• The Man Takes A Closer Look At Ron Paul.

    With Ron Paul fairing well in the Iowa polls and America's falling out of love with thrice-married adulterer, child labor promoter and all around political scumbag Newt Gingrich, two things are going on throughout the Blogsphere and Twitterland: the unmasking of Ron Paul as a racist and a homophobe, and the passionate defense of Ron Paul to the contrary.

    This man, like many others, believes that the accusations leveled at Paul are nothing but baseless mudslinging and organized slander by people on the left and right who are invested in Paul's failure as a GOP or possibly independent candidate. There's a nugget of truth in that. Remember the baseless alarmism and manufactured outrage over the provisions within the NDAA, provisions that were removed at the behest of the president, with others not affecting American citizens or giving the government any new powers to indefinitely detain terrorist combatants? Those accusations were largely to discredit President Obama and put a dent in his reelection chances, by turning people off from voting for Pres. Obama or by forcing a primary with a candidate deemed ideologically purer.

    Ron Paul supporters see these accusations as a way for opponents to discredit Paul's policies and make him too toxic for ordinary Americans to readily support him. That's one side of the coin.

    The other side lies in a growing mountain of evidence that shows Ron Paul to be not necessarily racist, but a person who is willing to use racists and their views to springboard his own political career. Some of his views are a result of his staunch constitutionalism, which implores him to stick to the strictest definition of the U.S. Constitution as possible, while others may stem from the sheer naivete that many libertarians seem to exhibit at certain points. Let's start with why Paul couldn't support a resolution to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

    Ron Paul: Mr. Speaker, I rise to explain my objection to H.Res. 676. I certainly join my colleagues in urging Americans to celebrate the progress this country has made in race relations. However, contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.

    This expansion of federal power was based on an erroneous interpretation of the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. The framers of the Constitution intended the interstate commerce clause to create a free trade zone among the states, not to give the federal government regulatory power over every business that has any connection with interstate commerce.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business’s workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge’s defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife.

    Of course, America has made great strides in race relations over the past forty years. However, this progress is due to changes in public attitudes and private efforts. Relations between the races have improved despite, not because of, the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, while I join the sponsors of H.Res. 676 in promoting racial harmony and individual liberty, the fact is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not accomplish these goals. Instead, this law unconstitutionally expanded federal power, thus reducing liberty. Furthermore, by prompting raced-based quotas, this law undermined efforts to achieve a color-blind society and increased racial strife. Therefore, I must oppose H.Res. 676.
    One of the purposes of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was to prevent businesses from discriminating against those of different ethnicities, nationalities and religions, using the Commerce Clause as a means of enforcement. This apparently rankles those who believe in the purest form of property rights, which could be summed up as "It's my property and I can do whatever the hell I want with it," but I digress. My issue is with the belief that the natural course of the free markets, sans any intervention from the federal government, would have allowed the entire problem of segregated businesses to essentially solve itself, as customer support for such establishments would ideally fade as segregation continued to be demonized in the media. Somehow, I doubt that would happen.

    Insight into the mind of one Ron Paul supporter.

    Even with the pressure put upon businesses in light of publicity regarding segregation, I doubt that any business would have risked losing its biggest and most loyal customer base (white Americans) in order to cater to what was then considered a niche group (most people of color). There had to have been either a legislative or a financial penalty that was severe enough to change the behavior of these businesses. Even with black Americans withholding their dollars from segregated businesses, there was still little to no impetus to dispense with segregation. Without legislative intervention, we would most likely have segregated businesses, although most multinational conglomerates would have dispensed with those policies in order to prevent bad publicity from affecting their bottom line. A small cafe in rural Alabama with a fiercely loyal customer base would have no such problems. In short, you would still see pockets of segregation as prejudiced business owners exercised their property rights as defined in the above. As I mentioned in the comments of this Chirpstory convo, black Americans searching for a "safe" place to eat or sleep (if they could find one at all) had their own Twitter app in paperback book form - the Negro Motorist Green Book.

    To the point, the entire concept of property rights, in this light, is used as a dog whistle for those who want to exercise what they see as their right to keep certain "undesirables" or the "urban element" out of their establishments. and individuals who see themselves as being "enlightened," like @allenbrauer, can't see or don't want to see the forest for the trees. Apparently, Ron Paul seems fit to pimp them all for the ballots.

    Courtesy of Associated Press and the Atlanta Time Machine.
    You know who was also a staunch supporter of property rights in this vein? Lester Maddox. The above features him and his son exercising their rights as property owners to refuse service to anyone they want, going so far as to run off and threaten to beat a black man who he wouldn't serve.

    The greatest allure to the Ron Paul campaign is his support of a federal government that allows states to effectively govern themselves without heavy federal influence. The Civil Rights Act, along with countless other bills and amendments, is considered "heavy federal influence." For anyone who wants to see what Ron Paul's ideal world would be like, see Alabama and Arizona's proactive implementation of stringent immigration enforcement when the federal guidelines were deemed insufficient. Better still, see the United States under the Articles of Confederation.

    See this picture? That's Ron Paul posing in a photo op with Don Black, founder of Stormfront.org. The guy on the far right is his son, Derrick Black. I've spoken time and again about people being defined by the company they keep. One supporter told me Paul wasn't in control of who he had photo ops with, which I find to be a fresh, piping hot plate of good ol' fashioned bullshit. When you're a famous political figure, 1)you must exercise control of who you associate yourself with, and 2)you have control of who you associate yourself with, if not by yourself, then via your press handlers.

