Ron Paul Won’t Get My Vote

My low-level research on Ron Paul has paralleled his rise in the polls. What I have done is to give a number of opportunities to people who I know favor his candidacy and to people and organizations who I think support him to react to the latest accusations against him. This is low-level research as I said. (I am a respected conventional social scientist; no need to bore me with injunctions about scientific rigor.) This low-level research is more than most people try to do in pursuit of a rational vote, I think.

The latest accusations are also old. I am referring to the report that newsletters entitled: “The Ron Paul Letter” and such, published in the 1990s, contained both clearly racist and clearly anti-Semitic statements. (I mean anti-Semitic, not anti-Israel. He had some of those too but that’s another story altogether.) I have asked Libertarians, and what I call “orthodox libertarians”,( non-party members who are doctrinally aligned with the Libertarian Party) what they thought of the charges. This is a deliberately open-ended question. It gives the respondent a wide latitude to answer even if by changing the subject.

I received no answer or no clear answer from anyone, on my blog or through Facebook. One orthodox libertarian with whom I argue often on this blog gave me, gave us, a reading list. Of course, I don’t need, don’t want a reading list. My reading schedule is full until June 2012. Besides, there is something presumptuous about giving others reading lists. One should do it with much restraint, if at all. I imagine that my correspondents, my reader, who favor Ron Paul could have given me instead any number of easy-to-grasp, reasonable answers. After all, as thinking people, they have, or they had, to make up their minds, to decide for themselves unless they are eager to avoid the topic of those accusations altogether.

Here are some possible answers:

I don’t believe it.

It does not matter because it was a long time ago.

The statements attributed to him (that Paul himself does not deny) are not enough to prove either racism or anti-Semitism.

I don’t care if he is a racist.

I don’t care if he is anti-Semitic.

He, Paul, was not paying attention to his newsletters, as he said himself. So, the statements show nothing about him. Therefore, I don’t care.

Here is what this attentive libertarian-leaning conservative thinks about this issue. I have two explanations that are not mutually exclusive and that tell us much about him as a potential president

I think Ron Paul is both a racist and an anti-Semite but in a mild, passive way, if there is such a thing. Racism first. It has several possible sources. We are used in America to the poisonous, virulent kind of racism, to the brand that is associated with lynching. I doubt Paul has this in his heart. I think his passive racism is rooted in indifference, in callousness only. When an ardent follower of his, an orthodox libertarian insists (on this blog) that one kind of Africans massacring hundreds of thousands of another kind  of Africans with machetes and bricks is none of our business, he demonstrates precisely this kind of callousness.But he certainly does nothing to encourage one kind of black people to murder another kind of black people. He just thinks that both killers and victims are too unlike us for us to be concerned. (There is a huge paradox there in that libertarians tend to define as “us” those who share citizenship in our state, the same state they say they want to eviscerate.) Besides, we don’t know enough to hold off the machete or the brick. Besides we don’t even know who started it. . . .

Similarly, I suspect (“suspect,” I don’t know) that Ron Paul shares in the casual anti-Semitism of his Southern social class. He is an MD. It’s common (not universal by all means) for medical doctors to have received a poor undergraduate education in the liberal arts because of the focus on “pre-med” competitiveness. His anti-Semitism, if any, is of the passive kind. It will never lead him to favor the slaughter of Jews but it allows him to live comfortably with a hazy knowledge of the harder European brand of anti-Semitism and of its historical consequences. Plus, medicine is a field of endeavor where one might bump hard against common Jewish unscrupulous industriousness. (Not my formula; I cribbed it; how sad I am it’s not mine!) Dr Ron Paul would not discriminate ever against Jews but he would not be exceedingly alert to the occurrence of such discrimination in his environment. That’s not because he is evil but because he is extremely dogmatic. Ideological dogma helps you stay consistent by telling you what to ignore.

