Ron Paul’s exotic past tells us much about him, the GOP, libertarians – and about us

Summary:  The Republican primaries, esp the latest chapter about Ron Paul, provide a feast of insights about our America.  It’s not a pretty picture, but important to know — and cheap, if we learn from this before the election.

Ron Paul speaking at a Southern Historical Conference in Schertz, TX, on 29-30 August 2003
Ron Paul speaking at a Southern Historical Conference in Schertz, TX, on 29-30 August 2003



  1. About the GOP
  2. About Ron Paul
  3. About us
  4. About libertarians
  5. Articles about Ron Paul and his newsletters
  6. For more information


(1)  About the GOP

Donald Trump, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich … and now they turn to Ron Paul.  What does this tell us?

About the GOP, its leaders?  Is this a sign of their desperate search for a right-wing candidate attractive to an increasingly foolish and ignorant electorate?  Or does it show indifference to which puppet we elect (just like 2008 Obama vs. McCain, their knowledge that both would be in effect a third term for Bush Jr’s policies)?

What does this tell us about the average Republican (ie, as reflected in the polls)?  Their ignorance and willingness to be fooled by simple stories told by shallow imitations of statesman (as proven by their fast collapse under even the US media’s light scrutiny)?

Some articles discussing these questions:

  1. The Republicans’ Farcical Candidates – A Club of Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses“, Marc Pitzke, commentary in Der Spiegel, 1 December 2011
  2. The Media’s Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Campaign Coverage“, Bob Garfield, The Atlantic, 21 December 2011 — “The most powerful segment of the political right has moved into fringe territory. Why has the press been largely silent on this?”

(2)  About Ron Paul

This information (all available to the public since 2008) tells us much about the real Ron Paul.  Not just the past, but today — as we see an old fashioned defense by this old politician (born 1935), making up increasingly bizarre explanations for the content of his newsletters.  Highly profitable newsletters for a decade or more, but now he has amnesia about their contents — the racism, broad bigotry, and crackpot conspiracy theories.  Paul might not have believed these things (grifters need not believe in their cons), but he at least pretended to do so for his personal profit.

(3)  About us

Our history since the Ford Administration shows our increasingly fondness for underqualified and fringe candidates for the Presidency — and perhaps at all levels of government.  We have elected at least two grossly underqualified Presidents — Carter and Obama.  Both were fine floats in our parade of American exceptionalism, but incompetent Presidents.

People often compare the current GOP candidates to those of the Democratic Party in 1988 (the “seven dwarfs”, see Wikipedia).  The comparison is spurious, as six of the “dwarfs” were experienced centrist politicians.  The difference between the candidates of 1988 and today show the rapid deterioration of our collective understanding and judgement.

Now we take the next step — or begin to do so: acceptance of extremism.  Typical people — often well-educated, intelligent and experienced — applaud Ron Paul because they like some of what he says.  They close their eyes to the whole picture because they prefer the pretty picture in their minds to the reality.  With this we crossing another red line into a new future.  Crossing another red line.

(4)  About libertarians

The libertarian political movement, like all political movements, consists of multiple strands working together.  In the GOP, as in its libertarian component, that’s an alliance between social conservatives, small government conservatives, economic conservatives, and neoconservatives (using “conservative” in as a modern political classification, not in terms of classical philosophy).  As with all alliances, they work together  for common goals, overlooking large differences (eg, the US-Soviet alliance in WWII).

(a)  The significant aspect of the Ron Paul newsletters — and one obscured by libertarian apologia for them — concerns the role of two central figures in modern libertarian thought:  Lew Rockwell (highly involved, probably as an author of many articles) and Murray Rothbard (far lesser involvement, possible occasional author).  For details see “Who Wrote Ron Paul’s Newsletters?“, Julian Sanchez & David Weigel, Reason, 16 January 2008 — “Libertarian movement veterans, and a Paul campaign staffer, say it was “paleolibertarian” strategist Lew Rockwell.” Excerpt:

Ron Paul doesn’t seem to know much about his own newsletters. The libertarian-leaning presidential candidate says he was unaware, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, of the bigoted rhetoric about African Americans and gays that was appearing under his name. He told CNN last week that he still has “no idea” who might have written inflammatory comments such as “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks” — statements he now repudiates. Yet in interviews with Reason, a half-dozen longtime libertarian activists — including some still close to Paul — all named the same man as Paul’s chief ghostwriter: Ludwig von Mises Institute founder Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr.

Financial records from 1985 and 2001 show that Rockwell, Paul’s congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982, was a vice president of Ron Paul & Associates, the corporation that published the Ron Paul Political Report and the Ron Paul Survival Report. The company was dissolved in 2001. During the period when the most incendiary items appeared—roughly 1989 to 1994—Rockwell and the prominent libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard championed an open strategy of exploiting racial and class resentment to build a coalition with populist “paleoconservatives,” producing a flurry of articles and manifestos whose racially charged talking points and vocabulary mirrored the controversial Paul newsletters recently unearthed by The New Republic. To this day Rockwell remains a friend and advisor to Paul — accompanying him to major media appearances; promoting his candidacy on the blog; publishing his books; and peddling an array of the avuncular Texas congressman’s recent writings and audio recordings.

Rockwell has denied responsibility for the newsletters’ contents to The New Republic‘s Jamie Kirchick.

(b)  It’s not just what happen decades ago.  Ron Paul’s past and current behavior shows the depth of the problem.  “Paul Disowns Extremists’ Views but Doesn’t Disavow the Support“, New York Times, December 2011 — Excerpt:

The libertarian movement in American politics has long had two overlapping but distinct strains. One, backed to some degree by wealthy interests, is focused largely on economic freedom and dedicated to reducing taxes and regulation through smaller government. The other is more focused on personal liberty and constraints on government built into the Constitution, which at its extreme has helped fuel militant antigovernment sentiment.

