Sunday, October 30, 2011

Calling the Media—When is Ron Paul Going to Have to Answer?

By Alexander Marriott

Among the contenders for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination polling in or near the double digits only one sticks out as a true ugly duckling: Texas Congressman, and former OB/GYN, Ron Paul. Often pointed to as the “libertarian” candidate, Dr. Paul quixotically (heroically to his admirers) zeroes in on monetary policy, the existence of the Federal Reserve, and the “business cycle,” while his opponents debate the merits of their gimmicky tax/economy/jobs plans. But his most jarringly discordant notes come in foreign policy—particularly concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dr. Paul raised eyebrows during a GOP Presidential debate in August when he shrugged off the notion that Iran might get a nuclear weapon, comparing the theocratic regime to the Communist regimes of the old Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. He followed this bravura performance with an appearance on Fox News where he blandly acceded to the notion that Israel had nothing to fear from an Iranian nuke because: “The Iranians don’t have a tradition of sending troops and invading countries 6000 miles from their shore and occupying another country. [As] a matter of fact, they’re pretty respectful of their borders....” Further, he has advocated a "friendship" with a country that the State Department (see overview on pg. 150-151) and every terror expert in the world has indicted for numerous attacks on American interests and allies around the world--calling reports of Iranian nuclear ambitions "blown out of proportion."

The world has waited with baited breath after the revelation of the Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C., for Congressman Paul to revise his, some might say naive, position on the threat posed to Israel and the United States by a terrorist sponsoring Islamic theocracy. Instead, Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “I think it’s mostly war propaganda. They’ve been itching to go to war against Iran for a long, long time. This is exactly what they did leading up to the war in Iraq, and the danger was not there.”

Why is this important? Isn’t this all simply the classic expression of libertarian non-intervention? Perhaps. But Ron Paul has a history, curious associations, and a veritable army of “interesting” supporters. Without coming right out in a poor imitation of Emile Zola, how exactly does a major presidential candidate with so much anti-Semitic baggage—past and present—glide unscathed from one media interview and debate to another? Paul is the only major candidate sporting a foreign policy which guarantees—if he is mistaken about Iran—the destruction of seven million Jews. A devastating exposé is potentially right there. Where is the media?

First, the history. In 2008, when Paul’s bid for the GOP nomination really garnered nation-wide support and attention, The New Republic and Reason Magazine covered a disturbing story about Congressman Paul’s writings from the 1980’s and early 1990s that contained a host of racist remarks and played into a number of insidious conspiracy theories. Congressman Paul’s excuses for these newsletters that were sent out under his name was that they had been ghost-written by some unknown aid—most likely the loathsome Lew Rockwell. The story did not progress much from there. Paul went on to rail against the Fed and Lew Rockwell continued to give him advice. (See also David Harsanyi's more recent piece in Reason Magazine.) Jeffrey Lord, at the American Spectator, has been among those at the forefront here, and here, in exposing the serpentine paths of Paul's anti-semitic connections. They are in-depth analyses of the beliefs of Dr. Paul and his associates and I cannot recommend them enough to people looking for more information about these issues.

Everyone has surely noticed Ron Paul’s passionate obsession with the Federal Reserve. The innocent interpretation of this is that Paul is a true libertarian and opposes central banking, fiat money, and government controlled interest rates. This is all probably true. But there is something else going on with Paul’s attack on the Fed that seems to go unnoticed. Delve into an internet message board of Paul supporters and you cannot fail to see references to “New World Order” and people bemoaning international financiers and bankers. Eventually, you will be directed to a book by G. Edward Griffin, The Creature from Jekyll Island (5th ed., 2010).

Those who used to be glued to Glenn Beck’s pseudo-history show on Fox News might remember that during an episode in March 2011, Beck gave this book and its author central prominence. Why does this matter? Aside from having no pretensions to being a historian, and aside from setting up a publisher to print his own book (thus avoiding pesky things like peer review), Mr. Griffin’s opus has chapters entitled “Building the New World Order,” “The Rothschild Formula,” and “The Creature Swallows Congress.” And, when you get to the back cover, what do you find just above the blurb of famed financial historian Willie Nelson (yes, THAT Willie Nelson)? Why, none other than Ron Paul and this outlandish praise: “A superb analysis deserving serious attention by all Americans. Be prepared for one heck of a journey through time and mind.” Other acknowledged experts in the field include a man from "New Jersy" and world-renowned banking expert, "Stan." On the right is a picture of the back cover of the most recent edition of the book.

