to a Jewish Opponent of Ron Paul
by Walter Block: Open
Letter to the Republican Jewish Coalition on Ron Paul
posted his list of "Top 25 Reasons to Oppose RON PAUL's 2012
Campaign." I repeat his list below, exactly as it appeared
on the web site Jewish
Libertarians on 12/7/11, interspersed with my commentary (<<)
on each of his objections. I have no idea whether his first or 25th
reason is the most important, but I follow the order of these reasons
that Mr. Biterman set out in his missive.
It is greatly to his credit that Huntsman turned down the invitation
to debate from "moderator" Donald Trump. And, of course,
Ron Paul did so too. Heck, even "Mr. Principled" Mitt
up his nose at this "debate." However, Huntsman
is a weather
socialist, and has supported the poisonous individual healthcare
along with his spiritual and moral counterparts, Romney, Gingrich
and Obama, all unlike Ron Paul. ‘Nuff said. No, I’ll say more:
Huntsman does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath,
at least from a libertarian perspective, as Ron Paul. That Biterman
would place him above the congressman from Texas indicates that
his own libertarian credentials are hanging by a thread.
Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is not all bad. I go further:
he is an excellent candidate. On a scale of libertarianism, I
would award him a passing grade of 65 (Romney, Gingrich, Santorum,
Bachmann, Huntsman and Perry all clock in at less than 5 out of
100. Ron, in my view, hits the 95 level.) When asked, at one of
the few debates he joined, who he would pick as his Vice President,
Gary Johnson chose Ron Paul. No one can be all bad who articulates
such a thought. Indeed, in my own publications about who Ron should
pick as his Veep, Gary Johnson was prominently mentioned; see
This is what my co-author and I said about him then, and I stand
by it now: "Gary Johnson. It is too bad that the former governor
of New Mexico as of the time of this writing has not been able
to enter into the debates. If he did so, then there would be not
one but two libertarians on stage at these important events. On
the other hand, we know Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson is no Ron Paul.
He is more of a ‘beltway’ or Reason Magazine libertarian than
a real one. He is better than the neocons on foreign policy, but
does not call for a purely defensive stance for our military.
He wants to legalize drugs, but only some of them; he did not
pardon any victimless criminals when he could have. He favors
the legalization of prostitution, but not based on a matter of
rights; merely utilitarianism. He urges reform of the Fed, not
abolition. Go down the entire list: he is pretty good on most
issues from a libertarian point of view, but doesn’t hit the bull’s
eye on any of them."
am a fan of the Libertarian Party. I ran for office under its
auspices in 1972. I have been an active member of it (well, except
for the debacle of Bob Barr in 2008 when I quit in protest) for
its entire existence. I have spoken often at its conventions.
I am a card carrying member of the LP. My expectation is that
if Ron wants to make a third party run, which he now denies, 99%
of the Libertarian Party members would vote to nominate him. If
Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination for president, I have
no doubt that the LP will support him as their standard bearer
too, and do everything they can to see him beat Obama. But, the
Libertarian Party usually polls some 1-3% of the electorate, and
is brutally ignored by the mainstream media.
that compare with the inroads Ron Paul is now making into the
consciousness of the American electorate? To ask this is to answer
it. Ron, even though all too often ignored by the mainstream media,
is still burning up the airwaves and dominating the editorial
pages of the major newspapers and magazines. Anyone who refuses
to support Ron Paul on the ground that the Libertarian Party exists
is surely smoking some controlled substances. Lots of them. Is
this point really worthy of sober comment? No. But, I am determined
to refute each and every one of these 25 points, and this is one
claims to support free trade, but the truth is otherwise (find Paul's
Ron Paul subscribes to the Murray Rothbard–Milton Friedman–Hong
Kong–Singapore view of free trade; inaugurate a policy of full
free trade, no barriers, with all countries of the world. He opposes
"fair trade," "managed trade," customs unions,
and treaties such as Nafta, Cafta, etc. He wants a unilateral
declaration of free trade with all nations, whether or not they
reciprocate. Would that the Cato Institute adopt such a strong
principled viewpoint. When an inside the beltway "libertarian"
organization such as the Cato Institute is proposed as the rating
agency for Ron Paul, we are all in trouble.
