Tag Archives: politics

Libertarianism vs. Liberalism

20 May

So, the new Republican senatorial nominee in Republican, Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, has caused a storm by saying he doesn’t fully support the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Basically, he argues that while he fully supports the end of institutional racism, he has a problem with the idea of making it illegal for private businesses to refuse service to customers based on race (or other characteristics). It’s a legitimate libertarian argument and in no way indicates Rand Paul is a racist, which I don’t believe he is.

But as I look at this issue, it’s easy for me to see why I’m liberal and not libertarian.

Here’s why the Civil Rights Act was right and why any movement to modify or repeal it should be opposed:

1. Businesses, even private businesses, are systems. They are not people. They are systems created by people that are designed to provide a product or service in exchange for payment. Individuals play roles in this system, either as owner, stockholder or employee.

But businesses are not people and they should not be treated like people. This is a core liberal belief. This does not mean businesses and corporations do not have rights, but I believe they should not rise to heights they now have, where corporations are allowed unlimited paid political speech.

2. Whenever individual rights come into conflict with corporate or systemic rights, I believe generally that individual rights should take precedent, exactly because we should not hold systems in the same esteem as people.

3. The Civil Rights Act corrected a conflict of these rights. The act gave individuals the freedom to participate in the marketplace without being discriminated against while it took away a businesses freedom to discriminate in the marketplace.

4. The Civil Rights Act was necessary because the market failed. It could be argued that the Act was unnecessary because economic pressure would have eventually forced businesses to integrate or risk failing. But the market utterly failed. Segregation was rampant in the south at the time and was there any evidence that left unchecked integration would have happened in a reasonable amount of time?

I believe free market capitalism does not readily correct social injustice (I tend to think it actually creates injustice, but that’s for another time). To say that the elimination of discrimination should have been left to the market is to leave the end of discrimination to mob rule, because the market doesn’t respect morality, it transforms into whatever its customers want it to be.

If you hold, as I do that racism is a moral issue, and that it is fundamentally immoral, then to leave the ending of an injustice to an amoral system (capitalism) suggests a low view of its importance.

Because of all this, government must act through legislation and subsequent executive action to uphold rights. It is too important to be left to the market.

That is why I support the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


The Daily Roundup

29 Mar

Today started with suicide bombings of the Moscow subway system. Dozens were killed. The origin of the attack is still under investigation.

The Guardian (great British newspaper) has coverage here. The New York Times here. And the BBC here.

An interesting angle of this story is that the suicide bombers were female. The Times analyzes.

Expenses incurred at a California strip club were funded by the Republican National Committee, The Daily Caller, a conservative-leaning news organization, reported today. Some GOP officials have called for the resignation of Chairman Michael Steele.

Members of the Christianist militia group Hutaree have been charged after being arrested over the weekend. The group planned to kill a police officer and then later ambush the officer’s funeral procession, The Detroit Free Press reports.

Following last week’s passage of the health care bill, some Republicans have called for the repeal of the bill and have made it a part of their campaign for the 2010 midterms.

There’s just one problem: repealing the legislation following the 2010 midterms would be literally impossible.

Even if Republicans won every single House seat (all 400+ members are up for reelection) and every single Senate seat up for reelection, they would not be able to secure a 2/3 majority in the Senate needed for a veto because not enough senators are up for reelection. Simply put, the law is repeal proof through the 2012 elections.

George Stephanopolous of ABC News blogs about it here.

CNN had an interesting video about news site Politico. The D.C. politics site has changed the way political reporting is done and the story examines what kind of effects their type of reporting has on the rest of the media.

I personally visit Politico all the time. They break most major political stories and they have tons of stories that you would never find anywhere else. That being said, they are SO good at breaking news that too often other news organizations feel the need to copy the kind of stories Politico does, which can sometimes be very shallow and sloppy.

And that’s what The Daily Roundup looks like.

Have a great evening.