I don’t really care about Rand Paul’s heart of hearts, but I do wonder if the acrobatic tap dance some people do about wondering whether he’s really a racist or just advocating a return to Jim Crow that happens to have racist effects would survive if the questions were put in the following way:

Should your tax dollars be used to pay police to remove people from private businesses solely because the proprietor doesn’t like the color of their skin?

I imagine it would be like one of those push polls where you get different results based on whether you say pro-life or anti-choice or what have you.  But even if it didn’t, it would belie a feature that often is overlooked; this whole debate is not one between those who would prefer a society free of state interference* versus those who think that some state interference is warranted, but a debate over what kinds of rights should have priority.

The libertarian answer in this instance is that property rights trump civil rights, and that the state should prioritize enforcing those.

*If I were a libertarian, romantic appeals to the past would bother me because it would imply that America had already implemented my vision, and decided that it was bad.

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