If you missed the Rachel Maddow interview of Rand Paul last night, here it is:
A few days ago I argued with a gun-rights extremist that one person’s rights, respected absolutely, turn into other people’s oppression. And here’s a good example. Rand doesn’t think that civil rights laws should apply to private business, because such laws restrict a business owner’s “rights.” So Rand is just fine with going back to the days when restaurants could refuse to serve African Americans, because that’s what freedom is all about.
Rand Paul said this in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal:
PAUL: I would not go to that Woolworths, and I would stand up in my community and say that it is abhorrent, um, but, the hard partâ€”and this is the hard part about believing in freedomâ€”is, if you believe in the First Amendment, for exampleâ€”you have too, for example, most good defenders of the First Amendment will believe in abhorrent groups standing up and saying awful things. . . . Itâ€™s the same way with other behaviors. In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people, who have abhorrent behavior.
In a free society, we have to draw lines between “boorish” and “dangerous” or “oppressive.” Words are one thing — sticks and stones, etc. — but discrimination that limits peoples’ opportunities and access to goods and services that other people enjoy, not to mention housing and jobs, goes beyond “boorish.”
One of Rand’s arguments on Maddows’ show last night was that if restaurant owners can be forced to serve people because of race, neither can restaurant owners bar customers carrying firearms. However, I never heard of melanin posing a safety hazard. And, y’know, guns are not intrinsic to your person in the same way race is. So there’s no parallel.
The story is that Rand refused to take his opponent’s concession phone call on Tuesday night. It’s not clear if that’s exactly what happened. It may have been more of an amateurish blunder than an intended snub.
Josh Marshall wrote of Rand’s acceptance speech that “he came off to me as arrogant, bellicose and even a little messianic in his demeanor. To put it baldly, he sounded like a jerk.” But someone pointed out to Josh that “arrogant, bellicose and messianic” is standard tea-party style; it’s what the baggers want from their “leaders.”
I don’t know where the polls are right now with Paul and his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, but I hope the Dems make a fight of it, at least.