I want to make a few points about the accusation of racism that gets thrown at Ron Paul, and to libertarians who make the case for individual rights, property rights, the Constitution and allowing the States to have more authority over the governing of their citizens. This is not going to be primarily about the newsletters that were printed in Ron Paul’s name in the early 90s. That issue has been rehashed and thoroughly debunked. However, I will make a few comments because I know that will come up.
First, I want to refer you to: http://www.scribd.com/doc/76280303/PaulNewslettersFaq-Tunk
This is the Ron Paul “Newsletters” Question FAQ that is rather detailed and thoroughly debunks any suggestion that Ron Paul is a bigot of any kind whatsoever.
Since I doubt many of you will read it, I will select a few passages that merit a glance.
The introduction contains this paragraph: “For 3 decades, several newsletters ran under Paul’s name containing fairly conventional right-wing commentary for the time. Paul personally distanced himself from production and various ghostwriters came and went for a brief period, lasting from about 1990-94, a relatively small number of newsletters were released sporadically which contained racially hateful and homophobic remarks. This occurred during a time when Paul had relinquished responsibility for the newsletters operation, retired from Congress and an exhausting Presidential campaign, and consigned himself to working full-time as a medical doctor and public speaker, in addition to raising five children. A few objectionable issues managed to leak out under his nose, quite understandably. Paul did not then and does not now possess superhuman powers. The racist comments fly in the face of everything that Paul has ever written and said, as many people who know him personally have attested, and he was angry when he learned of them. He didn’t issue a full denial in 1996 when it was first brought up only on the (in retrospect quite bad) advice of his campaign staff. He has in the recent past addressed the issue several times publically, explicitly denying authorship, and there is every reason to believe it and move on.”
As a follow up to those who exclaim “but he didn’t deny it in 1996!”, here is a quote from Ron Paul who addressed the issue,
“I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren’t really written by me. It wasn’t my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around.”
“They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them […] I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn’t come from me directly, but they (campaign aides) said that’s too confusing. ‘It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.’”
Many of his critics have charged that by taking “moral responsibility” he was admitting that he wrote the material and he agreed with those sentiments. On the contrary, those statements from the newsletters came up suddenly in the heat of a campaign in which then-speaker Newt Gingrich and the entire Republican establishment was working to prevent him from winning. Paul never even saw these quotes before they were dug up by his opponents and rather than let this issue dominate the campaign, he was advised to take moral responsibility and move on. It was hardly possible for him to give a detailed and exhaustive explanation of how his newsletters were written and published in the middle of a heated campaign. It is instructive to note that his constituency in his district did not accept for a minute the possibility that Paul was a secret racist, and he beat the establishment handily, although they tried every smear attempt they could come up with.
Now when media figures and Paul’s opponents bring up the subject of these newsletters, they invariably lie and fabricate a fictional account of these newsletters. They might say Paul greatly profited from “decades” of hateful, bigoted, conspiracy mongering propaganda. They always refer to his newsletters as the “racist” newsletters, as if he was publishing the KKK report, or there was hardly any content that was not offensive.
There is nothing about that account that resembles reality.
“It is true that the newsletters were published monthly under different names and date back some decades – the Ron Paul Freedom Report to at least 1978, the Ron Paul Investment Letter and Survival Report to 1985, and the Ron Paul Political Report to 1987. However, as Jamie Kirchick of The New Republic himself partly acknowledged and others have affirmed, the “incendiary” items appear only from about 1989 to 1994. Chronologically, this coincides with the period from 1985 to 1996, when Ron Paul was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, and follows his bid for President of the Libertarian ticket in 1988.
Based on what Kirchick has chosen to make public, I myself count only about 7 newsletters that say anything that could be construed as racially hateful or anti-gay, published intermittently across the period from March 1990 to September 1994. Assuming they were published monthly, this constitutes about 16% of the 43 issues released during that time. Moreover, assuming three decades of publishing (making for at least 360 newsletter in total, since at times there was more than one newsletter published simultaneously), the offensive newsletters would have comprised at most about 2% of all the newsletters that were ever published. Decades of racist propaganda? Hardly.
Interestingly, it was Kirchick who claimed in his original TNR piece that Paul’s denial of authorship “might be more believable if extremist views had cropped up in the newsletters only sporadically”. Hey Jamie, guess what? They did. By Kirchick’s own standard, Paul is exonerated.”
