Ron Paul’s Personal Responsibility

January 3rd, 2012 at 12:31 pm David Frum | 209 Comments |

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Andrew Sullivan complained yesterday that I had engaged in a “McCarthyite” attack on Ron Paul by writing the following:

A politician isn’t answerable for the antics of every one of his supporters. But there’s surely a reason, isn’t there, that racists, anti-Semites, 9/11 Truthers, and Holocaust deniers are so strongly attracted to the Paul campaign. They hear something. They continue to hear it too, no matter how firmly Ron Paul’s more mainstream supporters clamp their hands over their own ears.

Andrew’s riposte:

Notice how pure the smear is, enabled and not diminished by the first sentence. Notice the key concept of Beltway ideological policemen: there is a mainstream and a non-mainstream. Dabble with the latter at your peril. Since David has perished by the cult of the “mainstream”, it’s odd he should deploy it against others. But to throw in “Holocaust denial” and 9/11 Truthers for good measure! Really.

And notice how particularly cheap and easy it is to use such tactics against a libertarian. The traditional left is often based on collective associations, building a movement out of oppressed groups and their grievances, whether it be class or race or even sexual orientation. Libertarianism is the opposite. It’s about disassociating. When you listen to Paul saying he will not turn anyone away from supporting his platform regardless of their motives or beliefs, you are hearing a reflection of his libertarianism, not his bigotry. He will accept support from any quarter and compared with the corporate money flowing into the other candidates’ coffers, he is about as independent as a presidential candidate can be. Because he is a radical individualist, he doesn’t even understand why he should somehow explain the belief of others, or justify their support. You should ask them, not him.

This kind of gotcha-association game is particularly easy because libertarians favor liberty above all, and that will necessarily mean liberty for bigots as well as others. A principled belief in states’ rights will doubtless lead to more racist and homophobic policies in many states – but also, of course, more enlightened and successful inclusive states like Oregon or New York or Massachusetts or California. A rejection of statism might lead to more discrimination in the private sector. But it doesn’t mandate it. And it need not encourage it. A non-interventionist foreign policy will allow evil to triumph elsewhere in the world, because it believes it’s none of our business or too riddled with unintended consequences to try extirpating. That may be right or wrong, but it is not an approval of the evil of Assad or Ahmedinejad or the North Korean junta. And again, it is actually much deeper an American tradition than permanent warfare. But if you can trot out David Duke or Ayatollah Khamenei as potential Paul supporters, you have a very easy, cheap and essentially McCarthyite target. It saddens me that this kind of tactic works.

I still believe that the newsletters, because they were in Paul’s name, require a clearer explanation from Paul than the muddled ones he has given. He should not be left off the hook. And his proposals deserve a thorough vetting and discussion.

But there is something awry when a candidate is assessed not on his arguments and proposals but on the shadiness and ugliness of some of his fringe supporters.

Ron Paul’s supporters ask that their candidate not be judged by his associates. Or by the people he chose to employ. Or by the newsletters he published. Or by the book he wrote. Or by the way he earned the largest part of his living when out of office in the 1990s. Or by his purchase of the mailing list of the Holocaust-denying Liberty Lobby. Or by the radio shows he chooses to appear on. Or by his strategic decision to reach out to racist voters. Or by the conspiracy theories to which he lends credence, from government creation of AIDS to Israeli culpability for the 1993 bombing to a putative 9/11 “coverup.”

And here I thought that libertarianism was a doctrine of personal responsibility?

May Ron Paul at least be judged by the words he has spoken with his own mouth within the current campaign? The supporters say “no” again. When Ron Paul tells an interviewer that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made race relations “worse,” we’re not supposed to consider what he might mean by “better.” When Ron Paul warns that a border fence would be used to prevent fleeing American citizens from exiting the country, we’re not supposed to conclude that he’s a paranoid crank.

Andrew deploys what might be called the ontological defense of Ron Paul, as follows:

1) Ron Paul is a libertarian.

2) Libertarians espouse individualism.

3) Racism is a form of anti-individualism.

4) Therefore Ron Paul cannot be a racist.

That is a demonstration of what might be called the deductive method of reasoning. But there’s another way to study reality: induction.

Like this:

1) Ron Paul has again and again exploited bigotry, paranoia, and hate as fundraising devices.

2) Ron Paul is a libertarian.

3) So yes, I guess it is possible for a libertarian to do that.

Here’s my question for Ron Paul supporters: why the denial of the undeniable?

Perhaps you like Paul’s message of legalized marijuana? Why not just say so? You don’t think it’s important to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? Argue it forthrightly. If you regard Social Security and Medicare as literally the moral equivalents of slavery, go ahead, make your case.

But all this excuse-making, special pleading and jiggering of the rules of evidence so as to exculpate Ron Paul from the record of his whole political life? For what?

Recent Posts by David Frum



209 Comments so far ↓

  • dphenderson

    Even simpler, by accepting their support Ron Paul is choosing to associate with them whether or not he agrees with them. He is implicitly endorsing their behaviors by such association. To deny this implicit endorsement is to deny personal responsibility is to be not libertarian.

  • josebrwn

    Simply beautiful.

    • Geprodis

      Simply more of the same. Frum can’t mount an argument against Ron Paul so he just insults him.

  • Graychin

    Although I am no fan of Ron Paul, I also thought that your slam on Paul was unfair. So did many of the other commenters here. At first I thought that Sullivan’s parallel to McCarthyism was unfair as well, but when I think about it… wasn’t your slam on Paul largely guilt by association?

    I’ll repeat what I said the other day: The reason that Confederate Flag-waving morons and their racist ilk are attracted to Ron Paul is that he is the candidate beating the drum the loudest for “states’ rights.” As we all know, “states’ rights” has been the rallying cry for racists and segregationists since well before the Civil War – which, as we are so often told, had NOTHING to do with slavery.

    A question, Mr. Frum: Since Southern Democrats left the Democratic Party en masse to join your party – as a direct result of their opposition to racial integration and guarantees of civil rights for minorities – shouldn’t your party and its apologists (such as yourself) have disavowed and disowned support from the likes of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms? And Trent Lott? And Haley Barbour? When did that happen, exactly? And what was that business known as the Southern Strategy all about?

    • busboy33

      As this article should make clear, “guilt by association” is only one of multiple factors. If there was nothing but the association, then I agree association simply isn’t enough. However, if the association is perfectly in sync with myriad other direct acts and comments . . . then yes, association is significant as supportive evidence.

      The Paul defenders keep insisting on isolating all of the concerns about Paul, then asserting that each is insufficient to discredit Paul when taken in a vacuum. Speaking out against the Civil Rights Act? By itself, just an example of remaining true to a Libertarian philosophy. The Newsletter comments? By themselves, only indicative of rogue underlings. Appearing with Stormfront supporters? By itself, just individuals he ran into.

      But the world doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Combine all of that together, and the total is greater than simply the sum of the parts. No single complaint against Ron is the smoking gun . . . but the problems add up to very, very concerning picture. Its one thing to discuss the concern — another thing completely to simply refuse to acknowledge it.

      (As an aside, how many of the Paul supporters held to the “association is irrelevant” motif when it came to Obama and Bill Ayers?)

      • Geprodis

        I did not care at all that Obama met with Bill Airs.

        I don’t accept your point Busboy, because you fail to talk about the alternative candidates.

        Every other candidate is a warmonger who is trying to curtail civil rights. That is the big picture.

        We are in no danger of Ron Paul instituting racist policies and you know it.

        Ron Paul would prevent war, fight the Patriot Act and the new American detention legislation.

        You can trust Ron Paul to balance the federal budget…you can’t trust the other candidates.

        How can anyone trust Romney? Who knows what he will do in the white house…probably whatever he thinks will make him look good.

        I have a question for you, what do you think Ron Paul would do in the white house that would harm the nation?

        • Primrose

          Because all the other candidates suck doesn’t actually exculpate Mr. Paul. By that logic, then Blogovich (sp)should be innocent since nearly every other Illinois governor did the same or worse.

        • Redrabbit

          What would he do?

          Well, his monetary stance alone should disqualify him, since it would lead to such massive wealth destruction that the country could never recover from it. Going back on the gold standard is just plain crazy, and will never work in the real world.

          His extreme states rights positions would allow states to curtail liberty in any and all realms.

        • Geprodis

          I love when people who understand nothing of monetary policy criticize Ron Paul on this issue.

          It’s actually easier to curtail liberty at the federal level than the state level.

        • sweatyb

          Bill Airs

          That’s just awesome. Proving that you only know anything about Bill Ayers because you heard it from some conservative talk radio blowhard.

          Here, educate yourself:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ayers_presidential_election_controversy#Interaction_between_Obama_and_Ayers

        • Geprodis

          Bill Ayers is not important.

        • Redrabbit

          But Bill Airs is?

        • busboy33

          “I don’t accept your point Busboy, because you fail to talk about the alternative candidates.”

          Lets presume you are correct – every other candidate is a horrible human being without a shred of merit to them. Lets assume Ron Paul is the only choice for good and just Americans.

          That is an argument to balance his bad qualities, not ignore them. If I decide to hire an employee with a criminal record because he’s the best candidate for the job, that doesn’t mean the criminal record doesn’t spontaneously cease to exist. I’ll hire them despite their faults, not because I’m pretending they don’t exist.

          My comment was in relation to the back-and-forth between Frum and Sullivan as to whether it is right to criticize Paul for these incidents. Him being the bestest candidate evar is irrelevant to that question.

          “Every other candidate is a warmonger who is trying to curtail civil rights.”

          Again, lets assume that’s true . . . so I should vote for the candidate that speaks out against the Civil Rights Act? Maybe we’re talking about different things when we both use the term “Civil Rights”.

          “We are in no danger of Ron Paul instituting racist policies and you know it.”

          Agreed and never said he would. I do have concern though that he would want to institute policies that would allow OTHER people to institute racist policies. I respect that you disagree with that assessment.

          “You can trust Ron Paul to balance the federal budget”

          I believe Paul will certainly try. I’m not convinced his plan will result in a balanced budget, or in a better America.

          “I have a question for you, what do you think Ron Paul would do in the white house that would harm the nation?”

          I think the wholesale elimination of multiple agencies in one fell swoop is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. Maybe it’s the best idea, maybe it isn’t . . . but the cavalier approach to radical change is something that concerns me regardless of the candidate.

          I think going back on the gold standard is a dangerous plan.

          I worry that his “every other country can go to hell as far as I’m concerned” foreign policy runs serious risks of creating dangerous situations around the world that could pose threats to America, both physically and economically.

          I worry that his repeatedly expressed reluctance to impose civil rights suggests some Americans may not have a recourse to being shorted.

          I worry that he’ll spend time, money, and effort chasing Bilderburg conspiracies rather than doing his job.

          Make no mistake – there are many, many aspects of Paul and his policies that I personally agree with 100%. But there are many that I do not. Would I vote for him? Not at the primary level, because I don’t think he’s a viable candidate in the general election. Not because he’s no good, but because I don’t see 50.1% of the electorate voting for him. Ron Paul has some serious baggage . . . which is the point of the article. Pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t make him more electable. Paul’s supporters need to explain to the unaffiliated why that baggage shouldn’t be a concern.

        • Geprodis

          Wow, a very good response. I’m not used to that. Well, I don’t have anything to reply with except I think your description of his foreign policy is not accurate. He doesn’t say “eff you” to the world, he just wants the empire to end.

    • Ray_Harwick

      I keep repeating this question to Mr. Frum. Aren’t those racists Republicans? They’re temporarily hooting for Ron Paul, but you get them back for Romney in a few months. David Duke and Stormfront LOVE the Republican Party. Get it? Have you heard any of the candidates calling out the racists? No?

      I rest my case.

  • Deep South Populist

    I find myself convinced by Andrew Sullivan’s reasoning.

  • Dex

    When are you going to focus the lens of personal responsibility on your hoped-for-meal-ticket, Mitt Romney? His entire campaign strategy is to tell Big Lies and hope to get away with them.

  • AMTBaptista

    As a black man the war on drugs is something that I’ve been paying special attention for some time now. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who is talking about the war on drugs and how it completly undermines minorities and how biased the judicial system is against blacks and other minorities. He’s been talking about it for decades (you can look it up, but you probably won’t or you have but decided to overlook that fact). Not only that he also wants to pardon all non violent drug users (the ultimate act of racism).
    People like you and the professional blacks on MSNBC can talk about letters that were written in his name over 20 years ago all day long but nobody is going to convince me that Ron Paul is a racist!!

