Friday, June 04, 2010

Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act

Now that the usual suspects in the mainstream media have gotten their histrionics out of the way, it's time for an actual examination of Dr. Paul's position. Here's a snippet from an AOL story on the incident:

Rachel Maddow pressed Paul on the question during a lengthy interview on her MSNBC program Wednesday night. She tried to get a clear answer on whether he thought the lunch counter at the Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. -- a flash point in the struggle for racial integration -- should have been allowed to remain segregated.

Paul said he didn't believe "any private property should discriminate" and insisted he would never patronize such a place. But he asked Maddow, "Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant or does the government own his restaurant?"

Paul accused Maddow of bringing up "something that really is not an issue ... sort of a red herring." But he faced the same question a month ago in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal's editorial board. (Click here to watch the video. Skip ahead to the one-hour mark.)

"Under your philosophy it would be OK for Dr. King to not be served at the counter at Woolworth's?" Paul was asked. He replied that he would have boycotted the store and denounced it, but added, "This is the hard part about believing in freedom."

He continued, "In a free society we will tolerate boorish people who have abhorrent behavior. But if we're civilized people, we publicly criticize that and don't belong to those groups or associate with those people."

Dr. Paul is absolutely right on this. People have a right to be bigoted morons - just as I have the right not to patronize their businesses. The market can take care of bigots without the need for government intervention. Dr. Walter Williams, distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist, has written a wonderful defense of Paul's views here.

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