Not only that, but there is absolutely zero evidence that Paul oversaw the publication of anything even remotely racist or offensive. If one would actually do any substantial research, they would find that this story is absolutely inconsequential and irrelevant and furthermore dangerously distracting from the grave and significant issues that Paul is trying to bring attention to. Here is the truth of Ron Paul’s involvement with these newsletters:
“It should be noted that very few of the articles are actually attributed to anyone. None of the newsletters CNN found made authorship clear. Kirchick himself wrote that ‘with few bylines, it is difficult to know whether any particular article was written by Paul himself.’ According to The Economist, ‘It is impossible now to prove individual authorship of any particular item.” Many have also pointed out that the breezy, hip, slang-littered journalese of the newsletters doesn’t resemble Paul’s style, the more dry, inoffensive, and straightforward prose exhibited in numerous published works.
Yet there are some clues as to Ron Paul’s role. We’ve established that the articles in question were written sporadically across a 4-year period from 1990-94. Yet only a newsletter from April 1978 containing a rant about the Trilateral Commission contains Paul’s signature. And according to Kirchick, only the masthead of the March 1987 Investment Letter lists ‘the Hon. Ron Paul as ‘Editor and Publisher’. The Ron Paul Investment Letter of 1988 acknowledges Paul as editor in a footer. Yet, the next month, all direct mention of him is erased and Lew Rockwell is touted as editor. The only available Political Report that contains a similar footer is the one from March 1990, which doesn’t even mention an editor at all. As far as I can tell, the available Survival and Freedom Reports also possess no such citations. That appears to be it. None of the offending newsletters claim Ron Paul as involved in publication.
Can we be sure Paul never edited the newsletter again? No, and since Kirchick did not choose to make everything he found available, confirmation is impossible. But this does show that there is no available evidence that Paul oversaw the publication of anything ‘racist’.
Furthermore, according the FreeMarketNews.com, the headquarters of the operation ‘were 60 miles away’ from Ron Paul’s personal Texas offices’. Paul was ‘a busy man […] often not around to oversee the layout, printing or mailing. Many times he did not participate in the composition, either.’ Writes Dondero,
From what I witnessed in my 12 years working for Ron, I’d say maybe 40% came from him in the way of scribbles (and I literally do mean scribbles) on a yellow pad, that was then faxed to his office staff in South Houston for editing and publication.
I’d estimate that the rest – 50 to 60% was written by Lew. But when I say Lew I also mean his staff of Interns […].
Other sources have claimed that the “publications utilized guest writers and editors on a regular basis. Often these guest writers and editors would write a ‘Ron Paul’ column. According to Lew Rockwell there were, at any given time, ‘seven or eight freelancers involved’. As Paul himself said in his exchange with Wolf Blitzer, ‘People came and went. And there were people who were hired. I don’t know any of their names.’ This wouldn’t be new for the Paul campaign: ‘Much of Ron Paul’s support comes independent of him or his official organization. For example, Dr. Paul was not personally responsible for the 2008 Ron Paul Blimp, the Tea Party ’07, or the various ‘money bombs’ that catapulted him to stardom.’
When confronted with the facts, that out of hundreds of published newsletters, only seven contain offensive language and Paul was demonstrably unaware of their content at the time, does this merit the time that is being invested in this topic? If you are even remotely intellectually honest, you must concede that a few ghostwritten letters that are twenty years old should not be the metric by which we evaluate the candidacy of Ron Paul in 2012. Another important excerpt on the charge that all this proves that Paul is incompetent and therefore unsuited for the presidency,
“Anyone taking this view has given up any claim on being interested in the truth, rather than in scoring cheap political points against a candidate they don’t like and bullying his fans. Harris puts it well:
‘When these issues were published, Paul was a full-time medical doctor and a busy family man, as well as an in-demand speaker and a student of politics and current events – in short, a man with tremendous demands on his time and energy. He had recently ended an exhaustive presidential race, returned to private practice, and was not in Congress or involved in electoral politics. He had given up control of his newsletter business: he kept only a minority share in the newsletter that bore his name. He made an ill-advised decision to turn the newsletter over to others, to let others write it and edit it and publish unsigned articles in this newsletter with his name in the title. He apparently failed to closely monitor it. That turned out to be a ghastly error.’
This is the blatant fallacy that lies behind the statement, ‘If Ron Paul can’t even run an 8-page newsletter, how can we expect him to run an entire country?’ Ron Paul wasn’t ‘running’ that newsletter. In fact, he had long since relinquished responsibility for it. Over the course of several years, during which dozens of different newsletters were released, a few objectionable issues managed to slip under his nose while he was delivering babies professionally, speaking publically, and tending to five children. Are we to denounce him for not having superhuman powers?’
