Beltway libertarians use Congressman's old newsletters as excuse for dumping on him. Some perspective. by Phil Manger
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I guess we should have expected it.
The Beltway libertarians, those polished public intellectuals at Cato and Reason, have been falling all over themselves the past few days in an effort to distance themselves from Ron Paul following the "outing" of his old newsletters last week by The New Republic. Not that they were ever that close to begin with. The Cato gang never liked Dr. Paul, and the folks at Reason only warmed up to him after his campaign began to catch fire on the internet. Now, their blogs are full of I-told-you-sos, denunciations, and warnings of dire consequences for libertarianism.
Typical of these was David Boaz, Cato's executive vice-president, who told the world that "...over the past few months a lot of people have been asking why writers at the Cato Institute seemed to display a lack of interest in or enthusiasm for the Paul campaign. Well, now you know." Even Radley Balko, a Reason editor and former Cato policy analyst whose research on police misconduct made him one of the few shining lights among the Beltway libertarians in recent years, has joined the lynch mob. You can find links to dozens of other similar comments here.
Interestingly, all of them say they don't believe Dr. Paul is really a racist, and most of them say they believe him when he says he didn't write the articles in question. In fact, their real target seems to be something they call paleolibertarianism, a branch of libertarianism that has its center of gravity at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. And the man they really seem to loathe is the institute's president, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Ron Paul is merely collateral damage.
I should point out at this point that I really have no firsthand knowledge of any of the details of the mutual animosity that exists between the Beltway libertarians and the paleos. I only know that it exists and that it runs deep. I was a libertarian activist from the mid-'60s until the early '80s. I then decided to get a life and, except for an occasional blog post or attendance at a meeting, I was pretty much out of it for the next quarter century. It was my son who urged me to support Ron Paul in his run for President. (I didn't deliberately raise him to be a libertarian. Do you suppose it's genetic?) I did a lot of Googling of Ron Paul's name, and...well, here I am.
So, what about those newsletters? According to The New Republic article, the newsletters reveal "decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays". Actually, that's a gross overstatement. It's more like a careless phrase or choice of words here and there — sometimes very careless, and sometimes even mean.
What the newsletters remind me of is the "gold bug" marketing in the early '70s. The "gold bugs" — those who believed that the dollar was destined to continue to lose value — were a mixed bag: conspiracists, libertarians, John Birchers, survivalists (of both the Left and the Right), racialists, and some who just wanted to turn a quick profit. Following the dollar's devaluation in 1971 a number of businesses and newsletters appeared on the market to capitalize on the uncertainty of the times. They sold their wares, whether precious metals or newsletter subscriptions, by instilling fear and serving up red meat to the gold bugs. I remember attending one precious metals "seminar" in 1974. A black couple was sitting near me. When the speaker got to the part about riots in the cities and a breakdown of civil authority, I could see that the couple were extremely uncomfortable. They left before the end of the presentation.
For whatever reason, Ron Paul has a very bankable name in that market. The International Harry Schultz Letter, the granddaddy of all the gold bug newsletters, prominently features a plug from Dr. Paul on its webpage. So it would make sense that a newsletter bearing Paul's name, aimed at gold bugs or their like, would be profitable.
So, did Ron Paul write that awful stuff posted on TNR's website? I’m a former writer and editor and also a former college professor who got to be pretty good at sniffing out plagiarism in student papers, and I have to say I very much doubt it. It isn’t at all like Ron Paul’s style of writing (you can go to the Mises Institute website, where there is an extensive archive of Dr. Paul’s writings, if you don’t believe me), and there’s nothing in his voting record over 10 terms in Congress to suggest those are his views. I don't find it at all implausible that someone would use his name to sell subscriptions to a newsletter written and edited by others.
But I agree with Alex Wallenwein and Bill Westmiller that we need to know who did write that objectionable material so that we can move on. Otherwise, this stuff will come up again and again.