Mr. Paul has operated at the nexus of the two, often espousing positions at odds with most of the Republican Party but assembling a diverse and loyal following attracted by his adherence to libertarian principles.

In May, Mr. Paul reiterated in an interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC that he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing segregation. He said that he supported its intent, but that parts of it violated his longstanding belief that government should not dictate how property owners behave. He has been featured in videos of the John Birch Society, which campaigned against the Civil Rights Act, warning, for instance, that the United Nations threatens American sovereignty.

In the mid-1990s, between his two stints as a Texas congressman, Mr. Paul produced a newsletter called The Ron Paul Survival Report, which only months before the Oklahoma City bombings encouraged militias to seek out and expel federal agents in their midst. That edition was titled “Why Militias Scare the Striped Pants Off Big Government.”

An earlier edition of another newsletter he produced, The Ron Paul Political Report, concluded that the need for citizens to arm themselves was only natural, given carjackings by “urban youth who play whites like pianos.” The report, with no byline but written in the first person, said: “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self-defense. For the animals are coming.”

(c)  James Kirchick explains how the Ron Paul candidacy highlights these dynamics within the libertarian movement:  “Why Don’t Libertarians Care About Ron Paul’s Bigoted Newsletters?“, The New Republic, 22 December 2011 — Excerpt:

To be sure, these figures, like the broader group of Paul enthusiasts, don’t base their support on the Congressman’s years-long record of supporting racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and far-right militias. Quite the opposite: Like the candidate himself, they manage to mostly avoid making any mention of his unsavory record at all. It’s an impressive feat of repression, one that says volumes about the type of enthusiasm Paul inspires.

Ultimately, 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.

For more about this see:

(5)  Articles about Ron Paul and his newsletters

This history also tells us much about Libertarians (as a movement).

  1. Transcript of Meet the Press on 23 December 2007 — He would vote against the 1964 Civil Righs Act and believes the Union should not have fought the Civil War.
  2. Ron Paul as President“, Tyler Cowen (Prof Economics, George Mason U), 26 December 2007
  3. Ron Paul: My Two Cents“, Arnold King (CATO Institute, bio here, Library of Economics and Liberty, 26 December 2007
  4. Angry White Man“, James Kirchick, The New Republic, 8 January 2008 — “The bigoted past of Ron Paul.”
  5. “‘Old News’? ‘Rehashed for Over a Decade’?“, Matt Welch, Reason, 11 January 2008
  6. Who Wrote Ron Paul’s Newsletters?“, Julian Sanchez & David Weigel, Reason, 16 January 2008 — “Libertarian movement veterans, and a Paul campaign staffer, say it was “paleolibertarian” strategist Lew Rockwell”
  7. Ron Paul’s Shaggy Defense“, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Atlantic, 20 December 2011 — Ron Paul is 76; perhaps amnesia is natural for him.
  8. Why Don’t Libertarians Care About Ron Paul’s Bigoted Newsletters?“, James Kirchick, The New Republic, 22 December 2011 — A very good question.
  9. Ron Paul quits CNN interview after questions about racist newsletters“, Reuters, 22 December 2011
  10. The Trouble with Ron Paul’s Defense“, Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online, 26 November 2011
  11. Ron Paul Takes Credit For & Explains The Ron Paul Survival Report“, Real Clear Politics, 26 November 2011 — In a 1995 video interview.
  12. Solicitation Letter for Ron Paul’s Investment Letter and Political Report — Undated, from 1985 through late 1990s. Source:  Reuters
  13. FACT CHECK: Ron Paul Personally Defended Racist Newsletters“, Judd Legum, ThinkProgress, 27 December 2011

(6)  For more information about American politics

To see all posts about these things see these FM Reference Pages:

About conservatives and the Republican Party:

  1. Let’s play “Name that Liberal”
  2. Let’s play round 2 of “Name That Liberal”
  3. Let’s play round 3 of “Name That Liberal”
  4. What happens to the Republican Party after the election?, 2 November 2008
  5. Whose values do Dick and Liz Cheney share? Those of America? Or those of our enemies, in the past and today?, 14 March 2010
  6. The evolution of the Republican Party has shaped America during the past fifty years, 8 May 2010
  7. Two contrasting views of the Republican Party, 23 May 2010
  8. Will people on the right help cut Federal spending?, 19 June 2010
  9. Conservatives oppose the new START treaty, as they opposed even the earlier version negotiated by Ronald Reagan, 24 July 2010
  10. The Republicans are serious about the budget. The results could be ugly., 24 November 2010
  11. Why do Rep Ryan and the Republicans want to gut America’s military defenses?, 14 April 2011
  12. Why Conservatives are winning: they use the WMD of political debate, 28 April 2011
  13. Mitt Romney and the Empire of Hubris.  Setting America on a path to decline., 10 October 2011
  14. A modern conservative dresses up Mr. Potter to suit our libertarian fashions, 17 November 2011



45 thoughts on “Ron Paul’s exotic past tells us much about him, the GOP, libertarians – and about us”

  1. Great article. The GOP needs to start over. Each candidate they have fielded so far has been a disaster. The only questions republican voters need to ask their candidate this cycle is. Do you love your fears and prejudices more than the United States and it’s citizens? Since they don’t know history or government or the tenets of their faiths we can at least try to flesh out their intentions.

  2. Salve Fabius I can’t think of a better comment on the state of American politics than your observation: “They close their eyes to the whole picture because they prefer the pretty picture in their minds to the reality.” IMO, this observation applies to those who supported (or continue to support) Pres. Obama as well as those seeking to replace him. Thanks for the clear-headed commentary.