I want to clear up one important point here. I would suspect that exactly none of you have actually tracked down any of these newsletters and read one of them in its entirety. Well, neither have any of the mainstream media outlets that have parroted this story. All they did was plagiarize the already poorly researched smear attempt by Jamie Kirchick in the New Republic. Nobody bothered to do any research on their own. They just took five of the most offensive quotes and repeated them ad-nauseum. But what of Kirchick himself? Was he an objective journalist or did he have an agenda? In fact, most of the newsletters had no byline and therefore there was no way to say for sure who wrote them. However, the vast majority of the offensive material came from a special edition of the Survival Report that came out shortly after the Rodney King beating and the LA Riots. This was where most of the offensive quotes that the media has put forward came from.
New information has come to light that this edition actually DID feature a by-line, making it possible to identify the ghost writer. New information has come to light that Kirchick hid that by-line in order to suggest that Ron Paul wrote that material. Does that sound like an honest journalist? And this is the man that numerous outlets with an anti-Paul agenda are mindlessly following without any independent reporting. As further evidence of Kirchick’s dubious credibility, it is a fact that in reality he doesn’t believe that Ron Paul is a hatemonger. A few weeks before The New Republic piece was published, he emailed Beirn Szoka of Gays and Lesbians for Ron Paul, writing: “I don’t think Ron Paul is a homophobe; I’m just cynical and enjoy getting supports of political candidates riled up.”
Are you starting to understand what type of person Jamie Kirchick is? Obviously he is a man with no integrity and an agenda to sow discord and create controversy. And let me remind you that 90% of the media stories we have heard about these newsletters were lifted directly from the story he published.
With that being said, here is a story done by a real journalist that should put this story to bed for good. Ben Swann is a real reporter who has taken the time to thoroughly expose this story. He sat down and went through every single one of these newsletters. He even identified the real author of the most controversial issue, the “Special Report” of the Ron Paul Survival Report following the LA Riots.
To be brief, the author’s name is James B. Powell. Kirchick knew this when he published his article in 2007, but withheld that information. This bit of information basically exonerates Paul from any authorship of the most offensive passages.
Here are the videos where Ben Swann exposes this story and exonerates Paul. Please watch both of these:
If, after reading all the passages I placed in this thread and after watching these two videos, you STILL believe that Ron Paul is a racist, it might be suggested with some confidence that you are not a rational individual and are instead a hopeless partisan looking for anything to hurt Ron Paul’s candidacy because, let’s face it, you don’t have much else to attack him on. These trumped up charges of racism have been like a godsend to Paul’s enemies because they can create a narrative that distracts from the very persuasive issues that Paul is putting forward, like the need to curtail the Federal Reserve, cut back on the American Empire and military budget, and follow the Constitution. There is not much of a case to be made against Paul’s basic platform of individual liberty and Constitutional government, so distractions are needed. The racism charge is convenient for this purpose.
I will put forward a few more quotes that are instructive to see exactly what kind of man Ron Paul really is. Those who know him would attest to the fact that there is not a racist bone in his body.
In the FAQ I posted above, the author addresses a ludicrous claim: Ron Paul is still a racist, he’s just hiding it!
“People who have known and worked with Paul personally, including the editorial staff of the New York Sun, Stewart Rhodes, a Hispanic former congressional staffer for Paul, former Paul aide Eric Dondero, and Nelson Linder, President of the Austin NAACP, have publically dismissed the notion that he is a bigot. In 1993, while the most hysterical of the newsletters were being disseminated, openly-gay libertarian Rick Sincere was running for the Virginia General Assembly and found Paul readily at his side:
‘[…] Ron Paul issued a letter on my behalf, soliciting funds from libertarians and votes from constituents. […] Dr Paul (then a former Congressman) was aware I was running as an openly-gay candidate and he raised no questions, concerns, or objections. I hardly think a homophobic bigot would have sent out a fundraising letter over his own signature, endorsing (as the Washington Times stylebook would have it) an “avowed homosexual” for public office.’
Paul has vehemently denounced racism numerous times in print. In 2007, Paul praised Muhammad Ali as “a man of great courage […] who practiced what Martin Luther King made popular” and contributed to ending the draft. He voted “yea” in 1997 to honoring the lifetime achievements of Jackie Robinson, “yea” in 2000 to demanding that the Department of Agriculture “expedite the settlement process for discrimination […] brought by African-American farmers”, “yea” in 2001 to commemorating African American pioneers in Colorado, and “yea” in 2007 in recognizing the African American spiritual as a national treasure. A Freedom Report from 1978 actually ran with the header: “The absence of force and toleration of others is the key to peace and prosperity.”
If that does not convince you, perhaps this excerpt from the conclusion of the FAQ will,
“In the end, it appears to be in Paul’s nature that he prefers to focus on principles and is loath to be caught up in personal battles. As Francis observes,
‘People of a wide variety of backgrounds support [Paul] because people of a wide variety of backgrounds support liberty and have a fundamental distrust of excessive government power.
