More On The Unabomber Effect

Publius Endures has posted a lengthy rebuttal to a recent post of mine that glibly mocked a fund raising letter sent out by Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign team. My (far less glib) response is below the fold.


PE: Your criticisms are fair, although I’d argue that if other candidates’ support base were as visibly *ahem* assertive as Paul’s I’d be just as wary.

My take on the letter is underscored by Paul’s on-the-record support of (and from) the John Birch Society. The so-called ‘Unabomber’ effect of what would otherwise be, as you intimated, an innocuous letter requesting support, is amplified more by the dicey subject matter, rather than the personal “handwritten” touch. There’s a significant difference between dog-whistling union members, pro-choicers, or social conservatives, and soliciting those who believe that the CFR runs the world in concert with the Trilateral Commission and ‘international bankers.

YMMV.

That said, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to the (admittedly trivial) matter if it weren’t for the overwhelming (and, let’s be frank, largely insipid) response from some of Rep. Paul’s more zealous supporters.

Nyhan’s blog is lucky to get 3 comments on a given post. But 61 (and counting)?! You don’t see a similar storm of supportive activity from her supporters when (eg) Senator Clinton is pilloried for her ‘cackle’ (or whatever the latest asinine Beltway meme of the week is–are they still going on about cleavage?)

The fervency–the fanaticism–reminds me of 9/11 Truthers, or ‘pro-lifers’; no matter what the evidence (or the logistical concerns presented), those who truly believe will continue to believe, regardless of the facts.

Again, I have sincere policy disagreements with Rep. Paul (eg, his stance on race and abortion), and believe he’s too indebted to far-right elements like the JBS and the Militia/Patriot movement. The fact that so many purported Progressives appear willing to support someone who is far from Progressive in his policies (and has never claimed otherwise) seemingly due solely to a singular convergence re: the US-led occupation of Iraq is, to me, quite troubling, since it could very well lead to a vote-splitting independent run much similar to Nader’s in ’00. Only this time we’d have a REAL fascist like “America’s Mayor” in the White House if Progressives decide to vote based on ‘principle’ (read: moral vanity) rather than pragmatism.

(Have you seen what life in NYC is like since his tenure as mayor? Libertarians should be shitting bricks at the prospect.)

Thus, I feel it is important to highlight Rep. Paul’s less-than-progressive policy record to make sure that left-leaning individuals aren’t fooled by his admirable stance against imperialism. On this he has, at least, been entirely consistent. Of course, David Duke is also on record as being against the imperialist vanity war in Iraq (albeit for dubious reasons that one would expect, considering his overtly racist pedigree).

I would hope that would not cause Progressives/left-leaning anti-imperialists to throw their support behind him, were he to seek office.

Again, I thank you for your measured and sober dissent.

19 Responses to “More On The Unabomber Effect”

  1. lester says:

    so because racists like him he is a racist?

    His reported choices for a possible, if unlikely, VP include Walter Williams, a black economist. The head of the south Carolina Ron Paul meet up group is black. Why is someone who is racist or courting racists have a black VP and black peole working for them of their own volition for free?.

    and why do you think that most people who are anti war are “progressives”? many people who oppose the war do so because we hate the government and the lying, blind nationalism, beaurocracy and carnage that go into wars . Why are we paying 3 trillion a year to attack countries that aren’t a threat to us? Why are workers and dollars being diverted away from the civilian economy?

    your defination of “progressive” seems to be some sort of 90’s era political correctness and socialism. I can’t think of a more reactionary, not progressive, idea for a movement. No wonder the dems have blown it in only a couple months. they have no philisophical foundation other than the failed colorless leftism of the past.

    you are projecting your own big government leftism on to Ron Paul. He supports the john birch society, but he doesn’t want to foist their views on you or me. he is anti abortion, but he doesn’t want to have some kind of reverse roe v wade where abortion is illegal nationwide, he wants to leave it up to the states. thats where moral issues are supposed to be taken up according to that constitution thing.

    small government works for everyone. the blue states and the red states are free to do their own thing. as a bonus, we’ll all have more of our own paychecks, wont always ‘ be massively in debt, and won’t have our kids sent off fight wars in the desert for decades at a time. can democrats gaurentee any of those things? I’ve seen no evidence of that.

