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Ron Paul and the Political Strategy of Appealing to White Racial Resentment:

Julian Sanchez and David Weigel have an interesting article in Reason compiling evidence suggesting that Llewellyn Rockwell of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute was the author of the notorious racist and anti-Semitic material published in Ron Paul's political reports in late 1980s and early 90s.

To me, the most important part of the article is not the possiblity that Rockwell wrote the newsletters but the fact (mentioned only in passing) that Paul apparently supported Rockwell and Murray Rothbard's political strategy of appealing to white racial resentment as a strategy for gaining support for what they called "paleolibertarianism" (a combination of libertarianism and paleoconservatism). According to Sanchez and Weigel, Paul even went so far as to abandon his planned 1992 presidential bid in order to support Pat Buchanan's candidacy, which Rothbard and Rockwell had endorsed. It is difficult to imagine an American political platform much more inimical to libertarianism than Buchanan's combination of protectionism, support for economic regulation, nativism, racial resentment, thinly veiled anti-Semitism, and extreme social conservatism. Unlike the newsletters, Paul's apparent embrace of Buchanan's candidacy and the Rothbard-Rockwell racialist political strategy can't be blamed on the misdeeds of ghostwriters whose work Paul was supposedly unaware of.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that the Sanchez-Weigel article represents a welcome break from Reason's previous overly enthusiastic approach to Paul's presidential candidacy, a policy that was rightly criticized by former Reason editor in chief Virginia Postrel. Even in this article, however, I have a few minor nits to pick. For example, I think that Sanchez and Weigel are too quick to conclude that Rockwell and his "paleolibertarian" associates have abandoned their previous racial rhetoric "since 2001." As libertarian writer Tom Palmer shows in a long series of posts, they continue to indulge in racist and homophobic appeals - now mixed in with praise of terrorists and anti-American dictators (and I do mean praise of these groups, as distinct from simply criticisms of US policy towards them).

CONFLICT OF INTEREST WATCH: I suppose I should mention that I myself have written articles for Reason on unrelated issues. I think it's generally an excellent publication. But they did for a time miss the boat on Paul's shortcomings. However, I can't quarrel much with Sanchez and Weigel's current bottom line on Paul:

Ron Paul may not be a racist, but he became complicit in a strategy of pandering to racists—and taking "moral responsibility" for that now means more than just uttering the phrase. It means openly grappling with his own past—acknowledging who said what, and why. Otherwise he risks damaging not only his own reputation, but that of the philosophy to which he has committed his life.

UPDATE: The broken link to the Reason piece has been fixed. Thanks to commenters for alerting me to the problem.

arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
1.18.2008 4:51pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It is difficult to imagine an American political platform much more inimical to libertarianism than Buchanan's combination of protectionism, support for economic regulation, nativism, racial resentment, thinly veiled anti-Semitism, and exteme social conservatism.
Yeah. Now tell that to his buddy and alleged libertarian Justin Raimondo.
1.18.2008 4:53pm
sbron:
Of course, the Democrats never appeal to anti-white resentment.

Also, bashing whites in elite Democrat/Progressive Left circles is in some cases just a politically correct way to bash Jews
1.18.2008 4:59pm
happylee:
Raimondo has already posted a reasoned response to Reason.
1.18.2008 5:09pm
no name:
Gird your loins for the onslaught by Paulbots. It cometh.
1.18.2008 5:22pm
bittern (mail):
Ilya, I think you're onto the meat of it, now. As evidenced by some of the responses already. By the way, the first link just brings me back to the VC. Here's the link you intended.

It doesn't particularly offend me that Ron Paul can't seem to decide whether he adheres to the message of his newsletter. But then, I'm hardly full-on libertarian so I'm not personally invested in the guy. I do like the blimp thing.
1.18.2008 5:48pm
SamChevre:
If you change "racist" to "pothead", does it change you analysis.

To me, that's sort of the point of the libertarian bargain. Everyone will have more freedom. This INCLUDES people who will use that freedom in undesirable ways (racists and potheads and ....).

