Paul vs. Lincoln

Most of the “racist” quotations from Ron Paul's old newsletters (as exposed by The New Republic, Daily Kos, and others) turn out on examination to not be racist at all. But a few clearly are. By far the most obviously so are these two, taken from the May, 1991, Ron Paul Political Report:

“There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races. A separation of the races is the only prevention of amalgamation.”

“You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any two races…. [T]his physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence. It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated.”

Oddly enough, while New Republic author Jamie Kirchick cites these statements in a follow-up to his original expose, he does not quote them. That could be because they were obvious quotes, and not the newsletter writer's own words – though Kirchick did not hesitate in other cases to try to pass off clearly quoted or paraphrased material as Ron Paul's own opinions. Be that as it may, he contents himself with only one brief reference:

The May 1991 issue of the Ron Paul Political Report cites American Renaissance and offers readers subscription information for it.

Kirchick adds that American Renaissance is a “eugenicist and white supremacist periodical”.

Certainly some will find that shocking enough: Why is someone 'citing' a white supremacist periodical's statements unless he agrees with them? Yet, the careful reader discovers, those were not statements by American Renaissance either; that periodical was quoting in turn.

The author of the quotes turns out to be: Abraham Lincoln. The brief newsletter article, “Lincoln the Racist,” gives both as an example of how Lincoln “really thought about race.”

The first quote comes from an 1857 speech given in Springfield, IL. In that speech, Lincoln went on to outline how he wanted “separation of the races” to be achieved; by deporting African-Americans back to Africa. “Let us be brought to believe that it is morally right to transfer the African to his native clime,” he exhorted his audience, “and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be.”

The second quote, from 1862, indicates that Lincoln held the same separationist views after becoming President. On that occasion, he took pains to inform “the first ever delegation of black leaders to visit the White House” how much his race suffered from their presence.

The newsletter article's author – who may or may not be Ron Paul – comments that Lincoln's racist “views make David Duke look like a member of the NAACP.” Significantly, he disagrees emphatically with those views: “Should we follow Lincoln here?… Of course not.”

Which last is probably why Kirchick quotes nothing. In his ongoing series, and the media interviews he gave to promote it, he frequently referred to the Ron Paul Political Report's “kooky” criticisms of Abraham Lincoln. Yet he did not care to let his readers know abut this particular criticism.

Which is a shame, as the article sheds light on a side of Lincoln of which few of his countrymen are aware. Every American is taught as a schoolchild about Lincoln's commitment to a “Nation … dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Few if any ever learn that he wanted to achieve that equality of Americans by deporting the black population.

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