May 20th, 2010
04:07 PM ET
8 years ago

Paul in 2002: 'A free society' must allow private discrimination

Kentucky Senate hopeful Rand Paul is under fire for his remarks about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Kentucky Senate hopeful Rand Paul is under fire for his remarks about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

(CNN) - Long before he was a Republican candidate for Senate in Kentucky, Bowling Green opthamologist Rand Paul penned a letter to his local newspaper defending the rights of private businesses to discriminate based on race.

The 2002 letter, flagged Thursday by a liberal-leaning blog in Kentucky, was in response to a Bowling Green Daily News editorial supporting the Federal Fair Housing Act, a bill Paul said most would support "at first glance."

"Most citizens would agree that it is wrong to deny taxpayer-financed, 'public' housing to anyone based on the color of their skin or the number of children in the household," he wrote.

But as he did in controversial interviews Wednesday with NPR and MSNBC, Paul made a distinction between the rights of private and public entities when it comes to the application of federal law.

"Should it be prohibited for public, taxpayer-financed institutions such as schools to reject someone based on an individual's beliefs or attributes?," he asked in the letter. "Most certainly. Should it be prohibited for private entities such as a church, bed and breakfast or retirement neighborhood that doesn't want noisy children? Absolutely not.

"Decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered. As a consequence, some associations will discriminate," he continued.

Paul wrote that private groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and the Boy Scouts should be allowed to include or exclude whomever they choose.

"A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination – even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin," he wrote.

"It is unenlightened and ill-informed to promote discrimination against individuals based on the color of their skin," he added. "It is likewise unwise to forget the distinction between public (taxpayer-financed) and private entities. A society that forgets this distinction will ultimately lose the freedoms that have evolved and historically been attached to private ownership."


Filed under: 2010 • Kentucky • Popular Posts • Rand Paul
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Rand Paul is incredibly self-centered and naive, a person who puts money and property above all else. He has absolutely no sense of community and supports a dog-eat-dog view of the world.

    The world needs fewer people like Rand Paul, not more. Human history is littered with the devastation his kind of thinking has caused.

    May 20, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Foreign policy and anti military industrial complex views don't jive with the mainstream Republicans. For this – I give both Ron and Rand a lot of respect.

    However their domestic policy views are really out there and too radical.

    May 20, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Ferdinand

    Free society and discrimination shouldn't be in the same sentence nor in our country. They're certainly not in the Constitution.

    May 20, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    To follow Rand Paul’s logic to its conclusion, it would be OK for someone to murder another, as long as it occurs on private property and murder was something the owner of that property desired as his/her right.

    This guy is a nutjob, just like his dad. Why people support him is beyond me.

    May 20, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. key

    What a discretionary view on life from a doctor who takes a oath not to discriminate. I guess everyone wouldn't have been able to go to his celebration party at the country club

    May 20, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Aaron

    When Kentuckians elect this guy, the value of stocks for white hoods and gowns manufacturers should go sky high. It may be an opportune time to buy now!

    May 20, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Fenarkleman

    Rand Paul 2010: Hey, Discrimination Is Okay! Yep, that's a winner for ya. Sure. Just like the Edsel and New Coke. Sorry, pal. You try to hook up making discrimination okay so that it won't hinder business to REAL American ideals and values and you just barked up the wrong tree, Snookie! Have fun being the answer to a trivia question: Who was the dinkle head who said discrimination was okay and was only a "consequence." Alex: I'll take what was that un-American Tea Party garbage for $1,000.

    May 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Papasan in AZ

    Hill Billie Red Neck Racist Bigot!
    Just what we need in the USA Senate...

    May 20, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Liz the First

    Defending discrimination by race by anyone is defending racism, which makes you a racist! it's like being a 'little bit pregnant.' racism is something a 'free society' should be working to move away from in all its forms, not embracing for 'private' organizations but not for 'public' ones. it's wrong whoever does it.

    May 20, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. welches, oregon

    I always knew Ron Paul was racist, I didn't know his son was as well – 'course I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    I sincerely hope Black People open private businesses – restaurants, shops, offer services, etc., and don't allow any white people to step through their doors – if this loony tune's agenda is followed.

    What? That's what Paul is talking about – private bus. having the right to discriminate – it goes both ways folks.