During my time in his office, as now in the grassroots movement, there were fundamentalist Christians (and I mean really fundamental), working right next to proud and opinionated atheists. There were Buddhists, anarcho-capitalists, Big L Libertarians, objectivists, old school “Reagan” conservatives, and people of all manner of ethnic background, all working side-by-side. I have even seen gay people in those circles. They did not agree on many things, or even like each other, to be blunt, but whatever their personal background or orientation, they all saw value in working for a strict constitutionalist and a man of deep principle and courage.’”
Anyone who knows anything about the Ron Paul movement knows that he has the broadest support base, encompassing all ethnic backgrounds, all sexual orientations and all religions. In fact, it would not be an overstatement to suggest that the diversity of his supporters is greater than any prominent political figure in decades.
I will not go any further in discussing the newsletters. If the above information and the links I posted (especially the Ben Swann “Reality Report” episodes) does not put this issue to bed, nothing will. I wanted to get that out of the way so this thread will not be littered with regurgitated talking points you got from Lawrence O’Donnell or Ed Schultz or someone like that accusing Ron Paul of being a racist or ascribing dubious motives towards him or his movement.
Rather, the thrust of my argument is something rather more important than defending a single man against charges of racism. I anticipate what some of you might be thinking. You might suggest “perhaps Ron Paul is not a racist, but some of his policies are racist. He talks about States Rights, and nullification and he has objections to certain parts of the Civil Rights Act, and he opposed the Civil War and criticizes Lincoln. Not only that, he does not support Affirmative Action and certain progressive policies designed to help minorities.” That is what I want to talk about. There is a myth within some leftist circles that suggests that libertarian policies will only help the rich, white people and will hurt the poor and minorities. There is an indignation that many take and a condescending posture that somehow those who believe in the Constitution and limited government are “regressive” or “reactionaries” because we don’t accept the notion that centralized government is the great engine of progress. Both Ron Paul and myself oppose the notion that wise politicians are going to craft legislation that will bring great progress to our nation.
Much of this nonsense is the product of public school propaganda and miseducation that unfortunately has run rampant in our society. I especially resent that the term “progressive” is used to define modern day leftists. The implication, of course, is that any who oppose a “progressive” agenda are merely reactionary Neanderthals.
Semantics can be highly manipulative. But let me remove the distortion and elucidate the reality more clearly. My ideology is the most progressive that has ever been devised. Ron Paul and myself are members of the true Progressive tradition. Individuals like Woodrow Wilson and FDR and especially the modern day political establishment have repackaged extremely “regressive” and long debunked economic fallacies as something new and modern. The course that has been laid out during the last century has put us on a course to economic ruin with a tremendous reduction in human liberty.
To make this clear, it is not really correct to call me or Ron Paul “libertarians”. Although that is the modern term, it can be misleading and it is not very accurate or precise.
The ideology I and Dr. Paul espouse is correctly termed “liberalism”. That means we are liberals, in the classical sense. This is the progressive ideology that emerged from the great thinkers and philosophers of the late Enlightenment period. The ideas and precepts devised by brilliant men like John Locke greatly influenced the founding of our Republic. This ideology was the most progressive and radical in all of human history. The early progressives (in contrast to modern “regressives”) had the vision that they would put forward a system of society based on Natural Rights, inalienable and based on human liberty. During that time, and to some extent today, unfortunately, the world was ruled by totalitarian governments that were continually oppressing the people.
The idea behind Liberalism is to free the people from the chains of oppressive, coercive State force. Furthermore, in an economic sense, liberalism sought to unleash the creative potential of free people to work towards mutual ends in a free economy. In fact it was during this time that the school of thought known as “economics” came into being. To this end, Adam Smith basically invented modern economics with his brilliant works, especially “The Wealth of Nations”. It is upon this foundation that the Austrian economists were able to build and expand on the science of economics.
Liberalism, according to Wikipedia, “is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets.” It was also very much concerned with properly defining the role of government and defining liberty. Government was seen as a tool that could only be properly used to defend individual liberty and protect people from harm.
Now, many modern day leftists might concede that these Enlightenment era thinkers were indeed quite smart, but that they lived a long time ago and their ideas no longer apply. What baffles me is the fact that in dismissing these men and their ideas, what you are essentially saying is that people like John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and others who were among the most brilliant philosophers in all of history are essentially ignoramuses compared to the infinite wisdom to be attained by listening to people like Paul Krugman and Barack Obama.
