Rand Paul on the CRA
Interviewer: But under your philosophy, it would be OK for Dr. King not to be served at the counter at Woolworths?

Paul: I would not go to that Woolworths, and I would stand up in my community and say that it is abhorrent, um, but, the hard part--and this is the hard part about believing in freedom--is, if you believe in the First Amendment, for example--you have too, for example, most good defenders of the First Amendment will believe in abhorrent groups standing up and saying awful things. . . . It's the same way with other behaviors. In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people, who have abhorrent behavior.

Rand is 100% correct- while the public provisions of the CRA are laudable, the government has no right to tell anyone what they can't do with regards to their own private property when they aren't directly injuring someone. Segregation is ugly, but even uglier is putting a gun to people's heads and telling them they can't discriminate on this basis or that. That has led directly to our current awful race-based spoils system. The proper response to offensive behavior is boycotts. If someone opens a restaurant with a sign saying "Whites Only" you should refuse to eat there. You should not bring a gov't truncheon to beat him into submission to your views, any more than if someone says "That Obama sure is an idiot."

Why does our democratic republic prosper? The answer lies mostly in the fact we are a marketplace of ideas, moving closer and closer to essential truths through constant free debate and accumulation of knowledge. For a very long time it was widely believed the races and sexes and sexual orientations had radically different capabilities. As late as the 1950s racialist theories held wide sway, and as late as the 1970s homosexuality was still officially considered a mental disorder. We have moved past all that, not by government fiat against crimethink but through the exercise of free speech.

Some claim this is an issue of rights, but your rights don't extend to forcing other people to do things they don't want to. You have the right to pursue happiness; that says nothing about forcing me to pass you the baton on your way. Racists get to pursue happiness too, in their flawed and hateful way. And again, economics comes into play here. If I don't serve, rent to, or hire qualified minorities and you do, I have inflicted an economic penalty on myself and you will prosper while I falter as a result of my ignorance.

By saying various behaviors that do not injure people are illegal, you are essentially saying people are only allowed to do what the government says they can do (as opposed to being able to do anything that does not injure someone else, with government as the enforcer of your rights against injury). That is inconsistent with liberty, and a slippery slope to the kind of majoritarian tyranny that has led to mass graves in the lifetimes of many alive today.

The most pernicious effect of all this is on the minority communities themselves. Economies grow and quality of life improves because a free market economy creates incentives to better serve your fellows, thus creating efficiencies. To the extent we remove or reduce those incentives, we also reduce the resultant improvement in our lives. Because of quotas, a typical scenario in many cities involves a company bringing in a minority figurehead who literally does nothing but prove the company is "minority-owned." How much qualification do you think that job requires? What incentives does that create? What lesson does it teach minority communities?

Much the same can be said of "affirmative action" programs in college admissions to "promote diversity." What they are actually promoting is incompetence. When you tell a group of people "Hey, it's not your fault you don't achieve as well, here let us even that out with some extra points" you are also reducing incentives for the group as a whole to improve relative to other groups - their lack of achievement is no longer being penalized, but instead subsidized. As with all subsidies, that will change the decisions individuals make -- when you subsidize failure, you get more failure. And at the same time, you are telling others "Sorry, it doesn't matter that you achieved success, we are taking Person X who achieved less because his skin is a different color" which is not just anti-meritocratic but makes that innocent person a victim of racial discrimination.

The most ironic thing in all this is that today, we have as much racial discrimination as in the 1960s -- as blessed by statute as Jim Crow, in the name of equality, and widely supported. We are no more a meritocracy than we were before the CRA. These programs only replace "bad" racism by individual choice with "good" racism enabled by gov't, a path fraught with danger as government programs never seem to end, and "good" is always in the ever-shifting eye of the beholder.

posted by Dave on 05.21.10 at 04:48 PM










Comments

"...The answer lies mostly in the fact we are a marketplace of ideas, moving closer and closer to essential truths through constant free debate and accumulation of knowledge. For a very long time it was widely believed the races and sexes and sexual orientations had radically different capabilities. As late as the 1950s racialist theories held wide sway, and as late as the 1970s homosexuality was still officially considered a mental disorder. We have moved past all that, not by government fiat against crimethink but through the exercise of free speech..."

Well.... These theories were never really disproved. The race theories were ripped out of the text books because of the holocaust, combined with constant brainwashing in public schools to make sure racism is seen as the greatest evil imaginable. It's not like evolution stopped working ~70,000 years ago when the last common ancestor lived. The black/white achievement gap hasn't budged since the CRA was signed, and any area of the world that is over 90% black is impoverished.

If you believe in evolution, then homosexuality must be a mental illness because it doesn't result in reproduction (life's ultimate purpose.) It was removed because homosexuals extorted the psychologists, not on it's merits.

Democracy is a form of government that dispenses equality to equals and unequals alike, after all.

TomSwift   ·  May 24, 2010 2:04 PM

I think you're confusing race and culture there, which is easy to do because they correlate strongly. It's more accurate to say ALL non-Western cultures are impoverished, just as they always have been for thousands of years; Western wealth is itself a very new and strange condition.

However, one can identify wealthy, Westernized cultures that are not poor (e.g. Japan, South Korea) who have neighbors of similar race or even identical ethnicity (e.g. North Korea) who are impoverished. The achievement gap between races in the U.S. is miniscule compared to the achievement gap between American citizens and citizens of African countries.

As for homosexuality -- by that logic, we could also say masturbating, using a condom, or any sexual activity not intended to procreate were mental illnesses -- and in fact, this was a common view up until the 20th century, mostly because life was very hard then (child mortality was very high, and birth control was difficult) and a culture's survival required self-discipline and of course lots of children. Most of the reasons we no longer observe the old sexual taboos stem from the relative ease of our lives rather that a great moral insight, but they do represent a superior organizing principle in terms of overall utility (personal and societal) given our situation.

TallDave   ·  May 25, 2010 10:13 AM

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