    • rbottoms

      You don’t have to be a racist to profit from them. Which he did.

      Libertarians courted the hick & miltia vote by playing racists on TV, and in newsletters in an attempt to bolster their numbers and clout during the Bell Curve powered days of the feared Black Super-predator. Like the GOP’s Southern Strategy and alliance with crackpot “Christian” groups it has come back to bite Mr. Paul in the ass.

      The freeing of incarcerated “drug war” inmates is a fantasy, like the Gold Standard.

      Or that black people wold vote for this clown.

    • westony

      As an African American woman…..I have listened to Ron and Rand Paul and I am totally convinced they are both “racist”.

    • LauraNo

      Taking one’s preferred position and pointing out it has a bad effect on minority groups (not only blacks) in no proves one is a racist or isn’t. He is using the fact of the undue and unjust affects on minorities to help him get his way, hardly something altruistic. My goodness, Paul only needs to claim to have a black friend and some will believe he an’t possibly be a racist.

  • think4yourself

    David, I disagree with your analysis of Andrew’s argument:

    “Andrew deploys what might be called the ontological defense of Ron Paul, as follows:

    1) Ron Paul is a libertarian.

    2) Libertarians espouse individualism.

    3) Racism is a form of anti-individualism.

    4) Therefore Ron Paul cannot be a racist”

    Andrew’s argument really is:

    1. Libertarians espouse individualism.
    2. Libertarians cannot tell people whom or what they should support, even if they disagree with those people’s viewpoints.

    Andrew makes no determination if Ron Paul is a racist or not. He does say that Paul should better explain his newsletters, but it’s a pretty weak ask.

    David, you are right in that RP wants it both ways. He doesn’t want the mantle of racist and bigotry – but he is unwilling to catagorically deny his supporters who wear those mantle proudly. I would be more accepting of RP if he said something like – “years ago, I made some personal bad decisions. I accepted articles in my newsletter and appeared on shows of people who hold personal views that I consider to be repugnant. I should have never done them then and I repudiate them now. It was an error in judgment. As someone with a Libertarian viewpoint, I believe that people have the right to hold any beliefs they want. If some of them support my candidacy that is their right. But I will never support their belief’s of racism or bigotry.”

    Ron Paul has not done that.

    • cheves222

      “Andrew’s argument really is:

      1. Libertarians espouse individualism.
      2. Libertarians cannot tell people whom or what they should support, even if they disagree with those people’s viewpoints.”

      Assuming that this reflects Sullivan’s argument, it shows a great deal about modern libertarianism. If libertarianism is supposed to allow individuals to do and be whatever they desire, shouldn’t libertarians CHOOSE to NOT associate with those who would deny, say, blacks or Jews such rights? Sullivan’s mental gymnastics may seem like nuance in his mind, but they simply can’t stand up to logic.

      Sullivan thinks they’re should be “liberty” for “bigots.” Well, yeah, under the 1st Amendment, anyone can say anything. But is that the same thing as accepting, however, tacitly, their arguments? Ron Paul has the liberty to not accept support from racists, as well, as the liberty to take their money. His choice—which is super legal!!!—tells us that his desire for political support supercedes his penchant for liberty for all. This reminds us, perhaps, of his touting all the pork he got for his district over the years all while he was out screaming against the federal government. Maybe Andrew has a riposte for that?

      • Primrose

        This was exactly my problem with Andrew Sullivan’s argument. The libertarian view does not require one fraternize with people you (supposedly disagree with) only that you let them speak. If anti-libertarians, supported Ron Paul would he support them?

        I have the freedom of association. It cherish that right. I still have a lock on my door, and dogs, lest someone try to associate with me or mine uninvited.

      • think4yourself

        Cheves, I agree with you. Sullivan and Ron Paul are saying that their should be liberty for bigots. Interestingly enough, the ACLU agrees.

        I agree with that thought as well (kind of like pornography. You might not like it, but it’s someone elses art).

        Cheves were I also agree with you is that if I’m nominating a President, I expect them to have a set of personal standards and morality that I agree with. Ron Paul is saying that he values the rights of racists as more important than disagreeing with their viewpoint. While I might agree with that in certain incidences such as the ACLU and Nazi’s in Skokie, in general I would expect my Presidential Candidate to stand up against bullies, instead of supporting them on his former newsletter and appearances.

        • cheves222

          Think:

          I agree. “Values” may be an overused word in politics, but it matters. I prefer someone to be rather shocked that racists/Truthers would be supportive of his politics, rather than defensive. EVERYONE KNOWS THEIR FREE SPEECH RIGHTS ARE PROTECTED, but that doesn’t mean anything more than that. So many people confuse the legal aspects of speech with the cultural: the law allows the neo-Nazis to march through American Jews’ neighborhoods, but that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to respect their speech at all—it simply means we can’t (and shouldn’t) make it illegal.

      • ScienceChick

        I think that there’s an easier way to look at this. You might agree, like Ronald Reagan, with 80% of what those talk show hosts say, or 80% of what your very own newsletter puts out. And so you decide that the other 20% is unimportant. That’s the justification.

        Some of us, on the other hand, might consider particular positions as complete deal breakers. If I think that equal rights is not negotiable, and that’s one of the positions we disagree on, then I cannot say that being 80% in accordance is good enough.

        Once Ron Paul starts talking about putting HIV+ gay guys into concentration camps, Sullivan will come around.

  • dante

    Guilt by association seemed fine for the right wing when it was criticizing Obama for words that his Pastor said. Now some on the right think that while that was “ok”, you can’t criticize someone for words that either they themselves said or were written in the person’s own newsletter? Seriously?

    However, *I* think that the right is pushing the racist storyline in a desperate attempt to avoid the tough questions that Ron Paul brings up.

    If Republicans want to cut government spending, why not start with our bloated military, which consumes the lion’s share not only of discretionary spending but the lion’s share of government programs that aren’t paid for through separate taxes (ie, Medicare and Social Security)?

    If we want to cut spending, why are we trying to wage another (expensive) war with yet another Middle-Eastern country?

    If we really want the government out of our personal lives, why are we dictating what people can grow and smoke in their backyards?

    If we really believe that people should be personally responsible for their own actions, why are we continuing (and defending) Social Security and Medicare?

    If we really believe in states rights and local control, why is the federal government getting involved in dictating which states can and can’t offer marriage to gay people?

    All of those are very, very, VERY good questions to ask, and they’re questions that the current GOP has no answer to. So instead the right-wing has tried to latch on to an area where Paul is weak that *doesn’t* force them to look inwards and answer to their own hypocrisy.

    At least that’s my take on it…

  • Deep South Populist

    People who object to the states rights’ concept are always equating states rights’ with what they claim is “racism,” “bigotry,” “homophobia,” etc. — the standard canards.

    But, leaving aside the fact that their complaints about states’ rights are mostly canards, their objection relies on an argument that completely ignores Andrew Sullivan’s point below. As Sullivan points out, under a states rights’ framework, Vermont, California and Massachusetts would be just as free to exercise their states’ rights as any other state. And they would no doubt use those rights in ways very different than say Utah or Alabama.

    Even though implementing the states rights’ concept would allow places like Massachusetts to implement what many liberals would consider an ideal government, most liberals won’t consider the idea out of reflexive hostility. It is a hostility that does not make a lot of sense.

    A principled belief in states’ rights will doubtless lead to more racist and homophobic policies in many states – but also, of course, more enlightened and successful inclusive states like Oregon or New York or Massachusetts or California.

    • _will_

      Paul supports DOMA based on his neo-Confederate, sates rights uber alles stance. which is totally his prerogative.

      but please explain to me how these anti-same sex marriage amendments are any different from a state passing anti-miscegenation laws? and wouldn’t Paul’s “principles” compel him to support such laws? i know it’s a theoretical question, but just indulge me.

      the only defense you can make favoring DOMA (while simultaneously distancing yourself from anti-miscegenation law) is rooted in religious doctrine. and any libertarian or worth his salt should certainly take issue with that.

    • dante

      The problem with “states rights” arguments is that they usually only apply to scenarios where the author *wants* them to like Abortion or Racial Equality aspects.

      They obviously *don’t* want them to apply to things like gun rights, gay marriage, consumer protection, etc…

    • Primrose

      But the”:states rights” issues Mr. Paul defends include the right for states to redefine citizenship and if that is not considered a federal matter then we are not a nation. It is kind of what defines a nation.

      Also, if you say that some citizens are not full citizens in all states, then you are saying they never were full citizens, which if it is based on race, orientation, gender is racist, homophobic or sexist accordingly. It is not a straw man. It is the very essence of the problem.

      And as usual, Mr. Paul refuses to deal with reality but wants us to believe in both his good nature and his core competency. Either he’s a racist or he’s and idiot but until he actually addresses the problem, he is one or the other.

      • _will_

        Either he’s a racist or he’s and idiot but until he actually addresses the problem, he is one or the other.

        ^+1. that’s about the size of it folks.

      • Traveler

        You hit it there Primrose.

      • Geprodis

        Most racists, like David Duke, are proud racists.

        Ron Paul is a Constitutionalist – he doesn’t believe in states’ rights because he is part of the “The South will rise again!” crowd, he just believes in his view of the Founder’s vision.

        He doesn’t want to institute racist policies or allow evil entities to terrorize minorities. He just wants the individual to be the central focus of his politics.

        So, Primrose, no, you’re wrong. He’s not a racist or an idiot, he is a fanatic about the Constitution and unfortunately a lot of bad apples are attracted to him.

        • Primrose

          But he refuses to address the problem of his so called “more liberty” would in actually fact limit liberty for large groups of people. (If Valkayec can remember the article she posted that fully outlined this, I’d be grateful.) Not dealing with this problem, means either you don’t care about their liberty (racist etc.) or you have not thought about the ramifications (idiot).

          To suggest that he loves the constitution and somehow by implication I who disagree don’t, is cultish. He has his interpretation and those who disagree have ours.

          I also don’t really think you are right about the “proud” racists, plenty hide their racism for greater social approval. Plenty of people have multiple sets of languages, ways they talk for kindred thinkers, ways they talk for others etc.

        • Geprodis

          “To suggest that he loves the constitution and somehow by implication I who disagree don’t, is cultish. He has his interpretation and those who disagree have ours. ”

          I never suggested that, that is your own mind playing tricks on you.

          “Paul’s ‘more liberty’ would in actually fact limit liberty for large groups of people. Not dealing with this problem, means either you don’t care about their liberty (racist etc.) or you have not thought about the ramifications (idiot).

          Okay
          1.)This is nonsense
          2.)Please don’t tell me you care about liberty when you never mention the Patriot Act or NDAA. Obama is fans of both.

        • Primrose

          Explain how I can trust Mr. Paul to do something about the Patriot act when Mr. Obama who said the same thing didn’t. You want to get rid of all those new excursions into civil liberties. Here is an easy way. Change congress. One of the reasons this has been allowed is because Congress is not stepping up.

          And explain, how segregation didn’t limit liberty? How being sexual harassed in the workplace with no recourse but to quit doesn’t limit my liberty? (and if there are no legal ramifications where will I go that is different?)

          How does not being able to get a job, buy a house, own property because of the group I am in not limit liberty? Or to be specific about terms, how does being discriminated not prevent my freedom from moving about the world to pursue life, liberty and happiness? It seems very clear that it does, and has.

          Even property rights have been abridged because of one’s group identity. Back in the 1980’s (Please note 19 not 18) my parents bought a farm in Tennessee. My mother’s money was a significant share of the amount. Nonetheless, when they bought the farm the deed read in my father’s name and latin phrase that said, and wife. My mother argued, fought etc. but the law forbid any other construction.. So as a married women, she doesn’t have the right to own property. My fathers wife owns it but he could always switch wives.

          If married women do not even have the same right to own property, how is their liberty not curtailed? For that matter, how are her property rights (so sacred to Mr. Paul et al) not curtailed?

          I’ve explained how being in a group limits it. You just say it’s nonsense but have no rebuttal. As I said, Mr. Paul and his supporters don’t deal with the issue. Idiots or chauvinists, I don’t care, either way makes them unelectable to me.

    • ScienceChick

      Dear Populist, some of us think that there should be a minimal standard of equality for all persons throughout the land. My friends of Mexican descent really don’t want to have to wear a yellow star and carry their birth certificates every time they travel through Arizona.

