Matt Yglesias on racist Republicans

I should probably stick to monetary economics, but I can’t resist commenting on a couple Yglesias posts.  Not because I disagree with Yglesias (I mostly agree), but rather because I think I have something to add that puts things in a bit more perspective.

1.  The past is another country.

How are we to judge our heroes from the past?  On the Democratic side, you have presidents like Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt.  Jefferson was of course a slave-owner, and FDR committed a multitude of serious sins:

1.  Put 100,000 Americans into concentration camps.

2.  Fire-bombed 100,000s of civilians

3.  Tried to emasculate the Supreme Court

Of course both Jefferson and FDR also did lots of good things, and were in many ways inspiring figures.  The toughest issue is whether or not to make excuses based on the times they lived and the problems they faced.  I go back and forth on that issue, and haven’t really reached any conclusions.  I was reminded of this problem when I read a recent Yglesias post criticizing Republicans for idolizing Goldwater:

Obviously liberals have been wrong about things in the past as well, but according to conservatives this was a foundational moment in their movement! Whenever I bring this up, people quickly rush to assure me that Goldwater didn’t stand shoulder-to-shoulder with white supremacists on the most important political issue of his time out of racism, instead at the decisive moment in his career he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with white supremacists out of principled constitutional reasoning that made it impossible for him to do otherwise. But this is actually more damning. You could imagine the founder of a movement being afflicted by an unfortunate character flaw that his followers lack. But the argument is that Goldwater didn’t suffer from a character flaw. Instead, having acquired a major party presidential nomination he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with white supremacists on the most important issue of the day because his sincere political ideology led to horribly wrongheaded conclusions.

Odd hero.

Yglesias has a valid point here, but the Republican ideology is so amorphous that it is difficult to know where they really stand on the extreme libertarian position that private property is sacrosanct.  In any case, I am actually inclined to be tougher on Goldwater that Yglesias.  Goldwater was somewhat racist, in the sense that most people were somewhat racist back then.  Yglesias is much younger than me, and he may not realize that the hippie images of the 1960s are very misleading.  It wasn’t until 1991 that most Americans favored inter-racial marriages.  I am quite sure that opposition to those marriages would have been absolutely overwhelming in the 1960s.  So while Goldwater was probably more racist than Yglesias suggests, he was also probably more in tune with the times than one might think.  All this is not to defend Goldwater–I am a right-wing liberal, not a conservative.  He’s not my hero. Goldwater was also very wrong on Vietnam, arguably just as big a failing as his position of the 1964 civil rights bill.

Update 5/23/10:  Several people have mentioned to me that Goldwater was an aggressive supporter of civil rights in Arizona.  I regret leaving the wrong impression in this post.  I was simply responding to the quotations in Yglesias’ post (which I think are accurate.)  But they apparently don’t tell the entire story.  I inferred from the quotes that Goldwater had mixed views at the time, like most Americans.  I think people read the post as me singling out Goldwater as a particularly racist person, which was not my intent.  BTW, I also don’t think Jefferson and FDR were particularly bad guys in the context of their times.

2.  If you’re going to be a pragmatist, don’t revert to dogmatism on race.

Yglesias also give Rand Paul a tough time over his stand on civil rights.  Paul indicated that he favored the parts of the 1964 bill that ended legal segregation, but opposed those parts that interfered with private property rights (such as the ban on businesses discriminating against African-American customers.)

It makes an enormous amount of sense to give private individuals and businesses a wide degree of freedom in how they want to conduct themselves. But it doesn’t make sense to hold that there’s an impenetrable wall of principle that prevents regulation of private business affairs. Now perhaps Paul would just argue that this shows we need to return to the economic stone age””scrap the FDIC, return to the gold standard, undo a 200-year tradition of public investment in infrastructure, etc.””but that’s really nuts. And this is why I think the “Paul’s not a racist, he’s just an ideologue” defense is ultimately so weak. It may well be accurate, but it’s still incredibly damning.

Here’s my problem with Rand Paul.  Reason magazine did a long article discussing how Paul was more pragmatic than his father.  For instance, he opposes legalizing drugs.  Although I favor drug legalization (and would bet $100 that Paul and indeed Obama do in private) I understand how it is difficult to get elected in Kentucky on a platform of drug legalization.  But if you are going to be a pragmatist on drugs, you ought to also be a pragmatist on race.

