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.