Over the last few months as revelations about Ron Paul’s ties to racist and neo-Nazi groups have been been reported some libertarians have become critical of Paul while others found excuses for his inexcusable behavior. The recent revelation that Paul does not accept evolution as established science had disillusioned many rational people who were had considered supporting him due to his opposition to the war. I found my post on Paul’s view of evolution has received numerous links from other blogs and forums. The reports in The New Republic on the racist writings in Paul’s newsletter are even disillusioning many libertarian writers and bloggers.
Radley Balko is “disappointed in Paul and in his campaign.” Paul might not personally be a racist, but his lack of understanding of the magnitude of this problem is a problem in itself. Balko wrote, “like Nick Gillespie, I think the most disappointing thing about all of this is what Dave Weigel posted this afternoon from New Hampshire: Paul doesn’t consider this worthy of a serious reaction. I was hoping for much, much more.”
Nick Gillespie is also disappointed in the response, writing, “I don’t think that Ron Paul wrote this stuff but that really doesn’t matter–the newsletters carried his name after all–and his non-response to Dave Weigel below is unsatisfying on about a thousand different levels. It is hugely disappointing that he produced a cache of such garbage.”
Daniel Koffler presents a long list of quotations from Paul and writes, “as a libertarian with significant sympathy for Paul’s platform, I initially viewed claims of his past history of racism skeptically. But the evidence is so overwhelming that the defense of Paul is now, itself, indefensible.”
David Harsanyi writes, “If George Bush or Hillary Clinton or any mainstream politician were even remotely associated with the sort of rambling anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist and paranoid text, they would be finished as legitimate voices. Paul should be finished, as well.”
Publius Endures writes, “At a bare minimum, the whole sequence shows horrible leadership; more likely, however, it shows actual sympathy for the views expressed therein.”
Ryan Sager writes, “To be clear: It doesn’t matter one bit if Ron Paul wrote any of this. It went out under his name, it reflects the views of many of his supporters, and he’s at the very least tacitly endorsed all of it for years by not denouncing it. Ron Paul doesn’t get to be judged by a lower standard because he’s a fringe candidate anymore. If Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, or anyone else had stuff like this under his name, it would be a career ender. That it’s not for Ron Paul shows exactly what his supporters are all about.”
Rand Simberg writes, “I’m willing to believe that he wasn’t the author, and even that he didn’t endorse the newsletter, but I find it troubling that he let this stuff go out under his own name for so long. The fact that he now takes “moral responsibility” for it now is nice, I guess, but it really makes one question his judgment. And his campaign continues to attract many unsavory elements of American politics, including 911 “Truthers,” who he seems to unwilling to denounce.”
Michael Goldfarb writes that the documents “prove what most of us knew all along: Dr. Paul isn’t just kooky, he’s deranged.” He argues that Paul’s refusal to return the contribution from Don Black as meaning, “He’s been speaking in code to the dregs of American society this whole time. And he had no intention of alienating his base of support.”
Arnold Kling suggests that Paul supporters might “Abandon Ron Paul, and question whether it is a good idea to be part of any mass movement.”
The problem with the Paul movement is that it has become a cult. Far too many of the cultists not only are willingly blind to their leader’s faults but have also begun to internalize his beliefs as they justify his writings and actions. If libertarianism is to have any credibility, libertarians must realize that Ron Paul’s views are not really about freedom except for providing the framework to defend the freedom to discriminate and oppress.