Although I am a pragmatic libertarian who thinks private property is just a convenience that makes the economy work better, not a natural right, I do understand how a principled libertarian could reach a different conclusion on non-racist grounds.  But if you are going to take that sort of extreme position on an issue very dear to African-Americans, and then toss away your principles on an issue dear to white conservatives who favor locking up lots of African-Americans for drug violations, then people may begin to question your motives.

I do not see any pragmatic reason for allowing restaurants and stores to discriminate on the basis of race.  Nor to allow businesses to discriminate in hiring.  If we are going to tinker with the 1964 law, it should be on pragmatic grounds—what most improves the well-being of disadvantaged groups.  For instance, I’ve heard stories of academic departments being reluctant to hire a black person because they fear they wouldn’t be able to let him go if he didn’t work out.  In that case it might actually encourage more hiring of minorities if the Civil Rights act was enforced on the hiring side, but essentially ignored on the firing side (say for employees with more than one year of tenure.)  I have no idea whether this reform would help or hurt, but as a pragmatist I think the argument for the reform would have to hinge on how it affected the well-being of society, not any sort of natural right to hire and fire.  Indeed even progressives don’t really support the 1964 bill on dogmatic grounds; they are perfectly willing to make exceptions for affirmative action programs.

I am not afraid to take very unpopular stands, and am not going to call someone a racist simply for taking an unpopular stand with which I disagree.  Contra Yglesias, I oppose deposit insurance (except perhaps on deposits backed with government debt) and oppose having the state build infrastructure.  But I don’t take those positions for dogmatic reasons.  Banks took far fewer risks under Coolidge than under Clinton/Bush.  And the Nordic countries have shown that many infrastructure projects can be more effectively built and run by the private sector.

A suggestion to my fellow right-wingers:  Take positions that you are comfortable defending.  If you are not comfortable defending a position, maybe you ought to re-think the position.  I read a recent Rand Paul interview where it was very obvious that he wasn’t comfortable defending his position on the 1964 Civil Rights bill.  I have no trouble sleeping at night with my views, wrong as many of them may be.

Update 5/23/10:  I’m told that Rand Paul now says he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights bill.

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30 Responses to “Matt Yglesias on racist Republicans”

  1. Gravatar of q q
    21. May 2010 at 12:45

    “I do not see any pragmatic reason for allowing restaurants and stores to discriminate on the basis of race.”

    Neither are there “pragmatic reasons” for allowing hate speech or animal crush videos, but we tolerate them for fear of government overreach. That is ultimately the real pragmatic concern. If the CRA portions on discriminatory hiring were repealed today, it seems highly unlikely firms will begin to discriminate given that it is almost always an irrational decision (unless the other employees would be uncomfortable with the minority, but that seems pretty unlikely). The immediate benefit is, as you point out, greater labor mobility, as firms won’t be more reluctant to fire underperforming minorities/disabled persons. Nor would firms feel pressured to hire unqualified minorities out of fear of showing “disparate impact.” I have no doubt that there is still racism out there, and that a handful of firms will be racist int heir hiring, but the effect will be minuscule given the largely competitive, non-racist labor market.

  2. Gravatar of Richard A. Richard A.
    21. May 2010 at 14:15

    The 1964 Civil Rights Act was better supported by Republicans than Democrats in congress — primarily because of opposition by Southern Democrats.

    By party

    The original House version:
    * Democratic Party: 152-96 (61%-39%)
    * Republican Party: 138-34 (80%-20%)

    Cloture in the Senate:
    * Democratic Party: 44-23 (66%-34%)
    * Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)

    The Senate version:
    * Democratic Party: 46-21 (69%-31%)
    * Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%)

    The Senate version, voted on by the House:
    * Democratic Party: 153-91 (63%-37%)
    * Republican Party: 136-35 (80%-20%)

  3. Gravatar of jsalvatier jsalvatier
    21. May 2010 at 16:38

    Right, but generally people think about circa 1964 Democrats as “conservatives” and Republicans as “liberals” their counterparts these days are reversed.

  4. Gravatar of Mongoose Mongoose
    21. May 2010 at 19:51

    The business about Goldwater being a racist was just pure Democrat/Rino electioneering and left-wing agiprop.

    Goldwater was quite right in his stance.

    The whole business of the Democrats calling the GOP racists is just baloney. It is at best a projection. The democrats were the party of slavery, the confederacy, the KKK and Jim crow, and they are the party of black dependency and grievance mongering . They could actually not care less about the black race, they just use them as a “voter block plantation” and a foil to attach our society.

