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Rand Paul: Protecting Property Holders’ Rights to Discriminate on the Basis of Race: "Is the Hard Part About Believing in Freedom..."

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Rand Paul: Protecting Property Holders’ Rights to Discriminate on the Basis of Race: "Is the Hard Part About Believing in Freedom...": I had thought that my brilliant-but-at-times-highly-annoying coauthor @Econ_Marshall was making a more sophisticated point: that here in America "libertarianism" is a Frankenstein's monster that got its lightning-bolt juice from massive resistance to the Civil Rights Movement.

Dismantling the New Deal and rolling back the social insurance state were not ideas that had much potential political-economy juice back in the 1950s and 1960s. But if the economic libertarian cause of dismantling the New Deal could be harnessed to the cause of white supremacy—if one of the key liberties that libertarians were fighting to defend was the liberty to discriminate against and oppress the Negroes—than all of a sudden you could have a political movement that might get somewhere. And so James Buchanan and the other libertarians to the right of Milton Friedman made the freedom to discriminate—or perhaps the power to discriminate?—a key one of the liberties that they were fighting for in their fight against BIG GOVERNMENT. And this has poisoned American libertarianism ever since.

This—Marshall thinks, and I am more than half agree, is the right way to look at it.

For example, consider when Rand Paul came out of the libertarian fever swamps to Washington and began saying that he would have voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it infringed On property holders’ rights to discriminate:

This is the hard part about believing in freedom.... I'm sure you believe in the First Amendment so you understand that people can say bad things. It’s the same way with other behaviors.... In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people, who have abhorrent behavior...

No “public accommodation” category for him!

No argument that if you hold yourself out as a provider of goods or services in the public marketplace you must then not discriminate on the basis of race! Defending the power of those who do is "the hard part of believing in freedom"—and thus, in some sense, the art of believing in freedom that is truly praiseworthy because doing it is hard.

Of course, Rand Paul then quickly learned not to say what he thinks.

He quickly learned that it is a loser in America today and say that your libertarianism Includes a strident commitment to the right to discriminate on the basis of race—that having a belief in FREEDOM is understood to include defending the freedom to discriminate on the basis of race is something to be talked about privately and quietly rather than publicly and loudly. And so now, presumably, Rand Paul only says it in private.

It is now 65 years since Murray Rothbard and his ilk began trying to harness the lightning bolt of white supremacy to animate the dead tissue of their Frankenstein’s monster of the anti-New Deal cause. Does it still matter? I think it does. I have heard a lot of people who call them selves libertarians say and sagely nod at others’ saying that utility derived from satisfying a taste for discrimination is a proper thing to include in a social welfare function—The same people who are outraged at counting utility from redistribution, envy, or theft.

Gee, I have argued myself from half-agreeing with @Econ_Marshall to 90% agreeing with him, haven’t I?

Ilyana Kuziemko: "The right knows this! 'We talked about the sanctity of free enterprise until we were blue in the face.... But we never really won until we began stressing issues like busing, abortion...' R. Viguerie, GOP strategist & guy who invented direct-mail strategy..."

#highlighted #moralresponsibility #politics