservatives believe, that the government should ban bias in all of its institutions but cannot intervene in the policies of private businesses." And Weigel is right that this is not an unknown belief among conservatives: I've had this argument with some of my libertarian friends, and libertarians occasionally have this argument among one another.

So I take Paul at his word that he's not a racist. What he is, however, is an ideological extremist. He is so categorically opposed to public regulation of private enterprise that he cannot even bring himself to say that the Woolworth lunch counter should've been desegregated. Instead, he falls back on the remedies of the market: "I wouldn't attend, wouldn't support, wouldn't go to," a private institution that discriminates, he told Rachel Maddow. But he would let them discriminate. And in the segregated South, that would've been a perfectly viable business model for many, many very important institutions.

"I think what you've done is you bring up something that really is not an issue," Paul said to Maddow, "nothing I've ever spoken about or have any indication that I'm interested in any legislation concerning." That's actually wrong: Paul isn't likely to get the chance to modify Title IX of the Civil Rights Act anytime soon. But he will have to vote on quite a bit of legislation that uses the commerce clause to regulate private businesses. And that's why this matters.

Paul's defense of himself is that his take on the Civil Rights Act has nothing to do with race and so he is not a racist. But by the same token, the fact that Paul's view on the Civil Rights Act is so dominated by his libertarian ideology that he cannot even admit race and segregation into the calculus is exactly why this is relevant to Paul's candidacy, why it's an issue and why it's among the best evidence we have in understanding how he'll vote on legislation that comes before him. If this isn't about race, then it is about all questions relating to federal regulation of private enterprise. As a senator, Paul will be faced with that question frequently. And his views on it are clearly very, very far from the mainstream.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 20, 2010; 10:16 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Comments

Ezra, I listened to Dr. Paul last night and that man can spew a thousand words and still say nothing that you can write as "fact". I don't trust anyone who obfuscates so easily and glibly.

Posted by: sgoldpsta | May 20, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Will someone please ask how Rand Paul would solve environmental problems? The issue of environmental regulation is where Libertarianism falls completely off its wheels. The notion of private space just doesn't work in a world where we breathe the same air, drink the same water.

Posted by: Vaughan1 | May 20, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

After watching this interview it was clear Rand Paul refused to answer the main question Maddow was asking, "Do you believe private business should be able to discriminate and refuse service to anyone they choose for whatever reason". He simply would not answer this question.

His non answer speaks volumes

Posted by: jill16 | May 20, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I think Ezra's analysis is basically correct, but a bit too forgiving. It IS about race whether Rand Paul wants it to be or not. The lack of personal prejudice on the part of Mr. Paul is all well and good, but he has to be held to account for an ideology that produces racist outcomes.

In essence, Mr. Paul says that "believing in freedom" compels him to defend the right of individuals to discriminate (just don't use public funds). This is so wrongheaded it is not even coherent unless one approaches it from a white supremacist perspective. Let's imagine for a moment that your overriding concern is the theoretical freedom of the individual to do whatever he or she wishes, as seems to be the case with Mr. Paul. Even in that case, the "freedoms" white people lost ("darn it, a larger customer base!") were more than made up for by the genuine freedoms gained by black Americans, leaving society as a whole much more free. Mr. Paul's own reasoning doesn't make sense. If, however, we add in the subconscious assumption that white people's freedoms are more important than black people's freedoms, his perspective starts to make sense, but also looks morally repugnant.

I respect Mr. Paul for his sort of honesty. There are many politicians today who pay lip service to the civil rights movement while pursuing a political philosophy and view of society that is antithetical to it. It is good that Mr. Paul is straightforward enough to (kind of) admit that his principles are somewhat at odds with the Civil Rights Act. But really, honesty is small solace for views that are nonsense at best, deeply racist at worse.

Posted by: jessecurtis | May 20, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

He certainly had a racist Campaign Spokesman, Chris Hightower, earlier this year who was forced to resign when Wonkette published his facebook page that said "Happy Ni@@@r Day" with a picture of a black man hanging from a tree dead, in honor of Martin Luther King. So live in your white world there Ezra and I'll live in the REAL world. Ron Paul had that racist newsletter that The New Republic did a story on & "the liberal media" ignored. That is common in families to believe what your taught. I won't even go into Stormfront fundraisers. Whatever!

Posted by: carolerae48 | May 20, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't care what Dr. Paul believes about people of color; i.e., whether he is racist.

The issue is whether he thinks the law should allow racist activities by landlords, employers, educational institutions, hotel managers and restaurant owners.

This is not all that complicated. If Paul had his way, all those people could legally decide not to rent to, hire, enroll, and sell to individuals who they disqualified based on their sex, religion, ethnic origin or the color of their skins. I find it hard to believe that anyone finds that acceptable.

Posted by: mainer2 | May 20, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Wow, what a nitpick...and a stretch. If we can’t paint him as a racist like the Republican establishment did with his father, let’s make him out to be an extremist wacko. I have a better idea, let’s keep sending people to Washington DC that will cater to big money and the lobbyists rather than a person who will actually be a proponent for the citizens. Dr. Paul’s point is the government should remain on the sidelines because in the end, we as a society will evolve and things like a segregated lunch counter will become a relic on it’s own without the governments hand. If you feel it’s the governments role to spoon feed morals and ethics to the populace, continue to vote for career politicians whose main goal is to cultivate a culture of dependance on the government.

Posted by: Tyler_T | May 20, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

It's not racism or extremism, Ezra. It's the Libertarian's Dilemma. The theory of non-governing government sounds ideal, until segregation or slavery or World War II comes up. Then the limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach becomes apparent. Or, Libertarianism is essentially idealized anarchism. And anarchy only really sounds fun to 16 year old boys.

It's not extremism. The reality is, Paul's remedy is one we apply to private institutions and associations every day. We have single-sex schools, and you know what? They're is nothing wrong with that. But some people don't like it. And that's fine.

But the reality is that there are special cases, and private businesses segregated solely on the basis of ethnicity in a country that once had ethnocentric slavery and Jim Crow laws . . . that was a special case in our country. There was a deep moral injustice involved in separate-but-equal that isn't involved in a charter school that focuses on having single-sex classrooms or a golf-club that requires that you graduated from an Ivy league college.

There was a pervasive culture that would make it difficult or impossible, even if potentially profitable, for lunch counters to go bi-racial and to get ride of separate facilities for whites and blacks. There was a whole set of cultural issues that would make if difficult for private businesses to run their establishments as they saw fit, if the way they saw fit was to have a mixed-race establishment. And on and on. The argument that segregation was the result of private businesses making private decisions in a vacuum, and thus should have been left alone, ends up being fallacious, anyway.

That Rand Paul's answer wasn't an immediate: "What kind of question is that? Frankly, I reject the absurd premise that my beliefs logically lead to . . . " Rand lost that argument the minute he decided to accept the premise of the question. Trying to answer it in a way that would seem to justify segregation is just icing on the cake.

There are some places where even liberals aren't very open to nuance. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | May 20, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

A person named "Rand", which in German means "outer edge", is extremist. Now that's not a surprise, is it? What will be even less of a surprise will be the election of an extremist "privateer" in McConnel's Kentucky backyard. There are quite a few in Kentucky who have been saving their Jefferson Davis dollars for a trip to the bar where they can get some of that store-bought-licker to cel'brate.

CB in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | May 20, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, based on Rand's arguments about the 2nd Amendment, I fully expect that he would introduce legislation extending personhood to guns, thus making it illegal for businesses to discriminate against them by denying them entry. And since guns are non-ambulatory, it would be a violation of the ADA NOT to carry one around.

Unless, of course, the gun is black, then it's up to the discretion of the property owner.

Posted by: allanbrauer | May 20, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

To move this into an issue on the table right now, where does he stand on the class-action suit against Wal-Mart for allegedly denying qualified women promotions, raises, and equal pay simply because they were women?

Wal-Mart's defense is pretty simple--they say they didn't do it.

But if I'm reading Rand Paul directly, he thinks they SHOULD be allowed to do it.

What I want to know is, does Rand Paul think that Wal-Mart should be allowed to legally deny women raises, promotions, and equal pay not because they're unqualified, but simply because they are women?

Should this lawsuit--even if it's 100% TRUE--should it be illegal?

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 20, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

It's not about racism, it's about private property rights. It's the same as the government forcing restaurants to ban smoking, that is interference in the matters of private property ownership. If people don't want to be around smoke they can go eat somewhere else and the freedom of choice will decide the fate of those establishments.

This pure libertarian thought, is Dr. Paul and extremist? Only if you consider the founders to be extremist.


“Man... hath by nature a power
.... to preserve his property - that is, his life, liberty, and estate - against the injuries and attempts of other men.”
John Locke quote

Posted by: ucjb62 | May 20, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse


Greece is a warning sign about the unsustainability of debt and deficits everywhere, especially the U.S. Just like Bear Stearns was a warning sign about the unsustainability of the housing bubble.

The Democrats and Republicans are in denial about the looming problem of the country's debt. Perception on America's AAA rating can change on a dime.

Rand Paul may not succeed, but we need people to stand up for more austerity in the government.


Posted by: RandomWalk1 | May 20, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is opposed to the Americans with Disabilities Act and parts of the Civil Right Act....He promotes "private property" rights over "human" rights....This man is just wrong, wrong, wrong for America.

Say NO to Rand Paul and show your outrage to his pro-discrimination views by sending a dollar or two to his opponent Jack Conway.....

Americans must stand up and say NO to this kind of rhetoric and simplistic, ignorant viewpoint.

Posted by: StayinCivil | May 20, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Mr. Klein thinks Senator Bernard Sanders (an avowed Socialist) is an ideological extrmeist or not? Or maybe Sen. Sanders is an ideological extremist that Mr. Klein tends to agree with more than Mr. Paul (an avowed libertarian) and thus finds his views slightly less bizarre. But hey, as long Mr. Paul isn't getting slimed as a flat out racist (yet) my the media, I'll take what I can get.

Posted by: CW13 | May 20, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"is Dr. Paul and extremist? Only if you consider the founders to be extremist."

I love me some George Washington and Thomas Jefferson but dude, you can't argue their values on property rights are mainstream today. They owned PEOPLE.

You can't legally buy someone today and own them and their children and their grandchildren in perpetuity.

Some view this development as a huge blow to property rights. Those people, today we call them CRAZY EXTREMISTS.

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 20, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

i want to thank rachel maddow for having that interview last night.
somehow, with amazing grace, she was able to give him ample space to express himself.
that a man like rand paul, could possible be elected to public office in this country, is a terror.
he is against institutional racism, but will not advocate laws to protect against it.
that interview gave me the chills.
and he chose to have his victory celebration was held at a country club? what symbolism, after his interview with rachel maddow.
this man can keep a whole nation up at night, worrying.

Posted by: jkaren | May 20, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Gosh durn it, it's just that librul media's fault that Rand Paul can't bring himself to condemn discrimination.

It's a conspiracy!

Posted by: lol-lol | May 20, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The real answer to Libertarianism was penned by John Donne several centuries ago.

