When Dr. Rand Paul won the GOP nomination to replace Sen. Bunning (7x MLB All Star and perfect game pitcher), liberty lovers could not believe their good fortune. Because The Senate is seated by statewide elections, its members are usually moderates (i.e. opportunists who twist with every political breeze). Who knew, maybe Sen. Coburn and Sen. Paul would form a free market caucus to reform Washington. Sadly it turns out that Paul is a mouth-foaming, cross-burning, Jim Crow racist.
What racist thing has Paul done, other than being a Republican? Perhaps foolishly, Paul has questioned the constitutionality of parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Paul has emphatically said that he is against racism, especially institutional racism such as the Democrat passed Jim Crow laws and that he will not seek to repeal the Civil Rights Act. Still, Paul has said that private property rights are more important than the near term public good and that Congress should not force restaurant owners to serve anyone they choose not to serve.
Needless to say, the mainstream media has hammered Paul as a radical. Outlets like NPR and MSNBC hyperventilated as they hostilely questioned Paul about his racism. Over and over Paul repudiated institutional racism as un-American. He pointed out that he was two when the law in question was passed. Still he refused to back down on his belief in the primacy of individual property rights.
Paul’s distinction lies at the heart of libertarianism. Libertarians are not in favor of drug use, but they think the individual right to choose trumps any public policy argument against drugs. Libertarians do not think smoking, drinking, or fast food is to be praised, but again the individual’s right to choose for himself is more important than any public health policy. Libertarians believe that the American way is to allow individuals to make bad choices, and in doing so, they will more often than not make good choices to the benefit of everyone.
If Paul were a leftist, the media would call his position nuanced. When leftist Sen. Kerry pretended to throw away his war medals, he was not branded an America hater by the press. No, Kerry loved his country so much he had to despoil his badges of honor so as to be even more of a patriot. Kerry was nuanced, while Paul is one step from wearing a white robe.
Just for sake of argument, what if Paul did somehow repeal the part of the Civil Rights Act that forces restaurants to serve everyone, even against the owner’s wishes? Would Applebee’s institute a white’s only seating area? Would the dogs of Birmingham be reassembled? Certainly not. While the occasional crackpot might deny service to some minority, fear of public outrage would prevent even closeted racists from profiling their clients. Even if racism remains in the US, nearly everyone religiously avoids the appearance of racism due to social pressure. While Paul’s argument is based on Constitutional rights, the public policy argument against him is outdated.
Why is Paul on the cross? The mainstream media rarely misses a chance to tar the GOP with the racist label. Arizona is racist. Red states are racist. Paul’s perhaps politically naive attachment to property rights is racist. Sadly, the US lacks a basic education about the Bill of Rights and a respect for the property rights it is meant to protect. Until the average US voter understands the critical importance of these rights, Paul’s principled arguments will sound radical and remain fodder for the Maddow’s of the world. Freedom lovers across the nation are hoping that Paul overcomes this political misstep so he can become the force for the Constitution we all expect him to be as Kentucky’s next Senator.