The liberal tradition has indeed caused the creation of the greatest wealth and the most rapid rise in living standards in the history of the world. The rise in the standard of living that has lifted so many people out of poverty the world over can be almost exclusively attributed to the embrace of the liberal tradition. Yet almost no credit is afforded to the market economy.
Governments have a compulsive need to remind you of just how hopeless you would be without it. And I don’t mean without government entirely. Whenever government expands, creates new programs and departments, a mythology is created about how essential each new function is and how lost we would all be without it.
Since that is undeniably the case, a great fiction has been placed forward that almost completely discounts any success of any policy prior to the Progressive Era of the early 20th century. No, the ideology and economic policy that caused the creation of the freest and most prosperous society in the history of the world is not praised in the least. In fact, many modern day progressives cannot acknowledge anything positive in American political history prior to the creation of Social Security.
In my view, the last 80 years have been characterized by the breakdown of the monetary system and the debasement of our currency, the erosion of our productive capacity and outsourcing of jobs, the destruction of the middle class, and the accumulation of more than fifteen trillion dollars in debt and unfunded liabilities that amount to greater than one hundred trillion dollars, or more than twice the GDP of the entire planet.
Needless to say, human liberty has been sacrificed to a great extent as well. Now, you might make the objection that during a number of these years we didn’t have policies that you would describe as “progressive” so your ideology cannot be blamed. Perhaps by your definition, but the policies have, without fail, been the promotion of big government, runaway deficits, endless war, and the endless printing of money from the Federal Reserve.
Progressive Woodrow Wilson established the Federal Reserve in secret and instituted the IRS. Not only that, but he called for an interventionist foreign policy that would “make the world safe for democracy”. From that he got us involved in World War I, the most needless and preventable war in US history. Not only did he involve us but the justification was the sinking of the Lusitania, which was a false flag event caused by our own government.
Progressive FDR, for any good he might have done, effectively ended the Gold Standard by confiscating all the gold held by US citizens. His policies greatly lengthened the duration of the Great Depression. Not only that, but it was during this time that our government embraced the policies of Keynesian Economics. The “lessons” (mis)learned from the Great Depression have put us on an unavoidable course that has resulted in the destruction of our currency and the impoverishing of our people.
The end result might not have occurred during the presidency of your Progressive heroes, but the end game was set in stone based on the embrace of highly destructive central banking and deficit financing.
We were living off of the prosperity that the Liberal tradition had granted to us due to the Industrial Revolution and the rising living standards that it had provided. The market economy had alleviated poverty to a great extent in this country.
Yet, when anyone extols the virtues of the gold standard or any type of economic system similar to anything proceeding the 1930s, modern progressives gasp and recount horror stories of people working in mines, slaving away for hardly any money, children working and old people dying in the streets without medical care. They might ask “you mean you would rather live in 1890 than in 2012?”
This question is invariably raised and is asked with a straight face, the questioner not realizing the patent absurdity of the question. Of course no one would rather live in 1890 than in 2012. That is not the point.
Living conditions were very tough in the 19th century. But that does not imply that the economic or government policies were at fault. Nor does it suggest that any modern era “progressive” policies or efforts to redistribute wealth would have made any difference. In fact, those on the low end of the economic scale would probably have been worse off had the government consumed more of the wealth of the people, leaving the economy less productive and the society less prosperous. Raising the minimum wage would have had no difference. It would not have made people wealthier.
The question you need to ask yourself is this: Would you rather live in 1840 or 1900? How much of an increase in prosperity and living standards occurred during that time period? The truth is that it was the greatest expansion of human prosperity and productive capacity in the history of the world. That is what the industrial revolution meant to average people. And, contrary to what happens today, during that period of economic growth and expansion, the value of people’s money went up. Yes, instead of continuous inflation, the value of the dollar went up during the 19th century. So, people could save their money free from the fear that in twenty years they won’t be able to make ends meet due to rising prices and a devalued currency. Long term planning was actually possible with the knowledge that the measurement of economic activity, the value of the currency, would be relatively stable and predictable.
Yes, the conditions for most people were tough by our standards today. But they were, by far, the finest in the world at the time. The greatest fallacy you could make would be to assume that we are all better off than in 1880 because of government policies. No matter what government policies you might have implemented in 1880, it wouldn’t have provided you an iPhone or a computer or a plasma tv or a car or any other luxury that we take for granted today. The market economy, however hampered by government control and central banks that devalue our currency, is still functioning to some degree. That means that year after year we will have access to new inventions and products that improve our lives to some degree. Human progress will continue regardless of government policies.
