Van Jones (Sorta) Walks Back His Weird, Fact-Free Attack on "So-Called Libertarians"


Last we heard from Van Jones, President Obama's former Green Jobs czar, he was trashing "so-called libertarians" for hating brown folks, gays, lesbians, immigrants and people with piercings. Called on it during an appearance on RT's The Alyona Show (where—full disclosure!—Reason's myriad personalities regularly opine), Jones modified his statement:

"Well, well listen– but that's, that's American politics. Ya know, I mean, you guys should know that.  American politics people– we mix it up. I've never backed down from a fight over ideas. I'm tired … of a certain section of people acting like they have having a monopoly on patriotism. They don't. … And so now I'm saying, 'two can play that game if you want to.'"

"That statement I made was overly broad. I should have said the 'so-called libertarians who identify themselves with this sort of ultra-right wing camp.' Because there are libertarians that don't have those views."

"I've met libertarians who say that Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. King, is somebody they can't support because someone should have the right to exclude people in this country from being able to go into a restaurant, or go into a hotel, or go into a place of business solely based on the color of their skin."

Don't you just love it when a person who trades in identity politics actually uses the word? Jones still doesn't appear to know what a libertarian is, or what a libertarian believes, only that some of them believe some of the things Jones believes, and the rest hate Martin Luther King Jr. For a rebuttal, I turn this post over to Reason's own Ron Bailey

[MLK's "I have a dream"] speech also lent momentum to two of the most consequential pieces of civil rights legislation in American history, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Act outlawed state-sanctioned and enforced racial discrimination in the form of Jim Crow laws. For example, it allowed blacks to come down out of that theatre balcony in Bristol Virginia. The Voting Rights Act insured that Southern blacks who were being systematically denied the franchise by corrupt voter registration officials would have access to the ballot box.

Sure, these laws are not perfect. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has been interpreted as authorizing the creation of affirmative action programs. This despite the fact that Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) declared specifically that Title VII "would prohibit preferential treatment for any particular group," and famously promised that if this turned out to be wrong that he would eat the pages on which the statute was printed. I wonder if the Senator would have liked the pages sautéed or with a nice béchamel? And yes, the Voting Rights Act has led to "racial gerrymandering." Still, we are a far better, and fairer country because of those laws.

Emphasis added, of course. Read more Reason on MLK's legacy, and the importance and of civil rights laws, here