  3. Just curious, what are Fabius’ thoughts about Gary Johnson? On the surface, Johnson seems to be similar to Paul but without the racism and social conservative leanings(always makes me chuckle when Paul is referred to as a libertarian). I would almost think that some of Paul’s support might be because of his ties to racism if I had enough confidence in the average voter to think they thought about it any deeper than the 30 second soundbites that are on the nightly news…

    1. I know nothing about Johnson, but he seems like a regular guy. The GOP primaries are, as Der Spiegel said, a freak show. Perhaps Johnson didn’t understand the nature of the game.

  4. No question that there are lots of weird Birchers and similar right-wing types in the Ron Paul camp. Attempting to reason with them is as futile as any other group of zealots. But how is that different from the mainstream political left, which is still supported by a variety of radicals/extremists even after it sold out to corporate wealth!?! And how is it different from the “conservative” movement that attracts, far more successfully, wealthy and powerful interests that FM complains are destroying the Constitution?

    That said, there are some odd contradictions in FM’s critique of Ron Paul that seem to reveal much about FM’s anti-populist (or anti-civilian?) tendencies.

    Paul is criticized for being unvarnished and speaking from a politically incorrect perspective, and for saying “crazy” things that are really nothing but questions about “unexamined assumptions” in american culture and politics. Elsewhere on the FM blog, americans are criticized for being “sheeple”, being overly conformist and politically correct!

    Ron Paul has consistently worked to abolish the banking monopoly that FM blames for a great deal of the corruption in american politics!

    Ron Paul is no more “racist” than many non-whites, and he is one of the few people that was willing to begin to openly address hatred of whites in the wake of the “culture wars”. Ron Paul exhorts people to return to individual responsibility, and in the “racist” newsletters, explains in unvarnished terms how the system of big government and state capitalism (social engineering bureaucracy) has created a ghetto culture that is averse to personal responsibility.

    FM is wiling to be brave in criticizing the enormous geopolitical problems that the US government’s support for Israel involves. When Ron Paul does the same, he is however somehow “racist” or “anti-Semitic”!

    Populists and Independents have long been marginalized and ignored by mainstream analysts, so it is not surprising that such analysts are “shocked” that Ron Paul would have attempted to build appeal amongst those political subcultures when he was an obscure figure.

    More recently, Ron Paul was willing to state support for the Transpartisan movement, and worked with people on the “far left”1 for the common good. No coverage of that in the mainstream media or on the FM blog. Ron Paul has probably been the most popular advocate for deep reforms in the corrupt military-industrial complex. FM has also called for deep reforms of a corrupt defense establishment. It looks like Ron Paul’s biggest sin is to share too many ideas with FM, but having gained far more support for them than FM has.

    The fact is that Ron Paul has more of a shot at creating popular support for dismantling the bloated military than anyone else in recent memory, and that upsets people like FM that presumably wish for such reforms to “somehow” come from people like FM within the military community. ???

  5. To make a long story short, in a networked, globalized, interdependent world, viewing the central swath of the North American continent as a cohesive, hermetically sealed, culturally and economically cohesive yet distinct unit makes less and less sense.

    And yet precisely that is what United States politics is attempting to do.

    It accordingly follows that American policies grow more and more contrive and less and less credible. And that American politicians, to the extent they are sincere, are QED flaky.

    Until society reorganizes itself on some framework that better reflects the underlying social and economic realities, these problems will persist. Needless to say, the current “elites” have no interest in refashioning the status quo and very few such elites – perhaps only the Meiji Restoration samurai – have ever committed class seppuku for the good of society as a whole.

    1. Hey Duncan,

      is one of the more well known groups advocating the kind of paradigm shift you call for:

      The New Political Compass project is an example of some of the “elites” attempting the kind of redefinition that you refer to. I do not completely agree with NPC’s analysis of the “Cultural Creatives” (I see Ken Wilber’s criticisms of NPC as being valid), but it is a fairly well known example of an attempt to define a new framework that “reflects underlying realities”.

      NPC does attempt to cite statistics from social sciences to support its claim that a massive paradigm shift is possible in the near future: “People Power – The New Political Compass“, Paul Ray, posted at Yes!, 30 June 2002 — excerpts:

      I call the new constituency the New Progressives because they reflect the concerns of the social movements and consciousness movements that have emerged over the last 40 years.
      … This group is nearly invisible in the mainstream press. But the New Progressives are the biggest of the four constituencies at 36 percent of population and 45 percent of likely voters. If the New Progressives were mobilized under a single political tent, they could replace one of the political parties and dominate American politics for the next generation or more.
      … Along with these shifts came the insistence that cultural change is a valid part of the larger social change process. Most importantly, the inner dimensions of transformation were carried into political work, in the beginning causing dissonance with the more Left, macho activists.

  6. “with ideas once reserved for militia camps and reactionary pamphleteering.”

    “For instance, when Rep. Michele Bachmann asserted that public schools “are teaching children that there is separation of church and state, and I am here to tell you that is a myth,” based perhaps on her objection to the accepted understanding of the Establishment Clause, this raised no great media hew and cry. Maybe because the refrain was so familiar. In 2010, Sarah Palin said as much, too: ”

    So, this is the first thing that comes up, as an idea reserved for military camps and reactionaries? ‘No establishment’ versus ‘separation’ — honestly, I think only the 700 club viewers care about this, and most everyone else doesn’t feel all that threatened. I mean, I’m not anything close to Christian, and I don’t fear theocracy in the USA. I think the media is just ignoring this because most of this stuff was kind of resolved a few decades back in the Jerry Falwell era.

    Then we get this…

    “Here is what Wesley Swift had to offer on the subject: “This is a Christian nation. The Supreme Court ruled on separate occasions that this is a Christian nation. And the fact remains that there are many forces that are seeking to destroy Christian civilization.”

