Ron Paul, the Gold Standard and Neo Confederates

Ron Paul, the Texas Con­gress­man, is now chair of the House Finan­cial Ser­vices Committee’s Sub­com­mit­tee on Mon­e­tary Pol­icy, which means he gets to hold hear­ings into the Fed­eral Reserve and to push his pet project, the gold stan­dard.

I like the fact that Paul wants to open the Fed to crit­i­cism. I’d crit­i­cize it too, but from the oppo­site posi­tion: where Paul sees it as a tool to rob the rich, I tend to see it as a tool OF the rich. He wants the gold stan­dard, I think the gold stan­dard is nuts.

What both­ers me about Paul isn’t that his advo­cacy of the gold stan­dard per se, it’s the con­nec­tion between gold bug­gery and neo con­fed­er­ate racism.

The lib­er­tar­ian vision of free­dom sees govt. intru­sion of prop­erty rights as the core of tyranny. Since money is both prop­erty and a means of get­ting more, lib­er­tar­i­ans, espe­cially “aus­trian school” lib­er­tar­i­ans like Paul, obsess on gov­ern­ment med­dling with the money supply.

They like the gold stan­dard because they imag­ine it as free from gov­ern­ment inter­fer­ence; a “nat­ural” money with intrin­sic value that will per­ma­nently secure the value of all prop­erty. Like Social Dar­win­ists in the 1890s, they believe that under a gold stan­dard, social hier­ar­chies become “real” and nat­ural as well.

Paul is closely con­nected to the Lud­wig Von Mises Insti­tute, founded by the lib­er­tar­ian con­ser­v­a­tive Mur­ray Roth­bard and cur­rently run by Lew Rock­well. Rock­well was for­merly Paul’s chief of staff.

A tire­less pro­po­nent of Aus­trian eco­nom­ics, Roth­bard stud­ied with Von Mises him­self after receiv­ing his Ph.D. from Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity. His books  relent­lessly stress the ben­e­fits of a gold stan­dard. Call­ing him­self both an “anarcho-capitalist” and an expo­nent of the “old right,” Roth­bard also  co-founded Cato Insti­tute but later split with it.

For Roth­bard, free­dom was best when it wore pants: he blamed the “ori­gins of the Wel­fare State” on “the legion of Yan­kee women, in par­tic­u­lar those of mid­dle– or upper-class back­ground, and espe­cially spin­sters whose busy­body incli­na­tions were not fet­tered by the respon­si­bil­i­ties of home and hearth.” He regret­ted the Con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment that had “imposed” women’s suf­frage on the nation.1

In 1963, for exam­ple, at the height of the Civil Right move­ment, Roth­bard warned about “the negro cri­sis as a rev­o­lu­tion.” “Demon­strat­ing Negroes,” he said, “have taken to a favorite chant: ‘What do we want? Free­dom! When do we want it? Now!’” One might expect a lib­er­tar­ian to like such a chant, but Roth­bard found the idea of free­dom for negroes alarm­ing: they did not under­stand it prop­erly. Free­dom was a “hope­lessly ambigu­ous word as used by the Negro move­ment,” and “the very fuzzi­ness of the goal per­mits the Negroes to accel­er­ate and increase their own demands with­out limit… it is the very sweep and vague­ness of the demands that make the move­ment insatiable.”

An insa­tiable desire for free­dom usu­ally stands in lib­er­tar­ian accounts as the most praise-worthy of human attrib­utes, but Roth­bard found the African Amer­i­can free­dom strug­gle alarm­ing. Roth­bard wor­ried not just about “insa­tiable” negroes, but also about King and his non-violent protests against “pri­vate cit­i­zens as store-keepers or own­ers of golf courses; their rights are already invaded, in a “non-violent” man­ner, by the estab­lished Negro ‘Cen­ter’.” Roth­bard explored ways to stop “the negro rev­o­lu­tion:” his words are worth quot­ing in full.

There are two ways by which it might be crip­pled and defeated. First, the retal­ia­tory cre­ation of a white counter-revolutionary mass move­ment, equally deter­mined and mil­i­tant. In short, by the re-creation of the kind of Ku Klux Klan that smashed Recon­struc­tion and the Negro move­ment in the late 19th cen­tury. Since whites are in the major­ity, they have the capac­ity to do this if they have the will. But the will, in my opin­ion, is gone; this is not the 19th cen­tury, nor even the 1920’s. White opin­ion, as we have seen, has dras­ti­cally shifted from racism to egal­i­tar­i­an­ism; even the South­ern whites, par­tic­u­larly the edu­cated lead­er­ship, con­cede the broad merit of the Negro cause; and, finally, mob action no longer has respectabil­ity in our soci­ety. There have been attempts, to be sure, at mass counter-revolutionary white action: the Ku Klux leader in Geor­gia told a rally that “we must fight poi­son with poi­son,” armed con­flict between white and Negro mobs has bro­ken out in Cam­bridge, Mary­land, and white hood­lums have repeat­edly assaulted Negro pick­ets in the Bronx. But all this is a fee­ble replica of the kind of white action that would be nec­es­sary to defeat the rev­o­lu­tion; and it seems almost impos­si­ble for action to be gen­er­ated on the required scale.

