Green Room

A Holiday Gift from Ron Paul

posted at 11:44 am on January 1, 2012 by

Sorry to keep working this story like a dog’s chew toy, but if the final Des Moines Register poll is accurate, Ron Paul’s campaign may be fizzling sooner rather than later. If so, I may be running out of time to thank him for the gift he has given everyone else in American politics.

One of the main themes of my posts on Ron Paul’s long history of publishing racist, anti-gay, conspiracy-mongering newsletters has been to focus on his apologists and supporters in the media. Since I last wrote on the subject, we can now add to that list Reason’s Matt Welch (who ignores the newsletters) and the Cato Institute’s Ed Crane (who glosses over the subject, although he’s the guy who revealed that Paul once claimed his best source of congressional campaign donations was the mailing list for The Spotlight, the conspiracy-mongering, anti-Semitic tabloid run by the Holocaust denier Willis Carto).

What makes professional libertarians apologize and spin for the longtime publisher of a racist, anti-gay, anti-Israel, conspiracy-mongering newsletter, one who still associates with the John Birch Society and neo-Confederates, and panders to 9/11 Truthers and other conspiracy mongers? Jamie Kirchick, who did yeoman’s work researching and bringing the newsletters into public view, suggests the fault lies in libertarianism itself:

Paul’s following is closely linked with the peculiar attractions of the libertarian creed that he promotes. Libertarianism is an ideology rather than a philosophy of government—its main selling point is not its pragmatic usefulness, but its inviolable consistency. In that way, Paul’s indulgence of bigotry—he says he did not write the newsletters but rather allowed others to do so in his name—isn’t an incidental departure from his libertarianism, but a tidy expression of its priorities: First principles of market economics gain credence over all considerations of social empathy and historical acuity. His fans are guilty of donning the same ideological blinders, giving their support to a political candidate on account of the theories he declaims, rather than the judgment he shows in applying those theories, or the character he has evinced in living them. Voters for Ron Paul are privileging logical consistency at the expense of moral fitness.

But it’s not simply that Paul’s supporters are ignoring the manifest evidence of his moral failings. More fundamentally, their very awareness of such failings is crowded out by the atmosphere of outright fervor that pervades Paul’s candidacy. This is not the fervor of a healthy body politic—this is a less savory type of political devotion, one that escapes the bounds of sober reasoning. Indeed, Paul’s absolutist notion of libertarian rigor has always been coupled with an attraction to fantasies of political apocalypse.

Kirchick likely goes too far, even in that excerpt; earlier, he notes that Paul’s media apologists generally don’t support the newsletters, but avoid them entirely. Even unhinged conspiracy theorist Andrew Sullivan tiptoed back from his defense of Paul in the face of a reader backlash.

Rather, we should take the professional libertarians at face value. Welch, Crane and their ilk are spinning for Paul because they see his campaign as their best chance at gaining real-world political influence. They are deluding themselves about this; a protracted Paul campaign would set the image of libertarianism back to what it was in the mid-Sixties, because Paul’s campaign is ultimately funded by and founded on an express political strategy of appealing to the worst aspects of human nature. But they truly seem to believe otherwise.

This is a wonderful discovery. For a very long time, a broad slice of libertarians, including many professional libertarians, have cultivated a particular political image. They looked down on those who engaged in grubby, traditional, two-party American politics. They snarked at people for selling out their principles in the service of clinging to political power. Indeed, they tended to focus on Republicans as hypocritical, fair-weather friends of small government and free markets.

Those days are over. At least, the days of professional libertarians walking around with upturned noses without everyone pointing and laughing is over. Any notion that professional libertarianism is solely interested in its principles instead of the grubby business of winning elections is done. The high-minded professional libertarian class has jumped off their pedestals and now wallow in the muck with everyone else, demonstrating they will overlook the hideous flaws of their standard-bearer in return for even the mere hope of more national political influence. And for that gift, if for nothing else, we can thank Ron Paul.

