Ron Paul’s Past – and Present – Support

I don’t want to beat this into the ground, honestly, but having been called a series of names for writing two pretty innocuous posts on Ron Paul and his supporters by those supporters, many of whom don’t appear to know very much about Paul’s history, I decided this post was necessary. But I also don’t want to waste a lot of time discussing somebody who has as much chance of winning the Republican nomination as I have of being named a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. So here are a couple of quotes and a couple of links that will help explain why I – and many others – think Paul is a whack-job.

 

First, Tom Edsall, presently a professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and for 25 years before that a political reporter at the Washington Post, writes in the Huffington Post that Paul is attracting a lot of support from fringe right-wing racist, white supremacist, and nationalist groups.

Through no fault of his own, Rep. Ron Paul’s anti-globalist, anti-government campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has become a magnet in neo-Nazi networks, pulling in activists and supporters from the fringe white nationalist community where anti-Semitism, anti-black and anti-immigrant views are commonplace.

In some cases, these internet-based activists acknowledge that even though the Paul campaign does not have a racist or anti-Semitic agenda, it can serve as a vehicle to find sympathizers and to recruit new loyalists drawn to the Republican congressman’s opposition to international trade agreements, federal police authority and to the income tax.

The phrase “through no fault of his own” irked hate-group bete noir David Neiwert, who responded to Edsall, tongue firmly in cheek, that of course it wasn’t his fault, never mind that he’s been hanging out with far-right nut groups for 20 years, including ingratiating himself with militias all through the 90’s.

It’s important to understand that the conspiracy theories to which Paul subscribes serve very specific purposes for the extremist right. For instance: They believe the IRS should be abolished because the 16th Amendment permitting federal income taxes, like all amendments after the Bill of Rights, was not legitimately passed; real “Patriots” believe only in the “organic” Constitution, after all, which allows them to ignore such annoyances as the 13th and 14th amendments or women’s suffrage.

Or then there’s the “New World Order,” which for the racist and radical represents means the latest permutation in the classic Protocols of the Elders of Zion theory. Abolish the Federal Reserve? That’s another blow against the “Jewish bankers” who secretly control America.

Paul himself doesn’t necessarily believe these things — but the theories themselves are so thoroughly rooted in racial and anti-Semitic animus, often playing the role of providing a thoughtful “academic” face to smooth-talking racists like David Duke, that it’s hard not to hear Ron Paul holding forth on them now and understand perfectly well where those ideas are coming from, even if it’s never acknowledged. Though having seen Paul work the militia circuit in the 1990s certainly gave me a good idea.

This post is offered merely as information, the beginnings of an answer to those who asked what I’ve got against Paul. To the inevitable onslaught from the Ron Paul Internet Brigade, I suggest that before you get up on your high-horses to defend him, read the posts and – especially – follow the links in Dave’s post. They contain A LOT of information that ought to be required knowledge for anybody wishing to support him.

And don’t waste your time responding to me. I don’t plan on paying any attention. This is for your enlightenment, not mine. Read and learn, or don’t.

One final warning: what’s represented in Neiwert’s post and the links included in it is but the tip of the Ron Paul iceberg. There’s lots more. This is meant to suggest a starting point. Afterwards, you’re on your own.

19 Responses to “Ron Paul’s Past – and Present – Support”

  1. Shane says:

    “And don’t waste your time responding to me. I don’t plan on paying any attention. This is for your enlightenment, not mine. Read and learn, or don’t.”

    You are an asshole.

    And this topic of the far right supporting an anti-fed candidate has been discussed ad nauseum on other blogs, or do you not pay attention to other far better writers either?

  2. Johnnyb says:

    Yeah you are an asshole!

  3. James Kelley says:

    If you don’t want to hear the responses, it means you are not firm in your convictions. You have a problem with Ron Paul, but your internal self disagrees with your own writing.

    The main issue I take with your writing is that the support someone receives does not indicate anything about the nature of the person that is supported. A flu virus supports my existence, but I don’t support it.

  4. Curtis says:

    Sometimes I think certain cowardly elements are politicizing this false “Ron Paul racism” crap with hopes that in combination with the recent noose incident this will turn people off from Ron Paul. It won’t.

  5. Warren says:

    “often playing the role of providing a thoughtful “academic” face to smooth-talking racists like David Duke”

    So the work of Austrian scholars fleeing Nazi repression is now the academic face of David Duke? I don’t buy it.
    The words State’s rights is about all these white supremacists and paleoconservative Republicans have in common.