This expo­nent of free­dom took some com­fort in the idea of a “sec­ond, and far more sub­tle, method by which the Negro Rev­o­lu­tion might be tamed and even­tu­ally crip­pled: through a “sell­out” by the Negro lead­er­ship itself.” 2 Rothbard’s over­all tone regard­ing the Civil Rights move­ment, like his tone regard­ing women’s suf­frage, was con­temp­tu­ous and hostile.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the Von Mises Insti­tute he founded and ran is allied with the “League of the South,” which views the Civil War as a cri­sis over state’s rights and calls for an inde­pen­dent south­ern repub­lic and wants, yes, “to return to a sound cur­rency” based in gold.3 The League of the South laments the fact that “aliens” now gov­ern the for­mer Con­fed­er­acy. It wants to return rule to the heirs of the “Anglo-Celtic tra­di­tion.” Roth­bard and the Von Mises Insti­tute sim­i­larly describe the Civil War as an unjust inter­ven­tion, and claim slav­ery would have van­ished on its own. The North, they argue, cre­ated racism in what had been a benign nat­ural hier­ar­chy.4

Rothbard’s ver­sion of lib­er­tar­i­an­ism favored genetic accounts of racial dif­fer­ence and social rank. Votes for women, and equal­ity for African Amer­i­cans, upset the nat­ural order. Regard­ing Charles Mur­ray and Richard Hernsteins’s The Bell Curve (1994), which explored the con­nec­tion between I.Q. fun­da­men­tal intel­li­gence, and race, Roth­bard praised the book for telling “the home truths which every­one, and I mean every­one, knew in their hearts and in pri­vate… the almost self-evident fact that indi­vid­u­als, eth­nic groups and races dif­fer among them­selves in intel­li­gence and many other traits, and that intel­li­gence, as well as less con­tro­ver­sial traits of tem­pera­ment, are in large part hered­i­tary.” The book, he wrote, “would put a bul­let through the heart of the egalitarian-socialist project” by restor­ing a nat­ural foun­da­tion for inequal­ity.5 In this line of lib­er­tar­ian think­ing, nat­u­ral­ized, racial inequal­ity is the sign of free­dom. “Egal­i­tar­i­an­ism,” he declared, “is a revolt against nature.”6

There are of course many fla­vors of lib­er­tar­i­an­ism, and it would be grossly unfair to sim­ply say that lib­er­tar­i­an­ism equals racism. “Clas­si­cal lib­er­als” fre­quently imag­ine a race blind soci­ety in which indi­vid­ual merit trumps all other fac­tors, and lib­er­tar­ian think­tanks like the Cato Insti­tute now some­times admit the neces­sity of gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion in Civil Rights in the 1960s, and that unreg­u­lated mar­kets will not solve all prob­lems of sys­temic inequal­ity. Lib­er­tar­i­ans often gen­uinely detest what they see as ham-handed attempts by government—Affirmative Action comes up fre­quently in this context—that they argue only exac­er­bate the racism they seek to address. They see “race” as a socially con­structed tool of dom­i­na­tion, a form of col­lec­tivism, and pose intrin­sic indi­vid­u­al­ism as the alternative.

Paul’s web­site includes a forty minute movie from the Von Mises Insti­tute giv­ing a cap­sule his­tory of the gold stan­dard and call­ing for a return to “sound money.” The film blames “frac­tional reserve lend­ing” for nearly all eco­nomic woes: that is, the prac­tice of banks lend­ing out more money than they have in their vaults.7 In this sense, Paul’s demand for the gold stan­dard is rad­i­cal enough to amount to a cri­tique of cap­i­tal­ism itself, and hear­kens back to Jefferson’s objec­tions to bank­ing. “If our money were backed by gold and sil­ver, peo­ple couldn’t just sit in some fancy build­ing and push a but­ton to cre­ate new money,” Paul writes: “They would have to engage in hon­est trade with another party that already has some gold in their pos­ses­sion,” or “get dirty and sweaty and actu­ally dig up the gold. Not some­thing I can imag­ine our ‘money elves’ at the Fed get­ting down to when­ever they feel like play­ing God with the econ­omy.”8

In the 1990s, Paul wrote, or allowed to appear under his name, with his endorse­ment, a series of newslet­ters which most Amer­i­cans would find alarm­ingly racist. Jour­nal­ist James Kirchik detailed what he found in an arti­cle in the New Repub­lic. For exam­ple, in 1992 the Ron Paul Polit­i­cal Report com­mented on the Rod­ney King riots in Los Ange­les by say­ing that “order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their wel­fare checks three days after riot­ing began.” read one typ­i­cal pas­sage. Accord­ing to the newslet­ter, the loot­ing stemmed from gov­ern­ment pro­mo­tion of “‘civil rights,’ quo­tas, man­dated hir­ing pref­er­ences, set-asides for gov­ern­ment con­tracts, ger­ry­man­dered vot­ing dis­tricts, black bureau­cra­cies, black may­ors, black cur­ric­ula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and pub­lic humil­i­a­tion for any­one who dares ques­tion the black agenda.” “Our rot­ten lib­eral cul­ture,” the newslet­ter con­cluded, “admon­ishes whites faced by rag­ing blacks to lie back and think of England.”