endorsed the Constitution Party nominee for president in 2008; have
you read the Constitution
The Libertarian Party platform, although egregiously watered down
from the days that Murray Rothbard was active in this organization,
is still far superior to that of the Constitution Party. Here,
I agree with Biterman. However, a case can be made out that Chuck
Baldwin, the Constitution Party’s nominee that year was more libertarian
than was Bob Barr. So, Ron is to be blamed for supporting the
man, and not the party platform? That seems to be more than just
a bit harsh.
campaign team consists of folks
who have spent considerable time working for Pat Buchanan, Pat
Robertson, the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council,
and various other unsavory causes.
It is time for an economics joke. Economist A asks economist B,
"How is your wife?" Comes the reply from B: "Compared
to what?" Yes, the two men mentioned, and the two organizations,
each have "unsavory" (e.g., non libertarian elements).
But compared to what? In 2008 the Libertarian Party, favored
by Biterman, nominated Bob Barr as president, and Wayne Allyn
Root as vice president. Root is a war monger and Barr is a drug
warrior. Neither was much of a libertarian. I would place Barr
and Root in roughly the same political economic category as Buchanan
and Robertson, and rate the LP for nominating these two non libertarians
in 2008, in a similar manner to the Christian Coalition and the
Family Research Council. No, worse. At least these latter two
did not claim to be libertarians, and thus did not engage in outright
Biterman manages to evade these comparisons. Let us stipulate,
arguendo, that Buchanan and Robertson, the CC and the FRC, are
horrid people and organizations. Just because someone worked for
them in the past does not mean they were infected by these non
libertarians. I know Ron Paul, and I know he would not knowingly
associate with non libertarians in his campaign. I fully expect
that when Dr. Paul is sworn in to office in January 2013, he will
bring to Washington with him people who will eliminate unnecessary
departments, end the Fed, help him bring home the troops, shut
down U.S. military bases in foreign lands, etc. Does Biterman
really doubt this? No. Course not. These are precisely the reasons
that "libertarian" opposes Ron Paul.
is the campaign money being spent? Who is benefiting from the donations?
Who is getting rich? These questions remain unanswered.
What is the source of Biterman’s income? How does he spend his
money? Who benefits from Biterman’s largesse? These questions
remain unanswered. Biterman, ever hear of privacy? Why is this
information any of Biterman’s business? It is not. However, of
course, the Paul campaign complies with all sorts of intrusive
questions such as these because it is required to do so by law.
was the economic advisor of Pat Buchanan's 1992 presidential campaign
was Murray N. Rothbard, for a time, until he could no longer abide
Buchanan’s protectionism. Is Pat Buchanan some sort of boogy-man,
the mere mention of whose name is supposed to send us running
for the hills? Buchanan had some libertarian elements in his philosophy,
and, many, unfortunately, which were not. Biterman champions the
Libertarian Party (see point 23 above) but Barr and Root are no
more libertarian than Buchanan.
says Gaza is
filled with "Concentration Camps."
There are concentration camps, and then there are concentration
camps. The meaning that most people ascribe to this phrase is,
of course, Nazi concentration camps, where millions of people
perished. But never in a million years did Dr. Paul mean to refer
to Gaza in any such context. What, then, are the other meanings
of this phrase? One such
definition is "The term concentration camp refers
to a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under
harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and
imprisonment." Under this definition concentration camps
were used by the British in South Africa and the Spanish in Cuba,
long before Hitler. And, they were used, too, during the
Hitler period, by, of all countries, the U.S., for Japanese-Americans.
