No Right w/o a Remedy


TPM Reader CS chimes in on libertarianism and civil rights …

I largely agree with your arguments on Rand Paul, but disagree on one point. I do not think it’s possible to be a libertarian in the mode of Paul and believe in civil rights. Paul may well believe that discrimination is wrong, and that minority members have some kind of moral right to sit at any lunch counter they choose, but he evidently does not believe it is a civil right, because he does not support legislation to enforce it. As the Supreme Court once understood, there can be no right without a remedy. To say that you support civil rights but not civil rights legislation is nonsense. So, to be technically accurate, I think we would have to say that Paul may believe that racial discriminiation is wrong, but he does not believe one has a civil right to be free from it. And if that’s what he believes, so be it, but I’d have a lot more repsect for him if he’d come out and say so in plain English (as Barry Goldwater always did), rather than trying to obfuscate.


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