Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Ron Paul’s ghost


More fallout from the Ron Paul newsletters with racist content. It turns out Ron Paul’s ghostwriter for some of the material was Lew Rockwell. From The Economist:

While his statements sometimes leave the impression that Mr Paul simply licensed his name to people with whom he had little contact, there is much evidence to the contrary. The newsletters that appeared under his name were published by M&M Graphics and Advertising, a company run by Mr Paul’s longtime congressional campaign manager Mark Elam—which Mr Elam himself confirms. And according to numerous veterans of the libertarian movement, it was an open secret during the late-80s and early-90s who was ghostwriting the portions of Mr Paul’s newsletters not penned by the congressman himself: Lew Rockwell, founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and members of his staff, among them Jeffrey Tucker, now editorial vice president of the Institute.

Mr Rockwell denied authorship to Jamie Kirchick, the reporter whose New Republic article published earlier this week reignited controversy over the newsletters. But both Mr Rockwell (who attacked the New Republic article on his site) and Mr Tucker refused to discuss the matter with Democracy in America. (“Look at,” Mr Tucker told me, “I’m willing to take any responsibility for anything up there, OK?”) According to Wirkman Virkkala, formerly the managing editor of the libertarian monthly Liberty, the racist and survivalist elements that appeared in the newsletter were part of a deliberate “paleolibertarian” strategy, “a last gasp effort to try class hatred after the miserable showing of Ron Paul’s 1988 presidential effort.” It is impossible now to prove individual authorship of any particular item in the newsletter, but it is equally impossible to believe that Mr Rockwell did not know of and approve what was going into the newsletter.

What should give libertarians (and Libertarians) pause is the point made that the racist appeals were a deliberate strategy in the wake of Paul’s 1988 campaign as the Libertarian Party standard-bearer.

Now that the newsletters have resurfaced and the facts are coming out, Libertarians can cling to the conspiracy theories to defend Paul or they can divorce themselves from Paul and this sorry chapter in their history. There will be more revelations in the months to come. My question to Libertarians, will you rid yourselves of Paul and anyone else who had a hand in this deliberate racist strategy, or will you follow Paul as part of some Führer principle?

Update!Before I forget, there’s an interesting article on the Wisconsin Historical Society’s effort to collect “fringe” political newsletters, including the Ron Paul newsletters.

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