Tag Archives: rand paul

The Glibertarian Tea Party Wing Under Scrutiny

21 May

What’s great about Rand Paul’s primary win in KY-Sen the other night is that he and his squishy political opinions are under greater scrutiny, as are those of his father, Ron.   Thanks to that scrutiny, the views of the local glibertarian wing of the tea party are – and ought be – under equal scrutiny.  As icing on the cake, Ron Paul‘s whiny reaction to this scrutiny reads right out of the playbook of noted glibertarian drama queen Jim Ostrowski.

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UPDATE:  Chris went in a similar direction, and asks some very specific questions of those who profess to be libertarians.

Here’s one:

Does government have the right to regulate air safety and maintenance, or should the people have the freedom to choose an airline that prides itself on lax standards but low prices?

Paging All Libertarians

21 May

The beauty of libertarianism as a political ideology is that just like a time share property pitch, a lot of the initial talking points sound really great.  Free markets, legalized drugs, an end to foreign wars, etc.  It’s romantic in its belief in the invisible hand of the market, self-determination and appeals to the better instincts of humanity that if just left alone, we’ll all act in a manner which benefits everyone.

However, when libertarians are put in a position to defend the practicality of their ideology in the context of the real world, most reasonable people rapidly come to conclusion that libertarians are either batshit crazy or willfully stupid.

For example, meet Rand Paul, Republican nominee for the United States Senate from the great state of Kentucky.

Rand Paul, as many of you know, is the son of Tea Party icon and idol to the libertarian fringe, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).  The younger Paul posted an overwhelming victory over the RNC endorsed candidate in the Republican primary earlier this week.  Shortly after his victory and emergence onto the national scene, Paul appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show to discuss comments he made to the Louisville Courier-Journal prior to the primary election.

Essentially, Paul states that he would not have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Title II of the act mandates that private businesses that provide/maintain public accommodations be forced to adhere to equal protection provisions.  Paul maintains this provision of the act violates private property rights.  He also states that he would not have supported the Americans with Disabilities Act as Title III of the act mandates that all private businesses with public accommodations make their places of business accessible to people with disabilities.  He alleges that this also violates property rights.

In the interview, Paul states that he supports all other provisions of the act and I believe him.  He states that mandates on institutionalized racism and discrimination can and should be legislated out of existence, but the implication is that private businesses should be allowed to post a “Whites Only” or “No Cripples Welcome Here” sign in their front window.  Property rights are the holy grail of the libertarian movement, they shan’t be violated or restricted in any way.  The mistake in this debate is casting Paul a racist, full stop.  While property rights were used frequently by segregationists in the south during the fight for civil rights, I’m not sure it’s that simple an issue here.  Paul and the worldview he supports is not about race, it’s about property rights and a philosophical, non-reality based ideology.  In other words, he’s just a libertarian.

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After the ensuing blowup of negative publicity for his campaign began today, Rand Paul eventually backed off his statements and said he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act and supports the Federal Government right to regulate private business.  As noted by Talking Points Memo, here’s the timeline of the whole scandal:

So, by our reckoning, here’s Paul’s progression on the issue over the past 24 hours:

  • Paul on Maddow, circa 9 p.m. Wednesday: I don’t agree with the Civil Rights Act, but I don’t believe in racism.
  • Paul statement, noon Thursday: I wouldn’t support repealing the law.
  • Paul campaign statement, 2 p.m. Thursday: I support the law and the government’s power to enforce it.
  • Paul on CNN, 5 p.m. Thursday: “I would have voted yes” for the law. “There was a need for federal intervention.”

As an aside, Rachel Maddow is one hell of a journalist.  She did what no other broadcast journalist does…stayed with one topic, tried to force an issue and get an answer to a question that matters…respectfully and intelligently.  She allows her guests to talk, but she never lets them off the hook.  It’s compelling television.

I digress…

The interview and the emerging candidacy of Rand Paul brings several issues into the light of day.  Should we not have a full vetting of the Libertarian agenda as a means to identify whether or not it has any chance of ever being adopted as anything other than a sideshow in our political circus?  As a means to separate the nutty fringe wheat from the christian conservative chaff in the oft-discussed and analyzed tea party movement?  Should we not fully educate people on where these people stand on issues of import?

So, here is a short list of questions for the local chapter of the Libertarian Dogmatics over at Political Class Dismissed and Tea New York.  Yes or No answers are preferred, but I know I won’t get them, if they bother to answer at all.

Questions cribbed from Ezra Klein of The Washington Post with some additional flourishes by me:

Can the federal government set the private sector’s minimum wage?

Can it tell private businesses not to hire illegal immigrants?

Can it tell oil companies what safety systems to build into an offshore drilling platform?

Can it tell toy companies to test for lead?

Can it tell liquor stores not to sell to minors?

Do you support the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, full stop?

Do you think banks should be allowed to choose to not lend to blacks, hispanics, jews, or gays based on identity?

Can local governments set building codes for construction companies?

Can local governments set zoning regulations to regulate the location of commercial properties or private residences?

If anyone else has questions, feel free to add them in the comments section.