  2. matttbastard says:

    *sigh*

    lester (can I call ‘les’? as in ‘les government’, ‘les substance’, ‘les than zero’, etc?), again, you’re like a walking collection of textbook fallacies. The stable’s hayloft is full to overflowing; the thoroughbreds are going to lose their sleek racing form if you keep gorging them with so much straw.

    PE has a post dedicated to you (or, rather, your ilk – I know, I know, what do I mean by “ilk?” I mean “people like you.”)

    Suggest you read (and reread) it in its entirety, then take as much time as necessary for the message to sink in before trying to speak with the grown-ups (I realize this may take you beyond primary season, but…)

    Just remember — he’s on your side (and way out of your league) so tread lightly.

  3. Ugh. Lester- please read my most recent post at Publius Endures; this was not helpful to the cause. In particular, see Paragraphs 2 and 4 of the “Don’t” Section, and also Paragraphs 2 and 4 of the “Do” section. As far as I can tell, Matt was not in anyway implying or attempting to imply that Ron Paul is a racist.
    Now, I have no problem with Progressives highlighting Ron Paul’s less-than-progressive credentials. He’s not a Progressive, but a classical liberal. Of course, I would disagree with the effectiveness and goals of many Progressive policies, but I can understand why Progressives would want to keep other Progressives away from Ron Paul.
    As for indebtedness to the Birchers and Militia movements, I do think the concerns are somewhat overblown. The relationship with those groups appears to be one more out of occasional mutual policy agreements than one of political favors. Either way, Ron Paul isn’t going to be one to create tax breaks for a particular group or create carefully structured loopholes in the regulatory schemes. I don’t have time to explain why right now- though it’s not complicated. Either way, the areas about which Progressives (and libertarians) should be most concerned about Ron Paul in terms of social conservatism are areas that he isn’t able to affect because of his principled stands on federalism above all else. Specifically, to the extent he is anti-gay, he is opposed to any federal intervention on the gay marriage issue, etc.

  4. lester says:

    publius- no , sucking up to obnoxious socialist canadians is what’s “not helpful to the movement”.

    matt” sigh.. oh BROTHER…groan….sigh

    anyway “A fallacy is a component of an argument that is demonstrably flawed in its logic or form”

    I’m not seeing where anything i have said here or anywhere else on this blog has been “demonstrably” flawed. could you give us a demonstration of where i’ve done this?

    If not, can it really be said to be demonstrably flawed? i don’t see how

  5. lester says:

    publius “discussed the need for Ron Paul supporters to be less agressive or risk losing coverage entirely. ”

    good. why would we want to be covered in democrat blogs? the democrats are losers. they are at 11% in the polls because the one thing they are right about, the war and that’s ALL they are right on, they have completely failed to do anything about.

    they’re irrelevent. We’ve gotten nothing but animosity from them since 03, when WE were right about the war and THEY were wrong.

    they are withering on the vine, we are strong and growing stronger. if they don’t want to cover the paul campaign it’s more for those who will.

    and that goes for the mainstream media, who they are obviously dying to be a part of, as well. Why am i going to watch hardball? Do i care about mitt romneys mormonism? or hillary’s cleavage?

    there’s more than enough to read at antiwar.com, lewrockwell.com and elsewhere.

    there will be no “reaching out” to democrats on my watch. let them sink in the pit of their own communism and political correctness

  6. Lester:
    You are obviously what would be called a “militant libertarian.” Unfortunately, that phrase is an oxymoron since it is not that far off from the neo-conservative belief that people should be forced to be free.

    If, as you say, you don’t care about being covered on Democratic-leaning blogs because they are “irrelevant”- then why do you even bother posting on Democratic blogs to complain about them. Obviously, you think they’re relevant enough to want to criticize them. I happen to think Progressives and Conservatives are equally worth talking to when it comes to libertarian policy, since libertarianism (in my view) equally combines the best of Progressivism with the best of Conservatism.

    I also wouldn’t call attempting to engage in reasoned debate “kissing up.” Kissing up would mean I was pretending to believe something I don’t in order to get respect. Instead, I am simply stating what I believe in a logical and coherent fashion, and hoping to persuade through that methodology rather than through the use of force (ie, namecalling and ranting), which is antithetical to true libertarianism.

    As for coverage from Lew Rockwell, etc.- in order for those sites to have any effect, they have to actually reach people who aren’t already Ron Paul supporters. That isn’t likely to happen as long as Rockwell (who is nonetheless a useful source of information) continues his not-so-veiled love affair with Ahmadinejad, who is one of the world’s most anti-libertarian leaders, and as long as people continue to get their news from more mainstream sites like CNN and blogs like Andrew Sullivan.

