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Is Rand Paul a Racist?

There’s been a lot of discussion out there in the past couple of days regarding Rand Paul.  The left is calling him a racist, and many associated with the right-wing establishment are wondering if he is too far right for America.  The answer to the latter question is: it doesn’t matter.  Mr. Paul isn’t being elected by America, he’s being elected by the people of Kentucky.  Is he too conservative for Kentucky?  While it’s still early, it doesn’t look like it.

With respect to the former question, is he a racist, the answer is: who knows?  He certainly hasn’t said anything that I’ve heard that would define him as a racist.  He says he’s not in favor of discrimination, and until someone offers proof to the contrary, I’m inclined to believe him.  All of this hub-bub about him not necessarily being in favor of the Civil Rights Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act is largely nonsensical rhetoric being spewed by the left.  At no point did Mr. Paul say he wasn’t in favor of the Federal Govt. barring discriminatory hiring practices for govt. jobs.  That’s obviously in the government’s sweet spot, and is keeping in line with the Constitution.  What Mr. Paul did criticize however, was the federal government telling private companies who they can and can’t hire, or what they have to do to their property to make it handicap accessible.  And you know what?  He’s right.  The idea that federal government can tell a private business who it has to serve is ridiculous.  It’s also settled law.

In what has been glossed over by the talking heads, Mr. Paul also stated that a business would be stupid for discriminating against anyone, regardless of the Civil Rights Act.  This topic was covered in detail by Thomas Sowell in his excellent book “Economic Facts and Fallacies.” If a business wants to survive, and thrive, then it will serve anyone with money that comes in the door.  If it doesn’t, then it won’t be in business very long.

The Civil Rights Act is an interesting, and politically dangerous, issue, because it represents two competing interests: it was no doubt an important and beneficial piece of legislation regarding equal rights, but it also significantly intruded on private property rights.  Mr. Paul identifying these interests doesn’t make him a racist, or even a “crazy” libertarian.  It simply makes him right.

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