We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Ron Paul ‘racism’ frenzy

Cato have written about why they are not real keen on Ron Paul and although I pretty much agree with the generality of what causes them such discomfort, I do not actually end up with the same set of conclusions. The money quote for me is:

And now he and his associates have slimed the noble cause of liberty and limited government.

Please, gentlemen, take a deep breath. I realise racism is the cardinal sin of our time and that it carries the automatic penalty of public abomination and auto da fe, followed by burning at the stake (it even gets you banned from commenting at Samizdata, although probably not for the reasons most people think), but the notion that the cause of liberty is inextricably tied up with Ron Paul’s campaign is excessive hyperventilating, both from Ron Paul’s supporters and his detractors.

I never felt he was the dream candidate, just the only one serious about shrinking the size of the state and frankly if he wanted to do that in order to preserve the purity of his precious bodily fluids rather than to increase the general sum of liberty, well so be it, just so long as he really is serious about shrinking the state.

Just as I am (still) quite willing to support him in spite of, rather than because of, his view of foreign affairs as foreign affairs just ain’t the most important issue at the moment in my view, similarly this admitted lapse of judgement by Ron Paul regarding these dismal newsletters does not really change much in my opinion.

He is a politician, for Christ’s sake, what did you expect?

79 comments to The Ron Paul ‘racism’ frenzy

  • Kevyn Bodman

    Why does racism get you banned from commenting on Samizdata? What are the reasons you might think would cause the ban, but in fact don’t?

    [rest of comment deleted by editor as unutterably tedious]

    I haven’t bothered to find out what Ron Paul’s on racial differences are. Maybe he is a racist, maybe he isn’t.
    If he is, demonstate why he’s wrong. It’s not too difficult and it beats denunciation.

  • Anne's Omnibus

    Critics of St. Ron are now in a “frenzy” over racism are they? LGF commenter Christoph put it best:

    Meh. You either judge him for his own racist, anti-Semitic, paranoid crank words… or you accept someone wrote those (and his previous defense of the words being taken out of context, well you just ignore that) and judge him for being unable to run a newsletter properly for over a decade bearing his name on the masthead… a newsletter he financially benefited from, as former Ron Paul supporter Radley Balko of Reason Magazine aptly points out.

    Either way, he’s nasty, incompetent, or both — do what I’m doing. Keep the libertarian ideas (the baby) and drain the dirty bathwater (Paul).

    If you fail to do this, that will prove to me your affinity is more for Paul’s dirt than the innocent ideas the baby represents.

    Seconded.

  • Midwesterner

    I guess from the start I just considered Ron Paul to be a ‘useful idiot’. I personally think he is probably a good but naive guy who, after not being at all careful who he was lying down with, is ‘waking up with fleas’.

    And as much as I don’t want him anywhere near the Whitehouse, if Fred is not an option in November, RP will probably get my vote if he runs third party. He is useful for something and that is to adjust the RNCs attitude towards ‘its’ members. I do not ‘belong’ to a party.

  • Sunfish

    Midwesterner,
    I guess I got to the same answer by the opposite path. I personally thing RP is a, well, I’m trying to stop swearing again. Jeez, it’s harder than quitting smoking!

    Anyway, so is basically every other Federal politician out there. When I said that FT was the first that I ever liked, I actually meant exactly that. But I didn’t refrain from voting because of that.

    I’ve come around from my “vote for a bad republican rather than let a Democrat have it” position. I don’t know if I can make myself vote for RP, but other than those two or maybe Hunter there ain’t a Republican on the field that has anything to say to me.[1]

    [1] Question: Why did Tancredo endorse Governor Goodhair? Tom really was legitimately (usually, immigration fetish aside) a free-market guy.

  • Critics of St. Ron are now in a “frenzy” over racism are they?

    They sure are… and so are a lot of his supporters.

    All politicians are nasty incompetents (thank goodness), yet that does not seem to stop people voting for them. Ron Paul does not strike me as any worse than most others.

    Perhaps his only serious failing was to not understand that racist collectivism (collectivism applied to a few) is regarded as a sin (rightly) whereas other forms of collectivism of both left and right are regarded as perfectly acceptable within the political arena (wrongly). He probably has difficulty telling the difference as there really isn’t any objectively speaking, (but then politics has very little to do with objective reality), so he made a political mistake. Oh well. Sorry but I still don’t really care.

  • Why does racism get you banned from commenting on Samizdata? What are the reasons you might think would cause the ban, but in fact don’t?

    For the same reason I deleted most of your comment, Kevyn and why I tend to have a ‘shoot first ask questions later’ approach to deleting anything by anyone I think is a racist… in theory it should be possible to discuss racial differences rationally. In theory.

    But it isn’t. That is simply an empirically based observation based on more than five years of running Samizdata. Not all the people who want to discuss genetics and race are obsessives or neo-Nazi lunatics, only 98% of them are. ‘Race realists’ perfectly fit Winston Churchill’s definition of a fanatic:

    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

    I ban racists not for being racists but for repeatedly turning discussions on motor cars and Iraq and Maria Sharapova and the West Lothian question and internet censorship and Basque terrorism and fusion technology and Puccini into diatribes about racial intelligence.

    So now you know.

    If for some reason you care, I’ve laid out the editorial position before.

  • Perhaps his only serious failing was to not understand that racist collectivism (collectivism applied to a few) is regarded as a sin (rightly) whereas other forms of collectivism of both left and right are regarded as perfectly acceptable within the political arena (wrongly).

    Given the solutions to the problem of racism that I generally hear proposed (hiring preferences, interest-free government loans to “seed” small businesses in the black community, race-based scholarships, admissions quotas and/or including race as a “consideration among others” in college admission) I don’t think it’s actually “racist collectivism” that most people object to. They are opposed to racism in some broadly-defined sense, but they are certainly not above using the incidental fact of membership in a particular race as a qualification (or basis for punishment). indeed, most people who specialize in race issues talk all kinds of nonsense about “community membership” and have notions of ethnic identity that can be rather atavistic.

    Sorry if this seems like a hair-splitting point, but I think it’s worth making in this discussion as one of the reasons that the charges of bigorty against Paul will stick even if and after we know the real author (assuming it wasn’t Paul) is that he opposes affirmative action. That alone suffices to get people labeled “racist” in certain influential circles these days, the irony that affirmative action is itself a racist policy having escaped them long ago.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Perhaps his only serious failing was to not understand that racist collectivism (collectivism applied to a few) is regarded as a sin (rightly) whereas other forms of collectivism of both left and right are regarded as perfectly acceptable within the political arena (wrongly).

    Exactly. There are, as you pointed out in a previous post, some reasonable points within the controversial parts of the newsletter, such as the restrictions on gun control increasing vulnerability to riot-induced crime, the largely pro-Israeli sentiment of the US media and the proximity of leading US politicians to their Israeli counterparts, and the exploitation of the generic ‘civil rights’ movement to undermine private property and personal liberty.

    MidWesterner:

    And as much as I don’t want him anywhere near the Whitehouse, if Fred is not an option in November, RP will probably get my vote if he runs third party.

    Thompson’s endorsement seems odd to me. I would agree that economically Thompson is a close second to Paul as a libertarian. But his authoritarian inclinations domestically worry me. In the debate the other day, when he slapped down Huckabee, I was all behind him, until he mentioned Gitmo. Can you seriously endorse a candidate with such scant regard for habeus corpus and the principles of the Constitution? On this issue he seems schizophrenic: on the same webpage, he calls for amending the judicial process for to deal “with the realities of terrorists and unlawful enemy combatants,” and then proclaims himself dedicated to “appointing strict constructionist judges… faithful to our constitution.”

    The two positions are incompatible. Either you repudiate the Constitution in principle to permit torture, suspension of habeus corpus, the ability of federal agents to write their own warrants and forbiding the victim of this unconstitutional invasion of privacy to tell anybody, all in the name of national security, or you retain the document in its entirety and adhere strictly to its contents – no torture, no ‘special circumstances’ under which due process is denied, no federal discretion in law enforcement, no restrictions on freedom of speech &c. Fred’s half right on the issues – but on that page above, there’s a comparison at the bottom between the GOP candidates, where he criticizes Romney, Guiliani and Huckabee for their big government tendencies. That he doesn’t include Ron Paul is telling; on every issue where Fred’s right, he shares the constitutionalist platform of Paul’s – no restrictions on gun ownership, balanced budgets, tax cuts. But then, when it suits him, he’s an authoritarian conservative, “combating the spread of obscenity over TV,” “conserving our nation’s resources,” “strengthening the institution of marriage and traditional families,” and condemns the Palestinian Hamas government, which “must also be disarmed and disbanded.” None of these things are provided for in the Constitution. Fred might claim the banner of the limited government federalist, but he’s a Lincoln, not a Jefferson. He pays lip service to the constitution, but if it contradicts his political ends, he seems willing to ignore it.

  • Perry, I don’t think you ever commented on Fred Thompson. What do you think?

  • Ian B

    Well, I think the lesson here is perhaps more than anything else that if you’re a candidate trying to buck the incumbent hegemony thang, you need to be cleaner than a whistle. So clean that when you fart, the smell of spring flowers floods the room.

