Did Ron Paul Send His Racist Newsletters To Make Money?
So which is worse, being a closet racist or exploiting racism for money? It's hard to tell the difference, frankly. I'd guess it's possible that some slave ship owners were nice family men and had no personal beef with Africans --- but they profited handsomely from their misery nonetheless. Is there a moral difference?
I'm talking about this article in the Washington Post quoting the president of the Cato Institute saying that he'd had a conversation with Ron Paul in the late 80s about how to attract more customers for his newsletters:
Ed Crane, the longtime president of the libertarian Cato Institute, said he met Paul for lunch during this period, and the two men discussed direct-mail solicitations, which Paul was sending out to interest people in his newsletters. They agreed that “people who have extreme views” are more likely than others to respond.
Crane said Paul reported getting his best response when he used a mailing list from the now-defunct newspaper Spotlight, which was widely considered anti-Semitic and racist.
Benton, Paul’s spokesman, said that Crane’s account “sounds odd” and that Paul did not recall the conversation.
At the time, Paul’s investment letter was languishing. According to the person involved with his businesses, Paul and others hit upon a solution: to “morph” the content to capitalize on a growing fear among some on the political right about the nation’s changing demographics and threats to economic liberty.
The investment letter became the Ron Paul Survival Report — a name designed to intrigue readers, the company secretary said. It cost subscribers about $100 a year. The tone of that and other Paul publications changed, becoming increasingly controversial. In 1992, for example, the Ron Paul Political Report defended chess champion Bobby Fischer, who became known as an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier, for his stance on “Jewish questions.’’
I have long heard chatter about how the paleolibertarians consciously set out to build their faction by appealing to paranoid right wing racist elements. But this is the first I've heard that Paul's racist newsletters were actually a personal financial strategy.
I suppose those two things aren't mutually exclusive, especially considering Paul's libertarian take on civil rights. He truly believes that states' rights and property rights trump human rights in general so there's no hypocrisy in profiting from racist tracts. He is a man of principle. (Well, except for the lying about his knowledge of the racism in his newsletter, which was never believable and is even less so now.)
Other than that, though, he has stuck to his stated principles. He's a free market guy using racism to make a buck and build up his political career. What's more All American than that?