January 11, 2008

Andrew Sullivan is still touting Ron Paul.

From his wrap-up on last night's debate:
And, yes, thank God for Ron Paul.

No one else, except McCain, copped to the GOP's rank betrayal of fiscal conservatism, limited government, prudent foreign policy and civil liberties. When he was asked to disown the 9/11 Truthers, he gave a revealing answer, and one that reflects on the newsletters issue. It just isn't in his nature to adopt other people's views, or to tell anyone else what to believe or what to say. He doesn't just believe in libertarianism; he lives it. This means that he doesn't have the instinct to police anyone else's views or actions within the law or the Constitution.
Not even the instinct to stop other people from stamping his name on their crap?
I don't think it excuses his negligence in the past, but it does help me understand it better.
And then when you understand it — which seems to entail believing it — what to you say about his competence in a leadership position? Haven't you just conceded that libertarians don't belong in positions where they are supposed to be supervising the work of others?

IN THE COMMENTS: Toby writes:
In a libertarian world, [wouldn't] shame and ostracism be important tools? Sure, live & let live is fine if the guy next door wants to smoke pot, own a bunch of guns & live with his three girlfriends. But isn't the ability to condemn people [going to] be pretty important if the guy next door is holding Klan rallies or hosting NAMBLA meetings? Is it really a good character trait when one's first, instinctive reaction to such such things is to shrug & say it's not my business.

44 comments:

Paul Zrimsek said...

Paul's plenty interested in telling other people what to believe and say if they're mainstream Republicans. If they're racist, anti-semitic conspiracy nuts-- not so much.

AJ Lynch said...

Sullivan will rationalize ervy which way possible including sideways to explain his support for Ron Paul.

Sullivan fancies himself a big thinker.

the wolf said...

What exactly is Ron Paul's idea of "prudent foreign policy?" American isolationism?

Roger said...

Wolf: Libertarian orthodoxy re foreign policy is essentially isolationism, withdrawal from all treaties and foreign bases, and a military to protect the homeland only. So yes: isolatism

AJ Lynch said...

And it was a disgrace for Ron Paul to scoff and suggest the Iranian speedboats were not a risk. How the F could he forget what happened to the Cole??

Reasonable pundits should be asking how schmucks like Paul keep getting elected.

Doyle said...

I have no desire to see Ron Paul become president, and think he's a nutjob on many issues.

But he's not a nutjob on foreign policy, and every single other person on that stage is, and that goes double for Brit Hume.

It was good to see Paul get a chance to smack them around some.

Tim said...

A marginal, incoherent, morally expedient blogger rationalizes his support for a marginal, incoherent, morally expedient ersatz Republican Libertarian candidate for President, and we're supposed to pay attention why?

Isn't that exactly what they want? Shouldn't we be discussing how a freak like Kucinich was able to land himself such a babe for a wife? THAT's much more interesting.

Doyle said...

Also do you realize what a freak show Hume is for effectively questioning the manhood of whoever was in charge of those US warships in the Strait of Hormuz?

They reacted "passively", Brit? Didn't blow up the speedboats like you wanted them too, huh? That would have probably been the best idea, if you'd been there to show them how to do their jobs.

Crimso said...

"Libertarian orthodoxy re foreign policy is essentially isolationism"

By FAR the single greatest reason why I would never call myself libertarian (or is it Libertarian?), even though my calls me one. Of course, she calls me a lot of things, but she's adorable so I let it slide.

Crimso said...

"Didn't blow up the speedboats like you wanted them too, huh?"

I would think that the families of the Cole victims wished that the CO on the Cole had Hume's obvious warmongering tendencies. Or are you going to try to explain to me that was somehow different? I remember very well the events of the '80's WRT to USN activities in the Persian Gulf. And in spite of the name we give it (though I think not everyone does), it doesn't belong to "Persia."

Doyle said...

Or are you going to try to explain to me that was somehow different?

My guess is it wouldn't do any good.

jimbino said...

Most of the commenters on Ron Paul here seem to have no concept of personal liberty.

In Germany it is illegal to distribute Mein Kampf or Nazi periphernalia. The first thing a German libertarian would do is fight for the right to distribute all those prohibited items, of course. That in no way whatsoever would indicate his support of Nazi or racist policies, much as a person's fighting for the right of access to pornography in this country would not indicate that the he even likes pornography.

Indeed, it is a damn shame that there were no libertarians around to publish Mein Kampf worldwide when it first came out. Lots of lives might have been saved.

