by Donald Douglas | May 20, 2010 4:16 pm
It’s a long video, but compelling — and the very best segment is near the end, where Dr. Rand Paul states one more time, as unequivocally as can be, that he abhors and rejects government-sponsored “institutional” racism, but that for leftists the “totality” of his views are irrelevant to the debate they want to have. It’s a political debate, not an intellectual one, the Democratic race-grievance activists will push, and one, frankly, they’re likely to win. It’s a sad state of affairs that a conservative Republican can’t talk about federal-state relations — and the scope of federal power into the private business decisions of individuals — without being pilloried as an “extremist” and “racist.” What’s especially interesting is that Dr. Paul knows exactly what’s happening, and he stands his ground. This is the point David Weigel makes in his entry, “Rand Paul, Telling the Truth.” And I’m not a big fan of Weigel, but both he and Rand Paul have gained points in their favor on my account.
You see, as America enters its second decade of the 21st century, political competition is essentially a postmodern battle of ideas and meaning. Ron Paul says he opposes any official institutional racism, and we can take that to include any local “black codes” or similar ordinances to segregate the races. Paul wants government out of enforcing behaving among individuals, consumers, and places of business in the economy. We are 46 years since the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and it certainly seems difficult — given the crises of that era — to envision progress in eradicating that kind of Jim Crow racism in the absence of federal intervention. But to even discuss that possibility today is emotionally polarizing. So what ends up happening is leftists win on emotion. And the more rigorously argued political positions are attacked as extremist. That’s what radical Ezra Klein does in his piece, “Rand Paul May Not Be a Racist, But He is an Extremist.” I don’t like Ezra Klein, and I particularly don’t like this argument, because anyone knows that to be attacked as an “ideological extremist” on racial issues is tantamount being attacked as racist. Leftists don’t do nuance on conservative ideology and race. Frankly, Rachel Maddow says the same thing at the end of the clip, so we can come up with a simple equation that’s going to dog Rand Paul’s campaign going forward: IDEOLOGICAL EXTREMISM = RACISM.
I’m not sure how Dr. Paul prevails here. I do know that it takes either a tremendous amount of courage or a tremendous amount of stupidity to take such a firm yet thoughtful stand on the left’s signature bludgeon of political demonology. This is the top issue at Memeorandum today. And it’s an issue that’s not likely to go away soon. Frankly, as the political heat — leftist, unrelenting, and opportunistically polarized — escalates, I won’t be surprised if Rand Paul decides he needs to issue a retraction and public apology in order to save his campaign. And just to recall how totally FUBAR all this is, all one has to do is remember that neither Rachel Maddow or Ezra Klein (to say nothing of their neo-communist cohorts) repudiated the racial extremism of Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
And that is totally messed up.
Cross-posted from American Power.
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