    Finally, you are obviously not persuaded that calm debate is helpful to the cause. However, the rules of proper English apply equally to mudslinging as they do to logical argumentation. If you actually want to instill fear in people and make them think twice about whether they are right, you may want to at least sound like you know what you are talking about. I would suggest buying Elements of Style (or at least a few capital letters), and taking the ISI Civic Literacy Test.

  7. lester says:

    “continues his not-so-veiled love affair with Ahmadinejad,”

    what?

    because he doesn’t buy in to the neo con hype about about the “new hitler” he is a follower? the only thing I’ve ever heard him say about him or Iran is that they are stupidly inflating their currency, like us.

    and who cares if he did? Why would i have any animosity toward s the democatically elected leader of the islamic republic of iran, a country that is no threat to us. again, that’s the neo cons trip

    Anyway, to paraphrase Bart Simpson, we don’t need to talk to people on the internet. we need to reach people who really matter.

    and I’m posting here to demonstrate how irrelevent democrats have become. and waste time

  8. matttbastard says:

    Last time, because I’ve grown bored:

    I’m not seeing where anything i have said here or anywhere else on this blog has been “demonstrably” flawed. could you give us a demonstration of where i’ve done this?

    Fess up – you’re a parody, right? Or twelve years old? Straw. Fucking. Man. Your entire oeuvre has been nothing but one giant subliterate megatext of blatent misrepresentations, question-begging, tu quoque, etc etc etc.

    Anyway, to paraphrase Bart Simpson, we don’t need to talk to people on the internet. we need to reach people who really matter.

    Ah, yes, that great political strategist Bart Simpson. If that’s who the rEVOLution is cribbing its tactics from, no wonder you think the rhetorical equivalent of “eat my shorts” isn’t fallacious.

    and I’m posting here to demonstrate how irrelevent [sic] democrats have become.

    Question, les (and try not to hurt yourself as you ponder this): how can I be a ‘Democrat’ if I’m a Canadian citizen (one who doesn’t possess dual citizenship)? And even if I were an American citizen, what makes you assume that a ‘Socialist’ (Social Democrat, if you want to get really technical) like me would support a centre-right Neoliberal organization like the Democratic Party? The fact I don’t support Ron Paul means I must support the Dems/”neocons?”

    What was that about “not seeing where anything i have said here or anywhere else on this blog has been “demonstrably” flawed?”

    and waste time

    Well, on this last point you’ve been entirely successful–there are innumerable things more worthwhile that I could my spend time on, such as clipping my toenails, or watching kitten vids on YouTube, or writing a grocery list.

    On that note, as intimated above, I’m through feeding an admitted troll–especially one not ready for a seat at the grown-up table.

    Happy Thanksgiving/Columbus Day, Mark. Apologies for allowing les to derail the thread with his usual masturbatory idiocy. Shall address your latest comment a bit later. For now, I have some grooming and kitten-watching to do.

  9. That’s right! Today is Thanksgiving for Canada! Ahh, happy memories (I spent three Columbus Days/Thanksgivings in college in bucolic Kingston, ON in one giant drunken stupor). Happy Thanksgiving!

    Oh yeah- I was going to respond to that last post by our friend, but then realized it just wasn’t worth it. His unwillingness to improve his grammar despite multiple suggestions to do so made him no longer worth my time.

  10. matttbastard says:

    (I spent three Columbus Days/Thanksgivings in college in bucolic Kingston, ON in one giant drunken stupor) Did you go to Queen’s? If so, I give you full credit for escaping with your original liver.

    Ha! You want to be really amused by ol’ les? Go check out his latest offering here. Gotta love it when trolls do the heavy lifting for you.

  11. lester says:

    so because you are canadian and therefore not a member of the democratic party, ALL of my numerous unanswered points are untrue. look, anyone who reads this thread can see what yuo are doing. I make arguments, like say “if ron paul is a racist why are this and that black person/ people involved in his campaign?” and you say “sigh..”

    I mean, I’m sitting here waiting for you to show me what a idiotic yank who just fell off the turnip truck I am.

    “there are innumerable things more worthwhile that I could my spend time on,”

    keep on doing your little dance. no one is fooled by this kind of “debate” tactic anymore.

    your whole style, like your socialist philosphy, has no place in the real word . and I can “demonstrate” that by noting the lack of traffic other than defamatory ron paul bashing. good luck with that. it appears to be all you’ve got.