Libertarians are people who prefer to believe that they can live in splendid isolation from the rest of the world, as "islanders" who don't have to think about, much less care about, anyone else. He is a child of privilege who thinks his current circumstances are all due to his own efforts. Libertarianism is just another word for selfishness; it is social darwinism tricked up for the technological age.

The commenter above who noted that the intellectual failing of Libertarianism is its inability to conceive of public spaces and public resources is dead on, and its failings become deadly with its inability to deal with systems, like the financial system and ecological systems, both of which are interdependent in ways we don't even yet fully understand.

Only someone with a holistic understanding can come up with solutions for the problems that face us in the next 10, 20, 30 years. Self-indulgent fantasies like Rand Paul's are not just intellectual wrong but dangerous for the future of our country and planet.

Posted by: Mimikatz | May 20, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Note how he reduces the question of a private business's right to discriminate to one of First Amendment rights. (Senate efforts to unlegislate the Citizens United case would definitely come into question should he be elected.) This is the dilemma of extremist First Amendment advocates on both the right and the left, be they Rand Paul or Glenn Greenwald. As for his Second Amendment warning to liberals--well, that was totally specious. This liberal doesn't approve of public right-to-carry laws, so their extension to private businesses is moot.

The scary thing is the equanimity of his discourse, his ability to equivocate and obscure ... and the willful refusal to assign practical consequences to his philosophical/ideological positions. I'm afraid it will sound reasonable to a lot of people.

Posted by: JJenkins2 | May 20, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 20, 2010 11:32

Theora wrote the best response EVER to those looking to the Founders intent on property rights. Excellent and so obviously righteously true. The arc of history, baby.

Posted by: Vaughan1 | May 20, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Let the attacks begin! Extremist?! LOL. The left must beleive if you're not for big intrusive Govt you must be an extremist. What a joke. The extremists are Obama, Reid and Pelosi. It's extreme to quadruple our debt in ONE year. It's extreme to place ideologues on the Supreme Court. It's extreme to condemn law and order(AZ law mirrors Fed law). It's extreme to condemn a law when you havn't read it first. It's extreme to allow a foreign president bash our great country from the White House. It's extreme to bow to dictators. Its extreme to apologize to China for the US human rights position. It's extreme to suggest our law enforcement are too stupid to follow the rules. It's extreme to add another $1 Trillion entitlement program in the middle of largest recession since the Great Depression. It's extreme to give miranda rights to terrorists. I have plenty more - but you get the point.

Posted by: NO-bama | May 20, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Dr. Paul’s point is the government should remain on the sidelines because in the end, we as a society will evolve and things like a segregated lunch counter will become a relic on it’s own without the governments hand."

Yes, that is his point. It is an extreme view, it is wrong, and it is offensive to anyone who has a basic knowledge of American history and the struggle for civil rights.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

This thread is such a sham. It is obvious that Rachel Maddow was just setting a typical political trap, and Ezra Klein is simply an apologist for the Democratic Party. While you debate whether or not Rand Paul is an extremist, we have Wall Street fat cats ingratiated with taxpayer money, thanks to the financial bail-out that Democrats and Republicans agreed to.

Posted by: RandomWalk1 | May 20, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

and what beliefs might have influenced his thoughts about the civil rights act?
dont forget to reread this article about his ron paul's newsletters,
for insight into his dangerous thinking. someone should question him about his thoughts on some of the writings of his father. it is relevant.

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/angry-white-man?id=e2f15397-a3c7-4720-ac15-4532a7da84ca

Posted by: jkaren | May 20, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

What cracks me up about Rand Paul is he is an eye surgeon specializing in corneal transplants and glaucoma treatments, along w. lasik. Guess who pays for 90% of those transplants and glaucoma treatments? MEDICARE AND MEDICAID. I wonder if his libertarian principles lead him to reject the evil federal government dollars (or does he insist on being paid in gold?). I'm a rock-ribbed republican, this guy is an embarrassment.

Posted by: sgaliger | May 20, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"Will someone please ask how Rand Paul would solve environmental problems?....The notion of private space just doesn't work in a world where we breathe the same air, drink the same water."

Actually, it's the only way that a rational environmental policy would work. Prior to the Zeitgeist shift of the 1930's under FDR, so-called "neighborhood effects" were worked out by private owners through the court system, not by "all-knowing" policy wonks sitting in government office buildings. Say you own a farm and your crops are destroyed or land contaminated by activities of the railroad. You sued the railroad. Very little in the world should be considered "public-domain;" virtually everything should be owned by someone--then the person will look after everyone's best interest by looking after his own.

Posted by: RandFan | May 20, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"He promotes "private property" rights over "human" rights....This man is just wrong, wrong, wrong for America."

Private property rights is a fundamental human right.

Posted by: ucjb62 | May 20, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Election 2010: Kentucky Senate
Kentucky Senate: Paul 59%, Conway 34%
Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rand Paul, riding the momentum of his big Republican Primary win on Tuesday, now posts a 25-point lead over Democrat Jack Conway in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, but there’s a lot of campaigning to go.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Kentucky, taken Wednesday night, shows Paul earning 59% of the vote, while Conway picks up 34% support. Four percent (4%) percent prefer some other candidate, and three percent (3%) are undecided.
Paul consistently led Conway prior to winning the Republican primary, but had never earned more than 50% support. Conway has been stuck in the 30s since the first of the year. Last month, Paul posted a 47% to 38% lead over the Democrat.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/kentucky/election_2010_kentucky_senate

Posted by: ucjb62 | May 20, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

i hope snl is working on this right now.
the country owes a great debt to tina fey.
may they answer the call of the country once again.

and also, rand paul needs short questions, and lots of time to give long answers, in prime time, just as rachel maddow was able to do.... so that he is completely exposed to the american people.

Posted by: jkaren | May 20, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Dr Paul is wrong but seems to be stricken with the same disease Jim Carrey had in that movie some years back better known as not being a good politician. He's an ideologue's ideologue and needs to realize he has to be able and willing to bend his libertarian beliefs to today's world when necessary.

Its a shame because his views on debt would really help this country. Personally I can't believe he was so naive to go on Maddow like that because everyone knows every liberal on the planet was waiting to trap him on questions like this. Someone needs to manage him better if he's going to have any shot of winning in KY.

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 20, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"then the person will look after everyone's best interest by looking after his own". - RandFan 11:46 am

Wow. Yes, I can see how BP, Exxon, DuPont are looking out for its own. Fear of lawsuits isn't going to protect us, unfortunately. I don't think our current system of regulations is enough either.

I've worked with companies that produce pollutants in manufacturing. They will clean up only to the level required by law. Never more, even if the world were cleaner because of it. You need to conceive of bigger public space.

Take acid rain--the pollution is generated in one state, then drifts to another continent and effects another. Other countries, continents. "Neighbors" can't work this out -- "policy wonks" are essential!

Posted by: Vaughan1 | May 20, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." -- Barry Goldwater

Posted by: RandFan | May 20, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The Bassist of Allman Brothers, an African American, defends Rand Paul on Civil Rights Act position

Rachel,

I am a 45 year old Black American male who loves your show but I strongly disagree with you about your position on Rand Paul. Just so you know I voted for Obama and Kerry because I was horrified by both Bush and Palin respectively. Here's where I disagree with you.

1. If someone in the Klan owns a restaurant and doesn't want to serve me, why on earth would I want to support him by giving him my money? I don't want my money going to buy little Klan baby clothes. I'd rather the privately owned establishments wear their racism on their sleeves so I know who to support. If they want to lose my money, and the money of all other minorities and people with brains and a conscience, then fine. Racism is bad business.

2. There's two facts none of us can get around. Churches are still the most segregated places in America every Sunday morning. Its called freedom of religion. There are still restaurants where you can't go in D.C. and I can't go in Georgia. That's called tribalism. Integration cannot be forced privately, only publicly. Tribalism cannot be defeated by legislation. Freedom of speech and of religion means also freedom of @!$%#s. I prefer them with their hoods off.

3. I respectfully say that I think you're wrong to imply that Rand Paul is a racist for believing that

Woolworth's should be allowed to be segregated. I will go on the record right now and state that I believe that Woolworth's and any other privately owned business should be allowed to be segregated. We Black's have a choice now that we didn't back before the Civil Rights Act. Why would I want to support cracker ass Woolworth's if that's who owns the store? I'll take my money elswhere. If you had your way, I wouldn't know one from the other. I hope we can one day agree to let Woolworth's be free to take off its Klan Hood so you and I both know where to spend our money. Its not like and oil company. We all "have to" buy gasoline for now. We blacks have a choice which lunch counter we want to sit at in 2010. Rand Paul stated that when violence occurred it was wrong. He said it was morally reprehensible and he would never support it? He shouldn't be smeared as a racist.

I love you to pieces and as a person of color I identify with your pain, but I'm glad these racists and homophobes want to come out into the open now. I don't think Rand Paul is one of them.

Oteil Burbridge

Bassist Allman Brothers Band

Lawrenceville, Georgia

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/05/19/4310399-rachel-maddows-interview-with-rand-paul-519

Posted by: ucjb62 | May 20, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Oooops! The neo-con, republican establishment (actually the demopublican/republocrat international banker establishment) couldn't bring him to his knees. Now it's time for the MSM propagandists to take a whack at him. It’s okay, truth and freedom will prevail!

Oh, by the way, what DO YOU MORONS have against truth and freedom?

MORONS, everyone!

Posted by: sosueme1 | May 20, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"Personally I can't believe he was so naive to go on Maddow like that because everyone knows every liberal on the planet was waiting to trap him on questions like this. Someone needs to manage him better if he's going to have any shot of winning in KY."

The one thing that is arguably good about the Pauls is that they don't disguise their nutty true beliefs (although Rand's discomfort at giving a simple direct answer in this interview is pretty entertaining).

It is funny that anyone would argue that electing Rand Paul to the Senate would be a good thing, but that at the same time Paul should become more skilled at hiding his political philosophy from the voters in order that he can be elected.

Legalizing discrimination based upon race, gender, and religion might enjoy some support in Kentucky. But when the voters in Kentucky realize that Rand is also in favor of a allowing a gay married couple to purchase narcotics for recreational use at the local 7-11 store, his campaign will implode. The folks with the tea bags hanging off the brim of their hats that gave this man the nomination are clueless about the real implications of true libertarian beliefs.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Also, I think you guys are giving Rand Paul too much of the benefit of the doubt.

When it comes to non-libertarian laws that affect people he KNOWS, he seems to have no problem breaking from principle. Per think progress, he supports getting rid of the SGR for Medicare physicians, because "physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living." On WHAT planet is any part of that libertarian? http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/05/20/rand-paul-sgr/

His Tiger Woods and "urban" people taking up golf (huh?) statement was a tell. His libertarian principles only apply when there's no negative outcome for him or people like him! If it's other people getting the short end of the stick, he's all about principle. If it's him and his...not so much.

His philosophy is not principled or extreme--it's callow and opportunistic.

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 20, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"It's not about racism, it's about private property rights. It's the same as the government forcing restaurants to ban smoking" . . .

If smoking was routinely burning restaurants down, which then set fire to other establishments.

