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PORTSIDE  December 2011, Week 5

PORTSIDE December 2011, Week 5

Subject:

Ron Paul is Not an Alternative - He is Not Anti-War, He is a Union-Busting Racist

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Date:

Thu, 29 Dec 2011 20:46:29 -0500

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Ron Paul is Not an Alternative - He is Not Anti-War, He is a
Union-Busting Racist

* Why his philosophical allies embraced white supremacy -
  Alex Pareene in Salon.com
* Ron Paul and the left - Lizzy Ratner in Mondoweiss

==========

Ron Paul and his racist newsletters
Why his philosophical allies embraced white supremacy
	
By Alex Pareene

Salon 
December 22, 2011

http://www.alternet.org/news/153551/ron_paul_and_libertarianism%27s_dirty_secret_--_pandering_to_racist_%22rednecks%22_to_get_ahead

It is a fact that in the 1990s Ron Paul sold a newsletter in
which a bunch of racist comments were published under his
byline. We now also have evidence that Paul is lying when he
claims not to have read the racist newsletters, which were
most likely written by Lew Rockwell.

	Here's Paul on C-SPAN in 1995, talking about his
	newsletters: http://youtu.be/eW755u5460A

The fact is, Paul has lied like a very old-fashioned sort of
politician about these newsletters, and he has been lying
for years. He has gone through the motions of public regret
about their contents, but has never acknowledged knowing who
wrote the offensive material or even being aware that
offensive material went out under his name. That's bullshit.
Now he ducks questions on the subject entirely (and his
supporters complain that it's "old news," because they have
no serious defense of the comments or Paul's responsibility
for them).

The fact is, Paul has lied like a very old-fashioned sort of
politician about these newsletters, and he has been lying
for years. He has gone through the motions of public regret
about their contents, but has never acknowledged knowing who
wrote the offensive material or even being aware that
offensive material went out under his name. That's bullshit.
Now he ducks questions on the subject entirely (and his
supporters complain that it's "old news," because they have
no serious defense of the comments or Paul's responsibility
for them).

Ta-Nehisi Coates has been essential reading on Ron Paul's
cynical embrace of racist populism and subsequent refusal to
own up to it.

But while I imagine Dr. Paul doesn't believe in the inherent
criminality of black males (though I'd bet he does believe
some variation on his newsletter's remark that "only about
5% of blacks have sensible political opinions") these
comments didn't originate in a vacuum.

Here's why they happened: Years ago, a bunch of libertarians
decided to act like huge racists to win votes. Reason
explained it in 2008:

    The most detailed description of the strategy came in an
    essay Rothbard wrote for the January 1992 Rothbard-
    Rockwell Report, titled "Right-Wing Populism: A Strategy
    for the Paleo Movement." Lamenting that mainstream
    intellectuals and opinion leaders were too invested in
    the status quo to be brought around to a libertarian
    view, Rothbard pointed to David Duke and Joseph McCarthy
    as models for an "Outreach to the Rednecks," which would
    fashion a broad libertarian/paleoconservative coalition
    by targeting the disaffected working and middle classes.
    (Duke, a former Klansman, was discussed in strikingly
    similar terms in a 1990 Ron Paul Political Report.)
    These groups could be mobilized to oppose an expansive
    state, Rothbard posited, by exposing an "unholy alliance
    of `corporate liberal' Big Business and media elites,
    who, through big government, have privileged and caused
    to rise up a parasitic Underclass, who, among them all,
    are looting and oppressing the bulk of the middle and
    working classes in America."

That's Murray Rothbard, the legendary libertarian thinker.

There are, broadly, two different versions of American
libertarianism: There's Reason Magazine and Cato Institute
libertarianism - "cool" libertarianism - and there's Mises
Institute/Lew Rockwell libertarianism - old crank
libertarianism. Ron Paul is a Mises Institute libertarian.
(Gary Johnson, more of a cool libertarian.)

The origins of the philosophical split are explained nicely
by Brian Doherty in this piece on the late Murray Rothbard.
To drastically oversimplify, guys like Hayek made pragmatic
economic arguments (and left room for a "limited" state to
provide some measure of assistance to the needy) and
Rothbard made Randian philosophical arguments (and was
radically anti-state). And Rothbard went full-on neo-
Confederate in order to win over the "rednecks."

