The blogosphere is raging right now due to the comments made by hardcore libertarian Rand Paul on Rachel Maddow’s show last night. Paul stated that he did not believe it was the federal governments place to dictate to private businesses who they could and couldn’t serve, leading Maddow to the obvious conclusion that Paul was advocating legalizing segregation. Check the segment out below:
Paul is clearly not a racist, but his views on individual liberty are so extreme that he favors a society where others are free to discriminate against others on whatever basis they choose. This type of militant idealism makes Paul, who otherwise has a lot of interesting things to say (like his views on Federal overreach, wire tapping, civil liberties, the illegality of preemptive war etc) makes him look silly. Writes Andrew Sullivan:
I do not believe you can reify an abstraction like liberty and separate
it from the context – historical, cultural, moral – in which it lives
and breathes and from which it emerged. I can believe in freedom and
believe in equality of opportunity but I should be mature enough to see
when there has to be a compromise between the two – and decide. On the
issue of race in America, the libertarian right was proven wrong –
morally, empirically wrong. Giving up the ancient and real freedom to
discriminate was worth it – indeed morally and politically necessary for
America to regain its soul.
The idea that society can function in a utopian ‘free for all’ is simply ridiculous. That type of society has never really existed, or would be so barbaric no one would want to live there. Human societies always choose ways of regulating themselves to avoid lawlessness and anarchy – sometimes those regulations become overbearing and people rise up against it, and most often (at least in modern countries) there is a healthy back and forth. Paul’s vision of absolute freedom, while nice on paper, is as childish as any other rigid ideology devoid of factual basis. Continues Sullivan:
This is what makes the tea-party movement un-conservative. It is dealing
with the world as it would like it to be, not as it is. It has an
almost adolescent ideal it cannot compromise
If Rand Paul had a black man in the 1960’s South, I’m sure his views would not have been so extreme. I can hardly see him protesting the for the rights of store owners not to serve him coffee.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.