Legalized segration affected a lot more than the individual restauranteur or the local fine Water Fountain and Bathroom establishment. Also, it's an entirely different thing to say that "you're welcome to come in, but we smoke cigars, so be forewarned" than it is to say "you're skin is brown so you can't come in, I'm sorry if you're bleeding to death".

@sosueme1: Rand had every opportunity to avoid the interview, to dismiss the premise of the question, or to answer it another way. Whatever is happening, it's not the fault of the MSM or the republocrat establishment, or whatever.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | May 20, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@He is so categorically opposed to public regulation of private enterprise ...

but not to regulation ... just so it is clear ...

as you stated, you and Rand Paul disagree on the type of regulation ..

I disagree with your close ... his views are "clearly very, very far from the mainstream."

the mainstream agrees on regulation but disagrees on going about the regulation

... to attempt to paint him as someone who is not going to be the strongest proponent for individual rights we the people will have in the Senate is mis-information; imo of course.

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | May 20, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Pauls comments on Rachel Maddow last night were a little disturbing. Particularly his use of a counter example to Rachels prodding about racially divided lunch counters.

When Rachel asked "Do you support stopping black people from eating at Walgreens lunch counters?", Paul countered with "Well we should be able to bring guns in to the same counter".

Really? Am I the only one who saw this?

Essentially he was saying if black people are allowed, guns should be too. Bad choice of counter-example, in my humble opinion.

If he's not racist, he should hire a PR firm to help better formulate his opinions on the Civil Rights Act.

Given that racism is based in fear, and at the thought of the admission of black people, he said he should be able to bring his gun...it just looks bad.

Posted by: 20yrskinfan | May 20, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"...But he would let them discriminate. And in the segregated South, that would've been a perfectly viable business model for many, many very important institutions."

So the underlying concern is that state and local governments would be complicit in the discriminatory practices of business. I think Dr. Paul and many Tea Party members would share that concern. Segregation could not have existed without government--period. There is an underlying paranoia in this country with regard to the free market that is totally irrational and based largely on ignorance of the historical record; on the other hand, fear directed towards government, at all levels and in all of its guises, is healthy and prudent.

Posted by: RandFan | May 20, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Let me explain it for you liberals:

He detests government telling business what to do, but in cases like racism it is an acceptable evil. Really read what he says, including the pauses.

Libertarians dont believe in racism, as they see people as individuals. It's a shame liberals cant take this view, instead of breaking america into a bunch of squabbling dash americans screaming racism over the most rediculous percieved slights.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&ved=0CBgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fabcnews.go.com%2FBusiness%2Fblack-barbie-sold-white-barbie-walmart-store%2Fstory%3Fid%3D10045008&rct=j&q=black+barbie+walmart&ei=4F71S8O_BYOC8gbVgMnVCg&usg=AFQjCNGzOyToMbGP8rKrbvXSH9Voo3lR4w

Posted by: cprickett3 | May 20, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

This guy is right. The government can't assume the right to legislate upon private property unless someone is being harmed. We may not agree with this decision but we don't have the right to tell them what to do.

Dr. Paul is correct that public funded institutions must adhere to fairness but privately funded institutions have the right to make up rules as long as they don't break the law in other fashions.

Nobody wants to make a big deal about federally funding organizations such as ACORN who support reverse discrimination and racial tension but they will slam someone who is all in favor of government regulation but just doesn't want the government messing with private rights.

Just another step towards socialism using human emotion rather than common sense.


The truth of the matter is that the voters of Kentucky will choose who they want to represent their views, and quite frankly I hope you don't consider them mainstream, because we pride ourselves in the fact that we don't like mainstream anymore. The mainstream current is leading to my rights being taken away and given to advocacy groups and committees...Does that sound like a free country to you?

Posted by: JAJ4043 | May 20, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

as vaughan1 noted, theorajones1 wins the thread w/ that earlier comment ... hilarious....

it's interesting to note that paul seems confused that jim crow was not just done thru government institutions. without knowing that it was a whole, society-wide thing in the south, you're left babbling on about property rights and such.

libertarians look to many federal laws and mumble things about liberty and freedom and the constitution and the founders. all this is a cop-out. normal, non-political people want solutions to their problems; not blathering on about political theory. if nothing else, their obsession with anti-racism over actual racism doesn't address actual problems, and is only meant to distract people (as shown by all the lefty blogs suggesting questions for paul today like what he'd do with the epa, child labor laws, etc). in the end, the guy doesn't have solutions for 100-year problems in 1950, so how can he approach the problems we have today?

Posted by: Chris_ | May 20, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Good article and fair viewpoint. I see very strong links to the views of Obama that were not mentioned. Like his 20 years associated with Rev Wright and the extremist idiologies. Very fair to say extremist but not racist.

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 20, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"Dr. Paul is correct that public funded institutions must adhere to fairness but privately funded institutions have the right to make up rules as long as they don't break the law in other fashions."

but the civil rights act has been law for 40-some years. he's proposing that he'd break federal law, and whether it's his intent or not, support discrimination.

all of these comments boil down to the word "liberty." does liberty mean equality of opportunity -- the equal *chance* to participate and do business in a society? or does it mean: the freedom for you, from all government regulation -- whether that means quashing others' ability to do business through your total control of all economic, social, and legal institutions? to me, that's willfully ignoring those who are excluded from exercising their freedom.

Posted by: Chris_ | May 20, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

To Oteil Burbridge, bassist for the Allman Brothers Band:

I love you, man. You are eloquent, obviously highly intelligent and, above all, you think rationally. Thank you for giving me hope that people can reason together without the hyperbole and sarcasm that is rampant in our culture today. Your comments let me know that there is one thing about which men (and women) of all colors can agree: Freedom is the solution, not the problem.

Posted by: RandFan | May 20, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

and politically naive (it takes time/sense to jump from corneas to Constitution, cataracts to civil rights). Scott Brown and Rue Paul have both stepped in "it" right out of the gate. Rather than remediating the "it", the tea party just seems to be spreading "it" around.

Posted by: hoser3 | May 20, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"we as a society will evolve and things like a segregated lunch counter will become a relic on it’s own without the governments hand."

Somehow for the 100 years since the war of northern aggression, attitudes didn't change at all. In fact, they replaced slavery with debt peonage, concript (prison) labor, and a complete lack of concern for black people not being able to get hotel rooms, eat at restaurants, go to college at state schools, get treated at hospitals (how many integrated hospitals do you think there were in the south?) etc. How long should black people, gay, people, women, etc. have to wait before people "evolve"?

@ ucjb62 :Woolworth's should be allowed to be segregated. I will go on the record right now and state that I believe that Woolworth's and any other privately owned business should be allowed to be segregated. We Black's have a choice now that we didn't back before the Civil Rights Act.

That's great except that there may be only 1 woolworth in town, only 1 private hospital in the county, 1 gas station for 100 miles in any direction. Sure, with enough money, people can choose to live in non-segregated states, but unlike the bassist, lots of people don't have the resources to just go somewhere else.

Posted by: srw3 | May 20, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, Mister Burbridge! Hear, hear! There's a man that gets it!

I am a white Libertarian. I've been a salesman or small business owner most of my adult life. On occasion I've sold things to or provided services for African-Americans. Why? Because the government told me I must? No, because I'm a capitalist and they provide me with - here's that four letter word...wait for it...wait for it - PROFIT!

Reality - Wow, what a concept!

Posted by: sosueme1 | May 20, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"The Bassist of Allman Brothers, an African American, defends Rand Paul on Civil Rights Act position"

ucjb62,

This is supposed to settle the question of whether Rand Paul's willingness to consider racial discrimination by private business to be lawful behavior is extreme (or good)? Really?

Should we look to the bass player in the Allman Brothers Band to also guide us in all matters of foreign, domestic and economic policy?

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

besides that, srw3, if i were black, i'd want the freedom and liberty to freely spend my money where i please.

ridding the country of discrimination in private business, while morally correct, also prizes a free-er market over some guy's nonsensical bigotry. it enables more people to make business transactions -- something libertarians should love.

Posted by: Chris_ | May 20, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I guess Rand would be all for protective covenants, agreements that private homeowners make, not to sell to black people as was the case in Chicago, where I grew up. In the neighborhood I grew up in and bought my first house, we were the only non-white (I am Asian) family for blocks. All white neighborhoods didn't happen by just chance.

Into the 90's, realtors in Chicago would steer black families to certain areas of the city, and not even show them houses in all white neighborhoods. Should that be legal? Should landlords be allowed to not rent to equally qualified (by income, job history, etc.) blacks (this still happens today)?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Posted by: srw3 | May 20, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

No system of gov't is perfect and there are alway plus and minuses to every approach. Rand believes a hands off approach solves more problems than it creates when compared to the current way things are being done. To a certain extent he is correct. Any of you liberals that believe a handful of elites in Washington are going to improve our lives by regulating us to the nth degree are fooling yourselves.

Posted by: peterg73 | May 20, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing Tyler_T is a white heterosexual male. He doesn't have to wait around for society to evolve on its own into a just and equitable environment for others.

By the way, I'm also a white heterosexual male, but I also have a brain that I use to read, listen and draw logical conclusions.

Posted by: bcbulger | May 20, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

srw3
Is it fair that realtors in Chicago steer white families away from the southside just because they have one of the highest crime and homicide rates in the U.S.? Is that legal? Happens across the nation. Just because people know what the outcome will be doesn't mean they are practicing racism.

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 20, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

So let's see; this means that if RNC Chair Michael Steele shows up in Louisville to support Rand Paul and a bigot owns a local hotel, that bigot can refuse to allow Mr. Steele to get a room at the inn? Can we all agree that Rand Paul is not fit to serve in the US Senate since he does not believe in some of the basic precepts of our Constitution that have been settled and undisputed law for more than 40 years? I will say this: any corporate PAC that makes a donation to this campaign should be fair game for a boycott by all Americans who believe in the Civil Rights Act and the government's right to prohibit discrimination by commercial establishments.

Posted by: bells1 | May 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@ cprickett3:He detests government telling business what to do, but in cases like racism it is an acceptable evil.

Mighty white of you to call racism as an acceptable evil.

"Libertarians dont believe in racism, as they see people as individuals. "

Well, isn't that special. Apparently, libertarians are a very small portion of society (given their lack of electoral success, nationally and regionally. How many votes did Ron Paul get in his last bid for president?). What about the much larger portion of the population that don't see it that way. What if some non-libertarian person happens to own the only grocery store, gas station, car repair shop, department store, or pharmacy in town? Should their prejudice deny a class of people these necessary services?

This is not a hypothetical. This was the reality in many parts of the US for much of the last 150 years.

Posted by: srw3 | May 20, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"Should we look to the bass player in the Allman Brothers Band to also guide us in all matters of foreign, domestic and economic policy?"

Yes, I think that should be obvious. Unless you're a racist and you don't think the bass player for the Allman Brothers is qualified to lead us because of his skin color. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | May 20, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Ezra's sleepy comment section gets 50+ comments when he writes about one of the doctors Paul.

We get the politicians we deserve.