    There was no GOP “Southern Strategy”, it is all just propaganda manipulation.

    as to me isalvatier, you really should try to understand the political history of your nation, and what the terms “liberal” and “conservative” actually mean. Your statement is not just untrue, it is nonsensical.

  5. Gravatar of Don the libertarian Democrat Don the libertarian Democrat
    21. May 2010 at 20:07


    I’m not interested in defining who’s a libertarian. Nor do I care what other people think it means. But Goldwater could have voted for the bill, in my view.

    To begin with, the bill was a compromise that addressed concerns about Individual Rights and a Preference for Persuasion:

    “The compromise civil rights bill worked out in Dirksen’s office did not seriously weaken the original H. R. 7152 . The bargainers were careful not to include any changes that might cause the House to reconsider the entire bill once the Senate had finished its work. The “clean bill” made somewhat over seventy changes in H. R. 7152 , most of them concerning wording and punctuation and most of them designed to win over reluctant Republicans and to allow cloture. The major change in what was called the Dirksen-Mansfield substitute was to lessen the emphasis on federal enforcement in cases of fair employment and public accommodations violations. The substitute gave higher priority to voluntary compliance than the House bill. It encouraged more private, rather than official, legal initiatives. The compromise also reserved a period for voluntary compliance before the U.S. Attorney General could act in discrimination suits.

    What Dirksen had done was to put together a substitute for the House-passed H. R. 7152 that was near enough to the original version that it satisfied the Justice Department and the bipartisan civil rights coalition in Congress, and sufficiently different in tone and emphasis to win a few Republican converts to support cloture.”

    Here’s the text:

    To the extent that someone was willing to compromise at all, the bill specifically addressed their concerns.

    As to State’s Rights, as near as I can tell, the arguments against the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts were based on State’s Rights. Since Goldwater had been for these bills, I don’t see him as someone who bought all State’s Rights arguments.

    So, in my opinion, he could have voted for the bill in 64. I believe he voted against it for political reasons. That doesn’t surprise me, but many people don’t like to see Goldwater as a political creature, I guess.

    From a Burkean Whig point of view, my point of view, the bill was excellent and an example of the virtues of compromise. As for Goldwater, I liked him more as he aged.

    What shocks me is that Paul doesn’t seem to have come to a coherent position on a number of huge issues, or, as you say, he’s trying to fudge his opinions. Fudging can be fine, but his fudging goes against some of his supposed virtues, like consistency.

    Truth in Advertising: I’m a Democrat, and hope he loses.

  6. Gravatar of Blackadder Blackadder
    21. May 2010 at 20:47

    I used to work on discrimination cases, and would say based on this experience that the antidiscrimination laws in emploment are pretty worthless. No doubt cases of real discrimination exist, but unless an employer is really stupid you’re never going to be able to prove it. So you’re left with frivolous cases where incompetent people are arguing basically “I was fired and am a minority, therefore racism” (the one exception I would make is for sexual harassment cases, where the allegations, if credible, were often serious). My guess is that the laws lead to less labor market flexibility, particularly for protected groups, which is bad for the economy as a whole and bad for members of those groups. And since you aren’t getting much of a benefit from the laws, the overall effect is surely bad.

  7. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    21. May 2010 at 20:57

    Conservatives are typically bad (sometimes very bad) on how existing structures fail for particular groups: particularly groups that it is “traditional” they fail for. That is, conservatives typically have a much stronger sense of achievement for existing structures than their sense of failures of the same.

    Progressivists are typically bad on how existing structures work well. That is, they have a sense of failures but a typically flawed sense of achievement.

    Libertarians typically fail to consider what might be called “second order” social dynamics. That we are not random individuals but members of wider collectivities that have their own dynamics and demands.

    Goldwater and Rand Paul seem to be typifying the way libertarians of conservative bent (or conservatives of libertarian bent) fail. Particularly given how much the African-American experience gets in the way of a triumphal view of the American project.

    Personally, I do not understand why people need “heroes” in the unblemished sense. You can admire some aspects of a person and not others.

    As for morally judging the past, we cannot “unwind” how people’s sense of right and wrong has evolved since whenever, but we can consider whether there were people at the time who called the issue correctly. If there were, then that puts those who did not in a poorer light.

