No ideology survives the collision with real-world politics perfectly intact. General principles have to bend to accommodate the complexities of history, and justice is sometimes better served by compromise than by zealous intellectual consistency.
This was all that Rand Paul needed to admit, after his victory in Kentuckys Republican Senate primary, when NPR and Rachel Maddow asked about his views of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Like many outside-the-box thinkers, theyre good at applying their principles more consistently than your average partisan, but lousy at knowing when to stop. (Hence the tendency to see civil rights legislation as just another unjustified expansion of federal power.)
Ross Douthat dissects Rand Pauls gaffe and demonstrates why libertarian ideologues do a disservice both to their cause and to open honest policy debate in general.