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Liberated from Libertarianism: Rand Paul Runs and Hides from ... Rand Paul

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Maybe we can finally have a serious discussion in this country about the lunacies of libertarianism.

I doubt it. This is, after all, America. I doubt we'd know an intelligent political discourse if it whacked us upside the haid.

But now we have Rand Paul, son of Ron, marching toward the United States Senate, with a mission to "take back our government". Oh boy.

I might be able to get a little bit excited about that if it really was his goal. The truth is that the American government exists almost entirely to serve the interests of the American plutocracy. If libertarians want to break that evil connection, well, then, definitely give me a shout. I'll be glad to pitch in.

But, of course, you pretty much never hear them talk about that part as they rant about the evils of government.

What do libertarians actually want, Herr Doktor? It's not entirely clear to me that they know themselves. They're pretty good with the shibboleths, but always seem to have trouble beyond that. That's because it is precisely on the other side of the sappy slogans where the contradictions of libertarianism come glaringly into focus. This is the place where naive but kindly people would say "Wot, I signed up for that?", and that's exactly why libertarians don't want to go there.


Such avoidance of reality is not only rarely a problem in American political discourse, it's nearly a national religion. In this sense, the discussion Rand Paul had with Rachel Maddow the other night was doubly instructive. First, because Paul the national savior on horseback du jour was reduced to repeated instances of the most basic, and base, political maneuvering in order to come to grips with the implications of his own ideology.

And, second, because Maddow gave us a partial reminder of what good journalism would actually look like in America. She didn't actually get quite all the way to where she should have gone, but her polite, thoughtful and semi-relentless questioning of her guest was as foreign to what passes for journalism in this country today as would be six-headed fourteen-dimensional gaseous creatures from a distant galaxy. Maddow is fast becoming a national treasure, which says a lot about her, but, regrettably, a lot more about her colleagues in the "news' business.

There are several key explanations for the rise of the insane right over the last three decades, but surely one of them has been the compliance of the mainstream media. Politicians have been able to make the most absurdly ridiculous and hypocritical statements without fear of being called on them. And if they ever were, they need only repeat the same line in some slightly different variation, and that's the end of the affair media lapdogs are well trained to cease and desist. One of Maddow's great virtues which ought to be a sine qua non for anyone calling themselves a journalist is her doggedness.

To see what I mean, check out this paraphrased approximation (not too far from verbatim, actually) of her conversation with Rand Paul the other night:

MADDOW: Congratulations on your big victory last night. Do you believe that private business people should be able to not serve black people or gays or any other minority group?

PAUL: I don't believe in racism. I don't think there should be any governmental or institutional racism. Now I'm going to go into a long diversionary soliloquy about William Lloyd Garrison, an early nineteenth century abolitionist, and also about when "desegregation' [actually anti-discrimination] legislation was passed into law in Boston...

MADDOW: Yes, okay, that was pretty weird. But what about private businesses who might want to not serve blacks or gays? Should they have the legal right to do so?

PAUL: We had incredible problems with racism in the 1950s concerning voting, schools and public housing. This is what civil rights addressed and what I largely agree with.

MADDOW: But what about private businesses? I don't want to be badgering you on this, but I do want an answer.

PAUL: I'm not in favor of any discrimination of any form, I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. What's important here is to not get into any sort of "gotcha" on the question of race, but to ask the question, "What about freedom of speech?" Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent?

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David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.  He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles (dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. His website is (more...)
 
