Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Purpose of This Blog

I've been accused of making an obviously fallacious argument with the following form:

1. Ron Paul supports X.
2. Racists support X.
3. Therefore, Ron Paul is a racist.

No one can quote a place where I make this argument, because very deliberately I've never made it. As a matter of fact, I don't think Ron Paul is any more of a bigot than the average Republican. On the other hand, as I've mentioned, a lot of very smart racists seem to be flocking to his banner -- moreso than for any other candidate, even those from official neo-Nazi political parties.

Why is that? That's what I've been wondering. Why does Ron Paul resonate so much with racists and fascists, especially if he isn't a racist/fascist himself? The entire purpose of this blog is to answer that question without simply assuming that Dr. Paul is a racist. For one thing, even if he is a racist, that wouldn't be enough to explain his support among the militiamen and neo-Nazi crowd. So the question still needs to be answered.

On this blog, I try to answer it in one of two ways. First, I explore theoretically the implications of what we can call the Ron Paul principle, or RP. I'm still not sure exactly what the content of RP is; I'm trying to infer it based on Paul's own policy positions, comments, proposals -- and yes, to a degree, by even checking up on his friends. If a person's chosen associates can't give you some insight into his/her principles, I don't know what can.

The second, admittedly inferior way I have of trying to answer the question of this blog is by revealing the level and kind of support Ron Paul has within the neo-Nazi, racist, fascist, etc. communities. What interests of these groups do/would Dr. Paul's policy proposals serve? Or are the neo-Nazis merely deluded about Paul's proposals? I suggested in a recent post that RP, his principle, overlaps in key, different ways with both libertarian and Nazi principles. In that post, I explained how this could be the case, even though libertarians and Nazis are pretty far apart on any reasonable political scale.

Every post I've made on the subject of Ron Paul fits into one of these two categories. In an earlier post, I argued that Ron Paul's attitude toward the 14th Amendment is both a) anti-libertarian; and b) directly consonant with the attitudes the sophisticated racists take toward that part of the Constitution.

Notice: this project can and must proceed without assuming that Ron Paul is a racist. But it also takes seriously the degree of resonance Ron Paul seems to have in some less savory ideological communities. There really are racists and fascists for Ron Paul. His keenest libertarian supporters don't seem interested in asking why. But they should. They should especially be concerned about the effects -- intended or otherwise -- Ron Paul's proposed weakening of the federal government would produce on the liberty of lots and lots of people.

That's where I come in, anyway: I'm asking questions no one else cares to ask, from a perspective that truly emphasizes individual liberty. There's no intellectual dishonesty here: only facts. Facts about Ron Paul's record in Congress. Facts about his supporters. Facts about the implications of his policy positions. I suppose a person could interpret those facts to suggest that Ron Paul is a racist, but I don't. But I will say the facts do not totally support the conclusion that Dr. Paul is an unabashed fan of freedom for the individual.

As of yet, no one has been able to show me why I'm wrong about that.


P. M. Jaworski said...

Everything you say here is vitiated by the title of your blog, and the former confederate flag you had on it.

You don't cite any statistics on the number of neo-Nazis and racists and anti-semites who "flock" to him, and compare that with the number of, say, fascists and racists flocking to Huckabee or Giuliani or Romney.

You repeatedly ignore contrary positions, or even entertain, in a prominent way, the rebuttals from Paul's camp. I have made your job easy. I have linked to video and to several articles. But I don't yet see a post up on your blog dealing with that side of the argument. Namely, the side that says racists, fascists, and anti-semites are idiots if they think a Paul presidency will be good for their agenda. The side that says the racist, fascist, and anti-semite agenda is better served by the Huckabees and Giulianis in this race.

Instead, when I offer three articles that think it ridiculous to accuse Paul of anti-semitic thoughts, you pick the Derbyshire piece

and pretend like I didn't offer two others, or pretend like Derbyshire's post is somehow false because he's a racist.

This blog is dishonest. By failing to cite counter evidence, by failing to even consider the opposing viewpoint, by failing to cite--even in footnote fashion--the mountain of responses from the Paul camp to these spurious accusations, you demonstrate no interest in the question you claim to be interested in.

That's why I keep calling this blog bullshit. Plus, you get your facts wrong. And when I point them out, you don't edit your post to reflect what are plain falsehoods. Like, for instance, your false insinuation that Paul

Until the title of the blog changes, I will continue to call this blog what it is--bullshit. Until you start offering the rebuttals, I will call you out for intellectual dishonesty.