Forget the goofy chapter titles and bizarre lingo (“the Mandrake mechanism,” for instance), what is the trouble with this book and author? Take the author first. Griffin is also “famous” for propagating a theory of cancer (he’s also not an M.D., in fact his credentials are a Bachelors in Speech and Communication along with the exalted rank of certified financial planner) as a metabolic disorder. Why is it not cured? You guessed it, a cabal-run conspiracy of medical professionals and drug companies does not want to see their livelihood--cancer--eradicated by a cheap cure. If you want to review Griffin's healthcare bookstore, you can also learn about the dangers and ineffectiveness of vaccinations. For a scientifically peer-reviewed overview of why Mr. Griffin, an untrained non-specialist, is wrong about this, see Dr. Victor Herbert's rebuttal in the May, 1979 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

When he’s not engaged in that quackery, he’s off searching for the resting place of Noah’s Ark. Yes, that Noah’s Ark. Oh yes, he also once upon a time wrote speeches for George Wallace’s vice-presidential nominee. Yes, that George Wallace. Don’t worry though, according to Griffin (while all of the material Griffin puts in this omnibus post is interesting, scroll down to "GRIFFIN "EXPOSED" AS SPEECHWRITER FOR GENERAL LEMAY!"), Wallace was merely “widely perceived as a Southern racist.” That’s right; it was everyone else’s fault for observing reality. To have a look at Griffin's conspiracy-pandering immediately after his failure to elect George Wallace to the Presidency, see this (particularly from minute eight onwards).

As for the book. No undergraduate history major would ever get away with writing one page of Griffin’s tome--primary sources are virtually non-existent and secondary sources are woefully outdated. This is tantamount to a criminal act against the practice of history given the nature of the narrative accusations contained in the book. He is constantly discussing things he has no personal knowledge of without any references. His bibliography looks impressive—but it’s missing seemingly very important books given his topic. He writes about the Rothschilds but ignores Niall Ferguson’s two volume biography of the family. (To see classical liberal historian Niall Ferguson discuss this and many other issues, watch this interview.) He does, however, rely on noted anti-Semitic conspiracy mongers like Eustace Mullins (see also how Paul's supporters lionize Mullins, here). It’s right there in the black ink of his own press.

The book contains all the modern, quite obviously racist canards, of the "paleoconservative" revisionism that is the raison d'etre of organizations like the Ludwig von Mises Institute and pseudo-scholars (and radically pro-Confederate racist revisionists) like Thomas J. DiLorenzo (see an interview with him here, and the Southern Poverty Law Center's description of modern Neo-Confederate intellectuals here). Slavery is not the cause of the Civil War, says Griffin, but the "legal plunder" of Northern industrialists against southern agrarians who desperately sought to invest their capital in more efficient resources than inefficient expensive slaves was the true cause. Despite the fact that he cannot even point to an old secondary source that contains such a reductio ad absurdum distortion of historical reality (and they certainly exist, see one of the few secondary sources he does use here), he also willfully ignores modern scholarship which is overwhelmingly based on the writings--public and private--of Southerners themselves to indict their vicious and callous and open pro-slavery motivations for rebellion. (For more on this, check out the Library of America series on Civil War writings from those who lived through the war.) Ron Paul has publicly endorsed these views as well, and I addressed them in very condemnatory language at the time.

Now, the Federal Reserve is almost assuredly engaged in foolish policies while performing an inherently illegitimate mission—many famous economists and political philosophers have held that position. The actual historian of the Fed, Carnegie Mellon economist Allan H. Meltzer, is often highly critical of the role the Fed plays in the economy. It is possible to be a critic of the Fed without it becoming a crazed, paranoid, obsession with Rothschild financier conspiracies hatched on island resorts.