  • djmeph

    Do any Libertarians or Ron Paul supporters want to address the main point in this article? Frum is not saying that Ron Paul is responsible for the people that support him, in fact, he agrees with Sullivan on that point. He is, however, responsible for the groups of people he is actively involved with in his campaign. It’s one thing to say that a group has the right to exist, it’s a completely different story to actively seek campaign finances from said group. You lie with dogs…

    • Geprodis

      Which dogs are you talking about?

      • Redrabbit

        David Duke. Don Black of Stormfront. The preacher who endorsed Paul who also claimed gays should be executed. All those idiots on Storm Front who raise money for Paul.

        Those dogs.

        • Geprodis

          Ron Paul doesn’t associate with any of those people. Stormfront scum who get a photo op with Ron Paul does not mean he associates with them.

          I admit he is happy to have anyone support him. He is not quick to look at the backgrounds of his supporters.

          I don’t fault him for that.

          I’m interested in the big issues: war and peace, civil liberties, federal spending.

        • Traveler

          A photo op isn’t associating or endorsing?

        • Redrabbit

          Those are your big issues.

          The rights of minorities and the health of the global economy are also big issues. So is ecological destruction at the hands of industry.

          Paul is awful on each of those issues.

      • djmeph

        I’m going to assume this is a troll question since this was clearly stated in the article.

      • Traveler

        The commenter has comprehension problems. Often on the money, but sometimes off the wall.

    • drdredel

      I believe I address this issue in my post below. I don’t state it explicitly, but you’ll find it between the lines.

  • drdredel

    There are those of us who don’t dismiss RP as a “crank” or a “racist” but who are not also Birthers and Holocaust deniers work it out along these lines…

    All politicians are to some extent self serving piece of shit lying scum. (decent people simply refuse to enter into the world of politics). So, our choices are limited and we have to select the least poisoned fruit. While RP’s rhetoric is frequently bizarre, much of his arguments are not only spot-on, but are arguments that for various reasons are simply not touched by either political party. Here we are in 2012 and with all the evidence in (and in and in and in) there’s still no credible candidate that’s saying “it’s time to end our ludicrously self destructive and ineffectual drug prohibition and think of something that works.” That’s just one tiny example.
    When RP says exactly this it doesn’t matter that it sits along side the absurd idea that there’s a cabal working towards the “Amero”. Why? Because it’s just a wacky belief (not unlike the others’ belief in magical Jesus) which he can’t do anything about, or act on. If he were president he would be powerless to actually dismantle the Fed and go back to the gold standard. But he could well push the football towards drug decriminalization, and keeping us out of pointless and costly wars.

    It’s as simple as that. We’re not blind to his wacky side, but it simply isn’t as bad, all things considered, to the brazen corruption and wholesale indifference to the masses’ needs exhibited by the other options.

    I have every intention of voting for Obama at this time, because I’m quite confident that Paul has 0 chance of winning the republican nomination. If he were nominated, I’d actually have to think about who to vote for… so, I’m rooting for him.

    • Geprodis

      +1 exactly. Ron Paul may have some weird beliefs…but as President he would only be able to do good things such as: cut back the military, balance the budget, and protect civil liberties.

      Every other candidate will go put the nation further into debt, bloat the military, and probably go to war with Iran.

      • Redrabbit

        Here is what Paul can do.

        He can say that he will oppose ANY attempt by states to restrict the liberty of gays to get married, or of women to use contraception or get an abortion.

        Until he does that, I don’t take his claims of defending liberty seriously at all. As it is now, all he cares about is defending liberty from the FEDERAL government. If he showed similar enthusiasm for defending liberty from other levels of government, or non government actors I would take the guy a bit more seriously.

        • drdredel

          I believe, technically, that would make him an anarchist. I agree with you that there should be more consistency in the message, but as I said above, we take what we can get, and hope that the balance of power in our government leads to good governance, rather than dictatorial monarchy or (as is now the case) total gridlock.

        • Redrabbit

          I think a Paul presidency would lead to more gridlock than we’ve seen in the past four years, by far. His refusal to compromise isn’t even the beginning of it. It seems VERY unlikely that he would have any kind of workable relationship with the GOP in congress. They demand purity and lockstep behavior, and Paul would certainly not give it to them.

          His relations with Democrats aren’t likely to be any better.

          I suppose he could work with both sides on some specific issues, but I can also see his extreme positions and general unwillingness to compromise making this impossible, because he would burn all his bridges before anything could even get done.

        • drdredel

          @redrabbit,

          You may be right, but I think the evidence is not on your side as it pertains to his intractability or stubbornness. As someone who has been in office for years and years he has not exhibited such behavior. Quite the contrary, he seems to be one of the more pragmatic and practical politicians. You’re correct that the GOP and the Democrats would stand against him, but at their own peril (as the GOP is learning now). You can’t simply obstruct; the public notices and gets angry. So, sure, he’ll propose some wacky nonsense and it will be shot down, but the stuff he makes sense about, they’ll have a hard time simply rejecting.

        • sweatyb

          As someone who has been in office for years and years he has not exhibited such behavior. Quite the contrary, he seems to be one of the more pragmatic and practical politicians.

          He may have been in office for years and years, but I’m pretty sure that he hasn’t managed to author one piece of significant legislation. Looks to me like he mostly shows up, votes along the Republican line, angles for pork for his district, collects his paycheck and goes on TV to bad-mouth the government that he represents.

          You may see it differently, but that’s not much of a legislative record. It’s really hard to imagine a less effective legislator.

        • Redrabbit

          @dredel

          It doesn’t even have to be intentional obstruction. Simple mistrust and anxiety form both parties could make things very difficult. How he acts in a congressional role may be entirely different from how he would act in a presidential one. Also, I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that, in the event of gridlock, the congress would suffer the most in the court of public opinion. If Ron Paul were to cause massive gridlock due to a bid to simply end social security, cold turkey, as it were, I think it is pretty clear who the public would support. Same with medicare.

          Part of the problem with Ron Paul is that many people are just focusing on this handful of issues involving war and a narrow set of civil liberties. There is not nearly enough appreciation of how extreme the rest of his positions are.

    • Primrose

      But that way is madness. To believe in religion which you no doubt got from your parents anyway, is one kind belief, one well incorporated into regular life most of the time.

      However, these paranoid fantasies, are just that and one really, really doesn’t want a paranoid crazy with power.

      Take his ideas if you like. Then, get someone sane to and competent to run with them. There is a difference between being open to a number of sources for good ideas, which is fine, and another to giving the helm to a crank. If there is one thing we know about crazy and power it is that they are a terrible combination.

      I would also mention to those who like him for his attack on corporate corruption. His plan would not take away any actual power from corruptions because he would throw it all up on the market, and thus give business total power in society. No regulation, no support of non-money making ventures, nothing would matter in society but making money. That is totalitarianism and it must be a new form of double speak for totalitarianism to equal freedom.

      • drdredel

        I agree with you 100%, but who are these “idea runners”? At some point it seems it may be worth the risk to hand the reigns to the crank (so long as the rest of the government is still functional and can guide his crankdom) and see what happens.
        As I said, our options at this time are “stay the course — which seems to be leading us off a cliff” or “try something that looks dangerous and untested, but that sounds like it may have potential”. At what point do we throw caution to the wind, and just go with the crazy? It seems to work for Bruce Willis really well in any number of Die Hard movies… :)

        • sweatyb

          Remind me never to let you drive anywhere. Have you considered that we may not be driving off a cliff after all.

        • Traveler

          Dr,

          I share your disgust with current politics, but this is definitely off the wall. Sure, things are dysfunctional now due to the obvious culprits. But to let an uber-dysfunctional at the wheel would help? Surely you jest.

        • Primrose

          To try a radically new idea when the old ones don’t seem to be working is one thing. To put power in the hands of someone you know to be somewhat paranoid and who won’t check those theories with facts is quite another. To do both at the same time has never in the history of all time come out well.

          Personally, I don’t think turning the government back to a 18th century level could be considered a good thing, doing in giant leaps even less so. However, even if you do think it is, you must admit it can only come off well with a very skilled and steady hand. Someone with a a very detailed, reality rich plan, that foresees every negative consequences and to use common parlance has an app for that.

          Mr. Paul won’t even acknowledge the problems, let alone plan for them. The market will solve it is an incantation not reasoned argument.

          Also , what’s his end game? What does a healthy, freer America look like to him? A plastic surgeon might promise me he or she would make me beautiful but if their idea of beauty was quite different than mine, I wouldn’t be happy if they succeeded.

      • Geprodis

        Was not George W. Bush the President? A man who barely knew about WWII was somehow the most powerful person on the world stage?

        George W. Bush is a born-again Christian. But that’s not crazy? You said craziness gets a pass if you learned it as a kid, but George W. Bush became born-again because he was an alcoholic.

        Former alcoholic was our president….

        I have no problem giving Ron Paul Presidential powers.

        I am fearful that Romney, or any of the other candidates that believe Israel is so crucial to our foreign policy. They all think that Israel has something to do with the end of days…and we are going to give these candidates authority to use nuclear weapons?

        As far as Obama goes…he scares me because he is a little young and reckless to be in control of the military. His drone attack joke when he was talking about boyfriend’s for his daughter was eerie.

        • sweatyb

          Was not George W. Bush the President

          Yes. Exactly. Picking incompetents based on their superficial qualities and political affiliation is supremely unwise.

          Oh, wait, you’re arguing that Ron Paul would be at least as good as George W. Bush and you think that’s a pro-Ron Paul argument! Thanks for the chuckle.

        • Traveler

          Logic is not a strong point for some…..

        • Geprodis

          I assumed I was arguing against Republicans – Obama supporters are much easier to argue against.

          Please tell me some differences between Obama and Bush!

          Obama goes slightly to the left of Bush on some social issues, but that’s it.

          I can think of stem cell research, 1 point for Obama.

          Obama and Bush both support the Patriot Act and the NDAA, they both increased military spending, Obama is continuing the Bush policy in the Middle East.

          I can assure you they agree more than they disagree.

        • Redrabbit

          Man, you are like a caricature of the young, naive, Ron Paul supporter.

        • Geprodis

          Redrabbit – I see a lot of ad hominem, not much substance in your attacks.

        • Primrose

          Are you suggesting I think George Bush was a good thing?

        • think4yourself

          @ Geprodis:

          “As far as Obama goes…he scares me because he is a little young and reckless to be in control of the military. His drone attack joke when he was talking about boyfriend’s for his daughter was eerie.”

          Okay, who’s been smoking some of what Ron Paul wants to legalize? Obama is a little young and reckless?

          Let’s see. He’s 50 years old. He has not used American soldiers to invade another country (we can have a further conversation about Lybia if you wish), he (unlike his predecessor) never suggested using nuclear bunker busters, never suggested “enhanced interrogation techniques and has pursued diplomacy over military action. Where has used action (drones – and who cares if the man makes a joke about drones & his daughters, I have a 13 year old daughter I make similar jokes myself) they have been incredibly effective against America’s avowed enemies.

          You’ve been smoking, snorting, and injecting Hannity and Limbaugh far too long. There are things to criticize the President about. Suggesting he is inexperienced regarding the military after 3 years on the job and getting Bin Laden ain’t it.

        • Geprodis

          Obama is young for a President, but mostly I meant that he might do what Bush did, and invade a country without understanding the consequences.

          Let’s be honest here too, Obama didn’t “get” Bin Laden..the military/intelligent agencies got him. They would have got him no matter who the President was.

          Also, I’m not a social conservative so I don’t care about Rush or Hannity.

        • Primrose

          Since the minimum age to be President, is 35, Geopardis 50 is hardly “young for President”. Lincoln was only 52. According to Wikipedia: “The median age of accession is roughly 54 years and 11 month.” This includes Reagan at 69.

          Even our founding fathers were in their late 50’s, and you may remember that first they had to fight a 7 year revolution, and then wander in the wilderness with the articles of confederation.

          Some more differences between Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush. Mr. Obama :

          Ended don’t ask don’t tell
          The Healthcare bill
          A number of environmental laws
          Leaving Iraq
          Getting rid of Quaddafi
          Getting BinLaden
          Does not permit employees to out a CIA spy

          Perhaps, you could try to come up with an actual argument to support your position?

  • Deep South Populist

    Let’s just say for the sake of argument that Ron Paul said “I categorically reject the support of X..” where X is whatever person or group people are complaining about.

    Let’s use Don Black as an example (the owner of the “Stormfront” Web site according to media reports).

