Ron Paul the Racist

(The short after-Christmas update (an addendum to this post):

I think that, by this time, we should be operating under the belief that Ron Paul is a racist (to whatever degree — a homophobe, maybe slightly racist against certain minorities [I, as someone who comes from Jewish family, still do not really believe that Paul is antisemitic], et cetera).  I do not know if he wrote those newsletters — we can assume it was Lew Rockwell —, but I think there is sufficient evidence elsewhere that suggests that Paul might suffer from a small racist bend.

I still think that people focusing on the issue are ignoring more important issues — even abstract philosophical ones (I also think these people are hypocritical, since I think everyone holds minor racist tendencies — I want to see Brad DeLong in a poorer district of Los Angeles someday).  The most important ignored principle is that of broad liberatarianism: it is absolutely OK to believe that you want to believe, as long as you do not impose these beliefs on others through coercion.  Of course, we can make the argument that even pure libertarian societies necessitate coercion (even anarchist societies) — but, broadly speaking, we get the idea.  That Paul may be racist does not mean that he will legislate in a racist manner (and cutting welfare is not “racist;” it just happens to be that those who receive welfare are the poor, who are probably disproportionately represented by minorities).

What is important is that Ron Paul sticks to his libertarian principles, not the particular morals/values he holds (and how he subjectively rates that around him).  Regardless of how Paul acts around gays and minorities, I think his track record proves that he sticks to his principles over his opinions.

(By the way, what [white] politician is “attached” to any poor minority group?  I doubt that even Obama had much interaction with poorer black communities.  I think that blaming Paul for being “dis-attached” is more than a little hypocritical.)

EDIT:  Here is Gene Callahan with some important background information and his analysis of how Paul’s different beliefs weigh in,

They were a cynical part of Rothbard’s “reach-out-to-the-rednecks” strategy. That is exactly right. When that didn’t work, that angle was dropped.

Rothbard would say or write whatever it took to forward the revolution. He was a Leninist turned inside-out.

All that being said, how important are the newsletters? They were bad, but I’d rather have the GOP nominate someone who cynically reached out to racists than someone who might kill 100,000 Iranians.

Also, see this article by Michael Dougherty (Business Insider).

14 thoughts on “Ron Paul the Racist

  1. James E. Miller

    “The most important ignored principle is that of broad liberatarianism: it is absolutely OK to believe that you want to believe, as long as you do not impose these beliefs on others through coercion.”

    What’s funny is that I wrote a piece for the Mises Institute about a month ago arguing this exact same thing- that when it really comes down to it, racism isn’t a bad thing from the point of view of trying to quell coercion as much as possible. It’s certainly a stupid thing, but not necessarily an evil thing. My piece was shot down however as BK Marcus said racism was a more complex issue to tackle in just a 2000 word essay. He is definitely right about that.

    I still don’t see a reason to think Paul a racist though. I would be interested to see where this other “sufficient evidence” is.

    I think Daniel Kuehn argues the other way and says Paul would govern as a racist, and I see no reason to believe that either. What exactly would Paul do that could be construed as directly racist? Anything the man does as chief executive could be called racist- he could appoint a “white” judge or a “black” judge, he could sign into law a tax break for automobile companies that are run by “white” men. How would you even differentiate racism from just simply eliminating government programs?

    1. Jonathan Finegold Catalán Post author

      See the two recent posts by DeLong, with regards to evidence pointing towards Paul being a racist and a homophobe. I think “racist” is too strong, but he might — like most of us do — prefer not to interact with certain people (does DeLong have poor black friends he met at a Food For Less in central L.A.?).

      1. James E. Miller

        Like you said, Delong’s posts provide a slight bit of evidence of Paul’s not wanting to associate himself with certain people.

        If you want to call that racism (not you in particular Jonathan) go right ahead. I love how Delong avoids the indefinite detention or killing Pakistani children remarks though. He is as much of a political hack as Krugman; totally unwilling to admit that Obama is a bigger warmonger than Bush.

        As for the Israeli state, now that’s an interesting one. Protesting the existence of a “state” (one that was set up by the U.N. nonetheless) is totally different from disparaging a religion. I doubt Paul would feel any differently if the Israel and Palestinian role were reversed and Palestinians were the Western backed power.

        And I still love how these guys label those who constantly see a centralization of power all around as us as crazy conspiracy nuts. Further fiscal consolidation of the EZ being pushed, FEMA hiring for internment camps, National Defense Authorization Act, the internet copyright act (not sure of the name, don’t feel like looking it up at this moment), etc. Yup, I guess only gold and gun loving survivalists pay attention to this stuff and are worried.

        1. Joseph Fetz

          Yes, I agree with you on the whole “conspiracy nut” thing.

          It is completely amazing to me how people do not see the trend, that they are completely blind to how these things accumulate over time (the ‘boiling frog’ analogy). If we were to take the totality of all laws that infringe upon freedom that were passed over the past 15 years and were somehow able to show them to ourselves in 1996, I would be willing to bet that most of the 1996 us’s would be appalled by what we see. It is hard (for many) to see it because you are living it in the present.

