Saturday, January 12, 2008

About those newsletters

I suppose this is a positive sign; the Ron Paul phenomenon has gained enough momentum and attention that someone has bothered to dig up some dirt on him. At the heart of the controversy are newsletters that went out under Paul's name, especially in the early 1990s, with some seriously racist and homophobic kinds of stuff in them. Stuff like:
Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began.
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.
Paul says this crap was vomited out by a "ghostwriter" and folks like Wendy McElroy seem to have a clear idea who that ghostwriter is, urging him to come forward and accept responsibility for these words. Problem is, what if he's still a close associate of the congressman? Then we're not talking about the early 1990s, we're talking about now.

Does the ghostwriter still believe such horrid stuff, and does Paul still condone it? If so, they have failed a more basic litmus test for libertarianism than Walter Block's.

There's no place whatsoever in libertarian thought for clumping people into groups by skin color, religion, creed or any other criterion. Either you recognize the worth of every individual or you don't. As Paul himself said in his interview with Wolf Blitzer, racism is a collectivist notion because racists see people in groups.

He does a nice job in the interview with Blitzer of reassuring supporters that he repudiates those statements - Blitzer himself admits that after numerous interviews and other contacts with Paul, the old newsletters caught him by surprise. I don't believe Paul believes that garbage now, if he ever did.

However, Paul's response to questions about the origins of those writings has been pretty typical of a member of the political class, and that sure doesn't bode well. "I was busy," "I never read that stuff," "I don't know who wrote it, but the editor might"? If a newsletter was going out with my name and face blazoned across the top of the front page, I'd make damn sure the contents reflected what I believe.

The lesson in all of this is that if you place your faith in one person, especially one politician, to change your world, you will inevitably be disappointed. Ron Paul is still the only person among the current crop of presidential candidates worth giving a damn about, but he's not a savior - far from it.

Liberty is not something imposed by presidents or any other government officials. Their purpose is to determine the extent to which our liberty will be curtailed - Paul represents the light touch of the slave master's whip, and in that sense he is a far better alternative than any of the other candidates. If you yearn for freedom, you'll find it by the efforts of your hands, your mind and your heart, not by turning the reins of your life over to another person.

P.S. to lewlew - Yep, I noticed. Thanks, and I'm honored to be asked! I'll tackle that matter next.

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Anonymous lewlew said...

I'm glad you noticed! =) No hurries.

Thank you for this informative entry. I've been watching the newletter mess grow over at Sunni's place but there were a few pieces missing for me concerning this issue. You helped put the puzzle together.

6:10 PM  

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