Questions for Rand Paul

May 21, 2010

I am an admirer of the author Ayn Rand. I understand her treatises on free enterprise. I don't agree with all her applications. This brings me to Rand Paul. I am certain it is no coincidence that his father, the Libertarian candidate for president, named his son Rand.

The rub is that many of these devotees of her philosophy blindly follow her advice no matter what the particulars. The particulars now are Rand Paul's statements regarding the Civil Rights act of 1964. First, he said he would have preferred to eliminate the clause pertaining to public accommodations. That provision made it against the law for an owner of an establishment, restaurant, store, etc. to deny any person access to that establishment solely because of their race, religion or marital status. In a second interview in response to the first, he danced all around the issue without commenting directly on where he stood on that provision. Then in a third interview the very next day, he said he would have voted for the Civil Rights act but again not commenting directly on how he felt regarding the public accommodation provision.

He bases his thinking on the premise that it is a private business and therefore the owner has the right to serve or not serve anyone he chooses. The law says otherwise. It has been upheld in court after court for 56 years. So he is wrong, but some have given this man credit for sticking to his principles even if they disagree with them

Since he and his libertarian buddies and tea partiers support this argument, I have a few questions of my own.

If he is such a supporter of private rights, does he support the private right of a woman to get an abortion? Additionally, did he support the private right of Terry Schiavo's husband to make the gut wrenching private decision on whether to pull the plug on his brain dead wife? Does he oppose the recently enacted Arizona law requiring papers of people in Arizona if the officer has merely a "reasonable suspicion" the person is here illegally?

My final question to Rand Paul as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from the state of Kentucky regards coal mine safety. It would be a pertinent question to put to someone running for Senate from Kentucky. Kentucky has a great many coal mines. I would call his attention to the recent disaster at a West Virginia coal mine killing 23 people for which the mine owners face investigation on negligence. Mines are a private business, Dr. Paul. Does the mine owner have the right to claim that the government does not have the authority to regulate the workplace safety of a private company?

If Dr. Paul were a man of conviction he would answer yes to all the above questions. If he answers anything but yes to the above questions, he is a hypocrite. He, the Republican party and his supporters need to answer these questions.

Mel Mintz, Pikesville

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