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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Darrel from Denver

    Seems to me this guy wants to argue both sides of the fence so that he cannot be pinned down. He appears to simply be riding the coattails of a misguided movement.

    This could be the male Palin.

    May 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Princeezee

    I always knew that it won't be long before the wolf in sheep's clothing reveals his true nature and ideology. Enough said; Teabaggers or whatever they call themselves are a bunch of KKK's/racists without the white hoods....Any more arguements on this is an exercise in futility.

    May 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Thersa

    Really, what hope did this man have of turning out normal when his parents named him after the demagogue Ayn Rand?
    And seriously, does anyone besides bigots think the country would be better if the Civil Rights Act didn't cover private institutions?

    May 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Indiesol

    And yet he longs for as limited as government as possible, which means that everything would be private, which means that we could all discriminate! Woohoo! Way to go Rand Paul!

    May 20, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. richard in montana

    I am very much in favor of this! Let us start with all the people named Paul and then those belonging to the Tea Party!!!!!

    May 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Ron Reagan

    Another bigot shows his true 'colors'.

    May 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. ZedATL

    private discrimination aka segregation = "free society"? haha, yea right...

    May 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    This man's foolishness is truly astonishing.

    Does he believe a privately owned pharmacy shouldn't have to sell medicine to blacks if they don't want to? Or maybe they won't be racists about it... maybe they just won't offer medicine to women.

    Or how about a private-practice doctor? Should she be able to turn away men... just because?

    What happens if airlines decide that they just don't want Kentucky residents on their planes anymore. Just because. Would Rand start using a cab instead? Of course, that's assuming that the cab hasn't decided to discontinue service to white people.

    In short: Rand Paul is apparently a moron.

    May 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. PacificView

    Junk logic and imagined history. We deserve much better than this.

    May 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. phil

    Seriously? Tea party candidate.. is this really 2010? When are these pepopel going to be exposed for whatthey really are?

    May 20, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Joe NY, NY

    He's right. Paul is not endorsing discrimination; he's endorsing freedom: just as we all are guaranteed the right to free speech, however inconvenient or abhorrent it may sometimes be, private businesses, like private persons, should have the right to decide whom they wish to associate with (or not). Private entities should not be legislated into having to accept "it's all good." Because sometimes it's not.

    May 20, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. Whateva

    So would that mean that private corporations would be able to discriminate against current and potential employees?

    May 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Dan J

    There are Women's groups, black groups, muslim groups... private discrimination already exists.

    May 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. Sgt. USMC

    It is funny how the right and tea poopers want to take the country 'back'. Back to what folks? 1775 like Palin suggested? Where would that leave those who in those times were SLAVES? Do they have to give up there freedom so you can feel comfortable with yourselves? Do you want to go back to the times of public lynchings? Will that make you more at peace?

    You want to take away people's civil rights? What is it about my country you dislike to much??

    Thank you Rand, you have started the downfall of the rethugs in these 2010 elections. You have ignited the flame that will bring down the gop house. Thank you for showing your true colors.

    May 20, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. rmoffatt

    well, isn't he a fine fellow?

    such fancy verbiage to illuminate nothing but basic racism.

    who does he think he is kidding?

    his religiousity of thought bears witness to a lack of humanity, and the soul, that exemplifies that which is wrong with this Country.

    get with the program, sir. America is not all about white anglo-saxon protestents. it is about diversity – and embrassing such.


    May 20, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. Marvin

    What a poor Supreme Court justice he would be. He doesn’t want to “bend” the law to be politically correct or please the leftist elements…..

    May 20, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Gregg2

    I have just heard a few speechs and stances on issues from this guy. I am not from kentucky so know little about him until the last couple of days but i tell you what i LIKE this guy so far.

    He seems to be a straight shooter and he actually THINKS about what his stance is on issues and is ready to discuss, debate and defend them.. We will not always agree on everything but so far this guy has all the qualities i think many people want to see in their politicians..

    Anyone that has the courage to stand up and speak their heart and mind and tell how they feel and be ready to back it up and defend it is going to win support. Even if it's not "politically correct"..

    We as a nation have to get off the stupid republican vs democrat, right vs left, conservative vs liberal... It is so ridiculous that people treat politics like a football game it makes me sick... I DON'T CARE if your republican or democrat.. I have voted for many democrats that share my values.. I have voted for many republicans that share my values and i have disagreed with both.. I am not perfect and will not agree with everyone on everything..

    People just want their politicans to be honest with them, level with them, defend and discuss your values and issues and not have an attitude that they DESERVE something more than any other American!!!! Rand Paul so far fits that description from what I'm seeing..

    May 20, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. tt

    Just when I started thinking he is a viable candidate – this dark side of Paul is revealed – wolf in sheep's cloth – hypocrite hiding behind tea party to get to his agends?

    May 20, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Donald

    Wow, so the thruth comes out. how would feel mr. Paul if u were pulled over for just b/c u are white? just wondering

    May 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Every

    It took good journalism, reporting and intervieing skills to "squeeze" this Tea bag! Thank you Rachel Maddow and others for revealing these conspiracist for who they are! They have been hidding behind political controversies while avoiding labels of being racist, extremist and radical! But, now their cover is coming off, just like it came off repuglicans and these people are afraid of Barack Obama's policies! Well, I think if America put a majority of these people in office, we will have much bigger problems and might have a "another civil war." JUST THINK MOST WHITE PEOPLE THOUGHT WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS ELECTED THAT MEANT RACISM WAS DEAD! WELL, I HAVE SEEN MORE RACISM IN THE LAST 1 1/2 YEARS THAN IN THE LAST 30 YEARS IN AMERICA!

    May 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. GOP = the great white dinosaur

    God would Rand Paul be a disaster. He believes the federal government shouldn't regulate food processors. Don't we have enough food scares already with regulations? Can you even imagine if there were no regulations? Now it's okay for a private business to discriminate on race or religion? Go away Paul, go far far away.

    May 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. payback

    ....I wonder what michael steele, and those black republicans. Feel about his comments??????????????????...My guess is this. Being, black republicans, they agree......

    May 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. Keep It Real

    How did this guy get this far in politics? Evidently, it's the little voices in his head talking to him. Well, I'm not surprise, after all, he is a part of the racist tea party. All that is missing is the white sheets and hood. Perhaps when Whites become the minority then we'll start the discrimination. I know that sounds a little crazy but that's exactly how this guy sounds. Go figure.

    May 20, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Please

    Thersa May 20th, 2010 5:12 pm ET

    Really, what hope did this man have of turning out normal when his parents named him after the demagogue Ayn Rand?
    And seriously, does anyone besides bigots think the country would be better if the Civil Rights Act didn't cover private institutions?

    No Thersa, just bigots, racists and teabaggers

    May 20, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. PORAY

    Having lived thru the period when Brown V. Board of education, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act, I recall the States Righters espoused this crap. I recall the loud and violent reactions to the Supreme Court's decision. It was: they can pass the law but we won't obey it. that lawlessness is still present and alive in the Tea Party and the republican party. as for this guy, it's the Same s_it different day. By the way, to oppose the ADA, and Civil Rights act is to be against freedom for all Americans. When you take back your country will you return it to the native americans who were here when white folks arrived. Will you insist that your country honor the many treaties that were broken just because of white folks greed.Don't get this twisted, for over thirty years I have fought against actions that on the surface show no raceism but in reality were based on the mistaken assumption that its not racist unless it is stated by the offender.

    IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK ............

    May 20, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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