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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ugh! I've Had It

The final straw: "Last week, a statement was prepared by Ron Paul’s press secretary Jesse Benton, and approved by Ron Paul, acknowledging Lew Rockwell as having a role in the newsletters. The statement was squashed by campaign chairman Kent Snyder."

Man, Paul's behavior regarding these newsletters has been awful. His "I don't know who wrote these" is about as slippery as a politician can get. Everyone who was around libertarianism in the early 90s knows Lew was in charge of these and knows Rothbard and his crew were into race-baiting back then. (By the way, notice that the longer Lew has been away from Rothbard's influence, the more decent he's become? I personally have found him very affable, and I can't imagine him putting out material like this today. Just shows what hanging around Rothbard can do to you.)

Paul's got a decent message, but he's the wrong vehicle for delivering it.

25 comments:

  1. I am not sure where you are going with this comment, if you are going anywhere at all. However, I would like to note that Rothbard personally told me he gave monthly to one of those "save the children" programs. He seemed to be quite proud of the fact that he received regular pictures and letters from the child(ren)he sponsored. It was a long time ago and it was only a passing comment by Rothbard, but if memory serves me, the child(ren) were from Ethipoia.

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  2. I think libertarian priorites are getting really backward.

    First, I think you have the wrong take on the newsletters. Rockwell and crew paid Paul to use his name ostensibly to promote federalism. When he heard that there was racist content in between delivering babies, he probably blew it off. It’s one of life’s lessons; no doubt he regrets it. It’s not like he’s ever said anything or done anything inherently racist and he never will. This isn’t a prelude to something bigger and you know it. It’s an abberation

    Second, what really gets me is this: When Paul came on the scene there was a big question about whether there were enough libertarians left in the party to form a base. As it turned out, it didn’t matter so much because Paul has managed to turn hundreds of thousands of people into Goldwater libertarian/conservatives. Yet oddly, the pre-Ron Paul Revolution libertarian writers and commentors are the ones that are willing to turn their backs on the movement.

    How can this be? The frontrunners in both parties are pushing pro-federal agendas. How can libertarians dismiss the National ID Card, economic malfeasance, and the Iraq war in the face and say that Paul’s minoirity interest in a stupid newsletter is more important? What do they tell the dead, dying, and disabled soldiers? “Sorry kid, I was afraid to be associated with someone who was associated with someone who wrote something racist 20 years ago, so I let the Iraq War ride”? No wonder the liberty movement never got off the couch. It’s prime theorists are waiting from Jesus to descend from Heaven to lead it.

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  3. "The frontrunners in both parties are pushing pro-federal agendas. How can libertarians dismiss the National ID Card, economic malfeasance, and the Iraq war in the face and say that Paul’s minoirity interest in a stupid newsletter is more important? What do they tell the dead, dying, and disabled soldiers? “Sorry kid, I was afraid to be associated with someone who was associated with someone who wrote something racist 20 years ago, so I let the Iraq War ride”?"

    Look, he does not have the least chance of winning whether I back him or not. This is a red herring.

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  4. Yes, Gene, it is a red herring.

    These brainless morons that smear Ron Paul, i.e. supporters of the candidates selected by the Federal Reserve Empire, have nothing better to do with their pathetic little lives. They deserve the government that they will elect.

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  5. This "smear" thing is so tired and stupid it's unbelievable. THESE WERE WORDS FROM PAUL'S OWN NEWSLETTER, not something made up to discredit him. And the idea that, say, Julian Sanchez wrote his piece to bolster some other candidate is dumb.

    This increasingly reminds me of the time I spent in the Church of Scientotlogy. Whenever bad news appeared about L. Ron Hubbard, it was a lways a "smear" designed by "supporters of the psychiatric empire." The fact that they were true and well-documented was ignored -- we plugged our ears and sang loudly.

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  6. Gene and Babbitt,

    I think the main reason people are crying "Smear!" is that the criticism and name-calling are directed at them, the current LRC writers and other Paulians, as opposed to just the unnamed writers of those newsletters and Paul himself. Kirchick and others seem to be calling them crazy and dangerous because they support such archaic positions as federalism, secession, gun ownership, and a gold standard.

    Criticizing and exposing Ron Paul because he lied and tried to cover up an...unpleasant part of his past seems fine to me; but associating current LRC writers and other libertarians with those racist and anti-semitic screeds because Lew supports them or they support Ron Paul, now, seems like a smear to me. Maybe some of them deserve it, though, I don't know...

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  7. This "smear" thing is so tired and stupid it's unbelievable. THESE WERE WORDS FROM PAUL'S OWN NEWSLETTER, not something made up to discredit him. And the idea that, say, Julian Sanchez wrote his piece to bolster some other candidate is dumb.

    I think you are overreacting in the opposite way here, Gene. I.e. yes, I totally agree that (a) certain things in those newsletters were inexcusable, (b) RP is clearly lying about it now when he says he has no idea who wrote it, and (c) it is silly to just dismiss the inquiries as smears.

    Having said all that, I do kinda wonder why Sanchez and his co-author decided to write that particular article, when the damage had already been done by the TNR one. If next week some anti-Irish magazine came out with a story that you did a bunch of drugs when you were younger (outlandish, I know), and this was getting you in trouble with your PhD committee, I wouldn't comment to any reporter who called me up about it. And I sure as heck wouldn't spend a few days doing research on it because "Callahan won't come clean on this!"

