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Reason report cites Ron's racist Cyrano

January 16, 2008 |  2:34 pm

The half-life of Ron Paul's racist newsletters, a story that has gained almost as little traction as the Paul campaign itself, gets a new wrinkle as Reason's Julian Sanchez and Dave Weigel name the infamous Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. as the pigment- and wrist-strength-obsessed ghostwriter. That was my guess when the identity of Mr. or Madame X became an issue, and the authors have got a host of fellow travelers stating that it was indeed Liberty Lew.

As with so many things that Everybody knows, there's always the possibility that this one is not true. Rockwell himself has denied the charge in other media and refused to comment to Sanchez and Weigel. One commenter says Reason is exaggerating Rockwell's role in order to spare Paul himself.

That doesn't seem to be supported by the article, and S&W surely understand that the negligence defense does nothing to get Paul off the hook. To use the reductio ad absurdum libertarians are said to enjoy, suppose Paul actually became president: Presidential administrations are constantly acting on issues bound up in race. Would any person be willing to give the benefit of the doubt when a Paul appointee to the Justice Department or the Federal Election Commission makes even a valid argument against some race-based policy or dismisses claims about disenfranchising black voters? (That is, in the unlikely event a Paul Administration had an FEC at all.) Nevertheless, the piece allows the inference that the man who would save "the blacks" from unfair drug laws is guilty mainly of sins of omission:

The tenor of Paul's newsletters changed over the years. The ones published between Paul's return to private life after three full terms in congress (1985) and his Libertarian presidential bid (1988) notably lack inflammatory racial or anti-gay comments. The letters published between Paul's first run for president and his return to Congress in 1996 are another story—replete with claims that Martin Luther King "seduced underage girls and boys," that black protesters should gather "at a food stamp bureau or a crack house" rather than the Statue of Liberty, and that AIDS sufferers "enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick."

With more interesting ancient history about the Rothbard-Rockwell alliance and their libertarian version of the Southern Strategy. As with most libertarian movement history, the back story is an Illiad of breaks-with, fallings-out, mutual excommunications and hurt feelings, but the specific case is pretty straightforward. Whole article.

Related: Rockwell always feels like somebody's watching him and he's got no privacy.

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