Ron Paul in perspective

Ron Paul speaks about liberty and safety
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Over the weekend, another witness came forward that can help everyone put Ron Paul and his life and career into proper perspective. Sadly, that perspective does not flatter him.

Ron Paul the Libertarian

Ron Paul is not, and never has been, a conservative. He is a libertarian. Such a person emphasizes human liberty above all else. Thus if someone wants to drink raw milk, that is his right. So Ron Paul said, six days before Christmas, in fact. Ron Paul has also said that the government has no business prohibiting the manufacture, sale, consumption, or transport of any kind of drugs. He is likely, as is any libertarian, to campaign to sell off public roads to private owners and let them make whatever regulation they deem proper on the use of drugs (or alcohol) while driving on their roads.

Radical positions, to be sure. Not even Republicans are ready for that—yet. After four years of Barack Obama, they might become ready. Today, for the first time in decades, people are asking themselves what the proper role of government really is. Ron Paul, unique among Republicans, tells them not only that the best government is limited, but how limited.

But: libertarians do not agree on how far to limit government. And to be more specific, libertarians disagree on the role of the military in a free society. Does a free society have allies? Does one society come to the military aid of another? Ron Paul has caused his greatest rhetorical offense with his answers to those very questions. His answers seem to be: no and no. This is especially true of the American relationship with the Republic of Israel. Several groups, like Liberty Counsel Action, criticize Ron Paul on that ground. Mark Steyn of National Review accuses Paul of “stunted parochialism” and even of dabbling with “Nine-eleven Trutherism” (the notion that the attacks on September 11, 2001, were false-flag operations of the United States government). (Debbie Schlussel castigated Ron Paul in July for doing a very un-libertarian thing: voting to continue funding for the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), this although he has since called for ending all foreign aid to all countries.) To be sure, Ron Paul is not alone in his view of limiting the military to territorial defense and occasionally retaliating against an enemy that has provoked you. But he is the only Republican candidate who says such things.

Now a witness has come forward to say that Ron Paul has an even more restrictive view of the military role than that.

Eric Dondero

Eric Dondero worked with and for Ron Paul for seventeen years. In a preface to his latest written statement about Ron Paul and where he stands, Dondero listed these jobs he did for Paul during that time:

  • Former Senior Aide, US Cong. Ron Paul, 1997 – 2003
  • Campaign Coordinator, Ron Paul for Congress, 1995/96
  • National Organizer, Draft Ron Paul for President, 1991/92
  • Travel Aide/Personal Assistant to Ron Paul, Libertarian for President, 1987/88

Today Eric Dondero publishes his own Web site, called Libertarian Republican. There he lays out his own version of libertarianism:

Fiscal Conservatism, Individual Liberty, National Defense.

Eric Dondero spoke out over the weekend, after the current flap began about the four newsletters from Ron Paul Associates, Inc., and an eight-page advertising letter for them. Dondero says that Ron Paul did write the letters that bear his name. But that is not what Dondero has against Paul. In fact, Dondero told KVUE-TV that:

This racist newsletter stuff is crazy and stupid. Ron made some silly remarks and wrote some silly things way back when, but it all pales in comparison to the real scandal.

What is the real Ron Paul scandal?

Ron Paul, official portrait

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX-14). Photo: US House of Representatives

That scandal is Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy. That is also what makes people like Liberty Counsel Action and Debbie Schlussel less than comfortable. According to Eric Dondero, Ron Paul is not racist, nor even anti-Jewish. But: Ron Paul despises the nation of Israel, and those who live there. More broadly, Ron Paul is indeed an isolationist, one who would never take military action against any perceived enemy until said enemy had killed people and broken things on American soil. And just possibly not even then.

Specifically, Eric Dondero says that Ron Paul would rather that the Republic of Israel had never come to exist. He has said that Israel is more trouble to America than it is worth, and that the Arabs ought to repossess the land totally. Once, in fact, he “berated” several Young Jewish Republicans in his Houston office over their support for Israel, so much that six of them left the office rather than suffer any more of his personal abuse.

Dondero also says that Ron Paul does not believe that the United States should ever have entered the Second World War. Paul told Dondero several times that “saving the Jews” was an unworthy motive. Of course, the real events leading to American involvement in that war took place in this order: the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The USA declared war on Japan. Hitler than declared war on the United States. Congress then declared that the United States had been in a state of war for the two days before Congress met to vote to go to war with Germany. That did not seem to matter to Ron Paul; Dondero quotes Paul as saying that President Roosevelt knew about the Pearl Harbor attack several days before it happened, and let it happen to have an excuse. In fact, of course, the Japanese gave an ultimatum to Secretary of State Cordell Hull, after the attack took place.