    Does that sound so crazy? If I were to do that, don't you think some of your buddies would think, "Jeez, I thought Bob was Gene's friend!" ?

    I realize this sounds like cops and their blue wall of silence whenever one of them beats up a suspect, and maybe my view is just that wrong / tribal / petty. But I understand why longtime fans of LRC are lashing out at Reason on this, and don't view Sanchez as Bob Woodward.

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  8. Brian N.5:58 AM

    On Rothbard;

    "The last time I paid any attention to Murray, he was attempting to reorganize the libertarian movement along Leninist lines. Murray was a wonderful teacher of the principles of liberty, but he was a terrible strategist and an even worse tactician. He was always making predictions—Reason would never have more than 2000 subscribers, the LP would never have more than 2000 members—that didn't come true, and he never acknowledged it when events proved him wrong." --L. Neil Smith, "Teaching Pigs to Sing"

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  9. 'If next week some anti-Irish magazine came out with a story that you did a bunch of drugs when you were younger (outlandish, I know), and this was getting you in trouble with your PhD committee, I wouldn't comment to any reporter who called me up about it. And I sure as heck wouldn't spend a few days doing research on it because "Callahan won't come clean on this!"'

    Fair enough, but your position would be somewhat different if you were a professional reporter tasked with covering my progress on my PhD. In that case, you'd either have to opt out of the assignment based on a conflict of interest, or commit to following the story wherever it led you. And the idea that, for instance, Weigel, who was an enthusiastic follower of Paul's surprising success on the Reason blog, pursued this story with the aim of sabotaging his campaign, is ridiculous.

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  10. L. Neil Smith is really good at making the guy he's attacking come off looking better than himself.

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  11. Brian N.8:47 AM

    tggp, that statement is correct and Rothbard did exactly that. It was fully as disastrous as it sounds. Based on my communications with other libertarians, such an implementation couldn't have been otherwise than a complete, unmitigated catastrophe. I don't know any who would have been compatible with the Leninist/JBS organizational model. Those who later entered the movement (the neolibertarians) trying to fuse it with neoconservatism were perfect for such organization; they weren't libertarians at all.

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  12. tggp, how, exactly, does Smith look bad in the quote above? Because your sticking your fingers in your ears and singing "I can't hear you?"

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  13. John T. Kennedy1:08 PM

    Gene,

    I don't know about Wiegel, but the real target of the campaign from Reason/Cato libertarians is Rockwell, not Paul.

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  14. Am I correct that Rockwell has not responded to this on his site?

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  15. John, Virginia Postrel and Tom Palmer hate Rockwell and foam at the mouth when his name is mentioned. I really don't see many other people, especially at Reason, "targeting" him in any sense. I've talked with Gillespie about this personally, and I'm sure he has no particular axe to grind with Rockwell or LVMI. Nor do Brian Doherty or Jesse Walker.

    Do you have any basis for your suggestion?

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  16. Michael12:54 PM

    So Murray was a race-baiter? I'm not trying to be confrontational, just asking a question.

    How then does one explain his support for the Black Power movement or even his great enjoyment of the Shaft movies where he cheers on Shaft's inter-racial affairs (and laments the lack of them in the first sequel)?

    Is this some kind of weird perverse racism/sexism by Murray, seeing and enjoying women of his own skin tone being shagged by colored folks?

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  17. Anonymous6:08 PM

    "Paul's got a decent message, but he's the wrong vehicle for delivering it."

    Ron Paul may not be the perfect or right vehicle, but at least someone in the race for POTUS is talking about the issues of liberty and property.

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  18. Michael,

    Rothbard shifted his strategy to fit the group he thought could best advance his goals. When that group was the New Left, he praised the Panthers. When that group was the paleos, he engaged in race baiting.

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  19. Glad to see you've finally seen (some of) the light, Callahan.

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  20. Brian N.8:08 PM

    Gene, I think Block said it best, Rothbard was, from the mid-50's on, a consistent libertarian anarchist. He never deviated from that point once. Always was any given political group evaluated according to the usefulness of seeing that realized. If we understand that, one of the charges thrown at him (of inconsistency) evaporates. Rothbard should have stayed the hell away from politics; says I. But that's me; maybe he had some fundamental reason for doing it, if only to believe, at the end of the day, he'd done everything he could.

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  21. Michael12:16 AM

    Fair enough. Then my question would be - what did he (Rothbard) really believe if this was only a strategy to extend libertarianism among various groups?

    The other challenge I'm having is that the Shaft reviews appear in a publication I doubt very few New Left folks would have ever read - The Libertarian Forum.

    Also, it seems to me, from what I have read, there are several other folks currently still writing, whose style and interests more readily fit the newsletters than either Rockwell or Rothbard, but I could be wrong.

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  22. Anonymous2:59 AM

    "I am not sure where you are going with this comment, if you are going anywhere at all." Oh dear. One can't as a blogger just give one's honest take on the issues and actions of the day. One must be "going somewhere" with it. So the absence of ulterior motive would itself be suspect? Sheesh.

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