    If Ron Paul said “I categorically reject the support of Don Black. His views are not my views. I am returning his money today. I don’t want money from him or people who think like him.”

    What good would it do?

    It would do absolutely ZERO good, because the people who use these guilt-by-association, character assassination, McCarthyite attacks on RP don’t care about truth in the first place.

    If RP gave that answer, the next question would be “so you now admit you were wrong? Why did you wait so long to say it?”

    Just as they haven’t accepted his answers now, they would not accept them then either, nor will they ever accept them.

    Bottom line: you can’t win with @ssholes who use smears and guilt by association tactics.

    • Primrose

      You don’t take stands like that because of the “good that they do”. You take them because they are the right thing to do.

      • think4yourself

        +1

        And by not dissassociating himself, he gives them support and credibility, which helps raise their awareness and allows them to find new recruits, etc.

        It is similar to Obama and Rev. Wright. Someone that Obama should have ended his relationship with as soon as the racist comments came out. What Obama did right is his important speech (until then I did not support him as a candidate – that did it for me).

        If Paul needs to be taken seriously by the mainstream, a speech that both acknowledges that racists have rights under the Constitution but also condemns any association with people who actively work to subjegate other would be perfect.

        But he won’t do it. And you know why.

        • Traveler

          According to our resident libertarian, he gave Stormfront photo ops, which is a pretty explicit endorsement in my book. The photos will go over well in attack ads.

  • Rabiner

    DSP:

    While I agree with that argument and that it would definitely lead to more differences between States on culturally related policies I find it necessary to impede on those State’s Rights issues. What criteria should be used to determine if one State is impeding the rights of a minority under the Federal Constitution and not think that the Federal government is sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong?

    • Deep South Populist

      Rabiner, I think that’s a tough question and the inherent difficulty in addressing that question is the strongest argument against states’ rights. I don’t have time at the moment to answer in detail, but I do believe it would be possible to strike a reasonable balance there.

      I think the way the second amendment is treated around the country is a possible model for how the states rights’ concept could be implemented on other issues that tend to be very divisive. Although guns are available for sale everywhere, some states have very strict gun laws while others have less strict laws. The strict laws tend to be in places where large majorities want strict laws while the reverse is true elsewhere.

      The net effect is that the basic right is protected but without imposing a one-size-fits-all top down solution on the entire country.

      • Primrose

        Here’s the difference for me. Guns are things. Protection of civil liberties regards people. I’m ok with states rights in regards to guns.

        Now if you want to argue that the right isn’t about the gun but the right to take arms against your government, then gun laws are irrelevant, and we can regulate guns away. In that event, I think it could be said that most states have exactly the same stance to the right to take arms, Yes, No, Maybe if you can prove it was self-defense.

  • cheves222

    Whether or not Paul thinks racists, 9/11 Truthers, or whoever are great or terrible, it seems he missed an incredible political opportunity. Most of the electorate doesn’t really know him *that* well. I would wager that most of heard of him but associate him with some kooky stuff about the Fed. Had he come out swinging against the Klanish crowd, he could have diminished some of his fringe baggage. To wit, “I believe in small government, not small-minded racists. I want to end the Fed, not promote bigotry.”

    Good thing he didn’t have the mind-grapes to do so.

    • drdredel

      But in point of fact that actually works really well in his favor. He’s a *terrible politician. That’s precisely what makes him such a strong candidate. People are desperate for someone who simply speaks truthfully about what they see (and doesn’t sound like they’re twisting themselves into pretzels to satisfy some corporate backer, or religious fundamentalist group, which is the case with everyone else in the field). You’re correct, he has missed innumerable opportunities to do the thing you expect a politician to do. And it is also notable that the media, with very few exceptions, plays up all the things he says that are wacky, but gives short shrift to his controversial, but thoroughly sane beliefs.

      • sweatyb

        you need to stop. being a terrible politician is not a qualification for the highest office in the land. it’s childish to think that a person who cannot manage to speak up against the most foul forms of hatred and bigotry is somehow “not doing the things a politician should do”.

        He’s not doing the things a decent human being should do. And he continues to not do them because he’s a wingnut. (Well either that or he’s not a decent human being — but benefit of the doubt here)

        And, on general principle, crazy people should not be put in charge. Sometimes sane people can be asked to do crazy things (that would be your Bruce Willis in Die Hard). But asking crazy people to do sane things is a recipe for disaster.

        • Primrose

          And once again, power destabilizes sanity in the ordinary course of things. You don’t put it in the hands of people who already are a bit unbalanced.

          Also, being a terrible politician is only a moral good if that means you do moral good over political good.

      • Traveler

        dr,

        One bizarre comment is bad enough, but two in a row? You really need to rehumanize yourself. Take the dog for a walk or something. You suffer from some unusual delusion here.

  • Oldskool

    That one of RP’s long time employees died at an early age penniless, without health insurance and without any help from RP is really all anyone needs to know about him. He can play the likeable curmudgeon, but like most every other Republican, he has a mean streak.

    • drdredel

      Are you quite certain that nothing similarly despicable can be said of the other candidates? I would be very surprised if anyone with any power at all isn’t guilty at some point in their life through malice or simply indifference, of something akin to what you describe.

      Obviously you’re free to decide that one (or more) such occurrence is the measure by which you decree whether or not you would consider such a person as your representative in our government, but I wouldn’t be so hasty as I think you will find that you’ll very rapidly have no one to consider at all.

  • Houndentenor

    No, you are not responsible for the actions of your followers and fans. You ARE responsible for what you do, say and publish. Of course Paul attracts some whatadoos. So do most politicians. If you don’t now that, you only know politics from inside the beltway. If you’d ever volunteered for a campaign at the local level you’d know that all around there are some real wierdoes. That is not the fault of the party or the candidate.

    This is a low and unfair shot. Paul IS responsible for publishing racist and homophobic materials in his newsletter. It doesn’t matter who wrote it. He approved it. But he’s no more responsible for the ranting of every supporter than the Beatles are responsible for Charles Manson.

    • Xclamation

      I agree that Ron Paul isn’t responsible for the bigotry of Stormfront or David Duke. That being said, it’s hard to really vote for (or ;like) a guy who doesn’t seem much bothered by being a hero to these jackweeds.

      In my mind this isn’t guilt by association so much as it is guilt of association. Is Ron Paul racist because he’s supported by these groups? No. Is his moral character damaged by his unqualified acceptance of their support. It sure is (as a side note, every non-racist anti-bigot Ron Paul supporter should consider the disservice he does them by valuing Stormfront as much as he does them)

      • Primrose

        Well said Xclamation.

        • Xclamation

          “Well said”

          I think that’s far more praise than is warranted. I just re-read what I posted and that’s by far some of the worst writing I’ve ever done.

          I would just like to apologize to everyone who laid eyes on that mangled post. From here on out I promise never to post a message while trying to make sure my boss isn’t sneaking up behind me.

        • Primrose

          Not sure what you are so disliking.

  • Pareto

    If I had a dollar for every time somebody wrote or said “Paul denounces the Civil Rights Act, therefore, he’s a racist”, I could quit my job. Frum et al still don’t get it. Paul’s rejection of the Civil Rights Act, is a rejection of a collectivist action that in no uncertain terms rides roughshod over the takings clause to the 5th Amendment. For Paul, its not and has never been about race, rather, its been only about the government restricting the individual’s ownership, use, and disposition of private property. The Civil Rights Act is just one example of many pieces of legislation that in effect have eroded civil liberties and private property rights such as those enshrined in the 5th Amendment and has done little to accomplish its original intentions, as Paul has repeatedly pointed out.

    Liberty is a hard pill to swallow for people like Frum. They are afraid people are going to make the wrong decisions, when that is exactly what should happen….always. Wrong decisions have consquences, including failed banks and failed corporations. Nowhere in the Libertarian idea is it thought that anything is “too big to fail.” And I see since his last post that Frum still doesn’t understand Austrian economics because he still believes that government has the prescient knowledge to be able to know all the inter-temporal preferences of individuals, firms, labor, and capital, all the time. I thought this debate was settled back in the 20′s (see Socialist Calculation debate). Yet we are still digging up Keynes because he said, “in the long run, we are all dead.” – which sort of makes deficit spending, and the erosion of purchasing power ok……I guess.

    And hard money is an athema to Frum. Far better for government to fix interest rates and impose a permanent dislocation of capital while punishing savers…at the same time. Brilliant. Its only a $15T debt servicing obligation (significantly less, since according to Krugman we owe most of it to ourselves – so I guess paying me back in cheaper dollars doesn’t matter). Neither Frum or Krugman can believe for a second that government spending is by definition, unproductive. They believe that the collective response to private savers is to spend their money for them. Like Thatcher says, however, “socialism is always a great idea until you run out of other people’s money.” Yet, not until perpetual loose monetary policy is corrected will capital and production repatriate itself to America. That is Paul’s point! It don’t matta what they fix the corporate and/or capital gains tax to. But, I digress.

    These are the substantive issues. Every person of color or otherwise will agree that this is Paul’s wheelhouse, not racism, not Nation hating, not anything……collective. Get a glove Frum and get in the game.

    • Redrabbit

      Okay, how about this…

      Yeah, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does indeed curtail liberty. I, for one, am very glad that it does. It curtails the liberty of racists in favor of the liberty of minorities to actually participate more fully in society, and I consider that a worthwhile trade-off. Any negative effects of the act are outweighed by the positive effects.

      Part of the problem is the simplistic, childlike definition of liberty you get from most libertarians. Liberty is not some kind of monolithic thing. The fact is that, in many cases, one citizens liberty will infringe on that of another. The best thing you can do is minimize the damage.

      I am more than willing to infringe on the liberty of racists when their idea of liberty is to prevent entire groups of people from being a part of society.

      • Pareto

        “The fact is that, in many cases, one citizens liberty will infringe on that of another.” How and when is that even possible, if, you are operating under the Libertarian idea, and not some socialist hybrid of utilitarianism?

        • Traveler

          Oh no, not another purist. Where do these fools come from?

          The closest medical analogy is a frontal lobotomy. This procedure liberates animal impulses from restraints mediated by the frontal cortex such as conscience and an awareness of consequences of action . Surprisingly, people could function quite well (in current society) without most of what many would consider human. It was used for patients whose couldn’t function otherwise. Remarkably similar to Libertarian theology.

        • Redrabbit

          Admittedly off topic, but given your analogy, this came to mind…

          …have you ever noticed that the most extreme ‘anti psychiatry’ groups tend to be made up of a mix between the most far out Libertarians and Scientologists?

        • Redrabbit

          I do consider myself something of a utilitarian, yes. I also find much to admire in positivism and pragmatism. Even Hobbesian philosophy does get it right from time to time.

          But no, I don’t operate under the modern definition of ‘libertarianism’, which often has less to do with Locke, Mill, the Founders, or anyone else, and everything to do with kooky ‘objectivist’ Randian foolishness.

        • Pareto

          ok. So then, how do you operate? And I wish ass-clowns like Traveller above actually made a contribution beyond grade 2 comprehension. For me, I look at how things have actually gone on in government for the last 30 years (about as long as I have been able to distinguish intellectually between actions of the public sector, v. actions of the private sector). Both groups are driven by incentives, however, the public sector has a huge case of moral hazard and fiscal illusion, where their actions are independent of any accountability check, like the market. The cost of government is always going up, but, the cost of my clothes and my computer continues to fall. Moreover, I worked in the public sector (3 years). Nobody does anything! Its a paper shuffle. Projects start, never get done. Studies done, but, never get implemented, and I am sure I could have stayed at home and nobody would have really noticed, or, cared. Just one big bureaucratic redistribution process, and they don’t even get that right!!

          My thought is that we can do better. Way better and with a lot less unproductive action and coercion from government. And since you are a legal positivist, you know we don’t need the EPA, for example, because we had a system that worked really well that protected the environment (common law) until the government legislated property rights away (in Canada) for the sake of the so-called “public interest”.

