The Rightness of Ron Paul

Little Green Footballs posted this revealing John Birch Society documentary about the UN plot to take over the US that features Ron Paul.

The back-and-forth in the mainstream media about whether Ron Paul is “extreme” or not, or whether he should be held accountable for the vile racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic views that appeared for years under his byline in his eponymous newsletter (which, for the love of God, was promoted on mailing lists owned by Willis Carto) is as disingenuous as its past anguishing about whether Pat Buchanan can fairly be called a racist and anti-Semite.

The answer about Buchanan is “yes”–just look at his associations and his last few books. The answer about Paul has to be a little more qualified, since he doesn’t seem to invest that much energy in his hatreds and he’s held his tongue for the past decade or more. Nor should Paul’s loucher statements take anything away from his refreshing sane-ness on a host of important issues, civil liberties and the war on drugs not the least among them (though he is a proudly inconsistent Right to Lifer too). But Jeez, people. James Edwards of the Political Cesspool and Don Black of Stormfront–two unapologetic white supremacists–trust him on the issues that matter the most to them. Click here for Edwards’ endorsement of Paul and here for this New York Times story about Paul and racism, which includes this nice sound bite from Don Black:

“We understand that Paul is not a white nationalist, but most of our people support him because of his stand on issues,” Mr. Black said. “We think our race is being threatened through a form of genocide by assimilation, meaning the allowing in of third-world immigrants into the United States.”

Mr. Black said Mr. Paul was attractive because of his “aggressive position on securing our borders,” his criticism of affirmative action and his goal of eliminating the Federal Reserve, which the Stormfront board considers to be essentially a private bank with no government oversight. “Also, our board recognizes that most of the leaders involved in the Fed and the international banking system are Jews.”

Ron Paul has raised alarms about the NAFTA superhighway and the Bilderbergs; he has sounded dog whistles about cosmopolitan Jewish bankers and warned about the coming race war. If Obama raised the shitstorm that he did by questioning the wisdom of a policeman who arrested the dapper (and physically unprepossessing) Henry Louis Gates in his own home, then why should Paul get a pass on his documented Bircherism and racism?

But does Paul even want a pass? Because here’s the really frightening thing: For many in this new era of American decline, Ron Paul’s racism stands him in good stead. Earlier this year, I went to a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, at which the white nationalist Richard Spencer offered the Republicans unasked-for strategic advice. “The GOP is the White People’s Party, whether it likes it or not,” he said. If they want to win in 2012, he went on, they need to embrace rather than run from their essential identity.

It will be interesting to see how this latest eruption of the New Hate plays out in the coming weeks.

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13 thoughts on “The Rightness of Ron Paul

  1. Arthur: I think you are too harsh in your evaluation of Ron Paul.

    I don’t think anyone who actually knows him would describe him as a person who harbors “hatreds” about any person or group.

    You will recall the comment made by Ronald Reagan when he was told that Birch Society members endorsed his candidacy for Governor of California in the 1960’s. His reply was to the effect that the Birchers may agree with his positions but he did not agree with theirs.

    Subsequently, JBS founder, Robert Welch, declared that he intended to vote for Reagan for President after the Public Relations Director of the JBS (and now its President) John McManus opined that if the Republican Party nominated Reagan for President it would be evidence that he had become “a lackey” of the Communists!

    As it turns out, a few years later, the Birch Society’s magazine savaged Reagan as a “phony conservative” who was “controlled by Insiders” (their code word for Communists!).

    All political extremists (left and right) seek out targets of opportunity to latch onto. They function as boarding parties — seeking to align themselves with the energy and prospective success of people or movements which they think they can manipulate or influence.

    Ron Paul’s positions on all sorts of issues present a broad range of political extremists with the chimera that their particular idiosyncratic ideas might finally achieve success if only….if only Ron Paul were elevated to a position of power. I wouldn’t make much out of their support for him. If he makes one “wrong” statement or announces one “wrong” policy position, their support of him will evaporate.

