MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Ron Paul: Criticism of RPI Publishing 9/11 Truther Stuff Is 'a little bit overkill with political correctness'

Last night Ron Paul made one of his frequent appearances on The Independents, giving newsworthy comments about the rancher standoff in Nevada and his own showdown with the Internal Revenue Service over donor disclosures.

Then at the 7:22 mark of the video below, Kmele Foster asked Paul to comment on an essay that the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity published—actually reprinted, so there was proactive choice here—stating the following:

The conclusion is increasingly difficult to avoid that elements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony.

Here's the video of Paul's response; a transcript of the exchange follows:

FOSTER: Dr. Paul one last question: Last week, actually on the 10th, at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity website, a gentleman named Paul Craig Roberts wrote about 9/11 and suggested that the United States government was somehow complicit in that attack. I know in the past you've spoken out forcefully, and criticized folks who have spun such conspiracy theories. He actually did this on your website. Do you have anything to say about that, sir?

PAUL: Well, it's just that people should have a right to express their viewpoints. If you read 99 percent of the article it was a fantastic article. But that doesn't mean that—

Nice screen cap. |||FOSTER: Yeah, but that one percent is pretty nasty stuff, Dr. Paul.

PAUL: Yeah, I know, but that doesn't mean that I endorse what he says, obviously! So I think that's a little bit overkill with political correctness. People know my position, I've stated [it] on national television enough times. But Paul Craig Roberts has some very good views on war and civil liberties, and he shouldn't be excluded because he takes this particular position. But that wasn't the thrust of the article. So I think that, to me, the people who overly criticize something like that probably are the ones who have the problem, because—

FOSTER: No.

PAUL: —I think most people realize exactly what my position is. And I think the government—see, the other reason [for] the confusion is, I don't believe in government commissions. I don't believe government commissions ever get to the bottom of anything, whether it's an assassination committee, or a, you know, any type of commission they set up. They're set up to cover the government, to protect the government, and to make sure nobody's guilty of anything.

Some thoughts from me below the jump.

First, and most pedantic, the Truther section of Roberts' essay wasn't one percent, it was more like 30. Here are 492 words of a 1508-word piece Paul described as "fantastic." I will bold some highlights:

The most serious blow of all is the dawning realization everywhere that Washington's crackpot conspiracy theory of 9/11 is false. Large numbers of independent experts as well as more than one hundred first responders have contradicted every aspect of Washington's absurd conspiracy theory. No aware person believes that a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, operating without help from any intelligence agency, outwitted the entire National Security State, not only all 16 US intelligence agencies but also all intelligence agencies of NATO and Israel as well.

Nothing worked on 9/11. Airport security failed four times in one hour, more failures in one hour than have occurred during the other 116,232 hours of the 21st century combined. For the first time in history the US Air Force could not get interceptor fighters off the ground and into the sky. For the first time in history Air Traffic Control lost airliners for up to one hour and did not report it. For the first time in history low temperature, short-lived, fires on a few floors caused massive steel structures to weaken and collapse. For the first time in history 3 skyscrapers fell at essentially free fall acceleration without the benefit of controlled demolition removing resistance from below.

Two-thirds of Americans fell for this crackpot story. The left-wing fell for it, because they saw the story as the oppressed striking back at America's evil empire. The right-wing fell for the story, because they saw it as the demonized Muslims striking out at American goodness. President George W. Bush expressed the right-wing view very well: "They hate us for our freedom and democracy."

But no one else believed it, least of all the Italians. Italians had been informed some years previously about government false flag events when their President revealed the truth about secret Operation Gladio. Operation Gladio was an operation run by the CIA and Italian intelligence during the second half of the 20th century to set off bombs that would kill European women and children in order to blame communists and, thereby, erode support for European communist parties.

Italians were among the first to make video presentations challenging Washington's crackpot story of 9/11. The ultimate of this challenge is the 1 hour and 45 minute film, "Zero." You can watch it here.

Zero was produced as a film investigating 9/11 by the Italian company Telemaco. Many prominent people appear in the film along with independent experts. Together, they disprove every assertion made by the US government regarding its explanation of 9/11.

The film was shown to the European parliament.

It is impossible for anyone who watches this film to believe one word of the official explanation of 9/11.