Given that fact, I don't see why pointing out "Hey, under my proposed laws you could be high 24/7 and the police would leave you alone", or "Hey, under my law you could refuse to hire blacks and the police would leave you alone" is evil. (Politically unwise, yes.)
1.18.2008 5:58pm
qwerty (mail):
Ron Paul is irrelevant.
1.18.2008 6:02pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
I don't support Ron Paul, and I wouldn't vote for him as I think he's largely a poorly informed crackpot. But I don't like this smear campaign with all the usual inflammatory terms like "nativist." There are reasonable arguments for protectionism. It's funny that China and Japan can engage in protectionism and get away with it. Japan built its industrial base using protectionism. I don't know how anyone can say that we "trade" with China when most goods flow only one way.
1.18.2008 6:18pm
Tillman Fan (mail):
I hope that I'm not mistaken for a "Paulbot" (although I think I'm going to vote for him), but couldn't this same rationale have been used to criticize Ronald Reagan, who (one could argue) "pandered to racists" when, for example, he kicked off his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi?
1.18.2008 6:29pm
Thoughtful (mail):
AZarkov: "I don't support Ron Paul, and I wouldn't vote for him as I think he's largely a poorly informed crackpot. But I don't like this smear campaign with all the usual inflammatory terms like "nativist." There are reasonable arguments for protectionism. It's funny that China and Japan can engage in protectionism and get away with it. Japan built its industrial base using protectionism. I don't know how anyone can say that we "trade" with China when most goods flow only one way."

First, serious economists do not believe there are "reasonable" arguments for protectionism. (Please list all Nobel Laureates in Economics who support protectionism.)

Second, if Paul were calling for protectionism, that would be part-and-parcel with both much of the current Republican crew and, historically, with the Republican party platforms. In the 19th century, it was the Republican party that was the party of the tariff. What Paul *couldn't* do, however, is BOTH call for protectionism AND claim he is a libertarian.

Third, being opposed to "trade alliances" but in favor of unilaterally lowering or eliminating our trade barriers--which I understand is Paul's position--is NOT being a protectionist.

Fourth, I'm not sure what you mean when you say Japan and China "get away" with protectionism. If Japan "build its industrial base" using protectionism, it built its economic base in a highly economically inefficient and costly manner. When they engage in protectionism they benefit certain politically-connected manufacturers and harm their own consuming citizens. Just as we do when we engage in protectionism.

As far as "most goods flowing one way" when we trade with China, let's assume that's true. OK: They send us cars, TV, computers, videos, other electronic gadgets, clothes, etc. We send them green pieces of paper that could be used as IOUs for goods we produce and yet which, according to you, they don't use. Green pieces of paper are easy to produce, much more cheaply than we can produce cars, TVs, etc. Yet this is something you think we should be afraid of. (There are many variations on this theme: they use dollars to buy things from other countries; they use dollars to buy American land...but it all amounts to the same thing; either the dollars get used to buy American products, in which case we don't have the "concerning trade deficit, or they don't, in which case we got real goods in return for green paper.) This is a perfect example of Caplan's thesis about Voter Irrationality.
1.18.2008 6:34pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'couldn't this same rationale have been used to criticize Ronald Reagan'

It could and it was and Reagan deserved it.
1.18.2008 6:37pm
TGGP (mail) (www):
If Pat Buchanan opposes the war, that makes him more libertarian in my view than Virginia Postrel. Lew Rockwell notes the growing failings of Buchanan in What I Learned From Paleoism.
1.18.2008 6:39pm
wekt:
Well, I for one still think that Paul is the best candidate of either party. Here are my criteria:

[ ] Strictly obey the Constitution.
[ ] Support the entire Bill of Rights, esp. the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 10th Amendments.
[ ] Oppose fascistic tendencies in gov't agencies such as the ATF and TSA, and generally oppose instrusive regulations.
[ ] Reduce the size of the federal leviathan.
[ ] Generally support the free market and oppose high taxes.

The policy differences between Paul and the other candidates are so great that personal considerations are of little importance to me. Even if say, Paul were to enjoy sadistically hacking puppies and kittens to death, I still could not support any of the other front-runners over than Paul.
1.18.2008 7:10pm
MDJD2B (mail):

Raimondo has already posted a reasoned response to Reason.