          We have a decaying healthcare system. Father inlaw still waiting for a prostate procedure (4months!), I can get better care for my dog!, our infrastructure is behind, and when we do conduct it, it costs a bloody fortune and takes forever. 40% of my income is taken from me, and its not clear to me what I am getting for that. I’m a finance guy. This is not a sustainable business model, not by any measure. So, I don’t feel free, because I can’t get ahead no matter how hard I work. Does that make any sense to you? When did we think that a room full of elected officials were capable of ascertaining the “efficient” distribution of wealth across an entire country and 4 time zones? These same people can’t even balance their check books!! Come on! I can’t accept your idea that Libertarianism cannot work. Its never been tried. Whats wrong with negative liberty? When you change the rules people’s behaviour will change. That is what’s productive about incentives. I don’t understand what people are so afraid of. Instead of spending money in an effort to shirk the cost of government which costs everybody in the end, anyways, why not harness that effort into something productive? We could work less, and have more free time. Or, I could work more and save more. Why do I need government to protect me from myself!!? So, here’s the deal. If Ron Paul wins, I will long the US market, hell I might even try to immigrate. If he loses, I will short the US market and especially the dollar. cheers.

        • think4yourself

          Pareto: One citizen’s liberty infringing on another happens all of the time. That is the reason we have government – to deal with those instances.

          Example one. I believe I have the right to drive my car as fast as I want (which is really fast), the State puts limits on what how fast I can drive because my speed endangers other people.

          Example two. (not true). I want to use my home as a car repair shop. While doing so, oil seeps in the ground, and paint from painting cars while not in an OSHA paint booth contaminates the soil and air. My right to earn a living on my own property are endangering other people. The State determines that laws must be set as to what type of economic activity occurs in which areas and under what safety standards.

          Example 3. Big business makes products with safety issues. Because they have deep pockets and a virtually unlimited ability to drag lawsuits on for ever, they can make economic decisions that deaths and injuries are a price they can pay for profits for shareholders. The State set laws that protect individuals from illegal actions of corporations.

          Would you like more?

        • squiddyboy

          But but invisible hand…err….then people can just move to somewhere without polution…uhhh…slavery….civli rights act increased racism…WHO IS JOHN GALT?

        • Pareto

          yeah yeah yeah. no offense but, heard all of that crap before. Look, your neighbor leaks oil into the ground and kills your water table, say. Under the Libertarian or classical liberal framework, you can invoke an injunction against his actions where it would be up to your neighbor to prove his actions were not affecting you or your property. Prior to 1953, a single landowner in Canada could invoke an injuntion (cease and disist) against an entire industry operating nearby, if that industry were polluting the river that ran by or through his property. We legislated those rights away for the protection of jobs and the public interest.

          And just exactly how stewarding has the state been when it comes to public resources anyways? Landuse stewarship has always been exercised far superior under private ownership than it has under public ownership. This is especially the case with the fisheries and the forestry industry. Look what happened to the east coast fishery under the commons. I know that there are issues with oil sands and offshore drilling, but, tell me that the government would have executed any better. No way.

          Right of ways, utlities, things thought only to be public goods can all be handled more efficiently if left to the market place.

          If i can think of one good use for the goernment, it would be to enforce the protection of liberties, and property. Everything else it can take a hiatus. We wouldn’t miss a thing. cheers.

    • rbottoms

      “Paul denounces the Civil Rights Act, therefore, he’s a racist”

      Yep.

    • Houndentenor

      I have actually heard Anarchists make the same argument about the Civil Rights Act and desegregation. I am not convinced. I remember desegregation of the public schools in my home town. (I was starting first grade.) If the local people had their way those schools would still be separate and very unequal. I do like that some on the less government side of politics (left and right: libertarian and anarchist) think so much of human nature. I grew up surrounded by racism and am still shocked returning to East Texas after all these years to year the same slurs and prejudices voices as I did as a child. Things would not have changed without outside force. The country is the better for it.

      • Redrabbit

        Exactly.

        This is why I can never be a libertarian. Libertarianism is right about some things, but people cannot be left to their own devices in all matters. There is a legitimate interest in controlling certain types of group prejudice to defend minorities.

        Perhaps it was on Frum Forum, or it was somewhere else, but someone put it perfectly a few months ago, when discussing this very issue. The said something to the effect of this: What Ron Paul doesn’t seem to realize is that there are many groups who have often depended on the federal government to defend their liberty.

        I think that a huge part of the problem is that many Libertarians see the federal government as the one and only threat to liberty, and that, by definition, nothing else can threaten the liberty of anyone since it is not the federal government.

      • Primrose

        Yes. And this is what I am talking about in Ron Paul’s refusal to face reality. Yes I am an individual but I am also part of a group. It doesn’t matter whether I want to be or not.

        When my foster brother, a large, 6 foot African-American man, walks in a room people make a whole host of assumptions. When I, a short white women walk in the room people make a number of assumptions. They are not the same assumptions. They do not see our commonality, of parents, of schooling, of travel.

        In the best of circumstances, these assumptions will affect how we are perceived in an interview. Sometimes those assumptions will favor him, sometimes me. And yet at this point we haven’t considered who we are as individuals or how we really are different.

        In the worst circumstances, these assumptions will define and limit our lives in dreadful, tyrannical ways. All civil rights law does is prevent the worst circumstances. Not much to ask.

        For many of us, competing simply as an individual is a bit of a luxury. We can’t do it without laws against disqualifying us based on our groups. These libertarian laws won’t increase our liberty, our individualism, it will mean our life is defined by our group.

        • Redrabbit

          +111111

          Seriously.

          Many libertarians utterly fail to see this, especially the part about competing as an individual being a luxury.

          Given that it often IS a luxury, it should be no surprise that so many of the most extreme Libertarians are either dorky guys who THINK they are waaaay more ‘self made’ than they really are, or affluent upper middle class College Republican types who discovered the magic of Ayn Rand during Freshman year.

  • Oldskool

    My Edison model internet machine is messed up.

  • icarusr

    “May Ron Paul at least be judged by the words he has spoken with his own mouth within the current campaign?”

    May Mitt Romney at least be judged by the words he has spoken with his own mouth within the current campaign? Like his lies -documented and proven – about Obama’s foreign policy?

  • icarusr

    [i]“May Ron Paul at least be judged by the words he has spoken with his own mouth within the current campaign?”{/i]

    May Mitt Romney at least be judged by the words he has spoken with his own mouth within the current campaign? Like his lies -documented and proven – about Obama’s foreign policy?

  • Deep South Populist

    Barack Obama renewed the Patriot Act and signed a bill authorizing the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial. Those two acts alone make him far, far worse than Ron Paul will ever be.

    Anyone who believes otherwise is:

    A) a loon

    B) evil

    C) a person who really hasn’t given much thought to whose actions are truly worse (newsletter mismanagement, etc. versus legalizing indefinite Guantanamo-style detentions for American citizens).

    • drdredel

      I don’t think it’s an either or. I reject Paul’s criticism of the Civil Rights act as utopian. I understand his point of view, but it’s simply not based in the real world. When your house is on fire (as the South was for those that needed the protections afforded by the CRA) you can’t sit around debating the finer points of whether the fire dept’s use of gasoline in their trucks is contributing to global warming.

      However, you’re entirely correct that Obama’s complete lack of leadership (I’m being kind, for all I know he supports the Patriot Act, even though he decried it so vehemently when he was originally running) is absolutely pathetic. As a very grateful refugee from the Soviet Union, I am endlessly saddened by how flippantly the US citizenry feels about their civil rights and how eagerly they’re willing to part with them, not realizing that these rights are the one and only thing that separates them from being the very nations they are so eager to drive tanks into and “free”. Democracy without the strictest adherence to the 1st, 4th and 5th amendments is a nonsensical farce.

    • Oldskool

      He aslso blew one American citizen to smithereens and most everyone seemed to be glad he did. What would RP have done?

      • sweatyb

        RP wouldn’t even have known that guy existed because he would have already pulled back and de-funded all our foreign intelligence services. Or maybe “vast network of foreign intelligence agents” is a libertarian plank now.

    • Deep South Populist

      Just to add another point, when people keep relentlessly attacking Ron Paul over his ideas, it naturally invites reverse scrutiny of the other candidates for president and their ideas of which Barack Obama is one himself.

      Here is the progressive writer William Kunstler writing on some of Obama’s other deficiencies apart from his signing the Patriot Act and the indefinite detention bill.

      President Obama, the putative “progressive” – spokesman of the Ivy League, Silicon Valley, Lower Manhattan, and all the other precincts where “folks” imagine themselves to be advanced thinkers – can’t even wrap his mind around the simple fact that we will never be “energy independent” if we think that means running 260 million cars and trucks, no matter how many algae farms we pretend to invest in. Here is man who ought to know better and either doesn’t, or is lying about it. He has other failures to answer for, too. Why, following the Citizens United decision in the Supreme Court, did Mr. Obama not prompt his party to sponsor federal legislation (or a constitutional amendment) that would redefine a corporation as not identical in “personhood” to a human being? Why does he still employ an Attorney General who has not started one prosecution for financial misconduct amid a panorama of arrant swindling and fraud? (Ditto: heads of the SEC, CFTC, etc.) And why did he not object loudly to the provision in the latest defense appropriations bill that allows for the capricious arrests and indefinite detention of anyone in the USA on suspicion of “terrorism?” Does this graduate of Harvard Law remember what habeas corpus means?

      If it is a matter of priorities, well then Obama has given us and will give us an agenda that serves these priorities: 1) more war on terror, 2) more war on drugs, 3) no cuts in defense spending, 4) no wall street prosecutions, 5) laws that allow for future bailouts of wall street (Dodd Frank), 6) no effort to overturn citizens united.

      • Oldskool

        What would RP have done?

        • drdredel

          That’s an excellent question. Another one would be “what would candidate Obama have done?” Certainly NOT what president Obama did! So, now we know what President Obama would (and did) do. Would Paul succumb to the same pressures? Possibly, but how can we know until we give him a chance to fail the same way?

        • Oldskool

          That’s my point. Shrub was going to be a compassionate conservative and he was neither. Every election a new generation discovers that promises rarely translate into policy.

        • sweatyb

          Pretty sure you’re overstating the difference between Candidate Obama and President Obama.

        • Primrose

          Because you are willing to overlook all of Mr. Paul’s very problematic views because of he might have a different stance on this one issue. If he doesn’t end up following through, we have paid a heavy price for nothing.

          And seriously DSP, how much more could Mr. Obama take on, or expect to get done without a filibuster proof majority?

      • Traveler

        DSP,

        Sure gotta appreciate your catholic taste in readings, even we don’t agree on the implications a lot of the time. Kunstler is a little over the top though. Too much doom and gloom. His apocalyptic vision will take a little longer to play out than he expects, if ever.

        BTW, BO objected to the provisions you mention, and got a few important changes. See the signing statement. He basically gets to overrule that which he disagrees with.

    • sweatyb

      I don’t know if you can directly compare Obama to Paul, seeing as running a newsletter is the zenith of Ron Paul’s executive experience.

      RP talks a lot, but he hasn’t done anything for anyone outside of getting pork projects for his district.

      • Deep South Populist

        People made the same argument about Obama. I think Obama has proven that substantial executive experience is not very important.

        • sweatyb

          Sigh. People made that same argument, and Obama won them over.

          I am not arguing that Ron Paul is not qualified to be president because he has no executive experience. I am arguing that Ron Paul has never done anything at all except be a blowhard crackpot. And he’s running for President as a blowhard crackpot. And you seem to think having a blowhard crackpot as President would be a good thing.

          But you probably voted joyfully for Bush.

        • Geprodis

          You’re not arguing anything. You are just name calling.

    • Primrose

      How do you know he wouldn’t sign it once he got in office? Mr. Obama said he was against it and signed it, as you pointed out. It is just as likely that Mr. Paul would be similarly convinced.

  • Redrabbit

    I suppose it comes down to priorities.

    Ron Paul supporters, and non-supporting apologists such as Glenn Greenwald, think that supporting Paul is defensible because of his positions on a handful of issues.

    I disagree, and I’m sure many liberals disagree as well, and I think the very foundation of that disagreement is this: no matter how good he is on issues of war or drug legalization, the rest of his positions are so incredibly toxic and indefensible that he is completely contaminated by them.

    Anyone who would be okay with letting states outlaw consensual sexual activity between adults, just so long as the states are the ones doing it, show be nowhere near any elected office. Seeing such an individual as a champion of liberty is a horrific, funhouse mirror parody of the very concept of liberty.

    Ron Paul simply opposes federal power on principle. He would have no problem with locally grown totalitarianism on the state level.

    Further, putting us on the gold standard is insane. I think it was Glenn Loury that called that the economic equivalent to young Earth creationism.

    • Geprodis

      Totalitarianism at the State Level? I don’t think you know what that word means.

      • Traveler

        Think for a second.