However, I am not so naive as to think that this will mollify the Beltway libertarians. In their writings on this controversy, I've detected a barely suppressed undercurrent of glee, as if they're trying to keep from shouting "Aha! Gotcha now!" They say they are concerned about what all this is doing to the reputation of libertarianism — although, it seems to me they're more concerned about what it's doing to their own standing in Georgetown — but I think they doth protest too much.
If the Beltway libertarians are really concerned about the reputation of libertarianism, let them take a look at what they're saying about Ron Paul over on the Left. Although they like his antiwar, pro-freedom message, a lot of the bloggers over there don't care for the fact that he's a libertarian. You see, they equate libertarianism with the Cato Institute. And to them, Cato is just another D. C. think tank laboring in the service of the corporate elites.
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Great. Our ship of state is taking on water, running flank speed into the whirlpool, and we are on deck playing family feud. I don't give a crap about any damn paleo/beltway pissing contest. The way I see it, we have one lifeboat and it's the S.S. Paul. We don't have the luxury of grooming another leader before it all hits the fan, so I will take the one we have now.
RON PAUL, WARTS AND ALL
RON PAUL WARTS AND ALL
RON PAUL WARTS AND ALL
I can't believe our own media make Fox News look like responsible journalism.
We're getting out the vote here in my town here in California. I registered four new people yesterday, and handed out flyers to nearly 300 homes. People are listening, even seeking us out, the enthusiasm is even stronger on the streets! This ain't over, its too much fun!
It is like so many other things, a group with foundational similarities feel the other group that appears like them is not really like them but inferior to them yet if the one is inferior to the other the other may perceived inferior based on the one so the other must denounce the one while one denounces the other despite the similarities...huh?
Libertarians, truly believing in pure libertarian philosophy, don't really appreciate Dr. Paul.¬† Even if he is the staunchest member of the RLC he is still not a pure libertarian, more of a libertarian conservative.¬† Having been a past LP candidate I can relate to the differences and they led me away from the LP eventually.
¬†Immigration is but one small example.¬† Pure libertarian philosophy says open the borders to all.¬† However, I believe illegal aliens coming here do not constitute a vicitimless crime so I am not a pure libertarian and those that believe they are will denounce me. ¬†
The newsletter, although rehashed newz, is an opportunity for those at CATO and other institutes that believe they are more pure in philosophy to denounce Dr. Paul.¬† I do wish he would out the authors for the sake of the campaign yet even if he did CATO would still stand distant simply due to philosophical differences, IMHO.¬†
Posted By: Kevin Houston
Date: 2008-01-13 01:40:42
Another issue is that the articles aren't even as bad as TNR is making them out to be.
Read the link titled "kind words for David Duke". There are no kind words or harsh words. It's just a factual report of David Duke's election results. TNR mis-read the author saying "It seems like good sense to the voters" to mean "It seems like good sense to me
The next one, in which Dr. Paul supposedly calls Dr. King a gay pedophile who lied to get his doctorate comes from the FBI files and WSJ / Boston Globe articles of the same theme.
It's just a report of what someone else said! (In this case the FBI and several mainstream newspapers.)
There is no racism in either document! It is just another story in the fake outrage genre.
A whole catagory on "conspiracies" -- conspiracies that have nothing to do with racism.
Articles written by others, and scholarly confrences on seccession are framed around the one that is somewhat disparaging to welfare recipients and minorities (against a backdrop of racial riots in welfare neighborhoods) and the whole mass is supposed to be seen as one monolith, when it's not!
Please read all the links provided and pick it apart like a usenet thread. Who is saying what about whom?
Yeah, the author makes some disparaging remarks about Dr. King, but they are not about his race, they are about his character. The poor light is not used as a means of critisizing Dr. King's ideas, but rather, the idea of having another federal holiday in honor of him.
It relies upon information that may or may not be accurate, but is certainly trustworthy enough (If you can't trust the FBI and the WSJ, then who can you trust?)
Anyway, please help me spread the word. It's not nearly as bad as TNR is making it out to be. A lot of this is being taken way out of context.