  6. DK says:

    sounds like this author is a nut himself.

  7. Tex MacRae says:

    **the conspiracy theories to which Paul subscribes***

    That’s a flat out lie.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I agree that name calling has no place from supporters or those who aren’t of them. What I do think is that you appear to be unfoundedly biased and some supporters may not know Paul’s stances on everything but most of them are far more educated on his stances then the supporters of other candidates are on their chosen candidate. That’s pretty much gleaned by what i’ve seen and read.

    I think maybe some research by you might be in order and I agree, “if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen”.

    That being said, I urge Ron Paul’s supporters to watch the name calling and blame calling. It’s not appropriate and will hurt the overall view of the campaign. JMHO

  9. matttbastard says:

    You’re flogging a dead horse here, Mick; even the maggots have long since perished (as I learned with my three attempts at poking the beehive–ahem).

    The Children of the rEVOLution can’t be reasoned with. They wouldn’t know reason if it wacked them upside the head with the force and ferocity of a swift Chuck Norris Ron Paul Round House Kick. You’d have better luck trying to convert flat earthers or global warming denialists.

    Please, dear fucking God, let this be the last.

  10. Laura says:

    Hey, what’s wrong with flat earthers?

  11. xranger says:

    This is a peculiar phenoenon with this blog site:

    I never hear the name Ron Paul, never follow his politics, don’t care about him but, when you blog about him, the tinfoil-hat crowd comes out of the woodwork.

    Fascinating.

    BTW Fat Bastard, I’m all for this global warming thing. I mean, it’s 75 frickin’ degrees here in Pittsburgh today.

    Sweet.

  12. lester says:

    so this is officially a neo conservative blog now. anyone who supports the constitution is a bigot who deserves to be disrespected. thank you mr podheretz or “mick arran” as you call yourself this morrow. your check from Rupert murdoch is in the mail

  13. Alan says:

    It’s all well and fine to go about critisizing Paul if you want but I’d like to see something specific he’s said or done, not what other people have said he’s done or what he believes. There is no proof of anything on this page, it is really all hearsay and thus can’t be given too much credit, especially when the authors comments are specifically anti-Paul without showing any evidence. This type of criticism accomplishes nothing as it only serves to strengthen the viewpoints of both sides without making any real attempt to sway people with logic and proof. It is perfectly understandable that Paul supporters would be upset by this type of article which, though pretending to be informative, is mostly an anti-Paul triade without any substantiated claims.

  14. Alan says:

    P.S. Possibly the thing that is most irksome about the post is its blatant dismissal of Paul’s chances, which continue to improve, it maybe, in fact it is very likely that, Paul will not win even the nomination, but outright dismissing him is a trick the media use to select the candidates for the people, when “respected journalists” give their opinions as news they are often taken as such and so people believe that a candidate has no chance and the candidate’s chances suffer because people are unwilling to “waste a vote” so even in mostly positive articles it is possible to get Paul supporters quite mad by dismissing his chances as doing so ins in effect an attempt to sabotage his candidacy.

  15. Jane Aitken says:

    Ron Paul is a rock star — get over it!

  16. brody says:

    Here the author goes again, spamming his own blog. Well at least we have all these generous Ron Paul supporters to come in and clean up the mess that this nutjob created.

  17. I’m actually going to weigh in on this post- but mostly because I think I have something valuable to contribute. I checked out the Neiwert articles and a good number of his links, and he (and his sources) make a couple of glaring mistakes, probably because his background is in tracking JBS and Patriot types rather than in understanding actual libertarianism. This isn’t to say that there aren’t valid criticisms (I’ll respond to those last), but he does show a poor understanding of libertarian thought.

    1. Neiwert makes the argument that much of RP’s libertarian rhetoric on economics(and,by implication, much libertarian rhetoric more generally) is rooted in New World Order garbage. That is simply false; for starters the JBS types aren’t even libertarians (though they sometimes claim to be). Additionally, most of Paul’s economics views are directly attributable to classical and neo-classical economics, not wingnut conspiracy theory. Neiwert also falsely attributes JBS rhetoric as the basis for libertarian rhetoric, even though the libertarian philosophy (if not the name) emerged several years before the JBS. Indeed, the libertarian movement was almost immediately appalled by the JBS conspiracy theories; libertarian legend Leonard Read once contrasted his libertarianism with JBS’ obsession with communist conspiracy by saying “I have no fear at all of the Moscow apparatus but, rather, my own mind, my own inadequacy.” That fairly well sums up the difference between Bircher-types and libertarians. Put another way, the JBS-ers think everyone else is out to get them; libertarians don’t concern themselves with whether others are out to get them- only about whether they are doing the right thing in their own lives.