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MoJo claims Rand and his father Ron Paul are both ... by Richmond Gardner on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 8:54:12 PM
Hope that helps 911 truth... by BaronVonRothschild on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:52:09 AM
While many anarchists latch on to the Libertarian ... by Starbuck on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 9:46:15 PM
"I don't believe in racism. I don't think there sh... by Kathy Stuart on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:43:15 AM
Individual rights would be WAY more protected in a... by BaronVonRothschild on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:51:16 AM
he would have run as a Republican.He would also be... by marko polo on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 6:21:18 AM
for the record, not all Libertarians believe in th... by BaronVonRothschild on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:44:29 AM
Unfortunately for we the people, the commerce clau... by MichaelOhio on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 12:26:04 PM
... by Phil DeGrave on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:13:27 AM
I scarecely know where to begin. I'm not a liberta... by BaronVonRothschild on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:40:12 AM
There's an obvious misunderstanding out there of w... by truthseeker7 on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:43:37 AM
Forcing racist business owners to not be racist pr... by BaronVonRothschild on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 10:56:45 AM
If there is one thing we know about Maddow, it is ... by Conspiracy Girl on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 9:38:01 AM
I have thought the same thing because he is his fa... by truthseeker7 on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 10:48:24 AM
"Equality" is a principal of which needs no append... by Randy Rinaldo on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 11:02:29 AM
could not or would not answer a simple question in... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 11:04:43 AM
Here is a pretty good link of an interview with a ... by Bernard on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 11:24:22 AM
The problem with the interview was that Maddow had... by Conspiracy Girl on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 2:43:53 AM
Green exposes the hyposcrisy of Rand Paul and Libe... by MichaelOhio on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 11:50:57 AM
While he believes, in civil rights, he does'nt bel... by marko polo on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 12:10:31 PM
Imagine you're a black parent driving cross-countr... by Jim Arnold on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 12:37:24 PM
The State of Ohio provides public services. The Ci... by BaronVonRothschild on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 2:22:52 PM
So, do you think a community housing association s... by MichaelOhio on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 2:38:37 PM
I was actually hoping someone would make those arg... by Jim Arnold on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 2:42:44 PM
Uh, actually Southern industry and business began ... by BaronVonRothschild on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 5:22:29 PM
uh, actually - the point is, the Southern business... by Jim Arnold on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 8:24:30 PM
Business as usual is the "ORDER" in which an indiv... by Randy Rinaldo on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 11:35:10 PM
Perhaps Southern businesses would have continued t... by Conspiracy Girl on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 2:52:28 PM
So "we" are allowed to call the police if violence... by Randy Rinaldo on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 11:46:07 PM
that other racist miscreants will choose to use th... by Kathy Stuart on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 5:00:49 PM
I thought Paul handled the interview perfectly. In... by Craig Thomas on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 12:43:20 PM
I see you have the libertarians dancing on the hea... by Carol Crown on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 1:11:25 PM
Professor, I disagree with you about Sarah Palin. ... by Ankhorite on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 1:18:49 PM
I admit I haven't made a study of it but I do not ... by MITYOJAB on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 4:57:25 PM
Here, the operative word that strikes me is "juven... by Nancy S on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 5:43:40 PM
AND WE THE PEOPLE ARE FOOTING THE BILL,LIFE IS GRE... by MARGARET BASET on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 4:01:01 AM
Maddow did dance around the core issue a bit, whic... by Dick Thomson on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 6:59:29 AM
Keynesian economics is collapsing all around us. H... by Conspiracy Girl on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 8:43:42 AM
Keynes says "let corporations run wild and save th... by Dick Thomson on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 9:16:23 AM
How bizarre to see an article in a progressive pub... by Conspiracy Girl on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 8:29:13 AM
I don't want to attack a writer at OpEd News. Let'... by Matt Kjeldsen on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 10:01:29 AM
Requiring businesses to comply with the Civil Righ... by Jim Arnold on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 12:05:08 PM
Here's the deal Jim. Race pimping is the strategy... by Matt Kjeldsen on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 12:42:38 PM
Your definition of a "free" republic assumes the d... by Jim Arnold on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 2:05:27 PM
Sorry, but you are not free to not engage in comme... by Conspiracy Girl on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 6:23:31 PM
The government can shoot you in your bed as you sl... by Jim Arnold on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 8:14:00 PM
There are numerous places you can read about it, b... by Conspiracy Girl on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 9:42:39 PM
There are numerous places you can read about it, b... by Conspiracy Girl on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 10:31:25 PM
Thank you, Conspiracy Girl. Definitely sounds like... by Jim Arnold on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 7:22:08 AM
Sorry, but you are not free to not engage in comme... by Conspiracy Girl on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 10:32:31 PM
IT DOESEN;T MATTER WHO GET ELECTICED ONCE THEY GET... by MARGARET BASET on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 7:27:45 AM
since you continue to post more or less the same i... by BaronVonRothschild on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 4:02:00 AM
You don't understand. It's your argument that busi... by Jim Arnold on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 6:06:46 PM
Your view is fascinating... from the perspective o... by BaronVonRothschild on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 11:20:52 AM
An exchange between private persons is an exchange... by Jim Arnold on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 6:07:50 PM
Conspiracy Girl says it is all about individual ri... by Carol Crown on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 9:08:20 AM
Carol, I think you have hit the nail on head: this... by BaronVonRothschild on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 11:17:56 AM
How do you imagine business came to control the go... by Jim Arnold on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 6:19:37 PM
It is indeed your fears that make you see the admi... by Carol Crown on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 8:58:27 AM
For starters, I differ with so-called libertarian ... by BaronVonRothschild on Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 11:58:27 AM