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Ron Paul reminds me of the kind of politician Teddy Roosevelt warned about:dukecitygirl on January 1, 2012 at 8:38 PM

You mean the same President (Teddy)that began the Federal annexation of lands as “National Parks”( parts of states or not), waged war, and was the beginning of the Progressive era?
Yeah he is a role model..lol I would hope Ron Paul would be a person Teddy warned “us” against. Let’s me know I am behind the right person. Thanks.

Greenshield on January 1, 2012 at 8:43 PM

dukecitygirl on January 1, 2012 at 8:38 PM

It’s very fitting that you quote one of the most progressive Republican presidents in American history to defend neoconservatism.

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 8:43 PM

MidniteRambler on January 1, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Only a leftist would take something someone wrote 20-30 years ago and demand they explain themselves for daring to address some socially taboo issues of race. I don’t know who wrote it but much of it was true. You can plug your ears and stick your head in the sand but it doesn’t make the problems of race go away in the country.

The colorblind mentality has put whites in the place of endless subservient guilt showing how cowardly we are not to speak our mind and hold our tongue so not to ‘offend’ anyone. Only whites practice this strange behavior while minorities are very racially conscious and advocate to help themselves while blaming whites for all their woes. Meanwhile, hatred and crimes against whites is on the rise yet we do nothing and say nothing because we don’t want to be called a ‘racist’.

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Ah, the white supremacist wing of the Paulbots arrives!

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Paultards then:

“Man, I wish people could hear Herr Doktor’s message!”

Paultards now:

“All of this hate and libel from everyone towards Herr Doktor, I wish people would just leave him alone!”

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 9:01 PM

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Join the Democrats bro. There is very little separating you from them. You call names instead of debating issues honestly and with an open mind just like them. A perfect fit.

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Join the Democrats bro. There is very little separating you from them. You call names instead of debating issues honestly and with an open mind just like them. A perfect fit.

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Don’t you have to pick up your Klan robe from the cleaners?

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 9:11 PM

No other Republican has experienced the libel and blatant hatred that Ron Paul has from his own party.
Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Sarah Palin?

cptacek on January 1, 2012 at 9:11 PM

^And she actually IS a Republican.

cptacek on January 1, 2012 at 9:11 PM

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I’m not sure why I give you the time of day because you aren’t here to discuss or even debate anything. You’re a troll that just likes to egg people on for the sole reason of giving yourself a fake sense of feeling intelligent.

The left has designed popular culture and the media to equate any sense of white racial consciousness as the equivalent to Nazism, the KKK, etc. I do not wish harm or malice upon anyone who doesn’t hurt me or my family directly. I despise the National Socialist party platform as well as the crimes they committed against millions of people. The Nazis are the main reason why whites are condemned as being uniquely evil. That being said, your own logic should bring you to condemn any minority group that practices ethnic or racial pride. So why don’t you go to a La Raza meeting or Black Panther meeting and tell them how you feel?

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Sarah Palin?

cptacek on January 1, 2012 at 9:11 PM

She isn’t running but I would agree that the attacks were outrageous. But those attacks were mostly coming from the left. Paul gets both spectrums attacking him relentlessly.

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Interesting that the blog post mentioned how the Paul supporters largely admire the iviolable consistency of Ron Paul’s positions, and we see in these comments that his supporters are chastising those who aren’t consistently in favor of all of the libertarian / small government views.

DakotaBoy on January 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Wonder what the odds are that paul goes 3rd if he gets chapped enough?

If he did, I’m not sure that it would doom the Republican candidate. My 20-yr old son has become a big fan of Ron Paul, and said tonight that Paul could win the election because he would capture a big part of Obama’s anti-war base. I’m not sure how much crossover there would be, but I think there would be some. Polls consistently show Paul gathering a large segment of his support from independents and disaffected Democrats.

DakotaBoy on January 1, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Only a leftist would take something someone wrote 20-30 years ago and demand they explain themselves for daring to address some socially taboo issues of race.

Only a leftist would deny individualism and instead insist on categorizing everyone by race under such rubrics as “racial pride”, white or otherwise.