    1. Temperate and fair as usual, Ernie, although there is the problem that the worst views attributed to Paul were written under his byline (and some of them are really, really bad). This (click here) direct mail solicitation (which I quoted from in CULTS, CONSPIRACIES, AND SECRET SOCIETIES) is especially awful; it has allusions to race war, FEMA camps, and the whole panoply of right wing conspiracism. I was in the direct mail business myself for many years; I know that there are writers who specialize in crafting these 8-page letters, with all their embedded calls to action and the like–Paul surely didn’t write it. But I also know that the person who signs them effectively takes ownership of them and this one is explicitly designed to push the buttons of Willis Carto types. I don’t often quote David Frum, but I think he makes a valid point (click here): “The back story of the newsletters shows a man who, sufficiently saturated in racism and extremism himself, was ready to exploit the even greater racism and extremism of others for financial gain.”

      In The New Hate, I use Ron Paul as an example of how extremists (anti-Semites in Paul’s case) can turn on politicians who cultivate their support. I quote one who, in 2008, hailed Paul for his courage against the Rothschild interests, then another, six months later, who deplored him as “a snake nipping at our ankles, whispering in our ears to gnaw on the aple…Ron Paul should be pointing his old finger at the Jews and decrying their ruin of America. Instead he advocates the ruin of America.” Live by the sword, die by the sword.

      So no, I don’t think that Paul is a programmatic hater in the way that Buchanan is; but I think he provides a superb example of a politician who has tried to leverage prejudice to his own advantage.

  2. Well, Arthur, I do not personally know Paul — and I am always reluctant to make definitive judgments regarding character, integrity, or morality from long distance — particularly since I have seen (and personally experienced) a considerable amount of venom directed toward people and organizations whose only “crime” was that they wanted a more inclusive society or they associated themselves with unorthodox and allegedly “radical” ideas.

    I am quite familiar with the newsletters issued under his name — and yes, he probably should take ownership of what is done in his name.

    Ultimately, however, I would like to suggest that the most pertinent evaluative tool we have (for people and organizations) is what, exactly, do they do and say when confronted by indisputable bigotry or prejudice or “hatred” in any form? Do they validate the bigoted premises and assertions? Do they endorse the individuals or publications which present such ideas? Do they financially contribute to the further dissemination of those ideas or to the defense of the persons who may face civil or criminal proceedings?

    I guess what I am saying is that it is always easy to dislike people whose political or religious viewpoints are contrary to our own preferences. It is easy to assume the worst about their character and integrity.

    But I think we must resist the temptation of adopting the logic or mindset or characteristics of political extremists — in our zeal to see ourselves on the side of the angels.

    I have defended Ron Paul on many occasions from what I considered unfair criticisms — even though he has associated himself with and endorsed the portions of the John Birch Society agenda which Paul thinks represents acceptance of his libertarian principles. Surely, nobody familiar with my history thinks that I am a fan of the Birch Society or susceptible to their propaganda — but I can make a distinction between Paul’s political principles versus what the JBS believes.

    Lowest-common-denominator reasoning (LCDR) is a major characteristic of political extremists (right and left). I think much of the criticism of Ron Paul falls into the category of LCDR. Just my opinion.

  3. Well said, Ernie, and admirably fair-minded. Paul very likely stands in a similar relationship to the JBS rank and file as Welch himself once did.

    1. Appropos of what Ernie says about the “chimera that their particular idiosyncratic ideas might finally achieve success if only…”

      The Political Cesspool (which denies that it traffics in “white supremacism,” which it calls “a liberal code word for conservative white person”) linked to this post, characterizing it as a “hate filled screed” and a “hit piece.” A commentor wrote: “Frightening for whom? Sounds like this member of any extra special, super important, over protected minority group is running scared. Just what does he know about American decline and what role his fellow minority members played in it? The anti-White policies of the past 50 years, always promoted as anti-racist, have been built on a pile of lies. Lies about Negro equality, lies about 3rd world immigration, lies about the sexes, lies about wars especially in the Middle East. All these lies have become so transparent. What we need is a high profile individual to STOP giving a presumed moral authority to the lie promoters and lie tellers. Ron Paul could be that individual if only he would seize the opportunity.”

  4. Arthur: In many of my online defenses of Ron Paul I have suggested that somebody should ask Paul some brutally frank questions about his endorsement of the Birch Society. But…preferably somebody who is intimately familiar with the predicates of JBS ideology since its inception so that Paul has to confront the full scope of what they believe.