Ron Paul's libertarianism has plenty of room for nativism
and racism because so much of it does sound like a Pat
Buchanan-style call for America to return to a golden age of
white privilege. Paul isn't a futurist, like the
libertarians who write hilarious odes to the coming
"singularity," when we'll all become immortal cyborgs. He's
a goldbug. He's a deeply religious anti-abortion small-town
country doctor who basically wants the government to operate
as it did in 1837.

"Liberaltarian" writer Wil Wilkinson's September piece on
Paul is good reading. Wilkinson sums up the problem with an
absolutist defense of the "natural rights" of property
owners that ignores how those rights are often only
protected for certain classes:

    As a rule, libertarians have an unhealthy tendency to
    apply their principles without due regard to America's
    history of state-enforced slavery, apartheid, and
    sexism, or to the many ways in which the legacy of these
    insidious practices persists to this day. Paul
    represents this tendency at his worst. The Civil Rights
    Act of 1964, Paul has argued, led to "a massive
    violation of the rights of private property and
    contract, which are the bedrocks of free society."

Yeah, well, it's not "racist" to believe that the Civil
Rights Act was an unnecessary intrusion on private property
rights that made discrimination worse, but it is idiotic.
Close

[Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon.]

==========

Ron Paul and the left

by Lizzy Ratner

Mondoweiss - The War of Ideas in the Middle East
Dec 28, 2011

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=8d38ef747c2061bb9c6137961&id=1e06d18bbd&e=f1430397e4#mctoc10

Dear Phil,

I am distressed, I am. You're a smart man and a thoughtful
one. But you went surprisingly light in your recent post
titled "The Ron Paul Moment: bad and good," minimizing the
Ron Paul Newsletter scandal as a possible Neocon "smear"
while letting the good doc off with scarcely a pinky waggle.
http://mondoweiss.net/2011/12/the-ron-paul-moment-bad-and-good.html

don't get me wrong: I applaud  -  no, thrill to  -  Ron
Paul's antiwar righteousness as much as you do. On
occupation, military bases, civil liberties, and the
useless, murderous immorality of war and interventionism he
is saying all the right things, a breath of bracing, anti-
imperial honesty. But to take Paul's antiwar declarations
without scorching, or at least seriously interrogating, some
of the other parts of his platform is not just
intellectually sloppy but morally lazy, a big, politically
reckless spit glob in the face of African Americans, gay
folks, women, poor people, and just about every other
marginalized person in this country and beyond.

Let's start (start, but not finish) with the contents of the
Ron Paul newsletter, that lucrative experiment in
conspiracy-laced wingnuttery that burns with such virulent
bigotry that I practically singed my face just reading
excerpts. I found these excerpts courtesy of the website "Et
tu, Mr. Destructo,"
http://www.mrdestructo.com/2011/12/game-over-scans-of-over-50-ron-paul.html 
which recently unearthed and released a 50-page cache of
greatest Newsletter hits. It's worth mentioning that Et tu,
Mr. Destructo is a deliciously acid voice of lefty
irreverence  -  proudly anti-war, pro-union, Israel critical
-  hardly part of the neoconservative cabal that Andrew
Sullivan so quiveringly accuses of trying to smear Doc Paul.
In fact, plenty of the media outlets that have been so
gleefully sifting through the contents of the "Ron Paul
Newsletter" colostomy bag are "respectably" mainstream
operations (I know, there's no such thing) if not staunchly
progressive ones  -  which is appropriate given that the man
is running for President of the United States. Getting
frisked by the media is part of the job application.

In any case, since the newsletters are now effortlessly
accessible  -  thanks again to aforementioned "Et tu, Mr.
Destructo," among others  -  I would hope that you would
have taken a few minutes to examine them. However, just in
case, I've selected a sample.

Let's roll the fiche... Ron Paul Newsletter - December 1990

    [King] was also a Comsymp, if not an actual party
    member, and the man who replaced the evil of forced
    segregation with the evil of forced integration. King,
    the FBI files show, was not only a world-class
    adulterer, he also seduced underage girls and boys....
    And we are supposed to honor this 'Christian minister'
    and lying socialist satyr...?

Ron Paul Newsletter - February, 1990

    Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for
    that pro-communist philanderer, 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.
    Listen to a black radio talk show in any major city. The
    racial hatred makes a KKK rally look tame.