The conclusion is increasingly difficult to avoid that elements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony.

Paul's answer to Kmele Foster, I think, was illuminating in a bunch of ways about Paul, about certain tensions within libertarianism, and tensions within any comparatively marginal group that has spent decades tilting at windmills. Basically, once you elevate the importance of a single issue, and a single belief system about that issue, high enough, you are faced with the choice of what to do with people who align with you on the question at hand but veer elsewhere into beliefs that most people in polite society would find crazy, offensive, or both. One tactical option is to question polite society in the first place.

Ron Paul elevates opposition to war, and opposition to U.S. empire, higher than any value. (Opposition to the Federal Reserve, and also to government encroachment on civil liberties, also rank up there.) Align with those values, and you're in. (Key quote: "Paul Craig Roberts has some very good views on war and civil liberties, and he shouldn't be excluded because he takes this particular position.")

Criticize the "particular position," though, and you can quickly become suspect. (Key quote: "I think that's a little bit overkill with political correctness....[T]he people who overly criticize something like that probably are the ones who have the problem.")

You can be consistently anti-intervention while still finding 9/11 conspiracy-mongering (or any number of other pathologies occasionally indulged in by critics of U.S. imperialism) grotesque. Just as you can still be a trenchant and massively influential critic of U.S. foreign policy while tolerating (and promoting) people with bizarre beliefs. It's a clash of approaches, and explains as much about the various divides within libertarianism as anything else. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Do you seriously think fire can melt *steel*?

    /sarc

  • tarran||

    I swear, every time that bullshit comes up, I want to drag their asses to a hot strip mill so that they can see what happens to steel when you heat it to a 600 degrees F...

  • Brett L||

    Do they think steel girders just grow naturally somewhere? This is baffling to me.

  • Geoff Nathan||

    A couple of months after this conspiracy nonsense started there was a major fire in the old Piquette plant (you can Google it). It's about 500 yards from here, and after it cooled down (which took a few days) I went over and took some pictures of it. It housed a furniture warehouse, but it had steel girders. They looked like overcooked spaghetti. Yes, building fires burning wood (not to mention plastic) can melt steel girders.
    I think I posted about it here way back then. Not sure I can find the pictures now, though.

  • Brett L||

    Or google oxy-acetylene cutting torches. Or this thermite-oxygen torch system. Which kinda gives me a chubby.

    Originally designed by the military as a handheld torch able to cut any metal in seconds, Covert’s device combines thermite and oxygen to generate short bursts of extreme heat that can be concentrated in small areas. The improvement in cutting efficiency is exponential. To cut a one-inch square of steel with an acetylene torch takes about three minutes while the super torch can slice through the same steel in one second.

    Emphasis in original.

  • tarran||

    It's not melting per se:

    As it get hotter, the yield strain of steel goes down. Eventually the steel is soft enough that it can't support its own weight and buckles.

    In the case of the World Trade Center towers, the girders were supporting much more weight than they were designed to hold after the planes sheared through a significant number of the load bearing girders. The fire weakened some of the steel so that it began to yield under these loads, and each yielding element transferred more load to the other elements, until finally a tipping point was reached where the load from each failing element was sufficient to induce adjacent elements to immediately fail when transferred to them.

    None of the steel beams melted. They just became too soft to carry the load rigidly.

  • Brett L||

    Ah, the old, "hard, but not hard enough" problem.

  • R C Dean||

    Tell us about your experience with "hard, but not hard enough", Brett. ;)

  • Brett L||

    I've been told that when a man drinks enough to black out and go home with a woman who he wouldn't find attractive if his body wasn't busy fighting off alcohol poisoning, it can at time lead to... issues.

  • Zeb||

    Pushing rope.

  • DesigNate||

    Fucking ^THIS^.

    Jesus christ these idiots need to open up a structures text book.

  • ||

    Agreed. All I needed one one structural engineering class to know that particular line was bullshit.

  • Zeb||

    It's kind of surprising to a lot of people, but if I recall correctly, the fire rating (how long it takes to lose structural integrity in a fire) is lower for steel studs than for wood.

  • ||

    It depends on the level of fire protection.

    Wood studs alone will burn at around 600F IIRC unless protected by a barrier. /8" of gypsum board provides so much protection etc.

