I’ve been asked or told about Ron Paul many times over the last months, usually on the assumption that I’d respond positively. It always pained me to explain that while I broadly agree with Paul on policy (with some glaring exceptions like immigration and abortion), I could not work up significant enthusiasm for the campaign, nor even support it (apart from joining his Facebook group, which I’ve left).
First, Paul’s supporters wildly overestimate the chances of the campaign’s success, whether that be election, nomination, or even just effectively growing the constituency for freedom. He never had any chance of winning and I’m happy for the demonstration that merely speaking the truth on national TV doesn’t change anything. Of course many libertarians will ignore that truth and continue throwing money at false hopes.
And while there were bright spots, Paul was an extremely problematic messenger for freedom. He’s a marginal kook, he attracts hardcore kooks, and the fundamental basis of his argument — the U.S. constitution as holy writ — is about the least interesting and least convincing argument possible. In other words, Paul is an embarrassment. (Of course almost every
politicianhuman spouts nonsense almost continuously, but more or less conventional nonsense that is not accorded the kookiness factor richly deserved.)
However, I had no idea how problematic and embarrassing Paul would be. While it is conceivable that Paul is not a racist and did not write any of the racist items in his newsletter and did not authorize or know about any of those items, I assign these probabilities ranging from medium to almost nil. Paul’s response is evasive and painful to watch, despite his attempt to redeem himself by focusing on the drug war.
If you really need to read more go here. I urge anyone who has supported Paul in public or private to reverse that support, immediately.