Before I get into the topics suggested by the title of this article, some preliminaries are in order.
I have to admit that I expected "these things" to start happening 8-15 years from now. What I mean by that is, since 2006, I've believed that the Republican party will go the way of the Dodo bird and the Libertarian party will rise to take its place as the true champion of Laissez Faire economics. When that happens people will start getting a good look at some of the finer details of Libertarianism and problems will become apparent like what has happened recently with Rand Paul. Before that happens, Republican Party social conservative positions such as opposition to gay rights, attempting to integrate church and state, and other similar positions will end with the demise of the Republican Party.
Republican ideology, such as it is, is impossibly contradictory. How can a party that has increased federal spending as much as it has and bloated the deficit as much as it has, purport to be the standard bearer of small government? This is a point that Libertarians, including 2012 presumptive Libertarian Presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root, are making to anyone who will listen.
As I indicated in the first paragraph, after the Republican party dies, I believe that people will start to see the flaws of Libertarian ideology. Consider the following excerpt from the late uber-Libertarian thinker Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged:
"The political system we will build is contained in a single moral premise: no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force" no rights can exist without the right to translate one's rights into reality--to think, to work and to keep the results--which means: the right of property."
That sounds good until you understand exactly how that is meant. This is clarified at the end of Atlas Shrugged when one of the characters, a Judge Narangansett, is writing an amendment to the US Constitution that prohibits the government from interfering (i.e. taxes, regulation, etc.) in business for any reason. To Ayn Rand and Libertarians, the right of property, the right not to be interfered with and the right to keep all of the end results of your work and your business is absolute.
Think about that in the context of the BP oil spill and the three times the banking and finance industry has nearly collapsed the entire US and Global economy in the last 20 years. Think about that in terms of the Union Carbide catastrophe in India. Think about that in terms of the 1270 or so US superfund sites currently being tracked by the EPA (Superfund sites are abandoned hazardous waste sites that require emergency cleanup). Libertarians really believe that businesses will automatically do all the right things if we only eliminate all those pesky regulations and taxes.
Getting back to subject suggested by the title, Rand Paul is the Republican nominee for Senate from Kentucky. Like his father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, Rand Paul is really a Libertarian running as a Republican. Like almost all Libertarians and unlike almost all other Republicans, the two Pauls are against the wars we are currently fighting, they are pro-choice, and they are against the drug war etc.
Rand Paul has created an uproar by saying he opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As wikipedia notes, the Civil Rights act:
""outlawed unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public ("public accommodations.")
Once the Act was implemented, its effects were far-reaching and had tremendous long-term impacts on the whole country. It prohibited discrimination in public facilities, in government, and in employment, invalidating the Jim Crow laws in the southern U.S. It became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, or hiring."
Rand's ideology has trapped him here and he doesn't yet have the sense his father has to avoid talking about impossibly controversial aspects of Libertarianism. Libertarianism has no answer for racism or bigotry in the workplace. How can it since it doesn't believe in regulating the workplace at all. Is Rand Paul racist? Many people, mostly those who don't understand Libertarianism, have concluded that he is. At this point, I don't have any evidence to say that he is because his opposition to the Civil Rights Act may simply be a reflection of his ideological opposition to any government "interference" in private businesses. That being said, he certainly lacks a good sense of awareness regarding how others may interpret the things he says.
Paul's campaign is in furious damage control mode. They have pulled the candidate from a planned appearance on Meet the Press this Sunday. This makes only the third time in the 64 year history of Meet the Press that someone has cancelled an appearance. Obtaining an invite to the show is considered one of the big scores in politics. For a politician to beg out of attending means things are so bad for them that their handlers believe that they do not have the ability to handle the tough questions that might be asked on the show and thus this incredible opportunity to introduce yourself to millions of voters and potential contributors on TVs most respected political show has to be squandered. Yes, if you have to pull out of THAT, things are bad.
Still, this has upset my timeline a bit. What will happen to the political landscape if Libertarianism starts to be tarnished before Republicanism is gone? Something has to fill the vacuum that will be left by the GOPs inevitable departure. This concerns me because far worse incarnations of right wing beliefs are certainly possible. In the short run, will Rand Paul survive this flap? Possibly, but he won't do it by hiding from people. His best chance, in my opinion, is to call up Meet the Press and tell them that he will go on after all and then on the show he should try to explain the reason someone with his belief system would tend to oppose regulation on business and how that translates to opposition to the Civil Rights Act. He should apologize to anyone who felt offended and reiterate that he is not a racist and meant no offense. If he hides away now and leaves this out there for everyone else to define, he is finished.