Posted by: luko | May 20, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin_Willis: I wouldn't trust Ted Nugent or the bassist for foreign policy advise unless they could prove that they actually know something about foreign policy any more than My initial guess is that it is not their area of expertise. I wouldn't trust them to maintain my car, unless they proved that they knew car repair. You're going of the rails a bit on this one...

Posted by: srw3 | May 20, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The issue at stake is what power are you willing to give to the federal government? And what precedent are you willing to set. While I don't vehemently disagree with the Civil Rights Act, I understand where Rand Paul is coming from. Essentially, the Civil Rights Act gives the federal government the authority, and precedent, to impose its will on the decisions of private enterprises and owners of private property. If the government can tell a business what person should be allowed admittance into its institution, whether a restaurant or hotel, then shouldn't the federal government have the power to tell a private university who it can admit to? Forget racial quotas or affirmative action. The government could force NYU or Georgetown to admit applicants from each intelligence level. For isn't it discrimination, also, to exclude individuals who simply do not meet the intelligence level requirements? Surely, we are not all born with the same IQ, right?

The danger is simply the precedent you're setting. The government, in every country and at every time throughout history, perpetually builds upon its power one bureaucrat at a time. In the early 1900s, the government expenditures made up 7% of GDP. In the 1930s, 20%. 1960s, 30%. 1980s, 35%. And today, we are at a whopping 45% of GDP. If the government is allowed to freely intrude upon private business, then there is no limit upon what they can legislate. Imagine in 100 years where we will be if we continue upon the track we have been on. Will government spending be 90% of GDP.

Posted by: AllAboutTheU | May 20, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"Any of you liberals that believe a handful of elites in Washington are going to improve our lives by regulating us to the nth degree are fooling yourselves."

And I think that's the difference between the 1% of the country who are libertarians and those who aren't. Most people think the MLK-era was a period where the Country took a big step forward, making good on its promise following the last big step - the Reconstruction era. Other people see that and think that it caused, as Trent Lott said, "all these problems" that we got today.

Normal folks think that *even though* that Civil Rights "government regulation" (you know, voted on by our representatives) probably reduces the wealth and status of powerful whites, it was a fair thing to do and was a small price to pay compared to the huge benefit that large amounts of people got.

However, if you are like TRUTH20 and simply deny statistical measures of race-based decisions, it's difficult to address racial issues at all. Or, if you're like peterg73, and ignore our failed experiment at total deregulation in the 19th Century, of course you'd always harken back to a made-up time when government was gone and people were free.

In the real world, the only tool we got to address society-wide discrimination -- unfortunately -- is government. The fact that it's done a lot of good for huge amounts of people, though, means nothing when "property interests of powerful whites" are in danger and my personal political theories don't support it.

Posted by: Chris_ | May 20, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

what we need is a libertarian like Rand Paul to ascribe to those beliefs relating to economic concerns (re debt) and to know when to bend those libertarian beliefs when it goes against a moral truth.

oh and sosueme1, PROFIT is 6 letters not 4.

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 20, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@Tyler T

Nitpick? Discrimination based on race is nitpicking? And are you really suggesting that what the Civil Rights Act accomplished was about to happen under its own impetus via free markets?

Honestly, how white are you?


Posted by: megman | May 20, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"Imagine in 100 years where we will be if we continue upon the track we have been on" --> See, that's what I mean. I see the last 100 years as the world getting better. You see it as the decline of white power and increased government spending.

The government forcing a business to accept people's regardless of race is definitely not the same as forcing a college to accept persons regardless of IQ. One is based in racial bigotry and one is based in running a college. Failing to see actual, real life distinctions, though, is a hallmark of libertarianism.

"The danger is simply the precedent you're setting." It was set 70 freaking years ago! The world has gotten better because more people can live and work freer, not because a select class of people lost some illegitimate power to enrich themselves.

Posted by: Chris_ | May 20, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Commenter Kevin_Willis | May 20, 2010 11:23 AM, has it right, I think.
Dr. Paul isn't a racist, he's a fool. To hold that private property rights always trump the rights of minorities to equal treatment under the law is just ideological purity for the sake of ideological purity. While it may be a slippery slope once the federal government gets gets involved in property rights, it is quite clear that this country would never have ended segregation or have achieved equal access for the disabled without federal intervention. That federal regulators often go too far in promulgating detailed regulations ad infinitum is a cross we have to bear as a result of the failure of the states to enforce equal rights for all.

Posted by: FadingFast | May 20, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Surely, we are not all born with the same IQ, right?"

I am not sure how this relates to race, except that in this very country, less than 50 years ago (and this belief continues to today, see Limbaugh, Rush), it was "common knowledge" in the white community that blacks were dumber than whites, dirtier than whites, and generally inferior to whites. So depending on how you calculate IQ, it would be just fine to not hire blacks because they are just not smart enough. I mean, this was the normative view of our society, and not just in the south.

Posted by: srw3 | May 20, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

ucjb62 (quoting the Allman Brothers bassist): "If they want to lose my money, and the money of all other minorities and people with brains and a conscience, then fine. Racism is bad business."

That's simply not always true. In a highly racist community, a business could lose more revenue if it failed to discriminate because the majority would refuse to patronize that business. Indeed, such may have been the case in many places in the 1950s. And failure to require nondiscrimination could have allowed segregation to perpetuate indefinitely because it's in the business's interest to do so, to the great detriment of the minority group.

It's situations like these where political theory is refuted by local reality. The failure to recognize these outcomes is to reject facts in order to retain a flawed ideology.

Posted by: dasimon | May 20, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

To the anarchist trolls that argue that a profit-driven free market would cause discrimination based on race, religion or gender to simply wither away:

We know from human history that never happens. Racism is cultural, and culture is a more powerful force than market capitalism. Racism reassures persons of a certain identity that they are superior to others, simply by virtue of their genetic material. Racism results in segregation which further reinforces racism, and it becomes deeply embedded in the culture, passed along from one generation to the next.

If you honestly don't understand that discrimination can enhance profits, you have not really even begun to think about discriminatory practices. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers were free to pay people less for the same work, based upon race, religion or gender. This is a handy excuse for one racial community to create an entire underclass of exploited workers, and that was commonplace in America until passage of the law that Rand Paul opposes.

If you believe that a free market causes racial, religious, and gender discrimination to disappear, please cite historical examples where that has occurred, and tell us where the cycle of racism was broken without some intervening force.

Finally, if you believe that the disappearance of racial discrimination is the inevitable result of a free market, exactly what harm is done by also making the practice of discrimination unlawful? What, exactly, is the value being preserved in the "freedom" to engage in racist business practices?

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"Private property rights is a fundamental human right."

Only if you have property.

Rand believes in the golden rule: "He who has the gold, makes the rules." That is the basic argument for allowing private businesses to discriminate against anyone they want to. Its their business (gold), the government has no role in ensuring that they don't systematically refuse to hire or serve people if they don't like how they look. Isn't this the basic argument Paul is making?

Posted by: srw3 | May 20, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

sosueme1:

Do you stop to think before you post? You do realize this whole discussion is not exactly esoteric but about a concrete problem: businesses not accepting black customers because they are black.

Perhaps you think that all those white business owners who didnt accept black customers where stupid businessmen?

You should consider the possibility that they were just as good as you are at making profits (and who knows some of them could have been better than you!)

If they accepted black customers, then whites would stop coming! Its really not that difficult.

Anyways, Im waiting for a convincing argument that the profit motive will cure the worlds evils or at least racism.

Posted by: kisfiu | May 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The bassist for the Allman Brothers Band should talk to some bassists from 45-50 years ago. The man might have a good heart, but he is ignorant beyond belief.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 20, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"For isn't it discrimination, also, to exclude individuals who simply do not meet the intelligence level requirements? Surely, we are not all born with the same IQ, right?"

Right, we are not. That's why universities have no idea what your IQ might be, instead they look at your academic achievement in high school, your performance on the scholastic aptitude test, and your ability to write an essay and gather references.

There is a huge difference between discrimination based upon merit and achievement, which is perfectly legal, and discrimination based solely upon issues of personal identity, which is not legal. You folks really need to spend a little time thinking about this very basic subject.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Sen. Sanders is an ideological extremist that Mr. Klein tends to agree with more than Mr. Paul. Should consider the possibility that they were just as good as you are at making profits.
http://www.247jet.com/

Posted by: privatejet | May 20, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"The bassist for the Allman Brothers Band should talk to some bassists from 45-50 years ago."

Yes.

Oteil is not an original member, and he is only 45 years old, so he grew up in an era in which he has enjoyed all of the benefits of the changes brought about by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The irony here is that the Allman Brother Band, which came out of Macon Georgia in the late 1960's might never have gotten off the ground (since it had both black and white musicians) were it not for the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Getting gigs, hotel accomodations, etc., and avoiding angry harassment would have been much more complicated for a pioneering integrated Southern rock band without the changes that the law made possible.

I do love the Allman Brothers' music, but I could not care less about Oteil's naive ideas about how he could simply choose not to patronize racist businesses if discrimination was made legal again. It is kind of funny that anyone would paste them into this thread as though they somehow settle the issue.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Rand's view will take away my human rights if I am refused service to essential services. Imagine if I were to live in a racist town that refused to let me buy food or gas or medical supplies? Am I to starve or bleed to death in this racist town because I was born of a certain color? Shame.

Posted by: jamesterp | May 20, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Mr. Klein. I have always appreciate your rigorous analysis of policy but am constantly disappointed at your attempts to spin everything favor of the Left/Liberals/Progressives. And there you go again here.

"And his views on it are clearly very, very far from the mainstream."

Do you have any evidence backing you up on this claim or do you just assert opinions and mask them as facts?

Rand Paul supports 9 out of the 10 Titles of the Civil Rights Act. He opposes Title 2 for a specific reason: the government should not be regulating businesses and forcing them to accept any customer they want. He believes community standards, not mandated laws, should drive anti-discrimination policy. Here's an example for you:

Fact: I was discriminated against at Bravo! Bravo! last year because I had white tennis shoes on and wasn't Latino. They wanted to charge me $20 cover when everyone else was getting $10. I proceeded to leave, and the guy said, all right, $10. I have not gone back to the club since and have encourgaed my friends not to go back either.

That's what he's talking about here. Until you actually show me evidence that his views are "very, very far from the mainstream" I will continue to stand with Rand Paul on this one.

Posted by: MichaelQuotes | May 20, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"what we need is a libertarian like Rand Paul to ascribe to those beliefs relating to economic concerns (re debt) and to know when to bend those libertarian beliefs when it goes against a moral truth."

Not bending is the very definition of a Libertarian. Once they bend, they become conservatives or liberals.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, one of my kids had a high school assignment to pick a Presidential candidate, read a book the candidate had written, and then evaluate their political beliefs. My son picked Ron Paul, because he was somewhat captivated by his themes of individual freedom. When the assignment was complete, I asked him how he felt about Ron Paul.

He told me that he had taken Ron Paul's book out from the library, and it occurred to him that if Ron Paul had his way, there would be no public library run by the government using taxes. My son really likes taking things out from the library, and so that simple epiphany was enough by itself for him to realize that he did not want to live in Ron Paul's alternate world.

