Left is Shocked - SHOCKED - To Discover Conservatives Skeptical of Government Power

Posted: May 20, 2010 3:17 PM
As Meredith noted earlier, NPR and then Rachel Maddow both engaged in a game of gotcha with Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul. He said he was skeptical of the wisdom of one part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibits private businesses from engaging in discrimination.

This is HUGE NEWS to the Left. Adam Serwer, Ezra Klein, Jonathan Singer, Matt Yglesias and others have jumped all over this with vague insinuations of racism and outright accusations of insanity.

The thing is, there are myriad examples of "discrimination" by private organizations in today's society. Boy Scouts of America v. Dale established that private organizations are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Is defending this decision as outrageous as candidate Paul's explanation of his views on the CRA? Augusta National golf course discriminates on the basis of sex. Is defending their right as a private organization to do so just as outrageous?

But it might not be that Rand's principled stand against government-enforced non-discrimination is the outrage. As Julian Sanchez notes, it's the intersection of a reasonable principle and "a three-century crime against humanity." Which is true. Does that mean that the Left doesn't all that strenuously object to the principle that government-enforced non-discrimination is undesirable? But that in this particular instance, pragmatism should have overwhelmed principle and allowed for adoption of CRA.

I doubt this is the case. The Left does agree in principle with government-forced non-discrimination and does find the opposition view to be abhorrent. How much more awful is the view when it's applied to race than sex? Than sexual orientation? Than Americans with disabilities?

The principle that the government should not enforce non-discrimination policy on private groups, private enterprises, private business and other private areas of life is not new, is not shocking, and is not extreme. It may be shocking to the conscience a half-century after a successful version of the policy, but casting a skeptical eye upon the ability of the government to draft such rules is undeserving of such sheer and utter shock.