The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:
During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.
On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”
In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.” The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites.
White Nationalism activist Jamie Kelso, who administers WhiteNewsNow.com, contributes to Stormfront, and hosts an online radio show, is another highly active Paulite.
Via NewsReal commenter Reveal, here’s Ron Paul telling a 9/11 Truther he’d support a new investigation into 9/11 if far-left Rep. Dennis Kucinich started one, since whenever the government investigates something, “too often I think there’s an area that the government covered up.” His example? The Kennedy assassination.
In November 2007, Paul supporters raised over $4.07 million dollars for Paul through a fundraising drive styled after 17th-century terrorist Guy Fawkes (who is popular among leftists for embodying the maxim “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”). The New York Times also quotes Paul as believing the “stage is set for our country eventually devolving into military dictatorship.”
NewsReal’s Jeanette Pryor notified me that Paul wholeheartedly endorsed Neo-Conned, a book featuring the work of Hilarion Capucci, a retired archbishop in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church who smuggled arms for the Palestinian Liberation Organization in the 1970s. On January 16, Jeanette wrote a NewsReal post revealing the anti-Semitism of John Sharpe, one of the book’s editors.
On February 23, Jeanette highlighted Paul’s fear of an insidious cabal of Trotskyite neocons bent on “American empire” and who “believe pertinent facts about how a society should be run should be held by the elite and withheld from those who do not have the courage to deal with it.” (Jonah Goldberg addresses the dubious neocon-Trotsky link here.)
On February 25, Jeanette detailed Paul’s objections to funding the U.S. Holocaust Museum on the grounds that Congress is not authorized to fund museums. His vote on the Museum is respectable, but his rationalization of it—implying that federal funding to recall the Holocaust is not entirely dissimilar from the governmental overreach that led to the horrors of Nazi Germany—is not. The post also adds to her Feb. 23 case—Paul claims America’s secret neocon masters “have a close alliance with the Likud Party.”
Paul has repeatedly spoken at events held by the John Birch Society, a fringe organization William F. Buckley famously opposed for its conspiracism, like its claim that President Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist agent and that “the U.S. had begun Operation Iraqi Freedom to enforce UN law as part of the conspiracy” to bring about a New World Order. Paul calls JBS a “great patriotic organization.”
Blogger Adam Holland writes: “As I wrote here and here, Ron Paul’s official websites have a bad habit of publishing anti-Semitic material and refusing to remove it,” including a brief post mourning the passing of The Biological Jew author Eustace Mullins.
At CPAC 2009, Paul claimed that “1 million Iraqis” have been killed by the Iraq War. Paul did not offer a source for the number, but just weeks earlier, Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey blogged about the Lancet study, popular among war critics (and partially funded by far-left George Soros) for its purported civilian death toll of 655,000. The Lancet study was discredited well before Paul’s CPAC speech (Richard Miniter, an investigative journalist specializing in terrorism, writes more about exaggerated body counts, as well as other distortions aimed at US foreign policy, in his 2005 book Disinformation). Most sources, including the Iraq Body Count group, place the number around 100,000 as of 2009.
In December 2009, Paul blamed the failed Christmas Day terror bombing on his pet theory of “blowback” for US foreign policy (“They’re terrorists because we’re occupiers!”), in particular claiming Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was motivated by recent US airstrikes in Yemen. But the plot was reportedly set in motion prior to the airstrikes. Either Paul is lying to advance his worldview, or he simply does not bother to verify the veracity of his statements.
Whew. You could probably dig for a straight week without running out of brand-new skeletons.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the Pauls’ defenders say in response. (With rare exception, what they do not do is answer the specifics of the charges.)
Their first defense is that the Pauls cannot control who takes it upon themselves to support them. This is true—they should not be held responsible for every lunatic and bigot who acts in their name. However, it is not a coincidence that they attract such company, either. For one thing, the Pauls are personally responsible for several of these associations (ex: Alex Jones, Chris Hightower, Adam Kokesh, Jesse Ventura, JBS, John Sharpe). Legitimization of these figures is de facto legitimization of their ideas and followers.
For another, Reason’s reporting on the newsletter controversy reveals cause to suspect that Ron Paul was knowingly complicit in Lew Rockwell & Murray Rothbard’s “open strategy of exploiting racial and class resentment to build a coalition” between libertarians and “populist ‘paleoconservatives.’” Further damning Paul on this score is the fact that he can be clearly seen carrying out this strategy to this day. For instance, dire warnings that powerful, shadowy Israelis dictate US foreign policy in significant part, leading the nation to “military dictatorship,” feed into fear & hatred of Jews, as do egregious mischaracterizations of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, when Paul warns that funding the US Holocaust Museum could lead to a new Nazi Germany, can anybody really say, with a straight face and a clean conscience, that it is not a grotesque insult to Jews in general, and Holocaust survivors in particular? Can Paul possibly be oblivious to how his words are received, by Jews as well as bigots?
Their second defense is that the Pauls cannot be bigots because, for instance, “their mentors Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek , Murray Rothbard are all Jewish?? So was Ron Paul’s economic advisor in 2008, Peter Schiff. Ron supported Murray Sabrin in New Jersey, also Jewish.” This response—an obvious recycling of the cliché “some of my best friends are Jews”—is not terribly significant. To be clear, I will readily concede that the Pauls probably don’t personally harbor anti-Semitic views or prejudices (John Podhoretz is correct that, if Paul was an anti-Semite, “in a public career dating back 30 years he would likely have said something more explicit and unambiguous”). But, as I have argued, they do exploit anti-Semitic fears and promote anti-Semitic propaganda. So they do nearly as much harm as they would if they were anti-Semites, and they should be judged accordingly.
The case for skepticism toward their motives is a powerful one—with books sales & hyperactive financial support from a cult of loyal supporters that put Obama-mania to shame (not to mention an extremely safe House seat—but then, Rep. Paul’s earmark sleight-of-hand might also have something to do with that), Ron Paul has built a cottage industry out of being America’s voice of paranoia, the hero of the American fringe (surely, Paul is not entirely immune to self interest?)
Even if we were to suspend all disbelief and give the Pauls’ motives the benefit of the doubt, we would still be forced to include that, at a minimum, their public conduct is plagued by a stunning mix of factual ignorance & sloppiness, rhetorical recklessness, cringe-inducing tone deafness, and overall incompetence suggesting they are barely capable of making good decisions for themselves, much less hold seats in Congress. And we’re supposed to put our hopes and faith in these two as conservatism’s new standard bearers?
UPDATE: I haven’t read all of these, but Timothy Sandefur has a formidable assortment of critiques of Ron Paul a libertarian perspective, arguing that Paul is a deeply flawed representative of libertarianism, ultimately serving as a hindrance to the philosophy, rather than an ally.
UPDATE 2: Sandefur’s critiques, in my view, are a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, he provides a lot of good information on Paul’s shoddy constitutionalism, especially regarding the Civil War (more here, here, here, and here). And he makes a strong case that Paul is not at all what many (most?) libertarians would consider a libertarian to be. The best description for Ron Paul would probably be more along the lines of, “paleocon pseudo-populist demagogue.”
On the other hand, many of Sandefur’s objections stem from his opposition to social conservatism, so it’s important to clarify that I’m not arguing that “non-libertarian” automatically translates to wrong. And on the topic of abortion, I’d even argue that Sandefur is the one with a non-libertarian position – if unborn babies are not people, then he’s right that banning abortion deprives women of liberty. But since unborn babies are people, allowing abortion is the true anti-liberty stance.