Texas Representative Ron Paul made an interesting statement yesterday:
Yes, you heard it right:
MATTHEWS: You would have voted against that law. You wouldn’t have voted for the ’64 civil rights bill.
PAUL: Yes, but not in — I wouldn’t vote against getting rid of the Jim Crow laws.
MATTHEWS: But you would have voted for the — you know you — oh, come on. Honestly, Congressman, you were not for the ’64 civil rights bill.
PAUL: Because — because of the property rights element, not because it got rid of the Jim Crow law.
MATTHEWS: Right. The guy who owns a bar says, no blacks allowed, you say that’s fine. … This was a local shop saying no blacks allowed. You say that should be legal?
PAUL: That’s — that’s ancient history. That’s ancient history. That’s over and done with. [...]
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. We have had a long history of government involvement with Medicare, Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. And I think you are saying we would have been better off without all that?
PAUL: I think we would be better off if we had freedom, and not government control of our lives, our personal lives, and our — and policing the world.
Yes, Mr. Paul, perhaps in a perfect world, where rational, moral behavior was the norm instead of the vanishingly rare jewel it is, the Civil Rights Act would not have needed; indeed, it would never have been proposed in the first place.
Thanks to Mike Stanfill
However, almost all of the rest of us live in the Real World, where I have repeatedly seen black children dive into a public pool, and then watched every white swimmer (except my brothers and me) climb out and leave.
This is the Real World, where I saw the (white) mayor of a little town I lived in point at a black farmer we drove past, and heard him say in a most sincere voice, “That man is the hardest working nigger I’ve ever met.”
This is the Real World where I saw the results of a presumably gay teenager being beaten with a brick because he was a “fucking faggot”.
Sturgeon’s Revelation applies to people, where bigotry and irrational (read: religious) hatred are just barely in control. It is occasionally necessary that legislation and judicial decisions be made to control those beasts that walk about on two legs and call themselves “good people”. Hence we have the Civil Rights Act of 1965, and Loving v. Virginia, and Brown v. Board of Education, and non-discrimination laws and court rulings and social movements formed to bring about equality.
Because moral acts sure as hell don’t often come from the electorate itself.