The first paragraphe of Raimondo's reasoned reasponse:


The hysteria that is energizing the campaign to smear Ron Paul and his supporters as "racist" is reaching a crescendo of viciousness, as the Beltway "libertarian" crowd revs up its motors for a righteous purge.

Here's some more. I love these guys. They sound lite Trotskyites and Stalinists of the thirties.


What would the "Smearbund" do without David Duke? No smear campaign is complete without dragging him into it. No matter what the subject—the Iraq war, the Mearsheimer and Walt book, affirmative action—if you take the politically incorrect position, according to the neocons, then you're marching shoulder-to shoulder with the former Klansman and professional nut-job.
1.18.2008 7:16pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Thougthtful:

"First, serious economists do not believe there are "reasonable" arguments for protectionism. (Please list all Nobel Laureates in Economics who support protectionism.)"

This is an appeal to authority, not an argument. Why do you think protectionism is a bad idea? Remember protectionism is not the same as tariffs. BTW, strictly speaking there is no such thing as a Nobel Laureate in economics, only the Bank of Sweden Prize in Honor of Alfred Nobel.

"As far as "most goods flowing one way" when we trade with China, let's assume that's true. OK: They send us cars, TV, computers, videos, other electronic gadgets, clothes, etc. We send them green pieces of paper that could be used as IOUs for goods we produce and yet which, according to you, they don't use."


I have used this argument myself, but I am becoming skeptical. How does it help us to let our industrial base erode? It might feel good for a while to have inexpensive consumer products, but the long-term cost is the deindustrialization of the US. We have to look at what really happens with so-called free trade. I have watched one industry after another die. Once upon a time a tool-and-die man was a good high paid job. Now things are different. I don't think it's a good idea for the US to become dependent on other countries for key products.

In any case we should discuss Paul's ideas (which is what we are doing now) instead of name calling.
1.18.2008 7:18pm
Brian K (mail):

[ ] Strictly obey the Constitution.
[ ] Support the entire Bill of Rights, esp. the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 10th Amendments.


something doesn't sound quite right here. if you strictly obey the constitution, how can you not especially support the 6 amendments in the bill of writes and all of the amendments not in the bill of rights? on what basis can you treat some amendments as more sacrosanct than the others if you're going to "strictly obey the constitution"?
1.18.2008 7:25pm
wekt:

something doesn't sound quite right here. if you strictly obey the constitution, how can you not especially support the 6 amendments in the bill of writes and all of the amendments not in the bill of rights? on what basis can you treat some amendments as more sacrosanct than the others if you're going to "strictly obey the constitution"?

I'm not saying that the other amendments aren't equally "sacrosanct". But some are more likely than others to be seriously infringed in today's political climate. I mean, when the last time you heard someone complaining that the gov't was violating the 3rd Amendment?
Also, "support" != "obey". One can reluctantly obey a provision of the Constitution even if one does not support it as good policy.
1.18.2008 7:49pm
Frater Plotter:
You know, this blog is so much cooler when the bloggers aren't parroting talking points. :(
1.18.2008 8:15pm
Lordy (mail):
Beat me with a stick, but "Paul apparently supported Rockwell and Murray Rothbard's political strategy" strikes me as a tad on fuzzy side.
1.18.2008 8:17pm
Thief (mail) (www):
Always remember that political orientation is not a straight line, but a circle. Somewhere on the far side of that circle from where left and right blend into moderate, left-wing crazy and right-wing crazy become virtually indistinguishable.

Oh, and happylee, thanks for the Raimondo link. It's like reading the second-string propagandists of the John Birch society. You lie down with crazies and nutcases, you get up with various pieces of tinfoil clothing.
1.18.2008 9:00pm
LosLogosBoys:

this blog is so much cooler when the bloggers aren't parroting talking points


I've always found that accusing somebody of "reciting talking points" to be about the worst form of political commentary. It signals that the speaker has run out of substantive criticism and has been reduced to a pathetic form of ad hominem. It's one thing to launch an ad hominem attack based on perceived ignorance or biased, but the accusation "you must be reading from talking points" really boils down to "you aren't very original."