I don't know about the others here, most of whom appear to be scientifically illiterate, but if I published a newsletter, it would have sections on Mein Kampf, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, pornography and Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed, secret CIA torture tapes--whatever it is that the government doesn't want the people to see. I fail to see how that would indicate anything but that I were a lover of liberty.

Crimso said...

"My guess is it wouldn't do any good."

So it's "I could, I just don't feel like it." Feynman said this is another way of saying "I can't, even if I wanted to" (see his discussion of hypnosis in SYJ,MF).

paul a'barge said...

good lord. Andrew Sullivan?

Has anyone read any of the content in the newsletters that were sent out under Ron Paul's name? Has anyone listened to Ron Paul in any of his public speakings?

I'm confused. Why are not Andrew Sullivan and Ron Paul treated like pariahs such as David Duke and Glenn Greenwald?

Paul Zrimsek said...

but if I published a newsletter, it would have sections on Mein Kampf,

But would it have sections from Mein Kampf, under your byline?

rdkraus said...

"Wolf: Libertarian orthodoxy re foreign policy is essentially isolationism, withdrawal from all treaties and foreign bases, and a military to protect the homeland only. So yes: isolatism"

No.

Libertarians believe in free trade around the world (if you think free trade requires a 10,000 word treaty, you don't understand FREE trade), social contact with others around the world, but not creating an empire - why in God's name do we have 70,000 troops in Germany today? Why so we have hundreds of thousands of troops in more than 100 countries? Who made us King? That is the interventionism we don't believe in.

If Rudy doesn't think our imposing ourselves upon everyone else in the world has created some blowback, it only shows his ignorance.

Doyle said...

David Duke and Glenn Greenwald? What the hell is wrong with you? What has Greenwald said or written that merits comparison to a Klan member?

Pogo said...

I fail to see how that would indicate anything but that I were a lover of liberty.

It's disingenuous to suggest Ron Paul's newsletters were merely random collections of stuff the government doesn't want the people to see. Instead, they were frank libertarian discussions, and could quite correctly be seen as being endorsed by Paul. He made no indication the newsletter was an unvetted forum, which it was not, as its writers were known to him.


And I find it strange you would want to publish Mein Kampf, Aside from the principle that you should be free to publish anything you want, what value is there in such a piece of shit being reproduced by you? What would you be sayin, except this is vile stuff, but I publish it only because it's illegal??

mcg said...

As Matt Welch has documented, Mr. Paul's previous explanations about these documents are far different than those he gave Wolf Blitzer.

Crimso said...

"Libertarians believe in free trade around the world (if you think free trade requires a 10,000 word treaty, you don't understand FREE trade), social contact with others around the world, but not creating an empire"

Read up on the Open Door Policy, and the result of pushing that without a Big Stick to back it up. The point being that these lovely concepts of free trade and everybody just getting along has NEVER EVER worked in human history. For it to work, we would need a single world government. I somehow doubt most Paul supporters favor that.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Didn't blow up the speedboats like you wanted them too, huh? That would have probably been the best idea, if you'd been there to show them how to do their jobs.

Doyle you do realize that one of those speedboats packed with C4 or some equivalent high explosive is essentially a seaborn missle? I'm actually stunned they didn't light them up after being warned off.

All in all it turned out for the best but I do think it shows that Iran appears to be more eager to start a confrontation with us than Bush is with them.

Beth said...

It may be in his nature not to police others' ideas, but it's also in his nature not to turn down their money.

I don't believe the benign neglect theory of hands-off editing, and some of the passages we've seen published indicate Paul wrote them (there's one that refers specifically to his small town by name, for example). I don't care if Lew Rockwell was writing some of it, or if Paul was just strategically targeting the fringe of his movement for money and support. All the explanations fall short of cleaning the muck from him, and the muck sticks to the libertarian movement as well.

Toby said...

In a libertarian world, woldn't shame and ostracism be important tools? Sure, live & let live is fine if the guy next door wants to smoke pot, own a bunch of guns & live with his three girlfriends. But isn't the ability to condemn people be pretty important if the guy next door is holding Klan rallies or hosting NAMBLA meetings? Is it really a good character trait when one's first, instinctive reaction to such such things is to shrug & say it's not my business.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Well said, Beth. I can't help but think of that old line that the Republicans want to live in the '50's and the Democrats want to work there. In Paul's case, the reference is to the 1850's.

George said...

To paraphrase E.B. White, like Charles Townsend and Father Coughlin, Ron Paul will soon begin quietly to come apart, like an inexpensive toy.

In the meantime, enjoy the way the little monkey claps his cymbals.