In 1992 Paul advised his sup­port­ers to take refuge from “the com­ing race war” in rural strong­holds, because “the ani­mals are com­ing.” Of the Mar­tin Luther King Hol­i­day, one Paul newslet­ter declared: “What an infamy Ronald Rea­gan approved it!” and con­cluded “We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.” The newslet­ter also demon­strated open sym­pa­thy for “patriot” mili­tia groups and, Kirchik con­cluded, clas­si­cal exam­ples of ant gov­ern­ment polit­i­cal para­noia, fre­quently involv­ing the Fed­eral Reserve.9

Paul has dis­tanced him­self from both the newslet­ters and “pale­olib­er­tar­i­an­ism,” but he keeps the hard money focus. When Ron Paul called his first hear­ing on Fed Mon­e­tary Pol­icy, he invited Thomas DiLorenzo, a proud mem­ber of the League of the South, to tes­tify on behalf of the gold standard.

The con­nec­tion between gold and neo­con­fed­er­ate ide­ol­ogy and Rothbard’s social dar­win­ist racism isn’t coin­ci­den­tal. It’s rooted in the same fan­tasy, a fan­tasy of nat­ural and “real” dis­tinc­tions and val­ues, social hier­ar­chies that reflect nat­ural law rather than pol­i­tics and cul­ture. The media will prob­a­bly choose to treat Ron Paul as a charm­ing eccen­tric, and thereby legit­i­mate his point of view. The roots of that point of view are worth exam­in­ing closely.

 

Update: recently Ron Paul appeared on Hard­ball with Chris Math­ews, and announced that he would vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, because the Act, by mak­ing it ille­gal to serve peo­ple because of race, vio­lated prop­erty rights. Paul’s argu­ment was claimed that racism was caused “by laws” and that laws were the prob­lem, not racism. He sug­gested that seg­re­ga­tion was “ancient his­tory” and since it had itself been “cre­ated by laws” it would not hap­pen any more.

I can’t really begin to com­ment on the absur­dity of this posi­tion. Maybe later

  1. Mur­ray N. Roth­bard, “Ori­gins of the Wel­fare State in Amer­ica” Mises Daily, Fri­day, August 11, 2006; online at http://mises.org/daily/2225. Accessed 8/7/2010
  2. This quite extra­or­di­nary essay appeared orig­i­nally in The New Indi­vid­u­al­ist Review 3 (Sum­mer 1963): 32–33; it appears online, with no appar­ent sense of irony, at “the Online Library of Lib­erty, a Project of Lib­erty Fund Inc. (http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2136&chapter=195367&layout=html&Itemid=27)
  3. http://dixienet.org/rights/corebeliefs.shtml
  4. It’s only fair to note that the “League of the South” web­site includes a state­ment for­mally repu­di­at­ing racism (http://dixienet.org/rights/statementonracism.shtml). But most peo­ple perus­ing the site, with its end­less evo­ca­tions of her­itage and its insis­tence that south­ern equals white Euro­pean, or that racism is sim­ply a charge invented to dis­credit the South, will be skep­ti­cal. Just take a look. The South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter offers a detailed account of the League at its web­site: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/league-of-the-south. In this view, slav­ery was not a man­i­fes­ta­tion of racism, but a reflec­tion of nat­ural facts: end­ing slav­ery intro­duced racism
  5. Mur­ray Roth­bard, “Race! That Mur­ray Book,” in The Irre­press­ible Roth­bard: the Rothbard-Rockwell Essays of Mur­ray N. Roth­bard (Burlingame, CA, Cen­ter for Lib­er­tar­ian Stud­ies 2000) p. 390–391.
  6. Mur­ray N. Roth­bard, Egal­i­tar­i­an­ism as a Revolt against Nature and other Essays, (1974: reprint ed. Auburn, AL 2000) ch. 1
  7. Lud­wig Von Mises Insti­tute, “Money Bank­ing and the Fed­eral Reserve,” accessed at http://www.ronpaul.com/on-the-issues/fiat-money-inflation-federal-reserve/ Aug. 4 2010.
  8. http://www.ronpaul.com/on-the-issues/fiat-money-inflation-federal-reserve/. Accessed August 8 2010.
  9. James Kirchick, “Angry White Man,” in The New Repub­lic, Jan­u­ary 30 2008 p. 21. Paul claimed not to have writ­ten these pas­sages, and not to have known who wrote them: sus­pi­cion fell on Lew Rock­well, cur­rently head of the Von Mises Insti­tute and for­merly Paul’s chief of staff, but he denied it and also claimed not to know. Rock­well and Roth­bard seem the most likely sus­pects. See Julian Sanchez and David Weigel, “Who Wrote Ron Paul’s Newslet­ters,” in Rea­son Jan. 16 2008; online at http://reason.com/archives/2008/01/16/who-wrote-ron-pauls-newsletter. See also CNN’s Politics.com at this link: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/10/paul.newsletters/#cnnSTCOther1

35 Comments

  • Mike Bottoms wrote:

    Also too, let’s not for­get this Ron Paul gem from 1992: “I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city [Wash­ing­ton DC] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal…we are con­stantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational.”

