Ron Paul Would Have Voted Against the Civil Rights Act

Here’s a case of the tree falling not too far from its acorn: announced Republican President candidate Ron Paul says he wouldn’t have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) suggested Friday that he wouldn’t have voted in favor of the 1964 Civil Rights Act if he were a member of Congress at the time.

Paul, the libertarian Texas Republican who formally announced Friday that he would seek the presidency for a third time, said he thought Jim Crow laws were illegal, and warned against turning strict libertarians into demagogues.

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews pressed Paul during a TV appearance on whether he would have voted against the ’64 law, a landmark piece of legislation that took strides toward ending segregation.

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t vote against getting rid of the Jim Crow laws,” Paul said. He explained that he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act “because of the property rights element, not because they got rid of the Jim Crow laws.”

Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), faced criticism during his campaign for Senate last fall because of similar remarks he made, also during an appearance on MSNBC. Rand Paul had advanced a similar argument about property rights, and, under political pressure, issued a follow-up statement in which he voiced support for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and would not support any efforts to repeal it.

As I’ve often noted, it is truly refreshing to see a politician be so candid. The problem for Paul is that he has a chance to make his brand of libertarianism more accessible to people in this Tea Party year in particular. This comment means he won’t have a chance of getting the Republican nomination and even if he did Barack Obama or any Democrat decimate him at the polls.

There are certain “givens” in American politics — even in such a polarized environment – -and the country’s often shifting political center would not support a candidate that a)says he wouldn’t have vote for the landmark Civil Rights Act and b)left himself so open to being easily destroyed by his opponents in political ads, which often distort a the rationale behind a candidate’s assertions.

Even when his rationale is understood, many Americans would never vote for him. So Paul’s run this year will be — as before — mostly an exercise in getting a bigger media audience.

Here’s the full segment with Chris Matthews:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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  • labman57

    Yep, that position will surely motivate the American public to support Ron Paul’s candidacy — defending one’s right to engage in racial discrimination. Time to break out the old restaurant window signs — no n*ggers served here!

    Both Pauls believe that discrimination is abhorrent … unless it’s being done by a private business person, then it’s all good.

  • SteveK

    I think his reasoning is simple actually, he’s just going for the tea party vote. They tend to agree with his position on this… In a non-racist manner of course. :o

  • DORIAN DE WIND

    Of course, poor ole Ron’s remarks are being misconstrued, taken out of context, politicized, misinterpreted, misrepresented, etc., etc. by the mean MSM :)

    “follow-up statement” coming anytime now.

  • Dr. J

    Both Pauls believe that discrimination is abhorrent … unless it’s being done by a private business person, then it’s all good.

    I think they’d say we’re all private business people, and we should all have the freedom to decide whom to associate with and which transactions to enter into. Including the freedom to decide based on “abhorrent” reasons. If your decisions have to conform to my standards, you’re not really free to decide at all.

    IMHO trying to paint support for individual freedom as support for racial discrimination is absurd, even though the second is an occasional downside of the first. You perhaps believe that automobiles are on balance a good thing, but that doesn’t mean you’re in favor of car crashes.

  • pyrometman

    Are we Americans lacking so much intelligence that we cannot understand his simple viewpoints? To imply or flat out state that Ron Paul is racist because he does not believe in having laws at the federal level regarding many of these issues, is dishonest and illogical.

    During the interview, he tried explaining that anybody who would not serve someone at their business based on race would be an idiot to do so as they would eventually go out of business. I think in this day and age, not many would try it, and those who did, would go out of business from lack of business and local peer pressure.

    @labman57: What you said was a complete lie, and you should retract it. Ron Paul has never taken that position.

    As for Chris Matthews, if I were running a business, I would have a sign saying “No Chris Matthews”. This proves the point that a business should have the right to discriminate against serving anyone based on the rights of private property. It is not always racial discrimination.