Here's a hint -- if two or more bloggers each have the same opinion, it's perfectly plausible that they each arrived at that conclusion independently.
1.18.2008 9:03pm
Thoughtful (mail):
AZ: "Thougthtful:

"First, serious economists do not believe there are "reasonable" arguments for protectionism. (Please list all Nobel Laureates in Economics who support protectionism.)"

This is an appeal to authority, not an argument. Why do you think protectionism is a bad idea? Remember protectionism is not the same as tariffs. BTW, strictly speaking there is no such thing as a Nobel Laureate in economics, only the Bank of Sweden Prize in Honor of Alfred Nobel.

Yes, AZ. I knew that. And like most people who know that, I casually refer to it in discussions like this as the Nobel Prize in Economics. I take it this didn't confuse you. As I assume you know, not all appeals to authority are logically invalid. Appealing to geneticists when discussing evolution is not unreasonable, for example. This is especially true if I go on in the very next paragraph to give you the argument you requested. In summary, an "argument from authority" is only a logical fallacy if used in the form: "A said X. A is an authority on X. On those grounds alone, X is true." So I ask again, please list any recipients of the Bank of Sweden Prize in Honor of Alfred Nobel in economics who support protectionism.

On producing a typical argument against protectionism, AZ responded:

I have used this argument myself, but I am becoming skeptical. How does it help us to let our industrial base erode? It might feel good for a while to have inexpensive consumer products, but the long-term cost is the deindustrialization of the US. We have to look at what really happens with so-called free trade. I have watched one industry after another die. Once upon a time a tool-and-die man was a good high paid job. Now things are different. I don't think it's a good idea for the US to become dependent on other countries for key products.

Define "key product"; for extra points, define it is such a way that it is both economically plausible and yet contains the "tool-and-die" industry. :->


AZ closed with: "In any case we should discuss Paul's ideas (which is what we are doing now) instead of name calling."

I'm not sure what name you think I called you. Was it the reference to Bryan Caplan's "The Myth of the Rational Voter"? Rational/irrational are used in a technical sense by economists. Sorry to upset you.
1.18.2008 9:30pm
Doc W (mail):
Ron Paul's candidacy is apparently bringing a lot of enthusiastic new folks into the libertarian movement. One can only hope they turn out to be less fractious than their predecessors.
1.18.2008 10:50pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Ilya,

Do you agree that a distinctive aspect of libertarian theory (and consequently politics) is the recognition that, as Lysander Spooner put it, vices are not crimes? That not every bad thing people do is legally actionable? That individual rights include the right to do some pretty rotten things?

If you do, ignoring Rothbard and Rockwell's disgusting alleged efforts to go after the "disaffected White" vote, how DO you recommend a libertarian-oriented politician--forget Paul for the moment; consider Goldwater--properly make this distinction to the electorate? I ask this not out of snarkiness but because I *do* think this is a somewhat distinctive aspect of libertarian thought, and as a result of it we are frequently having to "defend" (the legality of) drug use, prostitution, racist thought, etc. How do YOU handle the issue? (Please note: I have lost most of my interest in supporting Paul since TNR article broke. I ask this as a general question. Let me also note that even people that don't have a good answer to this question are fully justified in condemning Paul for coming up with what is obviously a *bad* answer. But, if you DO have a good answer, I'd love to hear it.)
1.18.2008 11:07pm
Ilya Somin:
Do you agree that a distinctive aspect of libertarian theory (and consequently politics) is the recognition that, as Lysander Spooner put it, vices are not crimes? That not every bad thing people do is legally actionable? That individual rights include the right to do some pretty rotten things?

Sure, I agree. However, i was not calling for lawsuits against Rothbard, Rockwell, or Buchanan. So the point is irrelevant. Moreover, their paleoconservative platform didn't just say that people can engage in private racist sentiments. It also called for the use of government force against blacks and other groups and sought to stoke violent racial conflict.
1.19.2008 12:12am
Ilya Somin:
Raimondo has already posted a reasoned response to Reason.

