Bruce Bartlett suggests that Paul is a long way from Barry Goldwater on Civil Rights:
"I don't believe Rand is a racist; I think he is a fool who is suffering from the foolish consistency syndrome that affects all libertarians. They believe that freedom consists of one thing and one thing only--freedom from governmental constraint. Therefore, it is illogical to them that any increase in government power could ever expand freedom. Yet it is clear that African Americans were far from free in 1964 and that the Civil Rights Act greatly expanded their freedom while diminishing that of racists. To defend the rights of racists to discriminate is reprehensible and especially so when it is done by a major party nominee for the U.S. Senate. I believe that Rand should admit that he was wrong as quickly as possible."I agree. I think Rand is not an open racist, merely someone so stupid he thinks that desegregation or equality would happen in a libertarian paradise.
Paul, himself, is arguing that this is just the product of liberal criticism and talking points. (Rand Paul Fires Back at Critics of Civil Rights Act Comments - ABC News). I have no doubt that Democratic operatives have rubbed their hands in glee. After all, it is rare that a candidate offers such an opportunity. But this is more in line with the rest of his poorly thought-out policy arguments. The American Prospect blog noted this response to a question about how to help people in poorer districts in Kentucky:
TAPPED Archive | The American Prospect: "Maybe we lift people up in eastern Kentucky by giving them a tax holiday for a year, you know. You have to have jobs coming from businessmen and women. And maybe have no taxes in counties that have fifteen percent unemployment. See if you can get people working again."As that blogger noted, it might be hard to provide basic public services to those counties. How do they pick up trash, repair roads, provide clean drinking water, staff hospitals and libraries, and pay for police? This is not a coherent philosophy, but one based in some kind of magical fantasy land where market faeries make corrections.
The fact is that we have tried the libertarian approach before. We had unregulated industry that put kids in mines. We had mine owners pouring mine waste into rivers and oceans. We had a clear two-tiered system with poorly paid and exploited workers (with no protections against accident or disability) and those on the top making millions and millions. It is ridiculous to argue for that kind of approach to business, and insane to assume that removing all those external holds will produce a good outcome.
This is not a coherent nor realistic approach to governing. Not even close.