That's how it will always be with Libertarians. Everyone agrees with much of what they have to say (just different parts), but virtually no one can swallow the whole package. And that's a good thing.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

>>>>This thread is such a sham. It is obvious that Rachel Maddow was just setting a typical political trap, and Ezra Klein is simply an apologist for the Democratic Party. While you debate whether or not Rand Paul is an extremist, we have Wall Street fat cats ingratiated with taxpayer money, thanks to the financial bail-out that Democrats and Republicans agreed to.

Posted by: RandomWalk1 <<<

Yeah, that darn "gotcha" journalism. Kinda reminds me of when Katie Couric played "Gotcha" with Palin when Palin couldn't name any magazines she read. Please. Rand Paul stuck his foot in his mouth. Rachel didn't make him do it, but you go right ahead and blame her since it makes you feel better.

I love how Rand Paul says he isn't a racist, and how he "abhors" it, yet he will fight for the racist rights of others. Yep, that's gotcha journalism alright.

Posted by: cherryperry | May 20, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

thank you, ezra.

journalists cannot let up on this for a second.
do not let decades of legislation supporting human decency and equal rights be jeopardized by even one dangerous extremist in the government who thinks like this.
keep fighting the good fight.
the fight against ignorance and evil just never ends.
we must hold on to our ideals and our hope for a better world.
keep exposing the truth of this man's beliefs.
dont let evil gain any more of a foothold than it already has.

Posted by: jkaren | May 20, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"Rand Paul supports 9 out of the 10 Titles of the Civil Rights Act. He opposes Title 2 for a specific reason:"

...both you and Rand need to learn more about the Act.

Based on the views that he has expressed, Dr. Paul would also have trouble with Title VII, which makes it unlawful for private businesses to discriminate in hiring,compensation, and other employment practices. He would also have difficulties with Title V, which expanded the powers of the Civil Rights Commission as as part of the enforcement mechanism of the Act and all of its provisions.


""And his views on it are clearly very, very far from the mainstream."

Do you have any evidence backing you up on this claim or do you just assert opinions and mask them as facts?"


46 years have passed since this landmark law was enacted, and it is universally accepted as one of the most crucial mechanisms responsible for crushing segregationist practices in American life. If you think it is "mainstream" to believe that discrimination based upon race, religion, or gender should be perfectly legal, you make it self-evident that you have no clue where the mainstream in American society is in 2010.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

“Let me be clear: 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.

“As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years

“My opponent’s statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.”

Quothe Rand Paul.

Y'know what, liberals....you may be right about one thing...right wing hate. I, a right-winger, am learning to hate...YOU. You have shown us nothing but hate and ridicule from the beginning of your Progressive movement and we have always been on the defensive, doing nothing but defending our point of view. You began the attack and call us villains for being indignant. So, just as the mugged hates the mugger and the Jew hates the Nazi and the slave hates the slaver; I, the conservative, hate the Liberals.

Posted by: jlancecombs | May 20, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

cherryperry, he supports the rights of racists, yes. because he advocates freedom. so what. if racists are free to be racist then you know first hand who the racists are and can then choose whether or not to associate with them. of course, you liberals want freedom of expression until you think it's "mean" then you don't want it. since you think conservatives are mean, that seems to imply that you'd be ok with taking away the rights of conservatives to be conservative.

Posted by: jlancecombs | May 20, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"...both you and Rand need to learn more about the Act.

Based on the views that he has expressed, Dr. Paul would also have trouble with Title VII, which makes it unlawful for private businesses to discriminate in hiring,compensation, and other employment practices. He would also have difficulties with Title V, which expanded the powers of the Civil Rights Commission as as part of the enforcement mechanism of the Act and all of its provisions."

Before you go setting up a straw man as to what he believes, read his statement on the entire Act here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/20/rand-paul-civil-rights-rachel-maddow_n_583292.html

"46 years have passed since this landmark law was enacted, and it is universally accepted as one of the most crucial mechanisms responsible for crushing segregationist practices in American life. If you think it is "mainstream" to believe that discrimination based upon race, religion, or gender should be perfectly legal, you make it self-evident that you have no clue where the mainstream in American society is in 2010."

You are twisting his words just like Ezra in order to set up a straw man. I wasn't asking if the Civil Rights Act was part of the mainstream. I agree that it is. I was asking if Rand Paul's views on discrimination and the way to approach were "very, very far from the mainstream." Mr. Klein has not demonstrated that to be.

Nice try though.

Posted by: MichaelQuotes | May 20, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

This is nothing more than a cheap smear attempt by a left desperate to keep control. If you watch what he actually said you'll see he said nothing wrong! They new that as a constitutional libertarian he'd be for property rights and so they resort to bringing up ancient legislation in an attempt to brand him a racist. Anyone who comes away with that impression is either a shameless opportunist or a mindless sheep. In a world where sound bites and shallow commentary pass on as news, and where no one really thinks for themselves, I'm afraid too many people will get caught up in the kind of groupthink that threatens our ability to bring about real change. It's sad that the left would stoop to these lows but is it unexpected? To be honest, accusations of racism are. It just goes to show what kind of people we're going up against. Anyone who still thinks for themselves and isn't swayed by illogical arguments grandstanding as "gotcha" validation of ill-conceived presuppositions must hold strong to their principles (of property rights and non-discrimination) and our ability to reason.

Rand and Ron Paul are not racists! Most on the left can't see their arguments for what they are and mistake Rand's "long response" with "avoiding" the issue, but what it really is is not giving in to the left's demands for a "straight answer" when a straight answer would be less desirable for it's lack of thoughtfulness on such a issue. A "straight answer" is a thoughtless answer meant to pacify the status-quo. Instead Rand spoke honestly about something that the left has so trivialized I'm afraid it can never be talked about seriously, and can be mentioned only via ad-homminem attempts to create misrepresentations of peoples convictions. Shame on the author of this article, and shame on any one of you who goes along with his very apparent agenda.

Posted by: kobe2481 | May 20, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Of course, where Rand Paul fails as a libertarian is in his opposition to a woman's right to an abortion and a person's right to use drugs for their own enjoyment. A true libertarian believes that a person has a right to control their own body as well as their own property. Paul is really a paleo-conservative, as are most of the Tea Party members.

But not to worry. If Dr. Paul is elected, he will simply be a freshman Senator, shoved into the tiniest, most out of the way office in the Capitol and assigned to committees where he can do no harm.

Posted by: jhpurdy | May 20, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"Before you go setting up a straw man as to what he believes, read his statement on the entire Act here"


Michael, Michael, Michael-

I am very familiar with every word that he spoke, with Maddow, and in the NPR and newspaper interviews that led up to the Maddow interview. If you pay any attention to the totality of Paul's remarks, three things become clear.

1). Paul supports the parts of the act that outlaw discrimination by the Federal government. 2). Paul opposes the parts of the law that outlaw discrimination by private business. 3). Paul is so unfamiliar with the law that he carries the mistaken impression that there is only one title in the act that outlaws discrimination by private business.

In fact, in one of the three interviews he admits he is not very familiar with the Act.

Again, yes it is "mainstream" in 2010 to accept the fact that discrimination in the private sector based upon race, religion, or gender should be unlawful. It is mainstream to believe that the ENTIRE Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a good law. Rand Paul disagrees, therefore Rand Paul is outside of the mainstream.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

jlancecombs: "if racists are free to be racist then you know first hand who the racists are and can then choose whether or not to associate with them. of course, you liberals want freedom of expression until you think it's "mean" then you don't want it."

There's a big difference between racist acts, which can deprive groups of essential services, and racist expression, which is constitutionally protected. As noted above, it's entire possible in racist communities that entire groups of people will be subjected to substandard access to goods and services and will have nowhere else to go, and so will not have any "choice" not to be affected by that behavior.

And as far as freedom of expression goes, my recollection is that it was mostly conservatives who wanted to make flag burning illegal because it hurt some people's feelings. (Principled libertarians were on the free expression side of this issue.)

Few people are trying to deny a conservative's ability to be conservative. To claim that conservatives are consistently on the defensive is to ignore the past 10 years of recent history in this country. (And when conservative free market theories have failed, such as the financial collapse, there should be no objection to asking people to "defend" their free market position.)

And to compare treatment to slaves and slavers, or Jews and Nazis, is simply offensive--even though you have every right to say it, and I have every right to criticize it. Welcome to the world of free speech.

Posted by: dasimon | May 20, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Paul may not be a racist (who knows when someone really is racist) but his words would give comfort to those who have views that all men and women are NOT created equally. He does not believe government should have laws to make sure everyone is safe; educated and able to have access to ALL public accommodations. According to his views women would still not be able to vote; Jim Crow/segregation would still be the law of the land; poor and uneducated would remain so; etc. The more he talks the more people will see what a danger he is too this country. Hopefully, Kentuckians are really listening to him.

Posted by: rlj1 | May 20, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Its interesting to see the defense of Rand Pauls theories but everything I've read falls very short for a few reasons:

- When Woolworths wanted to remove the black students from their lunch counter who did they call - THE POLICE
- When the freedom marchers were trying to get equal service from the private businesses what was one of the tactics used to get them to back down - HOSING BY THE FIRE DEPARTMENT

You guys want your fires to be put out and your streets to be cleared of garbage and your private businesses to be safe from thieves and you have no problem using the pool that includes my tax dollars to do it but you still want to claim autonomy when it comes to allowing me the right to patronize your business. And, lets not get it twisted. Most of these businesses didnt outright keep blacks from shopping there. They just wouldn't let me try on or return clothing that I purchased or eat where I purchased the food which would always leave me treated like a second class citizen (but my money was always treated first class)

So, unless you can find a way to "Segregate" my tax dollars from the ones that build the roads and sidewalks and sewer systems to your business or that provide police, fire and emergency services then you're being a hypocrite and don't have a leg to stand on in your argument. You can't have it both ways!

The fact that Dr. Paul can say that he would've marched with Dr. King while disagreeing with a major part of the act he marched for shows just how out of touch he is with that REAL LIFE challenges behind his "theories" that affected millions of African Americans and how out of touch he would be with the reality facing all Americans.

Posted by: susymac1919 | May 20, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

kobe2481: "Rand and Ron Paul are not racists!...Shame on the author of this article..."

Uh, look at the title of the article. Ezra doesn't say or imply that Rand Paul is a racist. But Ezra does say, and Rand himself says, that his doctrinaire libertarianism would allow racially discriminatory acts in places of public accommodation. There's nothing untrue about that description of Rand's position.

Those that think Ezra is calling Rand Paul a racist are reading their views into the article instead of reading the article itself.

Posted by: dasimon | May 20, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

When Woolworths wanted to remove the black students from their lunch counter who did they call - THE POLICE
- When the freedom marchers were trying to get equal service from the private businesses what was one of the tactics used to get them to back down - HOSING BY THE FIRE DEPARTMENT

And you wonder why libertarians are fearful of the goverment -- it was the government that was enforcing the discrimination.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | May 20, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"And you wonder why libertarians are fearful of the goverment -- it was the government that was enforcing the discrimination."

...until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which meant that what those racist businesses did was no longer legal in America, and so their activities could no longer be supported by the government. If Dr. Paul had his way, not only would private businesses be allowed to discriminate, but government would have to support that racist behavior by enforcing their rights to do so.