  8. Gravatar of Bill Woolsey Bill Woolsey
    22. May 2010 at 06:18

    Paul came to his senses and explained that he would not be trying to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Unless he really does plan to work for the repeal of part of that law, this is really all he should say about it.

    As he has done, explaining how he favors individual rights for all people regardless of race, religion or creed, is great. Referring to the blight of segregation was good.

    Getting involved in discussing how the 1964 bill could have been better is an error. It isn’t the role of a libertarian political leader to teach some kind of libertarian historical analysis to journalists or voters. That is the duty of libertarian academics, especially historians.

    Now, if Paul really wanted to work to end federal prohibition on private racial discrimination, then explaining why he thinks it is a bad idea would be important. I think consequentialist arguments would be essential. And, as is well known, there are some adverse consequences of the policies for those that are supposed to be helped.

    But if he doesn’t want to work towards that goal, because there are other, more important priorities, then getting involved in historical discussions is just a distraction.

    He has now gone even further and said he would vote for it. This is basically on the argument that he supports the bulk of the bill that prohibited state and local discrimination on the basis of race, including compulsory private segregation.

  9. Gravatar of Jeff Jeff
    22. May 2010 at 06:21

    Scott, discussions about topics like this almost always degenerate into name-calling. It’s a tribute to the quality of you and your readers that it hasn’t happened yet. But it probably will once I say this:
    There is a pragmatic argument for Rand Paul’s position. Market forces work against discrimination, and only government actions and failures (e.g., refusals to enforce laws protecting black and integrated establishments from the likes of the KKK) kept the Jim Crow system alive. A whites-only employer faces higher costs that one who will hire the cheapest available labor. A whites-only restaurant loses not only potential nonwhite customers but also white customers who find their policy abhorrent.
    This was already happening in the South. Many of the protesters were themselves white Southerners. A version of the CRA that Rand Paul agrees with (outlawing discrimination by public entities at all levels) would have been sufficient to collapse the whole Jim Crow structure. By going further and outlawing private discrimation as well, the CRA bred resentments and helped create a culture wherein far too many people claim victim status to excuse all kinds of bad behavior.
    Milton Friedman used to point out that black wages as a percent of white wages were rising steadily from the end of the Depression through the mid-60’s, then stalled. This doesn’t prove that the CRA was to blame, but it sure doesn’t seem to have helped much. The social integration promoted in the sixties was more than undone by the residential resegregation that has taken place since, aided by zoning laws opposed only by libertarians.

  10. Gravatar of scott sumner scott sumner
    22. May 2010 at 06:30

    q, That is a good argument, and I am also a “rules utilitarian.” However is makes a difference as to how easy it is to carve out exceptions to general rules. It is easy to ban the yelling of fire in a crowded theatre, but not easy to describe hate speech. Hence a hate speech ban would be abused (as it is in Europe.) It is easy to say no business shall refuse to serve customers on the basis of race. It is not easy to enforce the employment part of the act, which is why I suggested a possible reform. Indeed it is possible that today the employment part does more harm that good. In any case the employment part has basically been repealed (de facto) and replaced with affirmative action, except for those businesses so stupid as to actually admit to discriminating against minorities on the basis of race. I believe the change was made in the early 1990s–does anyone recall the bill that made enforcement a statistical test?

    Richard A, Yes, many people forget that.

    jsalvatier, Yes, the parties have dramatically changed since 1964–with the Dems getting much more liberal. The GOP actually has not become significantly more conservative on race, indeed less so. But they seem to have gotten much more conservative because the Dems have moved so far to the left.

    Mongoose, Here is a quote from Yglesias (about Goldwater’s book:

    “But his vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act would speak for itself, even if Goldwater didn’t speak for it: “the Supreme Court decision is not necessarily the law of the land,” he said in 1964, and he (or [ghostwriter Brent] Bozell) said likewise in 1960, describing Brown v. Board of Education and allied decisions as “abuses of power by the Court.” In italics, Goldwater declares that politics needs to take into account “the essential differences between men.”

    If that quote is accurate, I’d say Goldwater was somewhat racist. Again, probably 80% of Americans were somewhat racist back then, maybe more. So it shouldn’t be taken as showing Goldwater was a evil man. He simply shared many of the prejudices of his fellow Americans. I actually like Goldwater.

    Don the libertarian Democrat, Those are good points. I don’t know how I feel about Rand Paul. It would be nice having a libertarian voice within the Senate, so although I don’t agree with his views on civil rights, there are lots of things I like about the guy. On the other have, if there were 100 Rand Paul’s, or even 51, in the Senate I’d be very worried.