I am adding something separately so no one will accuse me of sneakiness. It’s not difficult to find, on talk-radio and even around my coffee-shop, individuals who spout the perfect libertarian anti-interventionist line and whose discourse against Israeli “aggression” quickly drifts into the expression of characteristically anti-Semitic sentiment. I agree that politicians in general and Ron Paul in particular cannot generally be held responsible for the words of all their followers. Yet, when an occasion arises spontaneously to condemn what’s disgusting among one’s disciples, one should seize this opportunity vigorously and loudly. Mr Paul has not done this.

In addition to moderate, passive racism and anti-Semitism, Mr Paul displays a sovereign disdain for factualness. As I have pointed out several times in this blog, Mr Paul does not only make light with facts when he deals with an unexpected question, or a “gotcha” question from a reporter, or from a rival, a question for which he is not prepared. He will sometimes volunteer false information the better to make a point:

The Iraq war and the Afghanistan war are not only very wasteful, they are

stupidly wasteful. So, for example, the US armed forces spend 20 billion

dollars each year in those war theaters on air-conditioning alone.

 

There is a chance that 2 billion dollars would not be impressive enough so, why not add a zero, two zeros? What the hell?

I have met this kind of shameless mendacity before. It’s common among leaders of virtuous small sects who have spent many years in the wilderness, addressing only small groups of the already converted, the elect, those who will never contradict. In the seventies, I knew members of tiny Trotskyst groups, splinters of splinter of splinters, the shavings of multiple ideological schisms. They would speak well, with winning logic, and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of history. And then, they would come up with a howler that reminded you instantly that schizophrenics too can sound intelligent. Not that I claim Ron Paul is insane. His mind is just way out on a limb and he does not care that it is, and he probably even enjoys it.

Underlying the passive racism, the matter-of-fact anti-Semitism, and the indifference to fact lies a tremendous intellectual elitism that is fundamentally undemocratic. Ron Paul, like his fellow isolationists from the Left, does not really care what the great unwashed masses of voters know, understand or believe. He thinks they should vote for him because he is right on everything, or on everything that matters. If they don’t, too bad for them.

As I have said repeatedly, on domestic issues, I am closer to Ron Paul than to any other candidate. And I don’t treat lightly the other big difference I have with him, and with Libertarians, on foreign policy and on defense. Yet, interestingly, if this last difference did not exist, I still would not vote for Paul for president. I would not vote for him for some of the same reasons that would have turned me off Barack Obama if he had been a libertarian-leaning conservative, one favoring radical shrinkage of the federal government. There are personality issues that disqualify.

And, naturally, I have not dealt here again and explicitly with the fact that Ron Paul’s foreign policies views make him as dangerous as President Obama to the survival of this constitutional republic. Or, possibly, he is even more dangerous since Mr Obama l finally revealed himself a secret admirer of covert military action against those who would destroy us. The 01/2/12 issued of the Weekly Standard has several nice pieces about the moral giant Vaclal Havel who died last week. One article reminded me that Havel was firmly in favor of the expansion of NATO.

In the Wall Street Journal of Thursday December 29th 2011, the political columnist Daniel Henninger gives his own take on Mr Paul’s recent surge, pre-Iowa surge, in the polls. Henninger argues that though Paul has his own strong, small but consistent following, the upsurge is simply the latest expression of the mass of “not Romney” voters seeking a good horse to ride. In this perspective, the Paul upsurge is of the same ilk as the earliest vogue for Perry, then for Cain, then for Gingrich.

Meanwhile, every day, brave young Syrians die for wanting the liberties we take for granted. None of our business, of course.

PS My constant concern about anti-Semitism does not mean that I am Jewish. I am not, never have been, never will be.

AND I AM PRETTY SURE THE MAYAS’ MATH SKILLS WERE GREATLY OVERRATED. THE FATAL DATE WAS ACTUALLY 1212. I DOUBT THE WORLD WILL REALLY END THIS YEAR, 2012, BUT IF IT DOES, I HOPE WE WILL HAVE TIME FOR ANOTHER END -OF-THE-WORLD PARTY.

