Alex Blaze

Ron Paul: Libertarians can't be racist, but they can be insane

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 11, 2008 7:44 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: CNN, libertarianism, Martin Luther King Jr., politics, racism, Republicans, Ron Paul, Ron Paul's Freedom Report, Rosa Parks

He's got to be kidding, but he just isn't:

Ron Paul was on CNN yesterday talking about those newsletters. He's still denying that he wrote them and says that no one ever heard him say stuff like that as evidence that he didn't write them. He gets really agitated and that's when the crazy starts to come out.

Updated 2:12, after the jump. The Paul campaign's defense of the newsletters.

First, he says that he considers MLK and Rosa Parks heroes because:

They practiced the civil libertarian principle of civil disobedience and nonviolence.

So he's still going with the "rewrite history to suit my goals" tack. Because there's nothing more anti-racist than reappropriating two figures of racial equality to advance one's chances at becoming president.

Right after that is when he starts to get excited. He says:

Libertarians are incapable of being a racist, because racism is a collectivist idea.

I think this is where we have a lot of trouble thinking about racial politics in America. We think that racism is something that's only practiced by those people "out there." You know, the people burning crosses or committing genocide or what have you, those awful people that we're nothing like. The thing is, we're all fully capable of racial thinking, we're all responsible for fighting racism, and no one can exempt him or herself from culpability or say that their actions are beyond criticism because they don't want to look bad they think their politics negates it.

Republicans can be racist. Democrats can be racist. Independents and centrists can be racist. Constitution Party members can be racist. Greens, socialists, Democratic Socialists, and communists can be racist. People who know nothing about politics can be racist. And, yes, libertarians can be racist. To say otherwise is to ignore the problem to prove a point.

He goes on:

I, as a Republican candidate, am probably getting the most number of Black voters and Black supporters, and now that has to be undermined.

Thanks for the polling data or any evidence to back that up, Ron Paul. This sounds strangely like that "Black friend" these folks always seem to have that we can never meet.

(I tried to look up exit polling for proof, but the NY Times puts Black Republican caucus-goers in Iowa at 0%. And I don't think New Hampshire would be all that much different. Something tells me that a sinister scheme to take away voters from Paul would probably have focused on white people.)

He continues by talking about his opposition to Iraq and how "in all wars, minorities suffer the most." Definitely agree with him there - the Iraq War is being fought for the benefit of the mostly-white power elite in this country at the disproportionate expense of racial and ethnic minorities.

Same with the War on Drugs, which he goes on to talk about. He says:

67% of Blacks are in prison.

Ron Paul's not racist, Rosa Parks, Iraq, War on Drugs, lalalalala- BWAH? Where in the world did he get a statistic like that?

The Department of Justice puts the number at 4.7%, disproportionately high and something that must be addressed. But 67% is a far cry away.

Even if he mis-spoke and meant that 67% of the prison population is Black, he'd be wrong. Human Rights Watch says Black people make up just under half the people in prison.

I'm not saying this to pick at details, I'm not saying this to diminish the problem that he's talking about, but when someone has a platform on CNN to talk about these issues that rarely get addressed, the facts should be presented correctly or people will just tune it out. And if someone wants to run for president, he shouldn't be flat-out lying to people on national TV while running for office.

On the issue of homophobia and AIDS-phobia, of course, we get no response. I guess his record on that is not something he'd want to address, considering that he's pretty much against everything out that that could make our lives just a little bit easier.

The absence was conspicuous, yes. Unexpected, no.

(And I'm not giving him libertarian credit on those positions either - remember this is the man who introduced legislation in Congress to overturn the Lawrence decision, the biggest federal gay-rights achievement ever and one of the few things that we wanted that could have been considered "libertarian." And if he really thinks that the states are the place to advance a pro-queer agenda, then he should run for governor.)

He's still saying he didn't write them. When asked how those articles got into his newsletter if he completely disagreed with them:

I have no idea. Have you ever heard of a publisher of a magazine not knowing every single thing? The editor is responsible for the daily activities. And people came and gone and there were some people who were hired. I don't know any of their names. I absolutely honestly do not know who wrote those things.

But I do know that there was a transition, there were changes around.

Wow. Talk about gross incompetence. He didn't even know who was writing and editing Ron Paul's Freedom Report? He even goes on to say that he rarely read the newsletters and wouldn't recognize the writing if Wolf Blitzer didn't have them right there.

If he didn't have time to read them, meet the people writing them, or even learn the names of the people on staff writing under his name, then he should have taken his name off the top and stopped signing the back. There's no excuse for this, even if we are to believe Paul when he says he didn't write them.