Steve Wood said...

Toby: Well said.

I'm not a capital-L libertarian on most issues, but I do favor a libertarian approach to personal freedoms: pot-smoking, gun-owning, multiple-common-law-wife-having, etc. However, the only way to have a civilized society and also enjoy freedom from legal regulation of personal lives is to encourage an active sense of shame, opprobrium and even social ostracism.

Sure you're free to have a Klan rally in your backyard, but respectable people will shun you.

Moral and social pressure works: It kept the illegitimate birth rate low for a long time, especially among the middle classes, precisely because people did not "shrug & say it's not my business."

Sullivan has no trouble working himself into high dudgeon over issues that matter to him. For example, he was one of the many bloggers baying for Trent Lott's blood after Lott made comments that were a hell of a lot more innocent than the things that went out under Paul's name.

tightspotkilo said...

More than at any point hitherto, last night Paul put his freakshow psychotic side on full public display.

Are we witnessing Andrew Sullivan do a slo-mo morph à la David Brock, with Ron Paul being a outpost along the way?

jimbino said...

Pogo and Zrimsek: There are many reasons for a libertarian to seek to publish offensive material, just as atheists publish quotes from the bible in "The Atheist Bible" in order to show how petty, jealous, racist, sexist, superstitious, homophobic, murderous, duplicitous, scheming and fraudulent the god of the bible is.

If Thomas Paine and Christopher Hitchens can figure that out, why can't you?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Which word of "under your byline" did you not understand?

Pogo said...

jimbino,
Hitchens et al are advancing an argument, and use examples to support their views that highlight their disagreements with religion.

The key in citing materials you find offensive is that they appear in context to some argument, or you indicate the irony intended, or you make clear your disagreement, but state the intention is evidence of libertarian principles per se.

But Ron Paul did not, it seems, do that.

Material that is racist or neo-racist was published under his byline without any reference to disagreement, irony, or use-in-argument-against.

rdkraus said...

Tights

.... Paul put his freakshow psychotic side on full public display. This is the level of most arguments against RP. You can make reasoned arguments about why libertarians are wrong, or you can name call. This kind of argument reflects more on you than it does on Paul.

On the other hand, the stuff in his newsletter, even though not written by him, went out in HIS newsletter. HE should have stopped it and didn't, and now, as a result, he has to deal with this BS. I don't think he's a racist. I've yet to see ANY evidence that he is. But if you're a politician, you can't let this stuff go out under your name.

A big mistake. BIG !!!!

Beth said...

Randy,

Exactly! The 1850s, where they can let the market work to end slavery--or maintain it, depending on how the "market" swings. Yikes.

tightspotkilo said...

rdkraus:

I say nothing about Libertarians. I've been a registered independent since the Watergate days of 1973, and for years and years since whenever anybody asked me to describe my beliefs I have often said "small 'L' libertarian." So it isn't Libertarians or libertarians per se. It's Paul. Individually he's the one who needs medicating or some other kind of intervention.

The expression of incredulity on John McCain's face when they did the splitscreen of him and Paul as Paul babbled incoherently about the Iranian speedboats was priceless.

Methadras said...

Andrew Sullivan touting Ron Paul simply brings into question the credibility and seriousness of Andrew Sullivan. Of all people, he should know better, but sometimes he never does.

Methadras said...

Tim said...

A marginal, incoherent, morally expedient blogger rationalizes his support for a marginal, incoherent, morally expedient ersatz Republican Libertarian candidate for President, and we're supposed to pay attention why?


I'll tell you why we need to pay attention. It's because if we don't then these people are allowed to festoon their idiocy and nonsense without being challenged and these types of thoughts and ideas have no business being fostered, much less thought of by alleged mature, deep-thinking adults. These types of ideas need to be challenged and argued against because they aren't correct. They are steeped in paranoid, quasi-isolationist nonsense and within a context and framework that doesn't exist anymore in a 21st century geo-political structure. A guy like Ron Paul and a goofy advocate of his like Andrew Sullivan need to be told and shown that their ideas are goofy and nuts. That's why this can't be ignored.

I'm sure people have completely forgotten Ron Paul's 1988 presidential run where he advocated an open borders policy from his nutcase losertarian viewpoint. But that's the kind of guy Ron Paul is. He is one of those perpetual retards that constantly tries to run for president on the hopes that if he does it enough times someone will pay attention to what he is doing.

reader_iam said...

Mein Kampf was published, in abridged version, in English in the 1930s.

