A few people have written about how they think Rand Paul should’ve handled his appearance on Rachel Maddow and other similar interviews. Here’s Christopher Donovan’s way of defending freedom of association.
Robert, the Civil Rights Act wasn’t about expanding rights, it was about taking them away — from Whites. Everyone’s got a right to decide whom they’ll associate with, and whom they won’t. This is probably the most fundamental right. The government has no business dictating who our associates will be. This may be awkward and painful at times, but that’s life. How would you feel if the government forced you to host three Ku Klux Klansmen at your condo in D.C.?
When I was watching the Maddow video I thought of how cool it would be if Paul said “What if government decided that there wasn’t enough integration in our personal lives too? Of my three children, do you think one should be forced to take a black spouse?” though I certainly didn’t expect it. To a libertarian both a business and a home are private property that government must respect; unfortunately we must face the fact that there’s a sharp difference in most people’s minds. Even Americans who own their own businesses feel there’s a distinction between where they work and where they eat, sleep, socialize and raise their families. So comparing the Civil Rights Act to mandatory intermarriage or being forced to hang out with Klansmen isn’t going to work.
That being said, I do think that there are politically smart ways not to back down. How about this
It’s funny that the media has been going after me for defending freedom of association when they don’t question any politicians who advocate affirmative action about those beliefs. If you truly believe that all people should be treated equally, how does one advocate not the freedom to discriminate, but mandatory discrimination? If a major corporation or university came out and said “We want to hire the best person for each job or admit only the best students by some kind of race blind criteria,” that would for all practical purposes be illegal. Do you think that’s right? Why don’t you question Speaker Pelosi, President Obama or my opponent about their views on affirmative action? I have made ending affirmative action a central part of my platform. Anybody who defends the practice has no right lecturing me or any American on the evils of racial discrimination.
This is a political winner, allows one to still be a libertarian and even lets the politician take a "more anti-racist than thou" posture. I don't see the downside. Since no one ever does this, I must be missing something. But what?