About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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14 Responses to Ron Paul Won’t Get My Vote

  1. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Now this is just petty, but par for the course when it comes to reading Dr. J’s non-academic writings.

    First things first.  His two cents on “Ron Paul’s Racism” (capital “R”) falls nicely in line with the writers of the neoconservative (that is, Trotskyist, or conservative Marxist) publications National Review and The Weekly Standard.  Remember, many neoconservatives (or Trotskyists, or conservative Marxists) deplored the nationalist turns that European socialist states took after either winning parliamentary majorities or overthrowing feudal monarchies.  The neoconservative is, like the libertarian – the old liberal – an internationalist.  The key difference between neoconservative (or Trotskyist, or conservative Marxist) internationalism and libertarian internationalism is the issue of war.

    The conservative Marxist believes that war is a perfectly good tool to use to create a more international world.  The libertarian argues that free, unabashed trade is the key to achieving lasting internationalism.

    Back to Ron Paul’s Racism (capital “R”).  Check out the some of the views on race that neoconservatives of the National Review held in the not-so-distant past on the issue of the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

    “The central question that emerges is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.”

    The National Review and other conservative Marxists (or Trotskyists, or neoconservatives) did not oppose the Civil Rights Act because of questions pertaining to property rights (as libertarians do), but because they believed black Americans to be intellectually, culturally, and spiritually inferior to white Americans. The individuals of this publication have never apologized or condemned the writings found in their publication. The Weekly Standard‘s contemporary writings on Palestinians speaks for itself.

    Speaking of racism and ideology, if readers are so inclined, they may also pursue the relevant avenues on the origins and reasons for Washington’s War on Drugs that began under the Nixon Administration, which happened to be staffed by a number of up-and-coming neoconservative policy wonks (the neoconservatives earned their moniker due to their leaving the Democratic Party – the Democratic Party of the 1960’s and 1970’s – because of their disillusionment with that Party’s increasing opposition to a needless war and a “wayward welfare state”). Has Dr. J ever come out and stated his opposition to a federal welfare state, or is he more interested in ensuring that people don’t abuse the one we have today?

    The Ron Paul is a Racist (capital “R”) canard is a red herring.  I think I know why, but first, Delacroix writes:

    “One orthodox libertarian with whom I argue often on this blog gave me, gave us, a reading list. Of course, I don’t need, don’t want a reading list. My reading schedule is full until June 2012. Besides, there is something presumptuous about giving others reading lists. One should do it with much restraint, if at all. I imagine that my correspondents, my readers who favor Ron Paul could have given me instead any number of easy-to-grasp, reasonable answers. After all, as thinking people, they have, or they had, to make up their minds, to decide for themselves unless they are eager to avoid the topic of those accusations altogether.”

    If Delacroix had actually bothered to read the link I provided (speaking of presumptuousness) he would have found my thoughts on his question.  I wrote:

    “One thing I would like to drive home is that the United States is essentially defined by race relations.  President Obama was elected largely on the basis of race (the Bush administration’s disaster of a presidency also helped, of course).  Race relations have been prevalent in every single presidential and congressional contest since the framers first made that odious compromise in 1787.  Indeed, Tocqueville himself noted (and I don’t have my book handy with me so I’ll have to paraphrase) that the American people will be cursed with the legacy of slavery for as long as the republic exists.

    Since race is a culturally constructed concept, and has no biological basis, American society can overcome this heinous handicap.  A libertarian philosophy can contribute to this in a big way.”

    Delacroix has a habit of misrepresenting the views of his opponents often.  I can remember many occasions where he casually throws out two different numbers in the same thread of an argument.  His dogmatism has become tiresome.  The lies he tells to himself – in front of all who read him – is…sad.

    And speaking of lying and dogmatism, Delacroix’s assertions of callousness on the part of non-interventionists in Africa can be found in full context on this thread.  I recommend reading the whole thing since Delacroix is known for picking-and-choosing the context of opposing arguments.