As a sidenote, I can guarantee you I know a lot more about Ron Paul than you do, and I can guarantee you that I took the charges against him extremely seriously, and have satisfied myself that there is no basis for them.

I have never been as excited about a politician as I am about Paul. People are shitting all over him, and all over people like me. You are busy shitting all over me, and others like me who love the movement, think it positive, and believe it is a positive sign for liberty in America.

What kind of shit? Bullshit. Just like this blog. Intellectually dishonest bullshit.

(I don't expect this to appear in any of your posts, but here you go. Wouldn't want to sidetrack your witch hunt.)

P. M. Jaworski said...

Oops. I wrote: "That's why I keep calling this blog bullshit. Plus, you get your facts wrong. And when I point them out, you don't edit your post to reflect what are plain falsehoods. Like, for instance, your false insinuation that Paul"

and meant to include, "supported an anti-flag burning amendment by proposing it as a bill." Read the Greenwald and you'll see why you're wrong, and why that's false.

Take a cue from me: If you read anything that suggests Ron Paul is not a consistent Constitutionalist, or does not support individual liberty in some case, look very, very closely into that. It is probably false.

Terrence C. Watson said...


What exactly does a "strict Constitutionalist" believe, anyway? Let's take the full faith and credit clause issue. According to the interpretation of a constitutionalist, does that clause require states to recognize gay marriages enacted in other states or not?

Of course, I think a case can be made in both directions, although I think the balance of reasons favors the simple interpretation that the clause means what it says, and would require other states to recognize gay marriages from other states.

Ron Paul, of course, seems to think the Constitution supports his reading instead. So which one of us is a constitutionalist?

But here's the point: the Constitution is at least arguably ambiguous here, as it is elsewhere. How a person parses those ambiguities will be a matter of his other ideological commitments. Your implication that anyone can be "just a constitutionalist" suggests that you haven't even read the document.

So what ideological commitments drive Ron Paul's interpretation of the Constitution? And why are you and people like you so afraid to ask that question? Why do you insist that everyone EXCEPT your man Paul is anti-constitutional?

Perhaps it's simple hero worship. Ron Paul claims he's got the lock on the Constitution, and since he's such a nice guy, he must be telling the truth about that.

Terrence C. Watson said...

Also, about the three links you left for me in that other post:

One of the links went to the very comment you were leaving... kinda solipsistic, don't you think?

Besides the Derbyshire link, the one went to a Reason piece that doesn't address any of the substantive claims I've made. The Reason piece does include Jonah Goldberg's advice for Ron Paul, to distance himself from his racist supporters. I can't disagree with that.

P. M. Jaworski said...

Give me a break. You know I've read the Constitution.

That there are disagreements over what counts as Constitutional is plain. That Paul specifically reads the Constitution prior to his votes is also plain.

Well of course I cite my sources. How does that make what I say solipsistic? My point is that you're not doing your research. And I'm citing a host of sources to help you. But I *still* don't see any of those things as a main post in your witch hunt.

I admit to hero-worship. Ron Paul is a hero. But you're putting the cart before the horse. I support RP because of his record. I don't support him for some other, independent reason and then read-in my preferences into his record. He's a septuagenarian, pro-life Christian for God's sake. He's not exactly hero material.

That is, until you look into his record and discover that he is the exception that proves the public choice school of economics rule. He is a hero because he consistently votes for liberty. Not on all issues, I'm afraid. But on more issues than anybody else. And he's a hero because he does this in spite of the bullshit that blogs like this spew forth.

P. M. Jaworski said...

Oh... I see... the link linked back to my comment. That was an obvious mistake. I can find the reference again. Obviously, I did not intend to link back to my own comment. Obviously, in copying and pasting, I accidentally pasted in a link to my own post.

Terrence C. Watson said...

No, the link you posted was:
which goes precisely to the comment you were making. So you cited as a source, in a post, a link that went to that very post.

Like I said, solipsistic. Or perhaps just recursive.

I did adjust the post that was not really about flag burning to indicate that RP's support of a prohibition on flag burning was unserious. The rest of the post stands as is.

Further, you failed to even acknowledge the question I raised in my previous response to you: given that the constitution is ambiguous in parts, what OTHER ideology is driving Ron Paul's interpretation?

Perhaps Ron Paul is such a hero that he interprets the Constitution ex nihilo, without engaging in any kind of reflective equilibrium between its text and his ideological precommitments.