Bruce Bartlett on Libertarianism

On Rand Paul:

I don’t believe Rand is a racist; I think he is a fool who is suffering from the foolish consistency syndrome that affects all libertarians. They believe that freedom consists of one thing and one thing only–freedom from governmental constraint. Therefore, it is illogical to them that any increase in government power could ever expand freedom. Yet it is clear that African Americans were far from free in 1964 and that the Civil Rights Act greatly expanded their freedom while diminishing that of racists. To defend the rights of racists to discriminate is reprehensible and especially so when it is done by a major party nominee for the U.S. Senate. I believe that Rand should admit that he was wrong as quickly as possible.

A great argument against libertarian philosophy, sure. Provided none of your readers know anything about libertarianism. Or the Civil Rights movement. Most of this article is a string of non-sequiturs.

I’ve already commented on Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act, so I’ll not repeat myself. It just seems to me that Bartlett hasn’t done much research.  Most libertarians are in favor of the bulk of the Civil Right Act of 1964, precisely because segregation was enforced by the states.

Federal laws are perfectly acceptable (and necessary) when they’re intended to protect the rights of minorities to vote, marry, travel, and own property. I’m willing to bet that almost no libertarian will disagree with that sentiment. The disagreement is over the efficacy of forcing private organizations and businesses not to discriminate, if the ultimate aim was to diminish racism. Liberals and progressives have yet to propose an effective government policy for achieving this end better than the free market would.

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