    BTW, although Rand Paul opposes legalizing drugs, he also opposes the War on Drugs. That’s arguably a more important civil rights issue for blacks these days than non-discrimination against customers. The drugs used by blacks have much longer prison terms than those used by whites.

    Blackadder. I agree that the law is almost unenforceable in employment. In an earlier reply I also said only stupid businesses would be caught, which is why the law was effectively repealed years ago and replaced with affirmative action programs. Again, it’s Paul’s comments on discrimination against customers that I found highly non-pragmatic.

    Lorenzo from Oz, You said;

    “Personally, I do not understand why people need “heroes” in the unblemished sense. You can admire some aspects of a person and not others.”

    This is exactly how I feel. I would never be disappointed if a public figure I admired was caught having an affair, because I never admire public figures for their fidelity.

    Conservatives tend to be nationalistic, which makes them over-rate America. Liberals know more about American sins than they do about the sins of others during earlier centuries (including our victims) which is why they under-rate America.

  11. Gravatar of scott sumner scott sumner
    22. May 2010 at 06:47

    Bill, Those are all good points. In that case I’ll support Paul in the Senate race. By the way, my current inclination is to support Gary Johnson for President. I recall you are an enthusiastic supporter of Johnson.

    Unfortunately, Johnson is too liberal on drugs to win even a Democratic primary. But at least he will raise important issues. My focus is issues, not people.

    Jeff, Those are good points. Those who have closely studied the issue say that many of the civil rights gains occurred before 1964, as a result of pressure applied by African-Americans. To treat the entire civil rights movement as a gift bestowed by white politicians on African American’s is rather insulting. The role of the federal government was most important in ending the Jim Crow segregation–which was a sort of aparteid enforced with guns. As others have said, the employment part of the bill is almost unenforceable today, and other aspects of discrimination (businesses serving minorities) was already changing before 1964. But for me the bottom line is that there is still no reason to oppose a law banning private businesses that serve the public from discriminating against customers on the basis of race. I’m glad Paul changed his mind.

  12. Gravatar of DanC DanC
    22. May 2010 at 08:26

    Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater supporter she is she a closet racists?

    Much as we today look to the Great Depression for clues to respond to a crisis, some in 1964 looked back at the Reconstruction of the 1870’s. Of which Booker T Washington wrote “the Reconstruction experiment in racial democracy failed because it began at the wrong end, emphasizing political means and civil rights acts rather than economic means and self-determination.”

    Whenever government gets involved in such situations you end up with unintended consequences. affirmative action, busing, etc.

    In any case I once met Senator Fulbright. He was asked why he was so liberal on many issues but supported segregation. He said that on international issues the citizens of Arkansas were willing to let him lead. On segregation they held strong views. He implied that he was limited in what he could do and remain in office.

  13. Gravatar of Bill Woolsey Bill Woolsey
    22. May 2010 at 10:22


    How do we work on Johnson to get him to support targeting a growth path for nominal expenditure?

    Johnson came and spoke at the Bastiat society here in Charleston last month.


  14. Gravatar of todd todd
    22. May 2010 at 12:17

    My guess is Paul has little chance of getting elected. Many libertarian positions are “low-hanging” fruit for mainstream politics (sometimes deservedly so). The Democrat will probably feature Paul speaking in his ads more than will Paul’s campaign.

    It would be funny to see him in the Senate, where he would certainly act like his father and vote against virtually every bill that is not explicitly req’d by some 18th Century plain text reading of the Constitution. He is a silly candidate. But the Senate is a silly place. Anonymous holds. Nuclear options. Gangs of Fourteen. Jeff Sessions.

    Actually Rand (Sen. Dr. No, Jr, R-Ky) might just fit right in. At least until his sex scandal.

  15. Gravatar of Adam Adam
    22. May 2010 at 13:50

    I still will be supporting his democrat opponent. I don’t agree with him wanting to go back on the gold standard as I think doing that now will be disastrous. Also him slamming Obama for getting tough with BP was idiotic. The company should be held accountable for cleaning up the oil spill.

  16. Gravatar of Adam Adam
    22. May 2010 at 13:58

    Oh and I’ll add that I’m glad to see Scott is a fan of Gary Johnson. Even though I consider myself a progressive I would definitely go out of my way to vote for him.