    What's good for the goose.....

    Would that be good for the nation?

    LOL!

    May 20, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. brian

    Noisy children, obnoxious parents, bad characters = color of skin(race), gender in Rand's world. Nice.

    As a Libertarian champion of choice and responsibility, Rand's argument falls apart before it begins. The left side of the equation above is choice the right side is birth. Typical hypocrite.

    May 20, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    This is one smooooth mofo. I wonder if this the new face of "Separate but Unequal"?

    May 20, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. geecee

    See, that's the problem with the Teabaggers. They are bigots and exclude many segments of society from their greater plans for the Country. They are not inclusive so will never amount to anything because there are far more fair, equitable and reasonable people in this country who vote, than are there separatists.

    May 20, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Dano

    Mr. Paul there's a big difference between allowing a church, retirement community, or restaurant to deny access to noisy children and allowing them to exclude a person because of the color of their skin. Private ownership of a business does not allow the owner to ignore whatever laws they disagree with. I think Americans can now see where you, and by association the tea party, would like to take the country back to and from.

    May 20, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. sonny chapman

    I wonder if his view of the way he wish the world were would be the same if he had been born to a poor black family in the South, rather than to well educated, affluent white parents from wherever the Paul's come from.

    May 20, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Talk about justifying racism!

    It is just unbelievable that in 2010 there is still overt racism masked as some sort of "free society, free market" BS. I had actually hoped that Rand Paul was pragmatic and evolved, but the more I learn about him the more disappointed I become. His thesis (as stated in the letter above) would allow for all sorts of discriminatory abuses. I pray we don't start election racists who want to move our country back to the 1950's Jim Crow, McCarthy days. That would be pathetic and sad.

    May 20, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    Rand Paul advocates a society where might makes right, and wealth means absolute power.

    These are not the founding principles of our nation, nor what inspired our founders to write the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

    Our country is better than despotic rule by the few. Mr. Paul needs to brush up on what it means to be a citizen of our UNITED States – and if he can't accept that his responsibility as a citizen is to balance the rights of the individual with the rights of the community, then he needs to leave.

    May 20, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. alpha_nu_916

    real scary proposition.
    restraunts with "whites only," "mexicans & black only," "no asians," or "no crackers." this is progress?

    May 20, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Sara

    Rand Paul – lover of racists!

    May 20, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. JDinHouston

    I'm assuming Rand Paul never met a Jim Crow law he didn't like.

    May 20, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Nate

    I completely agree with Mr. Paul. As a free society, we have freedom of association. Forcing a private entity not to discriminate ultimately infringes on their fundamental right to associate with whom they choose. Even though this type of thinking will inevitably allow things that are not desirable (such as more segregated housing and neighborhoods), it is within the rights of these groups to discriminate in this way, as they are free people in a free society.

    May 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    In other words: " I want to keep my country club, my mom and dad's eventual retirement home, my children's private schools, and if possible my neighborhood LILY WHITE".

    Sure thing! Right away boss! Can I fetch 'ya somthing else?!

    May 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Sounds good Dr. Paul, but what are the 2nd and 3rd order effects of this 'private discrimination'?

    Have you thought about that?

    Didn't think so.......

    May 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    Your whiners are telling me that you have never been in a business, especially a restaurant that had the following sign

    WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO ANYONE

    You are honestly telling me you have NEVER seen that?

    Paul is NOT saying it is right. ("It is unenlightened and ill-informed to promote discrimination against individuals based on the color of their skin,") What he is saying is this is not the constitutional responsibility of the government! I fully undertand this is a highly charged and emotional issue BUT read what the man has stated! Again I point to Lloyd Benson! He REJOINED an all white country club after he lost his bid for VP. He was a dem!

    May 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. PalmReader

    "A free society will abide unofficial, private discrimination – even when that means allowing hate-filled groups to exclude people based on the color of their skin," he wrote.
    ____________________________________________

    Cutting to the chase: Although Paul doesn't consider himself racist, in an astonishing high and mightier than thee stance, he WOULD protect the rights of those who are hate-filled racists over the rights of those being discriminated against simply because of skin color?

    Talk about Tea Party pandering . . . this guy reeks of it.

    May 20, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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