In all my experience with the Americans, I can think of nothing that would infuriate them more. I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve. (Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto)

On September 11, 2001, something happened that Admiral Yamamoto might have thought would infuriate the Americans more than his operation against Pearl Harbor. Three thousand people died on that day. But according to Dondero, Ron Paul was unmoved. Dondero told KVUE-TV:

I saw the parade of radical Islam, I saw that these people killed 3,000 of my fellow countrymen and I saw my boss sit there and just, shrug his shoulders. I can’t see any mainline Republican voter supporting Ron Paul at this point.

That “parade” probably included the spectacle of “Palestinian” Arabs in Gaza City dancing in the streets when they heard about the attacks. It might also have included several rooftop parties in Jersey City, where, according to several witnesses, Arab men watched the towers fall and shouted with glee.

In his written statement, Dondero went further. Ron Paul held that President Bush and Vice-President Cheney would use the attacks as an excuse to attack their long-desired prize: Iraq. He forbade his staff to express any sympathy for those who lost friends, neighbors, or relatives in the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, or aboard any of the four doomed flights. He almost did not vote for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Afghanistan in 2002. Why did he vote for it, literally in the last second? Because he knew that if he cast that vote, Republicans in Victoria, Texas, would revolt, and he would never get the Republican nomination for re-election to the House of Representatives. He did vote against the Iraq War resolution, and that finally prompted Dondero to leave his employ.

Two Kinds of Libertarianism

Why did Ron Paul think of voting against retaliating for the September 11 attacks? Because by then he had fully embraced the leftish libertarianism, that thinks the best of America’s enemies and the worst of America’s government and, to a lesser extent, its allies. True, Ron Paul does not explicitly embrace “Trutherism,” or the “inside job” theory, today. (Many of his followers do, however.) But he does say that America deserved to have this happen. Specifically, those who carried out the attack were temporarily insane, a state of mind due entirely to the history of American intervention in the Middle East. Ron Paul and his followers will sometimes say that this history began with the overthrow of Muhammad Mossadegh, the Iranian prime minister who nationalized British oil-drilling assets in his country. But Dondero’s evidence suggests that Ron Paul really dates that history with American entry into the Second World War, and definitely with the recognition of the Republic of Israel. (He might even blame America for letting a mustered-out Army Reserve officer go over to Israel to help train the future Israel Defense Forces, advise them on strategy, and in the end actually lead the relief army that broke the Siege of Jerusalem in 1948.)

Dondero traces Paul’s attitude to the influence of Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. Rockwell is not only libertarian but anarchistic in his thinking. An anarchist does not necessarily want chaos; he merely thinks that government is not necessary to avoid it. Rockwell’s libertarianism believes that good will is the default state of men’s attitudes, and that men will not resort to force unless other men provoke them. And according to Rockwell, and Ron Paul, the United States has provoked people at least since 1947 and arguably since 1941.

Dondero also drops this dark hint: that Rockwell and one of his allies embezzled large sums from Ron Paul’s 1988 Libertarian Party campaign for President, and shifted the blame onto another person.

There were rumors at the time, and long thereafter, that Lew [Rockwell] and Burt [Blumert] had pinned it all on Nadia [Hayes], and that they had their own reasons for the “coup.” For years afterwards, Rockwell, and Blumert had complete control of Ron’s enterprises through Jean McIver and (former J[ohn] B[irch] S[ociety]/Jesse Helms fundraiser) David “James” Mertz of northern Virginia.

Note that the suspect newsletters and eight-page advertising letter all date from the Lew Rockwell administration at Ron Paul Associates, Incorporated. Recall also that Reason Magazine accused Lew Rockwell of being Ron Paul’s ghostwriter.

Dondero espouses a different kind of libertarianism, one more in line with the late Ayn Rand’s thinking. Rand said that a government exists to manage force, and its proper functions were the police, the military, and courts of law. And Rand, unlike Rockwell, believed that positive military action to advance liberty was within the rights of any free society.

Just as the United States had the right to invade Nazi Germany, so also does the United States have the right to invade Soviet Russia, or any other slave pen.

Rand also supported the Republic of Israel, not for the traditional religious reason (she was an atheist), but because Israel was the only democratic society in all the Middle East, and America’s most consistent and unstinting ally.

Thus if Ayn Rand were alive today, she probably would hold Ron Paul’s foreign-policy views against him. She might even question his willingness to do his duty, should America come under another September 11-style attack.

Ron Paul responds

Ron Paul, or at least his staff, have this answer to Eric Dondero:

Eric Dondero is a disgruntled former staffer who was fired for performance issues. He has zero credibility and should not be taken seriously.

That statement rings hollow. Eric Dondero worked for Ron Paul, in four different capacities, for seventeen years. In all that time, did no one hold a performance review on Dondero? No employer would be so careless.

Ron Paul will probably win Iowa, for one reason only: bad weather will keep all but the most fanatical devotees to any candidate from going to the caucuses. And Ron Paul has the largest ground army in Iowa, all of them fanatics. As CNAV has said before: even the most fanatical devotion cannot substitute for the kind of sober discourse that a candidate must use to persuade people to cast a secret ballot for him.