    It’s also worth not­ing that, given the nature of his dis­trict, and unlike other south­ern politi­cians like Trent Lott, Haley Bar­bour, or George Allen, Paul doesn’t actu­ally need to court a neo-Confederate vote. This is sim­ply a per­sonal affinity.

  • Great post, Mike. I think Paul’s anti-imperialism is also con­nected and deserves a his­tor­i­cal exegesis.

  • Oh my GOD. A Con­gress­man who advo­cates that the U.S Gov­ern­ment actu­ally OBEY the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, even in the area of mon­e­tary pol­icy! OH MY GOD! Stone him, cas­trate him, hang him, shoot him, and then maybe give him a fair trial or some­thing! And after that, drag his body through the streets! WE CANNOT HAVE THIS TREACHERY IN WASHINGTON DC! A WITCH! A WITCH! BURN HIM!

  • This is an odd com­ment. No one is sug­gest­ing any of these hys­ter­i­cal reac­tions. As I men­tioned, I share Paul’s desire to crit­i­cize the Fed. You praise Paul’s alleged fidelity to the Con­sti­tu­tion (no doubt mean­ing the clause about no state mak­ing any­thing but gold or sil­ver a ten­der). But this is a man who asso­ciates with seces­sion­ists. Which part of the Con­sti­tu­tion allows for secession?

  • zoltankemeny wrote:

    You are mis­guided about the Con­sti­tu­tion. The Con­sti­tu­tion enu­mer­ates pow­ers of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. It does not “allow” for indi­vid­u­als to act in a cer­tain way.

  • Jason Treit wrote:

    As rep­re­hen­si­ble as his views on civil rights and hered­ity were, Rothbard’s stance on frac­tional reserves is what stuns me most going back through his remarks. It’s both funny and scary to con­tem­plate the zeal with which he and his dis­ci­ples weed out the causative root of their own phi­los­o­phy. Other, more care­ful stu­dents of Mises try now and again to bring eco­nomic his­tory back into the dis­cus­sion (read Larry White’s excel­lent “What’s Twenty Quid to the Bloody Mid­land Bank?” – White and Sel­gin would prove wor­thier foils for your cen­tral bank­ing series, I think), but the bul­lion­ist fac­tion appears to have only dug its trench deeper.

    This log­i­cal rela­tion you’ve iden­ti­fied in at least two blog posts bears repeat­ing until the full weight of it sinks in: to be against frac­tional reserves is to be against cap­i­tal­ism, full stop. Refusal to count unre­al­ized gains or to allow an exchange medium to absorb the third-party risks implicit its use means no credit enters the econ­omy, period. No credit, no cap­i­tal invest­ment. No cap­i­tal invest­ment, no cap­i­tal­ism. Roth­bard, Dilorenzo, Sol­erno, Paul: the new, per­ma­nent cast of Hoard­ers.

  • Your com­ment is dead on. I think what’s really at play here is hos­til­ity to cap­i­tal­ism itself, mas­querad­ing as love of free mar­kets. I’m inter­ested in the race piece because like the gold stan­dard, it allows a lot of blather about “free­dom” and “mar­ket law” while dodg­ing the fun­da­men­tal ambi­gu­i­ties about value/identity that cap­i­tal­ism entails

  • I think what’s really at play here is hos­til­ity to cap­i­tal­ism itself, mas­querad­ing as love of free markets.”

    Very inter­est­ing. This would also explain why the Tea Party and the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce are on the oppo­site sides of so many big issues: TARP, auto com­pany bailouts, stim­u­lus as well as the prospect of rais­ing the debt ceiling.

  • Michael wrote:

    #“No credit, no cap­i­tal investment.”

    Jason Treit, obvi­ously the con­cept of cap­i­tal accu­mu­la­tion is for­eign to you.

    Also when you use the word ‘hoard­ers’ as a neg­a­tive it’s clear you are unware of the man­ner in which one per­son choos­ing to for­goe present con­sump­tion (a process you den­i­grate as hoard­ing) results in the price level falling to the ben­e­fit of all other consumers.

    As Fred­eric Bas­tiat made clear 160 years ago prob­lems arise when peo­ple can­not see beyond the imme­di­ate con­se­quences of their actions and poli­cies. Given you can’t grasp cap­i­tal accu­mu­la­tion and an adjust­ment in prices per­haps you ought to take note.

