A Word of Advice to the Non-Insane Paulites (if You Exist)

I’ve been in lots and lots of arguments about Ron Paul over the past several months, in which serious doubts as to the congressman’s credibility have been raised.  In response, I’ve been treated to all sorts of inane lectures of varying literacy on non-interventionism, blowback, history, progressivism, the Constitution, and, of course, those darn Jews.

What I’m almost never treated to are serious attempts to refute the facts backing up my claims (despite the fact that Paulites are pretty adamant that I’m “slandering” their prophet).  For instance, when I argue that Paul presents a biased, misleading view of the Founders’ foreign policy views, they don’t bother to explain why my read of the evidence is incorrect, or put forth new evidence that would change the picture.  When I reveal that Ron and Rand misrepresent the facts surrounding Iran (as well as other facts about the War on Terror), they’re similarly silent on the details.

Here’s a tip: If you guys wanna be taken seriously as anything other than blind cultists, evangelizing with pre-scripted talking points isn’t gonna cut it; you have to honestly consider and respond to what people actually say about your guy.  When you try to change the topic, you’re not making dents in anything but your own credibility.

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Strauss Derangement Syndrome?

There’s a discussion thread on Free Republic about one of my recent Paul-centric NewsReal posts, in which commenter Conimbricenses notes my background as a Hillsdale College student and concludes: “I bet he’s also one of Tom Krannawitter’s lapdogs…er…lapcats?”

First, some background: Thomas Krannawitter is a former Hillsdale political science professor, Claremont Institute fellow, and author of several books, most recently Vindicating Lincoln.  I have never taken one of his classes; hearing him speak briefly twice (once commemorating 9/11, another discussing the school’s DC internship program) and reading his latest book (which I thought was very good, though I would have liked more time spent on Lincoln’s exercise of executive power) are the full extent of my familiarity with him and his ideas.

Conimbricenses’s complaint sparks the following exchange:

EternalVigilance: And I’m sure you think it’s terrible that these kids would be influenced by someone who teaches respect for the Natural Law and adherence to the Constitution, right?

Conimbricenses: No. I think it’s terrible that kids are being misled about Natural Law and the Constitution by a pseudo-historian who has an amateur’s grasp of the subjects he purports to be teaching coupled with a near-religious affection for Straussian occultism.

Springfield Reformer: conimbricenses, would you kindly share with the rest of the class exactly what you think is wrong with the “Hillsdale” conception of natural law. That would, of course, require you to explain both their position and yours, and to render an academically sound proof that yours is the correct, “non-amateur,” version. And as the self-professed “professional” among us with respect to natural law theory, I fully expect your explanation to be completely free of ad hominem content. I wait with bated breath.

Conimbricenses: The “problem” with Hillsdale comes from the rapid growth of Straussian occultists there in recent decades. The current president, Larry Arnn, is a follower of this branch of thought and has regrettably populated the political science and philosophy faculties with many of his fellow travelers.

I call the Straussian variety they practice there “amateur” because it simply does not have what it takes to compete on a scholarly level at any place beyond the echo chamber of its own adherents. The stuff they peddle does poorly in the academic peer review process. It is justifiably shredded to pieces by scholars outside of the narrow Straussian occult whenever it pops its head over into the mainstream (witness this recent example, involving a very well known Straussian Hillsdale prof: http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jala/31.1/winger.html ) It doesn’t perform well in other universities – even sympathetic conservative ones – outside of an exceedingly small list of completely Straussian departments that are known for promoting their own from inside (Hillsdale and Claremont being the two prime examples). And in the practical sense, it tends to breed the very worst types of “conservative” government – the George W. Bush-style big spending neoconservative naively idealist “democracy building” variety that ruined the conservative brand name in the 2000’s and gave us our present state of affairs with Obama.

This isn’t the first time Claremont/Krannawitter/Strauss-phobia has arisen in response to my criticism of the Pauls; legend in his own mind “Marcus Brutus’s” complaints touched similar lines—though he couldn’t be bothered to explain how, I was supposedly a “golden-souled Straussian,” concerned “not for the good and preservation of our free society domestically, but instead, the Straussian’s ‘national greatness.’”

Of all the Paulites’ arguments, this one is among the strangest.  First, if sympathy for “George W. Bush-style big spending” exists among the Hillsdale faculty, I’ve yet to encounter it in my three years here.  Second, I have been exposed to the work of Leo Strauss (in particular, On Tyranny) in exactly one class (Classical Political Philosophy); if Straussian ideas—especially “national greatness”—are somehow coloring the school’s broader political science education, neither “Marcus” nor Conimbricenses has done anything to explain how (and the link Conimbricenses provides doesn’t seem to workUPDATE: link works now; hopefully I’ll get a chance to look over the essay over the next couple days). Third, in what I have read of Strauss (though I’m admittedly no expert), I have not encountered any sort of “national greatness” doctrine.

Thomas G. West (I know, another eeevil Claremont-ite) has an interesting look at Strauss’s foreign policy views, and the extent to which they impact “neoconservative” thought, here, in which West argues that “although there is some common ground, Strauss’s overall approach is quite different from that of Kristol, Kagan, and other prominent neoconservatives in and out of the administration.”  Whatever the truth about Strauss may be, this particular line of attack seems to reveal more about Paulite mindset than it does the rest of us.

The Paul File Continued (Updated)

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. Continue reading

He’s Back…

Insufferable gasbag “Marcus Brutus” is once again plaguing NewsReal with his presence.  Just like before, he’s whining about “slander” against the object of his most-unhealthy affection, Ron & Rand Paul, and just like before, his hubris is making him look like the lying buffoon, not me.

A Special Message to My Special Friend Marcus

I made a new friend recently!  He goes by the screen name “Marcus Brutus,” and attended my school, Hillsdale College, some time ago.  Unfortunately, thanks to our disagreements about Ron Paul and the War on Terror, we didn’t exactly hit it off.

“Marcus” wants me to know that he fared much better academically than he supposes I did: “I’ll ask [Hillsdale President] Dr. [Larry P.] Arnn at the next fundraiser if you’ve had a chance to examine that desk of his yetmy name is on plaques at Hillsdale, and yours isn’t.” He doesn’t think I have much “intellectual cultivation,” or that I’d make it “as a secretary for any office in any level of the federalist society in [his] chapter.”  Why, my heart positively shatters! (I don’t presume to be some great scholar, and I confess that I haven’t a single plaque to my name, but in my defense, I’m not exactly dead weight.)

His intellect, by contrast, is highly cultivated, and it’s very, very important for him that his readers know just how much, via seemingly-endless references to Scripture, English history, ancient Athens, and such.  Since graduating, he professes to have had quite the accomplished career—Marine Corps, Iraq, application to the bar, even some time spent in Israel.

Unfortunately, I don’t think “Marcus’s” way of going about things is doing him any favors.  In the spirit of friendship, allow me to humbly offer my fellow Hillsdalian some helpful advice.

Continue reading