    Steel reaches the level where it can no longer contain stress at around 800F (though as tarran points out at 600F it starts losing its strength). Proper fireproofing coatings should extend this. Nevertheless at a certain point you need to get out of a building on fire, especially if it has suffered some damage beyond that which its design cannot stand.

    The plain fact is tha the twin towers collapsed because they were irreparably damaged because of the collision of the planes and the firs those events set off. Building 7 collapsed because it was damaged beyond repair from the hits of two wall/column* sections. Once the more conventional frame of Building 7 was compromised by both fire and destruction of key support and stabilising elements, it was doomed.

    *one of the innovative features of the WTC design was the steel outer wall envelope which was supposed to "stiffen" the entire structure.

  • ||

    "...two wall/column* sections...[from one of the twin towers]" nearly 700 feet long that fell like trees onto its facade.

  • Zeb||

    And a good fire gets a lot hotter than 600 F.

  • Hopfiend||

    He's apparently never seen a phase diagram either.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Dear Dr. Paul,

    Stop with the outrageous conspiracy theories! We're much too busy with chemtrails to plot terror attacks, and we're offended at the suggestion.

    Sincerely,
    The Lizard People Illuminati Templar Order

  • seguin||

    I always loved that part of the conspiracy theory - you know the guy spouting it has a Battle Beasts level understanding of chemistry.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Did you know there is video of Battle Beasts dancing in Newark as the towers fell?

  • seguin||

    I heard Crabhit warned all the Battle Beasts not to come in to work at the WTC that day.

  • DesigNate||

    I haven't thought of them since I was like 8.

  • Zeb||

    Battle beasts? All I find about that is some little plastic toy.

  • seguin||

    They had little elements on their chests that were heat-sensitive, so you put your thumb on it and it would reveal the element that gave the Battle Beast their power - Fire would defeat Wood, Water Fire, and Wood Water, for some reason.

  • seguin||

    You know what, instead of reading my explanation, watch that commercial HM linked to...not only does it explain how simplistic it is, it does it in a way that I imagine truthers sound like.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    but the precision cuts DERP

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Forget all that noise. Can we finally discuss candidly that Ron Paul apparently exists on a higher ethereal plane of glowing blue surroundings and fuschia auras? (Or he at least sends his remote feeds from there.)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Roberts is a bloody fool. He knows damn well that those Saudi Arabians were Lizard People operatives. With the innate ability of Annunaki mind control, how did he expect our intelligence to overcome that? Especially after Clinton cut our psionic warfare budget by 75 percent in 1999.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Ron Paul elevates opposition to war, and opposition to U.S. empire, higher than any value.

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    -jcr

  • Cytotoxic||

    When you've subverted logic and common sense for your monomaniacal fixation on a fictional 'empire', it's a bad thing.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Back 7-10 years ago there was a big libertarian board called the Liberty Forum and it was filled with Truthers or a variation of Truthers that blamed the Jews for 9/11.

    That was one entertaining board complete with avatars and other shit big boards have.

    I wish it was still around.

  • Mr Whipple||

    While doing some research, I came across this little gem from Feb 1999:

    This bias against private ownership of land reminds me of the words of Terry Anderson, an economist from Montana State University. In his book, Multiple Conflicts Over Multiple Uses, he relates his experience back in 1979 when he was invited to Salt Lake City to organize sessions at a Sagebrush Rebellion conference dealing with various land management issues. Feeling that he had much in common with many of the participants at the conference, he tried to center many of the discussions around privatization strategies. But, to his surprise, it soon became obvious that privatization was not the main issue of either the conference or the Sagebrush Rebellion. Anderson came away from the conference somewhat disillusioned, saying, "The rebellion was about getting more control of the federal estate and the accompanying federal expenditures than about ownership of the land.... In short, the issue [of privatization] was a non-starter because both environmentalists and commodity users thought they could get what they wanted for free through politics."

    http://nj.npri.org/nj99/02/ownership.htm

  • OldMexican||

    You can be consistently anti-intervention while still finding 9/11 conspiracy-mongering (or any number of other pathologies occasionally indulged in by critics of U.S. imperialism) grotesque.


    Or you can find them quaint and harmless. If you have the highest confidence in the innocence of your government (all 4 million of them) then what is it to you that there are some people here and there who believe the government (all 4 million of them) is not so innocent?

