A bit of needed perspective on the Rand Paul statements about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The man is seriously dangerous.
Rand Paul, the current Republican nominee for the Senate from Kentucky, has stated on numerous occasions, including a 20-minute interview with Rachel Maddow, that he does not like some parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
His problem with the Act is not that he is a racist. It is likely that his statements about his own personal objections to racism are true (though the same may not be the case with many of his Tea Party supporters). The problem is that these statements reveal that he is an Objectivist. The term Rachel and others use to describe him is Libertarian, but that is a weak version of true Objectivism.
Objectivism is a philosophy popularized by a Russian emigre who wrote several novels under the name Ayn Rand. I do not recommend plowing through these books even for opposition research. They are tendentious, turgid, tedious, repetitive, overwritten, and boring nonsense. But somehow they struck a chord with pseudo-intellectuals from William F. Buckley to George Will looking for a reason to justify their arguments that corporations should be allowed to control our lives and inflict any damage they will, all in the name of profits (which the intellectuals call "freedom").
The basis of Objectivism is supposed to be the inviolability of private property. Thus, the real answers Dr. Paul would provide (were he to commit the political sin of being honest) to the questions Rachel asked on her Thursday night broadcast are all "no."
An Objectivist would say:
The government should not be allowed to inspect meat, restaurants, or any other places of business.
The government should not regulate financial markets, oil drilling operations, professional services, or any other private business.
If you claim that government can intrude into private businesses because they use roads, power, and communications infrastructure provided by or supported by the government, the answer is that these facilities should be -- would be better if -- provided by private enterprises.
If you then make the claim that every transportation or communications or infrastructure system in history has been built, operated, or subsidized by government (including the railroads that are the source (along with inheritance) of the wealth of the "heroes" in Ayn Rand's books), they will claim that their ideology is, in effect, more valid than mere facts; governments have prevented free enterprise from reaching its potential in order to monopolize power.
What Objectivism really claims is that we would all be better off if corporations monopolized power. They do not recognize the existence of the idea that we would really be better off if no one monopolized power, and government and corporations kept each other in check. Rand was reacting to the Soviet idea that government should do everything by claiming that government should do nothing. Anything more complex than that binary choice is apparently beyond the capacity of some people to comprehend.
It should be clear that Objectivists are not just wrong; they are dangerous. But their ideas -- reified in the Chicago School of Economics, whose ideas have done so much damage in so many places around the world -- are treated as if they were legitimate, because they serve the automated interests of short-term profit maximization that are all that drive corporations.
None of this is new or original to me. It is derived from the works of Thom Hartmann, Naomi Kline, and many others (which I DO recommend reading). It is strangely absent, however, from the standard dialogs in the "Main Stream Media." I wonder why?