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May 21, 2010 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Rand Paul, third son of 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul and winner of the Kentucky Republican Party Senate primary this week, has found his general election campaigned mired over a controversy about his libertarian ideology.

After interviews with a local newspaper and NPR in which Paul appeared to reject the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Paul appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and suggested he would have supported most of the bill. Paul maintains that, though he supports civil rights personally and the application of civil rights laws to recipients of federal money, private businesses should not be required to follow laws regarding public accommodations. Maddow responded to the argument in depth last night and suggested this is a fundamental debate about the efficacy of libertarianism. Paul has accused the media of amplifying the controversy as state politicians have distanced themselves from his comments. Is Paul ducking the core issues? Is this an inevitable outcome of the GOP's lionization of Barry Goldwater?
posted by l33tpolicywonk (422 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, so he's a real guy? I kept seeing the name and thought someone was making some sort of Ayn Rand + Ron Paul joke.
posted by ODiV at 9:06 AM on May 21, 2010 [47 favorites]


Oh, he's an Ayn Rand + Ron Paul joke all right.
posted by Damn That Television at 9:08 AM on May 21, 2010 [243 favorites]


The best part is that he loves Medicare - as an eye surgeon, half of his patients' bills are bankrolled by taxpayers. Consistency fail.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:08 AM on May 21, 2010 [18 favorites]


Google Jim Crow, sheeple!
posted by uncleozzy at 9:09 AM on May 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


This Yglesias post on the subject is also worth reading.
posted by creasy boy at 9:09 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


And the bullshit spinning has started:
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said Maddow’s inquiry was a "gotcha question." "If I'm walking down the street minding my own business and somebody sticks a microphone under my nose about a law that was passed 40 years ago, without more detail -- I think it probably caught him a little bit by surprise," Cornyn said in Paul’s defense.
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]




I did the whole "I don't see why landlords/restaurateurs/shopkeepers/etc should have to do business with people they don't like, it's not like consumers are forced to go to businesses owned by all races" thing for a few months in my teens before I realized what it was like in the past when this actually happened.
posted by ODiV at 9:11 AM on May 21, 2010 [17 favorites]


You know who else was ideologically consistent?
posted by uaudio at 9:12 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Paul's ideology, as expressed on the Maddow show and other places, is the kind of thing that appeals to earnest 6th graders who have been exposed to the workings of government via civics class but who know little of the practical world.

Sure, ideally you could let business people be guided by their own moral compasses, but in reality people do not nearly always choose the right thing. There are parts of this country where a black (or Latino) man or woman would stand little chance of getting a job doing anything other than menial labor. What Mr. Paul fails to understand is that institutional racism is not limited to the narrow definition he applies—that is, the government and agencies that receive government funding. Allowing private employers to discriminate based on race means that, in the US, a lot of them will! That is also institutional racism, and that is going to severely narrow the already slender opportunities available to people of color in the US.

So the only question that remains is this: Is Mr. Paul honestly naïve and deluded, or is he pandering to racists? The answer, to me is: Who cares? Such a person has no business in the US Senate, in either case. I hope the people of Kentucky come to the same conclusion.
posted by Mister_A at 9:12 AM on May 21, 2010 [64 favorites]


babble rand paul
posted by pyramid termite at 9:12 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Bruce Bartlett writes, 'as we know from history, the free market did not lead to a breakdown of segregation. ... Thus we have a perfect test of the libertarian philosophy and an indisputable conclusion: it didn't work. Freedom did not lead to a decline in racism; it only got worse.'"*
posted by ericb at 9:14 AM on May 21, 2010 [39 favorites]


The other day I was also walking down the street minding my own business and all of a sudden I was on a TV set being asked all these crazy questions about laws and stuff, so what choice did I have but to denounce civil rights? It could happen to anyone.
posted by Copronymus at 9:14 AM on May 21, 2010 [77 favorites]


ODiV: "...for a few months in my teens...."

I think most people grow out of libertarianism when they leave their teens.
posted by klanawa at 9:15 AM on May 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


ODiV: "Oh, so he's a real guy? I kept seeing the name and thought someone was making some sort of Ayn Rand + Ron Paul joke."

His real name, as it turns out, is Randall. MeFi's own YoungAmerican suggested he would name his first child Chompsky, short for SuperChompsky.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:16 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I had fun counting his "you know it's interesting..." nonanswers during the Maddow interview.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:16 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


GOOGLE ROB PAUL + RACISM + NEWSLETTER + "HUGE SUPRISE"

Does this actually hurt his chances in Kentucky though?
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, Odiv. He's real, and was named after St Ayn -- the first atheist saint, canonized by the "religious right" and showing just how religious they really are.

There was a time when the idea of liberty, and the ideals of libertarians, didn't refer to 'all the freedom you can buy', but those days seem to be gone. I'm not even sure that the Pauls are racist. Wealth seems to be the only division they care about, and Somalia there ideal of liberty.
posted by Some1 at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I did the whole "I don't see why landlords/restaurateurs/shopkeepers/etc should have to do business with people they don't like, it's not like consumers are forced to go to businesses owned by all races" thing for a few months in my teens before I realized what it was like in the past when this actually happened.

Also, consumers are de facto forced to go to businesses owned by whites, because it's really hard to find business that aren't.
posted by Copronymus at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Area Politician Wields Abstract Concept Selectively
posted by callmejay at 9:21 AM on May 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


Is this an inevitable outcome of the GOP's lionization of Barry Goldwater?

Ironically, Goldwater would have nothing but contempt for the modern day Republican party, as can be inferred from some of the statements he made in his final years (excerpted from Wikipedia):
In a 1994 interview with the Washington Post the retired senator said, "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."

In response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell's opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, "Every good Christian should be concerned", Goldwater retorted: "Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass." (According to John Dean, Goldwater actually suggested that good Christians ought to kick Falwell in the "nuts", but the news media "changed the anatomical reference."

Some of Goldwater's statements in the 1990s aggravated many social conservatives. He endorsed Democrat Karan English in an Arizona congressional race, urged Republicans to lay off Bill Clinton over the Whitewater scandal, and criticized the military's ban on homosexuals: "Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar." He also said, "You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight." A few years before his death he went so far as to address the right wing, "Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you've hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have."
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:24 AM on May 21, 2010 [99 favorites]


"The spirit of non-discrimination," said Block "ends you right up in compulsory bisexuality."

OH NO THEY'RE ON TO OUR EVIL SCHEME!
posted by ottereroticist at 9:24 AM on May 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


What is Paul supposed to say? He can provide a reasonable argument as to why the current system is in many ways counter-productive, but people react emotionally to these issues and are going to jump to accuse him of being a racist. Like him or not, cut him some slack here. Scrutinize him all you want, as you should with any political candidate, but don't assume he's some kind of monster for having intellectually and logically sound disagreements with certain parts of the Civil Rights Act.
posted by rbenhase at 9:24 AM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


What is Paul supposed to say?

"i have bad ideas about the world"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:25 AM on May 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


Only in America could universal health care meant to reign in costs, banking regulation meant to reign in risks, and civil rights legislation meant to undo a legacy of institutionalized racism, be construed as "OMG Communism!"

One expected this kind of reactionary ignorance and ideological blindness in the mid 1960s, but in 2010, given everything that's happened (especially these past few years), well the mind just reels.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:25 AM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


has found his general election campaigned mired over a controversy about his libertarian ideology

It is perhaps a bit of a mischaracterization to say the controversy is about his libertarian ideology. I don't think people care one way or another if he is a libertarian.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:26 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"If I'm walking down the street minding my own business and somebody sticks a microphone under my nose about a law that was passed 40 years ago, without more detail -- I think it probably caught him a little bit by surprise," Cornyn said in Paul’s defense.

Well said. This gotcha journalism is elitist and unfair. A prospective federal legislator can't expect to have thought all the way through every landmark piece of era-defining policy, and everyone knows reflexes have a liberal bias.

I mean, say some socialist MSM hack pops out of a bush and barks, "Quick! Emancipation Proclamation - for it or against?" Who could answer that without more detail? Is there to be a bailout for the cotton industry? Are these freed slaves going to expect socialized medicine? Will there be race-based hiring quotas in the mills and sweatshops of the great northern industrial cities? It could do some good, but it could also lead us down a slippery slope toward the nationalization of our financial system and lewd dancing. It's a complex issue . . .
posted by gompa at 9:27 AM on May 21, 2010 [65 favorites]


It's possible he'll still win in November, but I'd say the GOP has made the chance of a Democratic pickup in Kentucky considerably higher. Twenty-four hours after getting the nomination and he'd already said on live television that he didn't think restaurants should have to serve black customers if they don't want to. That'll hurt him with independent voters, but might not have damaged him too much among the Tea Party crowd.

Unfortunately for Paul, instead of taking the position of "These are my principles and I'm sticking to them, no matter where they lead me," which seemed to be his initial reaction, he then flip-flopped and issued a statement saying that Thursday Rand Paul disagrees with Wednesday Rand Paul and supports forcing businesses not to discriminate. Now the Conway campaign gets to spend the next five months painting Paul as a flip-flopper who doesn't believe in civil rights, but is willing to pretend for political advantage. It's a nightmare scenario for a candidate who's trying to brand himself as a straight-talking man of principle.

This is Sarah Palin II, folks: a slippery opportunist trying to ride to power on a wave of racial resentment, populist ignorance, and conservative white identity politics. I have my fingers crossed for a Palin/Paul Tea Party ticket in 2012.
posted by EarBucket at 9:29 AM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why is this a controversy exactly? Isn't this what a Libertarian would have to believe, pretty much by definition?
posted by ODiV at 9:30 AM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I can't help but think candidates like Rand Paul are going to end up saving the Democrats' asses in November. I can understand on an intellectual level what he's going for with this viewpoint, but the Republican Party has made this the era of the Pithy Soundbite, and a lot of their people are not going to pay attention long enough to get it.
posted by something something at 9:31 AM on May 21, 2010


Sure, ideally you could let business people be guided by their own moral compasses, but in reality people do not nearly always choose the right thing.

Absolutely, which is why conservatives want so badly to outlaw abortion. You can't be trusted with making your own moral decisions.

It's a blade that cuts both ways. If you insist on infantilizing others, don't be surprised when they do it to you.
posted by Malor at 9:31 AM on May 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


Why, I wonder, do libertarians believe that commercial property is "private property" in the same way that someone's home is?

Because it sounds quite reasonable to say that a homeowner should have the final word in who she invites inside her house, but we rankle at the idea that a business owner should, by rights, turn away people based on the color of their skin.

Why not just say that commercial properties are, in fact, quasi-public by nature, and hence that it would be an act of coercion to prevent someone from say, shopping there?

I assume because, in Libertarian Land, each individual retains the right to sell her stuff (or not) to anyone she chooses, right? Regardless of who owns the land she stands on.

I have to say, Rand Paul's position looks consistently Libertarian from here. Is there another approach, or does Libertarian Land necessarily self-divide into Franchulates?
posted by edguardo at 9:32 AM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Maddow and Jealous. And Randall seems like he's one payoff away from being a total slime after his actions of the last 48 hours. Say what you feel and stick with it.
posted by Flex1970 at 9:33 AM on May 21, 2010


I can understand on an intellectual level what he's going for with this viewpoint

There's nothing nuanced or complicated about it: it's just racism masquerading as libertarian scruples, and ignorance of history masquerading as truth-to-power.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:34 AM on May 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


don't assume he's some kind of monster for having intellectually and logically sound disagreements with certain parts of the Civil Rights Act.

It'd be one thing if it were part of a consistent libertarian philosophy on his part. It'd be ignorant, immoral, and deeply wrong, but it'd at least be honest. But Rand Paul is a terrible libertarian. He doesn't think women should be allowed to have abortions, he supports increasing Medicare funding to doctors (perhaps coincidentally, he's a doctor himself), and he supports the indefinite detention of terror suspects without trial.

Suddenly, though, when it comes to whites-only lunch counters, he thinks the government should just keep its nose out of other people's business. It's funny how that works.
posted by EarBucket at 9:35 AM on May 21, 2010 [62 favorites]


He can provide a reasonable argument as to why the current system is in many ways counter-productive, but people react emotionally to these issues and are going to jump to accuse him of being a racist.

I haven't heard a lot of people call him a racist. I've heard a lot of people call him an idiot for not grasping that the price of the principle he wants to uphold is suffering the likes of which we have trouble comprehending even when we see footage of it.
posted by fatbird at 9:35 AM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm sort of glad that the pundit consensus that seems to be emerging from recent primary elections is that moderates on both sides are in trouble. Repubs are losing to their right. Dems are losing to their left. Politics has been such a pointless race to the middle for too long. The only imperative was to not say or do anything that someone might not like. Especially if they can get a good pull quote of you saying it.

I'd like for some liberals to stand up and say hell yes I'm liberal. I believe that "I'll help out" is more useful than "I got mine". I believe that unregulated corporations are dangerous. I believe that perpetual growth is called cancer when it happens anywhere outside of a board room. I believe that government serves a purpose in providing for needs that don't serve a profit motive. I believe that people generally do good when they have an option.

I'd rather lose some fights on these grounds than "win" on toothless middle grounds that satisfy no one. I believe that a small, but real, majority of the country believes the same things that I do. In the long run I believe if conservatives say what they really want and liberals say what they really want the liberal ideas will win out. I could be wrong but I'd rather find out by losing an honest fight than by ceding the bulk of my beliefs out of fear that someone might call me a liberal.
posted by Babblesort at 9:36 AM on May 21, 2010 [96 favorites]


Who cares if it's a "gotcha" question? Paul is running on an anti-incumbent platform based on the Republicans abandoning small-government principles. If he's willing to shamelessly dodge a simple question (gotcha or otherwise) in order to avoid alienating people then what differentiates him from those he aims to replace? What stops him from voting in a major military spending bill once he's elected, just to avoid alienating his hawkish constituents?

I'm no fan of his dad, but at least Ron Paul says what he believes even when it's idiotic and/or unpopular. There's something to be said for that.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:38 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, also:

"I thought I was supposed to get a honeymoon," Paul sighed in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "When does my honeymoon start after my victory?"

What a little whiner. Utterly unprepared to run for national office. I'm almost embarrassed for the Republicans.
posted by EarBucket at 9:39 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's nothing nuanced or complicated about it: it's just racism masquerading as libertarian scruples, and ignorance of history masquerading as truth-to-power.

To be clear, I don't agree with him - I'm as liberal as they come - but this is a pretty standard libertarian stance.
posted by something something at 9:41 AM on May 21, 2010


having intellectually and logically sound disagreements with certain parts of the Civil Rights Act.

Oh, was there another tv show that he went on and expressed those?
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:42 AM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is Rand Paul Good or Bad for Republicans?

His success so far has the GOP establishment fighting back. In his ads, Grayson is attempting to paint Paul as a kook whose beliefs are outside the mainstream. Which may explain why on several issues, Paul is edging toward the center: Pure libertarians, he says, believe the market should dictate policy on nearly everything from the environment to health care. Paul has lately said he would not leave abortion to the states, he doesn't believe in legalizing drugs like marijuana and cocaine, he'd support federal drug laws, he'd vote to support Kentucky's coal interests and he'd be tough on national security.

"They thought all along that they could call me a libertarian and hang that label around my neck like an albatross, but I'm not a libertarian," Paul says between Lasik surgeries at his medical office, where his campaign is headquartered, with a few desks crammed between treatment rooms. "Frankly, I'd rather be coming from the right than from the left like Grayson, who not too long ago was a Democrat and Bill Clinton supporter." (Grayson voted for Clinton in 1992 before switching parties and entering politics in the mid-1990s.)

posted by Comrade_robot at 9:43 AM on May 21, 2010


I'm sort of miffed he's not being an ophthalmologist anymore. We need ophthalmologists dammit.
posted by anniecat at 9:45 AM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why not just say that commercial properties are, in fact, quasi-public by nature, and hence that it would be an act of coercion to prevent someone from say, shopping there?

Agreed. When you put your "private property" into the marketplace by inviting commerce, you are enjoying the benefits of all kinds of government services. Taxes paved the roads in front of your business and maintain the sidewalks. Local regulations may prevent panhandlers from lingering in the doorway of your business, and local police enforce those laws. Businesses avail themselves of the common currency (how useful dollars are in negotiating transactions!) And so forth. Demanding the right for 'private owned businesses' to enjoy those and many other benefits without also being subject to any regulation is wanting something for nothing.

Having a business that engages the public is a completely different animal than owning a parcel of land and fencing it off so that no one can enter. To conflate the two is engaging in ideological rigidity that just highlights the weak spots.
posted by ambrosia at 9:46 AM on May 21, 2010 [32 favorites]


I'm sort of miffed he's not being an ophthalmologist anymore

I hear he refused to treat brown-eyed people.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:47 AM on May 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


He can provide a reasonable argument as to why the current system is in many ways counter-productive, but people react emotionally to these issues and are going to jump to accuse him of being a racist.

Maybe Rand Paul can provide such a reasonable argument, but he didn't on Maddow's show. Paul's performance on Maddow was remarkable not because he expressed ideas outside of the American mainstream, but because he was so wholly incapable of defending those ideas when given a chance to do so. I could have defended his ideas better than he did and I think his ideas are nonsense. At the beginning of Maddow's interview I thought Paul was at least as interesting as his father (which is to say, charismatic, talented, and nutty); when it was over I was convinced he was an idiot.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:50 AM on May 21, 2010 [14 favorites]


Is Rand Paul an atheist? Wikipedia says he's a presbyterian, and that he opposes marriage equality. So he's not really that Randian, is he?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:51 AM on May 21, 2010


But Rand Paul is a terrible libertarian.
Perhaps. But I think any of us would have trouble finding a true, purebred and consistent Libertarian. Everyone is comfortable with a DEGREE of socialism (who has an issue with having to pay taxes to fund police stations and fire departments?).

Oh, was there another tv show that he went on and expressed those?
Look, I'm not trying to make this guy into a saint or come to the defense of his viewpoint. But it sure seems like there's a lot of people with knee-jerk reactions here. Surely, some of us are jumping to conclusions without being interested in what his argument might be, pretending that he's nothing more than an ignorant redneck who doesn't know what he's talking about.
posted by rbenhase at 9:51 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The civil rights movement wasn't opposed to using government to coerce people. It merely wanted the government to aim its force in a new direction. Although the activists believed coercion served the noble objective of bringing the races closer together, it was coercion nonetheless." - Harry Browne

This is what goes against the libertarian grain, I guess. Coercion is bad, liberty is good.

The problem is apparently that only government coercion was effective in breaking down these racial barriers. Also problematic is that fact that libertarians are in love with the idea of private property, which is inviolable and defended by the state.

Without the coercive power of the state (or a state-esque corporate stand-in, or the mob) it would be awful hard to maintain one's exclusive rights to say, a shopping mall. And by extension, awfully hard to exclude people you didn't like. You need the state to defend your stuff, even the minimal state of the libertarians.

Libertarianism cements and defends material privileges, and as long as it does that, powerful people with lots of stuff have the power to deny that stuff to people they don't like.

So, I'd say libertarianism permits and even empowers racism by private citizens, even if it simultaneously forbids it to state institutions.

Browne's got it right, I think, and I'm not sure that libertarianism can extricate itself from this particular problem.
posted by edguardo at 9:51 AM on May 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


How To Tell People They Sound Racist i.e. there's a big difference between the "what you did" conversation and the "who are are" conversation...


posted by drmanhattan at 9:53 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]




To be clear, I don't agree with him - I'm as liberal as they come - but this is a pretty standard libertarian stance.

That wouldn't make him a libertarian, necessarily. He seems okay with the government restricting a woman's sexual behavior, for instance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


pretty standard libertarian stance

Except he's not really a libertarian. Ask him about abortion (he believes the government should prevent it). Ask him about marijuana (he believes the government should keep it illegal). Ask him about Medicare (Direct quote: "Physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living.")

So not only is he a a faux libertarian and a hypocrite, he's ignorant of history as well, since as was pointed out above, the free market failed at preventing segregation.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:56 AM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


As a KY expat, I am enjoying the hell out of this. Paul is an incredibly divisive figure within the Kentucky Republican Party- something like 60% of the Republican voters who went for Greyson in the primary said they would not support Paul in the general. In pre-primary polls, the voting basically broke down like this- Greyson would win against either Democrat, and Paul would lose against either Democrat. But the Republicans went Tea Party crazy and picked a candidate who is not going to win.
The take-away here is that Rand Paul has turned a slam-dunk Republican win into a probable win for Dem Jack Conway, who actually appears to be a pretty good guy. They basically GAVE US the election. The fact that the guy can't go one day without being like, "I'M SO SICK OF GOD DAMN WHEELCHAIR RAMPS" is just delicious cream cheese frosting on a fine carrot cake.

(Most of this is extremely positive conjecture, but it does look pretty good from where I'm sitting)
posted by 235w103 at 9:56 AM on May 21, 2010 [14 favorites]


As EarBucket and Hall and Oates were saying:
Paul has lately said he would not leave abortion to the states, he doesn't believe in legalizing drugs like marijuana and cocaine, he'd support federal drug laws, he'd vote to support Kentucky's coal interests and he'd be tough on national security. ... Tea party favorite Rand Paul has rocketed to the lead ahead of Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary here on a resolute pledge to balance the federal budget and slash the size of government. But on Thursday evening, the ophthalmologist from Bowling Green said there
So, government subsidies to allow him to live comfortably = good; government requirement that establishments that serve the public do so without discriminating on the basis of race = bad. We await his views on whether zoning laws and food safety laws and the like are good or bad; maybe those, too, will be dependent on how they affect Rand Paul personally.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:56 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rand Paul: Obama's criticism of BP 'un-American'

Nothing more un-American than criticizing a foreign company for causing an environmental disaster on American soil, amirite?
posted by EarBucket at 9:56 AM on May 21, 2010 [24 favorites]


um, that is, he "said there was one thing he would not cut: Medicare physician payments. In fact, Paul — who says 50% of his patients are on Medicare — wants to end cuts to physician payments under a program now in place called the sustained growth rate, or SGR. “Physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living,” he told a gathering of neighbors in the back yard of Chris and Linda Wakild, just behind the 10th hole of a golf course."
posted by ibmcginty at 9:58 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Perhaps. But I think any of us would have trouble finding a true, purebred and consistent Libertarian.

Sure. But Paul's only libertarian-ish positions, as far as I can tell, are cutting taxes and spending (except spending which personally benefits him, of course). Those are both completely standard Republican boilerplate campaign rhetoric. The only other position he seems to hold in common with libertarians is the idea that white folks shouldn't have to let Negros eat at their lunch counters.
posted by EarBucket at 10:00 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


For nearly 80 years our country let the Free Market decide whether black people were human beings or property. The Free Market chose wrongly, and it took a brutal war to correct that wrong. For another 100 years, we let the Free Market decide whether to treat black people as equals, rather than subhumans. The Free Market again chose wrongly, for an entire century. Unregulated Free Markets are every bit as oppressive as Soviet Communism, and they proved to be so even before the Soviet Union existed.

Rand Paul claims he believes that the government should provide services to everyone equally, but not private business. Ask Rand Paul what services should be provided by the city and which should be left to segregationist businesses (Police? Fire? Busing?).
posted by dirigibleman at 10:01 AM on May 21, 2010 [44 favorites]


Rand Paul is such a clown. Good luck in the general, Randell.
posted by codacorolla at 10:06 AM on May 21, 2010


don't assume he's some kind of monster for having intellectually and logically sound disagreements with certain parts of the Civil Rights Act.

There's quite often a conflict between logical argument and reality. The reality is that Paul's supporters and his own campaign staff aren't exactly moral absolutists when it comes to this "logic-" just when it comes to hating on minorities.

Atrios already said it best:
Government regulates - and, of course, provides the necessary conditions for the existence of - private business in all kinds of ways. So when people have a particular concern about, say, the Civil Rights Act, as opposed to, say, parking requirements, it's reasonable to wonder why.
Much like 99% of "State's rights" arguments, Paul's "intellectually and logically sound" arguments about government regulation almost always seen to involve and inspire outrage among his followers whenever it just happens to relate to not letting white men do what they want.

I'd be much more sympathetic to Paul's pleas for rationality if he had even the slightest grasp on reality. He knows damn well what audience he's playing to, and while I can't stop a politician from being an idiot, trying to pretend that I'm one is the highest insult.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:07 AM on May 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


Did anyone else catch this awesome line in the TPM article:
"The spirit of non-discrimination," said Block "ends you right up in compulsory bisexuality."

