Rand Paul is the epitome of the Tea Party movement. By all accounts he is a good man who believes what he is saying. Unfortunately, he does not know what he is saying. His knee-jerk repetition of libertarian platitudes, while it does not constitute anything like a coherent or principled political philosophy or ideology, will get him into trouble repeatedly. The Civil Rights Act was wrong, he opined the other day, because it interfered with property rights. Later he assured the press he would have voted it for it, nonethless, had he been in the Senate. He is not a racist, blah, blah, blah.
That should be it for Rand. I know he grew up hearing his father blast the Civil Rights Act at the breakfast table. So did my children. But my children, at least, learned that there were more fundamental problems with the legislation. Among the least of them is the violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. More seriously, the CRA set one race against another, cemented into stone the ludicrous theory that all the problems and pathologies experienced by black people in America are the result of slavery and discrimination. It inshrined our national hypocrisy that people are pretty much the same and should expect roughly the same success in life. If we are libertarians, we say that people suffer under the burden of the state; if we are liberals, we say that minorities have to be liberated from oppressive whites. Underneath, it is the same stupid lie.
The CRA was evil in intention and in results. We live with the consequences. No one, it appears, can say what any normal person must know already, because there are so few normal people left in our society.
The Rand Paul scandal broke as I was finishing up a piece on the Tea Party movement. I like the people involved and wish them well. They have excellent intentions, and who can fail to like anyone running for office who promises to cut the size of government? But, as I am going to argue, their incoherence and lack of firm principles mean they will be instrumentalized by the evil forces that control both parties and fade away far faster than the Wallace movement or Bryan’s populists. Don’t believe me? If these people had any sense, they would run away from the unstable Mrs. Palin as fast as they can. Palin, true to form, could not help commenting that Rand now knew what it was like to be her. Does that mean she thinksMr. Paul is buying designer dresses or that he has had a lobotomy?
Like Rand Paul, I’m not a bigot, and if I lived in Kentucky, I would probably vote for him. But unlike Rand, who claims he would have supported the CRA, I am under no illusions and under no constraint to lie in public.