    The New Republic are an organ of the statist movement. This “new revalation” isn’t new, but they’ve pushed it centre stage and now everybody’s in a frenzy. We’re not naive here, are we? This is how all sides manipulate the news agenda if they have the power to do so. It’s like old Peter Hain and his 100 grand he can’t remember. If the hestablishment wanted him off the hook, there’d be nary a whiff in the papers. Presumably somebody wants him sunk, so it’s become a scandal.

    I don’t know how pure politics ever was, whether it was ever more than a punch and judy show. I despise the media for treating it as a game to be commented on as if it doesn’t matter, as if it’s all about landing blows and awarding points. It’s like we forget that policies affect peoples’ lives'; they ruin businesses, send people to jail, people die because of politicians’ decisions. And all the press can do is sstand around saying, “ooh, good shot there” and “hmm, nul points for strategy”, or (random example here) admiring the EU for their masterful figuring out how to bludgeon the population into their dictatorship after the “no” referenda; nobody gives a flying fuck about the actual policies, it’s all treated as a game. RANT RANT.

    So, the statists decided Paul was just a bit too scary, maybe he might start something, so they’ve made sure he’s smacked down. Nothing scares the bastards more than the possibility of a libertarian revival. Well, maybe spiders or something.

    But, we have to work in the laughable system we have. THe other side do not play fair. Any libertarian who so much as looks like a slight risk of getting beyond “ignored kook” towards “might make some headway” will be ruthlessly attacked. The statists are a terrible bunch, because they know sod all about policy, about economics, about anything. They’re really rather ignorant, stupid people. But they are very, very cunning, and very, very organised.

    This debacle is, I think, the lesson. Anyone who’s going to make a run for political office or any other office needs to be as pure as driven snow. This is going to be difficult for people who are naturally driven to question the cultural hegemony; since they’ve set up a statist heresy system (you are a racist, a xenophobe, a sexist, etc) which is virtually impossible to argue against. Which is what heresy is all about being, of course :)

  • trevalyan

    For blacks, it’s a very serious issue. Considering most of the black people I know would gladly appreciate dialing back of police powers, if not the police themselves, they’d be incredibly strong supporters of libertarianism. Of course, then they hear strains of bigotry against them, and go running back to government for SOME protection against people, whether the drive is from state governments or simply society at large, limiting their rights.

    Blacks aren’t going to support libertarianism if they think their rights will be limited by the LOCAL state, or even by people around them. They’ll take the limited protection the state offers first, even accepting the state makes them slaves. It’s ok to them, though, because their happiness and freedom are greater under this system than if blacks trusted segregation laws sponsored by the state government.

    We are not free, but we are equal to blacks in the eyes of the state. Until we show blacks they can have both, which isn’t helped a damn bit by utterly wrong statements in the Ron Paul Report, we’re well and truly fucked.

    We may be anyways, but this really hastens the process.

  • He’d be the next choice, Alisa, as at least I think his heart is sort of in the right place. Sort of.

    The rest of the choices are vile after Thompson however.

  • Britt

    I’m serious about shrinking the government a bit, so I’m backing Fred. He’s the first candidate to talk about federalism in a meaningful way, the first one who has actually been on the wrong side of some 99-1 votes because the proposition at hand was contrary to federalist principles. He actually will shrink the government, because he actually has a chance to be in position to do so.

    Ron Paul has no chance of winning. I choose to work with reality, rather then ignore it, and I will support the small government guy who has the best chance of winning. Politics is the art of the possible and all that.

  • I don’t disagree with most of that, trevalyan, but you have to start somewhere.

  • I choose to work with reality, rather then ignore it, and I will support the small government guy who has the best chance of winning. Politics is the art of the possible and all that.

    And if Thompson really does truthfully represent small government rather than ‘making government bigger slower than the other guys’, then there is something to be said for your approach, Britt.

    However…

    …if all Thompson is is the ‘lesser evil’ (and opinions vary on that), then that would be an example of the thinking that has probably caused more damage to the cause of liberty than any other since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

    The basic approach to ‘right wing’ conservative politics on both sides of the Atlantic since the salad days of Reagan/Thatcher has been “appease your enemies and ignore your allies”. As a consequence tax-and-spend Big Government statists control both the White House and Tory Central Office as a direct result of people voting for The Lesser Evil. Well surprise surprise, the people who head both those parties are evil, who’d a thunked it?

  • Ron Paul has no chance of winning. I choose to work with reality, rather then ignore it, and I will support the small government guy who has the best chance of winning. Politics is the art of the possible and all that.

    Except that I’m not sure Thompson in the White House is in the realm of the possible. If you’re honest with yourself, you’re looking at Romney or Giuliani (or possibly McCain) on the ticket come November, and none of those guys even remotely qualify as champions of smaller government.

    Before this Kirchick thing, there was a reasonable chance Ron Paul might’ve run third party. A small government Republican running third party might have split the Republican vote to some degree, forcing Republicans to pay more attention to that part of their natural voting pool in 2012. Ron Paul had (has?) the potential to induce real changes in the way one of the two major parties approaches voters, in other words. I don’t think Fred Thompson is offering you any such hope. He will run through Super Tuesday, by which point he will have effectively had his ass handed to him, and then he will endorse whatever slick fascist the Republicans are running this time around. All his bold stance for small government will have accomplished is to have further convinced the RNC that they can count on small government voters to choose them over the Dems every time, and that these voters can therefore safely be ignored.

    No thanks. I’m supporting Ron Paul.

  • trevalyan

    Perry,

    Thanks for your words. Yes. You DO start somewhere. And you start with throwing off the chains around a specific group of people. Black have even more chains weighing down on them than other people. Many law-abiding black people feel the burden of the state when their cars are randomly searched, or due to the state’s incredibly poor services dressed up with a smiley face, or when they’re imprisoned for consensual business dealings. They’re open to a better philosophy.

    At any rate, most whites simply do not believe in overt, crude racism. They can realize exactly why it is wrong, and are embarrassed by anyone who lacks this simple logic. Ron Paul is no racist, but he holds cover for a man who is, and permitted that man to distribute the content in his name. If Virginia Postrel knows who did it, why doesn’t Dr. Paul?

    This is the best chance we’ve had in some time to reverse the flow, and I’m sorry that Dr. Paul has done this not just to himself, but to all of us. Hell, I stuck up for him when he shook hands with Don Black, on account of no politician having clairvoyance during a meet and greet. But this is wrong. And if we, of all people, can’t openly discuss what is wrong or not, then we have lost our moral case.

    As for Fred Thompson, fuck him to death. He’s willing to steal even more money for “missile defense,” turn a blind eye to open government torture, and play to the fundies when they look to stick their noses into my business. I’d sooner take poison.

  • Of course, then they hear strains of bigotry against them, and go running back to government for SOME protection against people, whether the drive is from state governments or simply society at large, limiting their rights.

    I’m not sure this reflects reality. Black voters have always voted as a block for the Democrats. And it isn’t just that, this block decidedly prefers the strong welfare-statist wing of that party. It isn’t just SOME protection of people that they seem to want, it’s RATHER A LOT OF IT.

    Now, granted, it isn’t all black voters. And, granted, a lot of this probably has to do with the character of the street preachers that largely created this voting block in the first place (Jesse Jackson, etc.). But I think you’re indulging in fantasy if you think you could go to a predominantly black neighborhood, take a poll, and expect to find that even a significant minority of the people you interviewed were philosophically opposed to welfare, social security, in favor of gun rights, etc. There is some evidence that black leaders have misrepresented their constituency on some issues (notably abortion – blacks seem to be reasonably pro-life – and the environment – Kyoto isn’t a priority) – but not really on most of the issues that are core to libertarianism.

    This is a long tradition. Way back in 1965, for example, Republicans outvoted Democrats almost 3-to-1 on the Civil Rights Act, and yet it didn’t buy them much in terms of black support. President Johnson, more than any other, is associated with our involvement in Vietnam, which blacks strongly opposed, and yet that didn’t stop them turning out for Humphrey (the DNC man) in 1968. If you break down voting patterns by race, black people vote overwhelmingly Democrat, more or less independent of the incidental positions of the candidate.

    Of course, libertarians can and should reach out to black people. We’ve been doing a poor job in this regard. I’m just saying that there’s no untapped pool of black support for libertarian ideas that’s ours for the asking if only we are careful to disassociate ourselves from those among us who say racist things. That pool has to be created, and that’s an uphill battle. It’s one we definitely should fight, but let’s not kid ourselves about how much work it’s going to involve. We’re up against a political machine (Jesse Jackson et al) that are the heirs to the Civil Rights Movement and who have been very effective at using race as a rallying point for their cause. That’s a powerful tradition to overcome.

  • If Virginia Postrel knows who did it, why doesn’t Dr. Paul?

    Virginia Postrel only has a guess about who did it (Lew Rockwell). If her guess is correct, it explains why Paul is reluctant to “out” the author.