And this brings us back to the troubling pattern of Dr. Paul’s history, friends, wild-eyed fans, and policies. As President, Paul would have to wait for Congress to audit/abolish the Federal Reserve, but he could immediately commit the country publicly to doing nothing about Iran. Can we count on a man who thinks theocratic, jihadist, holocaust denying Iran is no different than Cuba to defend American interests and allies? What if he did write his own newsletters, knows his advisors are anti-Semitic, nods and winks at his many Neo-Nazi supporters and knowingly endorses conspiracy-ridden screeds that pin all manner of crimes on a family of Jewish aristocrats and financiers? These are questions that need answering. But someone needs to ask him first.

(Mark Levin did a great segment on this very issue in August 2011. Do your own research!)


Orrin said...

This is a really excellent piece - thank you.

I think this sort of thing isn't exposed more because, quite frankly, my dog has a better chance of becoming president than Ron Paul. But the real problem for us are the Paulestineans who really see the world as one full of black helicopters, and therefore feel entitled to do some really destructive things (like the attempted "takeover" of the 2008 state GOP convention).

Keep this up.

Alexander V. Marriott said...

Thank you. I agree with your analysis. But I think Ron Paul, as the figurehead for those people, needs to be called on to disavow them explicitly or join Lyndon LaRouche in the discredited fringe and no longer invited to debates, etc.

Dan Downes said...

Great article, well done.

Jim May said...

My expectation is that the Leftist establishment actually sees him as one of us, incorrect as that might be -- and is keeping a stockpile of this material for deployment against him when the time is right. They don't fear him, so much as they fear his airing of certain ideas; they want those ideas to stay on the fringe. That Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry have tried to steal his thunder supports this idea -- the Left has to see what those two saw.... a rather large bloc of voters attracted to Paul's ideas. Those two merely want to swipe his voters (to avoid getting Ralph Nader'd, I daresay), but in doing so they singal the Left that there is danger there.

The best way for them to deal with the issue is to highlight his discredited ideas, the ones that conform to the standard conservative stance which the Left is confident in handling -- while indirectly smearing by association the valid ideas he has that threaten them. It saves them the danger of dealing with them directly.

It is precisely by this mechanism that individuals like Paul damage our cause; by striking him out, they aim to leave us on deck.

So just wait and watch; if Paul looks like he might actually do something, or even if the Left just wants to steer the other candidates away from borrowing any of those dangerous ideas -- the hit pieces will strike.

Tinfoil-hattish? Sure, but after the Dan Rather memo incident in 2004, I don't consider such suppositions unlikely at all.

(Ironically, the one person who did sound the alarm in 2008 on Paul's association with Lew Rockwell, was none other than Charles Johnson of LittleGreenFootballs, the blogger who did the most to drive the Rather memos story into the mainstream. He's a resolute inmate of the Ackbar Spectrum, unfortunately, and his attacks on Paul were motivated by his transitioning back to the Left.)

Alexander V. Marriott said...

Thanks, Dan!

Jim, I'm more curious as to why Paul's critics on the right don't take him out. He's been on Hannity, he's been in the "Center Seat" segment they've been doing on Special Report w/ Bret Baier--right next to Krauthammer--he's been all over and not one person has held his feet to the fire on this. The left I can understand, I'd sit on this too until the right moment if I were them. But, Gary Johnson for instance; Ron Paul is sucking up all the air of the libertarian wing of the GOP and Gary Johnson is flailing way in the rear. Oughtn't he to hammer this everywhere to wipe Paul off the national scene and take his spot? Even half of Ron Paul's support in national polls would get Johnson into the debates as a matter of course. Or at least get Paul to denounce the poison that follows him around once and for all?

Jim May said...

On that count, I'd simply say that it's the prevalent "team player" idea. There was some anger here and there on the right because they thought that Anderson Cooper was goading the candidates into attacking each other -- because such internecine battles allegedly help the Democrats.

I don't see it, but there it is.

Perhaps someone ought to get Gary Johnson to take that tack, on the "nothing to lose" rationale. Were I him, I'd do it in a minute... but knowing I'd lose the religionist vote :P

Anonymous said...

Hmm, yah we should attack Iran and then Pakistan, and see if China jumps in......