WASHINGTON -- Despite recent accusations of racism and homophobia, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) stuck to his libertarian principles on Sunday, criticizing the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it "undermine[d] the concept of liberty" and "destroyed the principle of private property and private choices."
"If you try to improve relationships by forcing and telling people what they can't do, and you ignore and undermine the principles of liberty, then the government can come into our bedrooms," Paul told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union." "And that's exactly what has happened. Look at what's happened with the PATRIOT Act. They can come into our houses, our bedrooms our businesses ... And it was started back then."
The Civil Rights Act repealed the notorious Jim Crow laws; forced schools, bathrooms and buses to desegregate; and banned employment discrimination. Although Paul was not around to weigh in on the landmark legislation at the time, he had the chance to cast a symbolic vote against it in 2004, when the House of Representatives took up a resolution "recognizing and honoring the 40th anniversary of congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964." Paul was the only member who voted "no."
Paul explained that while he supports the fact that the legislation repealed the notorious Jim Crow laws, which forced racial segregation, he believes it is the government, not the people, that causes racial tensions by passing overreaching laws that institutionalize slavery and segregation. Today's race problems, he said, result from the war on drugs, the flawed U.S. court system and the military.
"The real problem we face today is the discrimination in our court system, the war on drugs. Just think of how biased that is against the minorities," he said. "They go into prison much way out of proportion to their numbers. They get the death penalty out of proportion with their numbers. And if you look at what minorities suffer in ordinary wars, whether there's a draft or no draft, they suffer much out of proposition. So those are the kind of discrimination that have to be dealt with, but you don't ever want to undermine the principle of private property and private choices in order to solve some of these problems."
Paul's comments on how to improve race relations come at an interesting time, following the recent revelation of a series of racist and homophobic newsletters that were published under his name in the 1980s and 1990s. Paul has denounced the newsletters, and he says that although he was the publisher, he didn't write or review any of the offensive comments in them -- only the "economic parts."
"I'm the true civil libertarian when it comes to [race relations], and I think that people ought to, you know, look at my position there, rather than dwelling on eight sentences that I didn't write and didn't authorize and have been, you know, apologetic about," he told ABC's Jake Tapper on Sunday. "Because it shouldn't have been there, and it was terrible stuff."