  • trevalyan

    Now, granted, it isn’t all black voters. And, granted, a lot of this probably has to do with the character of the street preachers that largely created this voting block in the first place (Jesse Jackson, etc.). But I think you’re indulging in fantasy if you think you could go to a predominantly black neighborhood, take a poll, and expect to find that even a significant minority of the people you interviewed were philosophically opposed to welfare, social security, in favor of gun rights, etc.

    I actually had a black girlfriend in one of these neighborhoods- in Democrat-controlled CHICAGO- who owned an illegal firearm, didn’t support the drug war, and had a really nice office job. Trusting the police to protect you from home invasion is suicidally insane, and she knew that.

    It’ll take work, no doubt. But the option is completely there. Black professionals that don’t work in the race industry or government would be quite amenable to getting government off their back. Jesse Jackson’s done fuck all about actually stopping the tyranny. It’s a perfect chance.

    As for Rockwell- I thought Postrel had a very solid reason to suspect it was him, or so she said, but the details of intra-libertarian politics really aren’t of interest to me. If Dr. Paul can’t defuse this situation, he has no business pretending he can break the Democratic and Republican machines.

  • I agree with trevalyan. In speaking with African-Americans, a fair number see through the guise of the welfare state. Its very obvious when it comes to restrictions on things like pushcart licensing in D.C., that makes it hard for the urban poor to get jobs. I’ve even seen polls that blacks are more libertarian than white people on average.

    I’ve also found most people in Chicago own illegal firearms, while they still want them to be illegal. One guy who was robbed was told by the cops to get a gun, although he ended up just getting big dogs.

    As far as Fred, he hasn’t even done as well as Dr. Paul. I am not sure any of the other primary cantidates are worth supporting, although they all have plusses and minuses.

    Anyway, I am inclined to give Dr. Paul the benifit of the doubt. If you have to trust people to write for you, you might not be able to review their work. It ermains to be seen what the rest of his supporters will do.

  • Pinning the racism tail on the Ron Paul donkey, to me, is beside the point.

    I’ve Paul’s handling of the entire matter much more disturbing than holding a particular point of view or another. His explanation of how this content appeared on newsletters using his name absolutely beggars belief, particularly coming from someone closely associated with conspiracy theories (one of the more ironic aspects, I guess)

    If anything, he is confessing to being totally out of touch and unaware of what was going on around him. Now while such a thing may not discredit some of the ideas or concepts he puts forward, it does certainly disqualify the man from any sort of serious consideration to become the leader of the executive branch of the United States government.

    And as such, it also calls into question the judgement of those that still intend to cast their ballots for the man, short of simply doing so in an act of ideological protest.

  • Axion

    If anything, he is confessing to being totally out of touch and unaware of what was going on around him

    And that would make him different from other politicians how?

  • Linda Morgan

    From the post:

    I never felt he was the dream candidate, just the only one serious about shrinking the size of the state…

    and then commenting:

    All politicians are nasty incompetents (thank goodness), yet that does not seem to stop people voting for them. Ron Paul does not strike me as any worse than most others.

    What difference does Paul’s seriousness — about anything — make, if, being a politician, he’s a nasty incompetent? Seriousness isn’t efficacy.

    I don’t understand why you support him. Why support someone just because you think he’s serious about something he can’t accomplish?

    And then there’s:

    …this admitted lapse of judgement by Ron Paul regarding these dismal newsletters does not really change much in my opinion.

    and

    …so he made a political mistake. Oh well. Sorry but I still don’t really care.

    This lapse? A mistake? A pattern, perhaps, and not a very nice one. You’re dismissing an awful lot just to support a politician who impresses you as sincere about shrinking the government he’s bidding to head.

  • I don’t understand why you support him. Why support someone just because you think he’s serious about something he can’t accomplish?

    Well Linda, because I have such low expectations of any politician, my position does not require vast areas of competence from a politician. All I want from Ron Paul is for him to throw spanners into the machinery of state.

    The advantage of my position is that I don’t need ‘my man’ to be good at managing education, good at regulating this or that part of the economy, good at managing heath care, good at the war on drugs etc., because all I want is someone who will do none of those things. All he has to be good at is saying NO.

    This lapse? A mistake? A pattern, perhaps, and not a very nice one.

    Sure. Did you read my fisking? I am aware where he took a hit and where he did not. Now please name me the politician in this race who does not actively support all manner of ‘not very nice’ things. Please tell me who you support and I will then tell you exactly why I think he or she is a blackguard. Is Ron Paul a racist? Probably not, but even if he is, if he shrinks the state, there is less state to impose racist policies in various areas of life on anyone. Result.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Linda Morgan:

    I don’t understand why you support him. Why support someone just because you think he’s serious about something he can’t accomplish?

    Because his interpretation is closest to the correct role of the state, and, in particular, of the role of the federal government. Though it may be politically unwise and, in ‘electability’ terms fatal, “extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice.” And the policy you seem to prefer – “moderation” and compromise – “is no virtue… in the pursuit of justice.”

    Goldwater couldn’t accomplish his libertarian vision, which contradicted several decades of received orthodoxy. But he managed to revive a dying segment of the Republican party, which had, since Taft’s defeat in 1952, been in terminal decline. Goldwater’s revival formed the base upon which Reagan came to power. If Paul can do the same – though he is presently too heterodox to be a serious contender – he’ll have achieved something that previous candidates – Steve Forbes, Pat Buchanan – have failed to do; namely, the resurrection of the Old Right, forcing the Republicans to apppease them with a more serious commitment to balanced budgets, low taxes and spending cuts than hitherto.

  • “We don’t get our rights because we’re gays, or women or minorities, We get our rights from our creator as individuals, so every individual should be treated the same way.

    Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals…

    By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called ‘diversity’ actually perpetuate racism. their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist…” – Ron Paul

    I say the man is NOT racist. And therefore, for me, that’s the end of the story. F*** a bunch of f@@@@ing shitey newsletters. The guy is a libertarian and has been brave enough to stick his head above the parapet and run for office. Bravo. He gets my support. And you whiney whiners can carry on whining about epherema for as long as you wish. I say, judge him by his ACTUAL words.

  • Bob D

    You don’t have to search 15 years back to find racist comments from the front running darling of the neocon warmongers John McCain. His “trading burqas” comment in the fox debate in answering a question on trade with arab nations pegs him as a racist of the worst kind. Oh, I forgot, Arabs rights aren’t considered by Cato. No political power.

    And I think you missed the point about liberty. It isn’t about Ron Paul. Its about the MSM and special interests like AIPAC trashing anyone in a position of influence who stands up for liberty like Ron Paul does. Even with all their courage, it is only people in the twilight of their careers like Ron Paul and Jimmy Carter who will speak out.

  • I hold no brief for McCain (to put it mildly) but a burqua is a religious thing, not a racial one, so I do not really get your argument. How does saying something unfriendly about a religion or a culture constitute ‘racism’? Doesn’t it have to involve something indicative of genetic based collectivism?

  • Bob D

    So by that logic saying something said against the Jewish religion (or Israel a Jewish State) is distinguished in the MSM and by kirkwhatisname as being against religion and not “antisemetic”?????
    (Semite is a racial reference is it not?)

    I’m not saying your point is not a good one. Or that two wrongs make a right. But here in the United States AIPAC and the MSM like to blur these fine distinctions. Especially when they criticize Ron Paul. I was trying to show you that the other republican candidates are the bigots, not Ron Paul. And John McCain was the easiest to pick on, probably not the worst offender. He’s the easiest to pick on because he occasionally also gives us straight talk and an insight into what he really believes. It’s ugly but it’s almost honest.

    remember Ba Ba Ba Ba Bomb Iran?

  • (Semite is a racial reference is it not?)

    Actually it is a linguistic reference but confusingly tends to be used to either mean ‘Middle Eastern’ or ‘Jewish’. But the reason I try to avoid the term is Arabs are also ‘Semitic’, making the term anti-Semitic really kinda weird. Anti-Jewish works rather better, don’t you think?

    That said and more to the point you are making, as Jews are (nearly) all from the same ethnic group (pace Arthur Koestler), the conflation of hating Jews because of the customs/theology of their religion as opposed to their genetics can get murky, to say the least, as it is often hard to separate the two. Anti-Zionist is, at least technically, easier to separate out as a political matter, although in practice it is often (but by no means always) just a cover for simple ethic hatred.

    Muslims on the other hand are quite different. The most populous Muslim nation is not an Arab nation at all, it is Indonesia. Pakistan is another large Muslim nation from yet another racial group. Thus saying nasty things about Islam is much harder to describe as racist as Islam is not associated with any one race and is in fact an evangelical religion which seeks to convert the entire world.

    Judaism however is technically an ethno-tribal religion (in a the literal sense as it is ‘off the Jewish people’… yes, I am aware of the exceptions to that, such as the Falashas and maybe Lemba). It is also not a ‘universal’ religion in that it has very little interest in evangelism to other peoples … thus people’s reactions to Islam or Judaism cannot be held to be particularly relevant to each other (i.e. when imputing racism).

  • Alan Furman

    “Mistakes were made.” – William Jefferson Blyth Clinton

  • Linda Morgan

    Perry said:

    I have such low expectations of any politician, my position does not require vast areas of competence from a politician.

