David Harsanyi

As much as liberals love to imagine they're re-fighting the battles of 40-plus years ago, there is little institutionalized racism in the United States today. The accusation might excite some eager activists, but retroactive arguments about long-decided legislation, stirring up racial turbulence and distracting voters from contemporary debates is not helping anyone's cause.

The fact is, nearly everyone -- including, it seems, most libertarians and Paul himself -- agree that the Civil Rights Act was necessary in untangling repressive, government-codified Southern racism. The problem is that some of this kind of well-intentioned and important legislation has been used to validate the infinite creep of Washington intrusion into commerce and life.

While it is inarguable that many in the South used the Constitution as a pretext to solidify their racism then, today it is often the mainstream left that uses racism to smear those with an earnest belief in the document.

After all, today's political battles are about "extremist positions" -- issues like socializing medicine, nationalizing the energy sector and other various hyper-regulatory projects that are baking in Washington's oven.

We've got plenty on our plates without debating the past.