Wednesday, January 09, 2008

An Insider's Reaction

From Timoth Virkkala:

As a writer and editor working in the libertarian movement at the time of these "Ron Paul" newsletters, I have vague recollection of "common knowledge": it was known who wrote these newsletters, and why. It was money for Ron. It was money for the writers. And it was a way of keeping Ron's name in the minds of right wingers with money ... future donors.

It was designed to be entertaining writing. Provocative. It flirted with racism, like Mencken's did, and Mencken was indeed the model. But these writings went further than Mencken usually did (for publication) along the lines of annoying the racially sensitive; and they sometimes did veer into outright racism.

I was embarrassed by the implied racial hatred, for the general level of hate regardlesss of race ... and in part because the writing was so obviously not Ron's, and so obviously the product of the actual writers, with whom I had tangential relations — is my editor's* writer my writer? [...]

Most of us "old-time" libertarians have known about this sad period of Ron Paul's career from the get-go. We know that it was a lapse on his part. But we who opposed it (and not all of us did) put much of the blame on the writers involved, not on Paul, who was, after all, juggling family, medicine, politics, and continued study of actual economics. That Paul didn't realize what he was doing to his own moral stance is amazing. His style is one of earnest moralizing. That fits his character. The ugliness of this career move speaks a sad story.

It also says the harshest thing about Ron Paul as presidential timber: he let himself be so easily used and influenced. [...] Like Rodney King, one might prefer we all just get along, move along, and forget about this sorry story. But it is worth exploring. Racism is still a live issue in America. And, apparently, in libertarianism.