    Yes, but Paul is again and again incapable of avoiding – or apparently even recognizing – huge obvious tar pits of trouble. And mired hip-deep, he’s helpless to get out. He lacks even minimum competence for the task – just the race, the conversation – that he’s undertaken.

    All I want from Ron Paul is for him to throw spanners into the machinery of state.

    If that’s what he’s trying to do, he needs to work on his aim.

    All he has to be good at is saying NO.

    Any of us can choose to stand up to the state and say no. Where’s the necessity of holding any office, much less the oval one, from which none of the stuff you mention is managed anyway?

    Did you read my fisking? I am aware where he took a hit and where he did not.

    But you seem unaware that, in terms of political viability, he was a corpse before you began the examination. Not every one of the shots he’s invited and utterly failed to dodge has had to be fatal in order for him to be dead in the water.

    Now please name me the politician in this race who does not actively support all manner of ‘not very nice’ things.

    Well they’re all – excepting your boy Ron – open in their support of all manner of statist things, aren’t they? No surprise at all, and no surprise you aren’t excited about seeing one of them assume office. Me neither.

    …if he shrinks the state…

    He ain’t, and what possesses you to think that, even if he could get elected, he could manage such a feat from the oval office, all on his own? As you say in the post, “He is a politician, for Christ’s sake.” That’s right, and, as his own shrinking fortunes testify, a piss poor one at that.

  • Linda Morgan

    Andrew Roocroft said:

    And the policy you seem to prefer – “moderation” and compromise…

    By “you” do you mean me?

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Linda Morgan:

    Yes. You stated,

    You’re dismissing an awful lot just to support a politician who impresses you as sincere about shrinking the government he’s bidding to head.

    You seem, unless I’ve misunderstood the intent of your statements, to be indicating that a candidate should not be supported on the basis of their principles – no matter how correct those are or how seriously they hold them – but on the basis of their personality and non-political opinions – even though, as has been clearly stated, Paul repudiates any association with the views expressed in his newsletter. As Perry said in the original post –

    [He’s] just the only one serious about shrinking the size of the state and frankly if he wanted to do that in order to preserve the purity of his precious bodily fluids rather than to increase the general sum of liberty, well so be it.

    The reason for his promotion of liberty – even (to go one step further) if it were because he’s racist and wants to be able to discriminate as a private individual (which it is not) – is irrelevant. To endorse any other (Republican) candidate is to moderate the principles of libertarianism in favour of ‘competent’ governance. The only other principled libertarian position to take is that of George Smith – “don’t vote for them, it only encourages them.” And even he’s quasi-endorsed Paul.

  • Jimmy Carter Speaking of jew-haters and scumbags…

  • Linda Morgan –

    In response to this last question of yours:

    He ain’t, and what possesses you to think that, even if he could get elected, he could manage such a feat [shrinking the size of the state] from the oval office, all on his own?

    Speaking for myself as a Paul supporter – I was never counting on Paul to win the election, which, as you say, he is plainly incapable of doing. My ultimate hope is that he will run third party and split the Republican vote Nader style. Yes, I realize there is a case to be made that the Republicans losing will be bad for the nation in the short term (I myself do not find this case convincing – I cannot see much difference between HRC and Mitt Romney, for example). The advantage to having their vote split along libertarian lines is that libertarian-minded Republicans will have to be catered to in 2012, having established themselves as a viable voting block. Ron Paul and his competence are therefore incidental to my hopes for this election. He is just there to put a name on the election ticket for a voting block that has been dormant for far too long.

    But to answer your actual question – in the extremely unlikely event that he made it to the White House, I think he could be quite effective at scaling down the size of government from the Oval Office. George Bush seemed barely aware he had veto power at all; a President Paul would veto virtually every bill that came across his desk, as he considers it his duty to veto everything that’s not strictly in line with the Constitution. IN addition, he has great discretion over appointments and could see that the administrator class (which is the REAL problem) was heavily seeded with people who are not so liberal with other people’s purse strings (or in their interretation of the law). Naturally Congress would get good at overriding his vetos, and naturally he can’t reappoint the entire Executive Branch. But one determined man in the White House can be quite effective and gumming up the works.

  • Tony

    Racism is a worry, but not as much a worry as the kookiness of many of Paul’s supporters and his willingness to be led by them as opposed to taking the lead himself with his own ideas. I think Paul is the object of cargo cult-type worship, and while that isn’t necessarily his fault, he could do something to clarify who he really is (namely, disavow the kooks clearly and unambiguously).

  • “The saddest life is that of an aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful.”

    (H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, December 9, 1929)

    File Ron Paul under “Object Lessons”.

  • Linda Morgan

    Andrew to me:

    You seem, unless I’ve misunderstood the intent of your statements, to be indicating that a candidate should not be supported on the basis of their principles – no matter how correct those are or how seriously they hold them…

    I wouldn’t want to throw support to someone unprincipled or inclined to principles I don’t hold, but when a person founders repeatedly in the demonstration of his credibility, character, and basic competence, I wonder if his grasp of worthwhile principles isn’t a bit precarious, never mind his ability to implement them to good effect.

    As Perry said in the original post –

    [He’s] just the only one serious about shrinking the size of the state and frankly if he wanted to do that in order to preserve the purity of his precious bodily fluids rather than to increase the general sum of liberty, well so be it.

    The reason for his promotion of liberty – even (to go one step further) if it were because he’s racist and wants to be able to discriminate as a private individual (which it is not) – is irrelevant.

    Both these statements really are as clear as can be. It’s silly for me to question them.

  • Linda Morgan

    Joshua said of Paul:

    But one determined man in the White House can be quite effective and gumming up the works.

    When he has enough votes to get there, his services won’t be needed.

  • Joshua:

    The advantage to having their vote split along libertarian lines is that libertarian-minded Republicans will have to be catered to in 2012, having established themselves as a viable voting block. Ron Paul and his competence are therefore incidental to my hopes for this election. He is just there to put a name on the election ticket for a voting block that has been dormant for far too long.

    Two words: Ross Perot.

    In 1992, when Perot split the vote and Clinton won, the RNC concluded that the American public had moved left. Convinced they could not beat Clinton, they ran Dole in 1996. Then in 2000, they ran the present Bush, who is, by all indications FARTHER to the left than Clinton was. And look at the anointed ones this election: Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani. The RNC clearly doesn’t want to move to the right, and any further loss to left leaning candidates (especially if they get more than 50% of the popular vote) is not going to move the Republican party to the right, it is going to move farther still to the left.

    And given that Ron Paul is clearly off his chump, the Republicans would simply look at any support he gathered and say “well, we’ve ditched that raft of loonies” and move on happily.

    Ron Paul is not a worthwhile candidate. He is not serious about shrinking the government, just shifting the balance of power. He harbors some of the most idiotic ideas I’ve ever heard. He willingly consorts with vile persons, and expects us to believe that he doesn’t share a single thought with them. Add to that the fact that the Congress will never let him get away with anything his followers truly expect him to deliver, and he’s a wasted vote.

    Look, if you are serious about shrinking the government, it’s not going to happen at the federal level first. You need to clean up the pig-sties in your own states first. Only then will you realize that you are outnumbered by the pro-statists by a 3:1 margin.

    What does that really mean? Vote for the least objectionable Republican in hopes of staving off the end until after you die. This is easier to stomach if you don’t have children.

  • Sunfish

    In 1992, when Perot split the vote and Clinton won, the RNC concluded that the American public had moved left.

    It wasn’t just the morons who went to Perot. (Going to a guy who made his pile contracting for Medicare for a small-government solution? It’d be effing hilarious if it weren’t tragic.) It was also the folks who were offended over “no new taxes” and “F*** the gun owners! Where else are they gonna go?”

    Although, to be fair, Saint Ronald also signed one gun law, but at least FOPA was a mixed blessing as opposed to the ’89 import ban.

    Brian:

    What does that really mean? Vote for the least objectionable Republican in hopes of staving off the end until after you die. This is easier to stomach if you don’t have children.

    That’s also easier to stomach when the least-objectionable Republican would actually be an improvement over any of the top three Democrats. The Fascist Prick of NY, Governor Goodhair, Screaming John Protector of Incumbents, and the Televangelist would all have the same statist agenda as HRC/Obama/Edwards but would actually get cooperation from a Republican congress in the name of some horseshit “party unity.”

    I believed the same as you do, up until a week or so ago. Now, I’ll vote for FDT on Super Tuesday. I would vote for Duncan Hunter if anybody knew he was running besides him. I would have voted for Tancredo, who was a legitimate free-market advocate in his time. I may be able to clamp my nose enough to vote for Paul. Any of the others, though…I’ll still vote, as we’ll have an open Senate seat, Congressional and state legislature seats, BOCC seats, and probably a bunch of attacks on TABOR on the ballot, but the four RINOS will never, ever, ever get my vote.

  • In 1992, when Perot split the vote and Clinton won, the RNC concluded that the American public had moved left. Convinced they could not beat Clinton, they ran Dole in 1996.