Ron Paul Newsletter - January, 1991

    St. Martin was a world-class philanderer who beat up his
    paramours ('non-violence' didn't apply in all spheres, I
    guess).

Ron Paul Newsletter - June, 1990

    President Bush invited the heads of homosexual lobbying
    groups to the White House for the ceremony. As
    Congressman Bill Dannemeyer (R-CA) noted, 'It's a tragic
    message that is being sent,' that normality and deviance
    are equal. I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak
    of the rest of society, were far better off when social
    pressure forced them to hide their activities. They
    could also not be as promiscuous. Is it any coincidence
    that the AIDS epidemic developed after they came 'out of
    the closet' and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy? I
    don't believe so, medically or morally.

Ron Paul Newsletter - October, 1990

    A mob of black protestors, led by the 'Rev.' Al
    Sharpton, occupied and closed the Statue of Liberty
    recently, demanding that New York be renamed Martin
    Luther King City 'to reclaim it for our people.' Hmmm. I
    hate to agree with the Rev. Al, but maybe a name change
    is in order. Welfaria? Zooville? Rapetown? Dirtburg?
    Lazyopolis? But Al, the Statue of Liberty? Next time,
    hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a
    crack house.

Ron Paul Political Report - July 1992

    Perot cannot fix the welfare state any more than
    Gorbachev could fix Soviet socialism. To achieve even a
    semblance of success, Perot may resort to authoritarian
    means. Maintaining order may be the number one priority,
    especially as the race riots grow.... Just after a
    basketball game ended on June 14, blacks poured into the
    streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How
    else? They broke the windows of stores to loot, even
    breaking through protective steel shutters with crowbars
    to steal everything in sight.... (Is this why Hollywood
    tells us White Men Can't Jump?).

Ron Paul Survival Report - January, 1994

    They [gay men] enjoy the attention and pity that comes
    with being sick. Put it all together, and you've got
    another wave of AIDS infections, that you, dear
    taxpayer, will be asked to pay for.

Ron Paul Survival Report - November, 1994

    If you belong to one of these groups [i.e., a right-wing
    militia], be careful not to let down your guard too
    easily if at all.... Big government is forever, says the
    Beltway elite. But don't believe it. If people form
    their own communities of internal protection, the
    central state becomes an even more obvious parasite. It
    is an encouraging sign that the end of government as we
    know it may be near.

Had enough yet?

As you know, Paul's response thus far has been about as
flimsy as the paper his Newsletter was printed on. "I didn't
write them. I didn't read them at the time and I disavow
them," he told CNN's Gloria Borger in a near-parodic replay
of James Murdoch's hacking scandal defense.

Now it's certainly possible that Paul didn't write the
newsletters, as he claims. In fact, despite draping his name
across the top of all of them and John Hancocking the bottom
of some of them, it's pretty well-suggested that Lew
Rockwell, Paul's former right-hand, penned the missives. But
the claim that he didn't read them? Come on. The man spent
30 years publishing these tracts, raking in more than $1
million in the process -- and he's saying he had no clue
about the contents? He certainly seemed pretty well briefed
on the details in this 1995 video.

All of which reflects pretty poorly on Dr. Paul.

As Et tu, Mr. Destructo writes:

    Paul supporters face three losing propositions:

    * [Ron Paul] lacks the competency to control content
    published under his own name for over a decade, and is
    thus unfit to lead a country.

    * He doesn't believe these things but considers them a
    useful political tool to motivate racist whites, which
    makes him fit to be a GOP candidate, but too obvious
    about it to win.

    * He's actually a racist, which makes him unfit to be a
    human being.

In other words, no matter how you spin the Newsletter
scandal, Ron Paul is either incompetent, cynical, or racist.

But here's the other truth: troubling as the Newsletter is,
it's really only part of the Ron Paul problem, because the
Ron Paul problem is ultimately bigger and murkier, the
creepy-reckless result of an ultra-libertarianism which
looks refreshingly righteous at first but, when followed to
its natural conclusion, leads to some pretty slithery-
slippery places.  Which is what I hope to discuss in my next
installment...

[Lizzy Ratner is a journalist in New York City. She is a co-
editor with Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss of The Goldstone
Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza
Conflict (Nation Books).]

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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