The Rand Paul kerfuffle
Here is the May 20 New York Times article on the controversy set off by Rand Paul’s statements about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I’m not going to comment on that issue now, since getting into it adequately would require a lengthy discussion about the ‘64 Act, about how we should speak of it today, about which parts of the Act were justified and which not, and about what measures might have been passed in place of the ”64 Act, all of which I have dealt with at length elsewhere, particularly here. It wouldn’t serve any purpose to revisit the issue at this moment, since the present controversy does not concern the ‘64 Act itself, but Rand Paul’s libertarian belief system and his way of handling issues as a newly mainstream politician.
I’ll just say this: either Rand P. should not have criticized the Civil Rights Act at all, or, if he chose to do so, he should have had an entire position worked out in advance that he could articulate and defend against all attacks; that’s what an intellectually serious person does when he is challenging an established orthodoxy which it is political death to challenge. Rand P. did neither of those things, but sounded off in a half-cocked way, which he then had to retract. He thus inadvertently played his part in the timeless politically correct script, in which a conservative makes a statement that goes beyond the liberal pale, comes under enormous pressure because of it, and hastily retreats. The net effect is to empower the liberal orthodoxy. This is why, unless one is prepared to challenge sacred liberal tenets to their core and not yield, it is better not to start.
By the way, has anyone determined yet whether the nickname Rand (his formal name is Randall) is based on Ayn Rand? It certainly seems likely, given his father’s beliefs, and given that Randall was born in 1963 when the Ayn Rand movement was at its height.M. Jose writes:
Your said about Rand Paul:LA replies:
I’m saying that given the fact that he was unprepared to challenge the 1963 Act, he should have dodged the question, or he should have answered it the same way that he ultimately did answer it (but which he did only after first getting himself in hot water): that he supports the 1964 Act and has no intention of repealing it.Daniel L. writes:
According to a video released by Rand Paul, the name “Rand” was originally a nickname given to him by his wife, and does not derive from Ayn Rand.LA writes:
Here’s a piece by a relatively fair and objective liberal writer, John Dickerson, at Slate, pointing out the mistakes Paul made by spilling the beans to Rachel Maddow. I mean, what was he thinking? Immediately after winning this smashing victory and becoming a national name, he allows a hostile leftist to interrogate him for a half hour? On a subject that has nothing to do with current politics and on which his true views could be very damaging to him? And he answers all her questions? Did he find the angry lesbian Maddow beguiling or something? What was he thinking?May 22
Bill Carpenter writes:
He could go on the offensive about the racial take-aways Americans are subject to, contrary to our beliefs in equal treatment and race-blindness, and say that the Civil Rights Act has been perverted into permanent racial socialism. The resentment of affirmative action is deep and wide and no politician dares address it.Jack J. writes:
I don’t actually believe this but I think it is somewhat amusing to consider.James N. writes:
This is the first time I have read you writing strategically about an election. You are usually looking for a candidate who speaks the truth, consequences be damned.LA replies:
I did not say, don’t speak the truth. I said, don’t speak the truth, unless you’re ready, willing, and able to stand by it. Which is what I always say.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 21, 2010 06:26 PM | Send