Over the years, Ron Paul has come under intense scrutiny over his questionable statements on race, whether from the various forms of the Ron Paul newsletter (of which he knew and profited from), his 1987 book Freedom Under Seige, or his more recent comments on the landmark 1964 Civil Rights act. Paulites, under the spell of Ron’s “Liberty Wand”, will quickly come to his defense, usually yammering something about private property rights, encroaching Federal Government, and, I’m sure in some circles, aliens, black helicopters, and the North American Union.
What they fail to realize is that they are being duped by Rep. Paul and, as his statements show, his propensity for racist doublespeak.
For the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus on his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In 2004, the 40th anniversary of that historic legislation, Rep. Paul was the only member of Congress to vote against a symbolic resolution honoring that legislation.
Lest I be accused by Paul’s fans of misquoting him, I’m going to take his words directly from RonPaul.com
Ron Paul: Mr. Speaker, I rise to explain my objection to H.Res. 676. I certainly join my colleagues in urging Americans to celebrate the progress this country has made in race relations. However, contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society. - Emphasis from the source
Now that he’s on his seemingly 47th run for the Presidency, Rep. Paul again faced questions about his statements and attempted to clarify them in an Olympic-worthy display of backstroking.
Appearing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the GOP presidential contender said his remarks were targeted at how government “undermines the concept of liberty.”
Note to Rep. Paul – aside from the obvious racial aspect, Jim Crow laws were all about private property rights.
Let’s back up about 100 years, to just after the end of the Civil War, the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and in the period of Radical Reconstruction. This is when Jim Crow began.
The 1875 Civil Rights Act codified equality of access to all public accommodations for all Americans.
Civil Rights Act of 1875
18 Stat. Part III, p. 335 (Act of Mar. 1, 1875).
Chap. 114. — An act to protect all citizens in their civil and legal rights. Whereas, it is essential to just government we recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is the duty of government in its dealings with the people to mete out equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race, color, or persuasion, religious or political; and it being the appropriate object of legislation to enact great fundamental principles into law:
Therefore, Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal and enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude.
the Fourteenth Amendment did not protect black people from discrimination by private businesses and individuals but only from discrimination by states. He observed in his opinion that it was time for blacks to assume “the rank of a mere citizen” and stop being the “special favorite of the laws.”
Sound familiar? That’s exactly the same position Ron Paul has on Civil Rights legislation, the same opinion that gave birth and legal weight to Jim Crow.
Jim Crow laws started in public transportation and schools, government entities that would definitely fall under the 14th Amendment protection, but then moved on to parks, cemeteries, theatres, and restaurants in an effort to prevent any contact between blacks and whites as equals.
In essence, Jim Crow laws, and the rulings in the courts that upheld them, reduced liberty for African-Americans and other non-white citizens.
Now, in his 2004 statement Paul went on to say:
Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business’s workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge’s defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota.
That’s not at all what the Civil Rights Act said. For edification, here’s what it covered in the relevant, non-administrative titles:
Title I – Barred unequal application of voting rights.
Title II – Outlawed discrimination in all public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce.
Title III – Prohibits state and local governments from denying access to public facilities.
Title IV – Desegregated schools.
Title VI – Outlawed discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funds.
Title VII – Barred employer discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin and association with someone of another race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
There is absolutely zero truth behind Paul’s claim that the Civil Rights Act forced racial quotas onto employers. Absolutely zero. The only way, and I mean the only way one can interpret the Civil Rights Act that way is if either one is opposed to hiring minorities or one holds the belief that minorities are inherently unqualified for “white people” jobs.
Ron Paul also opposes the Civil Rights Act because “it allowed the Federal Government into our bedrooms”. Yes, that’s true. Loving vs. Virginia (1967) was the case that ruled state laws banning interracial marriages were unconstitutional. How did that case come about? They were sentenced to one year in prison for getting married.
The two statutes under which appellants were convicted and sentenced are part of a comprehensive statutory scheme aimed at prohibiting and punishing interracial marriages. The Lovings were convicted of violating § 258 of the Virginia Code:
Leaving State to evade law. – If any white person and colored person shall go out of this State, for the purpose of being married, and with the intention of returning, and be married out of it, and afterwards return to and reside in it, cohabiting as man and wife, they shall be punished as provided in § 20-59, and the marriage shall be governed by the same law as if it had been solemnized in this State. The fact of their cohabitation here as man and wife shall be evidence of their marriage.
Section 259, which defines the penalty for miscegenation, provides:
Punishment for marriage. – If any white person intermarry with a colored person, or any colored person intermarry with a white person, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.
The Loving case is yet another example of the CRA resulting in increased liberty, not reducing it as Paul claims.
I won’t address Paul’s claim that connect the Civil Rights Act to the War on Drugs because, well, they’re not and to connect the two is asinine.
So, let’s sum this all up.
The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased liberty for not only non-white Americans, but for women as well. It guaranteed equality of access to not only government-run facilities (parks, schools, etc.) but to stores, hospitals, movie theaters, and the like.
Now, Ron Paul is partially correct. It did reduce liberty, but let’s look at where. It reduced liberty for racists, bigots, and segregationists.
The next time a Paulite tells you that the Civil Rights Act reduced liberty, ask them whose liberty. The answer might just shock you.
- Ron Paul Can’t Run From His Racist Roots (jeffwinbush.com)
- Ron Paul Slams Civil Rights Act of 1964 (huffingtonpost.com)
- Ron Paul Tells CNN’s Candy Crowley: Civil Rights Act ‘Destroyed’ Privacy (mediaite.com)
- Ron Paul: Civil Rights Act of 1964 ‘destroyed’ privacy (thegrio.com)
- David Frum on the Personal Irresponsibility of Ron Paul (delong.typepad.com)