Former White House adviser Van Jones on Monday defended recent remarks he made against “so-called libertarians” by saying, “I think we have to start punching back.”
In a March speech to the Occupy movement in Los Angeles, Jones had called libertarianism a “despicable ideology.”
“They say they’re Patriots but they hate everybody in America who looks like us,” the former Green Jobs czar explained. “They say they love America but they hate the people, the brown folk, the gays, the lesbians, the people with piercings, ya know ya’ll.”
During a Monday interview, Russia Today’s Alyona Minkovski asked Jones if he had fallen into the trap of extremist rhetoric with those remarks.
“I think we have to start punching back and fighting back,” he replied. “Here’s the deal: If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.”
Noting his statement was “overly broad,” Jones added, “But that’s American politics. You guys should know that. American politics, we mix it up.”
“I’ve never backed down from a fight over ideas. I’m tired and I think a lot of people on the American left are tired of a certain section of people acting like they have a monopoly on patriotism. They don’t. And they’re the ones who challenge our patriotism. … I should have said the so-called libertarians who identify themselves with this ultra-right-wing camp because there are libertarians that don’t have those views.”
He continued: “But I’ve met libertarians who say 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, go into a hotel or go into a place of business solely based on the color of their skin.”
“You can’t call yourself a patriot and adopt an extreme ideology that would spit in the face of Dr. King.”
Many libertarians believe that the federal government’s Civil Rights Act of 1964 went too far by banning whites-only lunch counters and other discrimination by business.
“I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant—but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership,” then-Senate candidate Rand Paul (R-KY), a libertarian, told the Louisville Courier-Journal in 2010. “In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people, who have abhorrent behavior.”
After a firestorm of criticism, Paul released a statement saying he backed the Civil Rights Act.
“I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws,” he said.
“This much is clear: The federal government has far overreached in its power grabs,” the libertarian added. “The federal government is out of control, and those who love liberty and value individual and state’s rights must stand up to it.”
Watch this video from RT’s The Alyona Show, broadcast April 9, 2012.