Last fall, Rand Paul briefly caused a stir when he suggested that his libertarian principles would require him to have opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Paul danced around the subject, refusing the let himself be pinned down.
Rand's statements on the law (which he later retracted) came during his first week as the Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky in 2010. Ron's criticisms of the law came on the day he declared his third run for the presidency.
"Yeah," he told Matthews when asked if he would have voted against the act in Congress. "But I wouldn't vote against getting rid of the Jim Crow laws."
Ron, like his son, said that his statement about the Civil Rights Act has nothing to do with the law's intentions -- i.e. ending institutionalized discrimination in a wide swath of American life, including in the public accommodations where African Americans were denied service at the height of the Jim Crow era. Paul said he would vote against the law because it imposed unfair rules on what private business owners can and can't do on their own property. Essentially, they should be free to discriminate if they wish, Paul says, however distasteful that may be.
Of course, Ron Paul isn't just a fanatic Ayn Rand devotee like the son he claims he didn't name after her. He's also, as James Kirchick demonstrated last year, a flagrant racist:
Paul’s alliance with neo-Confederates helps explain the views his newsletters have long espoused on race. Take, for instance, a special issue of the Ron Paul Political Report,published in June 1992, dedicated to explaining the Los Angeles riots of that year. “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began,” read one typical passage. According to the newsletter, the looting was a natural byproduct of government indulging the black community with “‘civil rights,’ quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.” It also denounced “the media” for believing that “America’s number one need is an unlimited white checking account for underclass blacks.”...
This “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” was hardly the first time one of Paul’s publications had raised these topics. As early as December 1989, a section of hisInvestment Letter, titled “What To Expect for the 1990s,” predicted that “Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities” because “mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ‘haves.’” Two months later, a newsletter warned of “The Coming Race War,” and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, “If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.” In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, “Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.” “This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s,” the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter’s author--presumably Paul--wrote, “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.” That same year, a newsletter described the aftermath of a basketball game in which “blacks poured into the streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How else? They broke the windows of stores to loot.” The newsletter inveighed against liberals who “want to keep white America from taking action against black crime and welfare,” adding, “Jury verdicts, basketball games, and even music are enough to set off black rage, it seems.”