Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ron Paul seems more anti-Fed than pro-Freedom

James Taranto has some very interesting analysis:

To be sure, it is a principled libertarian position (which is not to say we endorse it) that if a private business wants to discriminate on whatever basis, the government ought not to interfere. It would be defensible to say that the Civil Rights Act went too far in intervening in private transactions.

But it seems to have escaped Paul's notice that segregation was not merely a matter of private preference. It rested in large part on government power, chiefly at the state and local levels, and it deprived millions of people of liberty on account of the color of their skin. By forcing an end to Jim Crow, the federal government was siding with liberty against government-enforced oppression. Yet Paul allows that the federal government had a legitimate role in combating segregation only at "a federal lunch counter" and in the military. Apparently he favors "states' rights" over individual freedom.

If you think this is too uncharitable an interpretation of Paul's views, wait till you see which side he takes in the Civil War:

Russert: I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. "According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery."

Paul: Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn't have gone, gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was the--that iron, iron fist--

Russert: We'd still have slavery.

Paul: Oh, come on, Tim. Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I'm advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You, you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years? I mean, the hatred and all that existed. So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.

It's an intriguing counterfactual, but what is most telling is that Paul blames Lincoln for the Civil War rather than blaming the South for starting a war to preserve slavery. Does he love liberty? Or does he merely loathe the federal government?

DISCLOSURE: I have no position in this contract, but do have a short position in the 2008.GOP.NOM.PAUL.

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