    For example, in many of my messages I have listed the following four items. If Paul convincingly distances himself from these statements/assertions and their underlying innuendos, then I would continue to defend him. If he evades these questions or gives unsatisfactory answers, then I would conclude that his public persona is not a genuine reflection of his actual beliefs and values — and perhaps comments appearing in his newsletters from 20 years ago are more relevant than I currently believe.

    1. From the May 2008 JBS Bulletin:
    “Just as the JBS showed in the 1960’s that the communists basically ran both the civil rights movement and the KKK, the strategy was nothing new…”

    2. From the April 2011 JBS Bulletin:
    “The history of the socialist movement in the U.S. is one of advocating mandatory public education. Recall that it is the tenth step toward communizing any country outlined by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto…The aim of the Conspiracy has always been to break down the old social order and replace it with the anti-God system of socialism. Kindergarten was part of the breakdown of the old social order and it included that indoctrination of children at an ever-younger age away from their parents.”

    3. From Robert Welch’s comments to the first meeting of the JBS National Council in January 1960:

    “In the Senate, there are men like Stephen Young of Ohio, and Wayne Morse of Oregon, McNamara of Michigan, and Clifford Case of New Jersey and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, whom it is utter folly to think of as just liberals. Every one of those men is either an actual Communist or so completely a Communist sympathizer or agent that it makes no practical difference…”

    4. From the November 1966 JBS Bulletin (written by JBS founder Robert Welch):

    “We have said many times, and we repeat now, that if you can fully expose the civil rights fraud, you will break the back of the Communist conspiracy. But the word ‘fully’ is important in that sentence. It calls for bringing a preponderant majority of our fellow citizens really to grasp the fact that the ‘civil rights’ program has been designed by Communists, is controlled by Communists, and will be used by the Communists as a vital part of their total strategy for taking over our country.”

  5. And these would be difficult questions indeed, since his answers could cost him support in several vital (and not necessarily Republican) constituencies that have gravitated to his candicacy (and who subscribed to his newsletters back in the Bush I and Clinton eras). Question 1, with its “disinformation” and “false flag” implications, is basic to conspiracy theory–it allows the theorists to tar their enemies with their own worst attributes. Question 2 is something that a growing class of home schoolers more and more believe (creationists aren’t the only people opting out of public education). Question 3 speaks directly to the New World Order paranoia that Welch epitomized in his day and that Sovereign Citizen types do today. Question 4, about the Civil Rights “fraud,” is a fundamental tenet of ethno-nationalism (look at the comment from the Political Cesspool above, with its “lies about Negro Equality”).

    A few months ago, I heard Sam Dickson talk about how the whole US Constitution was poisoned at its inceptionion by the “disease of the French Enlightenment”: “Our government hates us, degrades us, and seeks to destroy us,” he said. “We cannot save America. We need to let go and think of something new. America is the God that failed. It denies that the whole is more important than the parts; it denies what Aristotle said, that man is a social animal.” Dickson, by the way, was David Duke’s attorney. And Duke has said that he would vote for Ron Paul as the most satisfactorily anti-Zionist candidate.

    Of course, as Ernie says, what matters is who a politician endorses, not who endorses him–but one would like to hear Paul deal with these issues at some length, rather than summarily dismiss them.

  6. Arthur, do the flyover goyim whom you so obviously fear and loathe have any collective interest as white people? Or are we the only group who does not? How do we express it? How do we effect our interests? Surely, you don’t think it is in the collective interest of white Americans to embrace massive third-world immigration and multiculturalism do you?

  7. Arthur: Another avenue to explore with Ron Paul concerns his close association over the years with Willis Carto enterprises such as the now defunct Liberty Lobby and its successor, American Free Press.

    Paul seems to think that Carto enterprises are useful avenues to present his viewpoints because readers/listeners of Carto newspapers/radio programs share Paul’s political perspective.

    It would be interesting to ask Ron Paul for his reaction to the fact that Cong. Larry McDonald, the first successor to Robert Welch as head of the John Birch Society described Liberty Lobby in an affidavit for court proceedings as “an organization founded by Willis Carto who seeks to use American populist causes as the method to bring about a National Socialist (Nazi) regime.”