  12. matttbastard says:

    I mean, I’m sitting here waiting for you to show me what a idiotic yank who just fell off the turnip truck I am.

    les, you’re doing a fine enough job doing that on your own without my assistence.

    🙂

  13. lester says:

    I know. but just humor me. Come on, i’ve got a dozen responses on this blog. Surely there must be one where you can “demonstrate” where I have committed a fallacy in a timely manner that won’t inconvenience you too much.

  14. matttbastard says:

    lester, I know that excessive meth consumption can hinder one’s short term memory, but I already did just that. That you so offhandedly dismissed it only proves you aren’t arguing in good faith (hell, you even admitted as much when you said your presence here is to ‘waste time’).

    And it doesn’t take a logician to recognize the inherent fallaciousness of nearly every argument you’ve attempted to offer thus far since you first decided to grace us with your dubious presence. Anyone with even a passing familiarity in argumentation theory can see the gaping holes in your ‘arguments’.

    So this is seriously the last time that you’ll get a tidbit from me, Trolly Derailerson (and remember, once again, this is now the second example I’ve offered).

    Once more, with feeling: Straw. Man. Fallacy:

    “so because racists like him he is a racist?”

    You then list a number of black supporters of Rep. Paul, thus ‘proving’ (snicker) that Ron Paul isn’t racist. Congratulations. Good show. Golf claps all ’round.

    Except I never made that argument in this post. You deliberately mischaracterized my point, and thus weren’t addressing a point I actually made; so why the hell should I try to defend (or even respond to) crudely constructed rebuttals of arguments that I never offered in the first place?

    So, to review: you erected a straw man, then proceeded to knock him down.

    Textbook. Fallacy.

    Any questions? No? Class dismissed.

    Now, if you wish to continue making a complete dumbass of yourself, thus adding to the perception that a good number of Ron Paul supporters are, to be blunt, FUCKING MORONS — to the detriment of capable, intelligent, sincere RP partisans like Mark — have at it.

    You’re only doing my job for me.

  15. lester says:

    “My take on the letter is underscored by Paul’s on-the-record support of (and from) the John Birch Society. ”

    “he’s too indebted to far-right elements like the JBS and the Militia/Patriot movement. ”

    you care clearly implying he is a tool of the john birch society and use their apparent support of him as an argument against him.

    but fine, we’ll take that off the record.

    you officially don’t feel that the john birch societies support of his candidacy says anything about him or that he is in anyway a tool of these groups.

    You simply take issue with his positive assesement of them on their social conservatism. Though he is in fact in favor of gay marriage.

    my bad.

    I would have to say, if there were any years where those issues mattered LESS than this I don’t recall it. Ending the war in Iraq and shrinking the size of government is about 100 times more important than getting the department of education to teach homosexual sex along with regular sex ed in our schools. I’d rather get rid of the departyment of education period.

    I can’t think of any social issues i care about at all actually. not where it would be addressed at the federal level

  16. lester says:

    also he said

    ” I don’t know how many positions they would have that I don’t agree with.”

    not that he supported them.

    and your attempts to corral “progressives ” is lame. who are these progressives? Nancy Pelosi? Harry reid?

    How is welfare spending progressive? it’s the status quo

  17. matttbastard says:

    auto response: matttbastard has previously stated he will not be responding to the troll named lester. henceforth all comments from lester will receive the following response, ad nauseam:

    Now, if you wish to continue making a complete dumbass of yourself, thus adding to the perception that a good number of Ron Paul supporters are, to be blunt, FUCKING MORONS — to the detriment of capable, intelligent, sincere RP partisans like Mark — have at it.

    You’re only doing my job for me.

  18. lester says:

    sure thing boss.

    as is evidenced by this thread, Ron Paul wins all arguments and lifts all boats. So vote for him in the 08 otherwise I’ll come to your house and engage in this sort of dialogue with you

    anti war anti state pro market

    BULLDOZE THE BELTWAY

  19. matttbastard says:

    auto response: Now, if you wish to continue making a complete dumbass of yourself, thus adding to the perception that a good number of Ron Paul supporters are, to be blunt, FUCKING MORONS — to the detriment of capable, intelligent, sincere RP partisans like Mark — have at it.

    You’re only doing my job for me.

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