    Yes, and we see how that worked out for them. Hopefully they will have learned something since then. I’m not convinced, incidentally, that Bob Dole was much further left than Bush I.

    Then in 2000, they ran the present Bush, who is, by all indications FARTHER to the left than Clinton was.

    We know that now, In 2000, however, he was nominated largely on the strength of being (read: having presented himself as being) to the right of McCain.

    And given that Ron Paul is clearly off his chump,

    Some unconvincing attemps were made on another thread to make this point with reference to Ron Paul’s opinion on the constitutionality of the War in Iraq. Other than that, I have yet to see any of you make the case that Paul is “off his chump.”

    He is not serious about shrinking the government, just shifting the balance of power.

    Huh? I’m not sure we’re talking about the same Ron Paul?

    Look, if you are serious about shrinking the government, it’s not going to happen at the federal level first.

    Why does it have to take place at either level “first?” Can’t we fight this war on the state, local and federal levels all at once?

    Vote for the least objectionable Republican in hopes of staving off the end until after you die.

    That’s what I’m doing: Ron Paul is the least objectionable Republican. The second-least objectionable Republican is Fred Thompson, and if he were likely to win the nomination I might be persuaded to switch my support. All the ones who are likely to win are indistinguishable from Democrats (and some of them are Democrats on Fire for Jesus which is just all kinds of not a good idea).

  • When he has enough votes to get there, his services won’t be needed.

    Yes, there may well be a substantial element of truth in that, but I do not think any but the most crazed RP supporters seriously expected him to go all the way (I never have).

    If a genie gave me one wish, would I make Ron Paul POTUS? Well… no… if he gave me TWO wishes, then maybe albeit with a singular lack of enthusiasm (the first wish would be for Kate Beckinsale to leave Len Wiseman and realise what she’s been missing all these years :-) ).

    But really I have always seen Ron Paul’s primary use as simply getting ‘our’ ideas out there into the mediasphere and (either) force the Republicans to listen to his genuinely liberal (in the real sense of the word) wing or getting the hopes of enough genuine liberals in the Republican supporters up enough that, if the party chooses some tax-and-spend Big Government fucktard like Romney or Guliani to run, they stay home in disgust.

    Many RP supporters might hold their nose and vite for Thompson, but I very much doubt they will vote for any of the others on offer and I think the ‘stay home in disgust’ option is vastly preferable to voting for the only ever so marginally lesser evil (thus refusing to accept there can only ever be a choice between very evil and pure evil).

    For me the worst result of all would be rewarding the Republicans for fielding anyone who fully intends to grow the size of the state. We have to play the Long Game and accept that even though we have reality on our side, the dominance of our world view is a decade or two away in all likelihood. For me, grudging support of Ron Paul now is just part of that process.

  • James of England

    Sunfish asks why Tancredo, a free market and low tax guy with an unfortunate position on immigration endorse Mitt.

    There are two Reagan coalition candidates in the race, with positions that end up being pretty damn similar: Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney. Fred has the more satisfying “feel”, Romney the greater degree of demonstrated competence in the kind of executive decision making likely to be demanded of him.

    The deciding factor, however, appears to be that Mitt is much, much more likely to be a candidate. Tancredo, for all his faults, is very much a practical man. These views have proven accurate as the current delegate count is Mitt: 30 (12 from Iowa, 8 from Wyoming, 4 from New Hampshire, 6 superdelegates), Huckabee: 21 (17 from Iowa, 1 from New Hampshire, 3 superdelegates), McCain: 10. (3 from Iowa, 7 from New Hampshire), Thompson: 6 (3 from Iowa, 3 from Wyoming), Paul: 2 (both Iowans), Hunter: 1 (a dude from Wyoming), Giuliani: 1 (a superdelegate).

    If Thompson drops out after SC, he would almost certainly have been a wasted endorsement for Tancredo. If the race comes down to McCain-Romney-Giuliani, Tancredo’s support for life (Giuliani & McCain), free speach (McCain), low taxes (McCain), low regulation (McCain), the rule of law (McCain on pharmaceutical reimportation and his desire to see torture being given a nod and a wink rather than being regulated), immigration restriction (McCain and Giuliani), avoiding abusing one’s first wife (McCain), avoiding having many wives (Giuliani), support for retaining an adequate military under Clinton (McCain), appreciation of civility and honesty (McCain), the promotion of affordable responses to climate change (McCain) and so on preclude Tancredo supporting either of the other two candidates.

    Obviously, Tancredo wasn’t going to support Huckabee.

    Plus, while Tancredo almost certainly does appreciate Thompson, the best chance of Thompson becoming POTUS is by electing a Romney Thompson ticket and seeing either a tragedy occur or another election.

    If you care about the principles involved in this election (chiefly: education reform and parent, free market healthcare, the “Employee Free Choice Act” removing the union secret ballot and handing America over to organised crime, a robust foreign policy, reducing the size of the state, reducing trade barriers, and keeping America safe from excessive environmental taxation), you’ll want to support Tancredo’s choice (or maybe Giuliani). If your own personal political purity is more important, by all means, let the hair be a barrier to you.

  • It wasn’t just the morons who went to Perot. (Going to a guy who made his pile contracting for Medicare for a small-government solution? It’d be effing hilarious if it weren’t tragic.) It was also the folks who were offended over “no new taxes” and “F*** the gun owners! Where else are they gonna go?”

    Yes! That is exactly what happened. People who said then things turned against Bush The First, it was “a repudiation of Reagan” COMPLETELY got that arse about face.

    They voted for George H. Bush in the hope he would be another Reagan (“Read my lips… NO NEW TAXES”). They voted him out (by staying at home in disgust or voting for Ross Perot) because he proved to NOT be another Reagan. Moving to the left was the problem.

    But the Republicans drew the opposite conclusion and need to be disabused of that notion. A term of Hillary Clinton in the White House should do that very nicely.

  • James of England

    Perry, as you have said, there are problems supporting leftward drifts because of the “electability” of the candidates. This is one of many ways in which McCain approaches Kerry. Since Romeny, Thompson, and Giuliani (outside whole life issues) are all steps to the right, that concern seems oddly placed here. All are, indeed, to the right of Reagan in many ways.

    I’ve often heard the idea that Ron Paul was useful for getting libertarian ideas into the debate. The most recent time was at a National Review gathering just before NH, when Jonah Goldberg said that it was important to have a libertarian in the room, because that forced others to justify statist actions. After the debate I asked him if he could name a moment in the debates where Ron Paul had forced another candidate to justify a statist position. He could not and agreed that although having a libertarian is important, having Ron Paul in particular is not.

    Dr. Paul talks in about equal proportion about isolationism and blaming America first, straightforward libertarian ideas without supporting argumentation, or simply nutty things that discredit libertarianism. A good example of that might be his claims that oil hadn’t really gone up in price because it had not gone up relative to gold, meaning that if America was on the gold standard, oil would be cheaper. Small children with minimal familiarity with the reasons for the price of gold rocketing over the time period discussed could understand why this was silly. If Paul challenged the candidates on specific, sensible, understandable points, he could have a positive effect on the campaign. As it is, he appears to be performing there as a form of fund raising communal masturbation, oblivious to the world and his effect on it.

  • Romeny, Thompson, and Giuliani (outside whole life issues) are all steps to the right

    Well Thompson maybe, but Romney and Guliani? These guys are Big State Republicans par excellence!

  • Jacob

    After all is said and done, it’s still a pity the libertarian leaning Republicans (if there are any), and the libertarians couldn’t come up with a better man than Paul.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Perry, I think what I expect from a “libertarian” politician is that he be a libertarian. Paul may believe in minimal government, but libertarian he ain’t. Or, at least, I don’t see anyone who argues for “fair trade”, not free trade; for aggressively limiting the ability of people to go where they wish; and for the government to be able to regulate what medical procedures a pregnant mother can choose as a libertarian in any useful sense of the word.

    What he really is, is a Pat Buchanan paleocon who doesn’t mind drugs.

  • No evidence he’s out of his mind? How about his neo-isolationist foreign policy. How about his willingness to blame American foreign policy for 9/11?

    I mean, on top of the fact that he’s got the support of Pat Buchanan. That alone is enough to put me off Ron Paul.

    Perry – you seem to think that a good showing for Paul will make the Republicans take both he and libertarianism seriously. You could not hope to be more wrong. Ron Paul makes libertarians look bad enough. The fact that he’s consorting with all manner of racists and moonbat conspiracy theorists only makes his positions look more like they came from the mind of a crank than from any serious debate about liberty. And in an effort to win back the votes they lost to the Democrats while also distancing themselves from the “kooks”, they will move more towards statism.

    You also seem to think that what the base does (abandon GHW Bush) translates properly to the RNC. it does not. The RNC is all about maintaining power at any cost. When GHW Bush lost, it was certainly because people like me voted against him to, in essence, fire him. It backfired on us bigtime. There is no reason to believe that we won’t get a repeat performance out of the Republicans this time if Hillary or Obama wins. The Republican party is more interested in pandering to the nanny-state evangelicals than they are to the individualist anarcho-capitalists.