    Wesley Swift being the founder of the Christian Identity movement — a white supremacist, anti-Semite and convicted domestic terrorist.”

    We’re supposed to be appalled that anyone says that no establishment does not mean separation, and that’s because some guy also says vaguely similar who is an Anti-Semite and a terrorist? I mean, come on. This is a joke. Do I have to actually explain why?

  7. Cathryn,

    Not sure I’m clear on your point, sorry!

    Christians have, literally, been their own worst enemy from early on. Elaine Pagels, scholar of the Nag Hammadi texts, has written extensively on the suppression of alternative christian thought, such as Gnosticism, suppression that has existed since about the year 300 AD.

    The radical whigs, such as John Locke, revisioned christian philosophy starting around the 1640s, to reflect Natural Law (NL), a philosophy that rejected the traditional authority of aristocracy and high church. Natural Law was the foundation of the US Constitution. NL was proposed by Locke as an intellectually legitimate (rational) “alternative” to the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings.

    The Spanish Inquisitions would have been vivid in the minds of those rejecting traditional authority and wishing for the separation of church and state – as an example of the incredible danger of allowing politicians to take over religious institutions under the auspices of “modernizing” a society.

    The earlier inquisitions of the Cathar/Albigensian heretics provide another example of Christians engaging in war against other Christians in order to enforce conformity of belief.

    1. It’s just that there’s zero substance to the theatlantic argument. We have an article here complaining about the ignorance of Republicans, and then a link to an article that’s really nothing more than political hackery. If it were guilt by association, it would be a step up, because at least there would have been an association. But with this, people are guilty of having opinions that are vaguely similar to the opinions of Anti-Semites. With this logic, this website is Anti-Semite, the entire world is Anti-Semite.

      To make it simple, racist people have various opinions about all kinds of issues, but it’s only the racism that makes them racists. If a racist believes that ‘no establishment of religion does not imply separation of religion and state’ — that does not make everyone who believes this also a racist. This is a logical fallacy. I’m not going to vet all my opinions for what David Duke believes. No one can. This is an impossible standard.

      Is this how we raise the level of debate?

      1. “there’s zero substance to the theatlantic argument … and then a link to an article that’s really nothing more than political hackery.”

        Ron Paul’s defense consists mostly of lies, but even he doesn’t deny the substance to the charges — as they consist of the words from over a decade of his newsletters. Newsletters from which he made over a million dollars (perhaps many).

        Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.
        — Jeremiah 5:21

    2. Marcus, thanks for mentioning the 30 years war as an example of christian-on-christian war that had a religious motivation.

      Cathryn, I agree with you to the extent that Ron Paul is being subject to purity tests that are peculiar because of deeper problems that americans have with the legacy of slavery and racism. Ron Paul has talked about taboo subjects in a way that disturbs the comfort zone rhetoric of mainstream racial politics.

      As I explain in another response, whites have always been aware that they are hated by large numbers of blacks, and they are also aware that black “slave” revolts have always been a threat to white privilege and power. This is nothing new in southern white culture, and the only thing that is unusual is that “outsiders” do not expect white southerners to discuss the issue openly, but Ron Paul (or Lew Rockwell in the newsletters) did so anyway.

      Similar for the gay stuff. Anyone that dares to question the use of coercion and groupthink by the pro-gay movement is usually subject to thought policing and rhetorical inquisition. It is obvious that gay politics, feminist politics and all forms of postmodern politics contain a “toxic” psychological mirror of what they hate. (Jungian shadow)

      Similarly, anyone that open criticizes AIPAC or other aspects of the Israeli WAR lobby is accused of “anti-semitism”. As you say, it is odd since FM has posted much criticism of that lobby’s bad geopolitics and the incredible derangement of the Israeli right wing. Why repeat charges that Ron Paul is “anti-semetic” for opposing the Israeli WAR lobby when those charges come out of a corrupt mindset?

      The reality is that Ron Paul is a relic of an era before political correctness (and its Jungian shadows) became a standard method of acceptable intimidation in american politics, and people don’t want to have to engage in the mental and spiritual gymnastics necessary to think outside the box about what that all means.

      The current comfort zone of racial rhetoric in america assumes that whites are in a continual state of fear of being accused of being “racist” unless they engage in specific rituals of speech and behavior designed to assure the Thought Police that they are compliant with Political Correctness.
      (substitute “gay” or “feminist” as needed.)

      1. “they are also aware that black “’lave’ revolts have always been a threat to white privilege and power.”

        Truly the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long time. Totally disconnected from reality. Much of this comment is bizarre, but this line is especially so.

    3. What is dumb/bizarre about the simple statement that white southerners were aware of the dangers of slave revolts? In slave times, whites lived in constant fear of such slave revolts, and at times did not live through them.
      (see Orlando Patterson The Historical encyclopedia of world slavery, Volume 1; Volume 7)

      Similarly, in the politically correct post-civil-rights era, whites live in fear of being accused of “racism” (and men live in fear being being accused of “sexism”, hetero-sexuals in fear of being accused of being “homophobic”, etc.). This why whites like “unthreatening” blacks such as Oprah and Obama, they avoid the usual tactic in black culture of “shoot first, ask questions later” by being in a continual state of holtility toward whites (in order to negotiate a position of psychological advantage). As is explained by Shelby Steele, a leading black conservative.

      Your analysis of Ron Paul’s so-called racism is extremely peculiar, and frankly lacking in the nuance and sophistication neccessary to gain an understanding of the position of a character such as Paul.

      Do you not actually understand the “moral” problems inherent to the social engineering bureaucracy?

      But of course any viewpoint that isn’t dedicated to following the herd that is dedicated to smearing Paul and libertarian ideas in general, you see as “disconnected from reality”.

      At a deep level, those that wish to damage Paul should avoid the silly “racism” stuff and concentrate of Paul’s economic theories and his support for Ayn Rand. Those are where things get “scary”.

