Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"The Free Market Would Have Taken Care of It"

But it had to exist first. It didn't.

David Bernstein
If segregation and discrimination in the Jim Crow South was simply a matter of law, federal legislation that would have overturned Jim Crow laws would have sufficed. But, in fact, it involved the equivalent of a white supremacist cartel, enforced not just by overt government regulation like segregation laws, but also by the implicit threat of private violence and harassment of anyone who challenged the racist status quo.
There's a simple proof for this: In Greensboro, N.C., Nashville, Tenn., and other places, lunch counters were integrated by agreement between store managers and sit-in organizations after months of pressure. How could that have happened if segregation had been mandated by law? They would have had to lobby for repeal of the relevant Jim Crow statute.

Further, we know that some businesses, particularly those that catered to interstate traffic, wanted to desegregate (bigotry generally is bad business) but feared private/government harassment and worse.

Richard Epstein (same link):
In 1964, every major public accommodation that operated a nationwide business was in favor of being forced to admit minorities.
Wanted to be forced? Sort of. Actually, they wanted others to be forced. In that way they couldn't be singled out for doing what they wanted to do: serve blacks. It's from game theory. X wants to do something, but only if everyone else does it, because if X does it alone, X will suffer some consequence X doesn't like. So X favors everyone's being forced to do it. (Do I have to say that I am not in favor of force?)

The State is the source of many bad things. But it's not the source of all bad things.

I realize that Bernstein and Epstein use these facts to justify Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I don't follow them there, but they do make the best, most libertarian case for it.


Chris George said...

"The State is the source many bad things. But it's not the source of all bad things."

In this case, and for the moment I won't say all cases, it might be wise to invoke the difference between a State and a government.

Patrick10 said...

I think the 3 guys' reasoning is incompatible with libertarianism. They favor having money stolen (taxation) to deal with the problem.

Anonymous said...

Not 100% related, but I figured I'd just this and this here, seems like something can be had of this situation in regards to the Rand Paul fiasco.