Rand Paul is right, Rachel Maddow is wrong: anti-discrimination laws discriminate | Commentary | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.


Jun 01st
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Rand Paul is right, Rachel Maddow is wrong: anti-discrimination laws discriminate

SabrinM012810_optBY MURRAY SABRIN

As I predicted Wednesday, the demonization of Rand Paul has begun. On Wednesday evening Paul was a guest on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show and was asked about his support of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the landmark legislation that bans discrimination in so-called public accommodations (i.e., private businesses) and government facilities on the basis of race, color, sex and national origin.

Paul gave a reasoned, thoughtful response, namely that anti-discrimination statutes have worthy goals, but the means used to ban racism, sexism, etc., in private businesses violate the property rights of individuals. He also pointed out that the 1964 Civil Rights Act banning governmental discrimination was a monumental achievement.

The New York Times "smells blood" and on today's front page carries an article, "Tea Party Pick Causes Uproar On Civil Rights." Quoting both Republican and Democrat politicians the article asserts that Rand Paul's views on civil rights are ‘extreme' and ‘out of the mainstream."

Why is it "extreme" to question the best way to end racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, etc., in our society? Why is it "out of the mainstream" to discuss whether the federal government can abridge the property rights of individuals to achieve a noble goal?

As Rand Paul stated in his interview with Maddow he is opposed to any form of racism. You would think that would satisfy Maddow who was unwilling and apparently unable to grasp Dr. Paul's response, namely, that once the federal government creates a "right' to enter a private premise and demand service, then you should be careful what you wish for.

Dr. Paul calmly explained to Ms. Maddow the "logic' of the Civil Rights Act; gun owners will demand that they have the right to carry a firearm in restaurants, bars and other private facilities. If they are denied that right, as Paul made clear, gun owners would assert that their Second Amendment rights are being violated. And he would be right. But Maddow would not have any of this. She kept pestering Paul about black people being refused to be served at lunch counters.

There are numerous flaws in the public accommodation section of the Civil Rights Act. There is no constitutional right to enter someone else's property, even if it is a business. Just because a business is "open to the public" it does not mean that the federal government may force owners to welcome anyone who wants to be a customer. Moreover, as a youngster when I watched the news about the civil rights movement on television during the 1950s and 1960s I wondered why black people wanted to patronize racist business owners.

The last thing a victim of private discrimination should want to do is increase the profits of racists, sexist, homophobes or anti-Semites. On a personal level, as a son of Holocaust survivors, I would not patronize a business owned by a Holocaust denier or an anti-Semite.

But how would I know that if the Civil Rights Act forbids that information to be known? In other words, I would welcome a sign in a store or business that states clearly and unequivocally, "No Jews allowed," or "The Holocaust didn't happen." (The last sign would be allowed under the First Amendment.) In short, the first sign is banned under the Civil Rights Act, but it is important for Jews to know if a business owner is an anti-Semite in order to not patronize or work for a business I and my fellow Jews would not want to enrich.

The Civil Rights Act discriminates against minority groups because they lack the information needed so they could withhold their dollars and labor services from discriminators. The best way to "punish" discriminators is in the pocketbook, not to pass a law. But the Civil Rights Act does not do that, instead it enriches boorish behavior and thoughts. Racist business owners are forced to sell to black people and make profits, and in the "shadows" they may be funding the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. Racists in America are getting rich and perpetuating racism because of the Civil Rights Act. How ironic!

There are other flaws in the Civil Rights Act. The right of association used to be a cherished right in America, except now when it comes to business owners. There are numerous groups that are based on race, sex, national origin, religion, etc. Should the Congressional Black Caucus be desegregated? If not, why is it OK for the CBC to use tax money to discriminate against white members of Congress, apparently in violation of the Civil Rights Act?

If one of the goals of civil rights legislation is to end discrimination in our society, it does not address the following issue: every American can discriminate against any business. For example, black people can refuse to patronize white owned businesses, which is their right in a free society. By the same token, shouldn't business owners have the same right as individuals to choose to whom to do business with? Maddow would say businesses cannot discriminate because they have "power." Nonsense. The public has more power than any single business-small, medium and large.

In other words, the ‘right to choose" by every American is supposed to be a sacrosanct right. Rand Paul supports the right of Americans to be free, while Rachel Maddow wants the power of the federal government to make people "good, an idea that is the foundation of an authoritarian society.