    I believe the government (all 4 million of them) has to be populated, by definition, by eminently evil people, for only evil people would consistently act immorally: taking from me and you at the point of a gun, justifying themselves by alleging a socially-approved mandate.

  • Tony||

    I love you morally self-righteous anarchists. As if I have to obey ideas of right and wrong coming from people who don't recognize the legitimacy of authority.

  • Banjos||

    Progs who are offended by 911 conspiracy theorists are offended because someone could possibly believe that their government (their god) could be that evil. While libertarians are offended because someone could possibly believe that their government could be that competent.

  • Tony||

    I'm not offended by them, and I think the Bush government could be every bit that evil, and ended up being so. They managed to top the 9/11 body count by quite a bit for no discernible purpose.

    With respect to conspiracy theories--they are natural, as we are pattern and agency obsessed animals who have a strong and bad habit of preferring to confirm our own biases when that is more rewarding than understanding the facts of the world. It's our tragedy.

  • BigT||

    "libertarians are offended because someone could possibly believe that their government could be that competent."

    I just ask for evidence of such a conspiracy. There is none.

    Welcome back, Banjos. Been away too long.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    And that's your problem. You believe right and wrong are determined by authority.

    Which is, in part, why you're an immoral pig.

  • Tony||

    What do you think right and wrong are determined by?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The NAP.

  • R C Dean||

    I decide right and wrong for myself. For factual issues, based on my evaluation of the data. For moral issues, based on my personal moral code.

    No authority need apply.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    What do you think right and wrong are determined by?


    They're determined by the kind of things unknown to you: Logic, and Reason.

    You prefer Top Men. To each his own.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Except collectivism and statism (are they just different words for the same thing?) don't allow "to each his own".

    To me, that's the fundamental reason for preferring individualism over collectivism. Collectivists can get 99% of what they want by voluntarily contractig with each other, on top of an individualist foundation. But individualists can not get even 1% of what they want from a collectivist foundation.

  • Protagoronus||

    Right and wrong are moral ideals. You do not need to invoke authority to come up with your own moral ideals.

    Violent authority is assumed by agents that try to enforce their understanding of right and wrong. This does not necessarily make their understanding equal to the platonic ideal of right and wrong. In fact there may be many platonic ideal states considered by many different people. Sometimes, an unjust authority can be recognized as violently oppressing enough of others' morality that it must be responded to in kind. Democracy helps avoid violence in many but not all such situations.

    Libertarians prefer political "authority" that minimizes of the initiation of violence because people have different moral ideals.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Protagoronus,

    Right and wrong are moral ideals.


    Ideas that are themselves the result of logical deduction. But Tony and people of his ilk prefer to think that Top Men get to decide what is evil and what is not, as if these Top Men were superior in some way to the rest of us, or cleverer.

    But let's move this a bit further. You see, the Tonys of the world obtain satisfaction in the knowledge that they are in agreement with the Top Men because that would make the Tonys of the world almost as clever and enlightened, and voilá - instant certification of their brilliance! All without lifting a single neuron.

    It's the intellectual equivalence of copying the answers of the class genius, and just as valid.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    ^Excellent.

  • Protagoronus||

    I am doubtful that all morals are the product of logical deduction. Plenty of other species provide clues that evolution tends to favor behaviors that humans consider moral. It is likely a lot of morals are simply hard-wired. This gives us a certain moral intuition that leads to more efficient logical deduction.

    Some people take it too far of course and assume all their feelings are moral truths. Hence the need for logic (and self defense).

  • Zeb||

    They can never be purely the result of logic. Wee assume the NAP as axiomatic and can get most most morality from that. But you have to either assume the NAP is right or that some other things from which you can derive the NAP.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The NAP, for the simple reason that the NAP is a natural dividing line. It maximizes liberty while protecting rights. Anything else, infringes upon the rights of someone.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Moral principles come from what works, which is ultimately reason. Evolution itself is guided by what works, and whatever moral principles have come from evolution have also come from what works, aka logic and reason.

  • BigT||

    "It's the intellectual equivalence of copying the answers of the class BULLY, and just as valid."

    OM, I'm sure you would agree.

  • ||

    What do you think right and wrong are determined by?