This is one suspect article against a whole lifetime of work, not the "20 year continuing tirade against racial minorities" that TNR would have us believe.
Sitting in a dunkin donuts yesterday writing my phone number on Ron Paul lit, a libertarian, 2 democrats & a republican all asked for Ron Paul info..... 1 person came up to me and said they admired me for what I was doing and wished they had the balls to go out and spread the word, I told he could do it too and handed him a Ron Paul bumper sticker. This, in Hilary/Guilliani territory: Ronkonkoma, Long Island NY. Woot Woot, Freedom Express comin' through :)
Instead of going after the so call "Front-runner" why are they coming after Dr. Paul? Single digit in national poll? Not electable? Long-shot, fringe etc.? Take a guess…
My take is that Dr. Paul has a “powerful message” that an average American now understands. And he brings common sense on current issues that our nation faces, which some of them starting to sound like him…
Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, all for naught. What the chief priests and scribes of these parties don‚Äôt seem to understand is the common American out there could give a damn about political ideologies of these parties or any other political party.
The majority of the American public does not want to be in Iraq. The majority of the American public does not want to allow illegal‚Äôs amnesty. The majority of the American public is loosing ground economically (including healthcare).
The person that sells their version of how to achieve these three objectives will be elected, damn the parties ideology. Only fools would attempt to sell ideology and miss the boat.
Ron Paul is the most Christian among the candidates. He has a record which proves that his competitors are liars and sell-outs who don't work for the American people but for themselves. Whenever someone speaks the truth and lives it, the power establishment will sentence them to crucifiction. Paul's opponents, which include every politician and political collaborator, have been waiting for him to be caught so they could cheer in front of the Pontius Pilot of the people for his death. Paul has PROVED that his opponents are all FOOLS.
After this election campaign, I am more convinced than before of the vile nature of the Federal government.¬† It needs be cut down to size, and put back in its cage.¬†
I'm not claiming Paul's Jesus, but there is a reason why men of peace who tell the truth are destroyed. Envy, envy, envy. Pride, pride, pride. Hate, hate, hate.¬†
It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from his government. ~ Thomas Paine.
The people must revolt. Lower your taxable income; spend less money; take advantage of all welfare; the country must be bankrupted; vote out encumbants; vote in Libertarians and members of the Constitution Party; only vote in people who's top priority is to cut Federal spending at all costs; only vote in State's Rights advocates to local and State offices.
Think this is the most plausable explanation I have heard and I have been advertising this column for hours, but I think there is more to it.
The whole hatfields/mcCoy split here isn't enough to cause this kind of rupture. Even the neolibs think RP would be better than any neocon. So which candidate¬†gave the neolibs that little shove to turn on their older paleo brothers?
litlte hint: ¬†There is an article at the top of CATO.org today called "do the math." it is Pro Ghouliani. Didn't Reason Mag move to New York recently?
You have to wonder why Pat Robertson endorsed a gun-grabbing thrice married cross dressing proabortion big government neocon like Adolf. He lost a lot of credibility for doing so, but I think he was convinced that only Julie could beat the Hillbillies.
Rudy is the master of divide and conquer. He just played us like tools. He may take us down, but we are going to take him down with us. I will not give up until the Ghoul drops from this race. It's personal now for me.
I personally could care less about libertarian or any other ideology, but like so many other Americans, I worry about what will happen to my earnings, how much I can buy with my dollar next year and the next decade and if I will be able to retire with dignity. This is what is at stake, our future.
Ron Paul can save us all
Support our troops, support Ron Paul
Save the economy, vote Ron Paul
Vote for your wallet, vote Ron Paul
We need a sound bite machine like Carl Rove, please people start posting sound bites, we need to choose the best ones and start circulating them.
Also, we need to get pop musicians, athletes, actors, actresses, recruit them and jump start the campaign with them. We need to hold rock concerts in his support where all these people come together and support Ron Paul. The media will ignore him till they are forced to cover these events. And these things need to happen in days.