  • Apart from Ruthbard’s con­nec­tion with racist ideas, I think his most destruc­tive con­tri­bu­tion is his alter­na­tive truth ver­sion of what hap­pened in the Great Depression.

    Accord­ing to Ruth­bard GD would have been over in a year IF not only Hoover had been such a social­ist. It has been debunked over and over again, but that story never dies.

  • Michael wrote:

    Nobody has debunked this. Infact the for­got­ten depres­sion of 1920 rein­firces this truth about what hap­pens when mar­kets are left to self regulate.

    With 12% and ris­ing unem­ploy­ment and a mas­sive GNP drop of 17% War­ren Hard­ing despite the protests of Hoover slashed tax rates across the board and cut spend­ing which resulted in national debt falling.

    Prices fell, cost of pro­duc­tion fell and by 1923 unem­ploy­ment was back down to 2.4%.

    At the same time Japan gov­ern­ment and indus­try under­took pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sures to keep price lev­els high and had a reces­sion through to 1927 which cul­mi­nated in a huge crash known as the Showa finan­cial crisis.

  • Michael wrote:

    Even in the com­ment sec­tion of the Huff Post I have never seen such a base­less attack on a num­ber of prin­ci­pled libertarians.

    Each of your points is posted after a hash (#) and my response after a star (*):

    #“where Paul sees it as a tool to rob the rich, I tend to see it as a tool OF the rich.“
    *Way to mis­cat­e­gorise Ron Paul’s views. He has spo­ken on many occa­sions about how the fed redis­trib­utes wealth upwards.

    #“it’s the con­nec­tion between gold bug­gery and neo con­fed­er­ate racism.“
    *Base­less ad homi­nen I’d expect to see in the like of NYT, Time etc.

    #“Like Social Dar­win­ists in the 1890s, they believe that under a gold stan­dard, social hier­ar­chies become real“
    *Roth­bard is an ardant oppo­nent of social dar­win­ism and it’s pro­po­nents includ­ing Malthus. Mises in Human Action also opposed it. Clas­si­cal lib­eral David Ricardo did too, Aus­tri­ans hold dif­fer­ent opin­ions but they all reject social dar­win­ism. Again nice strawman.

    #“he blamed the ori­gins of the Wel­fare State on women“
    *Again base­less, he has crit­i­cised the women’s lib move­ment but only based on their hypocrisy not on sex­ist grounds.

    #“Roth­bard found the idea of free­dom for negroes alarm­ing“
    *Again base­less, Roth­bard even wrote out in sup­port of the Black Pan­ther move­ment although he expressed con­cern over their inter­nal vio­lence and adop­tion of oppre­sive marx­ist theory.

    #“Roth­bard explored ways to stop “the negro rev­o­lu­tion:” his words are worth quot­ing in full.“
    *Again you are dis­hon­estly quot­ing out of con­text, in the essay ‘The Negro Rev­o­lu­tion’ he did not advo­cate these meth­ods to crip­ple the move­ment but rather pre­sented them as a pos­si­ble reac­tion from extrem­ists look­ing to cur­tail grow­ing free­doms of blacks. In the same man­ner he out­lined the views of marx­ist the­o­rists like Niko­lai Bukharin but cer­tainly does not sup­port Marxism.

    #“The Von Mises Insti­tute which views the Civil War as a cri­sis over state’s rights“
    *If you dis­agree with this then clearly you do not realise the USA repub­lic is a vol­un­tary agree­ment between states to limit fed­eral power and NOT the other way around. Nonethe­less this is a straw­man and ad hominem with regards to the debate on mer­its of gold.

    #“Roth­bard [believes] Votes for women, and equal­ity for African Amer­i­cans, upset the nat­ural order“
    *Given Roth­bard DOESN’T EVEN ACCEPT NATURAL RIGHTS but rather accepts an Aris­totlean con­cept of rights and ethics grounded in human expe­ri­ence your lie is not hard to see through.

    #“the almost self-evident fact that indi­vid­u­als, eth­nic groups and races dif­fer among them­selves in intel­li­gence and many other traits, and that intel­li­gence, as well as less con­tro­ver­sial traits of tem­pera­ment, are in large part hered­i­tary.” *You can’t deny this, the phys­i­cal dif­fer­ences and abil­i­ties between races are clear and yet you think despite hugely dif­fer­ent genetic back­grounds there are no other dif­fer­ences? Look at the Japan­ese who have some of the high­est IQ lev­els vs the Pigmy peo­ple of Africa with IQ lev­els under 50. Deny­ing inher­ent dif­fer­ences is akin to flat earth belief.

    #“Paul’s demand for the gold stan­dard is rad­i­cal enough to amount to a cri­tique of cap­i­tal­ism itself“
    *Cap­i­tal­ism is pri­vate own­er­ship AND con­trol of means of pro­duc­tion, noth­ing more. Cri­tiquing a coer­vice insti­tute that pro­motes mal­in­vest­ment, dis­cour­ages sav­ing and in effect seizes a level of con­trol over allo­ca­tion of cap­i­tal is not a cri­tique of capitalism.