The problem is that politicians like to take credit for why our lives are better than they once were. The truth in this is that only increased productivity can drive up real wages. The more productive an employee, the greater they are worth, and the greater their salary. Makes sense, right? Therefore investment in new equipment and tools that help make workers more productive drives up wages. That is how a market economy works. If companies have the resources to invest in capital equipment, they will. This was happening throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As such, people were being lifted out of poverty through rising real wages. The first minimum wage laws were instituted in 1938, however since real wages were trending upward anyway, politicians incorrectly credited the new law for increasing the wages of people. In fact what tended to happen for a number of years was that productive capacity increased and companies started paying more to their more productive workers, and then the minimum wage was raised. It followed rising wages, it didn’t cause them.
Unfortunately, it also did a great deal of harm. Of course not everyone was making the average wage rate. Many individuals did not possess the skills to be very productive. Therefore they could not take jobs at minimum wage. Other jobs that were worth less than minimum wage were eliminated. Therefore a worker with marginal skills could not find employment and gain the skills to make more money and become more productive. This was an anti-progressive law.
The question you should really ponder is what if we maintained, basically, the economic system we had at the turn of the century. No central bank, a gold standard, a relatively free market and a more limited government. How much more prosperous might we be? What if we never fought World War I and World War II? Think of all those resources that would not have been wasted killing people and blowing things up. They could have been invested in the economy, creating things that would make our lives better. What if we avoided the Great Depression by not creating a Federal Reserve system that manipulates interest rates and misallocates capital? What if we never embraced Keynesian economics or decided that “deficits don’t matter”?
What if Americans could actually save money with the knowledge that their money will maintain its value in the future? What if we had a system where our economy could grow and expand without our national debt expanding? What if we kept a relatively balanced budget year after year?
Could you really argue that we would not be far more prosperous and well off in 2012 if we had maintained these policies for most of the last century?
What is typically put forward as an argument by Progressives is that in the years prior to FDR, corporate abuse was very common and many workers were terribly exploited without the protections afforded later through government legislation. There is some truth to this. There were a number of instances of pollution by big business and harm caused that could and should have been prevented. The fundamental problem was a government that had failed to enforce already existing laws. The liberal tradition has always held that government has an important role to play in protecting property rights, enforcing contracts, prosecuting fraud and protecting the innocent from any and all harm. The experience of the 19th century did not rationally prompt a radically expanded government, an extensive and expansive welfare state and a central bank that prints money at the whim of the politicians. The real drawbacks and problems that existed were blown out of proportion by banking interests and power hungry politicians that had a self interest in demonizing the market economy.
There WERE reforms that were needed and many things could have been done better, but the truth of the matter was that the basic tenets of our Constitutional system, its emphasis on natural rights, human liberty and self-determination were sacrificed in favor of rather odious political ideologies that unfortunately emerged in the early 20th century. Communism and Fascism were among the most prominent beliefs that became influential in motivating change in this country away from liberalism.
What is unfortunate is the reality that modern day leftists are hopelessly unaware that their heroes, from Woodrow Wilson through FDR, were not “men of the people”, but relentlessly promoted a form of economic fascism, specifically government working in the interest of big banks and financial institutions. The liberals (of the Austrian school, mind you) were always fundamentally opposed to fascism and central banking. In fact, Adam Smith wrote extensively about how he saw a system of Laissez-faire markets as the antidote to economic inequality and the class system that he observed in his day.
But what did progressive Woodrow Wilson do first when he was elected? He passed the Federal Reserve Act, creating a central bank and authorizing a secret cabal of financial interests that have steadily gained power in the century since it was established. Thirty years later, “man of the people”, FDR took us off the gold standard and stole every amount of gold that private citizens held, forcing them to accept fraudulent Federal Reserve Notes, instead of hard money that the Constitution demands.
I cannot take the time here to go through every piece of history that is relevant to show that these men were not who the establishment insists they were, but the short of it is that they were fascists who foisted a banking cartel upon us that centralized financial power and brought about the modern era of corporatism and crony capitalism that is absolutely anathema to liberalism and the free market. Our modern understanding of history has been abysmal due to propaganda that is pushed in public schools that bears little resemblance to reality.
Therefore a little digging and critical thinking is required. It is in this context that I want to discuss the “controversial” aspects of Ron Paul’s belief system that some “journalists” and commentators have claimed is racist or motivated by racism. Many don’t go that far. But they might claim that some of his views are “odious” and disturbing because they (it is claimed) are also supported by “fringe” people. This is a broader issue than Ron Paul. Many points of the liberal philosophy are attacked because they claim they would hurt minorities or are opposed to Civil Rights or play to racial resentment. I will describe why every aspect of this line of thinking is demonstrably false.