This is the point: you can't simply disentangle the government from legalized private discrimination, and anyone (like Dr. Paul) who thinks that you can does not know American history and has not really considered the question.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

sgoldpsta wrote>>>Ezra, I listened to Dr. Paul last night and that man can spew a thousand words and still say nothing that you can write as "fact". I don't trust anyone who obfuscates so easily and glibly.

Exactly! I listened to the interview and Paul kept talking in circles unable to give an answer - except "he's not racist and wouldn't support businesses that discriminate."
Well great! - but Paul should just stay in his own little world in KY - and stay away from making laws for the nation.

Posted by: angie12106 | May 20, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

dasimon: "Ezra does say, and Rand himself says, that his doctrinaire libertarianism would allow racially discriminatory acts in places of public accommodation"...

why not call private property what it is rather than renaming it "places of public accommodation", assuming you are from the left you've already taken our word liberal to mean its exact opposite. Partly its these plays on words that cause so much of the confusion when attempting to make our points clear nowadays.

To pretend the article is not biased and doesn't carry with it major overtones of castigation towards Rand's supposed "views" is naive. We both know that the author of this article and the mainstream media is having a field day today calling Rand a racist, which is both untrue and unfounded. "Ideological extremist"? really?? you mean to tell me that's not the semantic equivalent of a racist in terms of meaning?

To get a clear perspective of this manufactured scenario:

http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2010/05/19/rand-paul-and-the-zombies/

Posted by: kobe2481 | May 20, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Do the constant attempts to slander people you don't agree with as rascists qualify as extremist behavior? I like all the free market has failed comments too. Failed compared to what? Socialism? How's that Euro doing right now? Or the Soviet Union. Oh wait, that country collapsed and broke apart 20 years ago.

Posted by: peterg73 | May 20, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Attention all trolls-

Please look at Ezra's post. Nowhere does he describe Paul as a racist, and in fact he extends the benefit of the doubt toward Paul's personal opposition to sections of the Civil Rights Act as arising instead from Paul's extreme philosophy of the limited role of government in society.

If you are uncomfortable that people will examine a Senatorial candidate's views about government, that is too bad, but don't pretend that Ezra or others are making charges of racism.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which meant that what those racist businesses"

I won't dispute that businesses were racist. I will note that they were required by state and local law to discriminate and that the Supreme Court started ruling these laws unconstitutional well before '64.

I'd also point out that this whole thing is just silly. Segregated lunch counters? You might as well be talking about when the pyramids were built. ancient history.

Couple of weeks ago the post ran a story about some guy with a coded-racist licnese plate that referenced hitler or some nonsense. if that's news we could repeal the law tomorrow and it wouldn't change anything.

The US Senate has a self-described socialist in Sen. Sanders and we've survived. I think it can handle a libertarian or two.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | May 20, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"I'd also point out that this whole thing is just silly. Segregated lunch counters? You might as well be talking about when the pyramids were built. ancient history."

They existed in my lifetime. They ceased to exist because of the provisions within the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to which Rand Paul objects.

Racism has not gone away. If you don't think that there are employers who would again engage in racist hiring practices, or that restaurants and other public accomodations in certain communities would not bar minorities again given that opportunity, then you are living in a fantasy world.

I agree that the Senate can handle a Libertarian or two. After all, if he is true to his beliefs, all he will ever do is try to filibuster every piece of legislation and then vote no on each bill when they come to the floor.

But before he is elected (as a Republican) it is useful for the voters in Kentucky, and for Paul's fellow Republicans everywhere, to take in the full measure of just what a Libertarian actually believes, and to consider the logical implications of those beliefs.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"There is a huge difference between discrimination based upon merit and achievement, which is perfectly legal, and discrimination based solely upon issues of personal identity, which is not legal. You folks really need to spend a little time thinking about this very basic subject."

I understand that there's a huge difference. The fact that I was pointing out was that the government could tell a university that you need to admit this many people from this demographic, or this many people who underscored on the SAT because they were in a poor economic area and could not perform as well as those in wealthier schools.

It is very similar to minimum wage laws. Liberals look at minimum wage as good thing because it gives people a decent wage. But what they don't see is that the federal government made it illegal for someone to work if they can't produce $7.25 worth of goods/services in a hour. Why do you think sixteen year old ushers don't take you to your seats anymore in a movie theater? Or how come no one pumps your gas anymore? It's because the government has made it illegal to pay someone below a certain amount. Kids used to become mechanics by getting paid a small wage and would pump cars, check tire pressure, wash your windshield in between learning and working with mechanics in the garage. But, now it is economically unproductive to pay someone $7.50 to do it. Everybody thinks governments works wonders but there is always another side to what "seems like a good thing." Did the Civil Rights Act benefit minorities and make the country freer? Yeah. But, are their unseen effects that may harm us? Such as increased government power?

And to think that the world has gotten better over the last 70 years because of government is idiotic. What has the government done to make our lives better over the last seven decades? Did they invent the computer, televisions, airplanes, internet, cell phones and so on? We just need to be weary of giving the government the ability and authority to do whatever it wants. That's why we have a Constitution. It's a document to constrain the powers of government. They understood what politicians were capable of with enough power. And I think if you look around the world you'll find that the largest governments with the most power have the least free people. Ironic, huh, since some have said on here that we have gotten freer with more government over the last 70 years.

Posted by: AllAboutTheU | May 20, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

NoVAHockey said "I'd also point out that this whole thing is just silly. Segregated lunch counters? You might as well be talking about when the pyramids were built. ancient history." ```

I'm an African American female in my 30's and my MOTHER and FATHER were kept from eating at lunch counters, going to parks, movie theaters and department stores. The only way you'd think this was ancient history is if it were never part of YOUR history...

Rand's views may not affect the 1964 law but can potentially affect upcoming laws where his essoteric theories can be put into practice to affect real people and the real life application would be devestating in many areas.

Posted by: susymac1919 | May 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

At least he answers questions, whether you like the answers or not.

Your hero Barack Obama gives you the back of his hand every time he comes out in public near the press and won't answer questions.

The curious thing is you seem to like it.

Posted by: lweaton1 | May 20, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Patrick M. "Right, we are not. That's why universities have no idea what your IQ might be, instead they look at your academic achievement in high school, your performance on the scholastic aptitude test, and your ability to write an essay and gather references.

There is a huge difference between discrimination based upon merit and achievement, which is perfectly legal, and discrimination based solely upon issues of personal identity, which is not legal. You folks really need to spend a little time thinking about this very basic subject."

You do realize the SAT is basically an IQ test. People born geniuses do extremely well and people born not as inherently intelligent have to struggle to do decent. I can work my ass off, do really well in school and not even get into the same school as someone who was lazy and sat on their ass for four years, simply because the student was born with a better intelligence. What's the difference?

Posted by: AllAboutTheU | May 20, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"What has the government done to make our lives better over the last seven decades? Did they invent the computer, televisions, airplanes, internet, cell phones and so on? We just need to be weary of giving the government the ability and authority to do whatever it wants."

The government did not invent those things. But let's take the automobile, which the government also did not invent.

It did however build the roads on which the cars move around, put up the stop signs that help prevent them from smashing into people, and set up the licensing requirements and laws against drunk driving that help to keep the roads safer than they otherwise might be. For every invention that makes our lives better, there is almost a role that government can play to add to the social utility of that invention.

Racial discrimination, like murder, is evil and harmful to society. Both are illegal. For some reason, some argue that racism would just wither away on its own in a free market, without government intervention, although no one here has put forth a thread of evidence to support the notion that such a thing has ever happened in human history.

No one is suggesting that we give "the government the ability and authority to do whatever it wants." That is just a dodge, the question under discussion is whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in all of its provisions, is an example of government intereference with private conduct that has proven to be a good law and which has made an entirely beneficial impact on our society. It is a simple, narrow "yes or no" question.

For me, the answer is an emphatic "yes," but for the Libertarian it is something else.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"The only way you'd think this was ancient history is if it were never part of YOUR history"

On a personal level, no. My family does not have stories of being denied access to such facilities based on race (My family was lucky enough to get out of Ukraine between the wars). But it's part of american history and therefore part of all of us. I'm just noting that for a lot of people, it's more than a lifetime ago. it's unfathomable.

"Racism has not gone away ..."

Sure, but no law can change what is in men's hearts. I think we woudl be better served by if the racists were clearly indentified by their behavior that you describe. Perhaps my faith in my fellow citizens is misplaced, but I think the backlash for such behavior would be swift. Whether this is due to a particular law or the progession of society, I guess that's the debate.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | May 20, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"Sure, but no law can change what is in men's hearts. I think we woudl be better served by if the racists were clearly indentified by their behavior that you describe."

Oh. That's how we were "served" during the century that passed between the abolition of slavery and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. I don't want to go back.

Please explain how we will be "better served" if businesses again can deny equal access and opportunity for services and employment. What deep and meaningful value do you find in going back to a time when government had to support legal descrimination based upon race, religion, and gender?


You say that "no law can change what is in men's hearts." I completely disagree. Laws that ended segregation and discrimination have caused all of our children to grow up in a society where racism is far less prevalent. Prejudice has not vanished, but fewer hearts are poisoned with racism than was the case when I was a child, and it was the Civil Rights movement culminating in the passage of laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that enabled the social changes that have made all of this possible.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

What people don't understand is that there is an internal right and a left in any ideology. A “true” Libertarian would say stead fast "the market will decide", but there are no "true" Libertarians. Ron Paul, Rand's father is a Libertarian, BUT he is a right leaning conservative Libertarian, some people like him also call themselves Constitutionalist. Libertarians tend to divert when it comes to religious issues like abortion, just like all the other parties. I myself fall into the middle of Libertarianism. I think the government oversteps its boundaries way to much with the American people, but they are still needed to oversee some entities, that like all thing human will err. So, Rand Paul’s civil rights ideas really do not make him racist in any way, he is trying to be a “true” Libertarian on this issue. I am most certain; as the election goes on we will discover how he moves left, right, up, down on the scale of Libertarianism. I guess that makes him human.

Posted by: tonyspdx | May 20, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

peterg73: "I like all the free market has failed comments too. Failed compared to what? Socialism? How's that Euro doing right now? Or the Soviet Union. Oh wait, that country collapsed and broke apart 20 years ago."

How about compared to the US economy from the Great Depression until we deregulated the banks? There were recessions but no economic catastrophes until we took the restrictions off of large financial institutions, and their market-driven self-interest helped cause the near-collapse that will hamper growth for years to come.

Look, I'm in general a great advocate of free markets, but you don't need straw men to make the argument that unregulated markets sometimes lead to bad results (see the "tragedy of the commons"). Even most free market advocates admit that there are instances of "market failure" which justify government intervention or regulation. To say that markets always work is to ignore the clear evidence that they occasionally don't, and to once again elevate ideology over the facts--which is exactly the criticism of Rand Paul's unyielding political philosophy. I like a good theory too, but sometimes theory should take a back seat to reality.

Posted by: dasimon | May 20, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"Laws that ended segregation and discrimination have caused all of our children to grow up in a society where racism is far less prevalent."

