Rand Paul

The Case for Libertarianism and Rand Paul

 The Case for Libertarianism and Rand Paul
By Alex Merced
 Libertarianism has often been straw maned into several false stereo types:
Straw Man:
that we believe the wealthy are purely benevolent beings if allowed to hoard capital will be benevolent private distributors of wealth via the market
Reality: 
Resources are scarce and the market functions as the best way to determine that resources go to where they are most valuable, not perfectly, but better than any central planner. Markets are just allowing individuals to agree to voluntarily exchange goods and services with each other. In so much your wealth is created by providing value in the market you deserve it. Although libertarians take much offense to ill gotten wealth via use of government policy to grant individuals monopolies, unfair market power, and artificial barriers to entry to competition. Central planners can never have enough information to truly appreciate the complex interplay of individuals demands to better allocate resources than each individual pursuing their own interest via trade. (An individuals interest is not always only profit as also often part of the libertarian straw man)
Straw Man: That libertarian are isolationist that don’t want to engage with the world.
Reality: Libertarians are the antithesis of isolationist as we want to forge global relationships of peace rooted in trade and travel between nations. Libertarians reject the current status quo of foreign policy based on intimidation and bribery that often leads to war and the death of many who had no role in the decisions that lead to their death.
Straw Man: that libertarians are libertines that will let anything go anytime.
Reality: Libertarianism has a very well defined, constantly debated and refined ethic. Libertarians as a political movement come from a diverse realm of moral codes united by a view of where moral debates should be had is in the social/cultural sphere not via government edict. Government, if it has a role, is to only prevent and persecute violent aggressions between individuals (battery, murder, rape) and their property (theft, fraud). Too broad government involvement is not only improper but also leads to less efficiency of the justice system, over incarceration, resulting in a huge financial burden on society which are resources that could be better used in many places.
In so much that Libertarians are those that for the most part as a political movement want to reduce the size and scope of government Rand Paul is best libertarian hope as a plausible presidential candidate in 2016.
 Yes, there is Gary Johnson who will likely be running on the Libertarian Party ticket and will get my vote if Rand Paul doesn’t win the GOP primaries. Whether you care about elections or not it seems to me a valuable exercise to continue supporting Paul actively.
While Paul has done a concerning level of trying to position himself more favorably to a conservative Audience almost obscuring his underlying libertarianism. I do feel that if libertarians were to give Rand Paul another shot he may still have a chance to surprise us and show at least a fraction of his fathers conviction (which Rand Paul has shown at many times as a Senator).
At the end of the day the promotion of libertarian arguments and values will always be my end goal. Some roads will be more productive than others by at this point I still feel a value in the Rand Paul campaign.
 In the end it’s not even about whether political power is the best conduit for change but rather the social dynamic of elections. During national elections you have a national audience that is more willing to listen than at any other time, particularly to candidates. To me these are not opportunities to waste. While Rand may not be promoting a strong libertarian message like his father, people who see him may be often made to think twice and read up more on libertarianism. Sure beats letting everyone listen to Santorum and Cruz for the whole primary season.
 
(This endorsement encourages you not to donate money necessarily to the Rand Paul campaign or SuperPAC run by Jesse Benton but to the other two Rand Paul superPACs run by Matt Kibbe – Concerned VoterS for America and Ed Crane – Purple Pac which are more focused on promoting a libertarian message in promoting Rand Paul)

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A Discussion of the Civil Right Act of 1964

by Alex Merced

Having started an organization dedicated to building tolerance in a libertarian framework, I might as well go ahead an attack the elephant in the room when it comes to libertarians and issues like these. Often times when libertarians take on the mantle of social progress absent of government by discussing things like marriage equality or ending the drug war, progressives attempt to dismiss us libertarians by arbitrarily bringing up the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its public accommodations clause. In order to show why this dismissive argument is unfair and a distraction from modern discussions, let’s first learn about the contents of the 11 articles of the civil right act and see what libertarian reservations would be.