For a while, I had a greasemonkey script that replaced libertarian with GOOGLE RON PAUL. Now I want to replace non-discrimination with compulsory bisexuality. I can only imagine how much fun it will be in those moments when I forget I've got the script running.
posted by stefanie at 10:08 AM on May 21, 2010 [17 favorites]


Or, I guess, what EarBucket said.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2010


who has an issue with having to pay taxes to fund police stations and fire departments?

Tax protesters?
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:12 AM on May 21, 2010


"The spirit of non-discrimination," said Block "ends you right up in compulsory bisexuality."

Hilariously, Block believes that people should be able to enter into legally enforceable slave contracts.
posted by EarBucket at 10:16 AM on May 21, 2010


This is all very interesting but the true fact of USA politics is that the irrational and ignorant are going to be more successful in today's American Democracy. Errr - rather "Demo-crazy"
posted by sporb at 10:22 AM on May 21, 2010


the true fact of USA politics is that the irrational and ignorant are going to be more successful in today's American Democracy.

I remember when that lunatic Barack Obama crushed those two paragons of intellectualism, John McCain and Sarah Palin. A sad day for demo-crazy, indeed.
posted by EarBucket at 10:24 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


The intersection between white supremacy and libertarianism is fascinating, and it's hilarious to watch both sides try to claim that it doesn't exist.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:25 AM on May 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


I always wonder why libertarians (and the faux libertarians) are always so silent on the greatest examples of private property violation in our country's history:

The land we live on.

The lives of the people who were here. The lives and labor of the people brought here against their will, and their descendants. The many people who agreed to contracts for labor or land that were not upheld. People driven out of towns, homes and businesses they had labored to build. People's property rights over their own bodies, to not hang as strange fruit, to not have their fingers passed along as trinkets by murderers to their children.

Strangely enough, a lot of these folks arguing about property rights are talking about the right to keep and use stolen property (or the profits thereof) and protecting it from people who would be taking their property back.
posted by yeloson at 10:25 AM on May 21, 2010 [22 favorites]


I wonder how much his victory depending on his nationally-known father with a similar name being a presidential candidate two years ago.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:26 AM on May 21, 2010


You know, yeloson, I've made that argument to capitalists over and over and over, and the answer I get nine times out of ten boils down to "well I'm not the one who committed the initial crime, so you can't punish me."
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Stormfront thinks Rand Paul might be their "great white hope in 2016."
posted by EarBucket at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Stormfront thinks Rand Paul might be their "great white hope in 2016."

They love his daddy, too.

If you're looking for cheap laughs, the absolute single easiest troll on the internet is to make a post on Stormfront acknowledging that whites are the best race and asking how the rest of the races rank from best to worst. They'll eat each other alive.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:30 AM on May 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


According to the Washington Post, Dr. Paul has used the "sometimes accidents happen" line before:

The senate candidate referred to a Kentucky coal mine accident that killed two men, saying he had met with the families and he admired the coal miners' courage.

"We had a mining accident that was very tragic. ... Then we come in and it's always someone's fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen," he said.

posted by R. Mutt at 10:31 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I actually find it hard to believe there's not a picture of this dude in a white hood right on the first page of Google Image Search results. Does anybody want to lay some over/under money on when it turns up? Two months? Three?
posted by The Straightener at 10:32 AM on May 21, 2010


"sometimes accidents happen"

second try at WP link...
posted by R. Mutt at 10:34 AM on May 21, 2010


For nearly 80 years our country let the Free Market decide whether black people were human beings or property. The Free Market chose wrongly, and it took a brutal war to correct that wrong. For another 100 years, we let the Free Market decide whether to treat black people as equals, rather than subhumans. The Free Market again chose wrongly, for an entire century. Unregulated Free Markets are every bit as oppressive as Soviet Communism, and they proved to be so even before the Soviet Union existed.

Yeah because things like Jim Crow laws never happened...
posted by gyc at 10:35 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember when that lunatic Barack Obama crushed those two paragons of intellectualism, John McCain and Sarah Palin. A sad day for demo-crazy, indeed.

Ya, but: look into the future and you might see the famous Barry taking a bit of a body blow from the stupid-team. You see, it turns out he's just another oligarch. Just sayin'....
posted by sporb at 10:35 AM on May 21, 2010


If the Republicans had decided to run toward the middle, they would have cleaned up this November. Instead, they decided to double-down on the extreme right-wing lunatics, going so far as to force members to sign loyalty oaths and "seven point" agreements. Moderates - or even right-wingers not sufficiently nutty enough - have been run out of the party in well-funded primary fights.

The result is that these nutjobs are going to get clobbered in the general election, because while they fire up the base, they horrify the center. It will get a lot worse once the Dems are all on-message that the GOP is deliberately blocking economic recovery.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are running on, and winning with, more progressive politics, but they're still happy with candidates who run center-right or even hard right.

While the Dems will assuredly lose seats in the house and the senate - the party who holds the White House almost always does, historically - the Republicans' refusal to run moderate candidates on populist platforms means they are going to remain the opposition party in congress for the forseeable future.

I'm OK with this.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:35 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Part of me is glad about Rand Paul's election, if only because the country is now finally taking the time to perform a critical analysis of the modern libertarian ideology.

For starters, Ron and Rand aren't Libertarians. Not by a long stretch. They're states' rights advocates.

Secondly, I find it hard, if not impossible, to believe that an implementation of libertarian ideals would result in a more "free" society at the individual level, in any way, shape, or form.

"Classical" liberal ideals resemble modern libertarianism very closely on the surface, and strive toward the same goals. However, classical liberals would also take extensive steps to prevent the establishment of an entrenched ruling class (or more recently, a society dominated by corporate interests). The government would be small, taxes would be low, and entitlements would be few. However, "public-good" spending such as education and transportation would be quite high, and the estate tax would approach 100%.
posted by schmod at 10:36 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah because things like Jim Crow laws never happened...

Do you suppose that those laws were imposed from without? Those laws existed because the people- the actual human beings whose interactions are referred to as The Market- demanded them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:36 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look, I'm not trying to make this guy into a saint or come to the defense of his viewpoint. But it sure seems like there's a lot of people with knee-jerk reactions here. Surely, some of us are jumping to conclusions without being interested in what his argument might be, pretending that he's nothing more than an ignorant redneck who doesn't know what he's talking about.

There is no real good way to spin Paul's litany of fuck assed statements. I think most people here DO get what he is saying, which is that businesses should be allowed to specifically dictate who they serve and how they operate. Yeah, fuck that noise, I hear that sort of bullshit and any notion of "respect" for the speaker gets turned off. Prior flip flop he was advocating in a very real sense a roll-back to lunch counter segregation, no accommodations for disabilities, and the government turning a blind eye to health code violations, amongst a whole host of other socially retrogressive idioticy. Like cockroaches in your eggs? Rand Paul is your guy. I am not being hyperbolic, I am not being knee jerk, I am taking what he said (again pre flip flop) and applying his stated stance across the board in a consistent manner. Which is more then he is able to do himself.

yeah, he isn't "ignorant redneck who doesn't know what he's talking about", he's a disingenuous, opportunist ignorant douchnozzle who doesn't know what he's talking about. I.E the fucking perfect Tea party candidate. ( I leave redneck out because I've know some perfectly intelligent rednecks, with whom I may disagree, but at least they weren't anything like Rand Paul)
posted by edgeways at 10:38 AM on May 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


The result is that these nutjobs are going to get clobbered in the general election, because while they fire up the base, they horrify the center. It will get a lot worse once the Dems are all on-message that the GOP is deliberately blocking economic recovery.

I'm beginning to suspect that the midterms are going to be a lot better for the Democrats than people think, as well. They'll still have a double-digit loss of seats in the House, but the economy's starting to turn around in a serious way. Historically, public perception of the economy tends to lag behind actual performance by about four months. The midterms are five and a half months off.

Then, too, if you thought the debate over health care reform was crazy, wait until Obama starts pushing immigration reform this summer. The GOP's going to do everything but pull out the white hoods on the floor of the House.
posted by EarBucket at 10:41 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


dirigibleman, for those 80 years, the law, Black Codes, and the courts all said that blacks weren't real people who enjoyed the same rights as white, male property owners. Likewise, for those 100 years, Jim Crow laws kept whites and blacks separate and unequal.

While many individuals obviously chose to take advantage of those laws to buy slaves or be racist, there was never any such thing as an unregulated free market in either slavery or racism.

Rand Paul aside, Orwellian straw man arguments against some mythical 'Free Market' trivialize real problems.

Also, if a brutal war was needed to end slavery, why were all the other countries in the Americas able to end that evil practice without war?
posted by J-Train at 10:41 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


We have an overzealous safety culture at work, but do you know what it's taught me? Accidents do happen, but they are mitigated and often avoided by strong safety procedures and evaluating what caused accidents.

It's not "finding someone to blame" as much as it is "making sure the jackasses don't do the same thing next week, in the same way."
posted by mikeh at 10:42 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, if a brutal war was needed to end slavery, why were all the other countries in the Americas able to end that evil practice without war?

Those other countries weren't as flat-fuck ignorant and racist as the American South was, I'm guessing.
posted by EarBucket at 10:43 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


ODiV: I did the whole "I don't see why landlords/restaurateurs/shopkeepers/etc should have to do business with people they don't like, it's not like consumers are forced to go to businesses owned by all races" thing for a few months in my teens before I realized what it was like in the past when this actually happened.

How not surprised am I to see the bolded phrase being used in a thread about somebody named after Ayn Rand? Very much not surprised.


(not at all a call out on you ODiV, present or past; I certainly had my embarrassing teenage phases too...philosophical and otherwise)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:43 AM on May 21, 2010


Pope Guilty, when a small minority of people make and enforce laws, as is usually the case and certainly was in the 19th century, that's not 'The Market' demanding anything.
posted by J-Train at 10:43 AM on May 21, 2010


But I think any of us would have trouble finding a true, purebred and consistent Libertarian. Everyone is comfortable with a DEGREE of socialism (who has an issue with having to pay taxes to fund police stations and fire departments?).

These guys.

Mostly what EarlBucket said. Even in an interview (I can't recall where I saw it), Rand joked about how he's not his dad and how he disagrees with his dad on a lot of things.
posted by champthom at 10:45 AM on May 21, 2010


EarBucket, nope. Slavery was much more brutal in other countries than in the U.S. And there's still more racism in some of those countries than in the U.S. today.
posted by J-Train at 10:45 AM on May 21, 2010


One of his interviewers (assuming the GOP lets him do any more interviews) needs to pull the rug out from under Rand's consistent misuse of the term "institutional racism", which he can claim to be against because he uses it to mean only discrimination by the government, when of course it has always been used to mean discrimination by organizations of any kind.
posted by nicwolff at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


And yet only here did it take the barrel of a gun to get people to give up their slaves--people who were willing to go off and start their own country rather than accept a president who didn't support slavery. Unless you think the Free Market would eventually have freed the slaves. I'd love to hear that argument.
posted by EarBucket at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm seeing a lot of this "lol libertarians are inconsistent!" meme lately, mostly from liberal-tarians who fetishize individualism at all costs just like regular libertarians, but think of corporations as a type of collectivism so don't mind government regulation (unless they grow pot for a living). Sorry, but you guys are part of the problem. People are celebrating Rachel Maddow's performance like it was some kind of tour de force, but really, it was a disaster. At no point did she offer any kind of positive argument about why the government is justified in overriding individual private property rights.

No wonder some very prominent "progressive" bloggers like Matthew Yglesias declared that since we passed the health care bill that the Republicans proposed in 1993 as an alternative to Clinton's plan, progressives are done, no need to try to improve inequality any more! Mission accomplished! Meanwhile, people like Tom Friedman and Charlie Rose are talking about "fiscal responsibility", which really means we can't possibly raise taxes! Leadership is about being willing to take things away from people, which really means things like social security, medical care, welfare, etc.
posted by AlsoMike at 10:53 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not arguing that the 'Free Market' would have freed the slaves. In fact, those other countries passed laws banning slavery.
posted by J-Train at 10:53 AM on May 21, 2010


Malor said "Absolutely, which is why conservatives want so badly to outlaw abortion. You can't be trusted with making your own moral decisions.

It's a blade that cuts both ways. If you insist on infantilizing others, don't be surprised when they do it to you.
"

Yes except the womans choice only effects her and her alone. The business owners choice to not serve a section of the public effects the whole community. That is a key difference.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:54 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't the free market expressively prohibited freeing of slaves as they are the cheapest source of labor? As a slave owner you're infringing upon my property rights and prior contracts.
posted by wcfields at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2010


Why not just say that commercial properties are, in fact, quasi-public by nature, and hence that it would be an act of coercion to prevent someone from say, shopping there?

I assume because, in Libertarian Land, each individual retains the right to sell her stuff (or not) to anyone she chooses, right? Regardless of who owns the land she stands on.


When government coercion forces business owners to serve any parasite that walks in the door, there is only one possible solution:

"I'd like to thank our mutual friend Dagny for hosting this lovely party in her house. My name is Hank Rearden, and I'd like to demonstrate the advantages of Rearden Metal Cookware."
posted by benzenedream at 10:57 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


EarBucket, it's not logical to say that because there was a war and then slavery ended, only a war could have ended slavery. Especially when every other example of how slavery could have been ended in the 19th century was by means other than war. Perhaps Americans were just too racist (the North was as racist as the South, and even Lincoln was so racist he wanted a white America), but perhaps instead American politicians are more bellicose, or stupid, or evil than politicians elsewhere.
posted by J-Train at 10:58 AM on May 21, 2010


I think the commonality might not be because they're best buds who hang out over the weekend, but that both libertarianism and white supremacy are both rooted in an odd meritocracy married to destiny. The great will succeed, or something of that nature (defining "great" by the ability to weather The Fountainhead and somehow digest it, or the relative lack of melanin in their skin).

When you know you're "the great" (or amongst the elect) and you aren't somehow getting what you a certain you deserve, you look around and wonder if someone else (because, after all, you could not have done something wrong) is holding you back. OSHA, welfare, living wages, civil rights, all look like easy targets. And the people who do wind up on top always attribute it to their own personal qualities, rather than where they started due to their parents, luck, and such. And damn, I'd be even more successful if I didn't have taxes and all of this safety equipment.

I would be very interested in seeing a libertarian country, somewhere, started fresh by these very self-assured folks, but that's because I would be fascinated by the inevitable cannibalism.
posted by adipocere at 10:59 AM on May 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


AlsoMike: What are you going on about? She was trying to find out what the fuck Rand Paul believed. She's not the one running for office and it's not her job to put forward an argument about anything. But if she did, I'm sure she could talk at length about the benefits of the Civil Rights Act.
posted by ged at 10:59 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not arguing that the 'Free Market' would have freed the slaves. In fact, those other countries passed laws banning slavery.

Then what are you arguing? The US passed a law banning slavery in any new states entering the Union, and the South started a war over it.
posted by EarBucket at 11:00 AM on May 21, 2010


> GOOGLE ROB PAUL + RACISM + NEWSLETTER + "HUGE SUPRISE"


This thread is the top hit.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:00 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Classical" liberal ideals resemble modern libertarianism very closely on the surface, and strive toward the same goals. However, classical liberals would also take extensive steps to prevent the establishment of an entrenched ruling class (or more recently, a society dominated by corporate interests). The government would be small, taxes would be low, and entitlements would be few. However, "public-good" spending such as education and transportation would be quite high, and the estate tax would approach 100%.

Huh, I kind of thought of myself as a lowercase-l libertarian, but you just described me to a near-perfect T, especially the estate tax thing. I tend to think that tax burdens should be very low during your life, to give you the maximum possible ability to generate whatever wealth you can, but that essentially everything should be surrendered to the state after you die, except for enough for a solid start for your kids. Concentration of wealth is dangerous. (and I find corporate personhood to be an abomination; they should have a maximum lifespan, just like people, and shouldn't have rights at all. Pieces of paper don't have rights.)

I also think government is a very good place to handle infrastructure, probably the best choice.

So, I guess I'm a classical liberal instead. Wish there were more of us. Progressives drive me bonkers. :)
posted by Malor at 11:02 AM on May 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


wcfields, there's no such thing as a free market when some people are literally in legally-sanctioned bondage. Slave owners are the ones infringing peoples' property rights. Even if one thinks that slavery is not incompatible with libertarianism as long as the slave voluntarily gives up his rights (and I do not think that slavery is compatible with libertarianism), black slaves weren't selling themselves into slavery.
posted by J-Train at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2010


I wish my brain would quit transposing his name to Paul Rand.
posted by Heretic at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2010


AlsoMike: "At no point did she offer any kind of positive argument about why the government is justified in overriding individual private property rights."

Yeah, what exactly was so bad about segregated lunch counters and 'Whites Only' drinking fountains?
posted by mullingitover at 11:06 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


EarBucket, what if Lincoln had let the South secede. What then? Would there still be slaves in the South today, or would have slavery died out sans war as it did everywhere else? The North didn't have to wage war on the South.
posted by J-Train at 11:07 AM on May 21, 2010


I can't help but think candidates like Rand Paul are going to end up saving the Democrats' asses in November.

Go Tea Party! Those anti-charismatic loonies are the best thing to happen to the Democratic party in decades, and may very well save our asses in the midterms.
posted by rusty at 11:07 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


wcfields, there's no such thing as a free market when some people are literally in legally-sanctioned bondage.

Depends on how you define 'person'.
posted by goethean at 11:08 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ask Libertarians one simple question:
Is your bank account insured by the govt FDIC? If so, why do you tolerate that and all else that follows. Stick you loot under the mattress where your head is buried.
posted by Postroad at 11:10 AM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


The North didn't have to wage war on the South.

Oh. You're one of those.
posted by EarBucket at 11:10 AM on May 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


As a KY expat, I am enjoying the hell out of this.

Cool. BTW, we love your jelly.
posted by msalt at 11:11 AM on May 21, 2010 [16 favorites]


J-Train, but that means that a slave is a person which under the previous system they were not.

Obviously, all people are... people, but in an absolute free market the definition is determined by the market, and the market determined that some individuals do not intrinsically have free-will and therefore are property.

Since they are property, contracts can be made around that and the most important thing over all else in a free market is contract law.
posted by wcfields at 11:13 AM on May 21, 2010


At no point did she offer any kind of positive argument about why the government is justified in overriding individual private property rights.

er... what? You do understand Maddow wasn't the one being interviewed right?
posted by edgeways at 11:13 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I actually find it hard to believe there's not a picture of this dude in a white hood right on the first page of Google Image Search results. Does anybody want to lay some over/under money on when it turns up? Two months? Three?

Perhaps it's not fair for the son to bear the sins of the father, etc. but Rand does come from a family where the patriarch thinks black men are terrorists.

James Kirchick has a really excellent summary about Ron Paul's history of bigotry.

It's not too much of a stretch to wonder if father, like son.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:13 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh. You're one of those.

I bow to your superior display of both history and logic. You, sir, have bested me, and I'm not ashamed to admit that you're the better person.
posted by J-Train at 11:15 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bow to your superior display of both history and logic.

I don't see any point in arguing either history or logic with someone who thinks Abraham Lincoln was the villain of the Civil War, frankly.
posted by EarBucket at 11:17 AM on May 21, 2010 [16 favorites]


She's not the one running for office and it's not her job to put forward an argument about anything.

Well, of course it's Maddow's job to put forward an argument, whether it's in the form of an actual argument or not. She was not discussing matters politely with Rand Paul over tea and crumpets, she was arguing a point of view and in the process eviscerating him. And that's her job.

She's a talking head on MSNBC, a station that gets its bread and butter from being the Lukewarm Left Alternative to Fox News and CNN. It's her job to put forward an argument just as much as it's Glenn Beck's or Bill O'Reilly's.

I may not agree with the arguments that any of these talking heads put forward, but it's not accurate to say that they're not on the air primarily to confront, prod, poke, and demolish those ideas with which they disagree. And if they have a guest on who's conveniently espousing those arguments, the job is to steamroller him and get him agitated enough to trip himself up and throw a tantrum on camera. Keith Olbermann, for example, makes it explicit in his MSNBC promos that that's what he's there to do.

I disagree with Rand Paul, but I don't think that Maddow did all that great a job of "interviewing" him, or "arguing" with him, for that matter.
posted by blucevalo at 11:18 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unregulated Free Markets are every bit as oppressive as Soviet Communism, and they proved to be so even before the Soviet Union existed.

There's a bit of a causative relationship there. Marx and Engels never would have written their manifesto if it weren't for the appalling conditions in working-class England. Although you can critique and criticize their proposed solution all you want, you'd be insane to argue that the status quo in Manchester and Liverpool was acceptable.

@Malor Read Jon Stuart Mill, and the Wikipedia article on classical liberalism. Mill is one of the more underrated thinkers of the 19th century. Pity that moderates never get the fame and glory that the extremists do.

I'm not quite sure what your primary complaint about "progressivism" is, although it's certainly possible that the phrase has also lost most of its meaning.
posted by schmod at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Barry Goldwater, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, Eisenhower, even Ronald Reagan would almost certainly be labeled RINOs (Republican In Name Only) today and run out of the GOP. If you're going to run for public office you had damn well better be able to think on your feet well enough to answer germane questions about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Duh. And John Cornyn is disgusting.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2010


the market determined that some individuals do not intrinsically have free-will and therefore are property

That's not an accurate description of how the slave trade developed.

Nonetheless, I don't think any libertarian intellectuals have argued that whatever happens under a free market system is moral because morality flows from whatever the free market demands.
posted by J-Train at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2010


The take-away here is that Rand Paul has turned a slam-dunk Republican win into a probable win for Dem Jack Conway, who actually appears to be a pretty good guy. They basically GAVE US the election. The fact that the guy can't go one day without being like, "I'M SO SICK OF GOD DAMN WHEELCHAIR RAMPS" is just delicious cream cheese frosting on a fine carrot cake.

Of course the election is far from over, but as of yesterday there was no reason to suspect that a Paul victory in the primary was equivalent to a Democratic victory in the general election. Link.

-----

Despite what Mr. Bartlett writes, we do not know that the free market would not have worked. From the Communist Manifesto, "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind." He's writing about the traditions and distinctions of a pre-capitalist way of life disappearing as a result of their confrontation with the free market.

As others have pointed out, racism in the South was held in place by state law. Those laws were a bulwark against the tradition eroding power of capitalism. From the market's point of view, tradition is just an inefficiency to be exploited. And any competitor who refuses to hire someone on the base of race, or to similarly restrict their customer pool, is handicapping themselves.

-----

I always wonder why libertarians (and the faux libertarians) are always so silent on the greatest examples of private property violation in our country's history:

The land we live on.

The lives of the people who were here. The lives and labor of the people brought here against their will, and their descendants. The many people who agreed to contracts for labor or land that were not upheld. People driven out of towns, homes and businesses they had labored to build. People's property rights over their own bodies, to not hang as strange fruit, to not have their fingers passed along as trinkets by murderers to their children.

Strangely enough, a lot of these folks arguing about property rights are talking about the right to keep and use stolen property (or the profits thereof) and protecting it from people who would be taking their property back.


Interesting question. One weak point of Libertarians is their desire to simplify ethics and to put forward an absolute morality. But it just can't be done. All states have their origins in massive acts of injustice, and the U.S. is certainly no better than any other. Perhaps it's something of an academic point in that the citizens of each and every nation need to believe in a founding myth that makes a case for that people's morality, e.g. the city on a hill.

-----

How not surprised am I to see the bolded phrase being used in a thread about somebody named after Ayn Rand?

Rand Paul is not named after Ayn Rand.
posted by BigSky at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


yeloson: I always wonder why libertarians (and the faux libertarians) are always so silent on the greatest examples of private property violation in our country's history:

This morning's Democracy Now had a bit on this. In the clip from the Maddow interview, Paul refers to the problems addressed by the Civil Rights Act as "obscure and abstract" (starts around 30:00) In my experience, people who characterize injustices to other people like that just don't give a shit about anything that doesn't affect them or their loved ones personally. Whether it's from racism or *cough* merely *cough* an empathy deficiency, the shitty effect is the same.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:21 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


someone who thinks Abraham Lincoln was the villain of the Civil War

I never argued that. Southern politicians and generals were at least as evil and cavalier with people's lives as Northern ones.