Raimondo is himself a notorious purveyor of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and crude anti-Americanism. See the extensive discussion of Raimondo in the Tom Palmer link in my post. Substantively, his article responding to Sanchez and Weigel does little if anything to refute the growing evidence that Paul and his associates appealed to racism and anti-Semitism.
1.19.2008 12:14am
Ilya Somin:
The policy differences between Paul and the other candidates are so great that personal considerations are of little importance to me.

that might be a valid point if Paul had a real chance of winning. Then one could argue that we should support him despite his flaws because - all things considered - his election would lead to better policies than the available alternatives. In fact, however, he has no chance of winning. Therefore, the only relevant issue is whether he should be supported as a libertarian protest candidate. In making that evaluation, it's important to recognize that 1) he is in fact not all that libertarian on many issues, and 2) his past and (to a lesser extent) present associations with racism and anti-Semitism risks tainting libertarianism's image in an extremely damaging way.
1.19.2008 12:28am
Harry Eagar (mail):
'Define "key product"; for extra points, define it is such a way that it is both economically plausible and yet contains the "tool-and-die" industry. :->'

Sometimes nations need an economic sector even if it is not 'economic.'

Tool-and-die is an especially good example.

Here's an historical example: Preparing to go to war with the U.S. in 1941, the Japanese needed some aerial bombs capable of penetrating armored ship decks. Those are not so easy to design.

As a work-around -- which turned out to work pretty well in practice -- they took large caliber cast-steel naval shells and cored them out on a lathe. (One of these sank USS Arizona.)

However, the Japanese could not make lathe tools to do the coring, and when the one imported one they owned broke, they couldn't make any more bombs.
1.19.2008 1:23am
Thoughtful (mail):
Me: Do you agree that a distinctive aspect of libertarian theory (and consequently politics) is the recognition that, as Lysander Spooner put it, vices are not crimes? That not every bad thing people do is legally actionable? That individual rights include the right to do some pretty rotten things?

Ilya: Sure, I agree. However, i was not calling for lawsuits against Rothbard, Rockwell, or Buchanan. So the point is irrelevant. Moreover, their paleoconservative platform didn't just say that people can engage in private racist sentiments. It also called for the use of government force against blacks and other groups and sought to stoke violent racial conflict.

Me: Ilya, did you read my entire post? The above seems totally non-responsive. I think it's pretty clear that the passage above, which you quoted and responded to, is a general introduction to the question I was asking--put in to make sure we're all on the same playing field--and NOT a defense of any sort of Rothbard, Rockwell, or Buchanan.

I specifically mentioned I found the Rothbard/Rockwell material and strategy repugnant. So I'm not clear on why you focused on this prefatory paragraph rather than address the specific question I asked you, to wit, how SHOULD a libertarian candidate (or even a libertarian law professor) clarify to third-parties the distinction between defending X's right to belief A and defending belief A? I don't quite see how that question becomes "irrelevant" because you (?) didn't call for a lawsuit against Rothbard et al.

The problem, as I see it, is that this distinction ("I disagree with what you say but defend to the death your right to say it"), formerly a well understood and often admired position, is very difficult for many people to accept as sincere these days. You work, I assume, with lots of intelligent young people. Is that your experience?
1.19.2008 3:15am
Crimso:

Strictly obey the Constitution.

I'm not a lawyer, but from a practical standpoint, is this really even possible? Doesn't it still require interpretation of what the words actually mean? What about its application to technologies not known in the time of its drafting? Freedom of speech and the press (i.e., printed word) would then ("strictly" applied) allow the govt. to prevent you from exercising "free speech" via TV or radio or internet, etc. It seems to me that strictly obeying the Constitution also means accepting the interpretations of it by the courts (e.g., abortion).
1.19.2008 8:56am
Doc W (mail):
[12.28am] "1) he is in fact not all that libertarian on many issues"

Paul is remarkably libertarian, uniquely so among current political figures of any significance, across nearly the entire range of issues--although there are a few points of difference with capital-L Libertarians. The breakdown between "glass-half-full" and "glass-half-empty" responses appears to coincide with the divide between long-feuding factions of the pro-liberty movement.


" 2) his past and (to a lesser extent) present associations with racism and anti-Semitism risks tainting libertarianism's image in an extremely damaging way."