    Delacroix is too afraid to publish or reply to well-informed arguments for non-intervention on his blog anymore, so ultimately he has stooped, like no many other proponents of empire (and all empires are internationalist, after all), to “suspicions” and tabloid gossip.  The Rule of Law, free trade, and federalism be damned.

  2. Terry Amburgey says:

    So, going for Obama then?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Prof. Amburgey: I am doing what every rational person does before an important election: Fist, I dream, and then I ask myself what can I really get? I am not sure Romney is conservative except that I am sure he is more conservative and less desirous of big government than Obama. I am further guessing that rational people who plan to vote for Obama again are following a symmetrical process: He did not keep any of his promises to his electorate even when it was entirely within his power (e.g. Guantanamo) but he is probably less conservative than any of the potential Republican candidates.

      Other than this, I have trouble figuring out why someone who voted for Mr Obama three years ago would do it again. That is, unless you ignore the evidence that the 2,000+ page law nicknamed “OBamacare” should actually be known as “PelosiReid Care.”

      THe man has not even been any good at procuring the poisonous gifts on his original program,

      Do you think we will find out about his college grades before the next election?

  3. Pingback: This Town Is Crazy « The Crackshot Crackpot

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      First: I am not “of Liberty magazine.” I am an independent writer whose stories and/or essays Liberty sometimes publishes. Liberty share no guilt in my sins and I am not responsible for its sins, including the occasional lack of criticality.
      There is no “tactic” involved here. As I explain throughout the piece I think Ron Paul is a racist but not a virulent racist. Since the level of evidence I can offer is low I say modestly, “I suspect.” If there were objective proof and if it were eventually accessible, would I bet good money on his racism? The answer is unhesitatingly: “Yes.”

      I fyou don’t like this approach, why don’t you use as much space as you wish on this blog to explain why it’s wrong? So, far, you have only added evidence to support my claim: Of the many people who have had a chance to tell me why I was wrong about the accusations against Paul, not one has piped up. I think the reason is that honest libertarians are not too sure.

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        Haha! It’s nice to know that I can say things to get your goat. Jacques Delacroix, of Liberty magazine. Yes, it does have a nice ring to it.

        I did post a response on your blog, but I think there has been an editing technical difficulty. My WordPress dashboard tells me that the comment is “still awaiting moderation”.

        “Ron Paul is not a racist nor an anti-Semite, not even unknowingly”. There, I said it. Nobody is saying anything to the contrary, except pious Leftists and proponents of the republic’s foreign policy status quo (I am still unsure if these camps are not really just two wings of a single, much broader camp).

        Did he knowingly profit from newsletters that were based upon a “paleo strategy” of pandering to the populist Right? I answer “Yes”, and it is extremely disappointing that he chose to do this. Does this disqualify him from the office of the presidency? Hell no! This is a democracy and I can look at the alternatives. If Gary Johnson had a decent shot at the nomination, I would vote for him over Paul in a heartbeat. He doesn’t. So it’s either Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum (be sure to Google the word “Santorum” if you get the chance!), or Ron Paul. I am sorry but Freddie Mac’s one-time historian (speaking of petulance) is finished.

        Look at the state the republic is in. Look at the ideas being espoused by each of the candidates. You’re telling me you’re not going to vote for Ron Paul because you suspect he’s a racist? You’re telling me that this isn’t just a convenient ploy designed to hide your true feelings about his foreign policy views by proclaiming your moral indignation at his political associations with racists in the South?

        I don’t buy it. I think the status quo of the United States’ foreign policy is under attack, and that the status quo fears his argument more than they loathe his political fundraising efforts. Although I wish there was a better alternative for political libertarianism on the national stage at the moment, there isn’t. So a man with a medical degree from Duke and a couple of bad decisions on his record is going to get my vote.