You mean laws that overruled other laws. Let's just make sure we understant that.

"Please explain how we will be "better served" if businesses again can deny equal access and opportunity for services and employment" That business, at this point in history, would fail. I believe that Americans would not stand for it. If you think otherwise, perhaps the CRA did not have the quite the impact you think it did not the hearts and minds of the nation.

Enjoyed the chat -- i'm off, so looks like you can have the last word for the night.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | May 20, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

What is frustrating about certain strands of this debate is that people seem to be arguing that in 2010, if a business hung a "whites only" sign on the door, there would be a "backlash" and the free market (i.e.,lack of openly racist consumers)would cause that establishment to go out of business very quickly. This is probably true. But this is true in 2010 . . . 45 years after the Civil Rights Act was passed that outlawed racial discrimination by private business owners. Had racial integration not been the status quo for the last 45 years, would open discrimination be so frowned upon today? Or would the old status quo still be accepted? We live in a post-CRA society. To say that a racist business would fail today is not the point. In Rand Paul's world, that part of the CRA would never have been passed. And we do not know how long it would have taken for "men's hearts" to change.

Posted by: cymouth | May 20, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"You mean laws that overruled other laws. Let's just make sure we understant that."

I will agree that any law that encouraged or required segregration or discrimination was an example of a bad law. To the extent that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "overturned" older bad laws, that is an example of government getting it right rather than wrong. But so what? If you remove the Civil Rights Act, and all the Jim Crow laws too, you are still left with a society in which discrimination is legal.

"That business, at this point in history, would fail. I believe that Americans would not stand for it. If you think otherwise, perhaps the CRA did not have the quite the impact you think it did not the hearts and minds of the nation."

Conversely, if you believe that no successful business in America today could institute discriminatory policies and continue to succeed, when so many were able to do so prior to 1964, that means that you must agree with me that the CRA was a piece of legislation that did impact the hearts and minds of the nation, exactly as I described.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how one can argue that someone who opposes anti-racist legislation is not a racist?

Posted by: gsand1 | May 20, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Such a shame. I liked Rand Paul because I thought he, like his father, would stoke a fire within the apathetic American to engage in more substantive debates on policies and the future of America. I never agreed with everything Ron said but I liked that he stoked national debate while other politicians were just giving us lip service and party lines. Well, Rand sure stoked a fire alright with his percieved equivocating, sorry Rand, prima facie that's what it looks like to the average person. He's a strict anti-beaurocracy guy but everyone, no matter what idealogy, has to be pragmatic if they are going to solve issues. In this case his rationality didn't supercede his quixotic idealogy, let alone his naivete, and he was just obstinate and bogged in defensiveness on this issue, and that bothered me a bit, but I still appreciate his veritable nature as well as all the posts from both sides. I went back and forth with what-ifs i.e. crackheads, stinky people, gun-toters, under-dressed people, etc., but my visceral, as well as, I think logical reaction is that if I open a business for the public then it should be illegal for me to blanketedly discriminate who my customers or workers are going to be based solely on race, that doesn't tell me me I can't still have rights as a private business owner, I can still make gut decisions who to serve or not serve based on specific circumstances, superficial biases, etc. but wholly, I can't run a blatant racist exclusionsist business that would affect the liberty of law abiding citizens, which is what the act intended to address. You can legislate morality, of course if that morality isn't based on sharia law...haha. I digress. I found it odd that an intelligent opthamologist would be so myopic on that question. Forget all the nuances, if you're on a media show, keep it simple stupid. Can't be an unyeilding quasi-libertarian all the time without being attacked. Libertarian dilemna is right. That's not to deny your convictions for a laissez faire government, just be smart and pick you're battles wisely. I think we got the message here though, that is, Rand IS an intelligent guy, a bit strict in his idealogy, but nevertheless, an honest, uncorrupted, fair, principled guy and I like that.

Posted by: rlake76 | May 20, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"Jesse Benton, a spokesman for the Paul campaign, confirmed that Paul does in fact think the Federal government should have the power to ban private businesses from commiting racial discrimination. He told me:

"Civil Rights legislation that has been affirmed by our courts gives the Federal government the right to ensure that private businesses don't discriminate based on race. Dr. Paul supports those powers."

----------------------------

OK freedom-loving trolls, your leader has now flip-flopped and backed away from the position you have been defending all day.

Is he wrong to "support those powers?"

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

In a May 30, 2002, letter to the Bowling Green Daily News, Rand Paul's hometown newspaper, he criticized the paper for endorsing the Fair Housing Act, and explained that "a free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination, even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin."

Paul went on CNN late this afternoon and told Wolf Blitzer of the Civil Rights Act: "I would have voted yes ... There was a need for federal intervention."

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

i just watched the full, nearly 20-minute interview for the first time. There is really no wiggle room for Rand Paul. He is unequivocal about defending the right of privately owned businesses to discriminate. Let's be clear that is the overwhelming majority of businesses, both in the 1960s and now. Paul would give us a society in which anyone not white (the tendency to say only black people is an error) or handicapped would not be allowed to participate in most things, including renting an apartment or buying a house. Except for able-bodied, heterosexual white Americans, everyone else would be semi-citizens. There is absolutely no justification for what he is saying. Nor does the fact he is saying desegregation of privately owned facilities should never have occurred in dulcet tones make a difference.

Posted by: query0 | May 20, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

NoVaHockey: "'Please explain how we will be "better served" if businesses again can deny equal access and opportunity for services and employment' That business, at this point in history, would fail. I believe that Americans would not stand for it."

Perhaps at this point in history, but not when the law was passed, and perhaps not in some places even now.

As I posted above, it can be in a business's interest to discriminate and refuse services if the community is highly racist because the majority may not patronize businesses that fail to discriminate. Indeed, the perpetuation of the practice in some areas of the country over previous decades would seem to provide evidence that bear that out. It took the Civil Rights Act to change that dynamic.

I understand the argument that discrimination results in less market efficiency which businesses that don't discriminate can take advantage of. The problem is that the theory assumes a certain community which may not exist everywhere. Where a racist community exists, the market incentive may be to perpetuate discrimination rather than end it.

Again, blanket ideological theories can't withstand the imperatives of individual circumstances. Where facts conflict with ideology, the ideology have to adjust instead of being dogmatically defended.

Posted by: dasimon | May 20, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

You need to take your argument a step farther, dasimon. White supremacy itself has a market value. The psychological and material benefits of being white in a society where race matters are huge. It is largely that investment in white supremacy that led Southern white men who owned no slaves to fight for the Confederacy, poor white men to fill the Ku Klux Klan and white businessmen to maintain segregation.

Posted by: query0 | May 20, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

"You need to take your argument a step farther, dasimon. White supremacy itself has a market value. The psychological and material benefits of being white in a society where race matters are huge. It is largely that investment in white supremacy that led Southern white men who owned no slaves to fight for the Confederacy, poor white men to fill the Ku Klux Klan and white businessmen to maintain segregation."

Whenever a single group of actors can put their thumb on the scale and take control of a market, there is an enormous benefit to them, working to the detriment of the market itself.

The idea that free market market forces alone solve racial discrimination, let alone the idea that there can even be a free market when racial discrimination is considered within the rules, is a sign of deeply flawed thinking by Rand Paul and his supporters.

But of course that was Rand's position 24 hours ago, now it is something different, and who knows what it might become tomorrow.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

query0 and Patrick_M:

I think you both make very good points. I just wanted to give the ideological libertarians as much of the benefit of their assumptions as possible and show why their model is still inadequate.

I have some sympathy for the libertarian view. But I don't think any ideology works all the time in all situations. Too often these days simple ideology is substituted for the complexities of reality, and means are mistaken for ends. We like markets in general because in most cases markets get results we like, such as better quality and lower prices. But when there's evidence that pure markets don't produce those results in some situations, then it would be simply perverse to stick with markets for markets' sake in those situations if other approaches do better at getting results we want.

Posted by: dasimon | May 20, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

"I have some sympathy for the libertarian view. But I don't think any ideology works all the time in all situations."

Libertarians prize individual liberty, and that is a core American value that we all share.

Liberals and conservatives generally recognize that a "pure" ideology has to be applied pragmatically to thorny problems, so there is always at least some spectrum of opinion within each of those camps on any particular issue.

The difference with Libertarians is their absolutism, which is in some ways admirable, but mainly just foolish, since it requires a stubborn belief that "freedom" is the solution to every problem in the human condition. In the end, that failure to face reality makes the Libertarian movement a cult of selfishness and denial.

Paul's flip-flop today will make him an outcast from the true believers in the Libertarian school of thought, many of whom argued passionately here today on behalf of the value of the freedom to legally discrimate on the basis of race, gender, and religion.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 20, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you as a Jew have no place talking about any alleged discrimination by others. Your people in the middle east force the Palestinians to go to different schools, live in different neighborhoods, and even use different roads than the Jews. You ought to be forced to kiss the a$$ of every White American because they are the only group of people on earth who are standing between you and the justice which is coming to you.

Posted by: NowSwimBack | May 21, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Now Kentucky can live up to it's reputation as a hell hole for inbred racist hillbilly pricks deserving the Confederate Party of Republicanism.

Posted by: republican_disaster | May 21, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

"Ezra, you as a Jew have no place talking about..."

The Rand Paul threads certainly have proven to be catnip for hateful bigots.

Michael Steele, are you celebrating the new blood the Tea Party candidates are bringing in to the Republican Party?

Are these wonderful folks the "urban and suburban hip hop" demographic you pledged to woo?

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 21, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

"Now Kentucky can live up to it's reputation..."

It is useful to note that two candidates in the Democratic primary each attracted as many votes as Rand Paul. I hold out hope that after years of Jim Bunning fatigue, Kentucky may be ready for some sanity. Time will tell.

There are plenty of right wing Kentucky voters who will not appreciate Paul's extreme Libertarian views on civil liberties, military adventures, etc.

Libertarians tend to wear out their welcome with everybody, once the full implications of their anti-government belief system become clear. Every time Paul honestly answers a question, more voters will desert him.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 21, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

"Now Kentucky can live up to it's reputation..."

Muhammad Ali came from Louisville.

As the media continues to unpack Paul's Libertarian philosophy on issues like war, recreational drug use, and gay rights, it will offend voters on both the right and the left. Social conservatives and national security/defense hard liners will have the most reason to take offense.

The tea baggers have nominated a time bomb for their own ambitions.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 21, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

So were the crazy righteous liberals who wanted to ban music filled with profanity and other things deemed "extreme". I guess extreme to me is a nanny state that wants to tell me I can't buy me some nudey magazines. Can't buy me some cigarette sticks. Can't be me some salt and put it on me catfish (hold the ketchup). I think if there is anything liberals should legislate it would be to end obesity. I'm so freaking tired of these fat **** at the club.

Posted by: zappainfrance | May 21, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

"Can't be me some salt and put it on me catfish (hold the ketchup)."

For any who bemoan the disappearance of rigourous intellectual debate within the modern conservative movement, behold the new generation of conservative intellectual firepower!