MidniteRambler on January 1, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Jerry Bear is the rare honest Paulbot I mentioned earlier: not only does he not deny Ron Paul’s racism and anti-semitism, but he tries to raise it to an actual virtue.

MidniteRambler on January 1, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Too much navel gazing here. It is about ending the War on Drugs, ending the endless wars, cutting back the power and expense of the federal government. Transparency, open gov’t, stop the big brother biz, shut down the TSA, protect civil liberties, honor the constitution, increase state power, stop crony capitalism.

Not so crazy really. Impossible, never happen, yeah. But not crazy at all. What is crazy is what we are doing now.

PaleoRider on January 1, 2012 at 9:51 PM

As for Ron Paul’s racism, anti-semitism, and conspiracy-mongering, well, not only are most libertarians not racists and anti-semites, but most racists and anti-semites are not libertarians.

OK, flame away.

MidniteRambler on January 1, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Agree about “most libertarians” and “most racists”. I don’t believe that Ron Paul is racist. And I don’t believe that he was ignorant of what was in his newsletters. Rather I blieve that like other policticians, Ron Paul is fully capable of cynical action that advances his personal interests (building a base to support his reelection). He’s definitley no saint, and I won’t vote for someone who puts out a newsletter that panders to some of the worst sentiment in our population.

DakotaBoy on January 1, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM

You’re right.

There is no sense in debating a white supremacist POS like you. Frankly, I’m surprised you are still allowed to comment here. But it isn’t my site.

So as long as you continue to make your racist comments, I’ll continue to call you out on them.

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Interesting that the blog post mentioned how the Paul supporters largely admire the iviolable consistency of Ron Paul’s positions…

DakotaBoy on January 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Yep. He never saw or read or wrote those newsletters. Said so for years.

Until video showed up of him bragging about them.

Then his story changed to how he wrote some of them, but not the “bad” ones.

Inviolable, allright.

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 9:55 PM

Only a leftist would take something someone wrote 20-30 years ago and demand they explain themselves for daring to address some socially taboo issues of race. I don’t know who wrote it but much of it was true. You can plug your ears and stick your head in the sand but it doesn’t make the problems of race go away in the country.

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 8:46 PM

The newsletters were not at all about dealing in a productive way with our country’s problems of race. They were emotional race baiting. How do I know? I’ve read them and know that I wouldn’t want to say anything like that to any of my friends who are of a different race.

So if they weren’t designed to deal with the existing problems in a productive way, why shouldn’t we be able to ask Paul what he was attempting to accomplish, and whether he wants to fully and clearly repudiate what was written and the person who wrote it?

DakotaBoy on January 1, 2012 at 9:58 PM

She isn’t running but I would agree that the attacks were outrageous. But those attacks were mostly coming from the left. Paul gets both spectrums attacking him relentlessly.

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Yeah, the left don’t attack Herr Doktor because he actually resonates with them.

dukecitygirl on January 1, 2012 at 10:04 PM

Too much navel gazing here. It is about ending the War on Drugs, ending the endless wars, cutting back the power and expense of the federal government. Transparency, open gov’t, stop the big brother biz, shut down the TSA, protect civil liberties, honor the constitution, increase state power, stop crony capitalism.

PaleoRider on January 1, 2012 at 9:51 PM

All of these are reasons that are attracting my son and beginning to attract his friends. Heck, I find most of the list attractive. But Ron is IMHO an extremely flawed candidate. I believe that especially about his view of the world. He refuses to acknowlege the strength and relentlessness of those who want to impose either tyranny or lawlessnes, and the threat that they would pose to our way of life. Perhaps it is because those very threats make universal libertarianism impractical, and show the need for government.

DakotaBoy on January 1, 2012 at 10:06 PM

But Ron is IMHO an extremely flawed candidate.

No doubt. It is a shame he is the only one talking about these things. My son too, my nephew, and many of the youth disillusioned by obama are ready for this. Even some old school progressives. it is an interesting cross-section, really.
It is too bad.