Shades of Joe McCarthy. Here's how it looks to me: Ron Paul has been associated with Lew Rockwell and the late Murray Rothbard. Those folks are on the other side of the family feud, so Ron Paul is on the other side, so he gets a dagger in the back at every opportunity. Funny, I don't hear anything made of Paul's apparent affection for Dennis Kucinich, a socialist. Why, I bet Paul has even made common cause on some issues with supporters of the murderous Iraq invasion and occupation.

Maybe, someday, somebody associated with (let's say) the CATO Institute will get elected to Congress ten times on a libertarian agenda and run for president. Will it be payback time? Or is it possible that by then a new generation of pro-liberty people will have enough maturity and common sense to focus their energies on the common cause?
1.19.2008 12:15pm
Jim R:
Ilya Somin:

Raimondo is himself a notorious purveyor of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and crude anti-Americanism. See the extensive discussion of Raimondo in the Tom Palmer link in my post. Substantively, his article responding to Sanchez and Weigel does little if anything to refute the growing evidence that Paul and his associates appealed to racism and anti-Semitism.


Raimondo is homophobic? That is quite a feat considering that Raimondo is openly gay.
1.19.2008 12:48pm
wekt:


Strictly obey the Constitution.

I'm not a lawyer, but from a practical standpoint, is this really even possible? Doesn't it still require interpretation...

Yes, there are ambiguities in the Constitution that require (non-trivial) interpretation. But some things are not ambiguous. For example, the power to "regulate commerce ... among the several states" does not include the power to completely ban marijuana grown and consumed entirely within the borders of a single state.


Freedom of speech and the press (i.e., printed word) would then ("strictly" applied) allow the govt. to prevent you from exercising "free speech" via TV or radio or internet, etc.

I disagree at least in part. If the gov't prevents you from using a given means to speak to somebody, then that is an infringement of your right to free speech. I imagine that transmission of written words over the Internet is also protected.

Strict interpretation does not mean that you must cut up the Constitution into individual words and then individually analyze each of the words. The authors of the Constitution used written words to communicate thoughts. However, language is necessarily ambiguous and imprecise. The goal of interpretation is to find the meaning that the authors were trying to express in written words. For example, the text of the First Amendment does not explicitly mention content-based restrictions or restrictions based on time/place/manner. But it is clear that "the freedom of speech" does not include the freedom to boisterously yell out at night when people are trying to sleep.


It seems to me that strictly obeying the Constitution also means accepting the interpretations of it by the courts (e.g., abortion).

I think lower courts must accept the authority of the Supreme Court, but the Constitution itself does not otherwise give the Supreme Court exclusive authority to interpret the Constitution.
1.19.2008 1:02pm
Crimso:

The goal of interpretation is to find the meaning that the authors were trying to express in written words.

I suppose there is a distinction between strictly obeying and literally interpreting. Whose interpretation do we go with? Ron Paul's?
1.19.2008 1:25pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Raimondo is homophobic? That is quite a feat considering that Raimondo is openly gay.
It is quite a feat, but Raimondo manages it.

One could argue that he was doing it to suck up to his anti-gay friends like Pat Buchanan, but that's not really fair; one thing Raimondo can't be accused of is trying to get anybody to like him. Raimondo -- and most of the Rockwell crowd -- likes judging himself by how many enemies he has made. If liberals dislike him, he decides that he must be doing something right. So if he has to say anti-gay things to alienate more liberals, he's fine with that.
1.19.2008 4:40pm
Gil (mail) (www):
Ilya,

How pure must one be to be an effective libertarian protest candidate?

Isn't it enough that the campaign does more than the alternatives towards moving popular sentiment in a libertarian direction?

If not, then what exactly is the standard?
1.19.2008 9:23pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Gil: is there any evidence that popular sentiment is moving in a libertarian direction? Do you see any groundswell -- or ANY popular movement, even a small one -- towards any libertarian position on any issue as a result of Paul's campaign? Is the drug war less popular? Is Social Security? Are people less enamored of socialized medicine? Are there any regulatory agencies people are talking about abolishing that they weren't before?
1.20.2008 2:04am
Nieporent is blind:

Gil: is there any evidence that popular sentiment is moving in a libertarian direction? Do you see any groundswell -- or ANY popular movement, even a small one -- towards any libertarian position on any issue as a result of Paul's campaign? Is the drug war less popular? Is Social Security? Are people less enamored of socialized medicine? Are there any regulatory agencies people are talking about abolishing that they weren't before?


