Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some quick thoughts on those newsletters

Anyone who has been paying any attention to political news is probably aware that critics of Ron Paul are dredging up some newsletters published under his name decades ago. There is no way to describe some of the things written in them except as racist and repulsive trash.   Now this is not "news" per se since this all came out about twenty years ago.  Dr. Paul immediately disavowed the letters and repudiated the offensive commentary.  He has since said he did not author them.

As I see it there are two possibilities here.  One is really bad and the other is simply embarrassing.  The first is that he DID author the letters, which would also mean he is lying now.  If that were proven to my satisfaction I would withdraw my endorsement of Ron Paul.  Not because I think he is a racist.  I don't.  But the lie would be something I could not overlook.

A lot of white men raised in the South when he came of age had some really bad beliefs instilled in them  Most have since come to realize they were wrong and have renounced them.  But I have simply seen no credible evidence to suggest Ron Paul is or ever really was some sort of racist.  And there is plenty of anecdotal evidence as also his voting record that strongly suggests otherwise.  Racism is something that is very difficult to square with libertarianism which promotes respect for individuals and their rights.  By contrast racism  promotes a philosophy that is based on group identity, stereotypes and unequal rights. 

So no, I don't believe he is a racist and I seriously doubt he ever was though I concede that I could be wrong. 

The second possibility is that he is substantively telling the truth when he says he did not author the newsletters and doesn't really know who did.  That's not as far fetched as some in the media are making it out.  A lot of politicians give their blessing to people to write stuff on their behalf and under their name.  And many don't keep close tabs on who is doing the writing or exactly what's being sent out.  In Congress staff members usually vet that sort of thing.  Of course that is not an excuse, it's an explanation.  Irrespective of whether Ron Paul gave his blessing directly to someone or his staff dropped the ball or some combination of the two, the fact remains that person or persons unknown wrote some pretty vile stuff under his name.  And this was not a one or two time deal, it went on for years.

As noted earlier Dr. Paul repudiated the comments close to twenty years ago and shut down the newsletters. And while I do think this was a bad case of poor judgment, staff work and or supervision; no I don't think it calls into question his fitness for office.  I don't know of anyone running who doesn't have more serious negatives (especially on the pressing issues of the moment) in their backgrounds.  But yea, this is and should be hugely embarrassing.

Correction:  Via The Young Fogey Dr. Paul is a native of Pennsylvania, not the south.


August said...

Dr. Paul is a student of Austrian economics. Murray Rothbard was one of biggest names around in that school for most of Paul's life. Murray was brilliant, but he thought it was okay to lie to achieve his ends. It never worked. I still think Murray's carefully crafted pro-choice argument was a lie, because it just doesn't fit logically with everything else he said about property rights- and he would very likely make up something like that in attempt to gain political ground with the pro-choice crowd.
Same thing here- the racist comments seem to be a part of a political ploy. It is very unlikely Dr. Paul knew about it or condoned it- he already had some real word understanding of politics and would have known it would be a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

Very touching ad. Repudiates the racist attack against Mr. Paul

The young fogey said...

It was a political ploy, the paleo strategy. I care about his principles – no collectivism including by race. And he's from western Pennsylvania.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

And he's from western Pennsylvania.

Good point that I was not aware of. Though the South hardly had a monopoly on racism, I tend to agree that this is a red herring.

Anonymous said...

It was a political ploy, the paleo strategy. I care about his principles – no collectivism....

Just collectivism for the rich. Sorry but that's the gist of "fogey's" argument.

Anonymous said...

A very beautiful ad. It should dispel the false racist accusations against Mr. Paul.

Anonymous said...'t_joking_about_letting_uninsured_people_die_--_his_uninsured_staffer_died_of_pneumonia/

I don't see how anyone professing belief in the teachings of Christ and furthermore professing an honest and trustworthy membership in His Church could support Mr. Paul. ISTM that he would be one of those passing the poor Samaritan by in his time of need.

It is hard for such Christians to determine whether or not to participate in secular activities like politics and voting, and who to support when each of us choose to do so.

What do you find in Mr. Paul that matches up with your faith in Christ?

basilbeast ( btw, congratulation on the Name Day )