  17. Gravatar of Greg Ransom Greg Ransom
    22. May 2010 at 15:22

    Is your blog now a fact free zone?

    Goldwater followed the constituional judgment of Bork and Rehnquist.

    That’s the hstorical fact.

    Goldwater supported civil rights in Pheonix when he served in city goverent. That is also the historical fact.

    Your fact seem to be coming out of your keister — and the leftist fake fact machine.

  18. Gravatar of bob bob
    22. May 2010 at 15:48

    Greg none of that refutes Matthew’s point. He directly quoted Goldwater from his book.

  19. Gravatar of johnleemk johnleemk
    22. May 2010 at 16:43

    Lorenzo, I think I agree with every word of your post. Like you and Scott, I think both conservatives and liberals in America have their blind spots — but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the other points they make.

    I think it’s interesting to see all the Gary Johnson love in this thread. Although I consider myself a libertarian, I don’t really relate well to most prominent libertarian politicians in philosophy and sometimes in policy too. (I think it is a problem when — as the LP does, for instance — we take the position that taxation is never right. Taxation might be evil, but it’s probably a necessary one.) Johnson is the only libertarian politician I’ve encountered who I think reflects my own positions.

    Adam, despite my disagreement with the Pauls about an array of issues, including the gold standard (actually, monetary policy in general — beyond the obvious point that excess government/Fed discretion is bad), I am quite neutral about them being in Congress, perhaps even leaning to the positive side. Like Scott, I think having a few libertarians in Congress would be quite useful. Having a libertarian majority government, if they were all libertarians along the lines of Ron or Rand Paul — or worse, the Libertarian Party — would probably be disastrous.

  20. Gravatar of Adam Adam
    22. May 2010 at 18:50

    Well I’ve been keeping up with Rand Paul since he started his campaign by announcing it on Maddow’s show. It seems to me Ron isn’t too happy with his son either. He has been trying to take a more neocon approach to foreign policy with not closing Gitmo and military tribunals. What I’m afraid of is he will be limited to doing what the neocons tell him to do and not defend civil liberties or work on getting us out of the wars. However, if this is all fluff and he wins and works with people like Feingold to overturn the patriot act then I’d support him.

  21. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    22. May 2010 at 19:16

    johnleemk: Thanks 🙂

  22. Gravatar of David Tomlin David Tomlin
    22. May 2010 at 19:21

    Rand Paul denies he is a libertarian.,8599,1972721,00.html#ixzz0oUZzsxa9

    ‘”They thought all along that they could call me a libertarian and hang that label around my neck like an albatross, but I’m not a libertarian,” Paul says . . .’

  23. Gravatar of David Tomlin David Tomlin
    22. May 2010 at 19:47

    See also|-In-Republican-Senate-race-a-dismal-choice

    ‘Dr. Paul describes himself not as a Libertarian, but rather a “constitutional conservative.”’

  24. Gravatar of scott sumner scott sumner
    23. May 2010 at 09:57

    DanC, You asked:

    “Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater supporter she is she a closet racists?”

    Not only is she not a racist, but neither was Goldwater in the 1990s. Times change, views change. I suppose it sounds harsh when I say people were somewhat racist back then, but most people were–it’s really nothing out of the ordinary. Only in recent decades have most Americans become non-racist in the way they answer poll questions.

    I mostly agree with your other comments.

    Bill Woolsey, Focus on the importance of creating an NGDP futures market, so that we have accountability, rather that discretion and vague objectives. Also, it’s something that can gain support on both the left and right (Yglesias supports it) so that makes it a pragmatic compromise. Johnson seems more pragmatic than Ron Paul to me.

    Tell him that the meaning of NGDP is fairly clear, whereas the CPI is easy for government statisticians to manipulate.

    todd, He’s already backtracked on the 1964 Civil Rights bill, so I wouldn’t count him out. And he’s no worse than the clowns who just passed health care “reform” and banking “reform.”

    Adam, I don’t much care about his views on gold, as they will have no sway. I sure hope he supports having BP pay for the mess. As far as Obama–I don’t know why he is so outraged–didn’t his regulators give that rig an award for safety? The idea that regulation can prevent something like this (which is what Krugman implies) is ludicrous. You need to make them pay. If you don’t, continue to expect more “accidents.” Offshore drilling is too complex for the average regulator to be able to second guess a sophisticated company like BP. You need the right incentives, and that means making BP liable.