None of these other "concentration camps" are to be
mentioned in the same breath as the one organized by the Nazis.
this of all Biterman’s 25 points as the one that rankles the most
within the Jewish community, particularly amongst Israelis. But,
I contend, when these people hear of this statement by Congressman
Paul, they think, only and solely of Nazi concentration
camps, for which there is absolutely no comparison. But how does
Gaza stack up against the U.S. internment camps (concentration
camps) utilized against Japanese Americans during World War II?
I maintain that while of course there are differences, the two
are in the same or at least similar "ball parks." Also,
it is possible that Congressman Paul misspoke, had a slip of the
tongue (which of us can say that this never occurred to us?).
Do I regret
that my friend Ron Paul used this particular phrase in that interview?
I do. Well, at least without mentioning that he had more in mind
the U.S.-Japanese-American internment camp rather than anything
even resembling the Nazi case. But distinctions of this sort are
difficult to make in 3 minute interviews.
we lose sight of the fact that in this short interview Dr. Paul
made the following very important points: He would change our
Mideast policy with the goal of preventing these problems in the
first place. He assigns blame to both parties. He says that Washington
should mind its own business; that people in Gaza know that our
weapons are used against them and blame us as well as Israel.
And, we can’t afford to intervene any longer.
that Congressman Paul erred in this regard. No one should oppose
any candidate for one single mistake. We all have slips
of the tongue, and bad days (Barack Obama once mis-counted the
number of states
in our union; for more of his bumbles, see here).
For a much more indicative view of Dr. Paul’s views
on Israel, one where he indicates he is a friend of that country,
For the claim that Ron Paul is really a Zionist, go here
Paul's "We the People Act" would forbid federal courts from adjudicating
"any claim involving the laws, regulations, or policies of any State
or unit of local government relating to the free exercise or establishment
of religion", i.e., it would remove all federal remedies for allegations
of state violations of religious freedom.
Paul is a federalist, like many of our founding fathers. He sees
the major enemy of our freedom as an out-of-control federal
government. He believes that placing greater reliance on the 50
states will better ensure our liberty. So, of course, he
wants to trim the sails of the federal government, and give the
states more control. His reasoning is that if one state violates
rights, it is far easier to deal with than when the federales
do so. This is a reason to oppose his candidacy? Does not Biterman
take cognizance of the concept of "voting with the feet?"
Does he not realize that it is far easier to move from one locality
to another, than from one country to another?
says church-state separation has no constitutional basis.
Does Biterman point out the constitutional basis for church separation?
He does not. He merely mentions this as a reason to oppose the
Paul candidacy as if it is obvious. Is Biterman a member of the
mainstream media? Isn’t there a rule that only members of the
MSM are allowed to do this? I am an economist, not a constitutional
scholar, so I really can’t delve deeply into this question. However,
it appears to me, as an outsider, that the burden of proof rests
with this author, and he has not only fulfilled it, he does not
realize that it is incumbent upon him to do so.
would be age 78 at the start of his first term.
True. But Dr. Paul was a national class track athlete when he
was in college. He is a young 76, right now. I have no
doubt that with any athletic competition between the Republican
candidates (running, swimming, biking, etc.), the Congressman
from Texas would acquit himself very well. Hey, Biterman opposes
Paul. This should be an argument for his candidacy. For
if Paul has a short life expectancy, Biterman ought to rejoice
in this, not complain about it. If Paul wins, according to this
"logic," he will soon be gone in any case.
(including you) can vote "no" on legislation in Congress
Frankly, I don’t understand this objection.
has no executive experience: how will he perform?
had no executive experience before becoming president either.
So what? In any case, I know exactly how President Paul
will perform, and so does everyone else who has not been Rip Van
Winkling it through this campaign. He will cut taxes and pull
the troops home to a defensive (not offensive) position;
he will cut spending by one trillion dollars in his first
year. He will end, not mend, the Fed. He will rescue the U.S.
dollar with a gold standard. He will no longer allow the federal
government to run roughshod over state decisions to allow (medical)
is the choice of various notable conspiracy theorists, 9/11 truthers,
and anti-Semites – and refuses to distance himself from these endorsements
They support him; he doesn’t support them.