    2. Also worth pointing out- the belief that the Fed is unconstitutional is not extreme at all; it’s been years since law school for me, but I do recall it being generally understood that the Fed’s existence is probably unconstitutional but that it’s physically impossible to achieve legal standing to challenge that existence. Neiwert’s argument about the gold standard in general also shows a complete lack of understanding of economics and economic history (and shows why non-economists shouldn’t pretend to be economists). That’s not to say there aren’t good arguments against the gold standard- Neiwert just doesn’t make them.

    3. One of Neiwert’s columns assumes that an attack on multi-culturalism is equivalent to racism. This, of course, is a complete falsehood, and severely undermines the logic of his arguments.

    4. A number of the connections Neiwert makes are really convoluted- taking several degrees of separation to make it sound like Ron Paul is best buds with some of these folks. Also, the notion that someone who named their child after a renowned atheist is somehow connected with the Christian Identity movement because of someone who was on their staff 30 years ago and attended a seminar with them 20 years ago is, to say the least, a stretch.

    5. Both the ADL article and Neiwert fail to distinguish between opposition to the income tax’s existence and tax protest more generally. Moreover, they fail to recognize that there are different types of taxes, and different reasons one might be opposed to income taxes in particular.

    6. While I don’t like that he ever gave an interview to something called “Conspiracy Planet,” Neiwert’s conclusions are a bit of a stretch- and the interview never mentions or even hints at “banking elites” as Neiwert alleges, except for a brief mention of the World Bank. An important thing, by the way, is to note that a big influence on Ron Paul was almost certainly Murray Rothbard, who once said that there are two types of conspiracy views of history. One is the whacky view of, in essence, those who are doing well must be those who are responsible for things going wrong for everyone else and are knowingly trying to screw everyone else; the other is one of, essentially “why did things go wrong, who was responsible for things going wrong, and are they aware that what they are doing is wrong?” Many Ron Paul supporters fall into the former classification; however, if you follow how Ron Paul chooses to respond to their whacky questions, you will notice that he tends to choose the latter route (which isn’t really conspiracy theory at all other than in the sense that all actions involving multiple people collaborating are conspiracies).

    7. Neiwert’s attempts to link Paul with the Branch Davidians and other cult-like organizations are deeply flawed. Opposition to the government’s treatment of those groups is very, very different from support of those groups. The problem with being a constitutionalist or even a libertarian more generally is that it requires you to sometimes support groups you don’t particularly like. If you’re a Progressive, think about it this way- should the ACLU be permanently associated as a supporter of the KKK because it has defended the KKK against government restrictions on KKK marches?

    8. Neiwert accuses Paul of doing nothing for his constituents in Congress, and that this shows how he is ineffective and just a nutty extremist….but the thing is, Ron Paul’s platform is essentially “I will do absolutely nothing for you, but I will at least try to prevent things from being done to you.” So, in that light, Paul is quite effective.

    9. Finally, and perhaps most importantly…There is actually some debate amongst the intellectually-minded libertarians as to whether or not to support Ron Paul since he is not a perfect libertarian, but is instead more of a states’ righter (and, as some libertarians will tell you, states don’t have rights). The general consensus (and I think they’re right) has pretty much been that he’s close enough, and the areas where he has the potential to cause real harm are areas that he will have little to no control over (since those are areas he views as being the purview of state governments). In essence, if he is a closet fascist, then he’s running for the wrong office to implement his particular brand of fascism.

  18. One quick caveat to my point 2: Just because the Fed may or may not be constitutional doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t exist as a matter of public policy (I may support Ron Paul on a lot of things, but I’m not completely sold on his position on the Fed).

  19. anon says:

    Those criticisms are full of ad hominem attacks, vague accusations of his association with so called ‘extremist’ fringe groups, and a whole pile of nonsense.

    Sorry, but this was a mediocre analysis of Mr Paul.

    If you really want to get into the whole racism thing, you should come live in the US to see the divide between African Americans and white Americans. There is a bubbling undercurrent here that I have not experienced anywhere but places like France where they hate the Arabs.

    So Paul may have uttered some controversial potentially racist comments. Just because none of the other candidates haven’t been caught saying something like that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel that way.

    I’ll bet you that even Barack Obama distances himself from the ‘dregs of African American society’ somehow. Rudy Giuliani is probably even worse.

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