    Ron Paul did not answer the question that Chris Matthews asked about a mother and father being heroin addicts with children. I don’t think that Ron Paul answered that directly enough but here is what I would say: It is not the heroin addiction that should be the criminal activity, it is the neglect of the children that is the criminal activity. If it is easily proven to be neglect, then the parents should be charged with that, and then directed to get help with their heroin addiction. The root cause of the neglect is not always heroin addiction and may be any number of different causes. Are we going to make illegal, all of the different causes that may lead to the neglect?

    I wish people would get past the mindset that we need government to tell us what to do. We need to follow the Constitution as it is meant to provide us with maximum liberty, and as I see it, RON PAUL TRUSTS ALL AMERICANS TO MAKE GOOD CHOICES ON THEIR OWN, and would let families and communities provide the correction to poor choices, not government.

    As a finishing note, why are we even talking about these issues anyways? The big problem right now is the deficit spending, debt, and the failing entitlement system. We should be talking about those things first.

  • casualobserver

    Commentary from those committed to vote for Obama are exceptionally relevant to determining the votes that will go to his opponent(s). Thanks for the questionable insights.

  • rudi

    I enjoy listening to Ron Paul. But he does have a history with bigots in the Libertarian party. During the 2008 election papers were found with ties to him that did support racism. He paid dearly for someone else writings.
    http://www.ronpaulwarroom.com/?p=1027

  • NYC6666

    Paul is trying to follow the Constitution. Keep voting for the Bushes and Obamas…. there is no difference between them…. look at who runs the Treasury and Federal reserve…. the same folks the last twenty years. Wake up. The current two party system has only one master and it is not the people they represent. This was nothing more than an attempt to smear the good name of one of few honest men in politics.

  • Dr. J

    During the 2008 election papers were found with ties to him that did support racism. He paid dearly for someone else writings. http://www.ronpaulwarroom.com/?p=1027

    Wow, that was hard to watch. The story behind those newsletters is pretty important, and despite all his sputtering, I still don’t feel like I heard it. He needs to get better fielding awkward questions if he hopes to make it to the white house.

  • DaGoat

    I respect Ron Paul for being intellectually consistent, just as I respect Dennis Kucinich for voting against honoring the Bin Laden mission. I don’t agree with either one, though.

    Any political philosophy taken to an extreme becomes impractical which is the problem with Ron Paul. I don’t think he’s a racist though. There are certainly reasons to be against the Civil Rights Act that have nothing to do with racism.

  • DLS

    It was written:

    To imply or flat out state that Ron Paul is racist because he does not believe in having laws at the federal level regarding many of these issues, is dishonest and illogical.

    But as you and the rest of us can see, it’s not beneath many people.

  • KATHY KATTENBURG

    I think they’d say we’re all private business people, and we should all have the freedom to decide whom to associate with and which transactions to enter into. Including the freedom to decide based on “abhorrent” reasons. If your decisions have to conform to my standards, you’re not really free to decide at all.

    You are mischaracterizing the issue. Each one of us has always been free, and continues to be free, to discriminate on the basis of color, national origin, religion, or any other criterion in our private associations. If you are a “private” businessperson who does not serve or accommodate or sell to the public, then you are free to discriminate all you like. But if you are a “private” businessperson who serves, sells to, accommodates, and/or is open to the public, then you are not free to discriminate. If you own a business that is open to the public, then you own a business that is open to the public. “The public” has a definition, Dr. J. It’s not just white people or just black people or just fundamentalist Christian people or just any arbitrary group of people. If you are a private businessperson who runs a business that is open to the public, THEN YOUR BUSINESS IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    Until someone invents a working time machine, I don’t see a point.

  • PJBFan

    I have to agree with Dr. J and Rep. Paul here. I think the aim of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is unquestionably laudable, and a wonderful statement of aspirations for America. I think, however, that it fails the test of constitutionality because it forces all businesses to be open to the public. Because the laws bar people from discriminating on the basis of race or religion, or what have you, they are being forced to be open to the public. That, I think, is where those who opposed the act, not on moral principles, but constitutional ones, like Rep. Paul, and Sen. Goldwater are coming from. It takes the personal property of a person, a business in this case, and forces it onto the market, simply by declaring it open to the public.

