More On Ron Paul’s Mystery Author
As tarran noted yesterday, there is a lot to be concerned about in the racist content of the newsletters that were published under Ron Paul’s name for nearly twenty years. While it’s fairly clear that Paul didn’t write those articles, and I believe him when he says that the writings do not reflect his ideas, the question remains why they articles were published at all.
To answer that, I think, lies in the identity of the author of the articles, which has been the subject of some interesting blogging on a few libertarian sites today.
First, Timothy Virkalla says that this story has been an open secret in libertarian circles for years:
As a writer and editor working in the libertarian movement at the time of these “Ron Paul” newsletters, I have vague recollection of “common knowledge”: it was known who wrote these newsletters, and why. It was money for Ron. It was money for the writers. And it was a way of keeping Ron’s name in the minds of right wingers with money . . . future donors.
It was designed to be entertaining writing. Provocative. It flirted with racism, like Mencken’s did, and Mencken was indeed the model of the style. But these “Ron Paul” writings went further than Mencken’s usually did (at least for publication) along the lines of annoying the racially sensitive; and they sometimes did veer into outright racism.
I was embarrassed by the implied racial hatred, rather disgusted by the general level of hate regardlesss of race. I was also a bit shocked by the writing because the style was so obviously not Ron’s, and so obviously the product of the actual writers, with whom I had tangential relations
Most of us “old-time” libertarians have known about this sad period of Ron Paul’s career from the get-go. We know that it was a lapse on his part. But we who opposed it (and not all of us did) put much of the blame on the writers involved, not on Paul, who was, after all, juggling family, medicine, politics, and continued study of actual economics. That Paul didn’t realize what he was doing to his own moral stance is amazing. His style is one of earnest moralizing. That fits his character. The ugliness of this career move speaks a sad story.
Oh, so who wrote Ron Paul’s newsletter? I have only hearsay and memory to go on. But really, most of us in the libertarian “industry” just “knew” who. I have four names in mind, I think all contributed at one point or another. But maybe it was only a subset of those names, maybe it was just one or two. One of the names is pretty damn obvious. And one of the names is not obvious at all; the style was abandoned for better things, later on.
Like Rodney King, one might prefer we all just get along, move along, and forget about this sorry story. But it is worth exploring. Racism is still a live issue in America. And, apparently, in libertarianism.
And Wendy McElory calls on the author, who she says she knows personally, to come forward:
The identity of the author of the ‘objectionable’ material from past issues of Ron Paul’s Newsletter — material that is currently being used by major media to skewer Paul [see blog post below] — is an open secret within the circles in which I run. The news accounts refer to him merely as an “aide.” We call him by his first name.
I disagree on one point. The author can talk about it. He should talk about it. I will not ‘out’ the person in question on this blog although people are urging me to do so. One of them writes, After the way he’s treated the rest of us [ex-friends who criticize Paul], it might be worth taking him down a peg or two. I won’t…but neither will I pretend that I do not know the background of the matter. I appeal to the author to do the decent thing. Don’t let Ron Paul take the fall for your words and actions. Don’t further sully the libertarian movement by your silence. I know that — in writing this — I am severing all connection between us in the future and, frankly, I am sorry to do so. Nevertheless…so be it. Through our years of association, one thing I have never considered you to be is a coward.Please prove my assessment correct; please take responsibility.
My co-contributor, of course, called for the same thing yesterday.
A lot of this is internal libertarian squabbling, but it’s become a public issue now and it needs to be resolved. Voluntarily or involuntarily, the identity of the mystery author and his connections to Ron Paul need to come forward. And libertarians need to ask themselves why the philosophy of freedom is attracting racist troglodytes.