"Most of us 'old-time' libertarians have known about this sad period of Ron Paul's career from the get-go"


Timothy Virkkala has some interesting insidery information about the authorship of old Ron Paul newsletters:

As a writer and editor working in the libertarian movement at the time of these "Ron Paul" newsletters, I have vague recollection of "common knowledge": it was known who wrote these newsletters, and why. It was money for Ron. It was money for the writers. And it was a way of keeping Ron's name in the minds of right wingers with money … future donors.

It was designed to be entertaining writing. Provocative. It flirted with racism, like Mencken's did, and Mencken was indeed the model. But these writings went further than Mencken usually did (for publication) along the lines of annoying the racially sensitive; and they sometimes did veer into outright racism.

I was embarrassed by the implied racial hatred, for the general level of hate regardlesss of race … and in part because the writing was so obviously not Ron's, and so obviously the product of the actual writers, with whom I had tangential relations — is my editor's* writer my writer? […]

Most of us "old-time" libertarians have known about this sad period of Ron Paul's career from the get-go. We know that it was a lapse on his part. But we who opposed it (and not all of us did) put much of the blame on the writers involved, not on Paul, who was, after all, juggling family, medicine, politics, and continued study of actual economics. That Paul didn't realize what he was doing to his own moral stance is amazing. His style is one of earnest moralizing. That fits his character. The ugliness of this career move speaks a sad story.

It also says the harshest thing about Ron Paul as presidential timber: he let himself be so easily used and influenced. […]

Like Rodney King, one might prefer we all just get along, move along, and forget about this sorry story. But it is worth exploring. Racism is still a live issue in America. And, apparently, in libertarianism.

Make sure to read Dave Weigel's first-out-of-the-gate Ron Paul response to the newsletter exhumations, as well as reason reaction from Nick Gillespie, Jesse Walker, me, Radley Balko, and Brian Doherty.

Update: Wendy McElroy pens an open appeal to the primary ghost-writer:

The identity of the author of the 'objectionable' material from past issues of Ron Paul's Newsletter — material that is currently being used by major media to skewer Paul [see blog post below] — is an open secret within the circles in which I run. The news accounts refer to him merely as an "aide." We call him by his first name.

I am addressing an appeal to this man. Damage is being done to the libertarian movement (see Radley Balko's analysis) and to Ron Paul. Frankly, I don't give a flying fuck about the latter…but I know you do. Will you now do the decent thing for libertarianism and come forward to acknowledge responsibility for the material being used against your mentor? […]

I appeal to the author to do the decent thing. Don't let Ron Paul take the fall for your words and actions. Don't further sully the libertarian movement by your silence. I know that — in writing this — I am severing all connection between us in the future and, frankly, I am sorry to do so. Nevertheless…so be it. Through our years of association, one thing I have never considered you to be is a coward.Please prove my assessment correct; please take responsibility.