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“Rand Paul Consistently Defends Discrimination”: And Opposes The Government’s Right To Protect People From Discrimination

In the past, when Senator Rand Paul has been asked about enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or other civil rights bills, he’s fallen back on the idea that you can better assure, for example, desegregated lunch counters by denying that particular Woolworth’s your business than by enacting federal legislation. When it came to housing, he said this, “Decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered. As a consequence, some associations will discriminate.”

Using this rough logic, if you can call it that, people who seek to order lunch or buy a home are behaving a certain way. And people who deny patrons a meal or won’t sell them a house are also behaving a certain way. And people should be free to behave pretty much however they want. In a free society, some people will exhibit racist behaviors: “some associations will discriminate.” Other people will try to do certain things and find that they can’t accomplish them because of their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. But no one told them that they couldn’t try.

For Rand Paul, the best way to change someone’s behaviors is to behave some way yourself. Like Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who said he wouldn’t continue to eat at a restaurant that turned away gay couples, Rand Paul thinks that businesses can best be persuaded to serve all people by the threat of lost business from customers whose patronage they actually want.

So, pretty much across the board, Senator Rand Paul thinks about civil rights as a matter of how people behave rather than a matter well-suited for legal solutions or protections.

But, then, look at this:

“I don’t think I’ve ever used the word gay rights, because I don’t really believe in rights based on your behavior.” –Senator Rand Paul

The logic of that statement appears straightforward. Being black or a woman, how old you are, are not things you can change through behavioral modifications, but who you are physically attracted to is purely a matter of choice. Someone can deny you a sandwich or a wedding cake based on their perception of your sexual orientation because the presumption is that you behave a certain way, not that you are a certain way.

So, suddenly, the gay couple seeking dinner is distinct from the black gentleman seeking lunch, even though their behaviors are nearly identical.

If you’re seeking some consistency here, it’s not that hard to find. Rand Paul, in all circumstances, defends the right to discriminate and opposes the government’s right to protect people from discrimination.

He’ll shift around how he justifies these positions, but the positions remain the same.

There’s a certain appeal to the Paulista philosophy that has the potential to attract a lot of people in the younger generations, but here we see him running afoul of a core value of our youth, which is that gays should not be denied the same rights as everyone else.

It’s not just that he seems to be insisting that sexual orientation is a choice, but also that he wants to defend people’s right to behave any way they want, even in an openly discriminatory manner, unless their behavior involves sex.

This is not a winning position and it will hurt Paul badly with the very generations that might otherwise flock to his campaign.

 

By: Martin Longman, Ten Miles Square, The Washington Monthly, [Cross-posted at Progress Pond], March 31, 2015

April 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Rights, Discrimination, Rand Paul | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Protected Class Isn’t A Privileged Class”: No, Employment Protections Aren’t Like Segregation

Since the 1960s, federal law has recognized various protected classes. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color or religion; the 1990 Disabilities Act on the basis of disability. It should be screamingly obvious that a “protected” class isn’t a “privileged” class — but apparently it isn’t.

In recent years, progressives have been lobbying for an Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would make it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Opponents have advanced various arguments against it, including the notion that it will subject schoolchildren to discussions of homosexuality and that it’s a recipe for lawsuits.

Another bogus claim is that ENDA would create “special” rights for gays and lesbians.

On Tuesday The Las Vegas Sun ran a story on Republican State Assemblyman Crescent Hardy, who’s campaigning to represent Nevada’s 4th Congressional District in the House. It explained that Mr. Hardy opposes ENDA because: “When we create classes, we create that same separation that we’re trying to unfold somehow. By continuing to create these laws that are what I call segregation laws, it puts one class of a person over another. We are creating classes of people through these laws.”

Yes, he went there: He not only compared employment protection to segregation, he said such protections are a form of segregation.

It’s possible he got this idea from The Heritage Foundation. In November Ryan T. Anderson of Heritage argued that ENDA “does not protect equality before the law; instead it would create special privileges that are enforceable against private actors.”

Actually ENDA prohibits “preferential treatment or quotas” and merely makes it illegal for an employer to fire an employee just because he’s gay.

This idea that protections against discrimination put “one class of a person over another” has surfaced in other areas, too.

As I wrote not long ago, Fox’s Martha MacCallum deployed this type of reasoning when she called the Paycheck Fairness Act a “special handout” for women. So did Justice Antonin Scalia when he called the Voting Rights Act a “racial entitlement.”

 

By: Juliet Lapidos, The New York Times, February 20, 2014

February 23, 2014 Posted by | Discrimination, Segregation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“There’s Nothing New About The New Racism”: It Is What This Country Was Built On

Let’s be clear, there’s nothing “new” about “the new racism,” the term Suketu Mehta uses to characterize the arguments of Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld in reviewing their new book, “The Triple Package.” Chua and Rubenfeld’s ahistorical and condescending-sounding treatise, which seems primed to satisfy the appetites of salivating marketing departments and morning show producers, argues that three traits — a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control — account for why immigrant groups like Asians and Indians thrive in America. Mehta argues that this constitutes a “new racism,” where some groups are praised in order to denigrate others — who apparently deserve to fail because they lack these traits.