But way to make assumptions about me based on things I didn't say. Collective guilt FTW!
posted by J-Train at 11:23 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone named after the best set of road maps on the market today can't be all that bad.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:24 AM on May 21, 2010


A libertarian is someone to whom one of those "accidents" has never happened.
posted by Legomancer at 11:26 AM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Pope Guilty, when a small minority of people make and enforce laws, as is usually the case and certainly was in the 19th century, that's not 'The Market' demanding anything.

Are you seriously suggesting that the Jim Crow laws were unpopular? I mean, I understand that pre-Civil Rights-fetishizing libertarians like to pretend that racism was some kind of aberration, but such laws wouldn't have survived so long- or had their repeal opposed with such vitriol, terrorism, and violence- were they unpopular laws.

This conspiratorial view of Jim Crow-in which government-enforced racism was imposed by a small elite against the wishes the egalitarian majority- is pure racist fantasy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:27 AM on May 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


Of course the election is far from over, but as of yesterday there was no reason to suspect that a Paul victory in the primary was equivalent to a Democratic victory in the general election. Link.

Rasmussen's polling on this race has been really weird. Rasmussen's trendlines vs. all other pollsters' trendlines.
posted by EarBucket at 11:29 AM on May 21, 2010


(Which isn't to say Rasmussen is wrong. This is bound to be a tough year to poll in. But I'd wait for a few more polls to come out before swallowing the idea that Paul has a twenty-five point lead over Conway.)
posted by EarBucket at 11:31 AM on May 21, 2010


EarBucket, what if Lincoln had let the South secede. What then? Would there still be slaves in the South today, or would have slavery died out sans war as it did everywhere else? The North didn't have to wage war on the South.

What exactly are you arguing here? That the Civil War should not have been fought?

Ok then say it wasn't. It is possible Slavery in the CSA would have eventually ended. But, it seems pretty plausible that slavery would have continued for a significant amount of time in the mostly agrarian society, because it was exceedingly cheap labor. (Which is what currently fuels a significant portion of illegal immigration) in an industry that requires a lot of cheap labor.

- Strife would continue over slaves escaping and fleeing north of the CSA line.

- Without the industrial North backing the South Mexico may have made a serious play for a lot of it's territory back.

- Likely portions of the South would eventually balkanize, not to rejoin the USA, but to form their own smaller countries, it is possible this would happen with the North as well.

- The UK may have made a play for parts of the NW US to annex to Canada.

I mean this is all wild speculation, but as anti-war as I am (I actually wish we hadn't fought the Revolution) I think the Civil War was worth fighting. Institualized slavery and rape is no way for a country to exist.
posted by edgeways at 11:31 AM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Rasmussen's polling on this race has been really weird.

Rasmussen's game.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 11:37 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, if a brutal war was needed to end slavery, why were all the other countries in the Americas able to end that evil practice without war?

IANAHistorian of Antebellum US, but I would imagine that part of it had to do with economics -- the US South was far more reliant on slavery for its financial well-being than any of the other countries that had outlawed slavery or the slave-trade had been.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:37 AM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


The South also considered slavery to be an ineluctable and central part of its culture, and so an attack on slavery was not simply an attack on slavery but an attack on Southerners as people in their view.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:40 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Are you seriously suggesting that the Jim Crow laws were unpopular?

I'm not suggesting anything of the sort. And I certainly don't think that there ever was, or is, any such thing as government-enforced racism, whether imposed by a small or large group of people.

All I'm saying is that when laws define the playing field, it's not a free market. When the laws protect evil, we shouldn't be surprised when we see more evil.

***

Perhaps my point about free markets could be better expressed with an illustration from the recent financial meltdown. People argue that the free market caused the meltdown, because clever and unscrupulous bankers were able to fleece other people. But our financial system doesn't operate on a free market. For example, the government dictates what money is legal or illegal, gives privileges to some financial institutions through the discount window, distorts how individuals handle their own wealth through deposit insurance, and on and on. It can be argued whether those are good things or not, but it's a misuse of the phrase 'free market' to say that our finance system runs on a free market.
posted by J-Train at 11:41 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm thinking if I were Conway's campaign manager, I'd be putting together an ad with that clip where Maddow asks Paul point-blank whether the Woolworth's lunch counter should have been allowed to refuse service to blacks, and he's completely unable to answer. That's going to be devastating.
posted by EarBucket at 11:44 AM on May 21, 2010


And any competitor who refuses to hire someone on the base of race, or to similarly restrict their customer pool, is handicapping themselves.

...unless the customer pool is a bunch of racists.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:46 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shorter J-Train:

NO TRUE SCOTSMAN!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:47 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


People argue that the free market caused the meltdown, because clever and unscrupulous bankers were able to fleece other people.

I think some of that comes from the impression that those that forced us into the situation where exploiting aspects of the market that where less regulated than others.

Yes, the broader point that the market is not "free" is true. But, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, and there are aspects of the market that are "free-er" than others, and it often seems like those are the areas that keep getting us in trouble.

Sort of like say 4-chan vs. Metafilter. Neither site has absolute freedom of speech. However, 4-chan arguably has greater freedom of speech, and yet despite that, Metafilter produces much higher quality content as we complain about the edge cases.

When we talk about markets even though people abstract them they have very real-world consequences. Absolute freedom of the market would inevitably lead to something indistinguishable from monolithic government by corporation. (I know people argue that is where we are heading already, but I'd disagree, but that is a digression.) Absolute freedom of market is a writ enabling unfettered domination by larger institutions, full stop.
posted by edgeways at 11:56 AM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


guys, I don't think we survived that election.
posted by The Whelk at 11:58 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: I'm not defending racists or slave owners, because they were and are evil people perpetrating evil acts. I'm likewise unwilling to defend those who argue for war, murder, prohibition, and all other evil acts. It seems as though Rand Paul is a warmonger, and that seems to me to be just about the most evil thing one can be.

Many in the south were evil. Many in the north were evil. Slavery was evil. Racism is evil. The war was a huge stinking mess of evil. And I'll defend none of it.
posted by J-Train at 11:58 AM on May 21, 2010


who has an issue with having to pay taxes to fund police stations and fire departments?

Well, I work with one of those people. Made the mistake of adding him as a friend on Facebook. Yikes.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:59 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


edgeways: that's all fine. I just jumped into this thread to criticize EarBucket's linguistic barbarism of saying that Free Markets = Soviet Communism.
posted by J-Train at 12:00 PM on May 21, 2010


J-Train: "Many in the south were evil. Many in the north were evil. Slavery was evil. Racism is evil. The war was a huge stinking mess of evil. And I'll defend none of it.
"

I'll defend the wholesale slaughter of treasonous racists all day long.
posted by mullingitover at 12:01 PM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


But I think any of us would have trouble finding a true, purebred and consistent Libertarian. Everyone is comfortable with a DEGREE of socialism (who has an issue with having to pay taxes to fund police stations and fire departments?).

True, consistent libertarians (note the lack of capitalization; the Party types are different) definitely exist and do have issues with taxes funding police and fire, for values of "have issues" equal to "taxes should not exist".

David Friedman, for instance, is one such.
posted by Justinian at 12:01 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll defend the wholesale slaughter of treasonous racists all day long.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
posted by J-Train at 12:02 PM on May 21, 2010


J-Train: I don't care if you are racist or not. My comment was in regards to the free market comments. When you follow that line of argument it quickly becomes apparent there is no such thing as a free market, and never has been anywhere ever. Thus, we assume the libertarian love for the free market is a utopian ideology, which is fine and all but we can't elect people with unreal utopian policy goals.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:03 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Free Markets = Soviet Communism.

If a fully free market can lead to a single corporation that controls everything (which doesn't seem too far fetched) I don't see how that is significantly different that Communism in terms of effect.
posted by edgeways at 12:06 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: given the enthusiasm of some, such as mullingitover, I felt compelled to point out that I'm not worth being slaughtered.

edgeways: though I think that is a bit far-fetched, I agree that if tens of millions of people being slaughtered, the underlying ideology doesn't particularly matter.
posted by J-Train at 12:11 PM on May 21, 2010


Another guy with a gun and a dream.
posted by Mina Naguib at 12:12 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you suppose that those laws were imposed from without? Those laws existed because the people- the actual human beings whose interactions are referred to as The Market- demanded them.

Once laws need to be made, it isn't the Free Market any more (at least in the way it's typically intended; in reality, there isn't really such a thing, see Hayak et al.) So those actual human beings were basically saying "holy shit, this Free Market isn't working, we need some laws to fix how fucked up this situation has gotten."
posted by davejay at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2010


I was very pleased to see this post on Salon's War Room blog making the point that the issue here is that Libertarianism only works when you don't look at it too hard. Winant concludes by using the best possible word I've ever seen to describe Libertarianism: bratty.
posted by HotPants at 12:17 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


EarBucket's linguistic barbarism of saying that Free Markets = Soviet Communism.

Wait, what? Would you mind pointing out where I said anything even remotely resembling that?
posted by EarBucket at 12:17 PM on May 21, 2010


Another guy with a gun and a dream.

Hey, it worked in They Live.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:19 PM on May 21, 2010


EarBucket's linguistic barbarism of saying that Free Markets = Soviet Communism.

Actually, that was my "linguistic barbarism", and I specifically referred to Unregulated Free Markets, and all you really did was redefine "Free Market" as "that thing that doesn't result in an end I don't like."
posted by dirigibleman at 12:20 PM on May 21, 2010


What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

furiousxgeorge: given the enthusiasm of some, such as mullingitover, I felt compelled to point out that I'm not worth being slaughtered.

Wait, J-Train -- I checked, and nobody called you treasonous, or a racist, not even mullingitover -- but you've responded to mullingitover's comment twice now as if it were a personal attack. Do you...do you actually self-identify as a "treasonous racist"?

If so...um...I think...well, I don't even know what to make of that.
posted by davejay at 12:20 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


So those actual human beings were basically saying "holy shit, this Free Market isn't working, we need some laws to fix how fucked up this situation has gotten."

And thank goodness for people like Wilberforce and Spooner.

But sometimes those actual human beings were passing thousand-page laws with consequences far-reaching and unknown that only the lobbyists who drafted them had read. Sometimes the president just does whatever he decides to do, regardless of what the law says. And sometimes people realize that the free market isn't treating them as well as they should be treated, and they pass laws to criminalize their competitors or people whose actions they dislike, protect their own industries, and steal from others.
posted by J-Train at 12:22 PM on May 21, 2010


I certainly don't think that there ever was, or is, any such thing as government-enforced racism, whether imposed by a small or large group of people.

*

Stop wasting your time, guys.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:22 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]




(you have to click the troll arsehole to see the link, above)
posted by joe lisboa at 12:24 PM on May 21, 2010


the North was as racist as the South

Interestingly, Rand Paul apparently doesn't think so. I thought one of the most bizarre bits of the Maddow interview was his repeated lauding of Boston for "ending discrimination 120 years before the South" - and then shaming the South for needing enforced school desegregation and busing. Apparently busing wasn't an issue in Boston. Nope. No-siree.

I think that regardless of one's views on the relative racism of the North and South, it's pretty evident that Paul has at best a tenuous grasp of the history being discussed here.
posted by naoko at 12:28 PM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Do you...do you actually self-identify as a "treasonous racist"?

Good grief, no. But given (1) how quickly people are taking Rand Paul's comments against coercion as proof that he hates minorities, and that (2) there truly are both libertarians and white supremacists in the tea party, and (3) mullingitover's defense of murder, I felt I should be fairly active in denouncing racism along with all forms of violence.
posted by J-Train at 12:31 PM on May 21, 2010


I saw this unfold on the Rachel Maddow show like a train wreck in slow motion. It reminded me of Al Campanis defending racism on Nightline.

The worst part about it is that Paul wasn't even principled enough to be unprincipled.

I would have had more respect for him if he could have articulated a libertarian opinion. He couldn't. He could have said "Each person (or business) has the right to go to hell in its own private way" and at least left open the argument as to what is private versus public responsibility. But he couldn't do even that. He strove for the equivalent of Clinton's what "is" is. For fifteen excruciating minutes.

Trying to avoid looking racist, he came across as racist, shallow and duplicitous.

When he finished Rachel Maddow met with Joe Sestak, the newly minted Democratic candidate for the Senate race in Pennsylvania. Her first question, "Don't you wish you were running against Rand Paul?"
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:33 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I watched this Wednesday I thought to myself, "Wow! I'm watching Rand Paul's political career end live on national television." Somewhat later I realized that there are millions of people who either agree with him or will dismiss his statements on live national television as Lame Stream Media Gotcha Journalism™. Then I had a stiff drink and wept quietly for a little while.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:34 PM on May 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


Stop wasting your time, guys.

I think you misinterpreted what I was trying to say, which was that while there were Jim Crow laws, yes of course people were/are racist. The laws were bad, and the people were bad.

After all, government can't take actions. Laws can't do anything. Everything that's done, is done by a person. Jim Crow laws were evil. The people using them were even more evil.
posted by J-Train at 12:37 PM on May 21, 2010


This is all very interesting but the true fact of USA politics is that the irrational and ignorant are going to be more successful

With the White House, Senate, and House controlled by Democrats, I couldn't agree more.
posted by thesmophoron at 12:37 PM on May 21, 2010


After all, government can't take actions. Laws can't do anything. Everything that's done, is done by a person. Jim Crow laws were evil. The people using them were even more evil.

This is a distinction without an appreciable difference in this context, and either you are too naive or too malicious to acknowledge it.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:41 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Put differently: law does not descend from the ether. You either get this or you do not. If you do not, then it is a waste of time to converse. If you do get this, then you are being disingenuous and it remains a waste of time to talk to you. Out.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:42 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


This gotcha journalism is elitist and unfair.

With all due respect, that's horseshit. Rachel Maddow asked him a perfectly legitimate question; she gave him an opportunity to expound on things he said in Kentucky. That's not "gotcha" - that's reponsible, probing journalism.

Rand Paul is a libertarian. At the core, libertarianism is a childish "government out of everything" philosophy that, followed to its logical conclusion, leads to Paul's position on civil rights. He is being consistent with his political philosophy; if this surpises people then they haven't been paying attention. I'm sure Paul is a nice guy who means well, but his philosophy is intellectual and divorced from reality.

A Libertarian running for a government position - now that's inconsistent.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:45 PM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


There's a point where ideological consistency is just a code phrase for being too lazy to do the moral calculus.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:45 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was very pleased to see this post on Salon's War Room blog making the point that the issue here is that Libertarianism only works when you don't look at it too hard. Winant concludes by using the best possible word I've ever seen to describe Libertarianism: bratty.

The implicit analogy between the state-citizen and the parent-child is very telling. It tells us that the person making that comparison is an authoritarian through and through.
posted by BigSky at 12:47 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The implicit analogy between the state-citizen and the parent-child is very telling. It tells us that the person making that comparison is an authoritarian through and through.

Can you rephrase that without sounding like a sixth grader with a thesaurus?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:49 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


It tells us that the person making that comparison is an authoritarian through and through.

Rest assured, immature, impatient and demanding behavior without thought to details, history or past examples doesn't work too well in egalitarian consensus based groups either.
posted by yeloson at 12:59 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, I have yet to see ANYONE, especially in this thread, make any sort of comprehensible argument why Rand Paul was wrong. I think he's 100% right that Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was unconstitutional and besides that immoral. Does anyone care to explain why it's not?

(And just to prevent a derail over minutiae, the reasons why it is are just as have been articulated: it violated First Amendment rights and is outside of Congress's power besides; government acting ultra vires is itself immoral, regardless of how noble the ends were [and in this case I agree strongly that the ends were noble].)
posted by thesmophoron at 12:59 PM on May 21, 2010


Rand Paul: Beware The NAFTA Superhighway!:
Campaigning for his father in Montana back in 2008, Rand Paul spoke out against the NAFTA Superhighway, encouraging Congress to stop the mythical project that would connect Mexico, the U.S., and Canada and, critics say, deal a fatal blow to American sovereignty. Long a bugaboo on some segments of the Right, the NAFTA Superhighway does not actually exist.
posted by octothorpe at 12:59 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good grief, no. But given (1) how quickly people are taking Rand Paul's comments against coercion as proof that he hates minorities, and that (2) there truly are both libertarians and white supremacists in the tea party, and (3) mullingitover's defense of murder, I felt I should be fairly active in denouncing racism along with all forms of violence.

Thank you for clarifying, because it really wasn't coming out the way you say you intended it. Hopefully other folks will read your clarification, too.
posted by davejay at 1:04 PM on May 21, 2010


"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

John Rogers
Sorry, I just couldn't resist.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:08 PM on May 21, 2010 [43 favorites]


thesmophoron: " I think he's 100% right that Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was unconstitutional and besides that immoral. Does anyone care to explain why it's not?"

We don't have to, the Earl Warren Supreme Court explained it 45 year ago.
posted by octothorpe at 1:09 PM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


octothorpe, note that he also talks about the "Amero" in that.

Short version: if you liked his dad, you'll love his son.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:09 PM on May 21, 2010


government acting ultra vires is itself immoral, regardless of how noble the ends were

Why?
posted by Greg Nog at 1:11 PM on May 21, 2010


We don't have to, the Earl Warren Supreme Court explained it 45 year ago.

Yes, actually, you do. Appeals to authority are fallacious. And no, the Warren Court didn't explain shit. They declared something by fiat. The Supreme Court gets to do that. So if you'll kindly put away your intellectual dishonesty, I'd like to see if anyone here is willing to actually make a logical case justifying the Rand Paul pile-on.
posted by thesmophoron at 1:11 PM on May 21, 2010


Interstate commerce.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:14 PM on May 21, 2010


I think he's 100% right that Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was unconstitutional and besides that immoral. Does anyone care to explain why it's not?

I don't think constitutionality is suspect here, as Title II was argued under the commerce clause - which is definitely an enumerated power of Congress.

As to the morality - how, exactly is outlawing discrimination immoral?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:15 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, I even compared Rand Paul to Ron Paul and didn't realize it. Though my comparison is that Ron actually gives you his opinion and makes a promise while Rand is an empty shell of a horrible politician.
posted by Napierzaza at 1:18 PM on May 21, 2010


why were all the other countries in the Americas able to end [slavery] without war?

You mean, like Haiti?
posted by msalt at 1:23 PM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


J-Train: "(3) mullingitover's defense of murder, I felt I should be fairly active in denouncing racism along with all forms of violence."

I'm offended that you would accuse me of advocating murder. Treason is a capital crime punishable by death. What's wrong with applying the law as it was intended?
posted by mullingitover at 1:23 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


WHO WILL DARE TO EXPLAIN TO ME WHY I AM WRONG AND BEAR THE MIGHTY REBUKES OF MY ENDLESS STREAM OF "NUH-UH!"? WILL NO ONE RISE TO MY CHALLENGE?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:25 PM on May 21, 2010 [26 favorites]


Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was unconstitutional and besides that immoral.
...
government acting ultra vires is itself immoral

Your statement only implies that it was immoral due to its unconstitutionality. You're saying that it's immoral over and above being unconstitutional. Since you're arguing in the face of 50 years of jurisprudence, why don't you make the logical case?
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:25 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does anyone care to explain why it's not?

There's little gained in debating the wrongs of institutionalized behavior that robs a group of people their humanity and denies them equal protection and voting rights afforded to all under law.

Why should someone want to waste time explaining to you in more detail something that is generally and plainly obvious to mature, fair-minded adults?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:27 PM on May 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


You know that Warren Court link isn't just an "appeal to authority", but indeed contains pages upon pages of legal arguments?
posted by zvs at 1:32 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


thesmophoron: "We don't have to, the Earl Warren Supreme Court explained it 45 year ago.

Yes, actually, you do. Appeals to authority are fallacious. And no, the Warren Court didn't explain shit. They declared something by fiat. The Supreme Court gets to do that. So if you'll kindly put away your intellectual dishonesty, I'd like to see if anyone here is willing to actually make a logical case justifying the Rand Paul pile-on.
"

I'm sorry but the way that the USA works is that the supreme court is the authority on constitutionality. And from what I read in the link I posted, it's really pretty simple. A business operating in a state is open to customers from other states, so that what they are doing is interstate commerce, the regulation of which is explicitly given to congress in the constitution.
posted by octothorpe at 1:34 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Appeals to authority are fallacious.

Maybe you'd care to explain why your appeal to what you present as self-evident reasons for the clause's immorality should be taken at face value. There's all sorts of fallacy wrapped up in your initial "ultra vires" statement.
posted by blucevalo at 1:36 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Benny: nobody in this thread said outlawing discrimination is immoral. I understand that Title II was argued under the commerce clause, but that's a failing argument. For one thing, Congress was granted the power to "regulate commerce among the states" -- no reasonable reading of such a power grants them the ability to outlaw private discrimination, no, not even if your diner uses mustard from the neighboring state. For another thing, the commerce power is in Article I. To the extent that it conflicts with the later-added First Amendment, it is abrogated by it. The First Amendment contains no commerce exception. It doesn't say "Congress shall not abridge the right to peaceably assemble, unless they're assembling for business purposes and don't let blacks in." First Amendment rights are not at all, not remotely, not even a little bit subject to the Commerce power.

If the Commerce Clause means that Congress can prohibit certain kinds of commercial association, despite the First Amendment right to free association, what's to prevent Congress from prohibiting certain kinds of commercial speech, despite the First Amendment right to free speech? First Amendment freedoms have to be read as nearly absolute, unless later abrogated by another amendment.
posted by thesmophoron at 1:37 PM on May 21, 2010


Why [is it that 'government acting ultra vires is itself immoral']?

First principles. The philosophical underpinnings of American-style democracy is that all governmental power flows from a grant from the people it governs. The very phrase "We the People" is an encapsulation of the revolution we'd just fought. And the legislative system we set up - with enumerated, limited powers; with an amendment system to expand government's power when necessary; and with concrete near-absolute protections against particular hypothetical abuses of government power - makes clear that government cannot act without permission. And not just any permission: it only takes a majority to change the substance, but it takes a multi-level supermajority to change the scope. When government acts without permission from the people, it is an act of tyranny. Tyranny becomes no less tyrannical when it is benevolent.

This isn't nostalgic Revolutionary War reminiscing. This is the actual substance of our Constitution, which was set up to be, is now, and for the foreseeable future shall be the supreme law of the land.
posted by thesmophoron at 1:37 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


BP: You are anything but a fair-minded adult. You and ROU and your "neener neener neener I can insult you with snark" bit can go jump off a cliff.
posted by thesmophoron at 1:41 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


the US South was far more reliant on slavery for its financial well-being than any of the other countries that had outlawed slavery or the slave-trade had been.
...in 1860 American slaves, as a financial asset, were worth approximately three and a half billion dollars--that's just as property. Three and a half billion dollars was the net worth, roughly, of slaves in 1860. In today's dollars that would be approximately seventy-five billion dollars. In 1860 slaves as an asset were worth more than all of America's manufacturing, all of the railroads, all of the productive capacity of the United States put together. Slaves were the single largest, by far, financial asset of property in the entire American economy. The only thing worth more than the slaves in the American economy of the 1850s was the land itself, and no one can really put a dollar value on all of the land of North America. If you're looking to begin to understand why the South will begin to defend this system, and defend this society, and worry about it shrinking, and worry about a political culture from the North that is really beginning to criticize them, think three and a half billion dollars and the largest financial asset in American society, and what you might even try to compare that to today.
Yale History Professor David Blight, from his excellent course The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:45 PM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


You mean, like Haiti?

Rebellion's not the same thing as war. Some power didn't march on Haiti. The Haitian slaves threw off their shackles and kicked their masters out.

Even so, a short list of the states that ended slavery peacefully includes Great Britain, France, Holland, Spain, Brazil, Cuba, the Congo, Sweden, as well as Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

I gather what a lot of states did was to ban slavery and then buy existing slaves' freedom.
posted by J-Train at 1:45 PM on May 21, 2010


no reasonable reading of such a power grants them the ability to outlaw private discrimination, no, not even if your diner uses mustard from the neighboring state.

So say a black truck driver crossing a state is unable to find somewhere to stop and eat, no interstate commerce ramifications?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:49 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


She's not the one running for office and it's not her job to put forward an argument about anything.

