"You see people in group. And a civil libertarian, like myself, see everybody as an important individual."
It's Ron Paul, responding the New Republic article about the odious Ron Paul newsletter. (Note: I transcribed that properly. Ron Paul really does have a strange way of mixing up singulars and plurals — at least — interesting! — when he's talking about whether people are individuals or groups.)
Isn't it funny to think that "libertarian" is a get-out-of-racism-free card? As long as you think of people as individuals, there's no way you could look at an individual, see that he's black, and make a negative assessment? And that's assuming that your official ideology actually does prevent you from thinking anything that doesn't fit the ideology. But how could one always think only of individuals? Even in that short clip, Ron Paul goes on to talk about how "blacks" should support him, because he wants to end drug law enforcement, which has put so many "blacks" in prison. He catches himself (at about 5:10) and refers to "the individual blacks who are being so unfairly thrown in prison." But we all know there are people who present themselves in mixed settings as libertarians, but are racists in private. The Ron Paul newsletter is evidence of that. Somebody wrote it. Somebody subscribed to it.
And I must fault Wolf Blitzer for not following up on why Ron Paul didn't do something to stop the newsletter from using his name. If he in fact repudiates what is in the newsletter — which he says in the clip — then why wasn't he outraged and vigilant about preventing his name from being damaged? Was he oblivious (and is he not therefore incompetent)?
(Video via Reason Magazine, where there is a long discussion thread already. I should, in this context, flag my own past dispute with some individuals at Reason over the way a libertarian ideology can function as a cover for racism. More here. By the way, that dispute involves some mockery of me for crying — and crying is in the news this week — what with Mrs. Clinton's emotional display — so I have a second reason for dredging up the old.)
ADDED: Matt Welch (of Reason) digs up Ron Paul's statements about the newsletter over the years.