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Rand Paul, Civil Rights, and More Liberal Hypocrisy on Race

Rand Paul, Civil Rights, and More Liberal Hypocrisy on Race
by Jacob G. Hornberger, May 21, 2010

I recently wrote two articles in which I criticized liberals for being two-faced and hypocritical when it comes to racial issues. The articles, which concerned the minimum wage, a longtime favorite government program among liberals whose negative effects fall disproportionately on blacks, were entitled “Why Do Daily Kos and Alternet Favor a Racist Government Program?” and “Free Teenagers: Repeal the Minimum Wage.”

Of course, I could also have written an article pointing out the decades-long liberal support of the drug war, another vicious government program whose adverse consequences have long fallen disproportionately on blacks and Hispanics. See, for example, this list of articles.

Thus, it’s not a coincidence that liberal icon Barack Obama, a drug user himself (he smoked dope and snorted cocaine when he was young and smokes tobacco today) and his Democratically controlled Congress are not only not ending the drug war but instead are ramping it up, even encouraging the Mexican government’s use of the military to wage the drug war in Mexico.

I could have also pointed out the long-time hypocrisy of liberals’ purported concern for Hispanics, especially the poor among them, even while supporting immigration laws and their brutal enforcement, including raiding American businesses suspected of committing the dastardly crime of entering into mutually beneficial economic relationships with financially poor Hispanics of foreign origin.

This week, thanks to Rand Paul’s win in the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, we are treated to another grand spectacle of liberal hypocrisy when it comes to race. The liberal community has gone into emotional hyper-drive over Paul’s opposition to the section of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that banned racial discrimination by private businesses. The liberals are just shocked and outraged that anyone would honestly suggest that private businesses should be free to discriminate. And, of course, underlying all this is the suggestion that anyone who advocates such a position must be a secret bigot.

To examine into this latest instance of liberal hypocrisy on race, let’s delve into a few basics.

Suppose a certain white homeowner in a community publicly announces that he is holding a weekly TGIF cocktail party at his home every Friday night. He publicly invites everyone who lives within a one-mile radius of his home to his parties, but with a big exception. He says: Blacks and Jews are not invited and will not be permitted into his home.

How would libertarians respond? We would say that that man has every right in the world to take that position. We might criticize him, we might condemn him, we might ignore him, we might boycott his parties. But we would defend his right to discriminate against anyone he wants, as a matter of principle. After all, we would argue, it’s his home — his private property. To paraphrase Voltaire, we might not agree with how he uses his property, but we would defend his right to use it any way he wants. That’s what private ownership and a free society are all about.

How would liberals respond to that hypothetical? They would take the same position as libertarians! They would say that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to keep anyone he wants, even on racial grounds, from his home. They would defend the homeowner’s fundamental right to associate with anyone he wants, even if his choices are abhorrent and offensive to everyone else. They would not call on amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to apply it to private homeowners.

What? Could this actually be possible? Could liberals actually be defending the right of a bigot to be a bigot in his own home? Wouldn’t this make a liberal himself a bigot? After all, isn’t that what liberals claim about people who call for the right of discrimination in private businesses — that their support of such a right makes them a closet or overt bigot?

Liberals would respond, “No, we’re not bigots simply because we support the right of homeowners to discriminate against blacks, Jews, Catholics, Hispanics, the poor, and anyone else. We simply believe in the principle of private ownership of one’s home and we’re willing to defend that principle, even when homeowners make racist choices.”

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