January 26, 2008

This Post is Old!

The post you are reading is years old and may not represent my current views. I started blogging around the time I first began to study philosophy, age 17. In my view, the point of philosophy is to expose our beliefs to rational scrutiny so we can revise them and get better beliefs that are more likely to be true. That's what I've been up to all these years, and this blog has been part of that process. For my latest thoughts, please see the front page.

A Hesitant Re-Endorsement of Ron Paul

After Ron Paul's response to racism charges and my analysis of the situation as sleaze rather than racism, I am now prepared to somewhat hesitantly re-endorse Ron Paul for president. There are two reasons for this: process of elimination, and some additional information on the racism charges. First, the process of elimination:

  • Washington's Democratic primary doesn't count, so if I have a moral duty to vote in the presidential primaries, I have a moral duty to vote in the Republican presidential primary. The Democratic primary is just a non-binding opinion poll. (Besides, the Democrats support the welfare state and paternalism.)

  • Rudy Giuliani ran New York like the dictator of a Banana Republic.

  • Mike Huckabee supports the welfare state and paternalism.

  • Mitt Romney supports the welfare state with his record, but lies about it.

  • John McCain voted for the USA Patriot Act. I have never voted for anyone who voted for the Patriot Act, and I won't. This means that if McCain is nominated, I will vote third party again.

Now that I've said that, I want to note that I'm not sure if I can vote in the primaries anyway. Washington law only requires that voters not vote in more than one primary, or attend the caucus of the opposite party from the one whose primary they vote in. However, voting in the Republican primary requires me to check the following oath:
I declare that I am a member of the Republican Party and I have not participated
and will not participate in the 2008 precinct caucus or convention system of any other party.

Now, we have non-partisan voter registration in Washington, so there are no Republican Party rolls, and it's not clear to me what it means to be a member of the Republican Party in Washington. The Democratic oath doesn't have anything about membership, it just says "I consider myself to be a DEMOCRAT," and being a member can't mean much beyond considering yourself one. I consider myself to be more Republican than Democrat (if just barely). Does that count? At any rate, assuming that I vote, I can't vote for any of the other candidates, for these reasons. There are also two new and interesting pieces of information about the Ron Paul newsletter scandal:
  • Nelson Linder, the director of the Austin, Texas chapter of the NAACP, has endorsed Ron Paul and denied the credibility of racism allegations against Ron Paul. He also mildly criticizes Paul for insensitivity and lack of concern about social issues. Linder has known Ron Paul for 20 years. Linder says that when he met Paul, Paul was very respectful and sensitive to race issues. Linder's endorsement is important to me because while I personally trust Paul, on the basis of his record, more than any other candidate to protect the rights of individuals, including racial minorities but, in light of the newsletter problem, it is important that individuals who are members of racial minorities also trust him to defend their rights. Of course, if they disagree with me about what their rights are, that changes the situation. Linder, however, seems to be a good example of an African-American leader who accepts libertarian principles, knows Ron Paul well, and believes that Ron Paul will defend the rights of all people, including minorities.

  • Secondly, more information has come out about the circumstances surrounding the release of the New Republic article smearing Paul. Now, let me be clear that, however, sleazy the people involved with that article may have been, it doesn't excuse the very existence of the newsletter, but, if Paul had at least some of this information, I think it does, go a long way toward explaining why Paul's response to the article was more anger about them dredging up these old issues than an attitude of remorse for past mistakes. The two most important facts are: (1) the author of the article did have the information significantly in advance and intentionally sit on it until the morning of the New Hampshire primary, and (2) one of the principle sources for the article was one Bill White, a leader of the American National Socialist Worker's (Nazi) Party who has called Paul a "Jew puppet" and has posted online about Ron Paul's campaign having been "infiltrated" by Jews. Apparently the reference was primarily to connections to the Ludwig von Mises institute (von Mises was Jewish, not Institute founder Lew Rockwell) and the late Aaron Russo. It is not clear to me what White's motivation would have been.

Curioser and curioser...

Posted by Kenny at January 26, 2008 10:41 AM
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I like your pincipled stand against participating in other parties' primaries.

I'm out of candidates to support this year. No one on the Democratic side, of course. And the GOP is only fielding statists. I might be able to hold my gag reflex and vote for McCain if he weren't for open borders.

I think that I'll write in Glenn Reynolds this year.

Posted by: John at January 28, 2008 8:18 PM

John - Why are you not considering Paul? Just because of the newsletter issue, or for some other reason?

Incidentally, immigration is one of the few issues on which I more or less agree with McCain and disagree with Paul (and everyone else), but that's another story.

Posted by: Kenny at January 29, 2008 8:39 AM

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