      1. “What is dumb/bizarre about the simple statement that white southerners were aware of the dangers of slave revolts?”

        You said “they are also aware that black ‘slave’ revolts have always been a threat to white privilege and power.” That’s present tense. That’s what makes it dumb.

        As for the rest, you’re just making stuff up — not responding to what I or anyone on this thread wrote. It’s a commonplace form of argument these days. It’s the most common used by warmistas — concocting stuff then writing super-duper rebuttals.

        Try using quotes, and replying to the quote.

    1. Why not read something from someone who actually knows about this subject? Such as Jonathan Bernstein (political science prof, writes at Salon, The New Republic, Wshington Post, etc).

      Brokered Convention Edition“, 23 November 2011 — Opening:

      The good news is that we’re finally past the “new candidate will jump in” season. The bad news is that we’re now entering prime “we’ll get a brokered convention” season. So as long as we keep getting these arguments, I might as well keep knocking them down. Don’t worry, there won’t be a deadlocked convention. Not going to happen. Really, truly. …

  8. FACT CHECK: Ron Paul Personally Defended Racist Newsletters

    FACT CHECK: Ron Paul Personally Defended Racist Newsletters“, Judd Legum, ThinkProgress, 27 December 2011 — Excerpt:

    … {he} told CNN on December 21 {“ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES“, CNN, 21 December 2011}:

    PAUL: I never read that stuff. I never — I would never — I came — I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written… Well, you know, we talked about [the newsletters] twice yesterday at CNN. Why don’t you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN, and what I’ve said for 20-some years. It was 22 years ago. I didn’t write them. I disavow them and that’s it.

    Paul’s denials, however, are not supported by the public record. When the newsletters first arose as an issue in 1996, Paul didn’t deny authorship. Instead, Paul personally repeated and defended some of the most incendiary racial claims in the newsletters.

    … {examples} …

    Paul also defended his claim, made in the same 1992 newsletter that “we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in [Washington, DC] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal” Paul told the Dallas Morning News the statistic was an “assumption” you can gather from published studies.

    Paul’s failure to deny authorship was not an oversight. He was repeatedly confronted about the newsletters during his 1996 campaign and consistently defended them as his own. A few examples: …

    Contrary to his statements to CNN last week, it was not until 2001, that he first claimed that newsletters were not written by him. He told the Texas Monthly in the October 2001 edition that “I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren’t really written by me.” The reporter noted, “until this surprising volte-face in our interview, he had never shared this secret.”

    There is no evidence that Paul denounced the newsletters in clear terms until he ran for president in 2008 when he said “I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.” Paul has never explained how this blanket denial squares with his vigorous defense of the writings in 1996.

    Further, some of the disturbing ideology embedded in the newsletters is reflected in Paul’s legislative record. In 1999, he was the only member of Congress to oppose the issuing on a Congressional Gold Medal to Rosa Parks. In May 2011, Ron Paul said in an interview that he opposes the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  9. Ron Paul Thinks The American Civil War Was 'Unnecessary'

    Transcript of Meet the Press on 23 December 2007:

    TIM RUSSERT: You would vote against the Civil Rights Act if, if it was today?

    REP. PAUL: If it were written the same way, where the federal government’s taken over property–has nothing to do with race relations. It just happens, Tim, that I get more support from black people today than any other Republican candidate, according to some statistics. And I have a great appeal to people who care about personal liberties and to those individuals who would like to get us out of wars. So it has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with the Constitution and private property rights.

    RUSSERT: I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. “According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery.”

    REP. PAUL: Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn’t have gone, gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was the–that iron, iron fist..

    RUSSERT: We’d still have slavery.

    REP. PAUL: Oh, come on, Tim. Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I’m advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You, you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where it lingered for 100 years? I mean, the hatred and all that existed. So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn’t sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.

    Hat tip to “Strange But True: Ron Paul Thinks The American Civil War Was ‘Unnecessary’“, Avi Zenilman, National Memo, 22 December 2011

    1. I don’t get the post on Ron Paul opposing the Civil War. Is what he said in that interview supposed to be bad?

      1. Yes, you probably don’t get it. Which nicely illustrates why racism remains a toxic element in American culture to this day.

        “Opposing the civil war” is not bad if you believe that several more generations of slavery was no big deal. Let’s test it! Take your family to East Africa and voluteer to become farm slaves. Write frequently! Don’t worry, slavery is just a temporary economic phase (as the Founders believed). Your children — or grandchildren (certainly your great-grandchildren) will be free again. Eventually.

        Your descendents will be better men and women for the experience, as exlained by that noble Cavalier Robert E. Lee in a letter to his wife on 27 December 1856 (source):

        The views of the [outgoing] President [Filmore] of the Systematic & progressive efforts of certain people of the North [abolitionists], to interfere with & change the domestic institutions of the South, are truthfully & faithfully expressed. The Consequences of their plans & purposes are also clearly set forth, & they must also be aware that their object is both unlawful & entirely foreign to them & their duty; for which they are irresponsible & unaccountable; & Can only be accomplished by them through the agency of a Civil & Servile war.

        In this enlightened age there are few I believe but what will acknowledge that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race. While my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically.

        The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild & melting influence of Christianity than the storms & tempests of fiery Controversy. This influence though slow, is sure.

      2. Our Confederate sympathizers remind me of the Mad Magazine parody of the file 300.

        King Leonidas comcludes his magnificant speech about freedom being the essence of Greek civilization. A Spartan runs up. “Sorry I missed the speech. I had to whip my slaves.”

    2. Which nicely illustrates why racism remains a toxic element in American culture to this day.

      FM, I don’t understand the fuss about this comment. What is wrong with discussing history and possible directions not taken? . I saw this interview when it originally aired. I was surprised for two reasons, first, what in the heck was the reporter doing asking a candidate in 2008 about the Civil War, and second, I was fascinated that someone would actually suggest an alternative to war to free the slaves.