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 21, 2010 3:25 AM | Report abuse

How much more ridiculous could you people sound? If it is fair to assume that he COULD accomplish doing away with the CRA (which is simply baseless paranoia and not what he is about anyways) we should assume that all things he stands for will be implemented as well. In which case the states could implement any civil rights actions they wanted to. He is for states sovereignty and their right to run things the best way they see fit.

People should have the right to choose. Choose whether something is right for them or not. If you don't like something, don't do it. And just because you think something is right doesn't make it so.

How many of you slamming him have actually been to his site to see where he stands on issues?

The twisting of the CRA issue aside, could some of you at least agree with these issues?
1. He is against bailouts
2. He is for campaign financial reform to stop lobbyist from bribing candidates.
3. He is for energy freedom. Meaning looking into new, safer, less expensive ways to power our cars, homes, businesses.
4. He is for real healthcare reform...NOT the prepaid health care that obama has given us.
5. He supports legal immigration (kinda throws a kink in the whole racist claims, huh?)
6. He is for a stronger national defense.
7. He is for privacy and liberty
8. He is for term limits of government officials.
9. He believes that care for our veterans should be a top priority.
10. He is 100% against the world bank and imf.
11. He is pro-life.
12. He thinks that anybody voting on a bill should read it in it's entirety before voting.

His stance on all of these issues are explained in detail on his website. How could you not agree with at least half of these issues, if not all of them. To bash Rand Paul is simply unamerican.

If you feel the need to fear somebody, why not look at obama's newest appointee to the supreme court. She thinks that free speech should only apply if it does not offend a certain group or the government. what the hell kinda free speech is that? It's not! And what all of us have posted here, including the original article, could all be considered offensive to some one.

Please people, if you want to post here for an argument at least look more than one place for the information. Do not depend on biased reporters for the truth.

Posted by: boogers1 | May 21, 2010 4:17 AM | Report abuse

A: Rands argument is flawed not because of race, but b/c if a person owns a business by filing incorporation papers with the state, then that persons' business is now CHARTERED BY THE STATE TO DO BUSINESS IN/FROM THE STATE. Because corporations are chartered entities, a thing apart from the persons who establish them. (AND are only treated like people when filing taxes and funding politicians). While these business may be privately owned, corporations (llcs, incs, etc) are not privately chartered, only State Governments can do that -- Now a person choosing to operate as a sole proprietor might have a shot at the Rand way -- but of course a bar owning sole proprietor would have to deal with super ridiculous personal liability in exchange for what -- not serving my kind?

Posted by: blackterrapin | May 21, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Plainly he believes that the law should allow a private business to refuse to serve someone because they are black, refuse to hire someone because they are a woman, and refuse to rent to someone because of their religion.

The free market should control, in his mind. He claims that the market will prevent discrimination, but some people might be more comfortable shopping at the All White Walmart or sending their kids to the No Jews Academy.

Like his campaign manager who left on his myspace page for nearly 2 years an odious expletive ("Happy Ni--er Day) with a picture of a lynching(!) to celebrate MLK day, Paul believes that racists should just be allowed to live their lives, and even create state-chartered businesses that can refuse to serve other Americans. Land of the free.

Talk about un-American!

Posted by: Justafan | May 21, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

boogers1: "People should have the right to choose. Choose whether something is right for them or not. If you don't like something, don't do it. And just because you think something is right doesn't make it so."

Well, I think that directly contradicts many of the positions listed in your post.

"1. He is against bailouts"

If that refers to the banks, then he would have let the global economy collapse. Sometimes I think if today's Republicans had been in charge during the Great Depression, we might still be in it. No one wanted to bail out the banks, but we'd almost certainly be in a far worse position today if we hadn't.

"2. He is for campaign financial reform to stop lobbyist from bribing candidates."

I read what's on Paul's website, and he proposes practically nothing to reform the campaign finance system. Instead, he just calls for smaller government.

"4. He is for real healthcare reform...NOT the prepaid health care that obama has given us."

Again, very little on specifics here except that he supports the free market and claims "socialist" medicine "doesn't work"--in spite of ample evidence from our peer nations which get the same or better results on average than we do while we spend 50% to twice as much per capita.

"5. He supports legal immigration (kinda throws a kink in the whole racist claims, huh?)"

Again, few people here are claiming he is racist. The claim is that his ideological libertarianism would allow racism to persist, and that it's naive to think that "the market" would resolve the problem on its own.

"6. He is for a stronger national defense."

Uncontroversial. And what politician will say "I'm for a weaker national defense"?

"7. He is for privacy and liberty

"8. He is for term limits of government officials."

Doesn't that take away my liberty to vote for the person who I think is the best candidate?

"9. He believes that care for our veterans should be a top priority."

Again, what candidate would not say this?

"11. He is pro-life."

What happened to the idea that people should have "the right to choose" and "If you don't like something, don't do it" (as you posted above)? Or do these principles apply only when Paul feels like it?

Paul says he believes life begins at conception. That seems arbitrary to me. And as you posted, "just because you think something is right doesn't make it so."

"His stance on all of these issues are explained in detail on his website."

As I've noted, detail is lacking.

"How could you not agree with at least half of these issues, if not all of them."

The issue isn't the number, it's the quality. It takes little to say one favors a strong defense. But it implies a lot when one says government shouldn't regulate private economic behavior.

"To bash Rand Paul is simply unamerican."

Really? I thought it was free speech. When people disagree, they should speak up.

Posted by: dasimon | May 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"How could you not agree with at least half of these issues, if not all of them. To bash Rand Paul is simply unamerican."

You think it is "unamerican" for citizens to criticize a position held by any politician? Let alone Rand Paul?

This is too funny.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I do want to add that despite my criticism I admire Paul's relative (as compared to many other politicians) willingness to offer direct answers to questions. It's a quality sorely missing from many of our elected representatives and candidates, and he's more consistent than most.

Still, he's ducking a bit on the current issue. He says he wouldn't vote to repeal the Civil Rights Act, but he won't say that he thinks the federal government should ban discrimination by private actors--because it seems like he thinks it shouldn't. (See Greg Sargent's recent post on his blog The Plum Line for more on this.)

Posted by: dasimon | May 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"...he won't say that he thinks the federal government should ban discrimination by private actors--because it seems like he thinks it shouldn't."

That's right.

Even the campaign's statement that he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act does not mean that he believes that Titles II and VII of the Act should have been included in the law.

Nothing Paul has said since Wednesday night actually contradicts what he said on Wednesday night, and in the two previous interviews where he discussed the Act. He is trying to mislead about his position rather than actually change his position. The controversy will follow him all the way to the election.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 21, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

OK, most people seem to see that Rand Paul is not a racist. I don't get what the charge of "extremist" is supposed to do, other than be negative. Being extreme can be good or bad, depending on the context. In defending freedom, it's not bad.

Ezra Klein's reference to the commerce clause indicates he doesn't understand that issue. Congress and the courts have been over the top in their "interpretation" of that clause.

The 4th comment from the top tries to claim that this IS about race. He claims: to say that "believing in freedom" compels one to defend the right of individuals to discriminate racially is "not even coherent unless one approaches it from a white supremacist perspective." Thus, to defend the right of folks to act irrationally is incoherent unless one shares the person's particular irrationality?! That's silly. It can make sense to defend the right of X to say irrational things, even if one doesn't share his irrational beliefs. It can make sense to defend the right of X to act irrationally (say, overeat), even if one doesn't partake in the particular endeavor. No, defending the rights of people to make their own choices even if they say or do dumb things can and does make sense even if one doesn't share their dumb ideas or dispositions. It's the liberal and tolerant thing to do.

The argument continues by weighing the freedom lost by someone who doesn't want to associate and is forced to do so, against the "freedom" gained by the person who wants to associate with the first. But those aren't both "freedom." It's my freedom to play music for someone or not, or to cook for someone or not. But it's not someone's "freedom" to make me play music for him or cook for him. The idea of freedom involves each being allowed to lead his/her life as he chooses, as long as he doesn't interfere with the same right of others. It does not involve making other people do things for one or associate with one. If A wants to associate with B, but B does not want to associate with A, freedom dictates that B be allowed not to associate with A. Forcing B to associate with A against his will is not required for A to be free. We will lose sight of freedom, and thus lose freedom, if we identify it with “getting things that one wants.”

Posted by: michael11111 | May 21, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

michael11111,

The more simple question remains:

Who would possibly miss the freedom to discriminate that was outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, other than a hateful bigot?

What value is lost to society, or to any individual, by the loss of that particular freedom?

Is it better to allow racial discrimination to be legal, and thereby require the power of the state to enforce racial prejudice and prosecute those who seek equal opportunity? Or is better for the power of the state to defend the victims of bigotry when discrimination is illegal on behalf of equal opportunity?

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 22, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I suppose I am much more of a pragmatic libertarian than Rand Paul, but as I have written many times before, race only exists in the minds of racists.

Both my wife and I get asked if our biological children are adopted when we are out with them without the other spouse.

Segregation does exist in this country. There are male and female only schools, sports, restrooms, clubs, etc.

I am surprised how many people in this discussion are ignorant of the Jim Crow laws reach into forcing private enterprises to provide separate accommodations.

Discrimination against short people and ugly people is universally ignored. Discrimination against people with southern accents exists, as does discrimination against even resumes with typically "Black" names.

Discrimination against "Asians" in university admissions is widely defended and excused with racist beliefs.

Can we really make a law that says people must act rationally and overcome all bias?

Posted by: staticvars | May 22, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"Can we really make a law that says people must act rationally and overcome all bias?"

No. But we can (and did) make a law that makes it illegal for a business to deny access to it's goods and service, and for a business to deny equal opportunity in the workplace, on the basis or race, religion, or gender.

The passage of that law has dramatically reduced discrimination, it has expanded opportunities, and it has made America a better place.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 22, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who believes that a businessman has a “right” to discriminate on the basis of race is a racist.

Rand Paul is obviously a racist, as is his father.

Having grown up in the segregated south and later having lived a short time in South Africa, I have heard every variation of the “libertarian” rationale for racism.


It isn’t rocket science. No decent person can watch racism in practice and not desire government intervention to protect his fellow citizens from this perversion of morality.

Only racists can be so callous.

Posted by: bigbillhaywood | May 22, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I see the children who follow Ezra still have no concept of freedom of association. The Jim Crow laws were the state, by law, preventing the freedom of association. Denying freedom of association in the other direction by forcing association whether desired or not is merely the other side of the same coin.

Unfortunately, these children of Ezra believe discrimination is good as long as they get to choose the discrimination. Riddle me this, child. Is it not discrimination to force someone whose religion considers homosexuality to be a sin, say a Muslim, to open up his home to a homosexual simply because he desires to rent a room? Is the state not discriminating against his religion? Of course it is. But, somehow, that has become acceptable discrimination.

Is it not discrimination to allow Muslim woman to hide their faces while having their picture taken for a driver's license? How about England allowing Muslim nurses not to scrub up to their elbows prior to surgery. Should you have the ability to discriminate and say you don't want any of those nurses around during your surgery?

If I want to limit my options, that is my business. It is not the business of the state. It is no different than the Jim Crow laws except the children of Ezra feel good about their discrimination.

Posted by: RickCaird | May 23, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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