Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ron Paul, dishonest segregationist creep

When you are trying to get into a meditative state and all you can think of is how contemptible Ron Paul is, it is time to LET IT OUT!

Ron Paul seems to be this generation's Eugene McCarthy, a politician brave enough to oppose American imperialism and denounce its destructive effects, who has attracted a deal of support from young people, and who otherwise has a rather eccentric record. The American political system has niches for politicians with unusual views, and sometimes they rise out of obscurity and have a real effect.

Ron Paul is giving libertarianism (so called) a much higher profile than it has ever had. I say so-called libertarianism because Paul's brand seems to be focused entirely on assuring, through decentralization of political power, that those who have won wealth and privilege by fair means or foul, get to keep their goodies. Is that libertarianism? If so you can keep it.

Actually, there are more objectionable parts of Ron Paul's program. For instance, "liberty" doesn't reach as far as women controlling their own bodies. It seems to me that there is a religious agenda lurking behind the libertarian facade. Liberty doesn't include the First Amendment ("no establishment of religion")?

But the one that gets me where I live is Paul's opposition to the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. It mightily offends me to hear the dishonest segregationist arguments of my youth recycled in the 2010s.

Dishonest? Paul and his son and his other supporters present their opposition to racial equality in the public sphere as a simple matter of preserving freedom of association. In fact segregation in the south was a prime example of the historic winners using state power, economic domination and terror to secure the continuation of privilege won by force of arms. And calling the result liberty. Or "states' rights."

Segregation was not a matter of individual choice, it was a policy designed and enforced by the enfranchised at the expense of the disenfranchised. To talk about segregation without acknowledging that is deeply dishonest. When (apparently) young people talk about this issue in abstract terms, I think they may have been suckered. But I don't give Ron Paul the benefit of that doubt.


  1. Sarah Palin needs to teach these kids about true history such as the horrors of segregation. (tongue firmly in cheek). As you know I have been reading a book on the history of the Civil War. The first third of the book covered the period leading up to outbreak of the war. The author points out how the slave holding states wanted maximum state rights and limited Federal Government except when it came to enforce fugitive slave laws then they wanted a strong proactive Federal Government. The book speaks of armed Federal troops and agents lining the streets in Boston to protect bounty hunters to transport captured fugitive slaves to a ship in the harbor. The anachronism image in my mind was of soldiers in green fatigues and driving Jeeps in Little Rock AR to protect black high school kids in the 1960s stomping state rights.

  2. Actually, Steve, I see Paul as a pure Libertarian. I abandoned Libertarianism long ago specifically because it led to many of these positions.

  3. Steve- I wanted to learn more about what exactly Ron Paul had said. This article hit it pretty squarely:

  4. Andrew, both Battle Cry of Freedom and the movie Amistad really impressed on me how powerful the southern states were in the Federal government before the Civil War. I highly recommend Amistad. You would enjoy seeing the Union Jack portrayed as the flag of liberty.

  5. There is yet another aspect of U.S. ante-bellum politics that is forgotten. During the years leading up to the Civil War, Southern States mounted numerous terrorist attacks on the North. The usual target was a pro-abolitionist newspaper or business. Numerous arsons, bombings and murders were carried out, often planned and directed by Southern politicians and social leaders. Women and children were often brutally murdered in these attacks. Sometimes entire mobs would travel to the North by train and carry out an attack, then return back home to be celebrated with parades. These events are rarely mentioned in discussions of the period.