Rand Paul, a candidate for public office in the US, has drawn considerable criticism for remarks he made concerning his view on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark legislation outlawed unequal application of voter registration requirements. It also banned racial segregation in schools, at the workplace & “public accommodations” that served the general public.
The “good intentions” behind the Act invite applause, but the qualitative nature of its results are in dispute. While some believe it improved race relations & enhanced freedom, others believe that using force to promote integration led to more racial tensions & curtailed individual liberty.
Among the pernicious unintended consequences of the Act, racial quotas & affirmative action sparked a new sort of racial politics that helped concretize racial identity. And in granting an unprecedented expansion of power to the federal government to oversee employer/employee relations & customer service practices, the Act reduced contract rights & private property.
As in other instances, the expanded role & power of government intervention was based on an interpretation of a Constitutional authority of Congressional regulation of interstate commerce. But the framers of the Constitution seemed to intend this ensure free trade among the states rather than providing a mechanism for unrestrained expansions of the regulation of businesses.
A possible defense for the passage of the Act is that certain groups gained additional rights or access to freedoms that were previously denied. However, it is difficult to support contentions that gains in “group” rights that come at the expense of diminished individual rights lead to net gains to a community.