I’m thinking that “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” has brought us a nearly universal display of cowardice from the RE.net. If I am mistaken in this, I will happily amend my error with a link and a courtly bow. But I expect there is even more room for quivering, quibbling, cowering, caviling cowardice on this fine and perfect day.
Like this: The position Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul took on property rights yesterday is correct — not just as regards property rights, but as an expression of the errors we need to correct in the body politic if we are to reemerge, eventually, as something resembling a civilized society.
The left is attempting to smear Paul as a racist for insisting that private property owners themselves have the moral authority to be racists, even if Paul and virtually everyone else find that position to be morally-repugnant. This Two-Minutes-Hate campaign doesn’t seem like a winning strategy to me, in the age of the internet. The left will have no trouble finding reasons to hate Rand Paul, but his own tea party admirers may find in his principled arguments even more cause to admire him.
But mainstream Republicans are in full-reverse mode, backing away from Paul as quickly as they can. This seems to me to be a mistake. The tea party movement is an artifact of the age of the internet. At the least, tea partiers check up on the things they are told by the mainstream media. And it seems plausible to me that many of those folks are aware that the United States has been pursuing the wrong policies — as a matter of philosophy — since the end of the nineteenth century, at least. Anyone seeking greater human liberty has to regard this present moment as an incredible opportunity to get ordinary Americans thinking about ideas they might never have considered before. For Republicans to race away from the actual philosophy of liberty seems to me to be hugely stupid.
So let’s start here: Racism is by far the stupidest and most morally-repugnant form of collectivism. This is completely obvious to any thoughtful individualist, but what’s missing in America — the deficiency that has robbed the body politic of its once-robust good health — is a serious if not terminal shortage of thoughtful individualists. Rand Paul’s position on the Civil Rights Act is exactly right: No government should ever favor one citizen over another, but individual people have complete moral authority over their own behavior, subject to post hoc claims of damages.
So suppose the morally-repugnant hate-mongering racist minister Jeremiah Wright decides to form a club with the morally-repugnant anti-semitic racist Jesse Jackson and the morally-repugnant socialist racist Al Sharpton and the morally-repugnant islamo-fascist-wannabe racist Louis Farrakhan. Would they have the moral authority to exclude me, as a white devil? Why not? Let’s make it a no-whites-allowed night-club — just to get the quivering, quibbling, cowering, caviling cowardice out of the way — since the restrictions on businesses in the Civil rights Act were putatively authorized by the commerce clause to the U.S. Constitution. Can you think of any reason why flagrant, blatant, notorious black racists should not be free to dance and drink only with their own chosen associates, excluding me utterly, without naming their reasons and without my having any recourse at law?
I think this would be their perfect right — even though they don’t need to go to these lengths to get me to detest and ridicule their ugly racism. But this is the consequence of the portions of the Civil Rights Act that impose obligations on private citizens. Yes, racism by merchants in the Jim Crow south was ugly and abhorrent and repugnant — and you might think for a moment about how those folks might have taken to me, had I been alive there and then. But pushing innocent people around at gunpoint is far worse, and the loss of freedom for all Americans as a result of this coercive philosophy of government has had devastating consequence upon all of us — with black Americans by far getting the worst of everything from the perpetually-infantilizing pretend-benevolence of the welfare state.
As soon as you say — upon any pretext whatever — that one person has an unearned, unnegotiated, nonconsensual claim on another person’s property, you have undermined private property as a standard of human justice and enshrined that pretext, whatever it might be, instead. As a species of irrationality, racism is a very poor profit-seeking strategy, but that does not matter. What matters is that the absolute right to own, use, enjoy, profit from and sell private property is a fundamental principle of human justice. Free commerce is based in rational agreements among free people. Any alternative, no matter what it is, is necessarily corrupt, leading, as now, to sustained pressure group warfare and ultimately to full-blown civil war. There are only two ways to coordinate human activity: Peaceful cooperation or bloody coercion. When you undermine the former, you enshrine the latter as a matter of unavoidable necessity.
Far from shunning these philosophical arguments, lovers of human liberty must embrace them. America stepped off the path of individual liberty a long time ago. To get back to where we were, we have no choice but to retrace our steps. Republicans don’t want to do this because they don’t want to admit in public that all of socialism is evil, that it is nothing other than a criminal conspiracy to despoil people engaged in morally-laudable behavior in behalf of morally-repugnant people of all races, creeds, colors and persuasions.
That’s a mistake.
We’ll have to wait to see what the mainstream media does to Rand Paul. I expect it won’t be pretty, but I’m hoping it won’t be effective, either. But at least Paul is willing to tell the American people the whole truth, instead of trying to work them and play them and manipulate in the way the Republican party always has.