Civil Rights Act




On July 3, 2004, Ron Paul was the only Congressman to vote against a bill hailing the 40th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In this speech to Congress, Ron Paul courageously spoke out on the often controversial issues of race relations and affirmative action. He explained why the Civil Right Act had failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society.

Ron Paul: Mr. Speaker, I rise to explain my objection to H.Res. 676. I certainly join my colleagues in urging Americans to celebrate the progress this country has made in race relations. However, contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.

This expansion of federal power was based on an erroneous interpretation of the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. The framers of the Constitution intended the interstate commerce clause to create a free trade zone among the states, not to give the federal government regulatory power over every business that has any connection with interstate commerce.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business’s workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge’s defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife.

Of course, America has made great strides in race relations over the past forty years. However, this progress is due to changes in public attitudes and private efforts. Relations between the races have improved despite, not because of, the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, while I join the sponsors of H.Res. 676 in promoting racial harmony and individual liberty, the fact is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not accomplish these goals. Instead, this law unconstitutionally expanded federal power, thus reducing liberty. Furthermore, by prompting raced-based quotas, this law undermined efforts to achieve a color-blind society and increased racial strife. Therefore, I must oppose H.Res. 676.



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  19. When the government got into the business of regulating our choices through anti-discrimination law, it was attempting to regulate our thoughts. It first forbid certain kinds of choices when made "on grounds of" race, sex, religion, and national origin. That was expanded to disability, which includes "mental" disability. Nowadays, our whole society and economy are burden by the anti-discrimination police.

    This was the inevitable result of a 30-year old legal trick. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn't forbid any particular racial or sexual configuration in school or the workplace. An employer or admissions officer is free to choose, so long as he doesn't choose for the wrong reason. Single-race or single-sex workplaces--freedom of association's acid test--were still allowed. But, according to law, they could not be consciously created. You can hire only white males, but you cannot intend to hire only white males.

    How can we prove intent? This is where the trouble begins. Every decision is made from a mixture of motivations. Not even the actor himself can fully know what went into a decision. Certainly the government cannot. But by forbidding certain kinds of discrimination, the government gives itself power to define what constitutes evidence for malintent.

    Courts, it's hardly surprising, took the easiest path. To prove discrimination, look for circumstantial evidence. They discover "disproportionate effects" and "disparate impact." This translates to: you're guilty because you have not hired enough women and minorities. To avoid that fate, you must adopt affirmative action, quotas, goals, timetables, and set asides: the spoils system now poisoning American life: http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=244

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