That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Defending Rand Paul

with 4 comments

Rand Paul has been under attack lately since he was the victim of Rachel Maddow’s particular brand of Gotcha Journalism.   This new style of reporting ignores what your guest has carefully prepared to say on your show and instead of listening to his answers like a responsible journalist would, you throw a whole lot of facts at him so that when his statements fail to hold up to your crazy suppositions, you can say “gotcha” and make your guest look like an idiot.

In the Maddow/Paul fiasco Miss Maddow asked Paul if he believed that government should get involved in matters involving private businesses and their rights to refuse service or set their own rules for their establishment.   Being a strict libertarian of course Rand Paul said “No”.  Maddow immediately pounced on him by asking if that meant he was against the civil rights act.  Suddenly, Rand Paul’s answers seemed racist.  Nothing is further from the truth.

Rand Paul is not saying that black people should all go to the back of the bus—not all buses anyway.   What Rand Paul says is that public transportation, which is paid for by city tax dollars should allow black people to sit anywhere they please.   Meanwhile, a private bus company like Greyhound should in theory be allowed to have a black seating section on the back of the bus.   It may seem rather unreasonable to turn back the clock on civil rights 50 years, but alas that is the price of living in a Constitution Republic like ours.  Let us not forget that Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal witlessness.”

Desegregation and integration would work the same ways in other areas of society.   Jim Crow laws would only be applicable in private settings and not in public buildings:

  • Restaurants: Restaurants would again be allowed to refuse service on the basis of race unless they were in a publicly funded building like a museum.
  • Schools: School integration would continue pretty much unchanged with charter schools being allowed to continue to exclude minorities, while public schools could not.
  • Bathrooms: For minorities, find a bathroom they could use would be as simple as heading to the nearest public building.

This may seem oppressive, but remember there are sacrifices to be made for true liberty.   It may be tempting to restart the protest segregation all over again, but I hope that reasonable people will wait until we have enough time to figure out where the public police department’s jurisdiction ends and the private police department’s begins.  We certainly don’t want police trying to arrest police anymore than we want both the private and public fire departments showing up at the same time.


Written by thatsrightnate

May 30, 2010 at 6:14 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Nate, your explanation of gotcha journalism was clear, brilliant and easily extended. Hurricane Katrina was a “gotcha hurricane” aimed specifically at picking at a few possible weak spots in the Bush Administration FEMA preparations. [Who gives them credit for being hurricane ready in all other parts of the US at the time? Proof? Didn’t they get hurrican relief supplies from the rest of the country.] The crash of late 2008 – “gotcha economics”. The developments in Iraq following the glory days of Shock and Awe – “gotcha liberation” (or maybe “gotcha counter-liberation”).

    I think once this is more widely understood you’ll see a widespread reappraisal of the challenges facing the W administration.


    May 31, 2010 at 12:57 pm

  2. I’m not sure if a hurricane can be guilty of gotcha journalism, but I definitely think you’re right about the Bush administration being reevaluated in light of this.


    May 31, 2010 at 1:28 pm

  3. I was not claiming Katrina as an example of gotcha journalism but as an example of gotcha weather. FEMA was ready to cope with a hurricane in almost any other part of the country but the hurricane ignored those places where FEMA was ready for it and struck in New Orleans instead, just as a gotcha journalist avoids the well rehearsed talking points of their victim.

    As a result FEMA got no recognition at all for its readiness to provide hurricane relief in San Francisco or Wichita (indeed strong proactive measures by FEMA may have prevented hurricanes at those locations). Of course, this was also combined with gotcha journalism where the media focused endlessly on a few tragic scenes in New Orleans instead of the vastly greater number of scenes from the rest of the country where things were still fine as exemplified by W pretending to play the guitar at John McCain’s (hurricane free) birthday bash.

    The key point though is that the weather itself adopted the “gotcha” approach and targeted an unprepared site.

    Similarly, in Iraq, for example, gotcha liberation (or maybe gotcha counter-liberation) frustrated the US armed forces. The US armed forces were ready to deal with masses of tanks with no air cover but the “gotcha” insurgents instead attacked with IEDs and guerilla actions.


    May 31, 2010 at 11:29 pm

  4. Maruda, this is excellent analysis of the type you usually only see from a large scale news operation like Fox News. I often thought that George Bush got a bum rap because nobody talked about all the cities that weren’t destroyed. Only two were really devastated on his watch if you don’t count the economy.


    June 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm

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