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Hard to Handle

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This is, admittedly, hard to reconcile with the kindly older man we know from the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, especially when he voiced criticism of an overstressed, imperial foreign policy that many Democrats and not a few Republicans had grown weary of during the Bush years.

But the record is very, very clear. For decades, in speeches and later in his newsletter published from 1978 on, Paul espoused views which were unabashedly racist, homophobic, anti-semitic and quite supportive during the nineties of the militia movement. The story is best chronicled by James Kirchick in a series of articles in The New Republic and other publications. For a sampling of the content, read this article. I quote two paragraphs from one of Kirchick's piece to give you the flavor.

This “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” was hardly the first time one of Paul’s publications had raised these topics. As early as December 1989, a section of his Investment Letter, titled “What To Expect for the 1990s,” predicted that “Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities” because “mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ‘haves.’” Two months later, a newsletter warned of “The Coming Race War,” and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, “If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.” In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, “Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.” “This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s,” the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter’s author--presumably Paul--wrote, “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.” That same year, a newsletter described the aftermath of a basketball game in which “blacks poured into the streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How else? They broke the windows of stores to loot.” The newsletter inveighed against liberals who “want to keep white America from taking action against black crime and welfare,” adding, “Jury verdicts, basketball games, and even music are enough to set off black rage, it seems.”

...

Martin Luther King Jr. earned special ire from Paul’s newsletters, which attacked the civil rights leader frequently, often to justify opposition to the federal holiday named after him. (“What an infamy Ronald Reagan approved it!” one newsletter complained in 1990. “We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.”) In the early 1990s, newsletters attacked the “X-Rated Martin Luther King” as a “world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours,” “seduced underage girls and boys,” and “made a pass at” fellow civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy. One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” were better alternatives. The same year, King was described as “a comsymp, if not an actual party member, and the man who replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration.”

Paul himself didn't deny the appalling nature of the material but simply claimed that he had no knowledge of the articles which appeared under his name or in his personal newsletter. The idea that Paul did not himself write the articles in question is not totally implausible. It's been widely assumed that Paul's longtime collaborator Lew Rockwell may actually have penned the pieces.

But the idea that Paul, as he claimed, didn't know about and had never read years of writing that had appeared under his name is somewhere between deeply implausible and profoundly ridiculous.

Personally, I have to say that it's always been difficult for me to square this history with the kindly old guy many of us got to know in recent years. But there it is. There's no getting around it. Let me also be crystal clear: Paul obviously has zero responsibility for this tragedy and I'm sure he's as horrified by it as anyone. But when you publish endless articles taking about mooching black 'animals', impending race wars and embattled whites and not dissimilar stuff about Jews, you attract some unsavory fans.

There's a reason white nationalists, professional anti-Semites, neo-Confederates and militia leaders were such fans of Paul. Because he was one of their most articulate voices.

Now, we can postulate the remote chance that Paul was actually some sort of White Nationalist Mr Magoo, blindly stumbling through a literature of race war/mud people diatribes he was wholly unaware of. But even if that deeply implausible idea were true, it would hardly affect how this community felt about him.

To paraphrase a line once used about Malcolm X and the 50s and 60s era Nation Islam, Ron Paul may not like white nationalism, but white nationalism sure likes Ron Paul.