She's an opinionated pundit with an opinion show who's routinely celebrated by progressives for being an unabashed liberal with opinions. And yet when it's pointed out that actually she's failed to represent these alleged opinions, suddenly she's a humble journalist just asking the questions, it's not her place, etc., etc.

Here's the real headline about this clip: Hero of the left can't find it in her to defend the legitimacy of government action in protecting civil rights.

The problem isn't even really with her, what's really disturbing is that the progressive left is under some kind of mass delusion where they practically canonize her and write blog posts on Daily Kos called Rachel Maddow, National Treasure: "Thank you Rachel Maddow, for exposing Rand Paul to the nation for the dangerous extremist that he is." Apparently the Left in the US is really that timid and pathetic?
posted by AlsoMike at 1:51 PM on May 21, 2010


I'm offended that you would accuse me of advocating murder. Treason is a capital crime punishable by death. What's wrong with applying the law as it was intended?

If for no other reason than innocent people are convicted and murdered.

We may like our government, but we shouldn't be too quick to defend its ability to execute 'enemies of the state,' lest that definition be broadened in ways we don't like.

For example, just because the Ugandan government seems likely to declare homosexuality a capital crime, that doesn't mean that those laws should be applied as intended.
posted by J-Train at 1:52 PM on May 21, 2010


She's an opinionated pundit with an opinion show who's routinely celebrated by progressives for being an unabashed liberal with opinions.

She is routinely praised for NOT acting like most pundits during INTERVIEWS.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:53 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


She's an opinionated pundit with an opinion show who's routinely celebrated by progressives for being an unabashed liberal with opinions. And yet when it's pointed out that actually she's failed to represent these alleged opinions, suddenly she's a humble journalist just asking the questions, it's not her place, etc., etc.

I'm opinionated too. Yet somehow I'm not asked to represent the left in every conversation I have. A politician comes on the air and it's her job to elucidate his views. Her views are all well and good, but she's not running for office!

Not to mention that she mounted a perfectly spirited defense of civil rights, including citing physical violence and numerous court rulings. Don't let that get in the way of your trolling, though.

I don't even like Rachel Maddow.

posted by zvs at 1:53 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


So say a black truck driver crossing a state is unable to find somewhere to stop and eat, no interstate commerce ramifications?

Sure there are. But the power isn't to regulate everything connected to interstate commerce or everything with ramifications for interstate commerce. It's to regulate interstate commerce.* It grants no more power to Congress than the patchwork of international trade agreements grants to the WTO. Possibly less.

Actually, it's not. The power is broader in geographic scope than that, though not substantive scope.
posted by thesmophoron at 1:58 PM on May 21, 2010


AlsoMike: "Here's the real headline about this clip: Hero of the left can't find it in her to defend the legitimacy of government action in protecting civil rights."

I think most of her audience already knows that the legitimacy of the government's actions in the Civil Rights Act is a foregone conclusion. Seriously your problem is that she's not preaching to the choir loudly enough?
posted by mullingitover at 1:58 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rand Paul takes after his daddy:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you about race, because I, I read a speech you gave in 2004, the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. And you said this: "Contrary to the claims of" "supporters of the Civil Rights Act of" '64, "the act did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of" '64 "increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty." That act gave equal rights to African-Americans to vote, to live, to go to lunch counters, and you seem to be criticizing it.

REP. PAUL: Well, we should do, we should do this at a federal level, at a federal lunch counter it'd be OK or for the military. Just think of how the government, you know, caused all the segregation in the military until after World War II. But when it comes, Tim, you're, you're, you're not compelled in your house to invade strangers that you don't like. So it's a property rights issue. And this idea that all private property is under the domain of the federal government I think is wrong. So this--I think even Barry Goldwater opposed that bill on the same property rights position, and that--and now this thing is totally out of control. If you happen to like to smoke a cigar, you know, the federal government's going to come down and say you're not allowed to do this.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:58 PM on May 21, 2010


How the fuck is transporting material goods across states not inclusive in your definition of interstate commerce?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:59 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The problem isn't even really with her

No, the problem isn't with Rachel Maddow, but every second word in your comment is either "Rachel Maddow" or "her."
posted by blucevalo at 2:00 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


J-Train: "If for no other reason than innocent people are convicted and murdered."

I agree: it is regrettable that the people shooting at American troops did not immediately surrender so they could be given a fair trial before they were executed.
posted by mullingitover at 2:01 PM on May 21, 2010


Here's the real headline about this clip: Hero of the left can't find it in her to defend the legitimacy of government action in protecting civil rights.

I watched the interview (disclaimer: I always watch the Rachel Maddow Show) and she was not arguing a side - she was trying to get Rand Paul to state his position unequivocally. Again, she was following up on statements he had made in Kentucky. That's what a journalist does.

(Rachel Maddow is not as across-the-board liberal as she's portrayed by most people. She's very hawkish on defense, for instance.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:05 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rebellion's not the same thing as war. Some power didn't march on Haiti. The Haitian slaves threw off their shackles and kicked their masters out.

And then the entire western world spent the next 150 years punishing them for it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:05 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


How the fuck is transporting material goods across states not inclusive in your definition of interstate commerce?

Who said it's not? Turn your outrage filter down a notch and read what I'm actually saying.
posted by thesmophoron at 2:07 PM on May 21, 2010


I agree: it is regrettable that the people shooting at American troops did not immediately surrender so they could be given a fair trial before they were executed.

Or you could just be a Muslim who says the wrong things on YouTube.

Killing people who are shooting at you is not the same thing as killing people via capital punishment.
posted by J-Train at 2:07 PM on May 21, 2010


...It's to regulate interstate commerce...

And Title II is concerned with public accomodation. Private clubs are exempt.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:08 PM on May 21, 2010


BP: You are anything but a fair-minded adult. You and ROU and your "neener neener neener I can insult you with snark" bit can go jump off a cliff.

*sigh*

Okay: Octothorpe is not appealing to authority. He is actually citing a landmark case that itself is built explicitly from interpretation of a Constitutionally-granted federal power and decades of case law built atop the power of Congress to regulate commerce between states.

From the ruling itself:

The same interest in protecting interstate commerce which led Congress to deal with segregation in interstate [379 U.S. 241, 257] carriers and the white-slave traffic has prompted it to extend the exercise of its power to gambling, Lottery Case, 188 U.S. 321 (1903); to criminal enterprises, Brooks v. United States, 267 U.S. 432 (1925); to deceptive practices in the sale of products, Federal Trade Comm'n v. Mandel Bros., Inc., 359 U.S. 385 (1959); to fraudulent security transactions, Securities & Exchange Comm'n v. Ralston Purina Co., 346 U.S. 119 (1953); to misbranding of drugs, Weeks v. United States, 245 U.S. 618 (1918); to wages and hours, United States, v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100 (1941); to members of labor unions, Labor Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1 (1937); to crop control, Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942); to discrimination against shippers, United States v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 333 U.S. 169 (1948); to the protection of small business from injurious price cutting, Moore v. Mead's Fine Bread Co., 348 U.S. 115 (1954); to resale price maintenance, Hudson Distributors, Inc. v. Eli Lilly & Co., 377 U.S. 386 (1964), Schwegmann v. Calvert Distillers Corp., 341 U.S. 384 (1951); to professional football, Radovich v. National Football League, 352 U.S. 445 (1957); and to racial discrimination by owners and managers of terminal restaurants. Boynton v. Virginia, 364 U.S. 454 (1960).

That Congress was legislating against moral wrongs in many of these areas rendered its enactments no less valid. In framing Title II of this Act Congress was also dealing with what it considered a moral problem. But that fact does not detract from the overwhelming evidence of the disruptive effect that racial discrimination has had on commercial intercourse. It was this burden which empowered Congress to enact appropriate legislation, and, given this basis for the exercise of its power, Congress was not restricted by the fact that the particular obstruction to interstate commerce with which it was dealing was also deemed a moral and social wrong. [379 U.S. 241, 258]


So:

1. Octothorpe is not appealing to authority, but citing a landmark case in which:
2. The Supreme Court did not "rule by fiat" but instead very plainly and very openly evaluated the powers granted Congress in the Constitution, the commercial transactions at issue in that case, the history of previous regulation of interstate commerce, and ultimately derived the constitutionality of Title II from that evaluation

So none of what you said appears to be true, at all, and your fact-free accusations of intellectually dishonest directed at others appear to be completely and utterly unwarranted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 PM on May 21, 2010 [26 favorites]



Who said it's not? Turn your outrage filter down a notch and read what I'm actually saying.


If you agree trucking is interstate commerce how can you feel it is unconstitutional to insure that TRUCKERS HAVE ACCESS TO BASIC NECESSITIES OF LIFE ON THE FUCKING ROAD?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:14 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


BP: I know the case, and I know what he's citing. And it's still an appeal to authority. Just because the Supreme Court says something is constitutional doesn't make it so. There is a certain sense and a certain context in which its constitutionality is considered a settled question once the Supreme Court has decided, but the ultimate question remains open and always should. The judiciary is meant to be independent, yes, but that doesn't mean unscrutinized. The Constitution is an actual document that exists independently of any court's pronouncements. And yes, it is by fiat - in support of the Supreme Court's decision, they cited other Supreme Court decisions! There doesn't exist in the whole world a clearer case of "because I said so."

Point to me one thing I've said that isn't "true, at all."
posted by thesmophoron at 2:16 PM on May 21, 2010


If you agree trucking is interstate commerce how can you feel it is unconstitutional to insure that TRUCKERS HAVE ACCESS TO BASIC NECESSITIES OF LIFE ON THE FUCKING ROAD?

Yeah, I'm going to ignore you until you can have non-shouty, polite, intellectually honest conversation.
posted by thesmophoron at 2:17 PM on May 21, 2010


The Supreme Court did not "rule by fiat"

Well, if you take as given the dog-whistle "first principles" language that thesmophoron uses, virtually everything the Supreme Court has decided since circa 1937 is probably "rule by fiat."
posted by blucevalo at 2:17 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Please explain, dear sir, if you agree trucking is interstate commerce how can you feel it is unconstitutional to insure that truckers have access to basic necessities of life on the road?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:19 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Newest entry in the "If at first you step on your dick ..." sweepstakes:

Rand Paul cancels scheduled appearance on Meet the Press.

(only the 3rd guest in 62 years to cancel at last-minute)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:20 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


So the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress, which is, I believe, theoretically comprised of a number of elected representatives. The Supreme Court does not, as you know, create legislation, yes?

The power of Congress over interstate commerce is not confined to the regulation of commerce among the states. It extends to those activities intrastate which so affect interstate commerce or the exercise of the power of Congress over it as to make regulation of them appropriate means to the attainment of a legitimate end, the exercise of the granted power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

The United States v. Darby, 1941.

At least since Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, decided in 1824 in an opinion by Chief Justice John Marshall, it has been uniformly accepted that the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the States is plenary, "complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations, other than are prescribed in the constitution." Nor is "Commerce" as used in the Commerce Clause to be limited to a narrow, technical concept. It includes not only, as Congress has enumerated in the Act, "travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication," but also all other unitary transactions and activities that take place in more States than one. That some parts or segments of such unitary transactions may take place only in one State cannot, of course, take from Congress its plenary power to regulate them in the national interest. The facilities and instrumentalities used to carry on this commerce, such as railroads, truck lines, ships, rivers, and even highways are also subject to congressional regulation, so far as is necessary to keep interstate traffic upon fair and equal terms.

Furthermore, it has long been held that the Necessary and Proper Clause, Art. I, § 8, cl. 18, adds to the commerce power of Congress the power to regulate local instrumentalities operating within a single State if their activities burden the flow of commerce among the States. Thus in the Shreveport Case, Houston, E. & W. T. R. Co. v. United States, 234 U. S. 342, 353-354, this Court recognized that Congress could not fully carry out its responsibility to protect interstate commerce were its constitutional power to regulate that commerce to be strictly limited to prescribing the rules for controlling the things actually moving in such commerce or the contracts, transactions, and other activities, immediately concerning them. Regulation of purely intrastate railroad rates is primarily a local problem for state rather than national control.

...

Measuring, as this Court has so often held is required, by the aggregate effect of a great number of such acts of discrimination, I am of the opinion that Congress has constitutional power under the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses to protect interstate commerce from the injuries bound to befall it from these discriminatory practices.

Long ago this Court, again speaking through Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, said:

"Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional." M`Culloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 421.

By this standard Congress acted within its power here. In view of the Commerce Clause it is not possible to deny that the aim of protecting interstate commerce from undue burdens is a legitimate end. In view of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, it is not possible to deny that the aim of protecting Negroes from discrimination is also a legitimate end. The means adopted to achieve these ends are also appropriate, plainly adopted to achieve them and not prohibited by the Constitution but consistent with both its letter and spirit.



Heart of Atlanta Motel vs. United States, 1964
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:22 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just because the Supreme Court says something is constitutional doesn't make it so.

So, other than Dick Cheney, who else is evaluating the constitutionality of laws on behalf of Americans?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:22 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


thesmophoron... so you start your insertion to the thread with a thinly veld insult to perhaps the majority commenting here, your second comment boils down to they shouldn't have done it because it violates free speech/free association. It has been held time and time again that freedom of speech is not an absolute, freedom of association does not equate to freedom to deny public services. if it did then by that argument an establishment may withhold goods and services no matter how vital from any given person based on any number of arbitrary values? Black family in rural IdiotState car broke down? Yeah no food, car repairs, access to phone, medical services...etc. And you argue that as morally wrong as that is it should be legal?

There are no absolutes.

Freedom of speech does not mean you are allowed to stand on a public corner and yell fuckfuckfuckfuck for an hour on end, freedom of association does not apply to groups with intent to harm. (Refusal of public service can easilly be construed as an attempt to harm). You can wrap your arguments up in all the extraneous 'ultra vires' you want, but as noted, this is settled law already and all the "you can jump off a cliff"-ism is all so much fight picking.
posted by edgeways at 2:23 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


There have been only two other guests in the program's 62-year history to have canceled last minute: Louis Farrakhan and Prince Bandar bin Khaled al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

Such company Rand is keeping!
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:23 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just because the Supreme Court says something is constitutional doesn't make it so. There is a certain sense and a certain context in which its constitutionality is considered a settled question once the Supreme Court has decided, but the ultimate question remains open and always should.

By that logic, Stare Decisis is merely an appeal to authority, and not persuasive.

What?
posted by ambrosia at 2:25 PM on May 21, 2010


Certainly the Supreme Court is not immune to scrutiny. But we haven't been closing our eyes and keeping our fingers in our ears for fifty years. The main argument advanced by constitutional scholars, subsequent justices, government officials, and the vast majority of the general public -- hell, anybody except the libertarian and racist fringes (which I agree are not the same fringes) -- is that, if anything, Heart of Atlanta and related lawsuits were overly limiting in relying on the commerce clause rather than, say, equal protection.

Forgive us if we fail to accept that your new, exciting interpretation invalidates fifty years of case law. I get as upset about abuses of the commerce clause as most people, but the abolition of an entrenched racist society doesn't get me up in arms about judicial overreach. Indeed, it's the essence of the Supreme Court's role to apply the law as it was intended, not to bow to narrow interpretations.
posted by zvs at 2:25 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: I never said it was. I also don't think it's unconstitutional to ensure that truckers have access to the basic necessities of life on the road, Geico et al. being besides the point. The position I'm forwarding for discussion, and one which I give some amount of support to personally, is the proposition that it's unconstitutional for the federal government to impose restrictions on private parties, in violation of the first amendment right to free association, requiring them to do business with people they don't want to, in order to fulfill that end.

Please explain, dear sir, if you agree the power to regulate "inter-X commerce" includes the power to tell everyone who engages in "inter-X commerce" who they can and can't do business with, or who they must do business with -- does the NAFTA regulatory body* have the power to mandate that you, furiousxgeorge, in your hypothetical bar, serve as much alcohol as people want to buy regardless of whether you know them to be alcoholics? who about mandate that you have to serve illegal immigrants? how about that you have to serve minors who are Mexican citizens if they'd be of legal Mexican drinking age?

I actually don't think there is one in the case of NAFTA, but that's beside the point.
posted by thesmophoron at 2:30 PM on May 21, 2010


I think most of her audience already knows that the legitimacy of the government's actions in the Civil Rights Act is a foregone conclusion. Seriously your problem is that she's not preaching to the choir loudly enough?

I believe that her failure to do that is reflective of the Left having been colonized by "liberal-tarianism", fetishizing individual autonomy and freedom of choice, which is implicitly the ideology of global capitalism. Today's heroes of the left cannot be roused to a full-throated defense of government action to address inequality, which to me, indicates how deep the rot goes. Why are we surprised that the left can't pass banking regulation, a public option, stronger environmental protections?

zvs: I'm opinionated too.

Rest assured, when Daily Kos bloggers write blog posts about how you are a national treasure for keeping your opinions to yourself, I'll also denounce you as an enemy of the people on the internets :)
posted by AlsoMike at 2:32 PM on May 21, 2010


furiousxgeorge: I never said it was. I also don't think it's unconstitutional to ensure that truckers have access to the basic necessities of life on the road, Geico et al. being besides the point. The position I'm forwarding for discussion, and one which I give some amount of support to personally, is the proposition that it's unconstitutional for the federal government to impose restrictions on private parties, in violation of the first amendment right to free association, requiring them to do business with people they don't want to, in order to fulfill that end.

Perhaps you could explain the alternate route towards allowing people on the road to get food aside from buying it?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:33 PM on May 21, 2010


I get as upset about abuses of the commerce clause as most people, but the abolition of an entrenched racist society doesn't get me up in arms about judicial overreach. Indeed, it's the essence of the Supreme Court's role to apply the law as it was intended, not to bow to narrow interpretations.

I never complained about the 1866 Civil Rights Act. Any free association argument there is void because the 13th and 14th would have abrogated those rights to the extent necessary to achieve their ends. My problem is not with the substance of the law. My problem is with the proposition that the commerce power somehow means Congress can do whatever they want, First Amendment rights be damned. As near as I can tell, that's Rand Paul's position too (at least that last part), which is why he brought up free speech and 2nd amendment concerns on Maddow.
posted by thesmophoron at 2:33 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Today's heroes of the left cannot be roused to a full-throated defense of government action to address inequality, which to me, indicates how deep the rot goes. Why are we surprised that the left can't pass banking regulation, a public option, stronger environmental protections?

Amen.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:34 PM on May 21, 2010


I sat through three years of law school with an insufferable anti-Commerce Clause absolutist as a peer. This thread is giving me flashbacks of the worst order. Then again, he was the same student who argued that Korematsu was rightly decided (with no room for principled disagreement) and that women should never have been admitted to our top-tier law school, so make of that what you will.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:36 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


J-Train: "Killing people who are shooting at you is not the same thing as killing people via capital punishment."

Ah, good to know the whole concern about fair trials was a derail then, given that we're talking about a group of citizens who were fully engaged in making war against the United States, including but not limited to shooting US troops. You can say what you want about the North having some bad eggs, but they at least had the law (to say nothing of their morally defensible cause) on their side.

And in the end, Rand and the whole libertarian cry for an absolute minimum restrictions on individual freedoms is shaky as well. It's like saying that streets don't really need traffic lights, those are a restrictions on our freedoms man, and I bet all those traffic accidents are the fault of government regulation messing with the free roads! If only we didn't have traffic signals the free road system would sort itself out!
posted by mullingitover at 2:36 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


The North didn't have to wage war on the South.

Then maybe the South shouldn't have started the war. Maybe they should've stayed in the Union and supported the proposed amendment that would've prevented abolishing or interfering with slavery in any state. Maybe they should have taken Lincoln up on the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862. They could've rejoined the Union and kept their slaves. Oh, if only there could have been some way to avoid the war!
posted by kirkaracha at 2:37 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


So the 13th and 14th can abrogate free association but the equal protection clause can't?
posted by zvs at 2:37 PM on May 21, 2010


Why are we surprised that the left can't pass banking regulation, a public option, stronger environmental protections

I can't say that I'm surprised, but I figure that 40% of the problem is due to an obstructionist opposition party.
posted by JohnFredra at 2:37 PM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


So the 13th and 14th can abrogate free association but the equal protection clause can't?

Erm. What?

(a) The equal protection clause is part of the 14th amendment.
(b) No, the equal protection clause can't abrogate free association because the equal protection clause only applies to state action.
posted by thesmophoron at 2:39 PM on May 21, 2010


The position I'm forwarding for discussion, and one which I give some amount of support to personally, is the proposition that it's unconstitutional for the federal government to impose restrictions on private parties, in violation of the first amendment right to free association, requiring them to do business with people they don't want to, in order to fulfill that end.

I addressed that further up. If you want to run a business of public accomodation (with all the benefits and privileges, therein) Then you cannot discriminate.

If you want to run your business as a private club, then serve whoever you want. Don't be surprised if the public guy down the street does more business, though. And, certainly don't complain that you are being discriminated against.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:40 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


WRT the whole 'freedom of association thing' -- It's not a black and white.

Among other things, therefore, they are distinguished by such attributes as relative smallness, a high degree of selectivity in decisions to begin and maintain the affiliation, and seclusion from others in critical aspects of the relationship. As a general matter, only relationships with these sorts of qualities are likely to reflect the considerations that have led to an understanding of freedom of association as an intrinsic element of personal liberty. Conversely, an association lacking these qualities — such as a large business enterprise — seems remote from the concerns giving rise to this constitutional protection. Accordingly, the Constitution undoubtedly imposes constraints on the State's power to control the selection of one's spouse that would not apply to regulations affecting the choice of one's fellow employees. Compare Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1, 12 (1967), with Railway Mail Assn. v. Corsi, 326 U. S. 88, 93-94 (1945).

Between these poles, of course, lies a broad range of human relationships that may make greater or lesser claims to constitutional protection from particular incursions by the State. Determining the limits of state authority over an individual's freedom to enter into a particular association therefore unavoidably entails a careful assessment of where that relationship's objective characteristics locate it on a spectrum from the most intimate to the most attenuated of personal attachments. See generally Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U. S. 160, 187-189 (1976) (POWELL, J., concurring). We need not mark the potentially significant points on this terrain with any precision. We note only that factors that may be relevant include size, purpose, policies, selectivity, congeniality, and other characteristics that in a particular case may be pertinent.

Roberts v. United States Jaycees, 468 US 609 - Supreme Court 1984
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:40 PM on May 21, 2010


Even so, a short list of the states that ended slavery peacefully includes


Great Britain, France, Holland, Spain : None of these had really practiced domestic slavery since antiquity, excepting maybe Spain under the Moors, in which case, I'd hardly call the reconquista peaceful.

Brazil, Over a period of 50 years, most of which could hardly be called "peaceful" in regards to slavery.

Cuba Only ended because of the Lyons–Seward Treaty of 1862 between the US and England, impossible without the us civil war. And even then continued for decades.

the Congo Iffy on this one, but pretty sure there was a protracted war with slavers to make that happen. Oh, yeah, and Leopold got a genocide rap for his benign rule of the Free State.

Sweden, Did not practice slavery domestically since the vikings took up the cross.

Massachusetts, A land of freehold farmers and sea traders with no need of slaves, what political courage! Wait, oh, yeah. Bostonians were also critical to the US slave trade up through the Civil War. There's that, too.

New York, Actually ended slavery very gradually over, like, two generations. Oh, also, once slavery was outlawed (and manumuted slaves still denied the franchise), the black population plummeted because all those peacefully freed slaves were kidnapped and resold in slave states.

Rhode Island, Take what I said about Massachusetts, drop out the farmers, and replace Boston with Providence and I think we're getting warm.

Illinois, All it took was literally banning black people from the state. Peaceful as fuck. Oh, yeah, and didn't free slaves until After the Civil War. Fuck, they sent pro-slavery Douglas to the senate over abolitionist Lincoln.

and Pennsylvania. Founded by Quakers and a very, very, very small slaveowning population because of market conditions. So, yeah, I'll give you that one.


Like, seriously, man: Walk. Away.
posted by absalom at 2:44 PM on May 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


AlsoMike: "Today's heroes of the left cannot be roused to a full-throated defense of government action to address inequality, which to me, indicates how deep the rot goes. "

It's pretty late in the game to seriously claim that the Civil Rights Act needs defending. People who disagree aren't really worth debating with.
posted by mullingitover at 2:48 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


So he's not really that Randian, is he?

I thought the adjective was "Randy."
posted by nickmark at 2:48 PM on May 21, 2010


Erm. What?