    That being said, I find abhorrent Jim Crow laws, and would not allow myself, or those under my control, to patronize a business that took part in discrimination of that sort.

  • KATHY KATTENBURG

    I think, however, that it fails the test of constitutionality because it forces all businesses to be open to the public. Because the laws bar people from discriminating on the basis of race or religion, or what have you, they are being forced to be open to the public.

    Excuse me, PJBfan, but that is not true. I don’t know what kind of logic you’re using to conclude that “businesses open to the public cannot discriminate on the basis of race, religion, etc.” means “all businesses have to be open to the public,” but it’s not one with which I am familiar.

    Kathy

  • KATHY KATTENBURG

    Until someone invents a working time machine, I don’t see a point.

    Pardon?

  • DLS

    Prof. Elwood wrote:

    Until someone invents a working time machine, I don’t see a point.

    It shouldn’t be too long before the GOP governors and some of the GOP in the House of Representatives are accused of trying to become one.

  • Dr. J

    Each one of us has always been free, and continues to be free, to discriminate on the basis of color, national origin, religion, or any other criterion in our private associations.

    I understand that’s what the law says, Kathy. That’s an example of dicing up people’s freedom to make those decisions–allowing them more freedom at home but less at work. Dictating what what sorts of reasons are permissible when is a messy business the government should stay out of.

  • http://wideeyedandreal.blogspot.com ProfElwood

    KK:”Pardon?”
    I mean: So? So what? What’s the point?

    It’s almost 50 years old. It’s not coming up for a vote. You might as well be asking what a candidate would do if aliens invaded the earth.

  • http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-cjQ4r_Y_cqXPXpxyIWQePYrgXHbB NICK RIVERA

    labman57 says:

    Both Pauls believe that discrimination is abhorrent … unless it’s being done by a private business person, then it’s all good.

    Your statement makes utterly no sense.

    Ron Paul also opposes laws that prohibit prostitution and drug use. By your “logic”, Ron Paul must also think that prostitution and drug use are “all good.”

  • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

    Given a choice, people will violate the civil rights of another all the time. This has been shown over, and over, and over again.

    Even in this day and age people, and the businesses and governments which they comprise, do so, chronically.

    Ron Paul is an idiot.

  • Dr. J

    Given a choice, people will violate the civil rights of another all the time. Even in this day and age people, and the businesses and governments which they comprise, do so, chronically.

    Of course they do, because your definition of civil rights is bottomless. Getting people to make decisions for only officially-approved reasons is boiling the ocean. You might as well try to outlaw lying or gluttony.

  • ShannonLee

    This is more an example of the problems with extreme ideology as opposed to Paul or libertarians being bigots. We must find ways to stand on slippery slopes, because the world is not flat.

  • GeorgeWashington

    Please Sirs; Its okay. Imah lernz yah!

    The important thing for everyone to remember is the difference between Natural Rights (aka. God given Unalienabl¬e Rights) and Civil Rights. The former, no man has the lawful right to transgress¬. That which your creator gave you only he can take away. Civil Rights on the other hand, are given by government¬s, by men, and that which man can grant to another man he can take away. Civil Rights also imply that some posses the right to grant rights, while others do not. What does this suggest about the condition of those who are only granted rights by other men? That they are subordinat¬es, proverbial slaves to those who grant them Civil Rights.

    The question must be asked: If human beings have Unalienabl¬e God given rights why do they need Civil Rights, considerin¬g that Unalienabl¬e Rights, by there very nature, supersede all others?

    So I suspect that it’s all about control. “Let us deny people their Unalienabl¬e Rights so that we can substitute Civil Rights for them instead. For Civil Rights are ours to grant and revoke as we see fit, control those who would speak or act not as we desire, but Unalienabl¬e Rights are only the province of our Creator and make other men our equal in freedom and liberty.”

    I hope that helps a little.

    Ron Paul for Republican Nom and President 2012.

    Thank you for Your time