Article I – Banned unequal application of voting laws. I can’t imagine any libertarian having a problem with this particular clause. It’s the epitome of “equality under the law.” Although, all this did was end unequal application of current laws, it didn’t end other forms of voting disenfranchisement. This was later done in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was weakened in 2013 by the Supreme Court. I personally think the voting rights act was a reasonable law. It’s not about state or federal rights but preventing oppression by government and any tool that can prevent any oppression is fine with me. (From my understanding the VRA doesn’t violate any property rights, instead it restrains state governments from limiting the participation of it’s citizens in democratic elections.)

Article II – Often referred to as the public accommodations clause, it prohibits discrimination in hotels, restaurants, etc. engaging in interstate commerce (exempting private clubs, so essentially you can create an establishment only open to private members if you really want to be discriminatory). I will discuss the controversy over this particular clause and my take on it after I finish all the articles of the CRA.

Article III – This banned discrimination in public institutions like public parks and restrooms. While libertarians are generally for privatizing most public property, anything that is publicly owned should be open to well, the public. In other words, this is a no brainer for libertarians. It’s like marriage. While many libertarians don’t think a marriage license should exist, as long as it does it should be available to everyone.

Article IV – This enabled the desegregation of public schools. For libertarianism this is perfectly fine by the same logic as Article III.

Article V – Strengthened the Civil Rights Commission that was created in 1957, which only investigates and makes recommendations. From a libertarian perspective this is mild since it can’t really compel anything but it costs taxpayer money to maintain such a commission. I understand the need of a feedback mechanism for issues like these, but like them or not, don’t organizations like the NAACP and ACLU kind of serve this purpose with mostly voluntary donations?

Article VI – Bans discrimination by agencies that receive federal funds. While libertarians aren’t really big on public funds in the first place, I don’t see why regulating the use of public funds and public institutions would bother any libertarians. You’re not messing with anyone’s property that wasn’t already confiscated via taxation.

Article VII – Bans discrimination by employers of 15 or more (also exempts business where the trait you’re discriminating against is vital to the job). Myself along with most libertarians don’t think people should segregate their business or be discriminatory in hiring based on things like race. But, it’s always uneasy with libertarians when you set a precedent for telling people what do with their property (for many their business is their property). So this along with clause II is what usually gets us libertarians in trouble with the orthodoxy.

Article VIII – required the collection of race and gender data in voting. Aside from the cost to the taxpayer, I can’t think of anything to really complain about here. The data can be useful. Although when you collect data like this, you make people think of data in terms of race and gender vs. other traits and characteristics that may highlight other trends. (You can’t measure everything, but what one measures does shape how people think about things, which is worth thinking about)

Article IX – This article made it easier to take a state case ruled on by a segregationist judge and move it to the federal courts. I don’t see any problems with this, if someone is in a situation where they can’t receive a trial from an impartial judge there should be recourse.

Article X – Created the Community Relations Service, which helps communities resolve disputes over discrimination. Aside from the funding, I don’t see any particular thing to be offended about.

Article XI – Allows placing the violators of the other articles in criminal contempt for up to $1000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Aside from the enforcement of charges against private property use I don’t see a particular problem with this.

My Personal Opinion

The civil rights act isn’t on anyones radar to repeal for two reasons:

– There are laws that create actual problems that need to be dealt with like Sarbanes Oxley, Affordable Care Act, and Dodd Frank. Usually this half-century old law only comes up as political fodder to entrap libertarians.

– When I look at all the articles I find that I can more often agree with than disagree with the law. (Although, in principle, the clauses that violate private property rights can make me feel slightly uncomfortable. However the clauses preventing local governments from segregating public spaces makes me feel good and makes up for the previously stated discomfort.)

The controversy

Most libertarians probably aren’t fully aware of all the articles in the CRA, but libertarians like myself are very hard pressed to ever express any kind of flexibility on our resolution of private property rights (because they are integral to functioning markets, and we tend to really appreciate how small concessions can lead to large losses of other freedoms over time).

At the end of the day if I was a libertarian congressman in 1964 (probably wouldn’t have been back then considering I’m Latino), I would probably have to cast my vote for the act due to the value of it’s restraints on government power to compel discrimination. While many libertarians are very split on this pointless hypothetical that is often given to us I think it is generally a worthwhile law with fewer flaws than many others.