Er, yeah, I misspoke badly, please disregard. However, I strongly disagree with the interpretation that "equal protection under the law" means the law can tolerate unequal treatment. But if I can't point to a century of legal scholarship on the subject to make my point, I don't think I'm going to be able to convince you of that.
posted by zvs at 2:49 PM on May 21, 2010


Just because the Supreme Court says something is constitutional doesn't make it so.

What
posted by Big_B at 2:53 PM on May 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


Just because the Supreme Court says something is constitutional doesn't make it so.

Hi, I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine: Marbury v. Madison.
posted by absalom at 3:05 PM on May 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


Ilya Somin from the Volokh Conspiracy on the subject.
Randy Barnett on the same topic.
(Volokh is a collection of legal academics, generally, and usually with a libertarian bent).
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:05 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Libertarianism is exactly like Communism in that it works fine - in a perfect world where everybody is honest and does the right thing and nobody ever does anything ever to hurt another person. Laws are simply unnecessary.

In other words, fantasy land.

I used to fancy myself something of a libertarian, twenty some odd years ago. Then a friend of mine pointed out that many industries back libertarianism because it would essentially mean massive deregulation. He didn't need to say anything more.

Here's something to keep in the back of your mind. Next time someone goes on and on about "deregulation", remind them that the child pornography industry is also constrained by government regulations, and they would love to have relief from intrusive government interference. Yes, it's a logical fallacy, but so is the support of deregulation-as-concept, without defining exactly what it is you are regulating.

Do Libertarians really think we should take down all the road signs, eliminate speed limits, and do away with the legal requirement to drive on one side of the road?
posted by Xoebe at 3:06 PM on May 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


I strongly disagree with the interpretation that "equal protection under the law" means the law can tolerate unequal treatment

Well, for one, it's equal protection OF the laws, not under the law. I read that as meaning the laws themselves, not the lives of people under them, have to be equal in treatment of others. For another, it's far more dangerous, as history has shown over and over, to give government too much power over individuals than it is for government to allow (or in this case, not to prohibit) individuals' discrimination.

if I can't point to a century of legal scholarship on the subject to make my point, I don't think I'm going to be able to convince you of that

I'm not an original-intent originalist. I do think it's important to have a logically consistent, intellectually strong interpretation of the constitution.

What

If the Supreme Court said tomorrow that slavery was constitutional, would slavery be constitutional? The Supreme Court is given de facto interpretive power as a pragmatic measure in our government. But nothing in the Constitution itself gives absolute power to interpret the Constitution to any branch. In fact, in the beginning, there was something of an open question as to whether judicial review of the constitutionality of acts of Congress was permissible at all. The only constitutional vesting of absolute authority is in the people -- the people who ratified the text of the constitution and the amendments thereto.
posted by thesmophoron at 3:07 PM on May 21, 2010


Hi, I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine: Marbury v. Madison.

Great. Where in Marbury v. Madison does it say that the Supreme Court is the ultimate and final arbiter of what is Constitutional? In fact, if anything, Marbury v. Madison says the opposite - that the text of the Constitution is binding on the Court, which is why they cannot exercise original jurisdiction and grant Marbury his writ of mandamus.

I mean, did you even read the case before posting?
posted by thesmophoron at 3:09 PM on May 21, 2010


Check out Riddles vs Passage, everyone.

Honestly, though, at least thesmophoron is willing to argue his/her views in detail and stand behind them. Rand Paul had his chance and wasn't willing.
posted by defenestration at 3:12 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, this isn't astronomy and you're not Galileo. This is literally the case where what people believe makes the truth. And no one believes what you believe. Which makes you wrong.
posted by GuyZero at 3:13 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Libertarianism is exactly like Communism in that it works fine - in a perfect world where everybody is honest and does the right thing

Not really. Markets are engines of inequality due to the differential in negotiating ability and in the power differential in negotiation between richer and poorer parties. A gap between the rich and the poor is not a market failure; it is the inevitable outcome of an unregulated market.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:14 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


defenestration: "Honestly, though, at least thesmophoron is willing to argue his/her views in detail and stand behind them. Rand Paul had his chance and wasn't willing."

To be fair, thesmophoron isn't under the national spotlight after seizing the nomination of the republican party for Senate seat. Conversely, I'd love to see what Rand would've advocated if he were just another anonymous dude on an internet forum. If he's opinionated enough to question the Civil Rights Act in broad daylight I have to wonder what even more damaging opinions he's holding back.
posted by mullingitover at 3:20 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, for one, it's equal protection OF the laws, not under the law.

Actually, if you take the whole sentence, which it's probably best to do when CONTEXT MATTERS, we find out that, in fact, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. "

See how the addition of "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction . . . " really makes the meaning explicitly clear. I mean, that would hurt your ridiculous argument, so I'm guessing no. But, still, worth a shot.

For another, it's far more dangerous, as history has shown over and over, to give government too much power over individuals than it is for government to allow (or in this case, not to prohibit) individuals' discrimination.

This premise would be better supported with actual, historical examples. Warning: please make sure they are not bullshit because, as they say, I'm somewhat hip to the past.

If the Supreme Court said tomorrow that slavery was constitutional, would slavery be constitutional?

I'm pretty sure the 13th amendment pretty much precludes that. But, again, *hands in ears* LALALA!

In fact, in the beginning, there was something of an open question as to whether judicial review of the constitutionality of acts of Congress was permissible at all.

This argument could be made. The best time to have made it? Two hundred and fifty years ago. You know the Madison cited in Marbury v. Madison? He wrote most of the constitution, and most of the Federalist papers, I think, so he might be considered an authority on "founder's intent."

I do think it's important to have a logically consistent, intellectually strong interpretation of the constitution.

200 years of established, essentially unchallenged precedent. Not "consistent" enough. Got it.

The only constitutional vesting of absolute authority is in the people -- the people who ratified the text of the constitution and the amendments thereto.

Do you know how the actual constitution was actually ratified? I'll give you a hint - it was not referendum. Oh, also, since you're arguing that MvM is overreach, why not argue that the constitution itself was overreach of the Articles of Confederation, which required absolute unanimity to approve ANYTHING, rather than just the 9 states the pre-ratified constitution required for ratification, by the rules set forth in the not-yet-law constitution. Oh, right, I forgot. LALALA!
posted by absalom at 3:20 PM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


If the Supreme Court said tomorrow that slavery was constitutional, would slavery be constitutional?

You're either trolling masterfully or you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Seriously, it's kind of embarrassing to watch.
posted by EarBucket at 3:20 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Where in Marbury v. Madison does it say that the Supreme Court is the ultimate and final arbiter of what is Constitutional?

"It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is."
-Marbury v. Madison, 1803.

They liked it so much, they put it on the god damn supreme court building.
posted by absalom at 3:22 PM on May 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


There is literally, Joe Biden, no such thing as an "ideologically consistent" libertarian, in the same way that there is no true Scotsman. This is a good thing, and it does not invalidate our political opinions. In fact, like the normal people we are, sometimes we disagree:
"I think Rand Paul is wrong about the Civil Rights Act," libertarian Cato Institute scholar Brink Lindsey wrote in an e-mail. "As a general matter, people should be free to deal or not deal with others as they choose. And that means we discriminate against those we choose not to deal with. In marrying one person, we discriminate against all others. Businesses can discriminate against potential employees who don't meet hiring qualifications, and they can discriminate against potential customers who don't observe a dress code (no shirt, no shoes, no service). Rand Paul is appealing to the general principle of freedom of association, and that general principle is a good one.

"But it has exceptions. In particular, after three-plus centuries of slavery and another century of institutionalized, state-sponsored racism (which included state toleration of private racist violence), the exclusion of blacks from public accommodations wasn't just a series of uncoordinated private decisions by individuals exercising their freedom of association. It was part and parcel of an overall social system of racial oppression," Lindsey said.

"Paul's grievous error is to ignore the larger context in which individual private decisions to exclude blacks were made. In my view, at least, truly individual, idiosyncratic discrimination ought to be legally permitted; for example, the "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld ought to be free to deny soup to anybody no matter how crazy his reasons (they didn't ask nicely, they mispronounced the soup, etc.). But the exclusion of blacks from public accommodations wasn't like that -- not even close."
Count this author with Lindsey.
posted by ecmendenhall at 3:23 PM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh, and since the question of reading comprehension has now been put on the table, it's only fair for me to point out:

emphatically - decidedly, without question and beyond doubt
posted by absalom at 3:26 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rand Paul cancels scheduled appearance on Meet the Press.

I'm guessing this means he's decided on a Sarah Palin-style press strategy, where he only talks to friendly FOX News "journalists" who are about as rough on him as a widdle bunny rabbit. This must be humiliating for the Kentucky GOP.
posted by EarBucket at 3:27 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


wow absalom, you're pretty bad at this huh?
posted by thesmophoron at 3:30 PM on May 21, 2010


This is literally the case where what people believe makes the truth.

No, it's not.

And no one believes what you believe.

What do I believe? And how do you figure that nobody believes what I believe? Members of the Supreme Court believe what I believe. So if you buy into that whole appealing-to-authority thing then I think you have some apologizing to do.
posted by thesmophoron at 3:33 PM on May 21, 2010


wow absalom, you're pretty bad at this huh?

If I agree, would I be falling victim to appeal to authority? I mean, isn't that what it's called when you believe something without proof because you trust the veracity of the speaker.

veracity : 1 : devotion to the truth : truthfulness

Oh, wait. Nevermind, not an appeal to authority at all.
posted by absalom at 3:33 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction . . . " really makes the meaning explicitly clear. I mean, that would hurt your ridiculous argument, so I'm guessing no.

How does that change the meaning of what is being denied or not denied? It doesn't. The meaning of X doesn't change just because you say you can't deny X; the meaning of X remains unchanged. I think you need to work on your reading comprehension. But on the off chance that I'm wrong, what is this meaning it "makes clear"?

I'm pretty sure the 13th amendment pretty much precludes that.

No, it doesn't. You clearly haven't read the 13th amendment. Maybe you should.
posted by thesmophoron at 3:35 PM on May 21, 2010


Mullingitover, that traffic thing?
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:37 PM on May 21, 2010


Where in Marbury v. Madison does it say that the Supreme Court is the ultimate and final arbiter of what is Constitutional? "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is."

It was also the province and duty of Lehman financial analysts to determine how risky investments were. Unfortunately, reality set in. Just because it's someone's duty to do something doesn't mean that they do it perfectly.

You are contradicting yourself here, by the way. You have supported these three ideas:
(1) The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what is constitutional.
(2) The Equal Protection Clause applies to private action, not just state action.
(3) The 13th Amendment would prevent slavery from being constitutional even if the Supreme Court said it was. **

These three ideas are inconsistent. If (1) is true then (2) MUST BE false and (3) MUST BE false. No matter what way you slice it, you are so painfully wrong that you clearly don't know what you're talking about.

** This is a very generous interpretation of when you said the Supreme Court was "preclude[d]" from saying it was constitutional.
posted by thesmophoron at 3:47 PM on May 21, 2010


How does that change the meaning of what is being denied or not denied? It doesn't. The meaning of X doesn't change just because you say you can't deny X; the meaning of X remains unchanged.

If I say this doesn't really make a lot of sense, I'll probably be called stupid again, but, man, this really doesn't make a lot of sense. I mean, if you want to start diagramming the sentence, we can do that, and it might even be constructive, but this really just seems like a lot of linguistic jiggery-pokery.

No, it doesn't. You clearly haven't read the 13th amendment. Maybe you should.

Oh, wait, you're going with the potential servitude for the convicted, right? Well, that's a pretty stupid argument to make, but the least you could have done is made it yourself instead of making me make the point for you. It's exhausting to be the only one doing the heavy lifting. I mean, it's like, one of the shortest amendments, you couldn't be bothered quoting it if you're going to call me a moron. Geeze. What a boor.
posted by absalom at 3:48 PM on May 21, 2010


I also don't think it's unconstitutional to ensure that truckers have access to the basic necessities of life on the road

Still waiting for you to explain this, since you oppose the only reasonable way to make sure they have it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:53 PM on May 21, 2010


absalom: you are not reading things. you are jumping to conclusions. i'm trying very hard not to call you stupid, but really now. you are saying some very stupid things. Nobody but nobody is talking about "potential servitude for the convicted."

You said the 13th Amendment precludes the Supreme Court from saying slavery is Constitutional. It doesn't. Nothing in the 13th Amendment addresses anything remotely tied to the ability of the Supreme Court to issue decisions. Stop jumping all over the damn place, take your lithium and ADHD meds or whatever, and listen.

IF the Supreme Court said slavery was constitutional, slavery would remain unconstitutional. This is because, as I have said, the Supreme Court is NOT the ultimate and final arbiter of what is constitutional. The constitution is. And the reason the constitution is such is that the constitution itself, and not the personal interpretive philosophies of the members of the Warren Court or anyone else, but the constitution and ONLY the constitution, has been ratified by a supermajority of Americans in a process we recognize as legitimately capable of making absolute, unbreakable law.

Stop imagining I said things I didn't say. Stop pretending I'm talking about servitude for the convicted. Stop screaming at the top of your lungs. Stop having a hissy fit. Stop calling names based on your own unreasonable suppositions of what I'm saying. That's not what I said. Read what I said. Is there ANYTHING in there, that I have actually said, that you think is wrong? If so, tell me what, and tell me why it's wrong.
posted by thesmophoron at 3:55 PM on May 21, 2010


Great. Where in Marbury v. Madison does it say that the Supreme Court is the ultimate and final arbiter of what is Constitutional? In fact, if anything, Marbury v. Madison says the opposite - that the text of the Constitution is binding on the Court, which is why they cannot exercise original jurisdiction and grant Marbury his writ of mandamus.

Slow down there. Marbury v. Madison says that the U.S. Supreme Court in fact is the ultimate decision maker as to whether an act is Constitutional. The Court found in that case that an act by Congress that tried to vest some power in the Courts ran against the Constitutional limits. You're conflating the act of Congress related to the jurisdiciton of the courts with the power of the Courts to render decisions on Constitutionality.

Some mefites may not like the ramifications of the Court's decision. Fine. That's what the Constitutional amendment procedure was created for.
posted by Muddler at 3:56 PM on May 21, 2010


Still waiting for you to explain this, since you oppose the only reasonable way to make sure they have it.

If you think FORCING people to wait on others is reasonable, let alone the ONLY reasonable way to feed people, then you and I are absolutely nowhere and there's nothing worth discussing.
posted by thesmophoron at 3:56 PM on May 21, 2010


Marbury v. Madison says that the U.S. Supreme Court in fact is the ultimate decision maker

[citation needed]
posted by thesmophoron at 3:57 PM on May 21, 2010



If you think FORCING people to wait on others is reasonable, let alone the ONLY reasonable way to feed people, then you and I are absolutely nowhere and there's nothing worth discussing.


So explain the other way.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:57 PM on May 21, 2010


No, I'm not conflating anything. But if the constitution weren't binding on the court, why not exercise original jurisdiction? You are contradicting yourself in a particularly ugly way.
posted by thesmophoron at 3:58 PM on May 21, 2010


For another, it's far more dangerous, as history has shown over and over, to give government too much power over individuals than it is for government to allow (or in this case, not to prohibit) individuals' discrimination.

I see that you're a fan of empirical evidence. Lucky for us, the act in question is no longer hypothetical. It just so happens that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only actually happened, but we've had almost 50 years to ruminate about its historical consequences.

I can't help but ask you what you think history demonstrated as a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? In your opinion, were the consequences in this case a Bad thing (absent a slippery slope argument)? Do you really believe that this is a case of ongoing government tyranny?
posted by drpynchon at 3:58 PM on May 21, 2010


Yes, the 13th amendment by definition precludes non-punitive slavery. Arguably, punitive slavery currently exists and is constitutional in the form of prison labor.

I'm sure someone could make the case that lower courts can ignore Supreme Court precedent where there is clear constitutional text contradicting said precedent. Of course, the Supreme court can overturn any and all such decisions on appeal. So regardless of whatever moral claims you might make regarding Supreme Court authority, the reality is that they control what is and is not constitutional. It would be difficult to conceive of any other possibility without making our entire legal system over into civil law instead of common law.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:58 PM on May 21, 2010


BrotherCaine: "Mullingitover, that traffic thing?"

Dude, that's just trading one tyranny (traffic signals, lines and junk) for another, the 30 kph speed limit. And where is the due process for taking away my right as a private citizen to go whatever speed I want? That's not constitutional, even if the Supreme Court says it is. It's still not a true free road system.
posted by mullingitover at 4:01 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


If it got to the point where the Supreme Court was making constitutional decisions that flew directly in the face of the plain meaning of the amendments and the popular will, it's likely the justices would get impeached (provided a minimal level of respect for the document among the other branches of the gov't, which isn't necessarily to be granted in such a hypothetical) – people who think government operates like logic problems and their thoroughly autistic worldviews be damned. Which is as it should be.
posted by furiousthought at 4:01 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thesmophoron, despite what you may think about your writing skills, your points are terse and ambiguous enough to need further clarification. Please stop your complaints about idiocy and hissy fits, and focus on clarifying your points instead of complaining about being misread. That's going to earn you little sympathy in any forum. Communication is the responsibility of both parties. I recognize that I'm not the best writer here, and I'm calling you out on this in large part because I make the same mistakes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:11 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


BrotherCaine: I don't disagree, for the most part, though you're wrong that the Supreme Court could overturn any and all such decisions on appeal.

For the sake of discussion, let's replace our current Court with 2.25 clones of the Four Horsemen, and let's say they strike down health care reform. Let's then imagine that the U.S. passes a constitutional amendment granting Congress the power to institute a universal healthcare system. Let's then imagine the Supreme Court strikes it down again. Assume for the sake of the hypothetical that lower federal courts were unanimous in upholding the law the second time around by virtue of the amendment.

In such a situation, Congress would be well within its power to strip the Supreme Court of the power to hear appeals related to the health care amendment. Congress could continue to fund it in its budget. The IRS could continue to collect relevant taxes. DHHS or whatever executive departments and agencies were involved would continue to administer the program.

The Supreme Court is not the last word. The political branches are co-equal, and they should be. And they are directly controlled by citizens. The system was designed this way because checks and balances, even checks on the Supreme Court, are absolutely necessary to our democratic system.

Given that the political branches have to be a check on the Supreme Court, and given that the political branches are (at the federal level) the most direct representation that the People have on a day-to-day basis, it's important that people discuss the constitutionality of measure de novo. Saying something is constitutional because and only because the Supreme Court says so is a cop-out, it's literally un-American, and it abdicates civic responsibility in an act of cowardice. Since this is Metafilter, and not a court, the relevant and proper constitutional analysis is "does this fit with the power that we, the people, have granted the government?" -- NOT "what does the supreme court say?"
posted by thesmophoron at 4:12 PM on May 21, 2010


BrotherCaine: I have no complaint about being misread. It's when people misread me intentionally and make things up that I complain, and I think rightly so. Communication is the responsibility of both parties, this is true. But another responsibility is to engage in discussion in good faith.
posted by thesmophoron at 4:14 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can I just back a bit and say that The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is something that makes me very proud to be an American and it makes me sad that there are some who seem to hate it so much that they are willing to twist them into logical knots trying to come up with reasons that it shouldn't exist? If he hadn't started that stupid war, Johnson would, in my book, be one of the greatest presidents to serve.
posted by octothorpe at 4:16 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why is it people who are always the loudest about the idea of regulation or law taking away our rights the last people to read about law, regulation, or what our rights are?

I mean, FFS, it's history, it's government, it's information, not the Necronomicon. You won't go insane by learning about something you disagree with.
posted by yeloson at 4:18 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


But another responsibility is to engage in discussion in good faith.

For instance, if one is to make a claim that a goal could be attained in other ways they should list examples of such methods upon request.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:18 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why is it people who are always the loudest about the idea of regulation or law taking away our rights the last people to read about law, regulation, or what our rights are?

Like who?
posted by thesmophoron at 4:19 PM on May 21, 2010


furiousxgeorge: really, you've never heard of a refrigerator? stop trolling with your preposterous nonsense.
posted by thesmophoron at 4:19 PM on May 21, 2010



furiousxgeorge: really, you've never heard of a refrigerator? stop trolling with your preposterous nonsense.


Uh-huh. So your solution to black people not being able to find a place to eat is to carry a fridge with them everywhere they go? In the 1960s?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:21 PM on May 21, 2010 [15 favorites]


Marbury v. Madison says that the U.S. Supreme Court in fact is the ultimate decision maker

[citation needed]


thesmophoron, the citation has already been given, and quoted by others (absalom). It's the holding of the case. I'm not going to wade into some political debate in this thread, but when I see 200 year old case law that is a basic part of our democracy mischaracterized, I am going to say something.
posted by Muddler at 4:21 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I give all due respect to Maddow; I think her program is good relative to programs with a similar format. But she really was outmatched in the original interview with Paul. Of course, before I say more, I need to assert the usual disclaimers here. I don't necessarily advocate libertarianism or a federal government that tries to remedy past racial injustice with anti-discriminatory provisions like the 1964 Civil Rights Act. If I were to interview someone about their views on these topics, I believe I'd find it most profitable to withhold purposefully my views regarding the topic of this interview. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Maddow fails to do in this case. She's usually better about approaching an interview with more objectivity and less interjection of personal views and emotionally charged extra-linguistic mannerisms.

Paul's view, if I understand it, is basically that the government should be allowed only the barest minimum of interference regarding the use of private property. In particular, he seems to be thinking, although never quite saying despite all Maddow's pregnant pauses, hrrmphs and incredulous stares, that a private business should be able deny service to any potential customer(s) on any basis whatsoever. Considered in the abstract without the baggage of a history of racism, such a proposition doesn't seem so far-fetched if one goes in for the idea of privately owned property in the first place.

Again, not to say that I agree with him or that I disagree with him, Paul has some fairly sophisticated ways of arguing for his point. The first move, which was completely lost on Maddow, but which was important to his strategy overall was the mention of the desegregation of Boston's public transportation in 1840. I didn't catch this at first, but it was pointed out to me later that he's essentially providing an example of how a practice (segregation) was changed without a mandate from the federal government. Perhaps he's hinting that this sort of "bottom-up" change is more effective and efficient than a change from the top down, i.e. a federal mandate. His note to the viewer is to contrast this sort of local, bottom-up change with how things took 120 years longer in the southern US. Maddow just lost patience and tried to make him cut to the chase.

When challenged to support his view that private businesses should be allowed to deny services to whomever the business owner wishes to deny services, Paul tries a bit clumsily to show that holding this view doesn't make him, nor anyone else who holds this view, a racist. He draws an analogy between the situation of a racist business owner and that of a person voicing racist opinions. We might not agree with the opinions voiced by the racist, yet we don't want to interfere with the right to freedom of speech of such a person. Analogously, if we think that an owner of private property has certain rights regarding how his property can be used, we might not agree with a racist business owner, but we wouldn't want to interfere with his right to use his property as he wishes. Granted the argument by analogy wasn't quite carried off, but Maddow made no effort at all to engage with the sort of view that Paul was advancing.

Paul offered another analogy in defense of his view that, again, Maddow completely refused to engage. Roughly, the idea was to try to set up a slippery slope for one who holds a view opposite Paul's: if we deny that owners of private property have the right to determine how that property is used and that the federal government should be allowed to place restrictions on the use of private property, then it might be the case that government could require that such property be used in a way that no one favors. In particular, it might be the case that the government requires that guns be allowed inside restaurants or bars. We can all agree that segregation of restaurants with regard to race is undesirable, but is it a good idea to end restaurants' and bars' discrimination against firearms? I think Paul wanted to suggest that once we start allowing the government to interfere in endless ways with the uses to which private property can be put, we may wind up with restrictions that, unlike the disallowing of segregation based on race, no one would like (and that might even be unsafe).

Of course, Paul's view is in tension with the idea that the federal government should have the power (in this context) to diminish the effects of racism. There's a discussion to be had in which we argue about just what the rights of those who own private property are, and just how much power the government should have to restrict how private property can be used. To argue for the libertarian view would be to offer evidence in favor of the rights of private property owners. To argue for the power of the government to restrict how private property can be used would be to offer evidence in favor of the government's ability to interfere, in certain ways, with an owner's use of his private property. I believe that a discussion about that topic would be a healthy one and would allow an engaged citizen to assess to the merits and shortcomings of libertarianism and of a government with more power to restrict the use of private property. But Maddow isn't trying to engage Paul about those sort of issues (no doubt it's unclear if such a discussion would captivate very many viewers), rather she's focusing on a single emotionally charged episode and refusing to move on until she allows herself to get worked up over it.

