PrestoPundit

Why Weren’t We Told?

Posted by PrestoPundit on 01/10/2008

The Ron Paul campaign is turning out to be a disaster for the limited government movement of Ronald Reagan and the Founding Fathers. Many of us have been appalled by Paul’s bizarre talent for twisting strong arguments into stupid arguments — and his penchant for casting his views in a deceptive form designed to attract left of center voters. But now a dark and disturbing chapter in Ron Paul’s political career emerges, and it isn’t pretty. (Paul responds here.)

And what a lot of us reasonable ask is, why didn’t anyone report this story to the electorate months ago? A young couple who contributed to Paul seem to hold Virgina Postrel and other “old time” libertarians responsible for this failure. For her part, Postrel passes to the buck to the current writers and editors at Reason magazine. I’d like to suggest, however, that the big failure here is one in the news profession at large. One of the best funded and most energized campaigns in the country with close to double digit support — and the press couldn’t be bothered to investigate and report on who this guy is and what his background might be.

All that said, I do think that Postrel’s correspondent has a point. No matter that prominent libertarians like Postrel have busy lives, other interests and non-libertarian careers, one has to ask how hard is it to post a heads up on your blog tipping folks off to these skeletons in the closet, if they were long known to you? Even if its not our current career to investigate and report on public officials — its something of a duty as a citizen to give your fellow citizens a heads up on something like this, if you happen to be one of the few prominent people in the country who actual has knowledge of the matter.

If the distributed knowledge system of the blogosphere is going to make a difference, that’s one way it’s going to have to work.

UPDATE: Ace unloads and Steve Horwitz makes some useful distinctions. It looks Horwitz and some others had been raising red flags about Ron Paul in the blogosphere for a while.

UPDATE II: It turns out the difference between Virginia Postrel and Reason editor Nick Gillespie is that Postrel knew about Paul’s past and Gillespie didn’t. Maybe Postrel should have dropped him a note.

UPDATE III: Ron Paul answers questions from Wolf Blitzer on the matter. His account of all this comes across as very weak, and it’s fairly obvious that rather than come clean on what happened he’d rather sweep all this under the rug. My guess is that it ain’t going to stay swept. Glenn Reynolds and one one readers give their reactions here.

UPDATE IV: Ed Morrissey points to evidence uncovered by Matt Welch suggesting that Ron Paul is just lying about all this.

No Responses Yet to “Why Weren’t We Told?”

  1. mozarker said

    Different Day, Same Lies. The New York Times, for Christ’s sake, had to print a retraction for this same story because their source proved to be unreliable. This newsletter was printed over 20 years ago. Ron Paul took responsibility for it (even though he did not write it), disavowed what was in it, fired the responsible party, and took on writing his own newsletters after this despicable writing came to light–over 20 years ago! Stop the smearing of a truly honorable statesman. What you are doing brings shame to all of you engaged in this farce.

  2. formerbeltwaywonk said

    How can one not think of conspiracy theories having just observed an improbably simultaneous media attack on Ron Paul the day of the New Hampshire primary? A remarkably successful attack that made him plunge from 14% in the polls to an 8% actual vote? After weeks where we heard little about Paul from the mass media and beltway “libertarian” bloggers? TNR from the left, Fox News and talk radio from the right, and piling on from beltway “libertarians” who made a point of loudly repeating the TNR smears and dumping Ron Paul on the day of the primary. Your eyes and ears did not deceive you, all this happened. It is not the result of a criminal conspiracy, but if one uses “conspiracy” as a metaphor for social networks of vast complexity, there is a strong sense in which conspiracy theories accurately, if metaphorically, explain what happened.

    The reality behind the conspiratorial metaphor is the social networking between denizens of the Beltway, who sport a wide variety of political labels but are, relative to the rest of the country, a monoculture that depends on your paycheck for its livelihood. I lived there. I went to these parties. These denizens range from the journalists who report the mass media news to various think tank and university scholars at the Cato Institute, George Mason University, and so on. They study Ayn Rand, then marry Andrea Mitchell and testify against tax cuts. Vast amounts of federal money, that stuff that is taken out of your paycheck with such automatic ease, flow into the Beltway area. Directly and indirectly, almost every person who lives in or near the Beltway depends on the very income tax that Ron Paul declared he would abolish — with no replacement!

    Many of these paycheck vampires call themselves “libertarians” and inspire us with their libertarian rhetoric to support them with our attention, our blog hits, and our tuition money as well as the tax money that already funds them or their friends. But at the first sign of political incorrectness, all these below-the-Beltway “libertarians” have dumped Ron Paul like yesterday’s garbage. Now they can rest easy that they will still be invited to the parties thrown by their lobbyist and government employee and contractor friends, who for a second or two got worried by all those Google searches that Ron Paul might have some influence, resulting in some of them losing their jobs (end the income tax with no replacement?! The guy is obvioiusly a kook, and we don’t invite the supporters of kooks to our parties!). Now everybody around the Beltway can go back to partying at the taxpayer’s expense. All the money will keep flowing in, hooray!

    The lesson millions of young libertarians have now learned from our mass media, including our beltway “libertarians”? Libertarian electioneering is futile. Voting is futile. Democracy is futile. It’s hip to be “libertarian.” But anybody who actually wants liberty is a kook, as can be proven by their association with kooks. Beltway wonks posing as “libertarians” are happy to write things to inflame your hopes for liberty that they don’t really mean. Then they make sure that we elect the politicians their friends want — the ones that will enslave your future to pay for full social security for Baby Boomers. The ones that will send you off to foreign lands to kill and die. Not only the journalists who hang out with the government bureaucrats and lobbyists, and not only the politicians who talk sweet while they drain your paycheck and kill your fellow human beings, but even the beltway “libertarians” are happy to let a whole new generation of libertarians go down the tubes in order to keep their Beltway friends happy.

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