    I don’t know why anyone ever believed that George W. Bush was a conservative. I knew as soon as he said the words “Compassionate Conservative” that he was just another big-government liberal. Whenever you decide you need to modify your belief system by adding emotions to it, you can’t be up to anything good.

  • No evidence he’s out of his mind? How about his neo-isolationist foreign policy. How about his willingness to blame American foreign policy for 9/11?

    Like Jacob on the other thread, you are mistaking policy disagreements for evaluations of sanity. You cannot use “out of his mind” as though it meant “disagrees with me” and “sane” as though it meant “agrees with me.” As for “neo-isolationist,” Ron Paul voted for war with Afghanistan. And as for blaming American foreign policy for 9/11, although I do not completely agree with him, he makes some very good points.

    I mean, on top of the fact that he’s got the support of Pat Buchanan.

    So what? Pat Buchanan also chose Leonora Fulani as his running mate. I suppose you want to conclude from this that Fulani and Paul have identical platforms?

    The fact that he’s consorting with all manner of racists and moonbat conspiracy theorists only makes his positions look more like they came from the mind of a crank than from any serious debate about liberty.

    Who are they? You’ve evidently done some research here and can name some? Who are the “moonbat conspiracy theorists” that Ron Paul “consorts” with? Incidentally, if by “consorts” you mean “happens to have the support of,” your point is not going to be very effective. Every politico running in this race has the support of some idiots they haven’t chosen.

    The RNC is all about maintaining power at any cost.

    That’s right. And we’ve been selling our votes too cheap. Allowing Ron Paul to demonstrate to the RNC that there is a contingent of libertarian-minded voters who will keep them out of office if our platform isn’t taken into consideration is a way of pricing ourselves up.

    I don’t know why anyone ever believed that George W. Bush was a conservative. I knew as soon as he said the words “Compassionate Conservative” that he was just another big-government liberal.

    Agree – but the general public is not a prescient as you. The point is that they thought he was a conservative and voted for him on that basis.

    When GHW Bush lost, it was certainly because people like me voted against him to, in essence, fire him. It backfired on us bigtime.

    That is because Ross Perot is no one’s idea of a “libertarian.” It is easy (logical, in fact) for the RNC to mistake support for Perot as a green-light for nanny-state policies. That they did so shouldn’t be surprising. Ron Paul’s position is considerably more consistent, considerably better-defends, considerably more libertarian, and therefore considerably harder for the RNC to misinterpret.

  • The RNC is all about maintaining power at any cost.

    Yes and that is why we need to make sure that supporting Big State candidates loses them elections.

    What does that really mean? Vote for the least objectionable Republican in hopes of staving off the end until after you die. This is easier to stomach if you don’t have children.

    And that, sir, is why you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Your view has resulted in the statists knowing full well that they can safely ignore you because all they have to be is ever so slightly less statist than the other guy. If you think a second term of GHBush would have resulted in less government, I would like to see your reasoning why.

    I don’t know why anyone ever believed that George W. Bush was a conservative

    Everyone I know who voted for him (as in 100% of my chums who I asked who voted in the US election) didn’t think he was a conservative, they either (a) voted for the lesser evil just like you seem to think they should have and/or (b) voted Republican due to the issue of gun control on the assumption the Democrats would be worse. Not a single one of them actually voted for him because they thought he as a conservative and thus GWB did not actually need to pander to any of their conservative aspirations to get their votes. My friends voted for (lesser) evil and not surprisingly that is exactly what they got.

    To change things and break the cycle, you MUST be willing to let the other side win and force ‘our’ side (who are really only ever on ‘their’ side) to actually give you want you really want. Painful but true.

    Fortunately people who see it my way do not have to convince a majority, or even a very large minority, of Republican voters (folks such as you, for example). All we just need to convince enough people at the margin to make the Republicans lose in enough key places if we do not get our way. Majorities rarely decide anything, activists do. This is something the left understand very well.

    The same logic applies to the UK and why I think it is worth supporting UKIP in order to eventually nobble the statist Tories like David Cameron. That said the state based system make this easier to do in the USA I suspect.

    But there is no value whatsoever in voting for a Big State candidate.

  • James of England

    Me. Romeny, Thompson, and Giuliani (outside whole life issues) are all steps to the right
    Perry:

    Well Thompson maybe, but Romney and Guliani? These guys are Big State Republicans par excellence!

    I think that you’re unfair to Giuliani, but the case is less clear for him, so instead I’ll focus on Romney.

    There really is not all that much principled difference between Thompson and Romney. Both have the same arguments for trade and would remove the same trade barriers (Romeny is slightly more focused on Latin America, particularly Columbia), both are in favour of steep tax cuts (they support different means, but neither is decisively more libertarian than the other). Both are social conservatives and would appoint the same judges to the SCOTUS. Both are in favour of federalism in health care, but of supporting moves to individual rather than employer supplied insurance together with various schemes to bring down the cost of the cheaper insurance, while not making much effort to support gold plated plans. Both are immigration restrictionists, with Thompson taking a slightly harder line, but being interested in the same principles. Both are in favour of a considerably more aggressive foreign policy. Both support school choice, with vouchers, charter schools, home schooling, and so on. Both are interested in doing with the Federal government what Mitt did with countless companies and the Olympics. Both are keen on empowering and enhancing intelligence agencies and the military. Their second amendment policy is almost identical (although Mitt is interested in increasing the penalties for using guns in violent crimes). Both vigorously oppose CAFE and other watermelon policies. Both oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.

    It’s not all good. Both have a policy of federal support for research related to energy independence and other related federal subsidies. Both support freedom of religion as a key principal. Both are interested in diminishing porn’s influence over America.

    Fred’s style is very different from Mitt’s indeed. His substance? Not so much. There are some issues. Mitt is more strongly committed to repealing McCain Feingold, for instance. If disagreeing with 10% of the changes a candidate wishes to make disqualifies someone from your support, then you shouldn’t be supporting Paul or Thompson. If it doesn’t, you should suck it up and support any of the 3 (or 4 if you add Giuliani) government reducing candidates. It’s less emotionally satisfying than supporting Thompson and Paul, who are very good at addressing their respective bases, but it’s more principled.

  • James of England

    Incidentally, the people who voted for Bush on the basis that he’d expand gun rights got what they wanted, no? No Assault Weapons Ban, the Lawful Commerce In Firearms Act, what’s not to love? Maybe if they’d voted Kerry in ’04, Ron Paul would be winning the ’08 primary, but it’s not clear to me that W hasn’t given some attention to the voters you describe.

  • I support Ron Paul because he’s the only one who will help me survive the coming Race War.

  • Axion

    Then you do not keep up on Second Amendment politics, James. Don’t just look at the end result. GWB was in favor of the Assault Weapon Ban and only very muscular lobbying ended up turning things around on that issue.

    Have you actually see what the Bush DOJ (Link)has tried to do with the DC case??? If you think Bush is actually on our side, you’re very mistaken.

  • Silence from the cheap seats, Treacher! :-P

  • Perry – you and I are going to have to agree to disagree.

    I do not see anything other than the formation of a REAL party that can pull 30% of the total vote influencing the Republicans to move right. Merely losing elections to “teach them a lesson” will not do a damned thing.

    We are all going to have to accept some very unpleasant facts. The first, and most unpleasant of those is, we lost. Not “are making a comeback”, not “are losing, but have a hope of turning it around”. Lost. There is no future for individualism. You aren’t going to take away an entire civilization’s extended adolescence once they’ve grown accustomed to it.

  • Merely losing elections to “teach them a lesson” will not do a damned thing.

    It will if they want to start winning them. All it takes is a large enough hard core… and it does not have to actually be that large.

    The first, and most unpleasant of those is, we lost.

    “We”? Speak for yourself. In an age in which cosmopolitan social networks and markets are spreading like viruses, I most certain have not lost. So we have to fight. What did you expect?

    In fact I would argue that individualism is the only future and that is not wishful thinking, it is the message of history and all its failed ‘experiments’. Technology and indeed history itself are on our side.

    Sorry to sound unkind but If you think you are defeated (as in game, set and match), then you are irrelevant. Folks like you really need to look beyond the transient antics of politics and take a longer term view. Hell, I suspect the long term is not even going to be that long. My bet is that within 20 years at most the technological and economic realities will make regulatory collectivism seem as quaint as monarchy. Could thinks get worse in the short term? Oh I expect they will. I have little doubt about the long term however.

    But you are right that we will just have to disagree.

  • James of England

    Jim, I was concerned when I saw that development on Parker, too (via instapundit?).
    Reading the brief, however, it appears that the DOJ is taking as strong a defense as it can without arguing for the unconstitutionality of its own federal laws, a position that DOJs have been traditionally exceptionally reluctant to take.

    It strikes me that a full on strict scrutiny rule would be impassible for the overwhelming bulk of federal gun laws. This strikes me as a big enough practical claim that the SCOTUS is unlikely to find the resolve for it (Thomas is probably good for it, but the fifth vote seems as if it would be hard to find).