If Maddow does hold a position which is incompatible with Paul's, and she wants to argue for that position, it seems to me a better strategy would be less appeal to emotion and a further exploration of what would be the consequences of Paul's view. And a further exploration of what would follow from the (opposing) view that she holds. Assuming she held her view for a good reason, then it seems likely that she could demonstrate that her view was superior to his by showing that what her view entailed was more desirable than what his view entailed. Instead, we get high-handed sanctimony.
posted by Wash Jones at 4:22 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rand: Criticism of BP by President is 'un-American.'

British defile Louisiana coast. Rand says "Impeach Andrew Jackson!"
posted by JackFlash at 4:22 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's the holding of the case.

No, it isn't. It's nowhere near the holding of the case. The holding of the case is that Article III binds the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction. The holding of the case is "we couldn't even if we wanted to" which is the OPPOSITE of the idea that they can do anything they want to.
posted by thesmophoron at 4:28 PM on May 21, 2010


Why the hell should congress strip the Supreme Court of the power to hear appeals in a broad niche like that? It would be a nightmare, they'd have to set up a separate court structure entirely. They have the authority to impeach justices, and that would be the appropriate reaction to a decision which ignored the clear text of the constitution.

It's when people misread me intentionally and make things up that I complain

If it's intentional and you respond, you are just feeding the troll, if it's unintentional you can just re-iterate your point with some elaboration. Either way, you get more respect for sticking to the substance of your points (even when we universally disagree) than you do for attacking the person.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:35 PM on May 21, 2010


I'm going to try to say something constructive here about the tone of this thread. Frankly, Metafilter is not about closed minds and screaming insults at those who do not agree with our points of view. I've spent more than enough time in places on the web and in the world where the norm is a lack of respect for others. Users that make insulting comments and ad hominem attacks just waste my time. I came to Metafilter because here I can actually hear points of view without the background noise of disrespect.

What I find so sad about so many of the current political movements is the lack of conversation. Everyone seems infected with a virus of the soul that causes them to be closed minded. The disease makes them angry and defensive such that when they encounter someone with a differing world view, they just start speaking louder, faster, and with less thought. Can we, a small band of people in a unique corner of the Internet universe, at least try our best to avoid this illness?

So, taking a slight tangent from our topic but drawing an analogy to the posts above, our little Metafilter constitution, handed down to us by our blue founders, says that "Comments should not be directed at other members of the site -- remember to stick to the subject and issues raised by the post, not the person who made it or others that commented on it." With my plea in mind and these rules in hand, I plan to appeal to the highest authority on Metafilter, namely the mods, with the power they vest in the users - the right to flag comments that are not appropriate for Metafilter. I hope others do the same.
posted by Muddler at 4:37 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wash Jones: "Paul offered another analogy in defense of his view that, again, Maddow completely refused to engage. Roughly, the idea was to try to set up a slippery slope for one who holds a view opposite Paul's: if we deny that owners of private property have the right to determine how that property is used and that the federal government should be allowed to place restrictions on the use of private property, then it might be the case that government could require that such property be used in a way that no one favors."

This was an amazingly weak argument, given that we now have over five decades of evidence showing that we in fact have perfectly good traction on that slope. I was frustrated that she didn't cut him off as he desperately ducked her question.

If Maddow does hold a position which is incompatible with Paul's, and she wants to argue for that position, it seems to me a better strategy would be less appeal to emotion and a further exploration of what would be the consequences of Paul's view.

I think most people hold a position that is incompatible with Paul's, and she doesn't need to reiterate arguments that her audience already understands. We also already know the consequences of Paul's view because it was a fact of life prior to the civil rights act: racial oppression.

The high-handed sanctimony is just a side effect of being right. It comes from disappointment: we need a better class of teabagger. This is just embarassing.
posted by mullingitover at 4:37 PM on May 21, 2010


Like who?

You could try reading the many links at the top of the thread, or scattered throughout, for example. They're kindly highlighted to facilitate locating, and clicking.

The reading you have to do on your own, though.
posted by yeloson at 4:42 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


his view that private businesses should be allowed to deny services to whomever the business owner wishes to deny services

This is just such a ridiculous and misleading way of phrasing the "issue" at hand.

We're not talking about "No Shoes No Shirt No Service" or bouncers at a raucous nightclub. We're talking about a historical legacy of unrepentant racist practice; of segregated toilets for blacks and whites; of "No Irish" signs, etc.

What exactly is at stake here that anyone, and I mean anyone, would object to the principle enshrined in Civil Rights that no one should be denied service due to their race, creed, color, gender, sexual preference or ethnicity?

How does the requirement that businesses not discriminate, in any way encroach upon the rights of business owners? Given the world we live in, how is this of all things in any way considered a threat to one's liberties? There is simply no potential "slippery slope towards totalitarianism" here, and I can't imagine how anyone could honestly think there was.

Maddow's focusing on a single emotionally charged episode and refusing to move on until she allows herself to get worked up over it.

Oh give me a break. Yeah, why is everyone so worked up about Civil Rights anyway?
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 4:45 PM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Car broke down and all the mechanics in town are racist? Just carry a full set of mechanics tools with you! Problem solved.

Sick in a strange town and the only doctor hates black people? I hope you brought your scalpel!

Need a place to stay for the night but the hotel is white only? Haven't you ever heard of a tent?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:46 PM on May 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


The first move, which was completely lost on Maddow, but which was important to his strategy overall was the mention of the desegregation of Boston's public transportation in 1840. I didn't catch this at first, but it was pointed out to me later that he's essentially providing an example of how a practice (segregation) was changed without a mandate from the federal government. Perhaps he's hinting that this sort of "bottom-up" change is more effective and efficient than a change from the top down, i.e. a federal mandate. His note to the viewer is to contrast this sort of local, bottom-up change with how things took 120 years longer in the southern US.

I don't think it was lost on Maddow, or anybody else who was paying attention. Like I said before, I think Rand Paul is probably a nice guy who is far from being racist. But his philosophy - libertarianism- is not the panacea he purports.

It ignores inertia.

The change in the South didn't take 120 years longer - it NEVER happened. The South's hand was forced by the federal government. Sure, Jim Crow laws made a bad situation worse, but societal pressure was what ran everything. A white businessman who became enlightened and decided to open his business to blacks stood to lose more white business than the black business he gained. The Civil War forced the end of slavery on the South, and the Civil Rights Act forced (at least a semblance of) equal rights and access on the South.

(This is the same idea, BTW, with affirmative-action programs - without checks, prosperous whites [ I'm only using "white" because they represent the majority] will tend to hire and promote prosperous whites. It doesn't have to racist, it could just be simple familiarity or comfort-level - but the result is the same.)

I understand the "slippery-slope" arguments, and the "tyranny" arguments, etc. And I can think of no other more correct, patriotic, moral and justified use of the federal government than the Civil Rights Act.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:46 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Paul has some fairly sophisticated ways of arguing for his point. The first move, which was completely lost on Maddow, but which was important to his strategy overall was the mention of the desegregation of Boston's public transportation in 1840.

If that was a sophisticated point that Paul was trying to make, it wasn't just lost on Maddow, she of the pregnant pauses and harrumphs (not an unfamiliar set of boilerplate theatrics to people like Rush Limbaugh, by the way).

At the very minimum the Randster needs to hire some snappy young Cato consultant to help him break his celestial point down for us benighted common folk.
posted by blucevalo at 4:47 PM on May 21, 2010


[comments removed - folks, this needs to not become everyone vs one fighty person. metatalk is your option.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:00 PM on May 21, 2010


The point where libertarianism fails is that it reduces all human relations and rights to property, commodities and transactions. This obviously creates a huge contradiction with human rights, equality, and civil liberties - these are things that are universal and inalienable or they do not exist as rights, only as privileges. Property and commodities are alienable in the extreme. So if you reduce the world to property and economic transactions, things like slavery become not just possible, but almost necessary.

So libertarians recognize privileges but not rights. This shows most strongly in their understanding of "freedoms" which are essentially commodities in short supply; hence they can't be free unless they are exercising their freedom to oppress someone.

So there shouldn't be any surprise that property rights and human rights are going to come into conflict when some people exalt property rights above all others.

So Rand Paul probably knows where this is leading, which is why he's refusing to discuss it openly.
posted by warbaby at 5:02 PM on May 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


So Rand Paul probably knows where this is leading, which is why he's refusing to discuss it openly.

It's leading down a government-paved road of misguided intentions.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:13 PM on May 21, 2010




This is just such a ridiculous and misleading way of phrasing the "issue" at hand.

I'm not trying to talk in code about racism. I have what I believe to be a legitimate puzzle about private property and the extent to which an authority which makes laws can restrict the owner's use of that property. Let me put the puzzle in terms of the following real-life example. When I was a kid, I like to go a certain video arcade. On the door was a sign that said something like, "these persons are not allowed on the premises: ..." and then gave some names. Is something like this legal? If not, why not? (I promise that the issue is really only tangentially related to the issue of racism with regards to who's served at some business.) Say Bob is a non-racist business owner and Bob simply doesn't like some person (Ralph, say) and Bob doesn't want Ralph to be served at Bob's business. On the face of things, it seems to me that, as a private property owner, Bob should be able to deny such a person service.

I think that the denial of service on the basis of race is morally wrong, but I believe that it's prima facia within a property owner's right to deny service to an individual for whatever reason. So here's my puzzle. There could be an honest to goodness racist business owner, Willy, whose opinion of potential customers is based on just feature: race. Willy could assess every potential customer and claim, for every one of the race he despised, that he just didn't want to serve a particular customer. Willy's behavior is exactly what's disallowed by the Civil Rights Act, yet he could claim that he's just doing what the arcade owner had done. In other words, he could claim that he was denying service to individuals simply because he didn't like something about them.
posted by Wash Jones at 5:24 PM on May 21, 2010


Rand Paul reminds me of Carcetti from The Wire. That is all.
posted by waitingtoderail at 5:28 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sick in a strange town and the only doctor hates black people? I hope you brought your scalpel!

This is exactly the kind of situation I wish Maddow could have probed Paul about. There do seem to be fundamental differences between service at a restaurant and service at a hospital. What I'd like to see from a libertarian like Rand Paul is an exploration of the nature of those differences. I wish Maddow could have asked Paul about a variety of cases in which an owner of private property wished to deny service to a potential customer. Should the rights of a doctor in choosing whom to treat be different than the rights of a hotelier in choosing whom to rent a room? It seems that there are differences in right and responsibilities in these two cases. I have my own views on these differences, but I would have liked to have gotten those of libertarian who is capable of reasoning and articulate communication of his views.
posted by Wash Jones at 5:35 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wash Jones: "I'm not trying to talk in code about racism. I have what I believe to be a legitimate puzzle about private property and the extent to which an authority which makes laws can restrict the owner's use of that property."

It seems pretty straighforward: want to operate a business but hate minorities? Then in exchange for all the government benefits and protections you receive, you accept the tradeoff of being unable to exercise your bigotry in your interactions with the public. If you don't like this arrangement, you are free not to operate a business, or you can move to a more bigotry-friendly society.

This isn't as complicated as people are trying to make it out to be. Nobody is forcing you to racially integrate your home. The idea that people want to protect some imagined right to run a racist business in this century is just shameful.
posted by mullingitover at 5:39 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


a legitimate puzzle

I'm not so sure it's legitimate, or even a puzzle, if (for starters) one stops talking and thinking about the concept of a business as if it were something that only existed as an autonomous entity, i.e. in some kind of social, historical and contextual vacuum.

To wit, a business by definition is an entity that engages with the public commons, and that practices certain recognizably social acts such as the exchange of currency (see ambrosia's comment upthread), etc.

So the continued insistence to isolate a business as if it were simply a parcel of land, when in point of fact it by definition involves public interaction, is in fact misleading.

Do business owners have a right to humiliate potential customers, or to physically or psychologically accost them? Can they knowingly sell poisoned or contaminated or unsafe products and goods? It seems to me the idea that requiring business not to be discriminatory (towards race, gender, etc., not "Ralph," which is a red herring) could be construed as potentially encroaching on the right of a property owner, is absurd.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:40 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The point where libertarianism fails is that it reduces all human relations and rights to property, commodities and transactions....

This seems to be a place to attack the view in general. I wish Maddow could have gotten Paul to take a stand on a particular issue that demonstrated his commitment to a really undesirable consequence of his position. She kept trying with the Woolworth's lunch counter but she wasn't going to make any headway and that seemed obvious. I found disappointing her lack of an alternative line of questioning to bring out Paul's view in the context of a different example.

I'm not advocating either libertarianism or something else instead. I just wish people of TV talk shows could discuss the view without muddying the water with appeals to emotionally charged examples.
posted by Wash Jones at 5:47 PM on May 21, 2010


I'm not sure I see the difference between access to hospital care and access to food and shelter.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:50 PM on May 21, 2010


I just wish people of TV talk shows could discuss the view without muddying the water with appeals to emotionally charged examples.

I just wish idiot politicians like Paul would stop calling themselves libertarian, when, as has been pointed out countless times on this thread, they are in fact just selectively picking issues to fit a wholly reactionary agenda.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:55 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]




but I would have liked to have gotten those of libertarian who is capable of reasoning and articulate communication of his views.

yeah well Rand Paul is not the right person to talk to.

anyway, I would assert that under the right circumstances most goods and services can be life sustaining. And if we start trying to differentiate between what people can and can not be bigots about in a commercial setting it would only create more headaches and grief. Hospital yes / only grocery store in town no / pharmacy yes / mechanic no / telephone services yes / internet services no/ that waitress can be a bigot, but that waiter cannot.

It's ludicrous, the way things are now draws a pretty bright unambiguous line. YOU CAN NOT refuse service based on these random things about a person. If you offer a good, or service to a community you must offer it without reservation to all comers (barring violent or disruptive behavior or legitimate heal reasons)
posted by edgeways at 6:14 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brazil

Sure, except for that part where it caused the overthrow of the Empire.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 6:35 PM on May 21, 2010


Rand Paul cancels scheduled appearance on Meet the Press.

He's still gong to be the prime topic of discussion, but guess he won't be there to blind everyone with his pure and perfect libertarian craziness. Oh well.
posted by Skygazer at 6:38 PM on May 21, 2010


If Paul's idea of doing damage control on this is to just stop talking to the press, I have to wonder if the state party's not starting to think about how to convince him to step aside, and fast. If he runs his campaign as incompetently for the next five months as he has the past three days, it's going to be a spectacular trainwreck.
posted by EarBucket at 6:57 PM on May 21, 2010


Paul Remarks Have Deep Roots (WSJ):

In tea-party circles, Mr. Paul's views are not unusual. They fit into a "Constitutionalist" view under which the federal government has no right to dictate the behavior of private enterprises. On the stump, especially among tea-party supporters, Mr. Paul says "big government" didn't start with President Obama, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society of the 1960s or the advance of central governance sparked by World War II and the economic boom that followed.

He traces it to 1937, when the Supreme Court, under heated pressure from President Franklin Roosevelt, upheld a state minimum-wage law on a 5-4 vote, ushering in the legal justification for government intervention in private markets.

Until the case,
West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, the Supreme Court had sharply limited government action that impinged on the private sector, infuriating Mr. Roosevelt so much that he threatened to expand the court and stack it with his own appointees.

"It didn't start last year. I think it started back in 1936 or 1937, and I point really to a couple of key constitutional cases… that all had to do with the commerce clause," Mr. Paul said in an interview before Tuesday's election, in which he defeated a Republican establishment candidate, hand-picked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky.).

Mr. Paul has said that, if elected, one of his first demands will be that Congress print the constitutional justification on any law it passes.

Last week, Mr. Paul encouraged a tea-party gathering in Louisville to look at the origins of "unconstitutional government." He told the crowd there of
Wickard v. Filburn, a favorite reference on the stump, in which the Supreme Court rejected the claims of farmer Roscoe Filburn that wheat he grew for his own use was beyond the reach of federal regulation. The 1942 ruling upheld federal laws limiting wheat production, saying Mr. Filburn's crop affected interstate commerce. Even if he fed his wheat to his own livestock, the court reasoned, he was implicitly affecting wheat prices. If he had bought the wheat on the market, he would subtly have raised the national price of the crop.

"That's when we quit owning our own property. That's when we became renters on our own land," Mr. Paul told the crowd.

posted by blucevalo at 7:04 PM on May 21, 2010


* makes popcorn *
posted by warbaby at 7:05 PM on May 21, 2010


Mr. Paul has said that, if elected, one of his first demands will be

Hoo boy...one of his first demands! Does he think that magical underpants come with the job? I love the idea of a freshman in the Senate marching in on his first day and tossing down a stack of papers, "Ok guys! Here are my demands!"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:13 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


(I promise that the issue is really only tangentially related to the issue of racism with regards to who's served at some business.)

When you attempt to define out of existence the very problem at hand, I fail to see how any reasonable interlocutor could see this as anything other than a cop out. And I say this in good argumentative faith.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:14 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and about that elevator story (which he has told at least twice now)
Paul's "understanding" about the ADA is wrong. The legislation specifically exempts the vast majority of buildings three stories and under from any requirement to install elevators. In other words, if you own a small business and you have a two-story office and one of your workers is handicapped, no one can force you to build an elevator. It's true that the exemption doesn't apply to health-care facilities or shopping malls or buildings four stories and up — and Paul, who has an ophthalmology practice, may have been thinking of those provisions when he insisted that businesses are "often forced to put in elevators."
Even if your building has 4 stories, you still are not required to put in an elevator, and there has never been a case of the Department of Justice taking a business to court to force them to put in an elevator, because installing an elevator would be considered undue hardship.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:25 PM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Appeals to authority are fallacious.

Since nobody else pointed it out yet, you're apparently ignorant about what this actually means.
posted by Justinian at 7:43 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, and about that elevator story (which he has told at least twice now) "Paul's "understanding" about the ADA is wrong."

I'm honestly not sure which worries me more - that this story didn't kill his campaign dead in the water, or that his talking point about the ADA is going to spawn more resentment of a law that is already poorly understood by the general public.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:14 PM on May 21, 2010


"Also, if an innkeeper, or other victualler, hangs out a sign, and opens his house for travellers, it is an implied engagement to entertain all persons who travel that way; and upon this universal assumpsit an action will lie against him for damages, if he without good reason refuses to admit a traveller." -- William Blackstone [via]
posted by blucevalo at 8:19 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


No, it isn't. It's nowhere near the holding of the case. The holding of the case is that Article III binds the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction. The holding of the case is "we couldn't even if we wanted to" which is the OPPOSITE of the idea that they can do anything they want to.

This is a serious misreading of the case. Chemerinsky's hornbook has a nice explanation of the case - check it out some time. The snarky summary in An Incomplete Education is also informative.

In Marbury v. Madison, the Court exercised its own final APPELLATE jurisdiction to review Congress' attempt to expand the Court's ORIGINAL jurisdiction. Appellate and original jurisdiction are two different things: one is about correcting errors made in lower courts, and the other is about making those errors in the first place.

At any rate, you'll note that in Article III of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction. Further, our country's legal system comes from the common law system of England. We have judge-made law. As such, when Marshall found that there was a conflict between what Congress had said and what the Constitution said, he wrote out a decision of legally binding precedent that Congress couldn't expand the Court's jurisdiction through mere legislation. It was in the act of explaining how the Judicial Act of 1789 did not expand the Court's original jurisdiction over writs of mandamus that the Court exercised judicial review for the first time.

If you don't like that Article III grants the Supreme Court final appellate jurisdiction, then seek an Amendment.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:29 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rand Paul reminds me of Carcetti from The Wire. That is all.

Funny, when I hear most libertarians "argue," I'm reminded of Crosetti from Homicide: Life on the Street.
posted by OmieWise at 8:44 PM on May 21, 2010


Why [is it that 'government acting ultra vires is itself immoral']?
...
First principles. The philosophical underpinnings of American-style democracy is that all governmental power flows from a grant from the people it governs. The very phrase "We the People" is an encapsulation of the revolution we'd just fought.


To clarify: Why do you assume that "the philosophical underpinnings of American-style democracy is that all governmental power flows from a grant from the people it governs" is a morally-upstanding and intellectually-uncomplicated axiom to begin with?

I also don't know who the fuck you mean by "we" (I never fought a revolution), but I'm happy to let that one go for now.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:47 PM on May 21, 2010


You know, it would be poetic and very lovely neat and symmetrical, if the seeds of the Tea Party were planted by Paul, the father, and then stomped to death by Rand, his very own overly indoctrinated, fanatical son.
posted by Skygazer at 8:48 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


When you attempt to define out of existence the very problem at hand...

I think you're missing what I was trying to get at. Let me try to clarify. If you want to see the puzzle I think I see, then you must grant me first that it's within a business owner's purview to refuse some individual service for some reason. Or at least you must grant that it seems a bit suspect to require a business owner to serve every potential customer. Let me try to pump your intuitions on this point by getting away from the example of a restaurant. Consider a company that sells widgets online. Should the owner of the company be required to sell widgets to anyone who orders them? Maybe the owner's irrational and just doesn't like to sell widgets to people whose names are longer than 20 letters. Maybe he's oddly superstitious. Or maybe he's correlated long names with refused credit cards and reasoned (incorrectly) that there's something other than chance at work. In any case, do we think that the owner should be required to sell to everyone despite his preferences?

(If that intuition pump doesn't work, I could try to raise the stakes with something like the sale of health insurance.)

Anyway, if you grant me that, then it seems that the (online) business owner could refuse to sell widgets to any individual on any sort of basis (except perhaps on the basis of race). In fact, the online business owner might refuse to sell widgets to a certain group of individuals, each refusal on a different basis, but it might turn out that each member of that group was of the same race. Without intending to, the online business owner has refused to sell to a group of people all of a certain race, but if you granted me that the online business owner should be permitted to refuse to sell widgets to any individual on some basis or other, then he's acted within his purview.

In this case, the outcome is the same as if a business owner were to decide whom he'd sell widgets to on the basis of race. If we agree that discriminating on the basis of race is not something that the online business owner is allowed to do, then we see the uncomfortable conclusion. The business owner can act within his right and the outcome is the same as if he'd done something which was not permitted. So rather than "defining out of existence the very problem at hand," I've tried to show that the same sort of problem (that in which members of one race is disallowed) can arise from reasonable -- if my intuition pump worked -- assumptions of the rights of a business owner.

What I'm ask for is help with the following problem. If we think that the situation in which each person of a certain group all of the same race is refused service (or widgets) is unacceptable, but we think that an online seller of widgets is entitled to refuse to sell widgets to any certain individual for some reason or other, then we wind up with an inconsistent set of beliefs. To make our view coherent, we must somehow restrict the ability of the business owner to refuse to sell widgets to individuals. How should we do this?
posted by Wash Jones at 8:53 PM on May 21, 2010


Or at least you must grant that it seems a bit suspect to require a business owner to serve every potential customer.

Blackstone didn't. But go ahead and run amok with that.
posted by blucevalo at 9:03 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]



In this case, the outcome is the same as if a business owner were to decide whom he'd sell widgets to on the basis of race. If we agree that discriminating on the basis of race is not something that the online business owner is allowed to do, then we see the uncomfortable conclusion. The business owner can act within his right and the outcome is the same as if he'd done something which was not permitted. So rather than "defining out of existence the very problem at hand," I've tried to show that the same sort of problem (that in which members of one race is disallowed) can arise from reasonable -- if my intuition pump worked -- assumptions of the rights of a business owner.


I don't get what you are saying Wash. Does the widget salesmen not sell to people who are black or not sell to people who piss him off who have some other characteristic he hates but all turn out to be black, or what?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:05 PM on May 21, 2010


If he runs his campaign as incompetently for the next five months as he has the past three days, it's going to be a spectacular trainwreck.

We can only hope.
posted by kafziel at 9:12 PM on May 21, 2010


furiousxgeorge:

Your second interpretation is what I was after: The widget salesman does not sell to people who piss him off who have some other characteristic he hates but all turn out to be black
posted by Wash Jones at 9:15 PM on May 21, 2010


I would be very interested in seeing a libertarian country, somewhere, started fresh by these very self-assured folks, but that's because I would be fascinated by the inevitable cannibalism.

