The Ron Paul Newsletter Controversy

“When you give your political heart to a guy who spends so much time worrying about international bankers, you’re not going to get a tolerant cosmoplitan.” — Virginia Pastel, and who’s Virginia Pastel? I don’t know… Some Libertarian or other, it appears, who never warmed up to Ron Paul.

“I’m not a racist. As a matter of fact Rosa Parks is one of my heroes. Martin Luther King is a hero. Because they practiced the libertarian principle of civil disobedience, nonviolence.

Libertarians are incapable of being a racist because racism is a collectivist idea. You see people in group. A civil libertarian like myself see everybody as an important individual. It’s not the color of their skin that is important. As Martin Luther King said. What is important is the character of the people. What’s really interesting, though, and this might be behind it because as a Republican candidate I’m getting the most support from black voters and now that has to be undermined.” — Ron Paul

I’m probably giving Ron Paul short swift in quoting him there, as he goes on to explain his problems with the judicial system and the disproportionate burden it places on black Americans, as well the war as reasons that he is “getting the most support from black voters” of any Republicans and why he is not a raciste. The numbers for that — woohoo! The Most Popular Republican amongst Black Americans! — would have to be rather absurd, discoverable through the power of a microscope… what with the 9 to 1 ratio in voting habits. Also amusing is tying your legacy to Martin Luther King, Jr and Rosa Parks — heroes, I guess — the Civil Rights legislation of 1964, as well the toothless measure in 1957, being — y’know, not at all libertarian and charged with ye olde claims of Federal Government Intervention, rally the Confederates against the New Reconstruction, etc.

Which is whereabouts Ron Paul got in trouble here in the first place.

I could add that there is a reason right wing cranks, as littered the newsletter released through the 1990s bearing Ron Paul’s name, claimed Martin Luther King, Jr attended some Communist Training School and on from there. For instance, from the belly of the Beasts — one step removed from the type who’ll throw up that McCarthyite charge.

Back to the first quote. To what degree do you believe in something of an “International Bankers’ Conspiracy” — which, I suppose to the extent that financiers move money around and wield power across international boarders has that level of legitimacy, even if that is short of its real meaning of… The Jews.

Aiie aiie aiie.

My sense is that Ron Paul doesn’t really have any excuse for it, and his pleading of a conspiracy to undermine his black support is somewhat pathetic. My sense is that your newsletters ended up as a sort of “Ron Paul Fan Club”, and in the period of time that would have been the almost exclusive terrain of militia types and … um… Art Bell fans. (Today edged a bit further to the realm of… anti-war activists and liberals and leftists who believe that “At least he believes in the constitution”, but I’m giving him short swift in some respects. He has the 9/11 Truthers behind him, after all.) I actually did see the controversy looming, if anyone cared to look into it, based on some blog posts stating that they exist.

A bit more interesting background:

Kirchick, a New Republic associate editor, first contacted Wisconsin Historical Society circulation librarian Laura Hemming in November. The Historical Society has Paul newsletters under four titles: Ron Paul Investment Letter; Ron Paul Political Report; RonPaul Survival Report; and Ron Paul‘s Freedom Report.

At the time, the Historical Society’s Paul newsletters were not microfilmed and were stored off site. Because of Kirchick’s query, and Paul’s presidential candidacy, the society has since put them on microfilm. Kirchick was then able to obtain them through an interlibrary loan.

The newsletters attacked Martin Luther King Jr .; praised the KKK’s David Duke ; championed quarantining people with AIDS; bashed Israel, “an aggressive, national socialist state”; and supported the right-wing, anti-government militia movement in the United States.

Why were these newsletters collected in Madison and almost nowhere else? Because the Wisconsin Historical Society in general and its longtime librarian Jim Danky in particular have worked diligently to catalog all manner of seemingly fringe publications, because as this week demonstrates, you never know what may one day be important.

“We acquired them because we try to cover politics comprehensively,” Danky told me Thursday.

It has perhaps the best collection anywhere of leftist, underground publications. And the Historical Society’s collection from the political far right was praised in an essay by Chip Berlet in the Sesquicentennial Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History.

Berlet, who is with Political Research Associates in Massachusetts, wrote: “There are other collections at libraries and archives around the country, but none offer the range and depth of the collection combined with the cheerful staff knowledge and painless retrievability. The society’s periodical collection is a national treasure as far as our staff is concerned, and we mine it frequently. Where else can you find a librarian who asks if the particular type of hate-group newsletter you are looking for is Ku Klux Klan, racial nationalist, neo-Nazi, Third Position, homophobic or Christian Identity?”

Chip Berlet? Never heard of him.  Doesn’t he write for High Times or something?

Anyway, it is amusing to scan by the Ron Paul fans — see — squirm.

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