Ron Paul: On Defining What Is and Is Not a Dealbreaker


From The New Republic’s James Kirchick:

To understand Paul’s philosophy, the best place to start is probably the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Auburn, Alabama. The institute is named for a libertarian Austrian economist, but it was founded by a man named Lew Rockwell, who also served as Paul’s congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982. Paul has had a long and prominent association with the institute, teaching at its seminars and serving as a “distinguished counselor.” The institute has also published his books.

The politics of the organization are complicated–its philosophy derives largely from the work of the late Murray Rothbard, a Bronx-born son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” who viewed the state as nothing more than “a criminal gang”–but one aspect of the institute’s worldview stands out as particularly disturbing: its attachment to the Confederacy. Thomas E. Woods Jr., a member of the institute’s senior faculty, is a founder of the League of the South, a secessionist group, and the author of ThePolitically Incorrect Guide to American History, a pro-Confederate, revisionist tract published in 2004. Paul enthusiastically blurbed Woods’s book, saying that it “heroically rescues real history from the politically correct memory hole.” Thomas DiLorenzo, another senior faculty member and author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, refers to the Civil War as the “War for Southern Independence” and attacks “Lincoln cultists”; Paul endorsed the book on MSNBC last month in a debate over whether the Civil War was necessary (Paul thinks it was not). In April 1995, the institute hosted a conference on secession at which Paul spoke; previewing the event, Rockwell wrote to supporters, “We’ll explore what causes [secession] and how to promote it.” Paul’s newsletters have themselves repeatedly expressed sympathy for the general concept of secession. In 1992, for instance, theSurvival Report argued that “the right of secession should be ingrained in a free society” and that “there is nothing wrong with loosely banding together small units of government. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, we too should consider it.”

I get this, and you know what, it matters. This is exactly why, if you ask me about Ron Paul’s racist newsletters or how he coddles up to secessionist sympathizers, I won’t say “it doesn’t matter because Paul’s good on other issues”, I’ll say “having a President who doesn’t have a sound understanding of Civil War history may be a deal breaker.”  A deal breaker in much the same sense that having a constitutional law professor as president who doesn’t understand that signing an indefinite detention bill is unconstitutional is a deal breaker.  Get where I’m going? This conversation isn’t about perfect politicians because they don’t exist. This is about exchanging one set of problems for another. That’s what I’m weighing. (My preference in all this would’ve been Jon Huntsman, but I’m playing the cards I’m dealt.)

 

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2 comments
Yvette
Yvette

Dowie, you said: "Its seems to me that you were some how advocating ignoring RP’s possible racist beliefs. In one post you stated that that blacks should stop, paraphrasing here, believing that racism IS the issue affecting them in the 21st century." Ignoring the newsletters? No. But I do think we should weigh it accordingly, and in my mind, it doesn't balance the scales with indefinite detention or the war on young black men. And I do feel that African Americans have a Pavlovian reaction whenever race is injected into the conversation. All it took for us to mount a charge against Paul was for a few establishment media types to yell, "Look!, Look! racist newsletters,get 'em... that a girl!" for us to brandish our fangs. I'm tired of being used. The manipulation is exhausting. The way we were used as take down artists was, at least to me, embarrassing. Those newsletters have been around since the 90's and they were rehashed during the 2008 election. It's old news. All I'm saying is that if you believe Ron Paul is a racist, then don't for him, but don't bother us with a 20 year old distraction when indefinite detention, Social Security, and unmanned drones are all on the table. There's absolutely no need to revisit this issue as if it's breaking news. And I'm not advocating a Ron Paul presidency (he's polling far behind Obama), but a Ron Paul debate. I like the idea of Ron Paul, if he's the Republican nominee, forcing Obama to discuss, clarify, define, and defend his position on issues that will be totally ignored if Romney's the nominee. You say the drug war is racist, but why is it that Ron Paul is the only candidate who's gone on record to agree with you? I haven't heard Obama go "there", have you? That's just one reason why America would benefit from a Paul v Obama election cycle.

Dowie
Dowie

I have not been on here for a while, but I have to say Ms. Carnell I been disappointed by the last few posts.I am referring in particular to the Ron Paul (RP) posts. Its seems to me that you were some how advocating ignoring RP's possible racist beliefs. In one post you stated that that blacks should stop, paraphrasing here, believing that racism IS the issue affecting them in the 21st century. It would seem that you were advocating that blacks essential IGNORE RP's racism on the off chance he MIGHT do some of things we definitely can agree with him on.That is in my view a very dangerous gamble. I am surprised that a black intellectual as yourself would at some point have believed that a politician, especially a white politician, would do anything to disrupt the "white, christian, male power structure", to quote Bill O'Reilly , in America. I am even more disappointed that it took the simple argument above to be a "deal breaker" for you. There were significant other things about RP that should have given you pause if you had done just the slightest of research. Just to name one, RP strong association with the John Birch Society, which advocated strongly against the civil rights movement. An advocacy ostensibly done in the "fight against the scourge of Communism". Yep, nothing says commie more that the right to vote and racial equality. All that being said, I just have one more viewpoint I want to present.Racism has been on of the bane of black existence in America. The very drug war and how it is executed is very racist. You have police departments spending millions to monitor black communities and arrest black men so they can become slaves to the prison industrial complex. All the while, ignoring white communities,despite that fact that the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that white teens are the highest users of illicit drugs . Its the same racism that passes laws that state that if you are convicted of a crime,even non violent offenses, you lose the right to vote. Such laws are a mechanism to disenfranchise blacks, who have now become disproportionately represented in the U.S. prisons. Sure you have corporate money driving some of this, but the laws are crafted to directly target minorities more. You need to look no further than the decades long Rockefeller Laws in NY.