Matthew Yglesias on Ron Paul:
Ron Paul And The Civil Rights Act: I watched Ron Paul on Hardball yesterday afternoon talking about his opposition to the Civil Rights Act.... The real issue here is Paul’s perfectly sincere [complaint that the]... Civil Rights Act is... a genuinely large infringement of people’s private property rights. It says that just because you own a hotel doesn’t mean you can decide to bar black people from staying at it. It says that just because you own a bus, you can’t decide to make black passengers ride in the back. It says you can’t buy—at any price—a seat at a whites-only lunch counter. It’s a massive instance of big government medaling in people’s private business.
It was also in the 1960s and 1970s an absolutely vital tool in resolving a social and political crisis of gargantuan proportion.... Ron Paul, like Rand Paul before him, opposes this measure not—or not only—out of some bias against black people but out of a deeply-held belief that the state should never solve any social problem no matter how severe the problem or how effective the solution.
It seems to me that that is wrong. When you own a hotel and bar Black people what happens is that if Black people comes in and sleep in the beds you call the police--functionaries of the state--and they then take the Black people away and charge them with trespass. When you own a bus and require Black people to sit in the back and Black people sits in the front you call the police--functionaries of the state--and they then take the Black people away and charge them with trespass. When you own a lunch counter and make it whites-only if Black people sit down at the lunch counter you call the police--functionaries of the state--and they then take the Black people away and charge them with trespass.
Ron Paul's belief is that the state should assist in amplifying social and political crises and injustices whenever the propertied wish to provoke them.
Private fee-simple property is, after all, an institution established and enforced by the government. You can hardly get the government out of what is, fundamentally, the government's core business.
Or if you do--if you no longer rely on government to enforce your property rights, you had better be willing to hold seisin in the manner of Richard "Strongbow" de Clare--and had best start practicing with horse and lance...