Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ron Paul issue continues ...

Just so you know, I don't think the controversy over the Ron Paul newsletters is over.

My basic position remains as I stated earlier, that Paul, at least, paved the way for this controversy by carelessly lending his name to people who, in the absence of his oversight, then used it to add legitimacy to their bigotry. If you won't defend your own good name, who will?

While troubled by Paul's extreme lack of judgment, if this remains the likely explanation, I'll still vote for him -- though I think this controversy and his failure to break out in New Hampshire essentially spell the end to his candidacy.

But, Timothy Virkkala, a former editor for Liberty magazine, has raised the possibility, based on his recollections of that period, that Ron Paul did know what was being published under his name, and allowed it to continue because it sold newsletters. To who, I'd rather not know. Such cynical acceptance of bigotry to make a buck would be completely unacceptable and, if it turns out to be the case, should spell a shameful end to Paul's career.

Wendy McElroy, my former colleague at the Henry Hazlitt Foundation, says she knows who the actual author of the hateful material in the newsletters is and is calling on that person to come forward. If it turns out that Paul still has a close association with the author(s), it would call into question his claim that he "denounce[s] such small-minded thoughts." You don't continue to associate with people who dragged your name through the mud -- unless you liked wallowing in it with them.

Some people argue that Paul is being held to a double standard; other politicians get a pass on racist associations or even continuing advocacy of hateful ideas, such as offensive war, torture, socialism and police-state tactics. Yeah, but other politicians don't claim to be libertarians -- individualist supporters of freedom and peace. We expect champions of powerful, intrusive government to be haters; we need to hold those who claim to be our own to a higher standard.

And to those folks claiming that James Kirchik and The New Republic are smearing Ron Paul ... Hey, Kirchik didn't make anything up; the hateful material was there to be discovered and publicized. Sure, Kirchik is no fan of Paul, but investigative journalism isn't usually conducted by friends of the subject. If you can't stand scrutiny by your enemies, it's best to stay out of the public eye.


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March 18, 2009 11:47 PM  

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