The issues that are brought up that Ron Paul has spoken of are his support for States Rights. The implication is that if more power were granted to states or we promoted the principle of Nullification, the States would choose to oppress people. Segregation would be brought back, etc. Another point is Paul’s principled objection to affirmative action and a portion of the Civil Rights Act. Another is that Ron Paul has been critical of Abraham Lincoln and has made statements that could be perceived as being supportive of the South, taken out of context.
All these objections to Ron Paul’s platform are the product of profound ignorance of history. An honest view of history would show that it was the liberals who were the abolitionists throughout the 19th century. The most principled and profound statements against slavery and bigotry during our early history came from those that saw liberty as an inseparable whole. Those that were promoting the expansion of government power and authority most often held racist views.
Abraham Lincoln was not the great man we are taught that he is. He had absolutely NO substantial principled objection to slavery. He did not campaign to end slavery, nor did he fight the Civil War to end slavery. He was in fact one of the most tyrannical and authoritarian presidents we have ever had. His main motive in his political career was to destroy the original intent of the Constitution and establish a much more powerful central government. He cared very little about slavery.
In fact, he was rather racist and didn’t hide it. Here are a few quotes (out of many):
"I have no disposition to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which in my judgment will probably forever forbid their living together on terms of respect, social and political equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there should be a superiority somewhere, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position;"
"I will say then, that I am not nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of making voters of the negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people...there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man."
Despite the truth about his overt racism, he is exalted today as “the Great Emancipator” and it is claimed he fought the Civil War to end slavery. He is practically idolized by many. Ask any number of individuals who their favorite presidents are and probably greater than half will say Lincoln was the greatest president ever. That is how unfortunate our educational system has become. Lincoln was not even well liked in his lifetime. He was incredibly unpopular in the North.
His reputation changed after revisionist historians worked tirelessly to paint a mostly inaccurate picture of the man and his presidency. Through decades of work and miseducation, he became seen as a great man, something that never happened by those who actually were alive when he was president.
I want all of you to read the work of Lysander Spooner. He was a black man and one of the greatest voices of the abolitionist movement. He published a brilliant and influential book called “The Unconstitutionality of Slavery” in 1845. In that book, he argued based on Natural law and other legal and philosophical concepts, that the Constitution, as written, made slavery illegal. He recognized that the Founders had probably not intended to outlaw slavery, but he argued that only the meaning of the text, not the private intentions of its writers, was enforceable. This argument was incredibly persuasive and greatly influenced the views of Frederick Douglas.
Lysander Spooner is a personal hero of Ron Paul. He was a champion of liberalism and argued against slavery before many others dared.
But aren’t we taught that it was the Republicans who were the anti-slavery party? Well Spooner did not think very highly of them.
“To Spooner, the Republicans were hypocrites for purporting to oppose slavery's expansion but refusing to take a strong, consistent moral stance against slavery itself. Although Spooner had advocated the use of violence to abolish slavery, he denounced the Republicans' use of violence to prevent the Southern states from seceding during the American Civil War. He published several letters and pamphlets about the war, arguing that the Republican objective was not to eradicate slavery, but rather to preserve the Union by force. He blamed the bloodshed on Republican political leaders, such as Secretary of State William H. Seward and Senator Charles Sumner, who often spoke out against slavery but would not attack it on a constitutional basis, and who pursued military policies seen as vengeful and abusive.
Although he denounced the institution of slavery, Spooner recognized the right of the Confederate States of America to secede as the manifestation of government by consent, a constitutional and legal principle fundamental to Spooner's philosophy; the Northern states, in contrast, were trying to deny the Southerners that right through military force. He "vociferously opposed the Civil War, arguing that it violated the right of the southern states to secede from a Union that no longer represented them." He believed they were attempting to restore the Southern states to the Union, against the wishes of Southerners. He argued that the right of the states to secede derives from the natural right of slaves to be free.”
Did you get that? One of the greatest and most influential abolitionists, a black man, is supporting the right of the south to secede. Yet it was he, and other principled liberals who were the true abolitionists of the day. Lincoln and the Republicans were opportunists who saw the issue of slavery as an issue to be used to achieve their real ends, which were to get rid of the original intent of the Constitution and establish a more powerful government. They had no principled objection to slavery. Unlike Spooner, they were hypocrites. Spooner was trying to expand the concept of individual liberty and Natural Rights to all races. The Republicans were merely trading one form of slavery for another. A principled opponent of slavery and oppression would opposed expanded government power just as much as he would oppose the horrendous treatment of blacks at that time.
Ron Paul supports Lysander Spooner. Even though nearly all the significant abolitionists of the day would agree with Ron Paul on nearly all his positions, today it is claimed that he is a racist for saying that the Civil War was unnecessary or criticizing Lincoln. He is called a bigot for supporting Nullification and States Rights. History is on the side of Ron Paul.