And they were obviously meant to be seen as written by him. His name was across the top, there were no by-lines, he signed the back. They even created little details to make it look like he wrote them:

In some excerpts, the reader may be led to believe the words are indeed from Paul, a resident of Lake Jackson, Texas. In the "Ron Paul Political Report" from October 1992, the writer describes carjacking as the "hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos."

The author then offers advice from others on how to avoid being carjacked, including "an ex-cop I know," and says, "I frankly don't know what to make of such advice, but even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming."

It's entirely possible that someone would get on the staff of a newsletter Ron Paul owns and publishes, write something clearly meant to be seen as Ron Paul's words, insert random details to bolster the idea that Ron Paul wrote them, and make it completely racist and homophobic and crazy for no reason other than to make Ron Paul look bad. Then, the owner/publisher of that publication wouldn't even read those words or look at the newsletter that he signed on the back, no one else on the staff would bother to mention it to Ron Paul or try to stop that guy, the newsletters would get sent out, and then he'd be stuck the next decade completely shocked about what was in them.

I also think Occam's Razor, if applied to this item, would mean that Paul just wrote those articles or directed someone else to.

But he still doesn't understand the gravity of this outside of the way it's affecting his career:

This is the politics of it all. If it were important enough, why didn't the people in my district who have heard this for ten years or so.... It came up, and people believe me. Why don't you believe me and just say, "Look, it's in there, it's bad." I recognize that, I had a moral responsibility. But that doesn't mean that you can, you know, indirectly charge as being a racist.

He goes on to describe it as "nit-picking" and say that he's fund-raising on MLK Day, so how can he be racist?

This is just too much. I feel for the people who believed in him but stopped, I really do. He actually had one of the most complete visions for America of all the candidates running for president, as well as a people-powered campaign that gained traction.

But however these newsletters came about, they demonstrate that he's completely unqualified to be president.

Update: Mike Kole has some unsolicited Libertarian advice for Ron Paul.

Second update: The libertarian Reason magazine took issue with Ron Paul saying that this story is old news that has already been dealt with.

While they couldn't find much by the way of Paul actually apologizing or taking responsibility for the articles before the 2008 TNR article, they did find a dozen articles from 1996 with quotations from the Paul campaign saying that he was quoted "out of context," actually defending the newsletters.

From the Dallas Morning News:

Dr. Ron Paul, a Republican congressional candidate from Texas, wrote in his political newsletter in 1992 that 95 percent of the black men in Washington, D.C., are "semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

He also wrote that black teenagers can be "unbelievably fleet of foot." [...]

In the interview, he did not deny he made the statement about the swiftness of black men.

"If you try to catch someone that has stolen a purse from you, there is no chance to catch them," Dr. Paul said.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Paul, a Republican obstetrician from Surfside, said Wednesday he opposes racism and that his written commentaries about blacks came in the context of "current events and statistical reports of the time." [...]

Paul also asserted that "complex embezzling" is conducted exclusively by non-blacks.

"What else do we need to know about the political establishment than that it refuses to discuss the crimes that terrify Americans on grounds that doing so is racist? Why isn't that true of complex embezzling, which is 100 percent white and Asian?" he wrote.

Yes, the out-of-luck white man. Let me grab a tissue.

From the Austin Statesman-American:

"Dr. Paul is being quoted out of context," [Paul spokesman Michael] Sullivan said. "It's like picking up War and Peace and reading the fourth paragraph on Page 481 and thinking you can understand what's going on." [...]

Also in 1992, Paul wrote, "Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions."

Sullivan said Paul does not consider people who disagree with him to be sensible. And most blacks, Sullivan said, do not share Paul's views. The issue is political philosophy, not race, Sullivan said.

"Polls show that only about 5 percent of people with dark-colored skin support the free market, a laissez faire economy, an end to welfare and to affirmative action," Sullivan said. [...]

Nothing racist about separating people according to their color of skin and then only insulting Black people for their political beliefs. Nothing at all.

From the Washington Post:

Paul, an obstetrician from Surfside, Tex., denied he is a racist and charged Austin lawyer Charles "Lefty" Morris, his Democratic opponent, with taking his 1992 writings out of context.

"Instead of talking about the issues, our opponent has chosen to lie and try to deceive the people of the 14th District," said Paul spokesman Michael Sullivan, who added that the excerpts were written during the Los Angeles riots when "Jesse Jackson was making the same comments."

K, that's enough. You can read the rest here. The dude defended the articles when running back in '96, but now it's really inconvenient, so he's distancing himself.

What a liar.