    #“In the 1990s, Paul wrote, or allowed to appear under his name, with his endorse­ment, a series of newslet­ters“
    *Lol, not only has he openly expressed sor­row such things were pub­lished but even when Fox, CNN, MSNBC all tried to run with this angle it was evi­dent he did not have any con­trol over the publications.

  • Great com­ment. I re-read the Roth­bard ‘quote in full’ in the con­text you say it was orig­i­nally writ­ten and it does read com­pletely dif­fer­ent. I knew there was some counter-intelligence afoot here. Thanks for clar­i­fy­ing that.

  • see below

  • It’s inter­est­ing that the defense of Roth­bard here is that some­how he, and Paul, had no con­trol, over the appear­ance in print of things they had writ­ten and which bore Paul’s name. It’s an absurd defense.

    As to Rothbard’s civil rights arti­cle, it’s clearly a thin layer of pre­tense here–it pre­tends to be an objec­tive analy­sis in order to deploy the most con­de­scend­ing rhetoric pos­si­ble. It’s like sayi9ng “I’m sorry I must show you these tings” and then rev­el­ing in the details. This is of course the same Roth­bard who praised “the Bell Curve” for telling the truth “every­body already knows” about racial infe­ri­or­ity, and who wrote–but appar­ently had no con­trol over–Ron Paul’s newsletters.

    Lib­er­tar­i­ans pride them­selves on being clear eyed: the evi­dence here is extremely clear.

  • There is no such thing as equal­ity. There could be equal­ity of oppor­tu­nity encour­aged, and I am not against that (some con­ser­v­a­tive view­points might be against it though), but to say that there is equal­ity when there so obvi­ously isn’t is mis­lead­ing; although I wouldn’t say you were inten­tion­ally try­ing to mis­lead anyone.

    NO one is com­pletely right or wrong. Peo­ple have a right to adjust their views as they learn. If Ron paul wants to dis­tance him­self from some­thing I think that is a good thing. He also said there is no such thing as women’s rights, childrens’s rights, or black rights, but only indi­vid­ual rights that every­one has. So he says he is for rights for all peo­ple (includ­ing in his view, the unborn fetus, which I also dis­agree with him about).

    Another great exam­ple is Pres­i­dent jack­son. I do not agree with his state­ments to the Supreme Court that they ought to try to enforce their deci­sion to acknowl­edge the Chero­kee Nation. But I do agree with his views about would-be rebels and the cen­tral bank.

    Also Jef­fer­son, who wanted to end slav­ery with the Dec­la­ra­tion but had to take that out because he wasn’t the only one mak­ing the deci­sions in a democratic/republican form of government.

    Irony hap­pens. The prob­lems remain, though, with the cen­tral bank, our out of con­trol intel­li­gence and cor­po­rate armies slaugh­ter­ing indige­nous peo­ple and “turn­ing pris­tine rivers into flam­ing cesspools,” as for­mer “eco­nomic hit­man” John Perkins has pointed out.

    I sup­port Ron Paul on the issues of Amer­i­can impe­ri­al­ism and the dan­gers of a cen­tral bank. He has taken those issues far­ther than any­one in recent his­tory and I highly doubt he will bring about a new wave of racism in Amer­ica toward those of African descent that can com­pare with the cur­rent one toward Arabs and Muslims.

  • Also, I am not say­ing that you have no point, I think you do, I just dis­agree with how impor­tant this issue is com­pared with the world dog-fight the oli­garchs are con­duct­ing and bet­ting on and the global racism it fosters.

    Also, I am famil­iar with the dif­fer­ent types of lib­er­tar­i­ans and see the prob­lems inher­ent there. I do not call myself a racist, but rather, an anar­chist, in that I do not sub­scribe to any com­plete phi­los­o­phy as I find issues with them all. I mostly sup­port the Green Party.

    What ought to be clear is what the money pow­ers in the world are doing. They ‘cre­ate’ money to fund the war. The UN says it would only take $40 bil­lion to wipe out world poverty. If their fig­ures are accu­rate, we could have done that 16 times over by now on what we have spent on the war alone.

    Isn’t it worse than racism to kill peo­ple that way, but not to feed peo­ple that way? Is it a prej­u­dice against the poor to let them starve while we spend funny money on war?

  • Mike, moan all you want about that civil rights arti­cle but fact is it does not demon­strate a racist atti­tude from Roth­bard. Infact in other writ­ings he even expressed sup­port for the black lib move­ment (up until the point where they adopted anar­cho communist/syndacist views).

  • There’s no “moan­ing” here–Rothbard was a racist, plain and sim­ple, and his racism was a log­i­cal out­growth of his belief in the free mar­ket. If it doesn’t bother you, so be it.