      It almost reminds me of how Pat Buchanan was torched for his views on Poland in his book on WW2.

      You are correct that racism remains a toxic element today in American culture. It’s still used to harass and intimidate though not in the manner depicted in Mississippi Burning.

      1. I suspect Rusty is putting us on, a troll (ie one who posts inflammatory messages in an online discussion with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response). But I’ll give a brief response.

        (1) People use history as a prism through which to see the present, and as a means for communicating and advocating their values. That’s the context for modern discussions in politics about the Civil War. It’s about now, not then. Ron Paul’s comments about the Civil War are consistent with many of those in his newsletters, and his statement about the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which in effect concluding the Civil War era in America, ending the century-long insurgency of Southern state and local governments).

        (2) “Pat Buchanan was torched for his views on Poland in his book on WW2.”

        I don’t know to what you’re referring. Buchanan was rightly torched for his comment in the New Republic issue of 22 October 1990 and the New York Post of 17 March 1990 (text), writing about the Treblinka death camp in Poland, about “group fantasies of martyrdom” and that “Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody.” It’s part of a long history of anti-semetic remarks. For more about this specific claim see here; for more about Buchanan’s history see here.

    3. Ron Paul was not advocating for several more generations of slavery, he was advocating for an alternative method of abolishing it.

      A better counter argument would have been that Paul’s alternative was not consistent with what was possible in the USA at that time. Not sure if that is true or not, so I can’t argue the point one way other the other.

      The fact is that the Civil War was not about slavery per se, it was about whether the north or south was going to prevail in defining the model of western settlement. Right?

      1. “Ron Paul was not advocating for several more generations of slavery, he was advocating for an alternative method of abolishing it.”

        No. He was advocating for some (poorly stated) method of endling slavery, which would have occured either very slowly — or never (ie, impractical, so that slavery would have ended through some other means). As for the government buying the slaves (ie, compensation to slave holders, as the Brit’s did), that was not likely. Slaves were the largest single part of the antebellum American capital stock, with some estimates (from memory) of 40% plus).

  10. Two libertarian economists think about Ron Paul as President

    (1) Ron Paul as President“, Tyler Cowen (Prof Economics, George Mason U), 26 December 2007 — Excerpt:

    The Ron Paul phenomenon reminds me of the old America First {see Wikipedia} movement, with Misesian 100 percent reserve banking theory on top. He is making (one version of) libertarianism much more popular by allying it with nationalist and also states’ rights memes. That includes his stances on immigration, NAFTA, China, devolution of powers, and “The Constitution.” Even when the policy recommendations stay libertarian, I fear that the wrong emotions will have the staying power. Evaluating a politician is not just about policy positions; for instance personally I am skeptical of most forms of gun control but I worry when a candidate so emphasizes a pro-gun stance.

    Many libertarians see the Paul candidacy as their chance to have an impact and they may well be right. There is also no one else for them to support. But, raw milk or not, I am not myself tempted to take a stance this year in favor of any of the candidates, Paul included. Liberty is lacking in the United States but I’d like to see it more closely bundled with reasonableness, moderation, and yes pragmatism; I am looking to advance on all fronts at the same time. Call me fussy if you wish.

    (2) Ron Paul: My Two Cents“, Arnold King (CATO Institute, bio here, Library of Economics and Liberty, 26 December 2007 — Excerpt:

    view the Ron Paul phenomenon as a successor to the Ross Perot phenomenon or the Pat Buchanan phenomenon. His supporters are expressing alienation and frustration with the establishment. Libertarianism is not really central to his appeal. My guess is that a militant fascist could pick up a lot of the same voters.

    I doubt that libertarianism will be advanced by any campaign for national office. I suspect that the best way to advance libertarianism is not to compete for government office but to compete against government. Earn a living to support your family. Contribute to institutions, such as private schools, that compete with important government institutions. Vote against incumbents, but otherwise stay aloof from political campaigns.

    1. Cowen: “Even when the policy recommendations stay libertarian, I fear that the wrong emotions will have the staying power.”

      This is very odd stuff. How it is possible for someone that is an academic to insist that practical politics requires the maintenance of ideological purity? Cowen is making a theological argument, not a political one. Someone said that Cowen is a restaurant critic for the NY times !?!

      Similarly, FM has chosen a quote from King, that tells libertarians to go sit in a corner and be quiet (about national politics). This all seems to contradict FM’s statements that americans should stop being “sheeple” and get involved in politics to reverse “decline” caused by a “rigged” two-party system!

      Hilarious comment found on Cowen’s blog — Holy Jehosophat December 29, 2007 at 7:35 am:

      There has evidently been a terrible misunderstanding. Some people have been describing Ron Paul as “not intellectual” when in reality they mean “too intellectual.” Ron Paul, being the primitive that he is, doesn’t understand the Epicurean turn in human thought which was decisively accomplished in the third century BC. What the gods think, or even their existence, is an aporia from the human standpoint. Our task in life is not to cognize either from a moral or a metaphysical point of view, but to manage our sensory life in such a manner as to harmonize our feelings with our environment. Paul is obviously hung up on a kind of philosophical realism which generates such cognitive phantasmagora as “rights,” “property,” “human dignity,” and “freedom.” In lieu to supporting Paul,or for that matter any candidate,I suggest waiting until after the election and then greeting the winner with accolades. An even better possiblity would be the proclamation of Bush as President-for-Life, which would obviate the neccessity future political imponderables and uncertanties. Then we could all just vist museums and enjoy Thai cooking without taxing ourselves with these quadrennial disturbances of our tranquillity.

