This post first appeared on Hullabaloo.
Rand Paul used to write letters to the editor. Greg Sargent has them:
In a 1983 letter about the Equal Rights Amendment to The Lariat, the paper at Baylor University, Paul wondered whether government should pass any laws to combat discrimination:
Should we enact laws that say "Thou shall not be prejudiced in business transactions," and then hope that the courts interpret such laws in a rational manner? Or should moral questions such as discrimination remain with the individual? Should we preach in order to bring about change, or should we compel?
In that same letter, Paul also offered a rebuttal to a professor who had argued for equality of wages regardless of gender:
Equality? Since when have any two people ever been equal?...
Have you some magical equation to determine equality in work? The answer must of necessity be a resounding "no!" Equality is a thing of the mind, originated, conceived and promulgated on a subjective basis.
However, Paul made it clear that he opposes discrimination in any form, arguing that "all must agree that bigoted discrimination is detrimental to the peaceful interaction of different sexes and races in the marketplace." And he held out hope for the advancement of women, but through "voluntary cooperation."
"Women inhabit virtually every sphere of our economic lives without the ERA," Paul wrote. "Change comes slowly, but it does come."
Back in the day the bigots were always lugubriously lecturing everyone that "you can't legislate morality" so there's nothing new there. (When it comes to bedroom habits, you'll notice they have a slightly different standard.)
Paul was clearly a very romantic young fellow, in love with idea of Supermen and the women who loved them, as many Rand fans were and are. But I haven't known very many libertarians or Randians who spent quite as much time worrying about civil rights as he has. They are usually a bit more abstract than this and certainly don't aim their commentary at this aspect of "government intrusion" as much as Paul has done for the past 25 years. It's fairly unusual.
As for his generous prediction that "change comes slowly, but it does come" well -- only a man steeped in straight, male, white privilege would have the nerve to tell blacks, women, gays etc. that to their faces. Whose life are you condemning to second class citizen status until all of your pals decide it's time to "grant them" equal rights, Rand? (I'll give you Martin Luther King
for a thousand, Alex.)
I'm no fan of Atlas Shrugged
philosophy, as regular readers of this blog surely know. But Rand is beyond Rand, I'm afraid. He may be attracted to the laissez-faire
message for any number of reasons, but it's fairly clear that one of the reasons he likes it so much is because it gives him a way to excuse bigotry. Considering his father's history on this, it isn't surprising
Indeed, this whole fight is over a facet of Rand Paul's ideology that is nearly identical to his father's. As Josh Marshall observes:
I fear though that that's not the whole story with Paul -- father or son. The truth is that there's a long and hard to explain history of both Pauls being associated with a lot of people who are avowed or crypto-racists. There's the well-known story of Ron Paul's early 1990s era newsletter which was rife with racist and homophobic commentary. Paul later distanced himself from the newsletter, claiming that items written under his name were penned by a ghost-writer and that he wasn't familiar with what had appeared there. And then there was the case back in December in which Rand's Senate campaign spokesman Chris Hightower had to resign because of racist posts on his Myspace page. Looked at in broad terms you've got a couple of guys who apparently aren't racist in any way but happen to stumble their way into close associations with racists with an astonishing frequency. It's almost like a painful race version of that classic Onion headline: "Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My ----." There is of course the fact that Ron Paul became the darling of numerous skinhead and white supremacist groups -- but that's in a very different category because you're not responsible for who supports you but what you yourself support.
Recall, if you will, the contents of those Ron Paul newsletters
Considering that both Papa Doc and Baby Doc are racists and hard-core forced pregnancy zealots, I've never understood how anyone bought the idea that they are libertarians.