PaleoRider on January 1, 2012 at 10:15 PM

The left has designed popular culture and the media to equate any sense of white racial consciousness

Hey Jerry Bear, what do you have against my grandson? He’s half black and less than half white, after all.

John Hitchcock on January 1, 2012 at 10:16 PM

I wonder what the spin will be when Ron Paul wins the Iowa Caucas and Mitt Romney is a distant second or Third!

Capitalist75 on January 1, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Capitalist75 on January 1, 2012 at 10:17 PM

I don’t know of anyone who’ll offer any ‘spin’ if Herr Doktor wins.

It’ll be him or Romney in the top two spots the way things have been looking for weeks now.

A more interesting question will be what the ‘theory’ will be if Herr Doktor doesn’t win?

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 10:27 PM

Interesting that the blog post mentioned how the Paul supporters largely admire the iviolable consistency of Ron Paul’s positions…

DakotaBoy on January 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

He’s had FIVE different positions on the newsletters since 1995.

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2011/12/ron-paul-all-aboard-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.html

Resist We Much on January 1, 2012 at 10:32 PM

She isn’t running but I would agree that the attacks were outrageous. But those attacks were mostly coming from the left. Paul gets both spectrums attacking him relentlessly.

Jerry Bear on January 1, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Who is to the right of her that has any national standing to attack her?

cptacek on January 1, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Libertarians aren’t conservatives. Conservatives believe that the people have a right to direct the kind of society we live in, in order to sustain itself and pass on the values that make for a healthy, educated and responsible future. Libertarians don’t want government to interfere with their use of drugs, to expect us to defend the nation, to reject the responsibilities of family and parenthood, and generally to make the common areas of our communities unsafe and unfriendly to those who don’t want to deal with vagrants, panhandlers, prostitutes and pornography.

The truth is that once societies throw off all restraints on behavior, they decline and lose the qualities that made them successful to begin with.

Laissez faire economics are fine with me, but laissez faire social policies will destroy us.

flataffect on January 1, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Has Jerry Bear busted out with the 14 words yet and who wants to make book that he sports an 88 tattoo?

Your Mamma loves me on January 1, 2012 at 11:21 PM

John Hitchcock on January 1, 2012 at 10:16 PM

I have no problems with your grandson. Where have I attacked a specific ethnicity or race, referred to a someone else as inferior or myself superior? The scam is that the definition of ‘racism’ can mean anything. One being the pride in one’s self and heritage if that person happens to be white.

Jerry Bear on January 2, 2012 at 1:37 AM

catmman on January 1, 2012 at 9:52 PM

You continue to ignore everything I say and just attack. That’s all you know how to do. Good day sir.

Jerry Bear on January 2, 2012 at 1:39 AM

Well, Jerry Bear, I’m not pure white, my ex-wife isn’t pure white, my daughter isn’t pure white, and my grandson definitely isn’t pure white. So which “race” should I be bigotedly proud of as you’re bigotedly proud of your whiteness?

John Hitchcock on January 2, 2012 at 2:57 AM

John Hitchcock on January 2, 2012 at 2:57 AM

Be proud of all of them. Being proud of your ancestors is not bigotry. Why can’t you get that through your head?

Jerry Bear on January 2, 2012 at 5:42 AM

Since your definition of “libertarian” is someone who embraces a nutjob like Ron Paul and his love of terrorists, hatred of blacks and Jews, and habit of blaming the US for most of the world problems, I am proud to say that no, by your definition I am not a Ron Paul-supporting “libertarian”.

MidniteRambler on January 1, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Nice straw man. No, that isn’t my definition of a libertarian. Your views on foreign policy alone disqualify you as libertarian.

Dante on January 2, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Libertarians aren’t conservatives. Conservatives believe that the people have a right to direct the kind of society we live in, in order to sustain itself and pass on the values that make for a healthy, educated and responsible future. Libertarians don’t want government to interfere with their use of drugs, to expect us to defend the nation, to reject the responsibilities of family and parenthood, and generally to make the common areas of our communities unsafe and unfriendly to those who don’t want to deal with vagrants, panhandlers, prostitutes and pornography.