    Ultimately, by reason.

    Humans have a complex set of innate moral predispositions, which interact with experience to produce moral rules - rules of behaving that minimize harm and maximize human well-being. However, those innate predispositions frequently internally contradictory. Thus, human civilization, over many centuries is engaged in a process of gradual refinement of those moral rules, in which reason gradually asserts itself over our irrational instincts.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    As if I have to obey ideas of right and wrong coming from people who don't recognize the legitimacy of authority.


    Gee, nice retort there, Dr. Logic!

    "I won't recognize your arguments because you refuse to accept Top Men!"

    Shit. I hadn't had a good laugh all day.

    Idiot.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Our social contract (the Constitution) is not voluntary, OM.

    The 16th Amendment applies to you, too.

  • Banjos||

    Social contract? Sweet Jesus you get more 'tarded everyday.

  • Tony||

    Obviously the better idea is to give libertarians everything they want and force everyone else to go along. At the point of a... dick? Nerf bat? Can't figure that part out.

  • Banjos||

    And you never will as all you believe in is force so you see the world only through that prism.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    A really stupid comment even for you.

    There is only social contract or The Law of the Jungle. Either uses force. You can't escape it.

  • R C Dean||

    I regard this as a complete validation of Banjo's comment.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Peter Caca,

    There is only social contract or The Law of the Jungle.


    There's a false dichotomy if I ever saw one. The idea of the "Social Contract" is an absurd concept. Contracts cannot be "social" because for a contract to exist there has to be a meeting of the minds. Unless you can show that us humans are Borg, then by saying that we can have "agreement" through voting and elections and other shit like that you would be begging the question, because voting is NOT AGREEMENT and it is certainly NOT a "meeting of the minds". Voting is just a popularity contest or a futile exercise.

  • Zeb||

    Then there is only the law of the jungle. The social contract is completely imaginary. As is rule of law.

  • Zeb||

    As long as you have any government, there is some degree of forcing everyone to go along. But forcing people not to force other people to do things is rather different than forcing people to pay for a bunch of stuff that they don't want and may never have a use for. Whatever you think of libertarian thinking it is just dumb to try to claim that libertarian reforms of government and more coercive government policies are equivalent. Ending the massive welfare state or removing economic regulations is not using force on anyone.
    Free markets aren't just another economic system. They are the natural default state. Maybe you think that is not a good way for things to be. But don't talk about as if it is just another system like communism or socialism or whatever you want to call it that the US does now that must be imposed on people.

  • Cytotoxic||

    As long as you have any government, there is some degree of forcing everyone to go along.

    There will always be force. Government is required to monopolize it so we can have a civil society.

  • Jordan||

    The absence of coercion is not coercion, you mendacious cunt.

  • ||

    Nobody's forcing you to do anything. You're perfectly free toget a bunch of your friends and form your own socialist commune. We're just stopping you from forcing other people to join.

  • R C Dean||

    An involuntary contract is self-contradictory gibberish. The essence of an agreement is that the parties enter into voluntarily.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Peter Caca,

    Our social contract (the Constitution) is not voluntary, OM.


    Listen, you imbecile - the Constitution is NOT a social contract. It is a POLICY that governs government, not We The People Of The United States.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why don't you declare yourself independent of the United States then? That way the 16th Amendment will not apply to you and the authority to levy a tax on you will be voided.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Peter Caca,

    Why don't you declare yourself independent of the United States then?


    Is this idiotic suggestion meant to answer what I told you above, or are you just giving up on argumentation?

    Whatever the 16th Amendment says, it does not say "The Constitution is a social contract meant to fuck you over and make you like it" unless you can point to something resembling that in the Constitution.

  • Jordan||

    are you just giving up on argumentation?

    Giving up? I haven't seen him ever make a logical argument.

  • Cytotoxic||

    OM can't come up with any evidence for 9/11 Troofer so we get weak apologism instead. Boring.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Paul Craig Roberts is a goofy motherfucker, but you can't be WRONG all the time, either.

    *This is not an endorsement of the Trutherismz.

  • Brett L||

    I mean, even Krugage and Friedman sometimes accidentally drop a nugget of truth in their paid schizophrenic logorrhea.