      • Redrabbit

        Let’s say a state government mandate that gays should be executed, birth control pills were illegal, everyone had to attend a specific church on Sunday, no one could express disagreement with anything ‘biblical’, and everyone had to pass a religious litmus test for office.

        Would you not consider THAT totalitarian?

  • indy

    Paul would be a disaster of epic proportions. A few people who I would otherwise consider clear-eyed in most matters seem to fall for the destructive nature of Paul just because he seems honest or self-consistent or different. Look how many comments have some variation of ‘Despite being whacky in some areas I’m sure it would all turn out for the best…’. No, it wouldn’t.

    • Redrabbit

      I think a good question for those people is this: What, exactly, do you think would actually happen if we went back on the gold standard and cut over half of military spending? AND if we did it on the sort of timetable that Ron Paul probably has in mind?

      Most of the Paul supporters I encounters are the anti-war/pro-pot young people, who have never given much thought to the consequences of Paul’s economic policy.

      Just to be clear, I am in favor of winding down our massive war machine, but I have serious doubts about the indiscriminate and probably rapid way Paul would do this, with little thought given to the kind of impact that taking that much government spending out of the economy would have.

      • drdredel

        I think it boils down to what level of cataclysm you feel our nation currently faces, and reasonable people can disagree. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide, Arthur, in an act of last second random desperation throws the improbability drive switch to “on”, just before the Heart of Gold is struck by nuclear missiles. His rationale is “what harm could I possibly do, given the certain alternative?”.

        I am not so sure we have yet arrived at this point-of-no-return in our current state, but we’re definitely headed there. So, you may be right, it may be idiocy to elect someone who is so chock full of wacky ideas, but what exactly is the alternative, given the abject refusal of anyone else in our very VERY streamlined government, where no dissenting opinion is allowed, to speak truth to power?

        Consider that he’s just one man, who, if in “charge” would have very little actual power to do much of anything other than have the bully pulpit. And electing him would release a LOT of steam from an otherwise slowly rising party of cookery, which, eventually will have all sorts of voting power and could do a lot of actual damage. In a world of “nothing’s perfect”, I don’t see this as being such a terrible option.

        And Indy, I’m not clear on why you feel our current path will “turn out for the best”. I see no evidence of this outcome as our current prospect. You’re arguing for “the devil we know”… I can sympathise, but really… that’s as strong as your argument can be at this time, so, I don’t see any reason to discount the alternative with such gusto.

        • Deep South Populist

          Keep in mind RP would have the authority to end the wars immediately and not order new wars. There would be no Iraq II in Iran under a RP administration. Even if RP could not do nothing else without cooperation from the Congress, he could at least make those two decisions immediately. He could pursue a foreign policy much less likely to consume billions or trillions in treasure, lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths, or possibly embroil the United States in WW3.

        • sweatyb

          Or… his extreme isolationism could leave a giant power vacuum around the world. The ensuing power struggles between Britain, Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan, Korea etc which spur ever more violent confrontations and lead to World War 3.

          It’s pretty easy to dream up apocalyptic scenarios.

        • Deep South Populist

          Except I’m not “dreaming” anything up.

          A possible hot war with Iran is in the news every day, with Obama giving indicators he is open to the possibility of a hot war on Iran while he carries on his illegal covert war in the meantime.

          And BTW, I haven’t voted for a Republican for president since 1996 when I was barely 18 years old.

        • sweatyb

          We are not fighting a “covert war” with Iran. Unless you have access to some top-secret intelligence the rest of the world isn’t privy to, you’re just being a paranoid delusional.

          On the one hand we have Frum complaining that Obama is being to easy on Iran and DSP complaining that Obama is being too belligerent. I’m pretty sure that means he’s doing things exactly right.

          The reason war with Iran is in the news every day is the incredibly irresponsible behavior of the Republican nominees (except Paul) as they try to paint Obama as weak on national defense. Obama himself has seemed well-measured on the issue of Iran; if you are hearing war drums from the White House I suggest you talk to your doctor about upping your meds.

        • drdredel

          @sweatyb,

          Ok, all RP issues aside, I think you’re really missing the mark on Iran. You’re right that Obama isn’t out there beating the war drums, but he’s not exactly making it plain that we’ll never attack them, unless they actually *do something against us (or our allies). Quite the contrary, he’s stated that all options are on the table. So, it’s in no way paranoid to understand that to mean that he’s open to a military intervention. I was equally confident that the Iraq war was all just bluster before we actually went and started bombing them! And while reasonable people can disagree, I think it’s entirely rational to argue that Iran, actually, poses no threat at all, and all this attention paid to their nuclear program is much ado about nothing.

          Also from my post above regarding my overstatement of candidate obama’s differences from president Obamas, I asure you I’m not overstating anything. The issues that happen to be most important to me, as a voter, are the ones that relate to our national integrity. Fiscal policy, social policy, infrastructure policy, those all come and go (yes, they’re very important, but to me they’re secondary). What is MOST important is that we adhere to our fundamental principles as they pertain to our rights to due process, and freedoms from oppression. Candidate Obama made it very clear that he too shares these beliefs and that he holds these principles dear. He was outraged (to the extent ot which Obama is ever “outraged”) by Abu Grahab, by our rendition policies, by the Patriot Act, and kept talking about how he wouldn’t have invaded Iraq.

          And here we are 4 years later and he’s done a lot of good on the afore mentioned SECONDARY things, but on the issues of greatest importance we are gleefully sliding down that oh-so slippery slope, with him happily leading the charge.

          What am I supposed to think or do? I don’t *feel like a crackpot. I feel like I have first hand knowledge of what happens when you toss your rights away. Or when you don’t fight tooth and nail to not let any of them slip away. Maybe I’m overreacting. Or maybe history has shown that every time populations get complacent, ruthless dictators come and step on them.

        • sweatyb

          I understand. Bush sold the country a bill of goods and it’s made you paranoid that every president is secretly like him.

          Obama has not taken the threat of military force off the table for a couple reasons. One being that as soon as he does, Israel will start freaking out. Another is because it works really well. Asking nicely doesn’t work. International sanctions do have a small effect. But the threat of being deposed by an overwhelming military force is pretty much the only thing the clerics in Iran are worried about.

          What is MOST important is that we adhere to our fundamental principles as they pertain to our rights to due process, and freedoms from oppression.

          I’m assuming that like our newly resident libertarian troll Geprodis, you are referring to the NDAA and stuff like the TSA. I would remind you that Obama is signing legislation voted on by two completely independent Congressional bodies and subject to judicial oversight.

          You may want to heap this all on Obama, but our system of representative government is producing these laws.

          And here we are 4 years later and he’s done a lot of good on the afore mentioned SECONDARY things, but on the issues of greatest importance we are gleefully sliding down that oh-so slippery slope, with him happily leading the charge.

          This is all on you. Where’s the happily leading the charge? I don’t see it. My impression of Obama at this juncture is that he is a pragmatist with an intense focus on making the country stronger and healthier than when he took office. And a war with Iran would be about as disastrous for this country as electing Ron Paul.

          I don’t *feel like a crackpot.

          Look you may not feel like a crackpot, and from your posts here I would say you aren’t. But you do sound like a crackpot at the end there. Where you’re suggesting that Obama is going to reveal himself to be a ruthless dictator in his second term.

          Replacing Obama, who has shown himself to be capable on foreign policy and who has also deferred to Congress on much of his domestic agenda, with Ron Paul in order to avoid tyranny is an odd choice.

          History has shown us that tyrants come from populist movements led by iconoclasts cult-of-personality types who use general dissatisfaction and unhappiness to push for radical and immediate alterations to fundamental attributes and responsibilities of government. Sound like anyone we know?

          If you want a dictator, vote for someone who wants to change everything now.

  • Ron Paul And Good Craziness | Poison Your Mind

    [...] everyone on the Internet is all mad at each other about whether Ron Paul is a racist. David Frum doesn’t much like that Andrew Sullivan branded Frum a McCarthyite; Frum does like Ta-Nehisi Coates’ comparison [...]

  • jeremyh

    David,

    I agree that Paul has cynically used race to gain support from a certain demographic, and that this is a problem. One question, If this were not true, would you still disqualify him as a candidate? I think you should highlight the real issues where you disagree with Paul, which I suspect are economic philosophy and the role of the military in U.S. foreign policy. Paul is the only candidate challenging the consensus of continual war and activist military intervention. The race issue is real, but to those of us who think we shouldn’t have troops in afghanistan and shouldn’t go to war with Iran, the military issue is more important, particularly since no one else in either party is talking about it. If Paul were actively supporting racism right now, that would be different. And I’m not voting for Paul (I’m voting for Obama); I disqualify Paul on the economic issue – too bad, otherwise I’d support him in spite of my disagreements with him on limited government.

    • Redrabbit

      Paul is pretty lucky that most Americans are actually quite uninformed AND apathetic about the details of economic policy. If most of them knew what he was really proposing they would likely be terrified.

      • Geprodis

        All the other candidates, including Obama, are trashing our rights.

        The Patriot Act makes it okay for the government to spy on you.

        The recently signed NDAA allows the government to arrest you and treat you like a terrorist.

        Obama wanted to stay in Iraq but the Iraqi government said no. Obama was ready to stay in Iraq another 4 years at least.

        Obama has sent more troops to Afghanistan, is on the course for a war with Iran in his second term.

        Obama and Romney are “pretty lucky that most Americans are actually quite uninformed AND apathetic”

        Obama won the white house because he was the anti-war candidate. Now what is he?

        • sweatyb

          Nothing you say has any bearing on Paul’s economic ideas.

        • Geprodis

          Paul’s economic plans is basically cut taxes, cut spending. But actually cut spending unlike other Republicans. who cut taxes but raise spending.

          I notice how you don’t argue against my attacks on Obama, your candidate.

          You know he has failed on civil liberties, but, you’ll give him a pass there.

          Obama is a warmonger, but no, you say he has a reasoned approach to Iran. Yes, he knows he will lose election if he invades in first term, so he waits until the second term.

          Obama is spending money we don’t have and sending the bill to China.

          Obama is making America weaker.

        • sweatyb

          You have no idea what Ron Paul’s plan is, do you? It’s on his website. You might want to check it out. Basically he’s only going to cut your taxes if you’re a corporation or you have really rich relatives who die. And in return for not having your taxes cut, you get to not receive any of the services that the federal government provides!

          Obama is spending money we don’t have and sending the bill to China.

          Wow. Everything you said here is wrong.

          Obama is a warmonger

          I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

        • Geprodis

          What happened to defending Obama? Everything I said is wrong…so he’s not spending money we don’t have? You can say red is blue if you want, but you won’t convince anyone but yourself.

          Warmonger means you are looking to start a war.

          I know what Paul’s plan, and it is basically cut taxes and cut spending. I could have just told you exactly what’s on his website. You want to believe I don’t understand his plan because you don’t!

          You’re really angry at Obama for being a failure, and you want to attack Paul because he makes Obama’s failure palpable.

          I know you don’t like the idea of rich people getting to keep their money. You would rather it burn then they keep it I’m sure.

        • rbottoms

          Yes, yes.

          FrumForum is just crawling with disappointed Obama supporters.

        • jakester

          Trouble is the last few economic downturns were a result of financial market hanky panky, starting with the S & L mass fraud of late 80s to 2008. They resulted from massive deregulation of the financial markets. NONE OF THE CANDIDATES on the right have the right solution since THEY ALL FAVOR MORE DEREGULATION, as well as capital gains tax cuts to further enrich the swindlers. RP’s “solution” to this is the same as his one for pollution, use civil courts after the fact to recover damages, the least effective idea of the millenium, which is far worse than even Romney.

        • smajor

          The government doesn’t have a budget constraint. They PRINT MONEY. Our foreign debt as a portion of our total debt is pretty small and that’s really a trade deficit issue. The rest is debt that we owe ourselves.

          You know when debt is really bad? When you don’t have control over your currency. You know, like Italy and Greece. Switching to the gold standard, as Ron Paul wants to do , would mean that our ability to pay our debt would be no longer certain and we’d start to see interest rises like Italy has seen. It’s a terrible idea. But that’s not a big surprise, because for every good idea Ron Paul has, he has two or three awful ones.

          He sounds like a good candidate sometimes. At other times he sounds like a racist. And at other times he sounds like a conspiracy-theory-driven crank.