  • zoltankemeny wrote:

    How can racism stem from a free-market per­spec­tive? That’s quite a leap in logic. A free mar­ket can allow racism to exist but it also pun­ishes it to a cer­tain extent. Roth­bard cer­tainly didn’t agree with gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions that pun­ished the Chi­nese and blacks dur­ing the late 1800s and early 190ss. Unions for­bade mem­ber­ship of minori­ties and Catholics for eco­nomic rea­sons. Gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion is far more racist than a free mar­ket because it restricts sup­ply and allows those in power (WASPs) to choose their own and exclude oth­ers. This hap­pened time and time again in the late nineteenth/early twen­ti­eth century.

  • Well yes, the evi­dence is clear. That’s why your read­ers can go and read the Roth­bard essay you pro­vided the link for and see for them­selves that you’re fool­ing your­self or that you are try­ing to fool them.

  • […] is Part II of the three part series on the racism of immi­gra­tion reform. “…A tire­less pro­po­nent of Aus­trian eco­nom­ics, Roth­bard stud­ied with Von Mises him­self after receiv­ing his […]

  • […] war on women is com­ing from the lib­er­tar­ian right. “…Rothbard’s ver­sion of lib­er­tar­i­an­ism favored genetic accounts of racial dif­fer­ence and social rank. […]

  • […] The North, they argue, cre­ated racism in what had been a benign nat­ural hier­ar­chy – Ron Paul, the Gold Stan­dard and Neo Confederates, […]

  • […] lots more that could be said about Ron Paul (see here for exam­ple). But I’ve seen more than […]

  • Your mis­quot­ing of Roth­bard is pro­foundly dis­hon­est. You are com­pletely dis­tort­ing what he wrote. Shame on you.

    It’s pretty clear when one reads the essay that the pas­sage you quote fully as well as the pre­vi­ous lines are meant to be descrip­tive of future pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios. The only nor­ma­tive claims he makes are all in the last paragraphs:

    TO PASS BRIEFLY from the ana­lyt­i­cal to the eval­u­a­tive, what should be the lib­er­tar­ian posi­tion on the Negro move­ment? Per­haps the most impor­tant point to make here is that the issue is a com­plex one; the Negro Rev­o­lu­tion has some ele­ments that a lib­er­tar­ian must favor, oth­ers that he must oppose. Thus, the lib­er­tar­ian opposes com­pul­sory seg­re­ga­tion and police bru­tal­ity, but also opposes com­pul­sory inte­gra­tion and such absur­di­ties as eth­nic quota sys­tems in jobs.”

    Plus, if one wants to see what were Roth­bard views on these things, one can read the jour­nal he was edit­ing from 65 to 68, as the black rev­o­lu­tion devel­oped.
    http://mises.org/journals/left-right.asp

    He sup­ported the black rev­o­lu­tion to the extent that it was directed toward the aim of get­ting rid of white oppres­sive rule. The ’67 essay on this sub­ject while also con­tain­ing descrip­tive ele­ments is filled with his nor­ma­tive stances. He obvi­ously rejoices how the move­ment devel­oped since his 63 essay, praises Mal­com X and denounces in no ambigu­ous terms white rule over black neigh­bor­hoods in per­fect con­for­mity with the gen­eral lib­er­tar­ian prin­ci­ples: http://mises.org/journals/lar/pdfs/3_3/3_3_2.pdf

  • It is impos­si­ble to square Rothbard’s alleged enthu­si­asm for racial equal­ity with his unam­bigu­ous enthu­si­asm for racism, as expressed in his review of the Bell Curve. The man was a racist: he believed that “race” was a real nat­ural cat­e­gory, and he believed that peo­ple of the black race were infe­rior. Thus the tone of patron­iz­ing con­tempt in his civil rights essay. There’s no ambiguity–as you say, look at the con­text. Roth­bard was happy to yap about how lib­er­tar­i­an­ism would pro­duce civil rights because he was con­vinced it would reveal nat­u­ral­ized racial inequal­ity. This is how he could defend slav­ery in the old south–it wasn’t “racist,” he claimed, it was a benign nat­ural hierarchy.

  • The only thing that the Bell Curve review could show is that Roth­bard in 93 believed that race has some impact on intel­li­gence. You can call that “racism” if you wish. I think it would be more use­ful to call it “racial­ism” because “racism” is widely used for a view which Roth­bard does not hold, namely that this would jus­tify unequal treat­ment of indi­vid­u­als under law depend­ing on their racial traits. As any­one can see eas­ily since most Rothbard’s writ­ings are on the web, he was a cham­pion of rights egal­i­tar­i­an­ism. He did not think that inequal­i­ties among humans make a dif­fer­ence as far as their rights are concerned.

    If you were not blinded by polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, you would be able to under­stand how things square. You would not miss what he put explic­itly in the 63 essay you quote:

    As in the case of most rev­o­lu­tions, the Negro Rev­o­lu­tion began with a change in the rul­ing val­ues and ideas of Amer­i­can intel­lec­tu­als. At the turn of the cen­tury, and through the 1920’s, most Amer­i­can intel­lec­tu­als were fun­da­men­tally “racist,” i.e., they upheld two guid­ing pos­tu­lates: (1) that the white race in gen­eral, and the Anglo-Saxon wing of that race in par­tic­u­lar, are inher­ently supe­rior, intel­lec­tu­ally and morally, to other races and eth­nic groups, and par­tic­u­larly the brown and black races; and (2) that there­fore the supe­rior races had the right and per­haps even the duty to exer­cise polit­i­cal power over the infe­rior. Although (2) does not at all fol­low from (1), few peo­ple, whether pro– or anti-racist, have seen that this polit­i­cal con­clu­sion is a non sequitur.”

