A Few Thoughts on Rand Paul and Property Rights

  • He’s not really at all what I would consider a full-fledged libertarian, but he’s pretty close when it comes to drug policy, the Patriot Act, the Fed, corporate bailouts, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the rights of private enterprise. However, I flat out disagree with him on a number of things, including abortion and same-sex marriage. The latter is a potential deal-breaker for me.
  • He did not say that he disagrees with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He said quite unambiguously that he favors 9 out of 10 parts of the Civil Rights Act. He merely questions Title VII of the Act, which basically prohibits private businesses from discriminating. He was pretty clear that he supports the desegregation of public schools and the federal enforcement of voting rights as well as most of the other stipulations, and would oppose any attempt to repeal the Act.
  • In this area, I’ve got to say, I agree with him. First off, Title VII does absolutely nothing to prevent racism and discrimination by private enterprise, since these offenses are very difficult to prove in court. Second, most people don’t realize that some companies can only provide the type of service they want to provide by discriminating (example: perhaps a Thai restaurant wants to provide customers with a more authentic vibe by hiring only Asians). Third, the best way to punish racists and assholes is in the pocketbook, and Title VII makes this nearly impossible for the consumers to do. I don’t want a grocery store to serve me because they have to. I want them to serve me because they want to. Title II made it so that I no longer know if a business would still be serving me without a law telling them they have to, so they may still be racist and resent serving me, but how would I know?
  • It’s a mistake to assume that the atrocities of the Jim Crow era had anything to do with property rights. Jim Crow was entirely a problem with state and local legislation. These were laws enacted by lower level government bodies that interfered with the right to vote, to own property, to travel, to marry, and to bear arms. And even though the 14th Amendment prohibited state and local government from violating those rights, the Supreme Court only selectively enforced the 14th Amendment during the Jim Crow era. So, again, we’re dealing with a legal regime here, not some failure of the free market. In fact, there’s significant reason to believe that properly enforced property rights actually attenuated Jim Crow legislation; the NAACP, for instance, won it’s first Supreme Court victory in 1917 by claiming that a residential segregation law was an infringement of property rights under the 14th Amendment. And many other private businesses in the south and elsewhere were actively refusing to discriminate even in the face of strictly-enforced Jim Crow laws that prohibited this.
  • I could be wrong about Title VII, but I don’t think so.

3 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on Rand Paul and Property Rights

  1. Pingback: Bruce Bartlett on Libertarianism « Black Jesus

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