    In September 1984 the Wall Street Journal published an article about Carto and Liberty Lobby which quoted comments made by Scott Stanley Jr.– who was the former Editor of two Birch Society magazines (American Opinion and Review of the News). The WSJ article resulted in a libel lawsuit by Carto’s Liberty Lobby against the Journal’s parent company.

    Scott Stanley was quoted as saying that Carto and Liberty Lobby were “racist” and “anti-semitic”. At trial, when Liberty Lobby challenged the validity of the WSJ quotation of Stanley’s comment, Stanley submitted an affidavit in which he declared that he did indeed believe that Carto/Liberty Lobby were racist and anti-semitic.

    In July 1986 the District Court concluded that “to the extent the charge of anti-Semitism had any objectively verifiable factual content, the statement was substantially true” because “evidence of Liberty Lobby’s institutional anti-Semitism in its most malign sense” was “compelling”.

    The District Court concluded “that no reasonable jury could find by a preponderance of the evidence that the ascription of anti-Semitism to Liberty Lobby was false.” [Liberty Lobby Inc. v. Dow Jones & Co., 638 F. Supp, at 1153 (1986).]

    The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court decision in a 2/5/88 unanimous decision written by the prominent conservative jurist, Circuit Court Judge Robert H. Bork. The Appeals Court ruled that the Wall Street Journal did not libel Liberty Lobby by describing it as “far-right” and “anti-Semitic.” [Liberty Lobby v. Dow Jones & Company, Inc, et al., No. 86-7017, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 2/5/88, page 2]

    Writing the unanimous opinion for the court, Judge Robert H. Bork stated, “We tend to agree with a district court that if the term ‘anti-Semitic’ has a core, factual meaning, then the truth of the description was proved here.” [Ibid, p. 20]

    One wonders, therefore, how Ron Paul squares his endorsement of the Birch Society with his close association with Willis Carto enterprises–given the Birch Society’s absolute rejection of Carto and his organizations and the Court decisions which upheld the JBS description of Liberty Lobby?

  8. Unfortunately, this interview with Paul picked up by TPM yesterday suggests the kind of response that Ernie’s probing questions would be likely to receive: “A total of eight to ten sentences….bad, but I disavowed it all….not a reflection of anything I ever believed in and they never hurt me politically.” His implication that he was too busy with other matters to read the newsletters reminds me of Henry Ford and The Dearborn Independent. Not that Paul is anything like the hater that Ford was; just that his disavowals don’t exactly ring true.

    For readers interested in learning more about Carto and the Liberty Lobby, Leonard Zeskind’s book BLOOD AND POLITICS is extraordinarily informative. Paul’s name only appears in its index once, when it notes his return to the House in 1996: “In another Texas district, Ron Paul reemerged from the libertarian far right to win election to Congress as a Republican. One of those few figures who routinely jumped back and forth across the border between respectability and zealotry, Paul had won three elections to Congress, lost badly as a Libertarian candidate for president, maintained a leadership position in the John Birch Society, and then reentered the Republican Party. His election underscored the one salient fact undermining the emergence of any third party on the Republican Party’s right: there was still plenty of room inside the GOP for ideologues like Chenoweth and Paul and even for a white nationalist like Buchanan–as long as they did not run for president.”

    Economist Steve Horwitz’s recent post on the “paleo libertarian strategy” sheds a lot of light on the newsletter question as well. “The paleo strategy…was clearly designed to create a libertarian-conservative fusion….It was about appealing to the worst instincts of working/middle class conservative whites by creating the only anti-left fusion possible with the demise of socialism: one built on cultural issues.”

  9. People in the states need another party, or two or three. Real viable ones. Monopoly in everything, including politics, media, and education, is insane and asking for it. International organizations, by their very nature, should be suspect and monitored (or reported upon accurately).The interlocking nature of the transnational elite, in particular, should be worrisome.

  10. Most people in the world do have a bit of bigotry in their veins – from children to little ole ladies. Seriously: the (character) accusations against Paul are, completely, ad hominem.

  11. Gingrich, Obama, and countless others probably have an abundance of bigotry of their own.If it affects the way you’re supposed to do your job, then… Little hitlers running around ain’t gonna fly on this side of the pond, I’d suspect.

    With the white supremacists though it seems like they try their best to make republicans look like fools. It really seems deliberate.

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