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Ron Paul on Sexual Harassment

Ron Paul on Sexual Harassment January 3, 2012

As controversy over his now-infamous newsletters continues to rage, CNN has dug up some passages from a book written by Paul in 1987 and reissued in 2007. From that book, here is how he views sexual harassment:

“Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity,” Paul wrote. “Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem? Seeking protection under civil rights legislation is hardly acceptable.”

He also has, I think, a very distorted view of how inalienable rights come to be protected:

In another chapter on the rights of individuals outside of government – the central theme of Paul’s libertarian philosophy – he sharply criticized the “absurdity” of politicians who try to bestow differing rights on various social and ethnic groups.

It’s dangerous to craft a separate set of rights for groups like Hispanics, African-Americans, children, employees and the homeless, Paul wrote.

“Until all these terms are dropped and we recognize that only an individual has rights the solution to the mess in which we find ourselves will not be found,” Paul explained.

“Every year new groups organize to demand their ‘rights,'” he continued. “White people who organize and expect the same attention as other groups are quickly and viciously condemned as dangerous bigots. Hispanic, black, and Jewish caucuses can exist in the U.S. Congress, but not a white caucus, demonstrating the absurdity of this approach for achieving rights for everyone.”

Now, he’s partly right here. I have said many times, and believe very strongly, that all rights are individual. There is no such thing as group rights. But when we talk about gay rights or women’s rights, we are talking about individual rights. We are talking about rights that were denied to individuals on the basis of their placement in a particular group — gay people, black people, women, and so forth. So when those individuals band together to demand that the rights denied to them as individuals based on their identity as a group, that is, in fact, what he claims to support.

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