          Being a musician, I call this the “recording effect”. Many times I will be recording a take and while it is taking place I think that everything is going along smoothly. However, when I rewind the track and hit play, I often find many errors that I could not see due to my concentration on the present.

          I would say that America and its politicians are far more present oriented and often miss the trends that those with a cooler head can easily see.

    2. Daniel Kuehn

      James, I’ve never said he would govern as a racist. I’ve said explicitly many times I doubt he is a racist, so I don’t know why you think I’ve said he’d govern as a racist.

      I do think these views and his nonchalance about whatever was written in the newsletters say something about how he’d govern. Being less supportive of a strong safety net is – as Jonathan says – not racist, but still not a policy approach I can support.

      1. James E. Miller

        Your words Daniel:

        Jonathan –
        re: “I just don’t think that any racism that Paul might hold just wont manifest itself if he were to be president — I don’t see it as an issue which would pop up.”

        “It’s unlikely to pop up in blatant ways, but you’re certainly going to see lower enforcement of civil rights laws and lower level of investment in minority communities. Plus, it legitimizes people who will act on those sorts of views.”

        Sounded like a subtle endorsement of Paul governing as a racist to me.

  2. Joseph Fetz

    I think that people tend to forget (including libertarians) that along with private property and non-aggression, discrimination is at the very heart of what libertarianism is. This is not to say that certain forms of discrimination would always be acceptable in a libertarian society, but that part of having a free and just society is that property owners are free to discriminate with regard to who he enters into contract with or allows the use of his property. For instance, if today’s society were a libertarian society, discrimination along racial lines would probably not be as prevalent as, say, 200 years ago.

    This freedom of discrimination (in all forms) is often misunderstood as being racist, when that completely misses the heart of it. Obviously, no libertarian would choose to use government force to favor/benefit one race over the other, because this constitutes a violation of the first principles (PP and NA). Discrimination in the libertarian construct is solely reserved to property and its use by its rightful owners.

    If RP were President it is clear that whatever opinions he has regarding race, gender, sexual preference, etc are a non-issue. The reason being is that he understands the first principles of libertarianism and would never use government force against property rights.

    1. Joseph Fetz

      Just to clarify the point that I am getting at. The very principles of libertarianism that many people point to as being inherently racist (which is false), also happen to be the principles that explain why no libertarian would use government to favor one race over the other.

      Unfortunately, many people can’t get their head around that.

      1. James E. Miller

        No Joe, we are a bunch of white supremacists masquerading as intelligent political theorizers. Don’t you get it? We want to take America back to the great days of slavery and white privilege. Woman in kitchens, children in factories, smoke stacks everywhere- a libertarian paradise!

        Like Bob Roddis always says, we are winning because these are the type of clueless critiques thrown at us by those in academia and the mainstream press.

  3. Joseph Fetz

    Dude, I go through it all of the time. Unfortunately, when I try to walk through the logic of it all I am met with something resembling a parrot who knows every egalitarian phrase known to man, and it keeps yapping them at me no matter what I say. That’s just on the political theory front. If I bring economics into the picture then the parrot turns into socialist (pick your color) and the dynamic is very much the same.

    I don’t know Ron Paul personally and I cannot read his mind, so I cannot say whether he is racist or not (the totality of evidence would suggest that he is not). However, what I do know is that he is an Austro-libertarian, which means that he understands that while discrimination is at the heart of private property and its use, he also knows that cooperation is the very heart of society, as well as prosperity. One may look at that statement as being two opposing ideas, when in fact they are inextricable to what forms a free and just society. I think that these understandings would trump any personal feelings that Paul has regarding race.

  4. Joseph Fetz


    Just a heads up that DeLong has responded to your post on “The Kuehn’s” blog.

    (please excuse the South Park reference)

  5. Teqzilla

    I’m not so ready to accept that it has been proven that Ron Paul is a racist. Most of the stuff i’ve read which claims to demonstrate Ron Paul’s racism through reference to his newsletters picks a few extracts which make some kind of negative remark about a narrow subset of a racial or ethnic group (rioters, muggers etc.) and then asks you to infer that this subset was targeted out a of antipathy to that group in general.

    I mean, I suppose that could be the case, but on what grounds am I just supposed to assume it?

    As far as I can see im supposed to assume it purely because of Ron Paul’s politics. If he were attacking ‘trickle down economics’ or ‘wild west style deregulation’ I doubt whether any of the present critics would blink an eyelid at any of this stuff. They certainly didn’t seem too put out by Obama’s two decade long stint as a member of the trinity church of christ.

    And anyway a more important question than whether ron paul is a racist or not is this: who cares? one of the great advantages of smaller government philosophies over larger ones is that the personal opinions of officeholders becomes less important the smaller the power of that office is. A good thing since there is no real way to know what people ‘really’ believe anyway. Is the apparent geniality and mild mannered nature of ron paul all a veneer that hides a snarling racist? Did Obama just join the trinity church to help him advance in chicago or is he of the same kidney as a man like Wright who believes that aids was created to kill off blacks and that hamas is a simple resistance movement, not a sickening organisation of religious fanatics with genocidal ambitions? I dont know in both cases but what I do know that my ignorance of their real selves is far less relevant with someone like Paul than someone like Obama.


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