Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Rand Paul's goofs. Confusion?

This first article looks at Rand's goofs, which are fixable. Live and learn. The second article deals with his remarks, which were really just dealing with an age old question that has been asked many times before, and will continue to be asked: "How much government interference is a good thing?" I found both articles thoughtful reading.

A Learning Moment: Deconstructing Rand's National Debut
If you have followed me for some time then you know that what drives me is arming the freedom movement with the tools, skills, and experience necessary to drive political success. That is one of the reasons that this is such an exciting moment.

The Rand Paul primary campaign has been an exercise in message discipline, image control, and managerial competence that should be broadly admired and studied within the movement. It also makes the last week somewhat puzzling, but does provide some important lessons for aspiring political strategists and campaign staffers. [...]

And the author goes on to explain those lessons, point by point. It's good stuff. And fortunately, there is evidence that Rand Paul's campaign is learning them.

Is Rand Paul a racist? The following author says no, he's just asking the age-old question, but people are spinning it for their own Partisan reasons. But the author also gives a thoughtful examination of the question, and why it continues to be so important.

What's behind Rand Paul's confusion
[...] We do, after all, allow government to say that murder is unacceptable -- in private and public spaces. On lesser issues (Are mustaches acceptable? Can men wear purple tights? What political party do you belong to?) most Americans think it's none of the government's business what happens in a private home or private business.

But on race, as on murder, since the 1964 Civil Rights Act, most Americans have agreed that the issue is important -- more than important, foundational -- enough that the government can and should regulate what happens in the private sphere.

Imagine how things might have looked if we hadn't decided that. If, like the 14th Amendment, the 1964 Civil Rights Act had covered only state action, then bus companies, airlines, restaurants, employers and landlords across America could still be discriminating on the basis of race.

Libertarians -- and this is a serious, sophisticated argument -- say that the market can and would correct for this. They say that customers would shun, say, restaurants and hotels and national brands that discriminated on the basis of race and that eventually those bigoted operations would go out of business.

The libertarians' point is that there's no need, in fact it's inappropriate, for the government to get involved. But the fact is the market didn't correct for widespread and pervasive discrimination of this kind in the Jim Crow era. On the contrary, it flourished widely in America for 100 years after the Civil War.

It was this failure that drove the civil rights revolution. And the rationale for the federal government's long reach into what happened at private accommodations such as lunch counters made perfect sense at the time.

Does that rationale still apply today -- nearly five decades after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and two years into the presidency of the first black president, Barack Obama?

I think most Americans would say it does, that racial equality is important enough to who and what we are as a nation that the long arm of government should reach into the private realm and bar discrimination there -- just as it bars murder

Of course, libertarians have every right to disagree with that. That they do doesn't make them racists. Poor, befuddled Paul couldn't seem to figure out if he did or didn't agree (although he later said that he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act). But what his cartoon controversy underscores is the complexity of the issue.

Yes, many Americans, including me, think the government is overreaching now -- badly overreaching.

But as all government all the time is not the answer, so no government ever is surely just as wrong.

How to find the right balance? That is going to be the challenge of our era. [...]


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