David Harsanyi

Health care reform? Cap and trade? Deficits? Terrorism? Boring.

Isn't it time we started querying our political candidates on issues that really matter?

Let's start with this one: If you were a convention delegate in 1778, would you have voted to ratify the Constitution of the United States?

If the answer is yes -- and you don't hate America, do you?! -- it's only fair we conclude that you support restricting voting rights to male landowners exclusively. Surely, from your position, we can also deduce that you support slavery.

Rush Limbaugh

Now, if the answer is nay on ratification, we will take this to mean that you oppose a document that provided the infrastructure for more long-term liberty and prosperity -- for all races -- than any other in history.

Creating racists is really no problem at all.

Ask Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican who made the unfortunate decision to be a guest on MSNBC after his victory in the Kentucky's Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Paul went on to clumsily talk about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, expressing misgivings about the "public accommodation" provision that stopped segregation in privately owned establishments.

Alas, earnest ideologues do not make for good politicians. And Paul made the error of discussing the consequences of stripping citizens -- even racists -- of their right to free association and speech.

And, as Julian Sanchez in Newsweek pointed out, "There's nothing intrinsically racist in the argument in favor of property rights -- and indeed, any real liberal ought to at least have some sympathy for it."

Agree or not, shouldn't Americans armed with historical perspective be able to engage in constructive dialogue about the positive consequences -- and some of the negative complexities -- of legislation from 1964? (I know. Just kidding.)

Some critics eagerly blasted "naive" libertarians, and others, like Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, used Paul's "extremist position" to wring their hands over the coming Republican crusade to overturn the Civil Rights Act -- which fits neatly into an arching (and largely imagined) narrative that puts America squarely in the mid-1960s.

David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.