The problem with libertarians is neatly summed up by Salon's Bob Cesca, who profiles Rand Paul's interview with Jon Stewart. Paul, who is running to be the Republican candidate for US president, has called for less government intervention in virtually every area of public life. Yet from this it logically follows that greater freedom leads to greater discrimination, and less protection from it.
To repeat: Paul is vocally in favor of allowing business owners to disallow services to anyone for any reason, and it’s not just a matter of religious freedom to not sell a pie to a same-sex couple. Paul has a few things to say about the Civil Rights Act, which for more than 50 years has prevented businesses from refusing service to African-Americans.
This isn’t to say Paul is necessarily either racist or homophobic. But what this tells us is that Paul’s libertarianism demands that racists and homophobes be allowed to practice their bigotry at others’ expense. It’s not just a matter of sitting in their homes stewing over how much they hate minorities; it’s a matter of putting that hatred into practice and extending it far enough to harm others. This is what Paul wants to allow: legal discrimination against minorities based upon the the bigotry, racism, homophobia or general whimsy of those who control the sale and distribution of services. This is the brand of “liberty” Rand Paul is selling. Buyer beware.