    Greg, You said:

    “Is your blog now a fact free zone?

    Goldwater followed the constituional judgment of Bork and Rehnquist.

    That’s the hstorical fact.

    Goldwater supported civil rights in Pheonix when he served in city goverent. That is also the historical fact.

    Your fact seem to be coming out of your keister “” and the leftist fake fact machine.”

    Tell me something I don’t know. I never said Goldwater was racist on all issues–he was far better than someone like George Wallace. But unless Yglesias is misquoting his book, he was certainly racist on some issues.

    bob, That’s right.

    Johnleemk, I agree.

    Adam, I am a pragmatic moderate libertarian on foreign policy, so I can live with Rand Paul’s centrism. He’s still to the left of Obama on the War on Terror as far as I can tell, which tells you something. (As an aside, no one should take my views on foreign policy seriously, as I am almost always wrong in my predictions of how US intervention will go.) I also like having people like Feingold in the Senate. I’m a Wisconsinite and I recall when I was young we had a maverick named Proxmire in the Senate, who was also willing to go against his party. (Of course there was also Joe McCarthy.)

    David, Smart move by Paul; 90% of people think “libertarian” means either ACLU, or libertine.

  25. Gravatar of Greg Ransom Greg Ransom
    23. May 2010 at 14:33

    Yglesias & other leftists constantly quote conservatives out of context. He’s a dishonest man. I don’t trust him as a source. And it is well know that Goldwater did not write his book.

    I’m no authority on Goldwater, but it is clear you know nothing of the man.

    So why spread leftist smears?

    That’s the problem here — a problem you’ve had before.

    I have no patience for professors spreading what I Frankfurter calls bullshit.

    The left trades in piles of it. It’s a bad habit to recycle their waste on your blog — when you have no background in the subject at hand.

    Sorry for telling it straight up as I see it.

  26. Gravatar of Greg Ransom Greg Ransom
    23. May 2010 at 14:48

    Goldwater’s position of the Civil Rights bill damaged the GOP among intellectuals and journalists and professors. Ther is no doubt about that.

    But the record is clear the he didn’t take that stand for racist or expedient reasons — the way Southern Dems did. He did it on the advice of constitutional scholars, as someone who believed in following the document and who trusted these scholars.

    And CBS News was smearing Goldwater by falsely linking him to German Nazi party members in any case.

    Whether Goldwater’s ghostwriter Brent Bozell was a racist I don’t know. I have no reason to believe he was.

    Again, I’ve never come across evidence that Goldwater was a racist, the way there is evidence in diaries and memoirs documenting Truman’s bigotry or Robert Bird’s racism, as an example.

  27. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    24. May 2010 at 06:21

    Greg, It would be more effective to actually show that Yglesias misquoted Goldwater, than simply assert that he did. If the quote is correct, then I am correct. If it is out of context, then I will apologize.

    I never argued that opposing the 1964 Civil Rights act makes one a racist, nor do I beleive that.

    I did add an update that pointed out that Goldwater had a relatively good record on civil rights, and that I regreted that people misunderstood my racism charge. Goldwater certainly wasn’t a racist in his later life. I suggested he might have been “somewhat” racist back when most Americans were “somewhat” racist. I didn’t view that as an attack on his character, but I guess others did, given how the term is interpreted today. And I regret that. I thought I was simply saying he was a typical American of his (racist) era.

  28. Gravatar of Greg Ransom Greg Ransom
    25. May 2010 at 09:55

    Scott — there is no record of Goldwater ever being racist.

    That is the point.

    Goldwater didn’t write what Yglesias quotes, and Yglasias doesn’t provide the context for the words the put in quotations.

    Given Yglasias’s record of hyperpartsianship and disregard for historical facts, he shouldn’t be credited with telling us anything with regard to Goldwater’s character or ethical system.

  29. Gravatar of Greg Ransom Greg Ransom
    25. May 2010 at 09:56

    Scott, this is what you have zero evidence for, which makes your analysis obnoxious — and part of a long standing leftist smear against it’s rivals who believe in liberalism and a free society.

    “I thought I was simply saying he was a typical American of his (racist) era.”

  30. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    26. May 2010 at 08:50

    Greg, So you are saying those words aren’t in Goldwater’s book? It doesn’t matter if he wrote them, if they are in his book he takes full responsibility for them.

    You haven’t yet shown me those words aren’t in Goldwater’s book. If they aren’t, I’ll apologize.

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