Something calling itself The New Republic has an article by James Kirchick called “Angry White Man” accusing Republican/libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul of racism, and it looks pretty ugly. The piece quotes from some newsletters sent out in Paul’s name during the 90s. It’s vile stuff:

“Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began,” read one typical passage. According to the newsletter, the looting was a natural byproduct of government indulging the black community with “‘civil rights,’ quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.” It also denounced “the media” for believing that “America’s number one need is an unlimited white checking account for underclass blacks.”

This “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” was hardly the first time one of Paul’s publications had raised these topics. As early as December 1989, a section of his Investment Letter, titled “What To Expect for the 1990s,” predicted that “Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities” because “mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ‘haves.'” Two months later, a newsletter warned of “The Coming Race War,” and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, “If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.”

Ron Paul has not handled this very well:

reason: Do you have any response to The New Republic’s article about your newsletters?

Ron Paul: All it is–it’s old stuff. It’s all been rehashed. It’s all political stuff.

reason: Why don’t you release all the old letters?

Paul: I don’t even have copies of them, because it’s ancient history.

reason: Do you stand by what appears in the letters? Did you write these…?

Paul: No. I’ve discussed all of that in the past. It’s just old news.

This may be old news to Paul, but it’s not old news to me. I never heard of these newsletters before, and I’ll bet a lot of the people casting votes for him haven’t either. Besides, “old news” is not a response. It’s an attempt to avoid a response.

Sigh. Hanging out with libertarians now and then, I’ve had to learn to avoid those libertarians. The conversation usually goes someting like this:

One of Those Libertarians: I’m a libertarian.

Me: I’m something of a libertarian myself. I’m not a fan of big intrusive government.

OoTL: Me neither. We’ve got to find some way to stop affirmative action and welfare.

Me: Oh, hey, nice to meet you but I’ve got a thing…

I worry a bit about people who contemplate all the myriad ways government is abusing us and conclude that the biggest problem is laws that help minorities.

(Personally, technically, I think affirmative action is a bad idea too.  The government should not be telling us who to do business with based on race. But it’s not the first problem I think of when I worry about the abuse of government power. It’s not even the tenth problem, and maybe not even the hundredth problem.)

It sounds like some of Paul’s supporters were those libertarians.

In a press release, Paul has denied writing the newsletters, denounced the contents, and more-or-less said he’s sorry they went out in his name.

That’s not good enough for me. I want to know how these letters went out for years without him doing anything about it. Maybe he trusted his people too much and didn’t bother to read them, but in all those years, surely one of his friends came up to him at some point and said, “Paul, you need to see what’s in the newsletter…”

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