    Also there is sim­ply no patron­iz­ing con­tempt for any­body in the 63 arti­cle. Your PC fil­ter makes you unable to make a dif­fer­ence between descrip­tive and eval­u­a­tive assess­ment, even when I put the evi­dence under your nose that you should have seen your­self before.

    And we are still wait­ing for some evi­dence he defended slav­ery in the South. You are unable to find some evi­dence for that because this is sim­ply not true. Slav­ery in the south or any­where can­not be a benign nat­ural hier­ar­chy for Roth­bard. The truth is the oppo­site. Slav­ery is insti­tu­tion­al­ized crime and par­a­sitism. It tram­ples on the most fun­da­men­tal right of man for Roth­bard. Go fuck­ing read before writ­ing stu­pid rant­i­ngs like this.

  • You’re being a child. This isn’t a rant, and it’s not “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness”; it’s a rea­soned argu­ment based on care­fully cited evi­dence. Any­one who likes can read all the Roth­bard essay at the link I pro­vided. That’s why I pro­vided the link.

    If racism is not the belief that some groups are genet­i­cally more intel­li­gent than oth­ers, what would you say it is? Roth­bard believes in the idea of “race.” Despite all the huff­ing and puff­ing against “col­lec­tivism,” he is thrilled that the Bell Curve proves that some races are less intel­li­gent than others–what is that but col­lec­tivism? The Bell Curve con­firms his ear­lier sense that black peo­ple did not “prop­erly under­stand” free­dom. It’s true that Roth­bard con­demned slav­ery, but he spent far more time con­demn­ing the north for inter­ven­ing in the prop­erty rights of slaveholders

    I’ll thank you to refrain from insults–if you can’t, I’ll ban you from reply­ing here

  • Evan Rogers wrote:

    Wow, every para­graph has a glar­ing error in it.

    Good “I’m an igno­rant idiot” smear job.

  • I read this post some time ago, but upon return­ing to it I read all the com­ments. I would just like to con­tribute a what I believe is an obvi­ous point that was overlooked.

    Amus­ingly, one com­menter offers this quote in defense of Rothbard:

    At the turn of the cen­tury, and through the 1920’s, most Amer­i­can intel­lec­tu­als were fun­da­men­tally “racist,” i.e., they upheld two guid­ing pos­tu­lates: (1) that the white race in gen­eral, and the Anglo-Saxon wing of that race in par­tic­u­lar, are inher­ently supe­rior, intel­lec­tu­ally and morally, to other races and eth­nic groups, and par­tic­u­larly the brown and black races; and (2) that there­fore the supe­rior races had the right and per­haps even the duty to exer­cise polit­i­cal power over the infe­rior. Although (2) does not at all fol­low from (1), few peo­ple, whether pro– or anti-racist, have seen that this polit­i­cal con­clu­sion is a non sequitur.”

    Actu­ally, to sen­si­ble peo­ple, point (1) alone is quite suf­fi­cient to iden­tify a racist. But point (2) is the one he has a prob­lem with. For peo­ple apply­ing some crit­i­cal intel­li­gence to their read­ing, this is one of the clearer give­aways as to what Roth­bard is really about.

  • So many igro­rant com­ments. Roth­bard and Paul repeat­edly tell us that the Fed­eral Reserve was started by rich bankers to enrich them­selves. You are all argu­ing against a straw­man with no resem­b­lence to the real Rothbard.

  • Giovanni wrote:

    Ha ha, par­ti­san vit­riol and dogma, just ooz­ing and over­flow­ing off this page.

    Obama killed 200 inno­cent brown chil­dren with drone strikes, I don’t think Ron Paul is actu­ally racist, espe­cially when he wants to end the drug war.

  • Giovanni wrote:

    The racist card is the low­est form of polit­i­cal dis­course. These par­ti­san quacks just can’t let it go.

    Mike wrote:
    “I’ll thank you to refrain from insults–if you can’t, I’ll ban you from reply­ing here.”

    I just got threat­ened with being banned a cou­ple days ago, b/c I proved that Rand Paul didn’t sup­port the Iraq war. Not just b/c he is against it, but b/c he wasn’t even a sen­a­tor at the time.

    There are pre­ten­tious­ness remarks and under the radar insults on both sides. What he’s really say­ing is ‘if you keep prov­ing me wrong I’m going to ban you’.

    This blog changes noth­ing, any­where. It’s hyper par­ti­san ship by and for snobby left wingers that think any­thing with an ‘R’ after their names is ‘racist’.

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