The truth is that once societies throw off all restraints on behavior, they decline and lose the qualities that made them successful to begin with.

Laissez faire economics are fine with me, but laissez faire social policies will destroy us.

flataffect on January 1, 2012 at 11:09 PM

You don’t understand the first thing about libertarianism.

Dante on January 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM

If Ron Paul had the “right” foreign policy, the newsletters would be a non-story, for conservatives.

It wasn’t “ten years of racist newsletters” or “twenty years of racist newsletters” or whatever. There was a two year span, and about 10 sentences in the two year span could be classified as racist. Hence the need to apply the adjective “conspiratorial” to the newsletters–to have some credibility for including the entire span of time that the newsletters were published.

If the “Ron Paul is a naive looney on foreign policy” meme had been successful, then the newsletters would never have come up. However, to the chagrin of people who think that perpetual war is a sane policy, Ron Paul’s assertions are gaining traction, hence the need to try other methods to take him down.

cavalier973 on January 2, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Libertarians don’t want government to interfere with their use of drugs

to reject the responsibilities of family and parenthood

flataffect on January 1, 2012 at 11:09 PM

You realize, of course, that having the government interfere in any area of our lives removes the responsibility of families to care for their own. I don’t do drugs; I don’t even drink alcohol, but not because the government passed some law. Rather, my parents were tea-totallers in every way, and I learned from their example. What some seem to want instead is for the government to use violent coercion to accomplish the tasks that only a family and local community (churches, neighbors) can effectively accomplish.

cavalier973 on January 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

There is no such thing as “race”, except in the sense of the “human race”. Differing amounts of melanin in the skin does not make two people different “races”. This is what Ron Paul says; it’s what he’s always said, and it’s the philosophy upon which he bases his actions.

Nevertheless, he has a “looney” foreign policy, and, since an ever-growing percentage are becoming disenchanted with the perpetual war policy offered by the other candidates (and Obama), then Ron Paul must be taken out by any means necessary, even if it means charging him with “racist” views that he quite clearly rejects.

cavalier973 on January 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM

cavalier973 on January 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Another white supremacist Paultard nutjob.

Shocka!

Jerry Bear on January 2, 2012 at 1:39 AM

I’m not ignoring anything your saying. I’m responding to it by calling you out as a racist.

I hardly need to point it out. You do such a good job of it yourself.

catmman on January 2, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Conservatives believe that the people have a right to direct the kind of society we live in, in order to sustain itself and pass on the values that make for a healthy, educated and responsible future.

That’s not in the Constitution moron. You want to use government to shape society, GOVERNMENT IS THE F***ING PROBLEM.

rndmusrnm on January 2, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Herr Doktor rejects X, Y or Z

People flock to him

Herr Doktor rejects racism

Racists (and other and sundry scumbags) flock to him.

catmman on January 2, 2012 at 3:49 PM

I don’t think there is anything wrong with libertarianism. Frankly, I think it’s the ideal political philosophy in the sense that, at its core, it assumes there are enough ethical, compassionate and intelligent people out to overcome any serious societal or economic issues that might arise in the absence of a strong, centralized authority. That is, after all, the only way libertarianism can possibly succeed. At the same time, it acknowledges the limitations of said society, believing that some responsibilities, such as national defense and the protection of civil liberties, require far more time and energy than the average American has to spare, hence why libertarians are not anarchists.

The only issue I have with any of that is that I don’t believe we’re ready for it (no small issue, obviously). But I do think it could be a net positive if we were to move a bit in that direction. From a purely political standpoint, that’s Paul’s biggest weakness; he doesn’t seem to understand that change often takes a very long time. Baby steps, Ronny. Baby steps.

humili mente on January 2, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Another white supremacist Paultard nutjob.

Shocka!

catmman on January 2, 2012 at 1:20 PM

You seem to be struggling to understand what I was saying.

cavalier973 on January 3, 2012 at 10:50 AM

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