Murray Sabrin is professor of finance at Ramapo College. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for governor in 1997 and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2000 and 2008. Check www.MurraySabrin.com for more of his writings.


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Comments (11)
11 Friday, 22 October 2010 13:09
Steve in NJ
As a registered Democrat who believes that individuals should form their own opinion, rather then be herded by the duopoly of political affiliations, I have to say that Paul Rand makes some very strong, well thought out arguements. First, let me state that I am thoroughly against any racism, bigotry, anti semitism or sexism of any kind. With that said, I also feel that small business owners should have the right to sell to, or do business with, whoever it is they choose to. Like many debated topics, the pendulum on racism has swung from one extreme to the other. Where years ago it was unfair to exclude someone from a job or a school based on their ethnicity, it is similarly unfair to force accpetance of anyone just to create an "equal" society.

If I were to invest my money into a business, purchase inventory and pay the rent, utilities and any other monies necessary, then shouldn't I have the right to sell to who I wish? And if I was racist, and didn't want to have some minority purchasing items from my store, shouldn't I have the right to make my wishes known, and at the same time, allow the consumer to choose who they would rather do business with?

This country has not become less racist, but instead has directed its racism in a different way. Remembering back to when OJ Simpson was on trial and was acquitted of murder, I heard white people stating how he got away with murder, and saw black people cheering his release. The sad truth is that many, if not most of these people, felt these emotions due to their skin color and not based on factual information from the case. This occurred again when President Obama was elected, as the news media zoomed in on groups of black voters stating that "finally, we got our President". I voted for President Obama, and believe he has done a relatively good job so far, but I based my vote and my assessment of him on his work, not his skin color.

This tide of "reverse" racism has continued to grow as colleges and universities have instituted quota systems, ensuring an acceptable number of minorities gain admittance regardless of their credentials. Corporations have furthered this form of racism, providing better bonuses to many managers if they maintain a diverse work force (i.e., higher more women and minorities).

It is high time that we as Americans are able to make public who or what we like or don't like, without fear of physical retalition or liable, and that we all start looking at, and judging people by how they treat others and what they can or have accomplished for themselves and those around them, rather then by the color of their skin or where they grew up.
10 Sunday, 23 May 2010 17:33
the rights of a business should never be above the rights of an individual, no matter how big or small that business is.

ambush? can the right get any more paranoid?
9 Saturday, 22 May 2010 15:01
Dr. Tony
That liberal, Jewish lesbian,Rachel Maddow,set Dr.Rand Paul up. Liberals love libertatians because they critisize Republicans but when they run as Republicans the gloves come off.

The press liked McCain until he ran against Obama.
8 Saturday, 22 May 2010 00:18
Maximizing individual liberty can't be accomplished by trampling the rights of others. That concept is too absurd to contemplate.

No one has a "right" to enter a private establishment or a "right" to enter a private business. Those types of "rights" are obtained through force by taking away the rights of the property owners.

If a business owner doesn't want to cater to blacks, american indians, hispanics, whites, etc... I want to know upfront so they never get a dollar from me. Some of you so-called liberals seem to want to offer them the protection of anonymity by forcing them to cater to all. I don't want my hard earned money to support them and I resent the hell out of you taking that choice away from me.
7 Friday, 21 May 2010 15:54
Bottom line. The government should NEVER interfere with the private sector. NEVER. If someone wants to be racist that is their business. Liberals are SO two-faced on this issue.
6 Friday, 21 May 2010 14:42
Rachael Maddow and the like who are twisting Rand Pauls position as some "green light" to racism misunderstand because they leave out a huge gap in history.
They assume that without this government intervention we all would fall into some astrophysical wormhole and find ourselves back in a past mentality that doesn't take into account the fact that for decades we have worked together to come to terms with and overcome institutionalized racism and the damage it has caused this country.

If fingers were snapped today and the title of the Civil Rights Act regarding private businesses were deleted yet our current mindset went unchanged could you imagine going to your local Deli and finding a “whites only” sign on the door? Not only would the vast majority of our society not patronize such a place but I imagine that there would be enough backlash without government intervention that a business like that would find it impossible to survive.