GOOGLE BIOSHOCK
posted by homuncula at 9:20 PM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


The widget salesman does not sell to people who piss him off who have some other characteristic he hates but all turn out to be black

I think in such a case they could take it to court and evaluate the truth of the claims. If the people did indeed share such a trait it should be able to be established. Of course, the larger the group involved the less likely it seems that the people exhibiting the characteristic all happen to be black.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:21 PM on May 21, 2010


But, thesmophoron, the constitution is not a living thing who stands up and tells everyone what is or is not constitutional. It is words written down on paper or, now, text we can all read on a screen. It can't speak for itself because it is made from words, and words are inexact placeholders for ideas, and often the very fact that words are this inexact is what allows people who hold different ideas to agree on the same language. Many people disagree about what the Founders were thinking when they put those thoughts into words. Some people, *gasp*, even argue that what the Founders were thinking doesn't matter, because the Constitution was built to leave room for the way interpretations change over time. The Constitution can't get up and give an interview calling the Supreme Court a bunch of punks; what you think it says and I think it says and Justice Scalia thinks it says are likely all different in some way, which means there is not one and only one correct interpretation of the Constitution. Because the Constitution cannot literally tell us what it means. If you think it can, I suggest you start reading Supreme Court opinions--majorities, dissents, and concurrences--and see how very intelligent and extraordinarily well-educated people can interpret the exact same language in vastly different ways that lead to vastly different conclusions.

And whether or not you think Marbury was a sneaky trick on Marshall's part or an accurate reflection of the Founders' intent and/or an rational representation of the words in the Constitution, it has held strong as the reason the Supreme Court gets to tell us all what is or is not constitutional. Them's been the breaks for over two hundred years.

(Last but not least, I hate to tell you but there are in fact legal limitations on commercial speech, despite your unshakeable confidence in the primacy of the First Amendment over all comers.)
posted by sallybrown at 10:28 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wash Jones: "To make our view coherent, we must somehow restrict the ability of the business owner to refuse to sell widgets to individuals. How should we do this?"

One way to do this, as libertarian Brink Lindsey suggests in ecmendenhall's comment upthread, is to distinguish between individual eccentric acts of refusal by business owners (e.g. the Soup Nazi) and society-wide acts of prejudice (e.g. Jim Crow, NINA, etc.) One is an individual action in pursuit of individual aims, the other an individual action in pursuit of a collective aim.

As an ideological opponent of libertarianism, I reject this idea out of hand. An alternative view would suggest that, in order for society to function safely and efficiently, all businesses in that society operate with the tacit consent of the society as expressed through their collective decision-making body (government). This view would reserve to government the ability to define when service can be refused individuals - most obviously, when those individuals can't or won't pay the price the business owner sets. In the presence of clear and repeated acts of denial of service, the government would by extension retain the right to define when service cannot be individuals and assign legal consequences to violating those laws. I'd argue we implicitly operate under this view already - businesses are allowed to operate only if they follow minimum wage laws, pay taxes, follow zoning ordinances, abide by environmental regulations, etc. Hard-core libertarians would reject the right of government to regulate any of the above.

Obviously, enforcement under the above view presents some difficulties. It is difficult in that view to stop the Soup Nazi - however, economics suggests the Soup Nazis of the world don't stay in business long. It is significantly easier to enforce civil rights laws - patterns of refusal of service are more evident and, in the case of Jim Crow, were explicitly communicated. Laws are particularly necessary in this case because the market actually incentivizes bad behavior: when your richest customers are staunch segregationists and your poorest customers are minorities, your economic self-interest clearly conflicts with society's interests in efficiency and equality.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:30 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Additionally: another example of a government regulation to restrict selling of a widget that I would support: laws which make it illegal for people to use more than one payday lender, an issue recently addressed on NPR's Planet Money.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:32 PM on May 21, 2010


What is Paul supposed to say? He can provide a reasonable argument as to why the current system is in many ways counter-productive, but people react emotionally to these issues and are going to jump to accuse him of being a racist. Like him or not, cut him some slack here. Scrutinize him all you want, as you should with any political candidate, but don't assume he's some kind of monster for having intellectually and logically sound disagreements with certain parts of the Civil Rights Act.

I considered myself to be left-libertarian for a long time. I still am in many ways, libertarian mostly as far as individual as opposed to corporate freedom, but am liberal when it comes to social issues and government. I used to read all the popular libertarian sites and follow Ron Paul. My first intro was through their stance on prohibition, which makes sense even if it's suicidal politically. But what I noticed after a while was that the movement was rife with - and in many senses founded by - people who were around the Birchers as far as political and social views. What I mean is that paranoia, conspiracy theory, survivalism, gold bugs, militias, dominionists, anti-government cranks of all types, and, yes, racism are tacitly accepted parts of the movement. I can deal with some radicalism, but this is not the kind of thing that's going to come to any good. You could see very old racist politics come up recently in the almost forgotten states' rights argument to oppose the Civil Rights Act, which Rand Paul coyly slipped in to the platform, but in a broader sense in the ideology of a great many of the people who consider themselves libertarian or constitutional patriots or whatever. There is a streak mile wide of deep-seated racism going back to the original battle over the Civil Rights Act, which the GOP has managed to obfuscate with dog whistles, though this group is more brazen and wants to plant a flag on it, if they think people would allow it. I finally walked away from the whole libertarian movement entirely when I noticed people who were considered to be influential (including Ron Paul's people) promoting blatantly racist propaganda, and nobody was calling them out. I know, you can't blame a whole group for the extremists, but I've seen this game before, and it's about time the rest of the country found out what Ron Paul & son, the Tea Party and the Southern Strategy all have in common. I really don't care if they have other good things going for them. It's not enough if what you're really doing is sowing the seeds of a "patriot" brownshirt movement.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:33 PM on May 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


"Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you've hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have."

That sounds prescient and wise, but Goldwater seemed to be fine with the extremists as long as they remained part of his base and didn't try to take the reins from him. The religious thing with the GOP is past his time purely in terms of strategy, but the way the party is now is just an extension of his ideology.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:42 PM on May 21, 2010


He can provide a reasonable argument as to why the current system is in many ways counter-productive, but people react emotionally to these issues and are going to jump to accuse him of being a racist.

...

I haven't heard a lot of people call him a racist.


Is it worse A) to be a racist or; B) to not be a racist yet pander to racist views anyway? The first is ignorant; the second is almost evil.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:49 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, The roots of Rand Paul's civil rights resentment

I found interesting:

According to Sanchez and Weigel, the tone of [Ron] Paul's newsletters shifted to reflect his political circumstances. Between his first presidential campaign and his return to Congress in 1996 as a Republican, they were filled with slurs against blacks generally and Martin Luther King Jr. in particular, including the accusation that the civil rights leader "seduced underage girls and boys." Rothbard hated King deeply, describing him in November 1994 as "a socialist, egalitarian, coercive integrationist, and vicious opponent of private-property rights ... who was long under close Communist Party control," and concluding that "there is one excellent litmus test which can set up a clear dividing line between genuine conservatives and neoconservatives, and between paleolibertarians and what we can now call 'left-libertarians.' And that test is where one stands on 'Doctor' King." (Then again, he hated Lincoln too, whom he disparaged in the same essay as "one of the major despots of American history.")


I thought the whole US civil-war thread was totally unrelated, but perhaps not.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:55 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow. This entire debate flounders on the shoals of yeloson's superb point way up there. All these legal niceties about the meaning of the US constitution are meaningless hypocrisy if you really claim to be arguing either side on principle. This glorious constitutional republic of laws was founded on an original crime of theft and genocide of the indigenous societies that were already here, with their own laws and institutions of justice.

There can be no first principles that descend from an unprincipled and immoral foundation.

So spare the pieties. This is no more a question of justice than it is expedient rationalization.

Or as a t shirt I see a lot in the native communities where I work puts it, Native Americans have been fighting illegal immigration since 1492.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:36 AM on May 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Or as a t shirt I see a lot in the native communities where I work puts it, Native Americans have been fighting illegal immigration since 1492.

I got mine from West Wind World. Oh hey they've added new shirts since I last checked!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:56 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


babblesort: I could be wrong but I'd rather find out by losing an honest fight than by ceding the bulk of my beliefs out of fear that someone might call me a liberal.

dirty God-hatin' Commie hippie lib'rul!
posted by orthogonality at 2:24 AM on May 22, 2010


Ask Libertarians one simple question:
Is your bank account insured by the govt FDIC? If so, why do you tolerate that and all else that follows. Stick you loot under the mattress where your head is buried.


Going into the crisis, which those us paying attention knew about WAY before you heard about it pretty much anywhere in the MSM, I was absolutely certain of three upcoming failures: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Washington Mutual. I knew there'd be a lot more damage than just that, but those three institutions were certain to fail.

And I had an account with Washington Mutual, which I didn't close, because I knew perfectly well the FDIC would step in and take care of the problem, and that I wouldn't be disrupted in any way. And I would argue that this sort of insurance helped ensure the collapse, because it meant even people that knew WAMU was doomed weren't moving their money; there were no market forces involved that would have pulled them up short before they dug too deep. At least in my case, the FDIC's existence certainly let a bad bank keep using my money, and I couldn't possibly have been the only one.

Absent the FDIC, I'd have been yelling from the rooftops by 2005 or so that you should get your money the hell out of there... but with that nice fluffy security blanket, there was simply no point in scaring anyone. And they kept up their aggressive subprime lending, making the fundamental problems that much worse.

Something to think about.
posted by Malor at 4:12 AM on May 22, 2010


his glorious constitutional republic of laws was founded on an original crime of theft and genocide of the indigenous societies that were already here, with their own laws and institutions of justice.

That's a really, really stupid argument. Crimes in the past don't justify crimes in the present. If what you're saying is true, we could never fix any problems, ever, because of simple precedent.

That's gotta rank up there with the all-time dumb ideas. You can always make things better in the present, no matter what came before. And strong property rights are an absolute linchpin of liberty.

After all, just ask the Native Americans... we didn't respect their property, and look where they are today. A terrible abuse of property rights all but destroyed entire peoples, and somehow that justifies abusing property rights now?

Jesus. If anything, it's the best possible counter-example you could bring up.
posted by Malor at 4:19 AM on May 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I just wish idiot politicians like Paul would stop calling themselves libertarian, when, as has been pointed out countless times on this thread, they are in fact just selectively picking issues to fit a wholly reactionary agenda.

It hardly matters. Libertarianism as a political movement has always been very messy, in no small part due to the fierce individualism of its proponents. It's the no true Scotsman fallacy anyway. Whatever libertarians claim to be, the term will be known for the people who lay claim to it.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:37 AM on May 22, 2010


Rand Paul cancels scheduled appearance on Meet the Press.

When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:29 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought the whole US civil-war thread was totally unrelated, but perhaps not.

Yeah, in my experience tends to be a correlation between people who are strong ideological libertarians and people who think Abraham Lincoln is history's greatest monster. I'm not really sure what's up with that, unless it's that "state's rights" folks tend to be drawn to libertarianism because it's a way to argue against federal intervention without sounding (as much) like racists.
posted by EarBucket at 7:35 AM on May 22, 2010


Is it worse A) to be a racist or; B) to not be a racist yet pander to racist views anyway? The first is ignorant; the second is almost evil.

Imma gonna step out on a limb here and say that pandering to racist views for political gain is in no way shape or form "almost" evil.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:48 AM on May 22, 2010


Apartheid-era South Africa called. It wants its (fiat) currency back.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:49 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Segregation: The Most-Successful and Longest-Running Denial of Service Attack in American History.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:50 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


my guess is that 100% of the commenters have never read the 1964 legislation. NP, include me too.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:10 AM on May 22, 2010


my guess is that 100% of the commenters have never read the 1964 legislation.

I've definitely read it. I wrote an encyclopedia article on it for the Encyclopedia of Minorities in American Politics. The Wikipedia article is a decent overview. Here's the text, it's not that difficult to figure out. The interesting part is that they used the "interstate commerce" issue to make this something that Congress could deal with [as opposed to leaving it up to states rights] which is why the restaurants and hotels are in there specifically.
posted by jessamyn at 8:27 AM on May 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


Anyone named after the best set of road maps on the market today can't be all that bad.

Oh, so Rand's legal name is Google Ron Paul?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:34 AM on May 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is his brothers name Tom Tom Paul?
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on May 22, 2010


Is it just me, or are Rand Paul's BP comments getting a lot more mainstream-media play than his civil-rights ones?
posted by box at 8:40 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are they really that much less deranged or saleable?
posted by Artw at 8:46 AM on May 22, 2010


It's not uncommon. The media generally acts as though vile racism is merely a mild character flaw, as if there were two sides to whether or not your skin color defines you as a person.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:14 AM on May 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The point where libertarianism fails is that it reduces all human relations and rights to property, commodities and transactions.

That's a very respectful way of saying that Libertarianism, well, just fails. You basically just said Libertarianism fails when it has to be applied to civilization. And you're right.

I'm starting to think Libertarianism is on the rise because of games like World of Warcraft, because that's really the only place where you can have a world that reduces human relations to what you just said and it still works. There's also, coincidentally enough, even more annoying people in that world running around demanding you keep buying gold.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:30 AM on May 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


WoW guilds are totally commie. They either use some form of DKP or Loot Council to make sure everyone gets an equal amount of gear for an equal amount of raiding time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:06 AM on May 22, 2010


Malor, it's not stupid if you're Native.


And oh the irony. Half this thread is a debate over what a bunch of genocidal assholes meant 250 years ago. Less than 100 years ago, within living memory in some cases, and arguably right up to this day, champions of "property rights" were stealing property owned for millennia from Native people. I'm not talking about a past more distant than those events beying weighed so heavily in this thread - the US constitution, slavery, the civil rights act.

But when it comes to genocide, oh well, how "stupid," it was all so very long ago.


Like I said, hypocrisy.

At least this thread has once again proved libertarans are not only infantile, but racists.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:11 AM on May 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


What Mr. Paul fails to understand is that institutional racism is not limited to the narrow definition he applies

I'd go farther than that. I have my doubts what's going on here is a blind spot when it comes to institutional racism. My observation is that many capital-L Libertarians seem to have trouble thinking about society in general institutionally or systemically. It's just something that takes care of itself, and private power isn't ever abused but instead is one aspect of liberty, and the only power to be feared is public/state power, and the most important right to be defended is property. If you think like that, insitutional racism isn't even going to be a blip on your radar, let alone something compromising the rights of private businesses for.

Unsurprisingly, when this view meets the realities of making social and economic policy, there is controversy.
posted by weston at 11:40 AM on May 22, 2010 [2 favorites]




I'd go farther than that. I have my doubts what's going on here is a blind spot when it comes to institutional racism. My observation is that many capital-L Libertarians seem to have trouble thinking about society in general institutionally or systemically. It's just something that takes care of itself, and private power isn't ever abused but instead is one aspect of liberty, and the only power to be feared is public/state power, and the most important right to be defended is property. If you think like that, insitutional racism isn't even going to be a blip on your radar, let alone something compromising the rights of private businesses for.

Good point, Weston. It's like you would think these people lived under tyranny at some point and want to limit the power of government no matter the price, failing to see that power will always concentrate itself in one way or another public, leading to tyranny or private, leading to oligarchy or a plutocracy (which eventually always leads back to the government being a useless rubber stamp for even greater concentrations of power, as I think this country has just suffered the excesses of that).

Also the blind spot you speak of, really resonates with Rand's behavior, which I've attributed to a fanatical zeal almost fundamentalist in it's interpretation of Libertarianism, as the end all be all, but I'm wondering now if perhaps his problem is that he suffers from autism.

From little I know about the condition, it seems to lend itself to these sorts of tone deaf tendencies. Just a thought.
posted by Skygazer at 12:19 PM on May 22, 2010


From Homunculus's link: Explaining the Rand Paul Disaster:

The second point, which gets directly to why Rand Paul is suddenly flailing, is that the local Kentucky media--in particular the newspapers, and especially the flagship Louisville Courier-Journal--has been decimated by job cuts, as has happened across the country. This came up several times in discussions with Kentucky politicos and local journalists. The reason it matters is that because there is no longer a healthy, aggressive press corps--and no David Yepson-type dean of political journalists--candidates don't run the same kind of gauntlet they once did. They're not challenged by journalists. And since voters aren't as well informed as they once were (many are "informed" in the sense of having strongly held views about all manner of things--they're just not "well informed"), they can't challenge the candidates either.

What a compelling argument for why aggressive professional local journalism is so crucial.
posted by Skygazer at 12:33 PM on May 22, 2010


Just a word on how the Judiciary works in the United States. The Supreme Court does not "rule by fiat." It decides appellate cases in "Fact and Law." As Sticherbeast mentioned above, this power is enumerated in Article III Section 2 of the Constitution.

In the case of Heart of Atlanta Motel vs the United States, Appellant, the owner of the Heart of Atlanta Motel, sued the United States to enjoin enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, "contending that the prohibition of racial discrimination in places of public accommodation affecting commerce exceeded Congress' powers under the Commerce Clause and violated other parts of the Constitution."

According to the cited finding, in appellate court, the Appellant made two arguments:
1) "that the Act violates the Fifth Amendment because appellant is deprived of the right to choose its customers and operate its business as it wishes, resulting in a taking of its liberty and property without due process of law and a taking of its property without just compensation;"

2) "that by requiring appellant to rent available rooms to Negroes against its will, Congress is subjecting it to involuntary servitude in contravention of the Thirteenth Amendment"

The statement of facts reads as follows:
"The case comes here on admissions and stipulated facts. Appellant owns and operates the Heart of Atlanta Motel which has 216 rooms available to transient guests. The motel is located on Courtland Street, two blocks from downtown Peachtree Street. It is readily accessible to interstate highways 75 and 85 and state highways 23 and 41. Appellant solicits patronage from outside the State of Georgia through various national advertising media, including magazines of national circulation; it maintains over 50 billboards and highway signs within the State, soliciting patronage for the motel; it accepts convention trade from outside Georgia and approximately 75% of its registered guests are from out of State. Prior to passage of the Act the motel had followed a practice of refusing to rent rooms to Negroes, and it alleged that it intended to continue to do so. In an effort to perpetuate that policy this suit was filed."


Hence, the Appellant engages in interstate commerce and has violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The remaining question is a question of "Law", as to whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exceeded the authority of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

"The sole question posed is, therefore, the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as applied to these facts. The legislative history of the Act indicates that Congress based the Act on 5 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as its power to regulate interstate commerce under Art. I, 8, cl. 3, of the Constitution. [379 U.S. 241, 250]

The Senate Commerce Committee made it quite clear that the fundamental object of Title II was to vindicate "the deprivation of personal dignity that surely accompanies denials of equal access to public establishments." At the same time, however, it noted that such an objective has been and could be readily achieved "by congressional action based on the commerce power of the Constitution." S. Rep. No. 872, supra, at 16-17. Our study of the legislative record, made in the light of prior cases, has brought us to the conclusion that Congress possessed ample power in this regard, and we have therefore not considered the other grounds relied upon. This is not to say that the remaining authority upon which it acted was not adequate, a question upon which we do not pass, but merely that since the commerce power is sufficient for our decision here we have considered it alone. Nor is 201 (d) or 202, having to do with state action, involved here and we do not pass upon either of those sections."

So, the Supreme Court, using its enumerated appellate authority to decide matters of "Law" under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, reviewed the legislative debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prior case law on the Interstate Commerce Clause and determined that ""Congress possessed ample power in this regard." The rest of the finding goes into detail about the legislative record and the judicial precedent. That said, given the attested statement of fact, it is also clear in this particular case that the Appellant was engaged in interstate commerce and therefore specifically under the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Clause.

As to the question of whether the Supreme Court could declare slavery constitution tomorrow, it could not. First, the Supreme Court can only make rulings on questions before the Court. In order for the Supreme Court to declare slavery legal, there would first have to be a constitution amendment repealing the 13th and 14th Amendments (probably several other Amendments). This is necessary since constitutional legal dictates that the Constitution over rules all other law. There would then have to be a state or federal law permitting slavery. That law would have to be challenged in court and the appeal would have to be heard by the Supreme Court. If all those things happened, then yes, the Supreme Court could rule slavery is constitutional, as it did in Dred Scott v. Sandford. The Supreme Court cannot rule that part of the Constitution is unconstitutional as that is not considered the basis for appeal under the legal system by definition (if it's in the Constitution, it's constitutional because the definition of constitutional is "it's in the Constitution" ). That in no way detracts from the Supreme Court's enumerated power of jurisdiction over appellate matters of ""Law" under Article III Section 2.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to be perfectly clear.
posted by chrisulonic at 1:32 PM on May 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's like you would think these people lived under tyranny at some point and want to limit the power of government no matter the price

I think they probably actually did. Well, sortof. What I really mean is that to some extent, I think a large part of what enables libertarian impulses as a viable political force in the context of our culture is that some people did at one time suffer to one degree or another under tyranny, and many people end up identifying themselves with the oppressed -- even when they didn't experience it personally. Totalitarian states have been threats beyond vague spectres during our lifetimes, and for all the scorn I think Ayn Rand deserves, it's worth remembering she fled one. And of course we all recognizing that the language surrounding the founding of the United States is clearly concerned with constraining state power -- which makes sense, as states probably were the most powerful kind of entity and perhaps the greatest threat to liberty at the time, while I suspect that circa 1790, the very concept of systemic threats to liberty that private/commercial empires with global reaches pose would have seemed incredible to even some forward and prescient thinkers.

So to the extent that ones conception of politics is driven by our founding myth and further shaped in contrast to our enemies of the 20th century, an obsession with scaling back state power actually seems to make some sense. Add a dash of tax resentment and it's not hard to see where it finds a purchase.

Fortunately, I don't think libertarianism or even its brother tea-party conservatism is anywhere near the kind of plurality it'd need to be a threat. But this sortof obsession with state power and blind spot towards non-state institutions is a bit more pervasive threat, and if my analysis is correct, the thing to do about is to figure out how to get people to think about politics outside of those frames. The specifics I'm not sure of or I could be making bank and a difference as a crack political consultant. :)
posted by weston at 3:32 PM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


This site does political nuance so well.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 4:41 PM on May 22, 2010


Almost as well as it does sarcasm.
posted by ODiV at 6:42 PM on May 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Further on my purported "stupidity," malor may have misunderstood my point. As much as I'd like to see most of the US handed back over to Native American governance, my point was much simpler. Libertarian ideologues, like several in this thread, act as if the US constitution was some sort of originary font of liberty, an inviolable text above even interpretation or revision by the supreme court, and above even moral critique for its original and many flaws (of which slavery is only the most egregious, or need I remind folks that the "founders" [lol] also argued that only male property owners were voters in our so-called "democracy.") It's as if the US constitution were the Holy Word of God, the Received Knowledge of the Ages, and transparently a revolution in human freedom. It's none of those things. It's a piece of fucking paper signed by a bunch of white male property "owners" who themselves rejected the received legacy of their own government and waged a civil war (now called a "revolution") while they were in the process of carrying forward a genocidal campaign of theft and murder of people who had perfectly legitimate sovereign claim to the lands Americans now occupy as if they owned them. It's worth about as much as any 250 year old piece of paper, including the thousands of broken treaties signed in good faith by Native American tribes at exactly the same time and for two centuries thereafter. Which is to say, it's worth nothing unless it is subject to moral critique and a serious effort to hold "the founders" accountable for their actual actions, using their own high-flown words of liberty and justice and freedom against their legacy of murder and slavery and disenfranchisement.

And again, the major point is that there is nothing about the US constitution or system of laws and governance that is so sacred it cannot be subject to revision and moral critique, given that it was a document forged on the anvil of rank hypocrisy and racism and genocide. To assert that there can be no rethinking the "original intent" of our "founding fathers" (words I find disgusting in their usual meaning) in light of the moral lessons of subsequent history, and to dismiss *contemporaneous* examples of the limits, flaws, omissions, and hypocrisies of the world view of the men who wrote the constitution is to deny the fact that those men were actual historical figures, their words no more sacred than the words of the treaties they and their heirs broke with impunity for the next two centuries. (I'd say, right up to this day, but then I spend a lot of time documenting and observing the consequences of their hypocrisy as an anthropologist who works in Native communities).

