Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Rand Paul's "Defense" Is Flawed

Faced with growing controversy over his position on civil rights, Paul Rand has stated that he would not seek to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rand created a stir when he stated that he believed that the federal government should not prohibit discrimination by private companies. By stating that he would not seek to repeal the legislation, Rand hopes to defend his reputation and his senate campaign.

Rand's defenders have added another dimension to his defense, which Rand touches upon subtly. Rand's defenders stress that he is not a "racist." Also, Rand, in his own defense, says that he opposes racial discrimination, which is another way of saying "I'm not a racist." Neither of these defenses helps Rand, however.

Most of Rand's critics never even said or implied that he would seek to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Honestly, I have not seen any argument that even implies he would seek to repeal the legislation. Also, during the scattered interviews during which Rand stated his opposition to regulation of private companies, the interviewers did not contend that he wanted to repeal the civil rights statute. Instead, they asked him whether he would have voted for the law. Rand's view of civil rights is troubling whether or not he has the courage to advocate repeal of the legislation.

Rand's position on civil rights is disturbing because it indicates that he probably would not prefer strong enforcement of civil rights laws against private companies and that he definitely would not favor extending these laws to other groups, such as gays and lesbians. Agreeing that the law should remain in place does not mean that he also wants the federal government to prosecute vigorously civil rights violations.

Paul's effort to say he is not a racist is also irrelevant. Regardless of Paul's personal views about persons of color, his ideas about the role of government in the creation of a just society are extreme and dangerous. Personally, I do not care whether Paul is a bigot or not. How he votes on important issues like civil rights matters much more.

Paul has given the country a look at his views on these important issues. Criticizing him is a highly appropriate response.

5 comments:

Angela said...

Excellent points Darren. Ben Jealous made similar comments on Rachel Maddow's show last night.

Mysoon said...

I heard someone call him a glibertarian, which I thought was genius. He may not be a racist, but his anti-government views are definitely scary. I shudder to think what he plans to do now that he's part of public enemy #1

Terry said...

Mysoon, Paul has already indicated his plans as public enema (pun intended) # 1. There are sound bites of him pleading for a "honeymoon" after his election victory.

I found this rather ironic considering what President Obama ran into once he took the oath of office. There has been absolutely no honeymoon for President Obama, BUT you don't see him wussin' out when faced with criticism on a far larger scale.

Clearly the young man is not ready for prime time and hopefully he has the good sense to take his foot out of his mouth and keep it closed until December 2010. Stay tuned!

Joanna said...

Perfect example of so many people in this country... they seem to think that unless you are a KKK member or a Neo Nazi that you can not possibly be racist. Racism disguised in non racist terminology (like saying it is about opposing governmental control, and denying that it is about denying people's civil rights) is, to me, more insidious and dangerous than than the explicitly racist vitriol of white supremacists hate groups.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Thanks for all of the excellent posts!

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