Rep. Ron Paul kicked off his third run for president on Friday, but not without inciting controversy. Shortly after calling for abolishing FEMA on CNN, the latest Republican presidential candidate told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he would not have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the landmark piece of legislation that outlawed major forms of discrimination against blacks and women.
Staying true to his brand of extreme libertarianism, Paul said he objected to the Civil Rights Act because of its infringement on private property rights. He said that while he would favor repealing Jim Crow laws, the United States “would be better off” without government intruding on and policing personal lives. When Chris Matthews pressed the issue, asking if it should be legal for shop owners to not allow blacks, Paul responded, “That’s ancient history. That’s over and done with.”
Paul’s views on the Civil Rights Act are nothing new. He was the only congressman to vote against a bill hailing the 40th anniversary of the law’s passage in 2004, Think Progress reports. In his speech to Congress explaining his opposition, he said, “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 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.”
And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Last year, his son Rand Paul took heat for stating his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act during his run for Kentucky’s state senate. Rand backtracked on his comments and eventually issued an apology, and was later elected a state senator.