I’ve been following Rand Paul’s views on civil rights over the past couple days, interested by the division that Paul seems to make between the idea of racism and the intervention of government. He’s against racial discrimination, but should the government protect citizens from it?
In Paul’s opinion, he makes clear that he does not think the government should step into the realm of private business. He’s a libertarian. And his reluctance to endorse the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supports basic principles of libertarianism: small–if nonexistent–government, individual rights above all, and belief in the free market. When Rachel Maddow put his libertarian thinking to real-life scenarios like private restaurants refusing to serve black customers, Paul refused to answer directly. Though he espouses that he doesn’t support discrimination of any kind, he would not vote to protect these customers. In Paul’s view, the private business owner can discriminate as he or she wishes.
Moreover, Bob Cesca connects Paul’s troubling stand with the Tea Party’s racial issues in The Huffington Post:
However, he obviously supports allowing businesses to engage in racial discrimination with impunity. Evidently, if the government says it’s against the law to run a whites-only business, this is a bridge too far for Rand Paul.
Even more troubling, Paul gave this convoluted and misguided suggestion that goes against ADA access policies. Essentially, his viewpoint for people with disabilities is this: If you can give an employee in a wheelchair a first-floor office rather than spend thousands on installing an elevator for the person to access a second-floor office, than this solution should meet societal standards.
Separate but equal was shut down long ago. However, separate but equal is fine by Rand Paul. Is this viewpoint what we want in a voting member of Congress?