  • dittbub

    When I read andrew sullivan I HEAR his voice in my head

  • rbottoms

    [blockquote]
    As I often do on this blog, I’d like journey back to the Crack era–the late 80′s and early 90′s –when the general sense was that the black youth of America had lost their minds. All across our cities, young black men were bleeding in the streets. All of us had friends who were dead or jailed. All of our high school classes included at least one young woman who was a mother or about to be. All the brothers were out.

    It was a good time to be young and angry, to retreat to into the audio chaos of Chuck D, retreat into the writings of Malcolm X, and fantasize about revolution. The verdict of the young held that our leadership was desolate–boycotting South Carolina for some expected slight, trying to secure entrance into a country club, picketing Denny’s, or fighting over Affirmative Action at Harvard Law. We didn’t know anyone at Harvard Law, and so we fumed. What we wanted was a great messenger who would talk to us, instead of talking to white people. You see, whatever our anger, we were American (though we would have said different) and believed in our talent to reinvent ourselves and compete with the world.

    The need was real. And the man who best perceived that need — Louis Farrakhan — preached bigotry, and headed a church with a history of violence, and patriarchal and homophobic views. We knew this. Some of us even endorsed it. A few of us debated about it. But, ultimately we didn’t care. Farrakhan–and his cadre of clean disciplined black men and modest, chaste black women–spoke to our deep, and inward, sense that we were committing a kind of slow suicide, that–as the rappers put it–we were self-destructing.

    Throughout the late 80s and early 90s, Farrakhan’s beguiled young African-Americans. At the height of his powers, Farrakhan convened a national meeting of black men on the Mall. (Forgive my vagueness. The number is beside the point. It was a group of dudes.) The expectation, among some media, was for violence. What they got instead was a love-in. I was there. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of walking from my apartment at 14th and Euclid, down 16th street, and seeing black women, of all ages, come out on the street and cheer. I can’t explain the historical and personal force of that. It defied everything they said we were, and, during the Crack Era, so much of what we had come to believe.

    During Farrakhan’s heights in the 80′s and 90′s, national commenters generally looked on in horror. They simply could not understand how an obvious bigot could capture the imagination of so many people. Surely there were “good” Civil Rights leaders out there, waging the good fight against discrimination. But what they pundits never got was that Farrakhan promised something more–improvement, minus the need to beg from white people. Farrakhan promised improvement through self-reliance–an old tradition stretching back to our very dawn. To our minds, the political leaders of black America had fled the field.

    I’ve thought a lot about Farrakhan, recently, watching Ron Paul’s backers twist themselves in knots to defend what they have now euphemistically label as “baggage.” I don’t think it makes much sense to try to rebut the charges here. No minds will be changed.

    Still let us remember that we are faced with a candidate who published racism under his name, defended that publication when it was convenient, and blamed it on ghost-writers when it wasn’t, whose take on the Civil War is at home with Lost-Causers, and whose take on the Civil Rights Act is at home with segregationists. Ostensibly this is all coincidence, or if it isn’t, it should be excused because Ron Paul is a lone voice speaking on the important issues that plague our nation.

    I have heard this reasoning before.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/01/the-messenger/250685/
    [/blockquote]

    • drdredel

      Farrakhan is a terrific analogy except that I don’t recall him ever saying *anything that made any sense. It’s not enough to just be a crackpot for this analogy to really work. You have to also bring some really good ideas to the table ALONG with the crackpotism.

      I’m not sure if I’m one of the “crawling” disgruntled Obama supporters you refer to. I voted for him and see very little reason to suspect I’ll be doing otherwise in November. But I am disappointed by very specific tacts he’s taken and have expressed clearly why. If Paul can come along and shed light on these matters and force Obama to at least explain himself (note, none of the other candidates will do that since they’re squarely on the worst side of things than Obama is), I see that as a good thing!

      It’s not as though RP is actually getting elected! (sheesh).

      • rbottoms

        Farrakhan is a terrific analogy except that I don’t recall him ever saying *anything that made any sense.

        I am going to assume you’re not a black person. The NOI preach:

        - get an education
        - protect your women
        - live a godly life
        - don’t ask the white man for a thing

        A million black men came to Washington out of hunger for just such a message.

        Too bad the messenger was an a**hole.

        Like Ron Paul.

        • drdredel

          My not being black is entirely besides the point. Being someone who was very vivid memories (and visible scars) from actively and routinely beingabused for his ethnicity between the ages of 3 and 7 at the hands of Soviet anti-Semites, I can asure you that I am more sensitive to the plight of American blacks than many American blacks!

          However, the messages you highlight as being helpful are at best jingoistic blather and at worst racist claptrap.

          In any event, this conversation is becoming awkward as I’m suddenly left in charge of defending Ron Paul against all his (rather obvious) flaws. I don’t think he would make a good president, for all the obvious reasons listed in this thread. I think it’s fantastically short sighted to dismiss his arguments ad hominem, because he’s associated with some really unfortunate and rather idiotic positions (both past and present). I know it’s difficult to separate the man from the idea, but it’s worth doing so in this case, since no one else is willing to espouse these ideas in the mainstream.

        • rbottoms

          I can asure you that I am more sensitive to the plight of American blacks than many American blacks!

          Nobody knows the trouble I’s seen, nobody knows my sorrow.

        • Primrose

          But Dr. Dredel, I could say the same about Mr. Paul. I don’t hear anything that he says that makes such wonderful sense.

          Get out of all wars. Great! Super! But how precisely do we manage the very real threats we have? Where’s the plan to deal with Iran once it has the bomb that Mr. Paul is comfortable about their having? It’s a valid position but again, it demands a plan, thought, careful consideration.

          So we stop all foreign aid, how do we influence without violence then?

          Retreat into our hole? It doesn’t work. Bhutan can do it because they are up a mountain. Switzerland can do it because they help people hide their money. This is a global world and we are a large, bi-coastal nation (and we got enemies who won’t be able to resist scoring a few points on the old power). Maybe Omaha can isolate itself but New York and California can’t.

          There has got to be more to this theory than the guy at the bar with a double scotch, telling anyone near how he’d fix it.

        • drdredel

          @rbottoms
          “nobody knows my sorrow…”

          If you’re suggesting that I mentioned my past to pull at your heart strings, I assure you that wasn’t my intention. You brought up (quite pointlessly) that I’m not black, I then offered my bonafides in the realm of social injustice to assuage your discounting of my opinion based on a lack of perspective. Nothing more.

        • drdredel

          @Primrose

          “I don’t hear anything that he says that makes such wonderful sense.”

          Paul (as far as I can recall) was the only politician with a national presence to state that “they hate us for our freedom” is idiocy, and that there’s a lot to be learned from “why” they hate us. He’s wrong about all sorts of things, but he’s right when he says that we’re giving up our civil liberties left and right, every time the TSA or the NSA or the CIA says “boo”. This isn’t saloon drivel. These are valid and incredibly important points.

          I don’t want to get side tracked by Iran, in this conversation, so, I won’t address that specific topic, but suffice it to say that there is virtually no deep policy analysis in any of the campaign rhetoric (including Obama’s). Everything is 5 words sound bites. Granted, many of Paul’s sound bites are particularly stupid. I’ve acknowledged this several times, happy to do it again. I’m not suggesting he’s the answer to our national problems, I’m suggesting he’s observing some very important problems and shedding light on them. Who else in the GOP field is doing this? The rest of them are too busy spraying each other in the face with seltzer from their lapel daisies.
          So, no, it’s true, we can’t just [fill in any simplified policy here] but other than Paul, no one in our government is holding our government accountable for any of the terrible mistakes it has made over the last 10 years. Would he do something about it if he were president? I would really hope not to have to find out… but if he forces Obama to rethink some of his positions, or at least answer to them in a public forum, I’d be very grateful to him.

        • Deep South Populist

          He’s wrong about all sorts of things, but he’s right when he says that we’re giving up our civil liberties left and right, every time the TSA or the NSA or the CIA says “boo”. This isn’t saloon drivel. These are valid and incredibly important points.

          I agree with you these are incredibly important points, but many other people clearly do not agree. I find that chilling.

        • sweatyb

          Has Paul said he’d do away with the intelligence agencies? Or are you projecting that onto him.

          Here’s the one-liner from his website: Guarantee our intelligence community’s efforts are directed toward legitimate threats and not spying on innocent Americans through unconstitutional power grabs like the Patriot Act.

          I assure you the NSA and the CIA are directing their attention toward “legitimate” threats. Is Ron Paul going to personally oversee every intelligence operation in this country? Because nothing in his platform suggests that he’s going to do away with these agencies (or even cut their budgets).

          I’d be happy to do away with the security theater that is the TSA’s airport screening procedures. But obviously, some screening needs to be done and airline industry is not capable of doing it itself. Likewise I am not opposed to having a national agency that’s in charge of securing our transportation infrastructure.

          That Ron Paul would do away with that agency altogether suggests that maybe he doesn’t know what the duties of the TSA actually are. Much like his call to eliminate the DoE, HUD, Commerce, Interior, and Education departments.

        • Geprodis

          +1 again. It is difficult to defend Paul because he is a fanatic. His foreign policy and protection of civil liberties is VERY important though.

          Romney and Obama are terrible choices because of their foreign policy and feigned protection of civil liberties. I can’t vote for either of them because they want to expand the military, attack Iran, they both spit on the Bill of Rights, not to mention they will continue to raise the debt and deficit.

        • nuser

          Paul Robeson? I am also thinking Porky and Bess. enlighten us please! Whatever it is , hauntingly beautiful. Remember ol’ man river? There’s an old man called the Mississippi …

        • Primrose

          It is not that I am happy with the erosion of civil liberties. It is that I don’t think say saying it on the campaign trail means much. (And lots of people do protest, they just don’t have large followings.) So did Mr. Obama, and since he voted against Iraq, he had also proven himself on other issues. Tell me where is Mr. Paul going to put all those people who are now too dangerous (yes many because we made them so) since the Republican majority refuses to let them come to America. How are we going to provide trials when trials are blocked? Eric Holder really, really, really wanted to try Khalil Mohamad in NYC. And then he had to back down.

          We no longer can think that it is simply a matter of waving a pen to undo the problems of the Bush Administration. I don’t think Mr. Obama realized that, and so had no plan to deal with it.

          I don’t know precisely what made Mr. Obama change. I suspect he doesn’t know what to do with all those enemies we created, or legitimate enemies we tortured and so can’t put to trial. But then I also suspect there are power centers that are difficult to block. And of course, when you get there and get all the information, I imagine a certain amount of panic sets in. And these powers seem like the easy button.

          But all of that is just as likely to happen to Mr. Paul because he does not think beyond the crank stage.

          As to other thoughts, do I really need to tell any regular here that I don’t support the Republican new passion for war with Iran? Having said that, Mr. Obama not taking military action off the table is not warmongering. Who hasn’t learned the lesson of Truman not mentioning Korea in his speech?

          You may not think much of the idea of containment but it has reams and reams of plans, papers and game plans behind it. I know I studied it them in IR back when we were trying to contain the Soviet Union.

          You want to abandon Israel. OK. That means that either Israel disappears or there is a nuclear war in the Middle East, as a desperate and abandoned Israel tries to nuke back its enemies. And if you really believe that such an event won’t affect us, think of oil availability. It will disappear or do you think by not supporting Israel, they will like us again? They haven’t forgiven us for the crusades (which their guy started by an act of religious vandalism). Memory is long in that part of the world.

          Mr. Paul espouses ideas no better than Mr. Farrakhan’s. (He wasn’t trying to solve the world’s problems, just African-Americans.) And like Mr. Coates, I heard the same type of arguments for him in college.

          As to the phrase, I am more sympathetic than some black people…Please, Dr. Dredel, well-meaning white person to well-meaning white person, don’t say this, please. I mean never again. Trust me on this. If you want to say that as a Jew in the Soviet Union, I know what it is to have the forces of the state ranged against me, that’s fine. That is true. That speaks only for your experience.

          Saying that you are more sympathetic to the plight of African-Americans than some African-Americans, it isn’t true. How do you know? But more importantly, it makes a claim repeated by racists everywhere, that you are superior, you even do Black better than Black people. That’s how it scans and that is how it will always be taken.

        • nuser

          Black americans real enemy is Willard , because his bible tells him so!

        • jakester

          Too bad they undercut that standard old fashioned white middle class message by rallying around a complete scumbag & his vile faith. Might explain why so few people, besides white MTV hat backwards types of fools, look to the ghetto for anything beyond some dime store rap “philosophy”

        • Primrose

          Why do you assume that message is peculiar to the white middle class?

