Monday, May 24, 2010

Even the Wall Street Journal Thinks Rand Paul is a Little Wacky

What does it say when even the Wall Street Journal objects to Rand Paul take on libertarianism?
Even if Mr. Paul was speaking out of a principled belief in the rights of voluntary association, he was wrong on the Constitutional and historic merits. The Civil Rights Act of 1964—and its companion laws, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965—were designed to address abuses of state and local government power. The Jim Crow laws that sprang up in the South after Reconstruction and prevailed for nearly a century were not merely the result of voluntary association. Discrimination—public and private—was enforced by police power and often by violence.

In parts of the mid-20th-century South, black men were lynched, fire hoses and vicious dogs were turned on children, and churches were bombed with worshippers inside. By some accounts, two-thirds of the Birmingham, Alabama, police force in the early 1960s belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. State and local government officials simply refused to acknowledge the civil rights of blacks and had no intention of doing so unless outside power was brought to bear.

The federal laws of that era were necessary and legal interventions to remedy the unconstitutional infringement on individual rights by state and local governments. On Thursday Mr. Paul finally acknowledged this point when he told CNN, "I think there was an overriding problem in the South so big that it did require federal intervention."
To throw a little more historical perspective on the issue, during the two decades prior to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the United States was trying to convince nations all around the world to cast their lot with the Western democracies rather than the Soviet Union and Communist China.  The plight of Black Americans was a huge propaganda gift to communists everywhere.

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