The "founders" were libertarians too. Once they got theirs, it was screw everyone else who gave up what they had to enrich the white, male property owners who called themselves "Americans."

Get it?

As for this:

This site does political nuance so wel

Well, one thing it does well, at least in political threads, is reveal the racists and ideologues in our midst, and help people like me populate our killfile for the future. I've added three names to mine already in this thread.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:36 PM on May 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Malor: After all, just ask the Native Americans... we didn't respect their property, and look where they are today. A terrible abuse of property rights all but destroyed entire peoples, and somehow that justifies abusing property rights now?

I'm not sure how it is that you think what we brought upon the indigenous people of this continent was just a case of "terrible abuse of property rights," which would assume that we believed that the indigenous people had property rights to begin with. As Andrew Jackson put it, "Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstance and ere long disappear." That sounds like a little more than a property rights dispute.
posted by blucevalo at 11:01 PM on May 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


This site does political nuance so well.

One thing the Metafilter site does an even better job of is calling out ignorant bullshitters, who specifically know nothing about what they are trying to bullshit others about.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:16 PM on May 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Malor, it's not stupid if you're Native.

If there's any group in the world that should champion strong property rights, it's the Native Americans. They can point to themselves as the best example of what happens when the majority thinks you shouldn't be allowed to keep what you own.

It was a profound failure on America's part to keep to those ideals, but pointing to that awful outcome, and using that as a reason to say that the ideals don't matter, is about as wrongheaded as anything I can imagine.
posted by Malor at 11:30 PM on May 22, 2010


Who the hell is saying "the ideals don't matter?" I am saying the "ideals" weren't even close to honored in the moment or in the present. The ideals matter in their breach, and that's my point.

Where -- specifically -- did I say "the ideals don't matter?" The question is whose ideals, and what an "ideal" means if it is meaningless as a guide to practice.

You're creating a straw man to avoid admitting you misunderstood my point. Your rejoinder, at first, was that all this happened so long ago that if we tried to go back and address past injustices, nothing would ever move forward. (I believe the exact opposite.) I am saying all this happened at exactly the same time as your so-called "ideals" were being codified by people who extended these "ideals" only to other people of their own "race," and denying them to others because of their "race." The genocide of Native peoples shares this exact hypocritical structure with slavery. I am precisely saying the "ideals" matter a great deal, and that it's evident those "ideals" were limited in their historical application. You can't *argue from first principles* as if first principles were a point of original perfection from which we have since fallen when the entire historical record shows otherwise, and Blazecock Pileon makes the other point, which is that reducing the history of genocide practiced in the name of said "ideals" to a disrespect for property rights is absurd in the first place.

And maybe you could learn something. Native Americans most certainly do "champion strong property rights." That's why they are suing to recover their traditional sovereignty and homelands, after having been driven by force into tiny pockets of unproductive land white men didn't want (until they did and drove Natives off again and again while reducing their territory with relentless cruelty and the full on abuse of the pretense to making "contracts" (or "treaties") with Native peoples. Libertarianism is not all about property rights; it also places a high value on the sanctity of contracts. Once again, the supposed "libertarian" roots of the American state are exposed as historical bullshit, since breaking contracts (and stealing land, and killing innocent men, women, and children, and spreading fatal diseases) were the primary modus operandi of white expansionism and imperialism.

My point is that the constitution and its authors are not sacred. Period. They can be criticized. Their ideals can be challenged. The law can be held accountable to those "ideals" that deserve to stand. History teaches us the moral consequences of absolutist discourses about "rights" conjoined to the abuse of those rights.

You like throwing around insults, too bad you can't do better with arguments instead. I for one find you to be more than a little "wrongheaded" (and damned rude) a lot of the time, but have (until now) thought better of saying so. But fuck it, all bets are off when you repeatedly throw out harsh insults rather than cogent arguments.

You're some sort of finance person, as I recall.

I hold a PhD and am a widely published tenured professor at a world-class university who has devoted years to working on the specific topic of Native American conceptions of ownership and property -- the precise topic of my work in recent years -- working in Native communities in the Arctic and Southwest. You want to call me "wrongheaded?" Fine, prove it by actually refuting my real arguments. Furiously whipping out straw man after straw man and throwing around insults like "stupid" and "wrongheaded" merely performs your closed little belief system, not any intellectually superior force of argument on your behalf.

You're not worth the effort to debate. Like most of the so-called libertarians in this thread, you speak from no particular real world experience relevant to any of this debate, nor any training in the law, nor any expertise in the fields of scholarship being invoked so blithely and wrongly by several of your kin here. You just know what you believe (and haven't made a substantial case for any of it yet) and shout down anything that challenges that cozy littler sealed-up ideology you cherish with insulting names.

I don't really care what you think about me. I do care to set the record straight. I am not at all opposed to strong property laws. I just know for a fact that there were already strong property laws in place in 1491 throughout the Americas, which were utterly ignored, discounted, denied, and destroyed by the force of arms by people who claimed to be spreading "freedom" and "liberty" and "property rights" for their own parasitic kind. Pardon me if I don't treat their self-justifying "principles" as sacred. I've seen much more sacred expressions of property rights up close, and they come with the obligation to steward the land in common trust for future generations. Your system gave us BP's destruction of the Gulf of Mexico. The one I am speaking of allowed many societies to co-exist in relative harmony and in sustainable ways for millennia before white men with their selfish equation of "their property rights" with "the right to destroy other people's livelihoods and lives."

Stupid indeed. Wrongheaded without a doubt. Hypocritical in the extreme. Ask Rand Paul if he things Kentucky should belong to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and the Shawnee, since they held the property rights to most of the land in Kentucky for centuries before whitey showed up. Gee, I wonder what he'd say. Libertarian my ass.

And you are killfilled. Enough of you.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:24 AM on May 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Better yet, ask Rand Paul if he supports freeing Leonard Peltier, who was after all a freedom fighter defending his tribe's traditional property rights, and has spent his life in a white man's jail for it.

What do you suppose he'd say?
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:30 AM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Here's an "ideal" for you: "we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal."

When has the United States *ever* -- up to the present day -- honored that "ideal?" Of course it matters. What matters is that the "ideal" was a smokescreen for racism. The civil rights movement, the civil war, the struggles of Native Americans for sovereignty are all attempts to *hold* the United States to its stated "ideals" precisely *because* they matter (and Madison and Jefferson didn't invent those "ideals" either, nor did western culture).

What this shows us is that you can't substitute "ideals" for the true facts of history. The origin of our American current property rights regime (or the one libertarians imagine in their wet dreams, anyway) is as a justification for theft. That's why they were written down. That's how they were applied. Even to call them "ideals" rather than "rationalizations" given their history of being observed in the breach is an insult, and a stupid, wrongheaded one at that.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:47 AM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


And one last before I am done with this thread -- it was blucevalo, not blazecock, who made the point to which I referred above. (Both of you are some of my favorite mefites!)

Done. I don't have time to debate people who don't argue in good faith or with accountability to historical facts. I'm going hunting on (truly, since the tribe I'm with was never driven from their land and still subsists on it only because white men didn't realize they wanted it until oil was discovered here and by a time when Natives actually had a fighting chance in the courts of keeping what was already theirs) sovereign native land tomorrow, with friends who believe that owning property is not incompatible with socializing its bounty, even to white men like me -- or the Pilgrims. That's where they went wrong in the past; believing white men were men of "ideals" and "principles" with whom property could be shared rather than thieves spouting highfalutin' bullshit about their supposed "ideals" of freedom and property rights and "equality" as they did their stealing and killing.

And go Conway. Rand Paul deserves to be crushed into the dirt of history.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:59 AM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've probably been "killfiled", whatever that might mean, but I just can't resist replying to your self righteous rant. Leonard Peltier, a freedom fighter? Seriously? This is pretty much the creme de la creme of lunatic left sophistry. Next thing I know you'll be telling us that Mumia Abu-Jamal is only a community activist.

From the testimony of Darlene Nichols in the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud (02/2004), who was being tried for the murder of Indian activist Annie Mae Aquash:

A. We were sitting one day at the table in this motor home. Anna Mae was sitting by me and my sister was on the other side, and Dennis was standing in the aisle, and Leonard was sitting on this side, he alternated between sitting and standing. And he started talking about June 26, and he put his hand like this and started talking about the two FBI agents.

Q. What did he say?

MR. RENSCH: Objection, more prejudicial than probative. And hearsay.

THE COURT: Well, that is overruled. But what he said is hearsay, but it is received not for the truth of the matter stated, received only for a limited purpose, go ahead.

BY MR. McMAHON:.

Q. Tell the Court as best you remember exactly what he said?

A. Exactly what he said.

Q. Exactly what he said?

A. He said the motherfucker was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway.

Corroborated in the testimony of Bernie Lafferty.

There's your "freedom fighter".

I don't know what you're hunting today. But if it's big game and you need to trail it, instead of playing great white hunter, when you catch up to your game and if it's still breathing when you're standing over it, you can pretend to be Leonard Peltier.

Best of luck out there.

P.S. What do I think Rand Paul would say with respect to granting Peltier amnesty? I haven't given it any thought. That's because there's only one adult position on this "issue" and that is refusing to accept it as any kind of substantive issue in the first place.
posted by BigSky at 7:11 AM on May 23, 2010


What do you think is entailed in being a freedom fighter, BigSky?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:06 AM on May 23, 2010


What do you think is entailed in being a freedom fighter, BigSky?

Violence, no question about it. The distinction between freedom fighter and insurgent is partisan. Using one term or the other comes down to picking a side. And I don't see anything about Leonard Peltier's actions (or A.I.M.'s actions for that matter, in this incident) deserving of my sympathy.
posted by BigSky at 8:33 AM on May 23, 2010


Obviously, freedom fighters never kill people who are begging for their lives. They only moustache-twirling villains who speak only to announce their allegiance to evil, and then they go home and cry about having to do it. And really the villains are probably thankful for it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:33 AM on May 23, 2010


If there's any group in the world that should champion strong property rights, it's the Native Americans.

Not according to the people who took their "property rights" away from them in the first place. Or, in point of fact, denied that they ever had ANY rights, to their property, their humanity, their lives, or anything else.

Your willful refusal to acknowledge that centuries of United States official policy that enshrined removal and extermination of indigenous people was anything more than a property rights dispute, and your added attempts to use those centuries of policy to make comparisons with ANY "private property dispute" that may exist in the United States today, are truly repugnant. As is your calling the effect of the policy something that was merely "an awful outcome," as though it were an impersonal roll of the dice that could never have been (as was never fought to be) prevented, by actual human beings who put their lives on the line.
posted by blucevalo at 8:45 AM on May 23, 2010


Where in the list of disgusting atrocities committed against Native people by American "heroes" shall we begin? How about General Custer? I wonder if we can imagine a courtroom transcript where he explained why it was cool to shoot toddlers and burn women and babies alive?



Comparing Peltier to Mumia is absurd.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:50 AM on May 23, 2010


I don't know what you're hunting today. But if it's big game and you need to trail it, instead of playing great white hunter, when you catch up to your game and if it's still breathing when you're standing over it, you can pretend to be Leonard Peltier.

What?
posted by blucevalo at 9:02 AM on May 23, 2010


Man, this is a weird thread.
posted by EarBucket at 9:03 AM on May 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


And do you suppose any of the non-combatant Natives killed by Andrew Jackson, George Custer, or Davy fucking Crockett never begged for their lives? Because we call those murderers "heroes" to this day.

Not to even mention what the FBI did at Pine Ridge.

I was hunting birds, not big game (that's later this summer). If you eat slaughterhouse meat, check your hypocrisy, because it's showing. Death sucks for the dying. Almost anyone about to be killed will beg for his life, even the most hardened criminal or soldier. You choose to fight and come ready to kill? You might be killed whether you beg or not.

"Freedom" might be a lovely "ideal" in the abstract. It's damn bloody business to defend, sometimes.


Free Leonard Peltier, or jail every last cop who ever shot an unarmed and innocent person, and let's call it even. Don't you think Amadou Diallo begged for his life as he reached for his wallet?

41 shots.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:06 AM on May 23, 2010


THIS THREAD BECAME BAD
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:07 AM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Comparing Peltier to Mumia is absurd.

I don't see it, and furthermore there's only the slightest of differences between them and a man like Andreas Baader.

Where in the list of disgusting atrocities committed against Native people by American "heroes" shall we begin? How about General Custer? I wonder if we can imagine a courtroom transcript where he explained why it was cool to shoot toddlers and burn women and babies alive?

I can not and will not defend any of the Indian killers. You don't need to convince me that many of the heroes of the American West were similar in their actions and dispositions to genocidal killers of other regimes throughout history; that's a given. I admitted as much earlier in the thread.

The world view and morality of the people who found a state is different from the following generations. The principles of liberty and inherent rights are not real in some cosmic sense, they're just cultural assumptions we use after we've secured the desired resources. This isn't a justification, it's a description. Given that, now what? My own answer is shaped by the belief that the citizens of a state need to believe in their own righteousness and moral superiority.

And do you suppose any of the non-combatant Natives killed by Andrew Jackson, George Custer, or Davy fucking Crockett never begged for their lives? Because we call those murderers "heroes" to this day.

Look, I get it. I really do. The list of merciless Indian killers is long. Jack "Coffee" Hays and his men were very brave fighters, but God alone knows what the early Texas Rangers did when they came upon a Commanche settlement. No one is claiming that there has been a perfect historical correspondence between word and deed. That's a different issue entirely from stressing the importance of continued fidelity to the founding principles.

I was hunting birds, not big game (that's later this summer). If you eat slaughterhouse meat, check your hypocrisy, because it's showing. Death sucks for the dying. Almost anyone about to be killed will beg for his life, even the most hardened criminal or soldier. You choose to fight and come ready to kill? You might be killed whether you beg or not.

I'm not proposing that there can be some sort of world free of coercion, but rather indicating that there is nothing noble about Leonard Peltier. Jack Coler and Ronald Williams were ambushed and as they lay dying, from close range Peltier shot them some more. I'm hardly a fan of law enforcement, especially federal law enforcement, but writing "You choose to fight and come ready to kill?" is portraying them like an SS squad patrolling a Jewish ghetto.

"Freedom" might be a lovely "ideal" in the abstract. It's damn bloody business to defend, sometimes.

And as Libertarians know, most people really don't want freedom. It means standing up for the rights of people whose actions you find offensive. If everyone's actions met universal approval, freedom would be a moot issue.

But what you probably mean is that advocating for freedom is equivalent to active oppression in the present, and I couldn't disagree more. It's more accurate to say that freedom does not fit in with a radically egalitarian program that conflates oppression with the unequal distribution of resources.

Free Leonard Peltier, or jail every last cop who ever shot an unarmed and innocent person, and let's call it even. Don't you think Amadou Diallo begged for his life as he reached for his wallet?

This is just ridiculous. Despite the heinous horseshit in this thread of Libertarian = closet racist, do you really think that I or pretty much any other Libertarian, regard the killing of Amadou Diallou as anything but a horrible tragedy?
posted by BigSky at 12:14 PM on May 23, 2010


But another responsibility is to engage in discussion in good faith.

Calling people who disagree with you mentally ill and suggesting they take their meds is good faith?

If there's any group in the world that should champion strong property rights, it's the Native Americans

It's good Native Amercians have got you to tell them what they should think. However would they work it out for themselves?
posted by rodgerd at 12:29 PM on May 23, 2010


Comparing Peltier to Mumia is absurd.

Of course it is absurd. Invoking the comparison is a diversion, a logical fallacy called a red herring.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:56 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, after a few days' thought, it seems to be that the solution for this is pretty basic:

Sure, business owners are (in Rand Paul's view) allowed to discriminate according to their whims. And the government is bound to non-discrimination by the Civil Rights Act.

Okay, well, the government has to issue business licenses to anyone doing business. And any business which has a verifiable record of discrimination just simply has their business license revoked, because the government is bound to non-discrimination.

If you want to do a meager, under-the-table business, then great. Keep anyone out that you wish. But if you want to be legitimate enough to actually hang a shingle and reap the benefits of being "part of the business community", then you have to abide by the rules of the licensing agency, which include non-discrimination.
posted by hippybear at 2:19 PM on May 23, 2010


Wow, this thread took a strange turn in the last day.
posted by octothorpe at 3:11 PM on May 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


My own answer is shaped by the belief that the citizens of a state need to believe in their own righteousness and moral superiority.

So what do you think Native Americans should believe? And if they don't believe what you think they should believe, what does that say about their righteousness and superiority or lack thereof?
posted by blucevalo at 4:03 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


So what do you think Native Americans should believe? And if they don't believe what you think they should believe, what does that say about their righteousness and superiority or lack thereof?

What Native Americans believe about the moral stature of the United States is going to be partially dependent on the degree to which they assimilate. I'm not looking to tell them or anyone else what they should believe, nor am I interested in making a judgment on that belief.

Perhaps you're trying to point out that they have the facts on their side? OK, but so what? No one's presenting evidence to some tribunal in the sky. Citizens' belief in the morality of the nation's origin is about a need to feel deserving and justified and that's all. The actual truth of the myth is a relatively minor consideration. That's why upthread I said it's an interesting point but somewhat academic.
posted by BigSky at 5:01 PM on May 23, 2010


Perhaps you're trying to point out that they have the facts on their side? OK, but so what?

Ahh, the American conservative slogan.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:11 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


So it might be off-topic at this point, but back to Rand Paul:

JAKE TAPPER: Fair enough, but just one more -- one more beat on Rand Paul, and that is do you condemn that point of view? I mean, where would African-Americans be if the federal government hadn't come in and said, hotels, you have to--

MICHAEL STEELE: Exactly. That's very much a part of the debate back in the '60s, as it is going forward. But the reality of it is, our party has stood four-square behind, you know--

JT: But do you condemn that view?

MS: I can't condemn a person's view. That's like, you know, you believe something and I'm going to say, well, you know, I'm going to condemn your view of it. It's the people of Kentucky will judge whether or not that's a view that they would like to send--

JT: Are you comfortable with that?

MS: I am not comfortable with a lot of things, but it doesn't matter what I'm comfortable with and not comfortable with. I don't vote in that election.


Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, can't condemn the view that restaurants should be allowed to ban black customers.
posted by EarBucket at 6:42 PM on May 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


As he's said, "It doesn't matter what I'm comfortable with and not comfortable with."

All that matters is the GOP and the number of seats that they are able to gain in the House and Senate in November.
posted by blucevalo at 7:36 PM on May 23, 2010


After all, just ask the Native Americans... we didn't respect their property, and look where they are today. A terrible abuse of property rights all but destroyed entire peoples, and somehow that justifies abusing property rights now?

My mind is still boggling. I'm gonna let that one float away and dissolve in the wind ...

strong property rights are an absolute linchpin of liberty.

...

Libertarianism is not all about property rights

I always take comfort in the fact that the first "libertarian" believed in the abolition of "personal property, property in land, buildings, workshops, shops, property in anything that is an instrument of work, production or consumption" and that libertarianism basically equals anarcho-communism.

I would like to see Rand Paul wrestle Joe Dejacque. Or Joe the plumber.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:57 AM on May 24, 2010




libertarianism basically equals anarcho-communism

It still does outside the US.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:10 AM on May 24, 2010


In January, 1990 Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. published "The Case for Paleo-libertarianism" in Liberty magazine. In it he wrote that the “conservative crack-up presents an historic opportunity for the libertarian movement” to unite with conservatives but only if “libertarianism is deloused” of those who believe in “freedom from cultural norms, religion, bourgeois morality, and social authority.” Citing drug use by libertarians and the nomination of a prostitute as the California Libertarian Party candidate for lieutenant governor, Rockwell asserted that “the only way to sever libertarianism’s link with libertinism is with a cleansing debate.” Assailing alleged “hatred of western culture,” he asserted that “pornographic photography, ‘free’-thinking, chaotic painting, atonal music, deconstructionist literature, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films have nothing in common with the libertarian political agenda - no matter how much individual libertarians may revel in them” and stated “we obey, and we ought to obey, traditions of manners and taste.” After explaining why cultural conservatives could make a better argument for liberty to the middle classes, Rockwell predicted “in the new movement, libertarians who personify the present corruption will sink to their natural level, as will the Libertarian Party, which has been their diabolic pulpit.” [via]
posted by blucevalo at 10:04 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lew Rockwell is tight with Ron Paul, and his combination of hardcore right-wing social advocacy with his popularity as a Libertarian commentator is part of the absurdity of Libertarians' claims to represent a third way.

My favorite of his columns comes from a few years ago about the Patriot Act, in which Rockwell wrote that he had never before thought that threats to liberty might come from the right. Truly, a great mind and keen observer.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:33 AM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]




pornographic photography, ‘free’-thinking, chaotic painting, atonal music, deconstructionist literature, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films have nothing in common with the libertarian political agenda

It's true. I would totally vote for a candidate who endorsed chaotic painting and atonal music.
posted by box at 12:20 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rockwell asserted that “the only way to sever libertarianism’s link with libertinism is with a cleansing debate.” Assailing alleged “hatred of western culture,” he asserted that “pornographic photography, ‘free’-thinking, chaotic painting, atonal music, deconstructionist literature, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films

You know who else believed in cleansing free-think(ing)ers, chaotic painting, atonal music, Bauhaus architecture, and modernist films? I mean, really; that fruit hangs so low it practically picks itself.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:34 PM on May 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I suddenly want to know what Rockwell thinks of abortion and smoking.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:47 PM on May 24, 2010


Oh, and about that elevator story (which he has told at least twice now) "Paul's "understanding" about the ADA is wrong."

All in Their Heads
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on May 24, 2010




They didn't really ask Palin gotcha questions either - she'd just been surrounded entirely by sycophants until that point.
posted by Artw at 3:12 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]




Conservatives, Including Rand Paul, Disagree With Palin’s Claim That Maddow Asked Paul ‘Gotcha’ Questions.

To Palin, every question is a "gotcha". A staffer on the campaign trail asked her once what she wanted for breakfast and she went insane about how the media is out to get her.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 PM on May 24, 2010


A staffer on the campaign trail asked her once what she wanted for breakfast and she went insane about how the media is out to get her Lucky Charms
posted by octobersurprise at 6:03 AM on May 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is pretty much the creme de la creme of lunatic left sophistry.

Um... what?

I get that you don't agree with him being classed as a freedom fighter - fair enough. But putting things like that seems to imply that there is a lot of "lunatic left sophistry" out there of which this is the worst example. As if the "lunatic left" were a very big part of the left, or left wing people were more likely to be sophists than right wing people.

In my experience, there are far more lunatics and sophists on the right, nowadays.

Talking about the left as if it were a bunch of far out crazies just seems to be pandering to the right wing attempt to control how people speak - a strategy laid out by Newt Gingrich, here.
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:29 AM on May 25, 2010


We can't really blame the media for going after the Lucky Charms, though. They are magically delicious, after all.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:39 AM on May 25, 2010


I suddenly want to know what Rockwell thinks of abortion and smoking.

He always feels like somebody's watching him.

No, wait, you probably mean the other guy--George Lincoln Rockwell.
posted by box at 10:14 AM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


From Homunculus' link:
Paul said the voters’ message was to “get rid of the power people, the people who run the show, the people who think they’re above everybody else” — or, as he put it on an earlier occasion, the establishment who “from their high-rise penthouse” look down on and laugh at the “American rabble.”

That Paul gave his victory speech in a “members only” country club is no contradiction to white Tea Partiers.
I have no words.....
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:39 PM on May 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


The first thing we'll do on victory is empty the cities, so that those effete city-dwelling motherfuckers can learn how to get their hands dirty and do some real work, goddammit. Yeah, you'll work hard with a gun in your back for a bowl of rice a day...
posted by kaibutsu at 12:14 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]




The new Rasmussen poll has Paul up by eight points, 49-41. That seems a lot more plausible to me than their previous 25-point margin.
posted by EarBucket at 9:18 AM on June 2, 2010


(More consistent with other pollsters' takes on the race, as well.)
posted by EarBucket at 9:18 AM on June 2, 2010


The Kentucky Senate, reacting to a divisive comment by Republican Rand Paul, has adopted a resolution declaring any form of discrimination to be inconsistent with American values.

How fucking much do people have to find you embarrassing that Kentucky will come out against discrimination just to distance themselves from you? CRY LIKE A LITTLE GIRL, RAND!
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:22 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]




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