Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Conservative Defense of Rand Paul: He Is Telling the Truth; He's Not a Racist.

Rand Paul is facing tough scrutiny over his views regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Paul has stated in several interviews that he opposes laws that prohibit discrimination by private entities. He would limit antidiscrimination laws to governmental or "publicly funded" entities.

These statements have generated a lot of criticism. One conservative writer, however, has attempted to defend Paul. Washington Post writer David Weigel, for example, praises Paul for his honesty:
He told the truth about his stance on the Civil Rights Act. I've posted the video and transcript below the fold, because I find it fascinating to watch Paul stand by his philosophical and legal stance and refuse to dissemble in a way that would, you know, get people to stop accusing him of some archaic form of racism.
What a ringing endorsement. I too have said that I believe Paul is probably speaking honestly. Nevertheless, I believe his views are "miserable" (for many reasons).

Weigel also defends Paul against a strawman argument. He criticizes people who call Paul a "racist." Although it is likely that some people have called Paul a racist, Weigel does not cite to any of those arguments. More importantly, this is not a necessary element of a critique of Paul's position. Regardless of what Paul feels in his heart about race, his policy perspective on civil rights would have a disastrous effect. This is the most important issue from a policy perspective.

Finally, Weigel provides a link to a Rachel Maddow interview during which Paul discusses his views on civil rights (see below). Paul claims that only one of the ten substantive provisions in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regulates private behavior. That is absolutely false. One provision bans discrimination in privately owned places of public accommodation -- like hotels and restaurants. Another provision bans discrimination by employers (private or governmental). A third provision bans discrimination by entities that receive federal funding (whether they are governmental or private). It seems that Paul might agree with this provision.

Several of the other provisions create and strengthen enforcement mechanisms -- including those that respond to private discrimination. The remaining provisions address various forms of governmental discrimination. Although he attempts to reduce his opposition to one singular provision, Paul's argument would negate a significant portion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That is disturbing regardless of his personal feelings about persons of color.

For more discussion of this issue, see: Rand Paul and Civil Rights: MISERABLE and Rand Paul on Gay Rights and Persons With Disabilities.


The Maddow interview is posted below. Paul performs miserably:



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4 comments:

christina said...

Rachael is living in a place I really don't care to entertain with this straw-man issue she's on about. Go look at Los Angeles and tell me there's no more segregation sanctioned by our government. What a dirty, low-down lie!

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Christina, I am not sure what segregation you are talking about -- but, liberal legal scholars, lawyers and lawmakers prefer deeper reforms that would address these issues. Conservatives, however, oppose these efforts. Read the Supreme Court decision Parents Involved. Besides, Paul's arguments would legitimate private discrimination -- whether or not a state sanctioned it. So why are you condemning Maddow instead of Paul?

mike said...

Firstly, in twenty minutes Mr. Paul never directly answered the question posed. Does he approve of federal legislation outlawing discrimination?
Secondly, although he doesn't condone violence, neither does he propose how he would protect those who had been harmed, and surely will be again, by simply seeking publicly offered accommodations.
Thirdly, how does a gun equate to an inherent characteristic?
Finally, I found it troublesome that Mr. Paul does not directly face the camera. Perhaps it is an hearing issue and I am being discriminatory. Excuse my symbology but he is turned towards the (sinister) left.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Mike, these are all very good points. I found the guns analogy quite disturbing. He was basically trying to argue that liberals should support his libertarianism....But there are different policy reasons behind prohibiting racial and sex discrimination versus forcing restaurants to allow gunholders on the scene. His linkage of these two concepts is really weak.

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