Friday, January 18, 2008

The Ron Paul Affair

I have not said anything regarding the Ron Paul Affair. The newsletters were obscure for the most part, though the issue was first raised by a Congressional opponent several years ago. At the time, it seemed like a one time screw up but New Republic has shown that the newsletters were an ongoing activity.

I do not think Ron Paul is a racist. And I accept his statement that someone else wrote the newsletters and he had little input or control. But he was indifferent to what was said in his name and showed poor judgment and poor management.

This leads to a larger question though -- namely, has the Ron Paul campaign been good or bad for the libertarian movement in America. Paul was NEVER going to be the GOP nominee. But Paul wants to talk about the fiscal policy and constitutionalism and changing American foreign policy. I had hoped that lead to a widening of the debate.

Instead, however, libertarianism again is shown to be a strange and alien political philosophy. I have never been a "movement" libertarian. Mostly, I think, this is due to the fact that libertarianism tends to shade off into strange places. It has always been more comfortable to consider myself a conservative for that reason.

The Paul campaign has again lead libertarianism down this road. Paul's supporters have a tendency to get in your face. And he has attracted a motley crew of 9/11 Truthers, new world order conspiracy theorists and other marginal types to his campaign. Even the "Don't Tase Me bro" guy is a Paul supporter.

This newsletter affair seems to go beyond the one article that has been discussed. Basically, you have a guy making money using his name to sell newsletters that contain things that are considered outside the realm of polite society. The articles are unsigned and give the impression that he either wrote them (which he did not) or that he gave his seal of approval.

I do not believe in censorship of ideas. Paul and his supporters can say what they feel like until they are blue in their collective faces. But this is yet more proof that Paul was the wrong champion of libertarian ideas in this election.

1 comment:

Rodak said...

Yeah. Like I said before, Ron Paul's protestations that he didn't know what was being published under his name drift right off into Gonzo Terrority. I frankly don't believe him. It seems to me impossible that this stuff was being put out there for years and nobody around him learned of it and had the decency to bring it to his attention. It doesn't pass the smell test.