Sunday, May 30, 2010

What do Jim Crow and Today's Liberals Have in Common?

The Rand Paul-civil rights hubbub caused me somewhat of an intellectual crisis.  An ideology that indifferently resigns people to second-class status cannot be defended in my mind.  Time for Silverfiddle to abandon libertarianism?  Perish the thought!  Happily, I stumbled across two pieces that put everything in proper context.

First, David Paul Kuhn did an excellent job explaining why sincere civil rights champions were so incensed.  Then along came Jacob Sullum to reiterate basic libertarian fundamentals and apply them in defense of civil rights for all.  These two excerpts reconciled my crisis.  I'm still proudly in the libertarian camp.

Some Anger is indeed Righteous
David Paul Kuhn explains why sincere liberals and civil rights activists are upset over Rand Paul's comments concerning the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Shorn of the MSNBC screeching and community activist bullhorn shouting, the argument makes a lot of sense. 
This calls to mind, for the left, a long-standing grievance. Many of today's conservatives speak of the civil rights movement's virtues and denounce racism. But they also rail against an activist government that was vital to ending Jim Crow. For liberals, Paul personifies how the right tries to have it both ways. They hear a conservatism that espouses the virtues of equality but opposed the only means to attain it.

Buckley later expressed deep regret for his stance on civil rights, as did Goldwater. But to liberals, that leaves much unresolved. They believe one cannot champion the civil rights movement today without coming to terms with yesterday's arguments for opposing it. This is why phrases like "states rights" still anger progressives.  (David Paul Kuhn)

Jim Crow is No Libertarian
Meanwhile, Jacob Sullum makes an important point:  Jim Crow laws also violate libertarian private property principles:
If we own ourselves, it follows that no one else can own us—the most obvious way in which slavery violates human rights.

It also follows that we own our labor, which means we decide who benefits from it and under what terms, and the fruits of our labor, which means we control access to our property.

All these rights were flagrantly violated not only by slavery but by the racist Jim Crow regime that succeeded it, which forced businesses to discriminate against blacks as customers and employees. (Jacob Sullum)
 He also defends the 1964 act by pointing out that it "belatedly implemented the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal treatment under the law."

Every Coin Has Two Sides
But he also reminds us, with a twist on Voltaire, that "we cannot abridge the freedom of those we despise without endangering our own freedom."

As Dr. Sowell is fond of reminding us, there are no magic bullets, only trade-offs.  Defend a theoretical point or right an historic wrong?  No contest, especially if you are the one experiencing discrimination.
Life is full of double edged swords.


tha malcontent said...

Please check this one out!

But please sit down while watching

Sue said...

It's as SIMPLE as this..... If the black man can go to war to defend the freedoms of American citizens, with the dignity and heroics of the best America offers, then these same black Americans should be treated as equals in ALL aspects of our society. NO question about it...

Bastiatarian said...

The left doesn't understand Paul's statements because they don't understand the difference between official, governmental racism and private racism. I thought he made it very clear that he supported the good that it may have done (an issue that is still worthy of debate, of course), but decried the bad that it has clearly done. While well-intentioned, the 1964 Civil Rights Act began systematic violation of the right to private property by justifying governmental actions to dictate to private citizens what they could or couldn't do with their own private property. That is nothing less than tyranny and theft.

The hubbub over Dr. Paul's comments is merely another indication of the left's intellectual slothfulness.

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah, liberalism is rife with obvious statement's like Sue's. It is easy enough to say it and agree with it, but addressing the ramifications is the hard part.

Progressives never bother with the consequences, which explains why we have much less freedom than we did 100 years ago and the federal government is now a wealth destroying behemoth.

Ray said...

These people continuously ignore history because they have to, for the very simple reason their 'dreamed for way of life' unachievable and if they believed in Jesus they'd know this.

If he was nailed to a cross anyone can and will be. There's no "utopia" in this life and they just cannot accept it.

Why? Because they're for the most part mentally disturbed and delusional. That's the very definition of Liberalism.

Silverfiddle said...

They definitely have a reality problem and do not do well with subtle shades of gray unless defending America's enemies.

Snarky Basterd said...

Many of today's conservatives speak of the civil rights movement's virtues and denounce racism. But they also rail against an activist government that was vital to ending Jim Crow.

That's flat out B.S. Conservatives rail against an activist government that uses the power of the government to redistribute wealthy and individual liberty, unlawfully, despotically, and with terrorist prejudice. They do NOT rail against an activist government that ended Jim Crow; they were essential to the endign of Jim Crow.

It's nothing more than typical lefty disingenuous rewriting of history and spinning of facts.

Yet again, this is why I refuse to read what the left writes; they always get it wrong anyway.

Always On Watch said...

In my view, the government can never eliminate private racism. People believe in their hearts what they want to believe.

Institutionalized racism is something else altogether and can be effectively addressed by the government. Now, the government's addressing that institutionalized racism may indeed step on an individual's rights. Wasn't that what Rand Paul was saying? I can't say that I disagree with that if such was his meaning.

Silverfiddle said...

AOW: You make an important distinction. Our government has a duty to eradicate public and institutionalized discrimination.

It has no right (and no constitutional way) to eradicate such private evil.

This is the distinction the left fails to grasp. Allow the government to trample your rights for a greater good, and you've now opened the door for them to do bad as well.

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