  • creech||

    I never got the conspiracy bit about the third building coming down. Wouldn't just one of the towers, or even two, had a similar effect on demanding vengeance? Hardly anyone, remembering 9-11, even recalls the third building collapse.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Actually, Building 7 at some 50 stories lends itself to CT much better than the Twins since it wasn't hit by a plane.

  • Michael||

    Do you even bother to read people's comments before replying to them anymore?

  • Cytotoxic||

    WTC 7 got hit with tons and tons of debris. It broke the building the building fell down.

  • ||

    Exactly!

    As I point out above.

    Building 7 collapsed because it was damaged beyond repair from the hits of two wall/column* sections (from one of the twin towers, nearly 700 feet long that fell like trees onto its facade.

    Once the more conventional frame of Building 7 was compromised by both fire and destruction of key support and stabilising elements, it was doomed.

    *one of the innovative features of the WTC design was the steel outer wall envelope which was supposed to "stiffen" the entire structure.

  • Troof Hurts||

    What about the theory that the planes were in fact terrorists, but the towers had built in fail-safes that if anything did happen to the buildings, they were designed to completely collapse?

  • R C Dean||

    That would be apparent throughout the architectural design documents. Easy, in other words, to confirm.

    And, if so, very sensible design. Its a friggin' miracle they collapsed straight down. If they'd gone over sideways, we'd probably be looking at 6 figure casualties.

  • Cytotoxic||

    More like five-figure but yeah.

  • BigT||

    "If they'd gone over sideways, "

    Gravity pretty much rules that out. Imagine the force needed to tip a 110 story bldg.

  • Virginian||

  • GILMORE||

    What about GODZILLA

  • GILMORE||

    "You can be consistently anti-intervention while still finding 9/11 conspiracy-mongering (or any number of other pathologies occasionally indulged in by critics of U.S. imperialism) grotesque. Just as you can still be a trenchant and massively influential critic of U.S. foreign policy while tolerating (and promoting) people with bizarre beliefs."

    I don't know if I find either of the above sentences in any way compelling.

    I'm not sure they even make sense.

    As for the latter, in part: "you can still be a trenchant...critic of U.S. foreign policy while tolerating (and promoting) people with bizarre beliefs."

    Sure, you *can*.

    Why would you *want to*?

    (You also really don't get to call your criticisms 'massively influential' when there is hardly a single voice in the Foreign Policy establishment* who would consider themselves 'anti-interventionist'; mainly for the reason that said position isn't exactly recognized *as* a foreign policy view, so much as a bizarre intellectual byproduct of libertarian political theory; one never expressed in 'policy terms' at all, but rather as moral principle)

    As for the former: ""You can be consistently anti-intervention while still finding 9/11 conspiracy-mongering... grotesque"

    Same criticism. I find 9/11 truthers 'grotesque' for their appalling ignorance of practical reality. Guess why "non-interventionists" also sometimes get criticized?

  • GILMORE||

    For the record: I do not believe there *is* such a thing as "Interventionism", OR its antithesis, as actual 'policy theory'.

    "Intervention" is a catch-all term which encompasses a vast variety of things, many of which are by definition *part* of what we call "Foreign Policy".

    Its sort of like arguing you're a huge Boxing fan, you just can't stand all the punching.

    Foreign Policy is so much debate about *how much* and *what kind* of 'intervention-y' tools are we going to use in any given scenario, and to what desired end? Pretending that you can take the 'intervention' stuff out is a whole lotta one-handed clapping.

    Frankly, even some of the most doctrinaire 'nontervenshuners' here I've talked to here seem to recognize that their own term is merely a 'guideline' and not a policy; and that people who attempt to articulate the Purist version of this policy (see: Richman) usually end up looking like crazy people who no one wants to be associated with.

    Just my $.02.

    *necessary disclosures: I opposed invading Iraq. I thought we should have gotten out of Afghan in 2003. Vietnam was a bad idea. We probably murdered Patrice Lamumba. We definitely murdered General René Schneider. Kissinger was a douche. We should have lifted the Cuban embargo decades ago. We can probably cut the military in half and still not sweat security issues at all.
    I am still regularly referred to as a 'neocon interventionist'.

  • DesigNate||

    NEOCON!!!11!!1!!!!