      1. (1) You comment about the quote from Cowen has little obvious relation to the quote itself.

        (2) “Someone said that Cowen is a restaurant critic for the NY times !?!”

        As I suspected, you don’t really read before writing a reply. Look at the post and you’ll see Cowen’s affiliation. Hint: he’s not a restaurant critic.

        (3) Cowen is one of the most prominent libertarian economists. King is an economist with CATO, one of the (or the) most influential libertarian think-tanks. This background makes your comment look at bit … odd.

  11. The (cynical) “joke” that I’ve heard black labor activists make is that if the “white [liberal suburbanite] social workers [substitute public school teachers that get special grants, etc.] actually solved the problems of the (poor) black community, they would be out of work”. That is what should outrage people, but of course the “sheeple” have been conditioned to think otherwise. For people that hate Ron Paul (and libertarian ideology), charges of “racism” are easily instrumentalized.

    This is all part of the “decline” of american politics that FM constantly complains about, but in this case, the aversion to the politics of character assasination is set aside since it serves FM’s preferences.

    The reality is that all whites, but especially southern whites, have lived in fear of black “slave” revolts for a long time. Anyone that has a clue about southern culture and history understands that that is what Ron Paul is talking about. All of the social programs that were put in place as a result of the civil rights movement were an attempt to “buy out” black leaders and to get them to convince their community to be happy with the small piece of the pie they were given, and to stop being “noisy”, asking for more.

    It is interesting that Ron Paul is being subjected to bogus purity tests in a manner that other candidates are not. It isn’t that hard to make a case that the liberal social engineering bureaucracy and postmodern culture that arose as a response to the civil rights movement are deeply flawed, full of disasterous unintended consequences that have ghettoized millions of people into “serfdom” – dependency on state social programs that are significantly ineffective.

    The fact that “racial” topics are taboo, and that those that challenge the taboos (or fail to make public statements consistent with the fragile “comfort zone” of anti-racist rhetoric) are smeared as “racists” tell the real story of race “toxicity”. Any fair examination of the issue would look at the plight of black conservatives, and how they are viciously attacked by the liberal establishment. (e.g., school vouchers in poor urban communities)

    For a large section of the back community, things have gotten far worse in the last several decades. For another section, the increase in opportunities has been very fortunate.

    The reality is that the same economic powers that FM constantly complains about require the use of state coercion of the socially disadvantaged population via a “liberal” social work bureacuracy (and public “education” system that miserably fails poor people).

    Ron Paul is willing to talk about that taboo when others are not. This makes people very uncomfortable because they know that america (including most of the liberal establishment) has horribly failed a large number of blacks, and that creates the possibility of a “slave revolt” against the system of privilege that america is premised on.

    1. While it’s always interesting to hear from the Gamma Quadrent, your might find it easier to communicate in this section of the galaxy if you qive quotes when writing replies. It appears you are writing rebuttals to things that appear only in your mind.

  12. Good article, FM.

    >> (1) About the GOP, its leaders? Is this a sign of their desperate search for a right-wing candidate attractive to an increasingly foolish and ignorant electorate? Or does it show indifference to which puppet we elect (just like 2008 Obama vs. McCain, their knowledge that both would be in effect a third term for Bush Jr’s policies)?

    I don’t think the GOP is in a desperate search for a right-wing candidate. They are in an ordinary and routine search for a centrist or center-right candidate. Seems like Romney is the best they got, now that Perry totally blew it as a remake of Bush Jr.

    I’d say Gingrich is a side-show, and Paul is there to keep his many supporters from leaving the GOP. Get them emotionally involved in the election process so that they remember to vote. I see Paul is being set up to be the next Howard Dean, and there will be a bait-and-switch. Paul can even win a bunch of early primaries, but then there will be some real or perceived public gaffe, and the media will then suddenly turn on Paul (like Dean), he will be declared “unelectable”, and that will be that. Maybe the newsletters from this FM article will even be the cause, to be “discovered” by the MSM sometime in late January?

    (for the record I don’t like any of the GOP candidates, nor Obama.)

    1. “I don’t think the GOP is in a desperate search for a right-wing candidate. They are in an ordinary and routine search for a centrist or center-right candidate.”

      You might be right. Attributing motives to a group is a metaphor at best — and impossible to prove. My basis for the statement was the sequential popularity of Trump-Bachman-Perry-Cain-Newt. None well-qualified; some obviously unqualified. What do they have in common? None are centrist or center-right candidate. Romeny is (or was before he moved right in the primaries), but his popularity (from memory) has remainted flat around 25%.

    2. david, nice comments, thanks.

      re: “bait and switch”

      Wasn’t Howard Dean shoved to the side after he helped to pick Obama? Wasn’t Dean in charge of fundraising? Was he competent? My understanding (please correct if wrong) is that the Democrats were desperate to find an alternative to Hillary because they were afraid that revelations about Bill Clinton’s ongoing sex affairs would blow up in Hillary’s face later? As soon as Obama set up shop after being elected President, Dean was banished to the wilderness, and has been pretty quiet since.

    3. Why do you say Dean was “shoved to the side” and “banished to the wilderness”?

      Dean served 4 years. Past DNC Chairpersons served for 2-4 years (see this list at Wikipedia). He was age 61 when his term finished, not an usual age for retirement.

  13. re: “Why do you say Dean was “shoved to the side” and “banished to the wilderness”?”

    Dean went from national prominence to an almost complete absence on the national stage in a very short time. The obvious suspicion would be that he was unwelcome in D.C., or in any other prominent national role because his style is more populist and “unrestrained” than Obama’s.

    Ok, I just read the Wiki page, and it looks like a combination of his previous ruffling of establishment party feathers and disagree with Rahm Emmanuel was the reason for the banishment, err, snub:

    1. Your comment is of the sort called “wild guessing without evidence.”

      “Dean went from national prominence to an almost complete absence on the national stage in a very short time.”

