Rand Is Right

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When Rand Paul says it is unconstitutional for the federal government to prohibit private businesses from discriminating based on race, he's right, arguably (which I will get to in a moment).

But when he says it is not, in this day and age, necessary for government to prevent segregation of private businesses, he's undeniably right.

There is no conceivable reality where we'd see such significant racial, sexual, ethnic, religious, or "gender identity" discrimination in this country that would result in rampant segregation or loss of significant opportunities for minorities. It just isn't rational. Overwhelmingly, the people of this country are aghast at such discriminatory practices, which means businesses overwhelmignly won't do it, both because businesses are (usually) run by those same people, and because their customers are also those same people.

To say we need government for this purpose is, quite simply, denying this obvious and unassailable reality of life in America in 2010.

As to the constitutional question, we can disagree about the legitimacy of it. We cannot disagree, however, that Paul's view is well-founded in the text and history of the Constitution. My personal view -- having been born well after the Civil Rights Act was passed -- is that perhaps, at the time, the constitutional right to freedom of association, and the right of states to make their own laws on such matters, were worth bending due to the centuries of government-sponsored institutional discrimination that had left a whole race of people significantly disadvantaged throughout nearly all facets of society.

I can't make that judgment one way or another, but I can see the arguments on both sides. Living in 2010 and not in 1964, I lean toward liberty rather than government control, but I can't judge the 1964 mindset.

But again, we no longer live in such a time where -- government or not -- any group of people is significantly disadvantaged due to their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or "gender identity." That simply doesn't exist anymore. That's not to say discrimination doesn't happen: of course it does. But no group is significantly disadvantaged because of what little discrimination remains in our society.

Some people might say "that's easy for you to say, a middle class protestant white male." Shrug. I am a conservative Christian in an industry largely controlled by atheists, agnostics, and liberals. I live on the West Coast, which many project to be majority Hispanic within my lifetime, and certainly within the lifetime of my first- and second-generation descendants. If this were about ME ME ME, I'd probably be putting all the protections for ME in place that I could.

I simply believe in liberty, and that any restrictions on liberty must be backed up by a damned good reason; and that furthermore, when we add or continue restrictions without a damned good reason, we set precedents that endanger other liberties. We see this in the Civil Rights Act itself: we gave up the right to discriminate based on certain categories, and this has justified taking away our right to discriminate based on other things, like -- in Washington -- "expressions" of "gender identity." The violations of our liberty in Social Security and Medicare and growing wheat have led to justifying Obama's health insurance mandate. And so on.

I won't insult anyone's intelligence by trying to prove that the views I am expressing are not racist. Only a moron -- like Cokie Roberts, on This Week today -- could possibly think these views are racist. George Will, however, is not a moron, but he's still wrong: on the same program he expressed the view that we reasonably gave up one right (the right to discriminate in some personal affairs) for another (the right to not be discriminated against).

Setting aside that this doesn't make much sense on the face of it (taking away my actual right to give someone else a "right" that isn't an actual right isn't a reasonable tradeoff), if we think this is reasonable, then it can be used to justify almost any government theft of our rights. Imagine if in 1964 we outlawed "hate speech," and then Rand Paul in 2010 said we should allow people to say hateful things. Surely we'd have just as many people today complaining about Paul, saying how racist it is for him to suggest such a thing, and how our right to say hateful things was replaced with a right to not have hateful things said about us.

Then again, to many liberals, hate speech laws are a good thing. This boggles my mind, but so do many things that many of them believe.

Again, I can't say whether we were right or wrong in 1964. But certainly it's wrong now, simply because it is a patently unnecessary restriction on liberty. That said, there's no point in trying to repeal this particular blue law. It's not going away any time soon -- though we can hope -- and for most people, it doesn't cause us any problems (except for the lucky few who are wrongly prosecuted for false claims of discrimination). That's why many blue laws stay on the books: most people don't care enough to try to get rid of them. slashdot.org

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on May 23, 2010 11:08 PM.

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