        The “paleo strategy” was a horrible idea to begin with and I don’t mean to discount the awful things that were written in those newsletters. At the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Murray Rothbard (a Jewish intellectual with a doctorate in Economics from Columbia University and Ron Paul’s close strategic adviser) had been palling around with the New Left and singing the praises of the likes of the Viet Cong and the Black Panthers. When Communism collapsed, Rothbard and company went about searching for new alliances (he and other were bitter towards the post-war Right) and these guys believed that a populist turn geared towards the Right would be the best strategy forward for their camp.

        They were horribly wrong, and their strategy has put an ugly stain on libertarianism’s finely-crafted, stylish, sex-enticing shirt: Ron Paul’s voting support comes from the young, the socially liberal/tolerant, the fiscally conservative, and the peaceful.

        P.S. there is an e-mail waiting for you. I hope you will accept my modest offer.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        I don’t want to be addressed as a “Liberty writer” for the sake of Liberty, of course.

        Thank you for the response on Ron Paul. Its’ clear. I had emitted two hypotheses. One was that he was a racist. The second hypothesis was that he is irresponsible. You dismissed the first hypothesis in a way that is close to confirming it. You plain confirmed the second. Paul is irresponsible, has been for a long time. That’s a deal breaker for me, a small thing for you. Different values; different views of the consequences of the spoken word. That’s in addition to my often-expressed opposition to his pacifism (under another name).

  4. Terry Amburgey says:

    I will admit to a small amount of dissappointment with Obama. However after 25+ years in a business school, I’ll never vote for a corporate plutocrat. I once voted for Ron Paul when he ran as a Libertarian but I don’t see him getting the Republican nomination.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Interesting. Of course the “little” is incomprehensible to me. Who is the corporate plutocrat? Is there any other kind ( like Steve Jobs)? Isn’t it true that national-level politicians come either form the corporate world or from city and sate political machines? (The later like Obama, of course.) Isn’t it true that those that come from neither are not necessarily great successes, or small, successes? I am thinking Jimmy Carter.

  5. Bruce says:

    Ron Paul is damaged goods, I just hope his ego does not drive him to make a third party run. The Left will encourage him to do that and, with his new status as a useful idiot, the main stream media will give him a pass on the anti-Semitism and racist comments like he was one of their own. Look for the anchors to start asking the pundits often about the possibility of him running in the next few weeks.
    The GOP has their guy and it’s McCain chapter two. All is calm at the country club where big government is welcome. There were a couple of scares along the way, but the machine is back on track. Even though it might mean losing the election. As soon as he gets the nomination, the democrat smear campaign will kick into high gear. Romney is going to need all the money he has raised to try and prove that the main stream media is wrong, that the Mormon religion is not really a sexist and racist cult. Of course it won’t be enough, it can’t be on the current playing field. The Left decides who is and who is not branded racist and sexist. Revs Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson, Senator Robert Byrd, Jeramiah Wright, Obama are all good.
    Like I said before, it’s a shame we can’t lay out a president with a glass jaw with a solid conservative. We had the best chance of doing so we may ever get.
    The country will survive, but I think it’s time for me to put the finishing touches on an exit strategy.

  6. Terry Amburgey says:

    Romney is the corporate plutocrat. Yes, there are non-corporate plutocrats; generations following the original money makers with trust-funds.

  7. Devon g says:

    I have met this kind of shameless mendacity before. It’s common among leaders of virtuous small sects who have spent many years in the wilderness, addressing only small groups of the already converted, the elect, those who will never contradict. In the seventies, I knew members of tiny Trotskyst groups, splinters of splinter of splinters, the shavings of multiple ideological schisms. They would speak well, with winning logic, and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of history. And then, they would come up with a howler that reminded you instantly that schizophrenics too can sound intelligent.

    Brilliant Prose, I laughed out loud

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Thanks. There are two personalities fighting it out in my heart: a curt and severe political analyst and a writer. The writer thrives on compliments; flattery does not bother him either.

  8. Pingback: Apologies and Reaffirmations « Notes On Liberty

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