      • rbottoms

        If Paul can come along and shed light on these matters and force Obama to at least explain himself (note, none of the other candidates will do that since they’re squarely on the worst side of things than Obama is), I see that as a good thing!

        Except you can’t divorce Paul from his newsletters.

        I can tell you at least 20% of the population won’t give a crap if Ron Paul said the sun rose in the east, any more than if David Duke or George Wallace said the same thing. The idea that Paul is some kind of disinfectant to the political process is bullsh*t.

        F*** Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Stormfront, and American Renaissance.

      • Redrabbit

        The impression I got from the TNC column, which is pretty good, is this: it’s not so much that Farrakhan had any good ideas, but his appeal was rooted by appealing to a legitimate sense of grievance, even if his narrative about it was loony. This works as an analogy because both of them seem to be, at least to their supporters, the only people who are pointing out that the system, as it is, is not working and that something else should be tried.

        This is a large part of the Ron Paul appeal. Everyone KNOWS that many parts of the current system are broken, but Paul does seem to be the only one willing to point that out, even if his prescriptions for fixing it are utter foolishness.

    • Geprodis

      My eyes have successfully rolled.

    • Deep South Populist

      Coates’ comparison to Louis Farrakhan is interesting. Like RP, Louis Farrakhan is another one that has never particularly bothered me. People get hysterical about the man because he often tells the truth in a blunt way. Although I don’t agree with everything Louis Farrakhan says, you often get more honesty from him in 15 minutes most “mainstream” pundits and analysts give you in a lifetime.

      • squiddyboy

        I think that you’re proving TNC’s point EXACTLY. Sure LF said some things that made sense but he was too involved in the world of UFO cultism, numerology, and anti-Semitism (among other things) to be a viable voice in the modern world.

        Paul is right about war. Several of his points regarding personal freedoms are irrefutably true but they come from a man who was either a) a severely racist dingbat of the lowest order or b) an amoral troll using the right’s most sinister compulsions for advancement.

        RP and his supporters are right in saying that his views on the drug wars and the death penalty would actually benefit minorities. But let’s not forget about his daffy economic policies that would probably benefit no one in the long run.

        Let’s not settle for this crank as a “passable” voice of reason. He is neither passable nor a voice for reason. Let’s insist on a voice for change that didn’t spend a good part of the 90′s decrying whenever MLK was called “Dr” or spreading sub-literate rumors about Black assassins stalking DC with AIDS filled syringes.

        • Deep South Populist

          Farrakhan’s views on numerology are less important to me than his message on education, work, discipline, family and avoiding drugs and alcohol.

        • squiddyboy

          Call me crazy, but maybe there are people out there who have the same views on education and good living but aren’t into UFO conspiracies, praising Robert Mugabe, Holocaust denial, or thinking H1N1 is a government created bio-weapon.

          Maybe those are the people we should listen to and not a ghoul like Farrakhan.

        • Deep South Populist

          UFO conspiracies, praising Robert Mugabe, Holocaust denial, or thinking H1N1 is a government created bio-weapon.

          So many of Louis Farrakhan’s statements have been twisted and distorted over the years I would have to see exactly what he said about those matters and the full context before I could agree with you. For example, people have claimed that Louis Farrakhan once praised Hitler. This is untrue. People have also claimed that Louis Farrakhan said “Judaism is a gutter religion” when what he actually said was “Zionism is a gutter religion.” There is clearly a difference between those two statements.

        • rbottoms

          Yes, but it is inseparable from the numerology and anti-Jewish crap.

          No matter how much bread you make it with a sandwich with even a little bit of sh*t is a sh*t sandwich. Ron Paul’s tasty new confections have his newsletters as the creamy center.

        • sweatyb

          +1 for sh*t sandwich

        • jakester

          Franco, Petain, and Hitler had similar attitudes towards education, work, discipline, family and avoiding drugs and alcohol. Most tyrants have similar attitudes. They want a bunch of disciplined indoctrinated followers but with some basic competencies they can exploit.

          As well as Farrakahn has explicitly denounced Jews many times in no uncertain terms, and his ghetto scam version of Islam has anti-semitism written into their bible/koran. So don’t insult your intelligence by spinning him as merely a critic of Israel.

        • Primrose

          I am not freaked out by Mr. Paul either. However, Mr. Farrakhan was not running for President. Therein lies the difference for me. I am not saying we need to revoke Mr. Paul’s right of free speech, let him talk. Like Mr. Farrakhan, I will vigorously oppose those parts I disagree with or find plumb crazy.

          There is a world of difference between taking a few ideas from someone and making them one of the most powerful people on the planet.

        • squiddyboy

          So many of Louis Farrakhan’s statements have been twisted and distorted over the years I would have to see exactly what he said about those matters and the full context before I could agree with you

          Hate:
          http://www.adl.org/special_reports/farrakhan_own_words2/on_jews.asp

          UFO lunacy/more hate (ironically this video was posted by an similarly demented race crazed Obama basher)
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qynaDM8_E2Q&feature=related

          LF blows the lid off of the vaccine conspiracy:
          http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2009/10/19/Farrakhan-suspicious-of-H1N1-vaccine/UPI-63931256011008/

          LF and MUGABE=BFF’s?
          http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_4976.shtml

        • Geprodis

          Very curious which candidate you are supporting Squiddyboy.

        • squiddyboy

          Well I believe that of the two viable GOP candidates (none of which I will be voting for btw) Romney is the least likely to kick start CRUSADES: MILLENNIUM EDITION PART 2, dabble in Jesus style Sharia, or appoint a fetus to the supreme court.

          Look, RP is right about a lot of things. But he is wrong about a whole lot more. He is a utopian. His penchant for lawlessness would bring exactly that. I am also strongly anti-war but a planet Earth without American power brings its own problems. There is a middle ground between Paulite and neocon.

  • What I’m Reading Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | Rationally Thinking Out Loud

    [...] Ron Paul’s Personal Responsibility | FrumForum via Brad DeLong: David Frum on the Personal Irresponsibility of Ron Paul [...]

  • JimBob

    Once again some 9/11 truth for the hideous little man David Frum

    Israel Frum’s country knew about 9/11 in advance and didn’t warn the United States

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWpWc_suPWo

  • jakester

    i couldn’t resist this gem from a teabagger”

    I listened to Farrakahn again and besides being brilliant, he’s ABSOLUTELY correct! He’s Right! Remember Rick Sanchez. All the guy did was say that the media is controlled by Jews and gets fired for it. What??? Give me a break! Now tell me who runs the media? Every owner of Media outlets both television and print are owned by JEWS. Hollywood owned by JEWS. Our Federal Reserve (a private bank) run by JEWS. WTF. And you got to see Farrakahn’s video about who ran slave trade, GUESS WHO?
    username112973

    I’m white, born and raised in NJ, a Tea Party supporter and just want to thank Farrakahn for educating me about America. I’ve been called every name in the book for supporting the tea party and never understood why. But after listening to Farrakahn, I realize I’ve grown up with disinformation spewed from the mouths of jews. I just want to say thank God for Farrakahn because he may be our only HOPE to get the truth out about Our jewish controlled America. Farrakahn is a man of Courage!
    username112973

    • nhthinker

      Your Teapartier is unemployed and lives in his parents basement, has plenty of college debt, his wife divorced him and moved to EU and he is now thinking of joining up with the OWS crowd against the banks.
      …. [i]
      I’m a Tea Party supporter and have not gone to support the NY protests against the banks but you know what, I’m for the protests. The banks got bailed out and everybody just wants to forget about them. I like Fox news but I’m staring to see an angle being played on the news network that I don’t like. Fox is starting to defend the effin banks. What? Most of the supporters don’t know why they’re there. That’s true. But they do know something is very wrong with our country right now. When banks and bankers get to keep their jobs when millions of people are unemployed is not American. It’s unamerican because they should have not been bailed out and failed like any other business. They made bad immoral bets and we bailed them out. That’s crazy! And now Fox is saying that the people protesting are just crazy. No Way! I hope the protestors staring honing in on the truth of the matter and go after the FEDERAL RESERVE and FANNIE AND FREDDI and the people responsible for making the banks loan to people who couldn’t afford them in the first place. The banks are bad and so are the democrats. I would join the protests but I think right now Obama is trying to use his protest supporters for his benefit and I DEFININITELY DON’T WANT TO HELP THAT BUM! [/i]

      —-
      Do you want me to find the OWS poster that sounds as stupid? Or maybe just a video…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ3nEVCtPx0&feature=related

      • jakester

        Sorry, but I couldn’t help myself at the extraordinary coincidence of seeing this on a Farrakhan video thread and then having this thread turn this way. Sorry, but RP does attract a lot of white antisemitic cranks and lots of those sort of bigots types find common ground with Farrakahn & his ilk. Of course, this guy is a total idiot. I am not indicted the whole teaparty movement. Fringe movements tend to attract these sorts, and hating the Jews seems to be a staple of many of them.

  • David Frum on the Personal Irresponsibility of Ron Paul | FavStocks

    [...] Ron Paul’s Personal Responsibility: Ron Paul’s supporters ask that their candidate not be judged by his associates. Or by the people he chose to employ. Or by the newsletters he published. Or by the book he wrote. Or by the way he earned the largest part of his living when out of office in the 1990s. Or by his purchase of the mailing list of the Holocaust-denying Liberty Lobby. Or by the radio shows he chooses to appear on. Or by his strategic decision to reach out to racist voters. Or by the conspiracy theories to which he lends credence, from government creation of AIDS to Israeli culpability for the 1993 bombing to a putative 9/11 “coverup.” [...]

  • "He’s a Paranoid Crank" | FavStocks

    [...] don't think David Frum is a Ron Paul supporter: Ron Paul’s Personal Responsibility: …Ron Paul’s supporters ask that their candidate not be judged by his associates. Or by the [...]

  • jamesj

    I don’t believe Ron Paul is a racist or bigot in his heart, but I do agree with Frum on the broader issue. There has to be a personal responsibility to distance oneself from fringe elements and extremists. To pander or even turn a blind eye toward extremists in the party is damaging to the country.

    But as I read Frum’s piece above I was struck by how closely it mirrors problems for the modern Republican party in general. The very pandering and turning of a blind eye that Frum criticizes Ron Paul for is currently running wild throughout the upper echelons of the Republican party, including the candidate that Frum supports.

  • jamesj

    Mitt Romney’s supporters ask that their candidate not be judged by the lobbyists working on his campaign. Or by the gigantic amount of 3rd party-funded ads used to smear his opponents. Or by his career dismantling companies and speeding the shipment of jobs overseas. Or by the blatant pandering and flip-flopping he’s done on virtually every major domestic and foreign policy issue, obscuring any sense of what he might actual believe. Or by the sensationalistic rhetoric he uses to frame Obama and his opponents in the primary.

    And here I thought that the Republican party was a party of personal responsibility?

    • nuser

      JAMESJ
      “Why the denial of the undeniable ” so says Frum. Ron Paul is a passing phase , that however can not be said of David Frum. .David practises unconditional love , no matter what Israel does, and yet denies it.

  • 10 Wednesday AM Reads | The Big Picture

    [...] Some early later morning reads, courtesy of LIRR broken rail policy: • So, What’s Your Algorithm? (WSJ) • Bring Back Boring Banks (NYT) see also For Wall Street Overseer, Progress Comes at a Crawl (DealBook) • MBIA fraud case vs. BofA’s Countrywide gets boost (Reuters) • Crook: Crisis of Leadership, Not Crisis of Capitalism (Bloomberg) • Downward revision on home sales data? (Washington Post) • Can China’s Consumers Save West? (Diplomat) • Sensible taxation (LA Times) • Algorithm Measures Human Pecking Order (Technology Review) • Paypal Blows (Regretsy) • The GOP’s Not-So-Great Communicators (WSJ) see also Ron Paul’s Personal Responsibility (Frum Forum) [...]

  • 10 Thursday PM Reads | The Big Picture

    [...] Dan, and I’m a RINO (Foreign Policy) see also Ron Paul’s Personal Responsibility (Frum Forum) • Misconceptions About iOS Multitasking (Fraser [...]

  • “Of Trade And Military Might”How Leaders Get Nations In And Out Of Trouble | Living History

    [...] Arab Spring*US Condemns Syria Terror Bombings – General NewsDo You Really Support Our Troops!Ron Paul’s Personal ResponsibilitySafety failures mean that Indian Point nuclear plant should not be relicensedIran Rejects US Warning [...]

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