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I still say that if he didn't write the pieces he's grossly incompetent to be president of a lemonade stand. I'm a publisher too. While Alex is responsible for content, you can bet your ass that I keep a close eye on things - after all, my name is on the front page. Sound familiar?

U really love U some Ron Paul, don't U?


What is this your 10th verbose Ron Paul post this week?


Well Alex oviously someone re wrote history a long time ago...

You should look at who Dr Paul represents and realize that the man's actions are not consistent with what you and others are saying.

As i have said before and you don't want to acknowledge is his district is mainly black and Hispanic.

I know this doesn't fit your and other's agenda It is really sad when this is all you have to use against him.

Why don't you stop seeing what you want to see and open your eyes.

Take care

I have several problems with Ron Paul as a candidate but here are my two biggest:

1. He doesn't believe in protecting persecuted minorities from discrimination. An easy position to advocate, I suppose, when you're not the one being discriminated against.

2. He's running as a Republican, and libertarian or not, that says something about his politics in general. In general, I think the lives of LGBT Americans would be harder under his administration than they would be under that of any Democrat running.

R~ 4th!

Sue~ Gotta keep up with this. There are lots of things that can't be in every single post, but I put up the full video w/ Dr. Paul explaining himself in his own words. People can make their own decision. I don't think that the demographics of his district get him off the hook here.

Rebecca~ Yeah, it's easy to say "leave it to the states" when the protections aren't for you... and when you're running for federal office.

I don't see how any candidate will improve the lives of TG/TS folk so for me it's a non issue.

If GLBT folk were covered in every state and at the federal level "yesterday" that would do Nothing for employment or hate crimes because you might be able to change laws but it takes at least three generations to change people.

The bigger issues need to be addressed like pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan. (a two billion dollar a day drain on this economy.) Has anybody noticed the price of gold hit $900.00 an OZ yesterday? it did drop back by .8%. Did anybody else notice the gain made by the Dow Jones Index yesterday was lost in the first 2 hours of trade today. That makes over 600 points lost for this week.

Now you might say a president can't control the economy well he can control how much the government spends on war, since he is the "commander and Chief" The US spent more money on the war in Iraq then the entire Space Program from it's beginning until Apollo's return from the Moon.

All for what?
To fatten the pockets of a few men with big egos and underdeveloped genitals.

Okay i have to go...
Places to go people to meet computers to fix...

Have a good one...

Think about what i said ALex.

Take care

Only 4??


I put up the full video w/ Dr. Paul explaining himself in his own words. People can make their own decision.

30 paragraphs is posting a video & letting people make their own decisions?!?


No, of course people can't make their own decisions. I've actually implanted electrodes in everyone's neck and when they say something I disagree with, I shock them. Three shocks and then I put them in prison, since people aren't allowed to make their own decisions when I'm around.

Sure, there'll be a massive movement against me one day and my Ron-Paul-support-silencing ways. It'll be a big war, since they'll have everything and everyone, but I'll have the control for the electrodes. You can see how that'll be complicated.

One day I'll be toppled down from my autocratic perch and be replaced by someone pro-Ron-Paul, who'll work to rebuild the world in the true libertarian vision. A statue will be erected to this person in the center of the internet, for she will be the hero of this new world, a world in which bloggers don't write too many paragraphs and preclude people from making their own decisions.

Sue~ Will do.

LOL...the entire thing is hilarious.

I realize it's a day later but I thought I should clarify so there's no misunderstanding:

My "30 paragraphs" comment was specifically in reaction to Alex's comment (the one I quoted.)

You write a post that's 30-odd paragraphs and then say "I put up the full video w/ Dr. Paul explaining himself in his own words.People can make their own decision." The comment struck me as funny-ironic because clearly, by writing the post, you're doing more than just posting a video and letting people make up their own minds.

And I love the line-by-line analysis of his response as if it was Buddha speaking and not Ron

I think the whole thing is funny.

Ummmmm... I never said I "just" posted a video and let people decide.... I also ate breakfast and drank coffee.

I said that I posted a video, which I did, and people can decide for themselves, which they will, no matter how little I want them to. That was a specific response to Sue's comment that I was misrepresenting Dr. Paul's words.

It's only funny-ironic if you misread the comment.

Just clarifying so that there's no misunderstanding.

It's only funny-ironic if you misread the comment.

Just clarifying so that there's no misunderstanding.

You're right,course
...because you're always right,of course.

So much for reader-response...


Oh, we're going down the "Reader interpretation provides all meaning" route, even if the meaning is to call someone a hypocrite and a liar, implicitly assuming my intentions...

Fine. Language is chaos. And I'm quote offended by your continued defense of genocide in this thread.

