Two weeks ago, Dr. Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Kentucky, appeared on the Rachel Maddow show to clarify statements he had made, which seemed to suggest that he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For 20 minutes Paul and Maddow engaged in a less-than-graceful pas de deux on the theme of discrimination and private property rights.
Maddow asked Paul whether he believed private business people had the right to discriminate against Black people, or any other minority group. Paul responded that once you allow the government to dictate how citizens can use their private property, it ceases to be private. Maddow pressed the issue, asking if the government had the right to force Woolworth’s to serve Black customers at its lunch counter. Rather than say, “Yes,” Paul responded with an argument about the second amendment.