Thursday, May 20, 2010

Freedom's Just Another Word For Policy Positions That Align With Preserving White Power

There are many, many, things that can be said about Rand Paul's candid admission that his brand of "libertarianism" leads him to oppose the portions of the Civil Rights Act that interfere with private conduct. But let's just keep this to two simple points:

Protesters at Woolworth's attempt to exercise the freedom to sit at a lunch counter
  • As the result of the Civil Rights Act, it's true that whites post-1965 were less free to engage in racial discrimination. On the other hand, it's also true African-Americans post-1965 were more free to do certain things. Buy a house, for example, or get a job, or eat lunch.
  • It would be one thing for Paul to say that the cultural norm of segregation has been greatly diminished since the sixties and so a blunt instrument for curing the problems of race like the Civil Rights Act may have become outdated. But he's not saying that. He's saying that in an era of fire hoses and dogs in Alabama and pitched protests over school integration, he still would have opposed the CRA. I subit that kind of person who's ideological commitment to "liberty" in the face of such gross violations of justice has a rather bizarre set of moral priorities.
To make this more depressing, Paul stands a very good chance of becoming a United States Senator. While this is a remarkable failing of American elites to eliminate hard money crankery, isolationism, and extremism-in-defense-of-prejudiceliberty from the public discourse, it does offer an opportunity to paraphrase Roman Hruska. There are a decent number of hard money cranks, isolationists, and prejudiced folks out there; perhaps they should be entitled to some representation.
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