Which side are you on, Ron? Part 1
Posted by Charles II on January 19, 2012
An interesting debate began, initiated by a recent troll graduate of our School on Manners. With a national machine of committed supporters, Ron Paul could be the GOP nominee for the presidency as Santorum’s deficiencies become more obvious and the attacks on Romney continue to chip away. So, understanding who Ron Paul is in the dextro universe is starting to look like a worthwhile question to ask. Is he a populist crackpot libertarian, or is he part of the corporate-funded reactionary network exemplified by David and Charles Koch?
What seems unambiguous is that Paul is fundamentally part of what is called the paranoid right, a movement that spans from the Freemen of Montana and the Michigan Militia to the John Birch Society to Pat Robertson and on and on. The basic theme of the paranoid right is that there is a gigantic conspiracy, often dominated by shadowy forces like the Bilderbergers, the Freemasons, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations or the Communists to take away American freedoms. The completely open conspiracies, such as that of corporations to dominate speech and of Republicans to deny people the right to vote are overlooked in the quest to find a conspiracy so immense that it doesn’t quite fit into the human universe.
The evidence connecting Paul to the paranoid right is pretty straightforward.
* The content of his survivalist newsletters, such as the militant rhetoric offering to fight a war with the feds here (also notice the reference to the Trilateral Commission; see also here) or this gem about the conspiracy between USAID/OPIC/the Ex-Im Bank and “Marxist” Panamanian president Torrijos, or the claim that the US government created AIDS, or that the the Interfaith alliance is a “hit squad” with “more friends in high places than the Christian Coalition can hope for”, that NPR is a socialist enterprise. There’s a big invisible conspiracy that only Ron Paul can see, but it requires being ready to fight a war against the US government. [TNR has released more and in some ways juicier newsletters here]
* His speeches to the John Birch Society (see, for example, here).
* His early support by David Koch. David Koch’s father was a founding member of the John Birch Society, but I haven’t yet found direct connections between David Koch and the JBS; Jane Mayer presents some evidence against this, although clearly both the JBS and the Koch brothers share many ideological roots. Charles Pierce does connect the younger Kochs, but supplies no evidence.
* The involvement of Paul aides like Stewart Rhodes in second wave Patriot militias, espousing extreme anti-government rhetoric.
So, here are some resources on the Kochs, the John Birch Society, and Ron Paul.
Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute clearly thinks that there’s no link at all between the Kochs and Paul:
Ron Paul is holding one of his first monetary policy hearings today and he hasn’t sold out. Ron Paul is from the school of libertarians that hates D.C. libertarians, which is weird since he is one of the most well-known libertarians in D.C. How does that work?
The term Kochtopus was originally used as a slur by some libertarians to describe the Koch brothers’ funded wing of the libertarian movement (Cato, Reason, etc.). There’s a lot of fighting over ideology, purity, funding and intellectual legacies between two groups of libertarians that splintered in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and Paul is on the other side of that divide.
Daniela Perdomo, Alternet on the Tea Party attempt to bring down Ron Paul; this could be consistent with Koch influence on the Tea Party:
Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas’ Gulf Coast, faces three Republican challengers this year — more than in his six past primaries combined. All three opponents are affiliated with the Tea Party movement. What makes this so fascinating is the fact that the Tea Partiers got their unofficial start through Paul himself.
Ed Pilkington, Common Dreams comments on how the Kochs plan to flood the 2012 election with enough money to control the outcome:
The secretive oil billionaires the Koch brothers are close to launching a nationwide database connecting millions of Americans who share their anti-government and libertarian views
The voter file was set up by the Kochs 18 months ago with $2.5m of their seed money, and is being developed by a hand-picked team of the brothers’ advisers. It has been given the name Themis, after the Greek goddess who imposes divine order on human affairs.
Though the Kochs have already stamped their influence on the American right, their impact to date looks like small beer compared with their ambitious plans for 2012. According to Kenneth Vogel of Politico, the brothers intend to use their leverage among billionaire conservatives to pump more than $200m into the proceedings
Richard Matthews, Green Conduct News, however, puts Ron Paul at a Koch-sponsored event, so perhaps the animosity isn’t too extreme:
The Koch brothers have a long history of influence peddling through front groups like Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which had a role in the formation of the Tea Party. Many Republican presidential hopefuls have been in attendance at AFP events like the annual Defending the American Dream Summit. These Summits focus on issues like reversing environmental protections, preventing new environmental laws and promoting policies that benefit big oil. At the October 5, 2007 Summit, the GOP Presidential candidates who attended included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. The speakers that day included Herman Cain and AFP founder David Koch.
Yasha Levine, Texas Observer on the Koch brothers’ grandfather, Harry:
Little has been written about Harry Koch. He’s the least-known member of the Koch family, which has been marching under the same laissez-faire banner for the past three generations. Harry Koch emigrated to America in 1888, settled in a North Texas railroad town and became a newspaper publisher and aggressive corporate booster. He advocated for railroad and banking interests, amassing wealth and helping big business fight organized labor and squelch reforms.
Much of the Koch brothers’ ideology can be found in [their grandfather] Harry Koch’s newspaper editorials of nearly a century ago. Take, for instance, the Kochs’ current fight against Social Security. Harry Koch took part in a multi-year right-wing propaganda campaign to shoot down New Deal programs. Grandfather and grandsons employ eerily familiar talking points to bash government pension and welfare programs.
This is where the research stood two weeks ago, when other duties imposed. I’ll try to pick it up, since understanding where in the dextro universe Ron Paul stands is important to understanding the derangement that America is going through. In many ways, the current Republican candidates (Romney, Santorum, Perry, Gingrich, and Paul) clearly illustrate what the Republican party is:
* The financial corporate right (Romney) is in the driver’s seat.
* The domestic corporate right (Gingrich) is unhappy with American decline, and is therefore willing to bloody Romney
* The religious right (Santorum) and the populist/racist/xenophobic right (Perry) are in a weak position
* The paranoid right (Paul), which includes a lot of military people presumably alienated by the wars, is attracted to the corporate libertarian views of Paul.
More as I am able.
This entry was posted on January 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm and is filed under false prophets, libertoonians. Tagged: extremism, Ron Paul, Ron Paul newsletters. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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