    /Bo

  • GILMORE||

    "I note that my opponent has spoken out against my proposed policy of a Shark Proof Coastline-Net: made of electrified titanium, and monitored from space by a network of satellites to ensure that no shark attack ever harm America's children ever again...

    Clearly my opponent is Pro-Shark on this matter, and believes that Sharks have every right to feed on the entrails of your innocent offspring. Whether he intends to achieve his Shark-First Agenda through cloning children and tasking the coast-guard with monthly shark-feedings, or simply appeasing the Shark-Aggressors by ceding total control of the oceans, it makes no difference... he will try and confuse you by claiming there's no "proof" that any Sharkproofing actually works. Will I for one believe that *trying* is what counts...."

  • Lyle||

    Ron Paul is a kook. He doesn't even understand that the Civil War was about slavery. He's need to be marginalized politically folks.

  • R C Dean||

    He doesn't even understand that the Civil War was about slavery.

    Neither did a lot of people at the time.

  • Calidissident||

    It wasn't a secret why the South seceded, and why they fought to preserve their independence. Several states openly declared why they were seceding, and all of them focused around slavery. The vice president of the Confederacy was explicit in why they were doing it. I'm sure not every Southern soldier fought to defend slavery, but records do show that slaveowners or sons of slaveowners made up a disproportionate number of Confederate enlistees. The North didn't initially invade to end slavery, so it wasn't the only factor, but it was the root cause of the conflict.

    In any case, I'm not sure how wrong opinions of some people 150 years ago excuses Ron Paul's historical inaccuracy today.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, claiming the Civil War was not about slavery is tiresome. No, the Union was not fighting a purely noble war for the purpose of ending slavery. But the Confederates were most certainly fighting to keep slavery. The North may not have been all good, but the South was definitely fighting for something purely evil.
    There isn't always a good guy and a bad guy in a conflict.

  • DesigNate||

    It's no less tiresome than saying it was ALL about slavery.

    The War, much like most everything else in life, was a complex situation that no one probably has all of the answers to.

  • DesigNate||

    You know what else is tiresome?

    Race Baiting

  • Lyle||

    Actually it was all about slavery. It doesn't make sense but for slavery. That the people had their own individual reasons is something entirely different, but the war only ever happened because slavery.

  • Lyle||

    How is this a defense of Ron Paul's ignorance.

  • OldMexican||

    Just as you can still be a trenchant and massively influential critic of U.S. foreign policy while tolerating (and promoting) people with bizarre beliefs.


    Indeed. I wonder, however, if one can call oneself a "libertarian" while at the same time rejecting a whole person and his values only because he holds a "bizarre belief"?

    In case you don't know, Paul Craig Roberts is an economic protectionist. It is one of the things where Paul and Austrians will vehemently disagree with him. Still, Paul respects his views on foreign policy enough to invite him to write a piece for his website. Shit, some of Reason's contributors also hold ideas that I would not find congruent with the NAP or libertarianism.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Still, Paul respects his views on foreign policy enough to invite him to write a piece for his website.

    And conveniently confirm the need for Libertarians to dissociate from Ron and the Rontards.

  • Zeb||

    While we're at it, let's dissociate from bellicose Objectivists.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Nope. Not happening. We're the brains of this operation.

  • Bob1||

    For decades Ayn Rand's autistic fans were the face of the libertarian movement. Postrel and other technophile cosmotarians had control over CATO and reason in the 90's and early 2000's. You guys failed to take a strong stance against the Iraq war and Bush's fascism because you were corporate whores and social-climbing republican bootlickers, unlike Paul. Postrel even wrote a disgusting essay praising Gingrich.

    Then Paul's presidential campaign comes along, and in a matter of months, he creates more libertarians than the political correctness worshipping objectotards did.

    Wars are a big government program. Israel is a parasite of the US taxpayer. Objectivists don't say this because they want power in Washington and they adhere to PC.

    The end the fed movement was not started by objectivists. The protect civil liberties movement was not started by objectivists. You don't address the war on drugs, zoning laws, or occupational licensing laws. You oppose the anti-IP movement lead by economists like Michele Boldrin. Robert Bidinotto, an objectivist, said Clinton was too soft on crime and wanted a police state. The only issue objectivists were good on was the environment.

    You make no utilitarian arguments. All your material boils down to rhetoric about rights that won't persuade the public.