      It’s called “retirement.” It happens to people all the time, including Senators and party chairman. Unless you have any evidence, this seems the most logical explanation.

    2. The “evidence” is right on the Widipedia page that you referenced. Dean was snubbed by Rahm Emmanuel. etc.

      Dean is quoted as in the “Retirement” section of the Wiki page saying that he WANTED TO SERVE IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

      1. Very few Chairmen of the DNC went on to serve in the following administrations (the job is not an automatic stepping stone, so there was no “snub”). If Dean wanted to participate in public service, he could (like other politicians) have found some means to do so. Instead he retired. Yearing to for appointment to high office doesn’t count.

  14. FM, please dare to tell the truth for once about the so-called “racist” Ron Paul newsletters: DESCRIPTION OF SMEAR CAMPAIGN CAMPAIGN AGAINST RON PAUL: “Why the Beltway Libertarians Are Trying to Smear Ron Paul“, Justin Raimondo, Taki’s Magazine, 18 January 2008 — Excerpt:

    Reason, of course, in it’s new incarnation as the official organ of the libertarian movement’s aging hipsters and would-be “cool kids,” vehemently opposes reaching out to middle and working class Americans. Moreover, the decidedly “square” Dr. Paul—a ten-term Republican congressman from Texas, no less, and a pro-life country doctor of decidedly conservative social views—was and is anathema.

    Note: “Reason” magazine is funded by the Koch Bros., evil creeps whose giant oil company was started by their father in the Soviet Union under Stalin. How surprising is it that Autocratic Corporatists want to smear the *populist* Ron Paul?

    Also: Justin Raimundo is gay. He microscopically deconstructs the so called “racist”, “homophobic” and “anti-Semetic ” charges and finds them almost entirely taken out of context and misinterpreted.

    1. Let’s examine what WTF calls a “smear”:

      • Listing Ron Paul’s statements about the Civil War and 1964 Civil Rights Act
      • Long excerpts from Ron Paul’s newsletters
      • Lists of Ron Paul’s long-time supporters on the extreme Right

      Now let’s see what WTF calls “telling the truth” as rebuttal:

      • Saying that Reason is the “official organ of libertarian’s movements aging hipsters and would-be cool kids”,
      • Ron Paul is a 10-term congressman from TX, and pro-life country doctor,
      • We should not Reason because the Koch brothers are among its many donors.

      Nothing more need be said.

      A note about donors

      Among the ways our rulers treat us as sheep is their instistence that we read only sources following the Party Line. Left or Right, as the case may be. Heterodox thought is the enemy, as it might spark thought. A effective technique to keep the sheep in their pens is characterizing people and sources as evil. “I never read Krugman, he’s the devil.” “Don’t read Reason, a little of their funding comes from the Koch Brothers.”

      No need to read one’s opponents — let alone grapple with what they say. That’s a priori bad, as it move the debate to logic and facts — aways from painting opponents as evil. God only knows where that might lead!

  15. Frum: "Ron Paul’s Personal Responsibility"

    Ron Paul’s Personal Responsibility“, David Frum, 3 January 2012 — Excerpt:

    Ron Paul’s supporters ask that their candidate not be judged by his associates. Or by the people he chose to employ. Or by the newsletters he published. Or by the book he wrote. Or by the way he earned the largest part of his living when out of office in the 1990s. Or by his purchase of the mailing list of the Holocaust-denying Liberty Lobby. Or by the radio shows he chooses to appear on. Or by his strategic decision to reach out to racist voters. Or by the conspiracy theories to which he lends credence, from government creation of AIDS to Israeli culpability for the 1993 bombing to a putative 9/11 “coverup.”

    And here I thought that libertarianism was a doctrine of personal responsibility?

    May Ron Paul at least be judged by the words he has spoken with his own mouth within the current campaign? The supporters say “no” again. When Ron Paul tells an interviewer that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made race relations “worse,” we’re not supposed to consider what he might mean by “better.” When Ron Paul warns that a border fence would be used to prevent fleeing American citizens from exiting the country, we’re not supposed to conclude that he’s a paranoid crank.

    Andrew deploys what might be called the ontological defense of Ron Paul, as follows:

    • Ron Paul is a libertarian.
    • Libertarians espouse individualism.
    • Racism is a form of anti-individualism.
    • Therefore Ron Paul cannot be a racist.

    That is a demonstration of what might be called the deductive method of reasoning. But there’s another way to study reality: induction.

    Like this:

    • Ron Paul has again and again exploited bigotry, paranoia, and hate as fundraising devices.
    • Ron Paul is a libertarian.
    • So yes, I guess it is possible for a libertarian to do that.

    Here’s my question for Ron Paul supporters: why the denial of the undeniable?

  16. Ron Paul voted against Martin Luther King jr Day

    MLK Day Fact Check“, Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, 8 January 2012 — Excerpt:

    But first here’s Ron Paul on Martin Luther King Day in his newsletters:

    Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.

    It has been alleged that these are Lew Rockwell’s words, not Ron Paul’s. One would think that Rockwell would be familiar with Paul’s record, as he was his longtime Chief of Staff.

    … The vote for the King holiday was actually taken on November 13, 1979:

    The bill was called up in the House on Tuesday, November 13, 1979…When the final vote was taken, 252 Members voted for the bill and 133 against — five votes short of the two-thirds needed for passage.

    I’m sorry to report that one of those Nay votes, as you can see here, was cast by one Ronald Paul. I’m sorry to further report that Paul again voted no on the 1983 bill that passed.

    If we are to take the version of events proffered by Ron Paul’s defenders, the Congressmen voted for a holiday which his Chief of Staff publicly denounced as “Hate Whitey Day.” In Ron Paul’s own name, no less.

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