But isn’t this just the same old racism — barely wearing new clothes? Racism has always come in a variety of costumes and cloaks. Put another way: bigotry, intolerance, discrimination and violence can be as covert as they are overt; can owe a debt as much to the seemingly reasonable intellects of academies and legislatures as the Neanderthal ranting of the ugliest segregationists and supremacists.

The umbrella term for these scourges, “racism,” is the physical and psychological genocide of generations of stolen people, yes, but it is also the root of modern-day drug policy and the for-profit, institutionalization of millions of black and brown men. It is the privileging of the needs of luxury real estate developers over a commitment to fair, safe, affordable housing. It is a member of Congress shouting “You lie.” And it is the wink-wink of the modern-day Republican party insisting that “yes, you built that.”

Racism is not, nor has it ever been, “new” — it is what this country was built on. It is as American as apple pie.
To be fair, Suketu Mehta says as much, writing that Chua and Rubenfeld’s “The Triple Package” contains within it ideas and conclusions about American achievement that have long been dressed up in other, perhaps more explicitly distasteful — genetic, religious, economic — disguises.

But even calling this slightly new shade, this culture-based argument for achievement, this soft bigotry of the myth of group Exceptionalism, “new” obscures the realities of injustice in America. It assigns to publicity-hungry individuals and pseudoscientists responsibility for a narrow-mindedness that is, in fact, long-established and structural — as political as it is personal. It suggests that there is an “old” racism we have somehow moved beyond. As the Los Angeles Times’ Ellen D. Wu says of the model minority myth, it “both fascinates and upsets precisely because it offers an unambiguous yet inaccurate blueprint for solving the nation’s most pressing issues.”

So let’s not call it “new.” Let’s acknowledge that even if, as Mehta says, the United States thinks it has moved beyond race, many Americans refuse to believe that “race” was ever an issue to move beyond in the first place. Let’s not only recognize but thoroughly explore this nation’s longstanding, stubborn and self-deluding need to believe that success is based solely — or mostly — on merit, not the more complex, messy stew of opportunity, visibility, class, physical privilege, social capital, psychological stamina, and yes, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

“The Triple Package” is not evidence of a “new racism.” It’s the same old garbage, in a slightly different, Ivy League-endorsed disguise.

 

By: Anna Holmes, Time, January 24, 2014

February 2, 2014 Posted by | Bigotry, Racism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?: Bert and Ernie Getting Married Is a Dumb, Destructive Idea

Some people see politics everywhere,  even where they don’t belong.

Case in point a Chicago-area man who,  according to Washington, D.C. radio station WMAL, has  started an online petition at a website called Change.org seeking to pressure  the people behind the landmark children’s program Sesame Street to “let Ernie & Bert get married.”

As a child—and as a parent—I  watched a lot of Sesame Street.  I’m a big fan of Bert & Ernie and their antics. I can still sing most of  the lyrics to “Rubber Duckie” and “Doin’ the Pigeon” from  memory. They are  funny, engaging characters who demonstrate to children  that people—no matter  how different they might be in temperament,  likes, dislikes and personalities—can still be the best of friends. But  they are also, as apparently has been  lost on some people, Muppets—a  combination marionette and foam rubber puppet  invented decades ago—by the legendary Jim Henson and his wife  Jane.  Muppets are not people, and while they are in many cases gender  specific they,  as the Sesame Workshop felt compelled to point out  Thursday, “Do not have a  sexual orientation.” Nonetheless someone out  there thinks they would be useful  to further a point about sexual  identity.

It’s an idea that’s foolish, and  moreover, culturally destructive  because, if enacted, it would further the end  of childhood innocence in  America. Children are already bombarded, in and out  of school, with  messages and meanings that, in my judgment, are far too  sophisticated  for them to comprehend. Instead, they just confuse and, in some  cases,  scare them—as was the case when, as the Boston Globe reported back in   2009, “an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the  psychiatric  unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.”

“He was refusing to drink water.  Worried about drought related to  climate change, the young man was convinced  that if he drank, millions  of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote  the case up as the  first known instance of climate change delusion,'” the  paper reported.

A 17-year-old man is far more mature  than the average viewer of Sesame    Street.  We have an obligation to protect innocents  and innocence and, in a  sense, childhood itself. Children are treasures,  precious gems that  are our future and should be treated as such, not as targets  for  indoctrination.

By: Peter Roff, U. S. News and World Report, August 12, 2011

August 12, 2011 Posted by | Ideologues, Ideology, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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