Monday, May 30, 2011

Pottage: Ron Paul, His Groupies and their Jewish Problem

One day, when Jacob was cooking pottage,
his brother Esau came in from hunting in the field
and said to Jacob: I am starving, let me eat some
of that red, red stuff! Jacob said: Sell me your birthright here
and now. And Esau said: Here, I am going to die!
What good is my birthright to me now?
--Breshit 25:26-33

Ron Paul became quite a phenomenon during the 2008 election because of the enthusiasm and inventiveness of the young people who seemed hungry for liberty, and who found many unique ways to support his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States. Ron Paul, a libertarian at heart, was once a candidate for the same office for the Libertarian Party. That was in 1988, and I voted for him then, as he seemed a solid enough libertarian candidate, and was certainly better than the mainstream choices.

But during the 2008 election, some of Ron Paul's supporters, and supporters of the Ron Paul R
3volution began to display a distressing lack of critical thinking skills, and many of them brought a more leftist agenda into Paul's campaign, including a virulent hatred of Israel, and far worse, some of the most classic of the antisemitic cant, charging American Jews with dual loyalty, and complaining that Jews control the banks and the money--with an undertone that money is inherently evil and corrupting--and that Jews control the media. This all seems to be at odds with what ought to be Ron Paul's libertarian values, and with capitalism, which he espouses.

I came late to the R
3volution, having put off reading Paul's book by the same title after Obama had sworn an oath to the Constitution and promptly violated it. I thought Paul's book was reasonable enough. He did not advocate a one sided removal of foreign aid to Israel, for example, but instead advocated the classic libertarian idea that no foreign aid is moral. And yet, I had heard odd things about him from other Jews of all political stripes, and particularly from Jewish Libertarians. I heard that Ron Paul was an antisemite, or at least that he tolerated antisemitism among his followers, and that it was rampant among the most fanatical of them, the ones I call groupies.

At about the same time, through a series of acquaintances, I began working on the problematic Retake Congress effort through a company called Common Sense, Inc. (Someday I will tell that story of my naivete and failure, but not now. There are some innocents that still need to be protected). In doing the work, I had reason to frequent many of the social media and blog sites where Ron Paul R3volutionaries gathered, and read their comments. These included the Daily Paul, Liberty Forest, and various local and national Campaign for Liberty (C4L) blogs, message boards and discussion groups. And I began to understand what other Jews had warned me about with respect to Ron Paul's groupies.

They have a Jewish problem.

And it goes far beyond reasonable disagreements about aid to Israel or politics. Rather, it seems to pick up on the old classical antisemitic canards described above. They come right out of the history of Christian and collectivist Europe, and are particular to the antisemitic racism that replaced earlier Christian anti-Judaism with what become classical Nazi dogma and doctrine. It is the same racist antisemitism that the Nazis exported to the Middle East, absurdly claiming that while Jews are an inferior race, the Arabs are "little Aryan brothers." (When one believes absurd racial theories as the Nazis did, one more absurdity does not matter). It seems that some of the leftists who converted to the Ron Paul R
3volution brought along with them the same classic antisemitic ideas that the Nazis took to the Arabs.

When it comes to American Jews, it appears that the "love" in the Ron Paul R
3volution does not apply. It applies to everyone but us. Last year, I wrote a blog entry about my experience of antisemitism in the local Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty. The cant there was taken lock, stock and barrel from Arab-Islamic antisemitic claims that included the blood libel, and was served up with a side of the dual loyalty charge. In that blog entry, I opined that Ron Paul might very well be ignorant of the kinds of antisemitic cant that was posted on Liberty Tree, in the comments to The Daily Paul, and in other Ron Paul forums and social media on the web.

The antisemitism at these sites is also of the classically European variety, made into American conspiracy theories about Jews and Money. You know the type. They include the word "Jew" linked to one or more of the following: "the FED", "the Rothschilds", or "the Bilderbergers". The "Jews control the media" trope is equally represented, whereas the blood libel claims of the Islamists are usually only present in great abundance when Israel is in the news. Which means that it is present often enough.

Whether he likes it or not, Ron Paul has a Jewish problem.

Although I have been hard pressed to find solid evidence that Ron Paul himself has ever made any of these claims, it would be stretching my credulity and yours to continue to claim that Ron Paul probably does not know about the libels against Jews perpetrated on websites devoted to his cause. That these claims come more often than not from his more devoted but kookie followers, the ones who indulge in believing that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney singlehandedly wired the twin towers for demolition (because, you know, steel does not melt), does not excuse his silence on the matter. If he wants the support of rational people for his presidential run, then Ron Paul must address the Jewish problem in his campaign and clearly differentiate his own ideals from the beliefs of the antisemites among his followers. (Addressing some of the more truly bizarre conspiracy theories wouldn't hurt, either).

It has been suggested to me by some of Ron Paul's followers, as well as by other Jewish Libertarians, that it is likely that this antisemitism within the Ron Paul social media sites are the result of leftist infiltration meant to hurt Ron Paul, and that the perpetrators are therefore not Paul supporters. This is certainly a possibility given what we know about the Alinsky tactics outlined in Rules for Radicals. It would be hard for the casual observer to know that this is what is indeed happening, sans a full investigation of the sites and origins of the offending posts.

However, if this is the case, it is clear that the antisemitism meme is not difficult to spread among Ron Paul's young followers. It is truly frightening to witness their credulity and even eagerness to pick up on it, and spread the notion that Jews are to blame for all that is bad about their world. What we are seeing here is the abject failure of public education to teach the current generation to think critically, to question what they are told intelligently, and to reject the concept of collective responsibility. Sadly, through one hundred years of progressive education, young people in America who are not privileged enough to go to elite schools, or to have parents who can counter the indoctrination of collectivism, have been taught to bargain away their birthright of individual liberty for a pottage of "that red, red stuff."

These young fools may claim to be libertarian, but their propensity to make blanket statements such as "the Jews control the media" and "the Jewish-controlled banks" gives the lie to these claims. Libertarian thought insists on the responsibility of the individual for his actions. Collective responsibility is a collectivist notion, and it is not compatible with the radical individualism that lies at the heart of libertarianism.

And there is a real danger to the acceptance of such notions, for hand-in-hand with the doctrine of collective responsibility comes the concept of collective salvation. Hundreds of thousands of Hitler Youth members marched to certain death when the Wehrmacht was spent at the end of WW II, simply because they did not have the critical faculty to understand that Hitler was no messiah. Hundreds of Islamic young men, and now women, and even children, are induced to blow themselves up, convinced that the murders they commit will be rewarded by Allah. They are encouraged not to think, because their salvation relies on the collective not on responsibility for their own actions. To watch American young people accepting such ideas is terrifying. If they can uncritically accept groundless conspiracy theories and baseless hatred of other human beings, what else will they accept? What will they do?

If our young people who claim libertarianism as their credo are not to be cheated out of the blessings of liberty as a result of selling out their birthright, it is up to all of us to confront racism and any other form of collectivism for the evil that it is, and to refuse to support Ron Paul in any way until he does the same. His silence is shameful, and a man of his years ought to have the wisdom to understand what such ideas will do to the young people who espouse them for his sake.

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