Ordinary people on the street are beginning to ask whether the Federal Reserve is impoverishing us all by printing money willynilly and asking why it is the USA needs an empire and why should we pay taxes to support this empire...are you kidding, Paul has done more for libertarianism than anyone in recent memory.
1.20.2008 3:09am
Gil (mail) (www):
David,

It's hard to be sure because I only know what I read and see.

But, I know that Paul's message and campaign convinced a lot of people to contribute. Maybe they were already libertarian, or maybe they were mostly responding to anti-immigration sentiment; but that's not the sense that I get.

My sense is that many people are questioning the unlibertarian programs more than they were before, because of Paul's campaign. I don't know if it's anything close to making it "safe" for other politicians to start opposing them, but it has to start somewhere, and I'm not sure what better alternative is available.

I wish everybody read Cato Policy Analysis papers, but many more more people follow presidential campaigns.

So, I don't want to let the perfect become the enemy of the good. I want to support what's best among feasible alternatives.

If there's a better one, I'm eager to hear about it.
1.20.2008 3:38am
wekt:
Paul came in second place in Nevada with 14%. Woot!
1.20.2008 11:09am
Thoughtful (mail):
David N: It's a tough call. I've read a lot of the blogs that have large numbers of Paul supporters responding. You know of the result in political science to the effect studies show people dislike Congress in general, but like their Congressman. They think the government spends too much but don't want any specific program cut. I think the Paul campaign may demonstrate a similar inconsistency: I think most people that support Paul agree with Paul that the government has grown beyond Constitutional limits. They respond to his claim that we should follow the Constitution. If you ask them about specific policies that follow from that, like ending the war on drugs, they may disagree. But they agree with the general sentiment.

Is this all we need? No. But it is a good thing overall.
1.20.2008 12:03pm
European (mail):

Raimondo is himself a notorious purveyor of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and crude anti-Americanism.


Man are you for real ?! - I didn't believe this until a friend pointed you blog to me, but you're actually accusing an American who doesn't support a useless, full of lies war, who probably made terrorism worse, of being anti-American ?!!! Where is the right to disagree, Mister "Raison d'Etat" ?

I live in Europe and I know what anti-Americanism is : in one word, it's called chauvinism, confused nationalism and anti-liberal thinking, such as refusing the presumption of innocence, the freedom of speech, the right to defense, the liberty do disagree even when the mighty Nation demands the ultimate sacrifice and so on....

I'm sorry to report, but your way of thinking is no different form a nationalist no matter how racist the other said might be. And remember, it was nationalism who brought the two world wars (national-socialism and Stalinist or just socialist version of nationalism).

If this is the Americanism I must defend in the face of crackpot communists, nationalists, nazis, trotskists, Marxists, deconstructivists and all the frustrated anti-consumerism, let's get back to primitivisme idiots in Europe, then I'm sorry to say that it's not worth it !

P.S. I hope Benjamin Franklin rolls in his grave knowing that his warning - do not trade freedom for security because you will loose both - was in vain for his fellow countrymen.
1.21.2008 7:04am
Seerak (mail):
Man are you for real ?! - I didn't believe this until a friend pointed you blog to me, but you're actually accusing an American who doesn't support a useless, full of lies war, who probably made terrorism worse, of being anti-American ?!!! Where is the right to disagree, Mister "Raison d'Etat" ?

Right here. If you are going to defend America in Europe -- a task which I do not envy -- I suggest you learn up on just what America is.

First example -- First Amendment 101: criticism DOES NOT and CANNOT infringe upon the target's "right to disagree". Far from it -- such criticism is ALSO protected speech. So Justin Raimondo's "right to disagree" is neither affected nor threatened by others seeing him for what he is and saying so.

Freedom of thought and speech are not a race to be the first to spout off so that others must refrain from criticism or rebuttal lest they "suppress" somebody's freedom of speech. Debate wouldn't be possible under such a regime now, would it?

People who do not get this basic fact -- and sadly, many Americans don't -- automatically disqualify themselves from any discussion concerning freedom, IMO.
1.21.2008 4:55pm