I’ll take Rand Paul at his word. He’s opposed to racial discrimination.
However, he obviously supports allowing businesses to engage in racial discrimination with impunity. Evidently, if the government says it’s against the law to run a whites-only business, this is a bridge too far for Rand Paul.
Congratulations, Republicans. The man you chose to run for the vacant U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky and the man who delivered the highest profile political victory for the tea party movement has turned out to have some very twisted ideas about civil rights and race.
On the Rachel Maddow Show last night, Paul suffered an epic meltdown — more or less admitting that he doesn’t support the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which “prohibits discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” In other words, Paul implied that the First Amendment allows any business to be “white-only” if it chooses and the government isn’t allowed to interfere.
But he’s against racial discrimination. He said so.
Rand Paul’s extremist position on the Civil Right Act underscores a major flaw in libertarian ideology, and it further cements the connection between the tea party movement and race.
Libertarianism, which both Ron and Rand Paul famously embrace, suggests the free market is a significant and vital component of liberty. Private businesses are capable of accomplishing everything, and government can’t interfere or regulate those businesses in any way. The free market will police itself. Just leave it be.
Private industry can pave roads, educate children, put out fires and protect our streets from drunk drivers. It can shuttle our kids to corporate schools and back, it can provide clean water to our homes and they can guarantee our meat and vegetables aren’t contaminated with diseases. And by the way, in a nation that’s 70 percent white, private businesses can choose to do all of these things for white people only. Private businesses can provide everything we need, but only offer those services to white people.
And these businesses, according to libertarian ideology, can form monopolies if they want to. As we’re all painfully aware from the health care debate, monopolies occur even in our current government-regulated system. Imagine what would happen in a totally unregulated free market.
So, in Rand Paul’s utopia, not only can Woolworth’s prevent black people from sitting at its soda stand if it wants to, but a private, free market police corporation can set up shop in a community, buy up any competing police corporations and announce that it no longer serves black people or Jewish people or Hispanic people or gay people — any minority segment of the population.