    Basically, in speculation beforehand, it has appeared as if Kennedy is the vote that matters, and Kennedy is exceptionally unlikely to feel comfortable voting for strict scrutiny. Manhattan dinner parties are pretty important to our Tony. Before this brief, it looked as if the possibilities were roughly split between an all out loss, and a meaningless collective right, and an amazing victory, radicalising America. The meaninglessness possibility seemed all too plausible.

    By defending a pro-gun theory that Kennedy can get behind, albeit one that would create fewer waves, it would appear to me that the DOJ is lowering the stakes a little, but making it more likely that the right side will win. Sure, it might take a few more years in the court to come to the conclusion that DC is in the wrong, but the basic theory of a powerfully enforceable individual right would likely stand as a victory for generations.

    Intermediate scrutiny is well worth having. It is, for example, the constitutional protection afforded to women in their litigeous struggle for equality. Maybe the tactical move is unwise, but if it averts a disaster, I feel that we should be grateful to the White House.

    Bush might have required lobbying to get on board with the Assault Weapons Ban, but he listened to those voters/ lobbyists, and eventually supported them. This seems like a good thing, to me.

  • James of England

    Perry, do you feel that a Pres. Romney would not reduce the relative size of the state, roll back McCain Feingold, engage in a Samizdata-friendly foreign policy on both trade and less friendly matters, work to liberalise education while maintaining a federalist distance, appoint restrained judges, achieve efficiency gains in various government departments, avoid watermelon policies, and so on as above?

    If so, do you feel that Bush was also this right wing? In what sense is the Romney who is willing to step in and argue against McCain’s attacks on pharmaceuticals and make other unpopular defenses of capitalism a “Big State Republican par excellence”?

    I do somewhat feel that this is on topic, since the post seems to me to be about the Samizdata tolerance for awfulness in candidates who stand for their basic principles.

  • James –

    The one thing we have going against ourselves on many bad decisions lately (including Kelo v. New London Development Corp, Raich v. Gonzales and McConnell v. FEC is that once the Supreme Court has spoken, they are loath to ever revisit. Congress is unlikely to give a President Romney, or Paul, or even Obama anything that rolls back McCain-Feingold, and the Supreme Court is not likely to reverse itself on appeal.

  • Why was my Ron Paul quote deleted? You’ll support him for president, but you won’t allow his own words here?

    [editor: If you have an argument to make, put it in context and make it, otherwise the comment as stated did not seem to have any relevance]

  • Midwesterner

    JoE

    So then Romney’s Health care endeavors are no big deal? The sort of thing that makes him the same as Fred but more electable?

    I will vote against him on the basis of that alone, but I’m sure there is much more if I look. The guy was elected governor of Massachusetts for crying out loud.

    I am completely serious when I say I will vote for a 3rd party Ron Paul or even a democrat before I will Romney, McCain, Giuliani, or Huckabee.

    With a Republican in the Whitehouse, the Republicans in the legislature will go along with whatever the Republican president wants. The only fight the Democrats in the legislature will put up is over the spoils. A little pork will shut them up.

    But if there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse, at least whatever Republicans there are in the legislature will be in opposition to big government. It is not a coincidence that the only balanced budgets in recent history happened when the Republicans controlled the legislature, but not the Whitehouse. You don’t really think that was all Bill do you?

    If it comes to that point, I would actually rather have the Democrat in the Whitehouse than a big government big spending Republican (those four). That is not my message to the RNC. That is my least worst act for self defense from big government. I will do it with the intent of getting the stupidest and most combatively enemy laden Democrat in the Whitehouse. I leave it to you to pick one who fits that description.

  • James of England

    Brian: While I agree that the role of precedent is important in SCOTUS jurisprudence, you’ll note that FEC v. Wisconsin Right To Life was much less pro-McCain-Feingold than McConnell v. FEC. The spectacle of McCain crusading against pro-lifers to protect a deeply liberal senator was not edifying, but its failure was satisfying. Another sound judge (Stevens isn’t going to be healthy forever) and congressional support may not needed.

    Still, it’s more likely that it’d change through congressional action if the Republicans hold their ground in ’08 and take some back in ’10. Something being an election issue can really help get things moving on reforming it. The obvious hope, from that perspective, of course, is that McCain manages to seriously disgrace himself in some manner.

  • James of England

    Midwesterner:
    Romney is explicitly not interested in having the MA model of healthcare extended to the federal level. He thinks it’s a good model and likes the idea of states adopting it, but the demands that he’d make are for states to get better at allowing people to cross state borders with their health insurance intact, insurance deregulation in most states, that states found some way of shifting the costs of the defaulting uninsured into a more productive system. That’s it.

    He’d give the states more flexibility in the way that they’d use their medicare funds, a move more federalist than any of Thompson’s declared reforms. He’d work on reforming the medical liability system, a move that most libertarians would support (and one that Thompson is also behind). He’d change the tax code so that it was as tax efficient to buy your own health insurance as to get it through an employer.

    None of that strikes me as a particular blow to libertarian principles. Most of it strikes me as supporting them.

    It’s true that he was governor of MA. That doesn’t make him a bad person, or a bad politician. As POTUS, he’d have a somewhat freer hand to engage in the transformation of organisations that he’s been so tremendously successful at in the past.

    Seriously, outside healthcare, find a significant difference between Romney’s presidential platform and Thompson’s, one that means that you can sensibly enthusiastically support the latter and oppose the former.

    Then get down and read the degree to which Romney’s health care plan is to a large extent about the government getting out of the way.

  • Midwesterner

    JoE,

    Before I decided to support him, I reviewed Fred Thompson’s history including his voting and prosecution record. I’ve looked at Romney’s performance record.

    Romney is a creative and adaptive leader who gets things done. Fred Thompson is a stubborn iconoclast who is set and determined to follow his principles.

    I do not want a ^*$#(*@#^)* creative and adaptive leader to be president in Washington! End of sentence. Absolutely not. I do not want a another president who “gets things done”.

    I want somebody determined and stubborn. I want somebody who interferes and prevents. I want an iconoclast rampaging through the temples of power. I want somebody with core principles, not flexible management strategies.

    I am perfectly content to respond with greater and greater expressions of my intent. The only thing you can do to change my mind is to change history. Not interpret or explain it. Change it. And not rewrite it. Change it. I do not want a president who even believes an individual state like Massachusetts has the authority to interfere with my health care.

    I will say this clearly so nobody is confused. If Romney, McCain, Giuliani or Huckabee is the nominee of the Republican party and looks sure to lose, I will vote for a third party small government candidate. Possibly Ron Paul.

    But if it looks like one of those four has the slightest chance of winning, I will cross over and vote for a Republican legislative caucus that is in opposition to the president. Yes. I will vote Democrat. I will vote to get those Republicans in congress out of my wallet and onto the warpath.

    But feel free to continue. I can and will repeat this as needed and as I have time.

  • James of England

    If your problem with Romney is that he’d change things (cutting taxes and tariffs, for instance, improving America’s military capabilities, closing the border), I can’t suggest that you should support him.

    If your claim is that you’re not interested in him because you’re concerned by his astonishing record at Bain Capital (repeated growth in excess of 100%pa, with a lot of time and scrutiny since that has revealed no irregularities), and by his somewhat similar record at the olympics, I can’t find a counter argument.

    That said, when you call him a big government man, and imply that Thompson is not, I can’t help feeling that you’re emotional attachment to your candidate is overcoming your sober analysis of the policies on offer.

    This is easy to do, and Thompson is a much more appealing figure than Romney. I’m not asking you to vote Romney (although, in the primaries, you really might want to consider that a Romney or Giuliani presidency is in every way preferable to a McCain presidency). Heck, I don’t even know which senate and house races you’d be voting in. Or if you even get a senate race. There’s Democrats I’d encourage you to support. I am asking you to either justify, on the basis of their plans for the presidency, the claim that Romney is a big government chap, Thompson small, or stop claiming it to be the case.

  • Midwesterner

    My concern, and it is a well founded and historically demonstrated one, is that Romney himself will change. He will retain everything bad he has done (did you forget that I said his health care program alone is a deal breaker) and he will change.

    It is not that I am not interested in him. I have made this clear and you are ignoring it. I am interesting (vehemently interested) in keeping him out of the Whitehouse. That is definitely “interested”.

    Emotion! Emotion is when you believe the promises of a candidate. I told you I looked at Fred Thomas’ voting record. That is not emotion. That is a track record.

    his [Romney’s] astonishing record at Bain Capital (repeated growth in excess of 100%pa,

    Golly. There is a reassuring character feature. He’s a regular George Soros with investments, isn’t he?

    and by his somewhat similar record at the olympics,

    Ah yes. That wonderful use of tax payer funded construction and employment, the Olympics. I take it from this Romney believes government projects can be better managed (maybe even with ‘private sector participation!’) and he’s just the guy to do it. If I wanted better managed projects, he probably would be. You haven’t been paying attention, have you?

    I am asking you to either justify, on the basis of their plans for the presidency, the claim that Romney is a big government chap, Thompson small, or stop claiming it to be the case.

    Why should I pay any credence to their promises when they both have clearly demonstrated track records. It seems to me that candidates and their promises don’t have a very strong long term correlation.