The most important point to recognize is that liberty must be consistently defended, or one does not believe in the concept at all. Modern day progressives can claim all they want that they support the liberties of minorities, but many are just hypocrites. While they might comfort themselves with their support of affirmative action and set asides and anti-discrimination legislation, the reality is that the ideology many of them embrace has unfortunately caused minorities to be held back in our society.
Even leaving alone discussing the inherent racism of group identity politics and demagoguing the subject, the goal of those truly opposed to racism and slavery is the promotion of individual rights, with no special favors granted to any special group.
Ron Paul has stated that he would have never signed the Constitution or created the Union without making it explicit that slavery was to be illegal. He would have never compromised on that issue. But given that the issue WAS compromised on, what would have been the benefit of abolishing slavery in the manner that Dr Paul and Lysander Spooner would want?
Well, given that every other nation on earth got rid of slavery without a civil war, obviously it was not necessary. There are two options that Dr Paul and Lysander Spooner supported. The first is called “compensated emancipation”. There were a large number of nations that did this. It simply means that the government would buy the slaves and set them free.
Until this occurs, or if there is no political will to do so, Spooner offers a more direct solution:
“In 1858, Spooner circulated a "Plan for the Abolition of Slavery," calling for the use of guerrilla warfare against slaveholders by black slaves and non-slaveholding free Southerners, with aid from Northern abolitionists. Spooner also "conspir[ed] with John Brown to promote a servile insurrection in the South," and participated in an aborted plot to free Brown after his capture following the failed raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia (Harper's Ferry is now part of the state of West Virginia).”
In either of these scenarios slavery could have been abolished with less residual resentment and loss of life to the great benefit of blacks and all Americans. Civil war will tear a country apart and leave such a divide and resentment and anger that can manifest itself in many ways.
The problems of the Civil War are many. First, the mythology we are given has unfairly tarnished the concepts of States Rights and trivialized many of the very real and legitimate grievances that many Southern people felt towards a very lawless Lincoln Administration and its many unconstitutional acts and policies. Second, it let off the hook the many Northern supporters of racism and gave the false impression that slavery was only tolerated in the South. In reality the institution of slavery was a stain on our history that we should all accept some responsibility for.
And lastly, many have argued that the viciousness of the lynchings and treatment of blacks in the South in the years following the Civil War was made far worse given the aftermath of a bloody civil war that created such a great resentment. The humiliation of losing was one thing, but the fact that slavery was retroactively given as the reason for the war caused many to lash out and target blacks with their pent up anger. Instead of working towards peaceably abolishing the institution of slavery and granting blacks equal rights, we created an atmosphere which resulted in a century more of overt racism and bigotry that blacks were forced to endure.
The mythology and miseducation has to end. If one examines the facts, it would become self-evident that Ron Paul is the true anti-racist candidate, embracing a liberal tradition that all notable abolitionists belonged to. It is only the principle of individual liberty and an all-encompassing view of human freedom and Natural Rights that have been the enemy of all racism and collectivist thought.
Why has our government used race to divide and why have they distorted the truth so much with regards to this history? The simple truth is that they, the politicians and organized financial interests, have long sought any excuse to galvanize power and destroy the Jeffersonian tradition of true liberty that Ron Paul and Lysander Spooner defend. So, Lincoln has been glorified and the subject of much phony “history” because he was instrumental in centralizing more power for the Federal government. That is the reason. The issue of slavery happened to be a convenient excuse.
The reality that we must be aware of is that our government has been the institution that supported racism for such a long time. It was racist laws and racist policies that enforced slavery and segregation over many decades. Ron Paul’s opposition to racism and bigotry in all forms is based on an appreciation of individual liberty that so many lack. The truth of the matter is that if Paul’s philosophy had been adhered to in our early history, slavery would have been phased out quickly and without major incident, blacks would have had full civil rights during the 19th century.
I will wrap up this piece now. I have already written too much. I could expand on most of what I wrote but I will refrain from doing so at this time. I just wanted to clear up this issue once and for all. Ron Paul is certainly no racist. This accusation is actually the most ludicrous thing that could be asserted. Yet it is thrown about all the time. It seems to be the go to smear for any media figure that has an agenda to try and hurt Ron Paul. They might mention some obscure white supremacist who apparently supports Ron Paul or rehash the same newsletters smear. Not much thought or intellectual honesty is present in these smear pieces.
I hope you all take the time to read what I have written here. I am open to answering any questions you might have. I do think that this should be the final word on those who accuse the Liberals (myself and Ron Paul) of being racists or anti “Progress”.