This is what the New York Times had to say, about that first English version published in 1933 in the United States (and England):

"Vitally interesting as is his account of his early struggles, of the war, of his political life and revolutionary attempts, what we must look for in his book is an answer to the question, What are the policies, what are the aims of this extraordinary man who today rules Germany with a rod of steel?...From this book we see what Hitler is in process of creating in Germany...there are pages and pages of attacks upon the Jews...what the Germans do in their own territory is their own business, except for one thing--the persecution and practical expulsion of the Jews....It is with sadness, tinged with fear for the world's future, that we read Hitler's hymn of hate against that race which has added so many names to the roll of the great in science, in medicine, in surgery, in music and the arts, in literature and all uplifting human endeavor." - James W. Gerard 10/15/1933

I can't immediately put my hands on the copy of "Mein Kampf"--definitely pre-war, and in Engligh--which belonged to my grandfather (a man emphatically and contemptuously anti-Hitler and Nazism) and which he handed down to me as a cautionary tale, one which had profound impact, I must say.

But whether Mein Kampf's wider dissemination--or, to be more precise, wider reading--would have prevented Hitler's worst? I am sadly pessimistic, given the times and contexts, which latter includes a tendency toward isolationism.

That said, I would not want to see that book out of print and unavailable (though I certainly wish it had never been written!!). Trying to bury the ravings of lunatics, IMOH, unfortunately tends to make them more appealing to the like-minded.

Crimso said...

"or, to be more precise, wider reading"

I think it was Shirer who noted that anyone who claimed they didn't know what Hitler was planning hadn't read it. And noted that based upon the numbers of copies sold vs. the number of Germans who disclaimed knowledge of Hitler's plans, it was obvious a number of Germans who bought it (to appear fashionable?) did so without subsequently reading it. And he would know. He literally watched it unfold.

Revenant said...

Toby is quite right. While a person as narcissistic as Sullivan is unlikely to understand this idea, libertarians do NOT believe that the right to say what you want implies, or requires, that nobody pass judgment on what other people say. Libertarians are also big on personal responsibility. Not the Ron Paul kind of personal responsibility where you say "I accept responsibility" but then expect to be treated as if you weren't actually responsible, but the actual kind of personal responsibility where you are morally accountable for the things you do.

What Paul's defenders are ignoring (and in many cases concealing) is that Paul received income from the sale of those newsletters. He wasn't just ignoring racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic writing -- he was profiting from it.

reader_iam said...

That particular grandfather was born early in the same year as Shirer, though in England (Yorkshire).

Crimso said...

In a very real sense, I'm jealous of Shirer. He not only lived through those incredible times, but actually knew some of the major players (and not just political ones; if you haven't read it, I highly recommend "The Nightmare Years").

Blake said...

It seems to me that libertarianism should be one of the two parties.

One the one hand, we should have people who want to use the government to solve problems, and on the other we should have those who oppose government intervention.

Problem is, we have two parties who just fight over degree, quality and direction, and seldom seriously debate the "if". There's no glory in NOT handling the "housing crisis" and damn little culpability for screwing it up.

Another (potential) problem is the absence of traditional social constructs, like the church, which was traditionally in charge of behavior that the state wasn't concerned with.

This is at least partly because the same greedy political groups are not satisfied with tax and spending, they want control of people's minds and souls.

But actually, I think Althouse raises a good point as far as a libertarian President. Lib legislatures, sure. Lib judges, absolutely. But the President is an executive: It's his job to DO stuff. I'm not sure how a libertarian could reconcile that.

From Inwood said...

Sullivan's pseudolalia & logorrhea in re Paul's appalling handling of this matter does not pass the Hee Haw test either.

John Lynch said...

I don't get it. Liberals and the Left actually get the racist, government-gutting candidate of myth and legend, and they ignore him...

If you're really worried about the far right, Ron Paul should scare you. The way his followers act should be a clue. Fortunately, his support is marginal.

Libertarianism shouldn't be nostalgia for the past. It's not about the Confederacy, or 19th century capitalism, or isolationism.

The speedboat remark really pissed me off as a former sailor. How ignorant can one get? If the US Navy isn't out there, who will be?

rcocean said...

What he does, Tucker, is he speaks in code. He is a transmitter. He will say certain things that, you know, at first may not appear to be overtly racist, but to certain audiences they know what he is talking about. So when he talks about secession, he says it in a way that’s not exactly neo-Confederate or isn’t exactly explicitly neo-Confederate. But to people who are in the know and people who are a part of this [sic] neo-Confederate communities, they know exactly what he is talking about. - Howard Fineman, Reporter and Mindreader