The comments made by a reader regarding my most recent post, warrant a reply post, as I believe there is some fundamental confusion regarding this issue. I am encountering similar misunderstanding in my non-line conversations as well.
The reader writes, "...but the majority of the criticism that I read did not focus on whether or not Paul is racist but on the accuracy of his statements and his understanding of history."
I am not sure what you mean by this. When Paul said he believes that business owners have the right to discriminate, he was charged with being a racist. That was the focus of outrage. As I mentioned in the main post, he strongly supports most of the civil rights legislation. Let me make this very clear, I do not like Rand Paul and the way he is handling this! Instead of using his abundant face time on cable news shows to hammer home this one CORRECT point about private property rights, he is sheepishly backing away from his previous statements and acting just like a politician. This strategy will likely help him get elected, but in doing so his is compromising what principles he appeared to have. His father would educate and stick to his guns. I defend the statements he made, not him or his candidacy for Senate.
"...I think it's important to note that he was being criticized by many members of his own party."
I guess that I haven't been clear enough about my disdain for both the Republicans and the Democrats. Republicrats, whats the difference really? Anytime you can be distanced from either of these parties, it is a good thing. I'll note that the republicans who were doing this are strictly playing moderate politics, fishing for that optimum number of votes.
"but Stossel and Paul are simply wrong in believing that free markets would have eliminated problems of extreme discrimination and racism that existed in this country not too long ago."
No one is making this outrages claim. What Stossel is trying to say is that the market would not allow for this kind widespread racial and religious discrimination in stores and restaurants specifically. Yes, some backwater business's could succeed with ignorant policies like this, but the majority of restaurant owners who tried would be, as Tom Woods of the Mises Institute say's "boycotted and picketed out of existence within ten seconds."
"I once believed we could evolve our way up from Jim Crow, I was wrong: federal intervention was necessary"
This quote you use makes the case for libertarianism! Jim Crow was LAWS! That's your team, the government. Those were laws that mandated racial discrimination. Bill Buckley was no libertarian.
And regarding the ADA, I like what Stossel says about it. It would be perfect if every business in the land had power ramps and voice activated door handles and escalators in lieu of stairs, but as with candidates, perfect is the enemy of the good. Which is better, those thing that I just mentioned or the untold jobs lost by the cost of the multitude of mandated insurance policies, the expensive ramps, the ever-glowing exit signs, etc? I think a lower unemployment rate is more desirable as well as a utilitarian outcome of giving back property rights to the owners of the property. There will be ramps. There will be exit signs. But not everywhere.
I hope this clarifies some of the points I was trying to make in my previous post
For more on this, see Milton Freidman at 3:08.