    And did I mention that Black made a $500 donation to Paul, who kept it as opposed to returning it once the donation became big news? Of course one could say that the donation did not equal Paul's endorsement of Black's views, but only Black's financial endorsement of Paul's, but any politician worth his or her campaign fund wouldn't dare be associated with the likes of Stormfront or Don Black, even if the donation was for something other than anything explicitly racial causes.

    And then there's the newsletters.

    Throughout the late-1970s until the mid-to-late-1990s, there were a series of newsletters that were apparently created on Ron Paul's behalf, known as the Ron Paul Political Report. "Et tu, Mr. Destructo?" has several scanned samples of these newsletters posted for your viewing pleasure. I read a few of these and came to the conclusion that if Ron Paul did not genuinely believe in what was written here, that these newsletters were being used as juicy bait for bigots to latch onto the Ron Paul campaign, at which they wind up becoming mere stepping stones to his greater political success.

    The main defense utilized by Ron Paul supporters is that the words in the newsletters were taken out of context and misconstrued as racist, particularly by those who were assumed to be looking for something to call "racist." That defense doesn't quite rest with me. And if Paul genuinely had no idea about the content being produced, especially on a newsletter with his name on it, that speaks to either a horrific lack of editorial control and oversight, or Paul figured he could get away with this content by, for lack of better words, playing dumb:
    The newsletters also had a number of other phrases that — taken out of context — would appear racist or outside of the political mainstream. For example, the newsletters contained a couple of critical statements about Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Paul denied writing or even reading the above lines before they were brought to his attention, claiming he had focused upon his medical practice and study of monetary issues during the time period. "They were never my words," he said in 2001, though he acknowledged, "I had some moral responsibility for them."

    ...but the newsletter controversy only demonstrates that Paul exercised poor management over employees' statements in a relatively minor part of his career (he focused upon his medical practice during this time period), a managerial mistake he hasn't repeated in the 15 years since he returned to Congress. It's a genuine negative for Paul, but it's a small negative. No one in Washington is willing to call Paul a racist, and few have questioned his honesty on the newsletter issue (though Time's Klein did).

    At least until today. In this political climate, with the GOP Establishment still bent on having Mitt Romney as their preferred candidate for the presidency, this "small negative" is now being welded as a gigantic cudgel which the GOP hopes the mainstream media will use to bash the living daylights out of the Ron Paul campaign. Just as Newton Leroy's infidelity and bombastic wordsmithing eventually sunk his campaign among voters, and just as Herm's womanizing skeletons conveniently popped out of the closet when he was 35 minutes into his 15 minutes of fame.

    The is the nugget and the nugatory fact of the Ron Paul experience: everything inspirational and aspirational about the Ron Paul candidacy is as nakedly fungible as every word above. When he was not in office, for $49.95, you could buy his book about how to be scared shitless about government and invest in the same gold mines he already had shares in. Now that he's in government and angling for a higher position, you are even more compelled to stave off categorical economic collapse by investing even more than $49.95 in his campaign. And if his campaign goes nowhere, try googling something other than "RON PAUL" and whether candidates can pocket donations.

    Still, on any map of moral behavior, this is a man who merits no one's esteem. To return to a comment above, he either believes these paranoiac, divisive, racial and sexually malicious things and wrote them himself, or he recognized the cynical political value in trading in them, or he was so stupid that not a word above was written by him, yet it carried his name anyway.

    It's amazing how someone can be a pimp and a prostitute at the same time. In the end, it all comes down to finding votes wherever you can, since your unorthodox platform and political views disqualify you from being seen as a "serious" mainstream candidate...

    I have a feeling I understand why Ron Paul gets so much support from the young and dumb progressive crowd. Ron Paul represents the alternative from the mainstream, a guy who seems to have all the answers, but can't act upon them because the mainstream keeps shutting him out, every single time. A perpetual underdog, of sorts. As long as he loses in a "almost there but not quite" way, he wins financially and in popularity. His fan base continues to swell with the ranks of those who are drawn to lovable losers who have the right stuff, but little to no chance in hell of winning.

    On the small chance that Ron Paul somehow manages to win the presidency, these folks are going to be as disappointed as they were when they ushered Barack Obama, a guy who many people thought had no chance, until made the unthinkable thinkable - the perpetual underdog crowd loved him until it became apparent that he could not radically change the face of government in under 90 days. Ron Paul will have to play the same games of 11-dimension chess in front of an obstinate and actively hostile crowd (possibly less so thanks to the lack of color-arousal, but that's beside the point..) that is personally vested in maintaining status quo and increased political hegemony. In short, Ron Paul won't be able to put that pony under your pillow.

    The names of the game in the federal government?
    • Compromise
    • Constant horsetrading
    • Patience
    • Horrifically slow progress

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was just one of dozens of acts in the gigantic play of attaining equal rights for all Americans, one that began the moment those damned pilgrims touched terra firma. Not excusing sloth in governance, but sloth is a somewhat permanent fixture that is momentarily relieved by copious amounts of money in the right places or a bonafide national crisis. But enough about the Civil Rights Act and back to Ron Paul. 

    Ron Paul gets to play the contrarian role while scores of people get to support a perpetual underdog. He makes a show of slowly fighting his way up the hill, with his supporters hoping against hope that the unthinkable would happen and that maybe, just maybe, he'll run away with the nomination and presidency in a Hollywood-grade struggle against all odds. But almost predictably, it all falls apart. It's the political equivalent of a Cubs fan hoping that this World Series will be the one which they win, and not the goddamned Yankees. This is perpetual underdoggism in a nutshell. 

    As I do with most who pique my interest, I'll keep an eye in Ron Paul.