American's are largely good people who know right from wrong despite this mark on our history. Left leaning minds have a hard time with Rand Paul's position largely because they have a much dimmer view of others and simply are not giving the majority of this county a whole lot of credit. After all they are the enlightened ones.

Let me be perhaps the first to clue you in Ms. Maddow, and feel free to share this with your friends.
Just because we (as in people who don't think like you) don't feel the need and in fact see more opportunity for harm than good in more government involvement in our day to day lives that doesn't mean that we think that it is time to get the gas for the cross burning tonight.

Broader thinking minds know that the all whites lunch counter is a small piece of a larger pie regarding this topic and the Rachel Maddows of the world reveal that they are unwilling to have an honest discussion when they hyper focus only on that part of the discussion.

Maybe it is just me but does no one else find it peculiar that it is the left (defined loosely as democrats) who couldn’t pass Jim Crow laws fast enough, birthed the Ku Klux Klan and filibustered the Civil Rights act in the 60’s that are now the first in line to call others whom they disagree racist.

I have a homework assignment for Ms. Maddow. Your assignment is to ask ex Klansman and current Dem. Senator Robert Byrd where he stood on the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with as much frothing fervor as you queried Rand Paul.
5 Friday, 21 May 2010 11:54
Kevin Nettleship
For those of us with a memory or an understanding of history, Dr. Rand and Professor Sabrin's argument is not a Libertarian argument - it is an argument born of racism of the 1950's and 1960's.

Dr. Rand and Prof. Sabrin's logic is also an example of the extremism that invaded the Libertarian Party and forced many of its leaders out in the early 80's. True libertarianism preaches LIMITED government involvement and MAXIMUM individual liberty. (In the Civil Rights equation there are two parties rights involved. How would these simpletons propose to remedy racism and allow those of color to enjoy the maximization of individual liberty? How does denial of service at 'White Only' counters throughout the deep south and being forced out of many establishments due to skin color further African-Americans individual liberty?)

Rand, Sabrin and many of the Tea Party absolutist beliefs more closely resemble the tenets of racism and anarchism than libertarianism. (Sorry for the insult good people of anarchism.)
4 Friday, 21 May 2010 11:36
Pat Woods
The idea that private companies can exempt themselves from public policy is anathema to our way of living now. It is not only abhorrent to think that we would green light differential treatment of minorities, but think of how many of the rights of women would be affected if this idea catches fire…..I remember the bad old days when:

o Private employers could refuse to hire, promote or train women, either because they thought them not as bright, or because they imagined that all women should be married and staying at home.
o Women were fired by private employers when they became engaged or pregnant.
o Private employers could ask about a woman's reproductive plans, child care arrangements and marital status.
o There were few, if any female doctors, lawyers, engineers or accountants because most private educational institutions thought them to be mentally inferior and/or because women would be marrying and having children eventually, so a professional education was a waste of time.
o Newspapers advertised for jobs under the titles "Wanted – White Man……" even in a northern town like Philadelphia.
o It was perfectly legitimate for a private employer to hire a man as an accountant and a woman as a bookkeeper, have them do the identical job, and pay the woman half what you paid the man.

Private employers are the majority of employers, so discrimination in the private sector seriously affects the opportunities of those discriminated against. If private entities are permitted to discriminate, the economic gains of women as well as minorities are in jeopardy. Right now, no one who does business in the US has the right to discriminate - period, let's keep it that way.
3 Friday, 21 May 2010 10:54
Yes his entire argument hinges on the inherent goodness of mankind to do the right thing. Don't forget now how this great America came to be!! The good natured Europeans arrived on the American continent and brought all there inherent goodness with them. They almost wiped out the native Americans and built this wonderful great nation on free labor. Yes, all men are created equal "white men that is" forget women and minorities.

You are an educated idiot!!!!!!!!!
2 Friday, 21 May 2010 10:22
Your argument falls on its face when you consider that, even though it's against the law, there are *still* private businesses engaging in discrimination based on race. It's extremely telling that both you and Rand believe that a business' rights to discriminate are above an individual's rights to not be discriminated against. It's an abhorrent view and *precisely* why that part of the Civil Rights Act is necessary.
1 Friday, 21 May 2010 10:00
Your entire argument hinges on the inherent goodness of mankind to do the right thing and not go to businesses that discriminate. History has shown us how well that works out...

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