Tuesday, June 01, 2010

1964 vs. 2010

This is, of course, about Rand Paul. Joseph C. Phillips has written an interesting article about Rand Paul's mistake, but spends most of the article agreeing with Paul.
The truth is that Paul’s argument has more merit than the mushy multi-culturalism preached on the left. In a free market, private business owners should have the right to do business with whomever they want.
So that sounds like he generally agrees with Paul, and he clearly does. But he does point out that 1964 was a different time.
In 1964 conservatives sought to protect the Constitution even as it was being torn to shreds. Conservatives cautioned against a dangerous expanse of governmental power even as those with abhorrent and anti-constitutional views used the power of government to usurp the freedoms of a portion of the citizenry. Conservatives reasoned that lasting transformation could only be had through changing hearts; pubic pressure could be brought to bear and in time white folks would remit and blacks would finally enjoy equality and freedom.
Fair enough - I could point out that many Southern Conservatives (then members of the Democratic Party) were racist and thought that keeping blacks down was proper.
Ultimately, Rand Paul’s argument fails exactly where conservatism failed. It is not up to some men to dictate to other men when they shall enjoy their God-given rights. To believe that boycotts and other forms of public pressure were by themselves going to break down the racial barriers in American society is to ignore the deafening clash of the cleanliness of theory meeting head-on with the filth of reality. Theory says that government must be limited to certain specific duties and must be vigorous in fulfilling those duties. The reality is that even a limited government must be powerful enough to perform its charge. Moreover, those within the government must have the political will to act quickly and decisively when the freedoms of any citizen are threatened.
This part I find unpersuasive. Rand seems to agree that businesses have the right to discriminate, but he feels that the government should have the power to keep blacks from being discriminated against. That doesn't make any sense. He also specifically references the out of control power of the federal government that Conservatives were concerned about - but he seems equally concerned about. So are left with this formulation.
  1. Businesses have the right to discriminate.
  2. Government is too powerful, and should not have the ability regulate businesses they way they have.
  3. Blacks and other minorities should have access to the same Businesses as the majority.
  4. The Government should act quickly and decisively to preserve those rights.
Those don't really line up. I suspect that Phillips real point is that of course Rand was right, but you shouldn't say it.

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