12/25/2011

Actions are more important than words.


Reason.com continues to relentlessly produce new articles and blog posts on the Ron Paul newsletter, the latest of which is both factually inaccurate on numerous accounts as well as openly biased. I would posit that no other news organization has birthed more separate reports on this topic, with little to no substantive new material to report on, than has Reason.

The last blog post seems to suggest why; their goal is not merely to highlight the newsletters, it is to tarnish The Mises Institute. I will address this shortly. First, I must address some horrifically stupid statements from a brilliant man and someone I consider one of the best advocates of liberty alive today, Steve Horwitz. Reason's Dalmia quotes him here:
Even in 2008, he refused to return a campaign contribution of $500 from the white supremacist group Stormfront.  You can still go to their site and see their love for Ron Paul in this campaign and you can find a picture of Ron with the owner of Stormfront’s website.  Even if Ron had never intentionally courted them, isn’t it a huge problem that they think he is a good candidate?  Doesn’t that say something really bad about the way Ron Paul is communicating his message? 

No and no. Ron Paul has raised tens of millions of dollars from individual donors over the course of his multiple presidential campaigns. Liberty is a system that will benefit all people. This is something I do not think Dalmia or Professor Horwitz would contend. To suggest that because out of the millions of dollars raised, a few hundred came from despicable persons, has any meaning at all, is an enormous lapse in logic, at best, and deliberately malicious, at worse.

If you are using the fact that a handful of people, out of the millions, who support him, is evidence of the "really bad" way in which Ron Paul is communicating his message, it portrays a failure to grasp basic mathematics and statistics, not some novel insight that the messenger is tainted.

Steve breaks my heart when he writes, as Dalmia quoted him, here:
Paul also maintained his connection with the Mises Institute, which has itself had numerous connections with all kinds of unsavory folks: more racists, anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, the whole nine yards. 
He added that it was ably documented, but did not supply us with even one specific example of this documentation, preferring instead to link to a site that does that for us. There is no question Steve has a much better knowledge of the history of these people and institutions than I do. I did not come to The Mises Institute until late 2008, and yes it was as a result of my exposure to Ron Paul, from earlier of that same year. Yet, it would appear Steve's superior knowledge of the past is serving as a hindrance, to seeing what is.

The implication that the Mises Institute is racist or anti-Semitic etc. is absurd on its face. Mises was Jewish. So there's that...

But more importantly than defending the Institute is pointing out the tragic flaw Steve and Dalmia continue to make. And ironically, it is a flaw that goes against all that libertarianism represents. It is precisely what The Mises Institute, in their superior stewardship of the principles of liberty, first brought to my attention - the evils of collectivist thought.

I have visited Mises.org virtually everyday for the past four years. I have attended their conferences, followed the personal blogs of the most featured writers there, had direct correspondence with some, and even met some scholars and former students in person. I have poured through their archives amassing a personal library that serves as a physical manifestation of their online bookstore, yet not once was I ever exposed to the type of racist thought that they are implicated to be sympathetic towards by Steve's comments above. Not once.

You discredit yourself when you judge the character of others based on their readership. If Reason were to be judged based on the type of people it attracts in their comments section one could quite reasonably conclude the very worst of them. Yet, that would be absurd. Reason can not be held accountable for the vile that spills forth daily in the comments section of their site, anymore can The Mises Institute henceforth be labeled as X, merely because unsavory types have found their teachings beneficial.

I have no doubt that Steve is correct about the past. Yet, if the people and message of that time are no longer a part of The Mises Institute, it is a grave error to forever label the institution and those very good and decent people working there, as co-conspirators and guilty by association. This is made most clear by my own personal experience with The Mises Institute. If someone who follows them intimately every day for four years has not seen a whisper of that which they stand accused of being guilty by association, it is because it does not exist. To instead ignore the reality of what is, preferring to remain forever trapped in the past of what was, is the only way one can sensibly maintain such characterizations. What is denying that which is in front of you in favor of that which once was, if not a form of madness?

Dalmia's slime continues as they write, "cheering him on as he walks off TV interviews and so on." This is a lie. The quote implies Ron Paul regularly walks off "interviews" (plural) when being asked to address this question. That is a blatant lie. It is such a blatant lie that when Ron Paul did walk off, it made headlines, precisely because it was so shocking and had never happened before! Well it turns out it still has never happened. That famous CNN clip of him walking out, turned out to be nothing more than a masterful, deliberately misleading editing job by CNN's video team.

Finally, let us pause and appreciate the hypocrisy of all of this. Ron Paul has done more for libertarianism and thus the potential the benefits such a system will bring to all people, than any of the other parties involved. Not surprisingly his support is the most diverse and widespread of any political candidate. While other candidates have perfected the art of polite speech, while condoning the most anti-human and racist institutions imaginable, (the war on terror, war on drugs, prison system, and the patriot act, just to name a few!) Dr. Ron Paul will actually work to end these programs and the injustice that they represent and inflict on a daily, recurring basis. Truly, there has never been a greater advocate for a moral and just society in my lifetime.

Yet, the response to this from those professing to be advocates of libertarianism is to drag down this champion of liberty and shout to his millions of followers that what we see in front of us is a mirage, and the truth can be found not here and now, but in the past plans of men from a different time. The past is important and has its place. Ron Paul has addressed this issue, apologized for it, disavowed them, and even remarked that he is not perfect and this example represents that.

But to continue to ignore that which exists today, to ignore that which will be done, in favor of that which was merely said, is nothing short of madness. Tragically, it is this delirium that will be far more destructive to the cause of liberty than any unearthed newsletter.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these cogent remarks! They are much needed in today's sea of shame and innuendo.

    ReplyDelete