Image Credit: The Gateway Pundit
A Rand Paul candidacy was an apparent threat to the left-wing media machine, and his squeaky-clean record was perhaps even more terrifying to them. In the New York Times article titled, “Rand Paul’s Mixed Inheritance,” they scrape up the crumbs of any sort of “dirt” they have to attempt to smear Paul. Their implication goes like this:
Walter Block said slavery “was not so bad.”
Walter Block is a libertarian.
Rand Paul is a libertarian.
Therefore, Rand Paul thinks slavery wasn’t so bad.
The dishonesty of the media is astonishing when you consider the fact that Block’s quote was taken entirely out of context.
During several hours of interviews, Block and NY Times journalist Sam Tanenhaus discussed in-depth aspects of libertarian philosophy. As expected, Tanenhaus couldn’t wrap his brain around what libertarians often call the “right to discriminate,” and took the opportunity to make Block look like he was minimizing slavery in the NY times article.
Block’s full quote is as follows:
“Free association is a very important aspect of liberty. It is crucial. Indeed, its lack was the major problem with slavery. The slaves could not quit. They were forced to ‘associate’ with their masters when they would have vastly preferred not to do so. Otherwise, slavery wasn’t so bad. You could pick cotton, sing songs, be fed nice gruel, etc. The only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory. It violated the law of free association, and that of the slaves’ private property rights in their own persons. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, then, to a much smaller degree of course, made partial slaves of the owners of establishments like Woolworths.”
Block is correct in his assertion that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in fact enables a much lighter degree of slavery, but slavery nonetheless. It is what forces business owners to associate with everyone, regardless of any personal beliefs that business owner may have. As infamously discussed in the libertarian debate, this law is what forces a Jew to bake a Nazi cake.
Block made a comparison to slaves, who were also forced to associate with their masters against their will. He chose this example to exaggerate his point about the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), emphasizing that the severe violation of the NAP toward black people is what made slavery so morally heinous.
As a business owner, I should be able to close my doors to anyone for any reason. I pay the bills for my business, I buy the equipment, and I provide the service. I should be able to turn away someone because I don’t like their haircut. This doesn’t seem like it’d be a controversial belief, but it is because people believe the government “solved” segregation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In fact, the government itself mandated segregation with regulations such as walls in restaurants to separate “black” and “white” sections. State police arrested Rosa Parks when she wouldn’t move from her bus seat, not the bus service’s private security guards.
Capitalism and the profit motive encourage business owners to serve everyone. Simply put, more customers equal more money. Beyond that, a restaurant which denies service to black people would lose my business, as well as that of many others who disagree with the restaurant’s bigoted actions. Be a bigot, and you’ll go out of business. Government fines and penalties are unnecessary, anti-freedom, and I’m willing to bet the market would punish any racist business far before a bureaucratic agency would even review the case.
A defamation lawsuit which Dr. Block filed against the New York Times has re-emerged. This is a fantastic opportunity for Dr. Block to make clear the ideas of liberty and prove the New York Times to be fake news as we all know it is.