    I’ll repeat it again just to make sure you understand what I will do. If Romney, McCain, Giuliani or Huckabee is the nominee of the Republican party and looks sure to lose, I will vote for a third party small government candidate. Possibly Ron Paul.

    But if it looks like one of those four has the slightest chance of winning, I will cross over and vote for a Republican legislative caucus that is in opposition to the president. Yes. I will vote Democrat. I will vote to get those Republicans in congress out of my wallet and onto the warpath.

    But feel free to continue. I can and will repeat this as needed and as I have time.

  • James of England

    Midwesterner, you’re being unfair. It’s not that I’m not listening. I restate your general position with a little more detail and make it clear that I have no counterargument to it. I’m not asking you to say that Mitt would be a great president.

    There is one mistake that I made, in that I thought that you might be interested in the degree to which Romney is not interested in the MA healthcare plan as a federal model.

    There are two (there was only one, but now that I come to think of it, I’d like two) things that I do hope to get you to say. One of them is that the platform that Romney is running on is not a big government platform, except to the extent that Thompson’s remarkably similar platform is. Together with that, I’d appreciate it if you’d concede that it is monumentally unlikely that Romney could run on a platform of federalist, free market healthcare initiatives that were not the MA plan, and would then, in power, try to persuade Congress to adopt a federal plan on the MA model.

    The other, newer, request is that America would be better off with a President Romney, who would stop some of Congress’ worst abuses than with a President McCain, and that if the Democrats win, America would be better off having had a general election race where CAFE, McCain Feingold, immigration, tax cuts, and so on were seriously advocated.

    If Romney wins, it seems likely that a lot of his smaller government issues will be implemented. If you look back at the 2000 campaign, and the 2004, most of Bush’s initiatives have been, for good or for ill. Still, although you view campaign platforms as less important than I do, I’d like to think that you’d agree that they are important for the campaign, at least, and that you’d agree that if Romney were clearly losing the general election, it’d be worth supporting his message against Clinton/Obama.

  • Midwesterner

    I am not interested in detail. I haven’t bothered to look into Thompson’s platform either. I learned years ago when I was elected to lead an organization that in spite of remarkably sweeping powers I was given, I was still just one obvious piece in a big complicated machine. My platform didn’t matter at all once I was in office. It turned out I had not the time nor power to make things happen on my own. My power was all in assisting, slowing or throwing spanners into the plans of others.

    As for the Romney’s nationalization of health care decisions in Massachusetts, he should have been vetoing everything he saw and bellowing from every bully pulpit he could find that “this is not government business”. I don’t care whether at this point he thinks he would oppose a National version. I care that he was the sort of person to not obstruct (much less to support) the plan in Massachusetts.

    Glad you brought up Bush II’s successes implementing intrusive and exploitive government with the help of congress. That is while I am voting for either for Thompson’s unchanged and unchanging commitment to smaller government (not Romney’s or any others’ newly recalibrated small government claims) or I will vote to put the Republicans in the congress into opposition.

    You are ignoring the entire point of what I have been saying. I don’t care what Romney promises. I don’t care what Fred Thompson promises. I know from personal experiences even honest intentions don’t usually work out. I am voting for Thompson’s historical stands. And I am rejecting the others’ historical stands.

    I’ll quote Perry quoting Virginia Postrel in another thread.

    have you ever seen Virginia Postrel’s description of dynamist and stasis?

    “Stasists and dynamists disagree about the limits and use of knowledge. Stasists demand that knowledge be articulated and easily shared. Dynamists, by contrast, appreciate dispersed, often tacit knowledge…Those conflicts lead to very different beliefs about good institutions and rules: Stasists seek specifics to govern each new situation and keep things under control. Dynamists want to limit universal rule making to broadly applicable and rarely changed principles, within which people can create and test countless combinations.”

    Romney is a stasist. Fred Thompson is a dynamist. Even if Romeny were to, or is, adopting dynamism it is the act of a stasist. Romney will will think of a thousand different solutions to carefully articulated problems. Thompson won’t think of any.

    So just in case you still have any doubts, I’ll repeat what has become my signature in this thread. If Romney, McCain, Giuliani or Huckabee is the nominee of the Republican party and looks sure to lose, I will vote for a third party small government candidate. Possibly Ron Paul.

    But if it looks like one of those four has the slightest chance of winning, I will cross over and vote for a Republican legislative caucus that is in opposition to the president. Yes. I will vote Democrat. I will vote to get those Republicans in congress out of my wallet and onto the warpath.

    But feel free to continue. I can and will repeat this as needed and as I have time.

  • Sunfish

    James of England:

    I’m well aware that Tancredo would not endorse either McCain or 9iu11ani at all. The difference is FDT (and, to be fair, the goof from Texas) have favored small government ideologies all their careers. Romney only discovered them when he discovered that he couldn’t convince the rest of the country to support Massachusetts-style collectivism.

    I don’t believe “Saul on the road to Damascus” conversions late in the game. He may claim to believe the same as I do now, but that’s recent. Up until the past year, he’s advocated gun grabs and forcing the entire population of his state into government-approved health redistribution. He can CLAIM that he won’t inflict same on the entire US all he wants. I know what he’s done in the past.

    An old bit of folklore tells us that we can know a tree by the fruit. Expecting a small-government answer from Romney is like expecting that the raspberry bush in my backyard will give forth grapefruits and limes. I’d love it if that were the case but I hope you’ll forgive me my skepticism.

  • Sunfish

    An aside about the improvements in Federal gun laws under GWB, in response to James of England:

    True, we got lawsuit pre-emption.

    However, the 1994 Ugly Gun Ban was set to expire anyway. Bush claimed that he’d sign a renewal if it ever reached his desk, and has never recanted this statement.

    Bush also just signed a bill sponsored by that well-known fan of civil rights, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)[1] which basically resulted in a rather large number of military veterans becoming ‘prohibited persons’ under GCA 1968, for the ‘crime’ of seeking treatment for PTSD.

    I’d say that a 1968 Gun Control Act expansion offsets whatever was to be gained from lawsuit preemption.

    I’m disappointed: to hear the NRA talk that guy up, I would have expected at least a repeal of 18 USC 922(o) and 922(r) (respectively, preventing new machineguns from being registered by private citizens after 1986 and preventing importation of “non-sporting” firearms after 1989, the latter being IMHO what cost his father the 1992 election more than any other single factor)

    [1] She’s also famous for introducing a new “ugly gun” ban in the last session, one of whose provisions would have banned “barrel shrouds.” When Tucker Carlson asked her what a “barrel shroud” is, she said “I don’t know. A shoulder thing that goes up?”

  • Ian B

    Interesting article from Reason about the Paul newsletters, naming (not entirely suprisingly) Lew Rockwell as the author.

  • Perry: Your position would be plausible if, in fact, Ron Paul actually were for less government, but he’s not. He’s only for less FEDERAL government, and for unlimited power in the hands of state governments. Furthermore, he’s all for Federal government intervention in our private lives when it comes to issues he cares about enough, as proven by his introduction of a bill to define life as beginning at conception in US Federal law. Furthermore, he advocates building a wall along the US-Mexico border – a pointless gigantic government boondoggle that would cost billions of tax dollars and require the confiscation of lots of private property via eminent domain.

    Paul has been part & parcel of the Rockwellian attempt to build a coalition between “libertarians” and white supremacists since at least 1990, with the result that libertarianism has been redefined so as to make it more palatable to white supremacists.

  • James of England

    Sunfish,
    Sorry, been offline for a while.
    He did not “convert” to free market thinking recently. As a venture capitalist, he embraced it. When he was turning around the Olympics, he embraced it.

    When he was governor of MA, he closed a near $3 billion budget deficit without raising taxes (there were some fees raised, but on nothing like the scale involved).

    All states shift health care costs. It’s not avoidable unless you intend to allow the poor/ incompetent/ obnoxious to be turned away untreated. What he did was rationalise some of the way that the costs were redistributed, in a manner that actually brought costs down.

    Much of this was by getting rid of perverse government incentives that were in the way. Likewise, most of his federal plan involves getting government out of the way.

    Seriously, what could libertarians ask for in a governor of a hardcore Democrat state, other than that he aggressively attack the size of the government? How is the fact that he expanded the number of people with health insurance a black mark against him, given the decease in the size of the state?

    On guns and GWB: I’m not familiar with the bill that you refer to, but that does sound bad, and I’d like to know more. Can you throw me a couple of links?

  • James of england

    Midwesterner,
    A couple of points: First, you’re being completely irresponsive to my questions. I get that you’re not going to vote for him or support him. I’m not asking you to. It’s fair enough for you to be ignorant of his policies. Not asking you not to be.

    I’m asking you not to make claims about him that are false. Statists do not reduce the size of the state. Romney tightened the budget and destroyed the deficit. And, for that matter, healthcare in MA is provided by the private sector, with free market competition operating more keenly than in other states. It is not nationalised. Indeed, the fight to keep US healthcare from being nationalised is one of Romney’s big issues for the ’08 campaign.

    I’m also asking you to make a judgment, however fine it has to be, about whether he is less of a regulatory monster than McCain, and whether or not that makes a difference.