  • Banjos||

    In particular, the amoral fuckhead who has no problem with the murdering of infants and toddlers.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Cytotoxic,

    And conveniently confirm the need for Libertarians to dissociate from Ron and the Rontards.


    I don't understand - do you mean the "brutalist" (i.e. principled) libertarians or the non-"brutalist" (i.e Cosmotorian) libertarians?

    And I don't expect you to fall into the chasm like Sir Robin.

  • RedRiot7451||

    I pick the good from the bad when it comes to Dr. Paul......But on the whole, I have tried to disconnect myself from him, though I will admit he was my avenue in to becoming a infant libertarian who admittedly is still learning.

    RR

  • kmc212||

    As much as I believe the US government is incompetently evil, there is no way they were involved in 9/11. Especially with the destruction of the WTC. Did the US government plan to fly a plane into the Pentagon too? I don't think so.

  • GILMORE||

    That's just what they *want you to think*

  • RedRiot7451||

    Let it happen......Possibly, through choice or inaction........Planned it? I'm not convinced.

    RR

  • Cytotoxic||

    "No"

    I think I now understand why people like Kmele so much. Also, Ron Paul is an idiot. No, this isn't political correctness it's common fucking sense. His foreign policy ideas are insane enough that it would not surprise me if he indulges in trooferism.

  • RedRiot7451||

    Kmele comes across as likable and easy to respect, and very knowledgeable. To bad he isn't as widely published as he is. There is a lot I would like to have/get his opinion on.

    RR

  • Winston||

    So will the Ron Paul Institute publish Mein Kempf or other Nazi propaganda? I mean Hitler was an opponent of US foreign policy and had bizarre beliefs. Considering that Rothbard said the USSR had a libertarian foreign policy and the Rockwellian defences of Putin and Chavez then why not?

  • Cyto||

    Criticize the "particular position," though, and you can quickly become suspect. (Key quote: "I think that's a little bit overkill with political correctness....[T]he people who overly criticize something like that probably are the ones who have the problem.")

    I don't think you understood him correctly. It was in the middle of a rambling, stream-of-consciousness answer, but I think the "criticism" he was referring to was folks wanting to criticise Paul for something that Roberts wrote on the RPI website.

    In support of this view I'll point out that he repeatedly talks about his (Paul's) position being well-known and announced publicly on national TV. Paul is making the assumption that by asking the question about the article he is being criticised for allowing such a thing to exist.

    He defends himself by basically saying "hey, look - there's some good points on other topics in this article, and I obviously don't agree with everything Roberts says, particularly not on this point". He then goes on to defend himself further by saying "if you want to attack me for something that someone with whom I have areas of agreement with says on the RPI website even though my position is publicly known to be in complete disagreement with that statement, then maybe you have a problem."

    But he says this in his usual non-linear style, chopping in half-developed thoughts with little or no seque, which perhaps leads to confusion.

  • RedRiot7451||

    To me the fundamental question has to be, is legitimate criticism of government inaction on 9/11 being conflated with the multi-spoke conspiracy theories that come about from such inexplicable and devastating attacks? It seems to be a strong possibility.

    RR

  • A nation of boiled frogs||

    People like Welch who want to disabuse others of their suspicions about 9/11 should begin by acknowledging that one of the big reasons such suspicions have traction is that the U.S. gov't has been caught in the past perpetrating many truly evil conspiracies (MK Ultra, The Pentagon Papers, Cointelpro, Operation Mockingbird, Operation Northwoods, Iran-Contra, etc.). Making no reference to that history raises doubts for some people about whether the omission is deliberate.

    It would also be helpful to acknowledge that most conspiracy allegations are completely unknown or dismissed as crazy until some whistle-blower drops a stack of smoking-gun official documents into the lap of a news agency (the Pentagon Papers, Cointelpro, NSA mass surveillance, etc.).

    None of this is to suggest that the 9/11 conspiracy is persuasive - just that the event - and all the Stasi police state policies that were subsequently implemented based on it - is too important to completely ignore the historical context of all the secret crimes by the U.S. intelligence community.

    Browse the archive of published news reports on U.S. counterintelligence crimes at the "Fight Gang Stalking" site sometime to get a sense of why so many people are inclined to wonder about things like 9/11.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online