By reader-response I mean theory-- as in Roland Barths.

For example, Alex says I "misread." One school of reader-response is that there is no "misreading" there is one reading as oppopsed to another
or even as opposed to the writer's intention.

EX: Sue (in another post) wrote "Who is R?" I read that as questioning my identity (asking who I am). She meant (author intention) Who is? (space) R meaning:"Who is a trekkie?" My reading was not necessarily misreading. It was one reading.

My reading of Alex's comment here is not necessarily misreading. It's one reading-- my initial response as a reader to what was written in spite of the author's intention.

In plain English, the comment struck me as

Oh, we're going down the "Reader interpretation provides all meaning" route, even if the meaning is to call someone a hypocrite and a liar, implicitly assuming my intentions...

Fine. Language is chaos. And I'm quote offended by your continued defense of genocide in this thread.


Calm down. I;m simply saying, "I put up the full video w/ Dr. Paul explaining himself in his own words. People can make their own decision."
is not exactly what the post does.

You put a video up, stated your opinion then left it open for people to think whatever they want. But now the text you wrote is related to the video.

Like this: It's one thing to say: Here's the video. What do you think? It's a little different to say: Here's the video, here's what I think. What do you think? It's not a big difference or a bad difference. But subtle and (to me) interesting and amusing.

There's no reason to take offense, Alex. I'm simply observing things that interests or amuse me. I am not condoning genocide or Ron Paul, for that matter. You know me better than that. I'm simply saying the text invites a reaction to your opinion of the video/Paul much more than just an open response to the video/Paul particularly because it's so detailed and exhaustive.

No offense intended.

I don't think you understood my comment.

Since you said that what's most important is reader interpretation, that me bringing up what I said is irrelevant to the way you're interpreting it, implying that language has no stable meaning, then anything you say (or I say) can be interpreted as a defense of genocide. You say you weren't defending genocide, but, then again, reader interpretation is everything, language is unstable, so who are you to say that you weren't?

I'm saying that you're misinterpreting what I said, since you're not reading it as a response to Sue's comment. Yes, there's a difference between just posting a video and posting a video with commentary. What was important in the conversation was whether or not I posted a video at all. So I said that. I didn't use words like "just" or "only" when I said I posted a video, you know it, but you chose to jump all over it anyway.

And I think there is reason to take offense when you call it "funny/ironic" or "interesting" or other things that imply that I'm lying here, when what's really happening is a misinterpretation. And then when I say it's a misinterpretation you write it off as trying to control interpretation. Because there's no defense for anything I write, and trying is consummately arrogance ("You're right,course...because you're always right,of course").

And then when I make that point I'm overreacting and need to "calm down". There's just nothing I can do right, is there?

I don't see how saying I found the comment funny or ironic implies that you lied. It is simply my response to the comment.

I never said reader interpretation was "most important." In fact, reader-response, at least as I have used it in the classroom, puts all intrepretation on the table. If Reader I read it this way and Reader II reads it that way I don't say that Reader I is right and Reader II is wrong, I say that Reader II read it differently than Reader I. Because to say that Reader II is wrong implies that Reader II has failed and is inferior. If you are lucky the Writer can respond and say "This was how I intended it to be read." Most teachers say, "The writer is right." I say the Writer's intended reading is another way of reading. This allows the Writer to then re-envision their writing if s/he chooses to. But again, no judgment is implied.

Language is not chaotic it is communal. The meaning of individual words is not arbitrary-- it's assigned. There is a shared understanding of the meaning to each individual word. There would have to be something in the sequence of the words I use to imply genocide in order to say I was talking about genocide. Still, most readings are nuanced allowing for reader response due in part to the sequence of words and subtlety of the writing.

The word just (with italics) was used to emphasize my meaning. It was used for emphasis alone. I was not jumping all over anything.

The comment "You'e right..."etc. was just me teasing you a little. I meant no harm. Hence, the "lol."

I guess I'll go back to prefacing everything I say with "Don't take this personally," or "Don't take this wrong." Hopefully, then you will see that it's a comment about the writing and not about you. How you can take anything so esoteric as reader-response theory so persaonally I don't know. I guess because it's me.

I guess because it's me.

Duh! :)

That and maybe your lack of phone this weekend....

WOW with this much Ron Paul bashing you could become PRESIDENT at Fox News. Affirmative action is racism No evidence of Ron Paul being a racist has EVER been discovered. Do you think that the Rolling Stones read everything that goes into Rolling Stones magazine. THEY DON'T. The Ron Paul newsletter was just a name, grow up already and stop trying to find dirt on an exemplary man.