In 2004, presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) voted against a resolution praising the 1964 law banning whites-only lunch counters and employment discrimination because he claimed that “the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.” Ron Paul’s views were recently echoed by his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who claimed that opposing the ban on whites-only lunch counters is the “hard part about believing in freedom.”
In an interview this morning on CNN, the younger Paul was asked to defend his father’s disregard for one of the most important legislative accomplishments in American history. His answer? Allowing private businesses to maintain a culture of virulent racism is the price we must pay in order to have cigar bars:
RAND PAUL: There are things that people were concerned about that were unintended consequences [of the Civil Rights Act], for example, people who believe very fervently in people having equal protection under the law, and are against segregation and all that, still worried about the loss of property rights…for example, I can’t have a cigar bar any more, and you say, “well, that has nothing to do with race” — the idea of whether or not you control your property, it also tells you, come in here I want to know the calorie count on that, and the calorie Nazis come in here and tell me. [...] The point is that its not all about that. It’s not all about race relations, it’s about controlling property, ultimately.
Later in the same interview, Paul attacks the interviewers for “dwelling on an obscure issue” by questioning his father’s opposition to desegregation. Simply put, there are not very many victims of the apartheid state that the Civil Rights Act helped end who would describe desegregation as an “obscure issue.”