Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tea Party Problems: Kentucky's Rand Paul Stumbles on Civil Rights

Tea Party types say they want smaller government. But what happens when smaller government leads to, say, racial discrimination and violations of civil rights?

Ah, there's the rub. 

Kentucky Republicans voted Tuesday to put Rand Paul on the ballot for the U.S. Senate. But Paul, a small government Tea Party guy, now has to explain his views, some of which are, well, way out in right field. 

Should owners of lunch counters be forced to serve blacks if they don't want to? The rest of the nation settled this question in the 1960s, but Paul isn't so sure. Oh no. Since they are private businesses, maybe they should be allowed to discriminate—so he says.

Newsweek's Howard Fineman puts it this way:
[If Paul] doesn't immediately apologize for holding his victory rally at a private club—and doesn't abandon his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act—then he will not only pollute the Tea Party, he will severely damage the GOP's chances of winning control of either the House or Senate this fall.
This is only one of Paul's retrograde views, now causing him and the Tea Party boys and the GOP considerable grief. Read a full report here.

UPDATE: Paul has now reversed himself, flipping on his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So much for those Tea Party principles. He caved!


Tulsan said...

It would be great if, after bumping off the anointed GOP candidate, he bumps himself off.

But he's taken his first step toward being a real politician.

Anonymous said...

Back in the 60's when I was a high school student in segregated St. Joseph, Michigan, a of us white folks were saying the same thing about forced racial integration.
The federal government didn't have the constitutional right to force private lunch counters to open up to blacks.

40 years later I am happy to say I am glad the government wasn't listening to me.

Perhaps if this were 1960 Rand Pauls comments would make perfect sense.

But with the advantage of hindsight, our country is so much better off today because President Johnson sent in troops to force Americans to treat blacks like human beings.

Tulsan said...

I think Rand Paul is principled, but clueless.

He would have found much support in the unprincipled, but canny Deep South in the 1960s, like Goldwater did.

"Canny" in seeing where the principled guy's principles would take him, and liking that direction.

Just like George Wallace's pseudo-principle of "states rights" would have supported continued practices of racism. In his case, the principle was chosen for this very purpose.

In Paul's case, I don't think he chose the principle that way, but the results are the same.

Lots of other folks suddenly become principled once they realize that it gives them intellectual cover for their knuckle-dragging beliefs.

Tulsan said...

Is Rand Paul innocent or ignorant? Maybe, or possibly something else.


"One of the unfortunately unquestioned aspects of the argument that folks Paul aren’t racists so much as strict ideologues is it buys into the assumption that the ideologies we support and values we hold just exist, as if they were assigned to us randomly at birth. This doesn’t actually comport well with reality. Most people’s values derive from their ideas of what the world should be like. A common exercise with activists in trying to get them to clarify what their values are and how to fight for them is to have them picture the world they want. What they picture can be used to figure out what they value. (For instance, I picture a world where people are unrestrained by prejudice to live full and meaningful lives.) Therefore, if their values just so happen to create a world marked by racial segregation and most wealth being held in the hands of the few, and most of the people who benefit from these values are people who look like those who hold them, then it’s a safe assumption that they chose their values to achieve these ends.

"Which isn’t to say that people can’t make mistakes, or incorrectly think that value X will lead to result Y. However, when presented with historical evidence that their assumptions---in this case that free enterprise would automatically desegregate---are incorrect, if they persist in arguing otherwise, they are being willfully ignorant."

Anonymous said...

What a funny blog. I see a whole of folks with no principles of their own looking to government to legislate your principles, thinking the whole rest of the world needs to be forces to live a certain way also.

Rand Paul is exactly right in his position and a lot of others. Obviously those with no principles need to be "lawed" into doing what is right. The rest of will eventually get it right without governments meddling.

Tulsan said...

The U.S. had been "getting it wrong" about civil rights for many years before 1964.

Do you believe that the South would have started treating blacks humanely with no law behind them?

Then again, maybe a lot of white folks prefer the pre-Civil Rights era. Teabaggers, for example.