Dale Franks’ QandO posts
In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss Rand Paul, this week’s elections, and the stock market.
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The editors of the New York Times misrepresent libertarianism by way of Rand Paul and his statements about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying:
As a longtime libertarian, he espouses the view that personal freedom should supersede all government intervention. Neighborhood associations should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, he has written, and private businesses ought to be able to refuse service to anyone they wish. Under this philosophy, the punishment for a lunch counter that refuses to seat black customers would be public shunning, not a court order.
It is a theory of liberty with roots in America’s creation, but the succeeding centuries have shown how ineffective it was in promoting a civil society. The freedom of a few people to discriminate meant generations of less freedom for large groups of others.
It was only government power that ended slavery and abolished Jim Crow, neither of which would have been eliminated by a purely free market. It was government that rescued the economy from the Depression and promoted safety and equality in the workplace.
Let’s start with the most obvious canard, which is the proposition that Jim Crow had anything to do with free markets. They were called “Jim Crow Laws“, not “Jim Crow Markets”, the obvious reason for which is that separate accommodations were mandated by state governments, not organically grown in some mythical garden of free association rights. Indeed, the entire reason for the corrupt deal behind the presidential election of 1876 was to throw the South’s support behind a president who would end Reconstruction.
It was government–in this case, the state governments in the South–that imposed Jim Crow, and government that forced private companies to impose the desired restrictions on blacks. If government intervention was required to Jim Crow, that was only because governments had imposed it in the first place. And it certainly wasn’t the free market that imposed racial segregation on federal government employment, or military service. Nor was it the free market that imposed poll taxes or literacy tests aimed at preventing blacks from voting in elections. The argument of the New York Times’ editors is essentially that because one level of government ended the racial segregation that another level of government imposed, this shows the superiority of government over the free market.
Now, this is not to say that the owner of a drug-store lunch counter would have served blacks. Some most certainly would not. But we’ll never know how long that state of affairs might have lasted, because the state governments of the South did everything in their power to ensure that it would last, until forced to do otherwise. And to argue that the free market would never have eliminated Jim Crow is to argue an unprovable negative. What we do know, however, is that there are examples, such as bus companies refusing to make blacks sit in the back of buses until forced to do so by state law, that indicate otherwise.
To the extent that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary, it was only so by virtue of eliminating state laws that imposed segregation, and restricted free markets from functioning.So, what “succeeding centuries have shown” is that government restriction of free markets kept segregation alive for a century after the Civil War. In presenting such a revisionist version of history, either the editors of the New York Times are abysmally ignorant, or they are actively malign.
As far as government rescuing the economy from the Great Depression, a number of serious economic historians would argue precisely the opposite. To the extent that the government did end the Great Depression, it did so by absorbing 12 million citizens into the armed forces, and producing billions of dollars worth of war materials, a great proportion of which were destroyed between 1942 and 1945, along with about half a million of those uniformed Americans. Which, I shouldn’t have to point out, hardly commends it much as a general recipe for escaping economic downturns.
In any case, the child-like trust the editors of the New York Times seem to have for government action hardly seems warranted in either instance.
I'm taking out my new Hobie Revolution Kayak for the first time tomorrow–today, actually–to Lake Hodges. Very excited. Expect pics, vid. #
WW1 started when Gavrilo Prinzep shot Franz Ferdinand. Germany's ban on naked short selling yesterday may be the financial equivalent. #
Dow closes -376.51. 10-year Treasury Yield drops 95 basis points. There's no way to come up with a positive spin on today. #
Ask yourself a question: if the economy is recovering so nicely, then why has the Dow dropped 800 points in the last month? #
Both the Dow and NASDAQ are essentially where they were during the "flash crash" low last week. Dow 4000 doesn't seem as silly as it did. #
The good news: Treasury prices rise, sending interest rates down. Bad news: weekly claims jump, leading indicators decline, Dow -200. #
Hawaii 5-0 is coming back. The old show had the best credits: With Zulu as Kono…and Kam Fong as Chin Ho. #
Arlen Specter can now be the mean old man who lives on the corner. Every neighborhood needs one. #
Sestak is now at 51%. You want to hear a "bitter clinger" from Pennsylvania? Watch Arlen Specter's concession speech. #
Current PA-12 Results: Critz (D) – 59.2%, Burns (R) 38.6%. So far…not good. #
Well, I've got to stop twittering for a bit. I've got to take a dog for a walk. And, no, that's not a figure of speech. #
Maybe it's too early to call either race in PA. #
PA House 12: 82 votes counted, Critz (D) leads 86%-0%. Is a disaster looming for Burns!? #
Very first election returns from PA: With 114 votes counted, Sestak leads Specter, 56%-44%. #
I wonder how the election in PA will be affected by the bad weather, and resulting low turnout. #
- YouTube now gets 2 billion viewers a day, a larger audience than all three networks' prime-time viewership…combined. http://bit.ly/9PaB2V #
- US Treasury says it took a $1.6 bil loss on Chrysler loan. Total losses from automaker loans expected to be $34 bil. http://bit.ly/9MZay3 #
- Iran reached a deal to swap low-enriched for high-enriched uranium with Turkey. Iranian press calls it "epic victory". http://bit.ly/b9BoU7 #
- …and that's when Neil exited the LM, to join me on the lunar surface. #BlumenthalSpeeches #
- So, right after Omaha Beach, my CO asked me to take a squad and find this Ryan fellow, whose brothers had all died. #BlumenthalSpeeches #
- "Mojo In The Morning" show has been contacted by Miss Universe officials about her part in a "Stripper 101" contest. http://bit.ly/aO2VCh #
- Miss USA, Rima Fakih, the first Arab American to wear the crown, is a pretty good stripper, too. | http://twitpic.com/1os9nr #
- California pot growers face a new and serious threat: falling prices. A man can't even make a decent illegal living.¦ http://bit.ly/dh6IRl #
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- Miss USA is Muslim lass. I guess that means we'll be disappointed in her swimwear shots. #
- Lemonade from lemons: The € crisis has resulted in record capital inflows to the US, keeping treasury yields.down.¦http://bit.ly/bAQAqM #
- I soooo want one of these. ¦ http://bit.ly/aK9p9j #
- Schwarzenegger has proposed eliminating the CalWORKS welfare program. Democrats, who run the legislature, want taxes. http://bit.ly/amKrzC #
- Local California governments boycott Arizona, due to new immigration law. Arizonans notice. Hilarity ensues. ¦ http://bit.ly/cFlm0T #
- Government spending is bankrupting the country. We know it. But, we will do nothing until it all comes crashing down. ¦ http://bit.ly/cMVaX1 #
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