He "distances" himself from them all right: by saying
he doesn’t agree with them. By the way, are all conspiracy
theories false? Is not a one of them true? That seems to be the
underlying premise of this objection, but, as usual, it is not
spelled out, certainly not defended.
posed for a photo with KKK Grand Wizard Don Black after refusing
to return $500 from Black in 2008
Dr. Paul takes pictures with tens of thousands of people. No,
make that hundreds of thousands. At the end of every speech he
gives, people line up by the hundreds for a quick picture with
him. Does anyone really think that Ron Paul can recognize everyone
who asks to have a five second audience with him for a picture-taking?
As for giving money back, under which conditions will justice
better be served: The Congressman is plus $500, and the anti-Semite
at zero; or, the Congressman ends up with zero funds from this
episode, and the anti-Semite has the $500? Does Biterman favor
supports the Defense of Marriage Act, voted for a sodomy law for
DC in 1981, and voted against adoptions for gays in DC in 1999
Paul’s votes on this matter have more to do with his espousal
than with this particular substantive issue. Ronald Reagan was
once so incensed at the rent controls of New York City that he
thought seriously of using the weight of the federal government
to right this obvious local wrong. Ron Paul is more of a federalist
than that, and Reagan was too, in the event. This, too, is a contentious
issue amongst libertarians, and, as far as I am concerned, politicians
get a bye when the libertarian community is unsettled on a given
law or public policy.
supports the repeal of birthright citizenship, part of his platform
of "common sense" immigration reforms
I disagree with Ron Paul on immigration; see here,
However, there are leading libertarians (Murray N. Rothbard, Hans-Hermann
Hoppe) who espouse the Paul position on immigration. When there
are leading libertarian theoreticians on both sides of an issue,
it is a bit much to make such an issue a litmus test for politicians.
This issue, as far as I am concerned, is part of the 5% where
Ron Paul diverges from libertarianism. Go, sue him. No one is
perfect. And for this we libertarians are supposed to jettison
Ron Paul? And for whom? Mitt Romney? Newt Gingrich? It is to laugh.
signed a pro-life pledge
from the Susan B. Anthony List, which involves the federal government
in the issue of abortion, contrary to his rhetoric.
The weasel word, here, is "involves." Of course
this pledge "involves" the federal government. Congressman
Paul’s "rhetoric" is to enable each of the states to
determine these issues. Now, who is it do you think that will
do this "allowing"? Why, the federal government of course;
nowadays, it does most of the allowing and disallowing in our
society. So, Dr. Paul’s signing of this pledge is not at all incompatible
with his States' rights rhetoric. It is rather disingenuous of
Biterman to make this charge. Did he not think that any Ron Paul
supporter would look into it?
is among the most vocal opponents of equal protection under the
law in Congress
no link to any support for this charge? As it stands, it is a
criticism without any foundation at all. Or is it Biterman’s view
that Dr. Paul must prove himself innocent, rather than this critic
demonstrating his flaw, thus turning on its head the usual, civilized
assumption of innocent until proven guilty? What does it mean
to oppose equal protection of all citizens? Does it mean that
a politician wants to violate the rights of the downtrodden? If
so, the very opposite is the case. The war on drugs disproportionately
and negatively impacts the black community. Dr. Paul has bitterly
opposed it, thus helping to better protect this segment of our
populace. But, it is difficult to defend the next President of
the U.S. on this point, since our critic is so unclear
is among the most vocal opponents of Israel in Congress
Nonsense. No: nonsense on stilts. Dr. Paul is the best friend
that Israel has in the entire Congress. He is among the few that
favors Israeli independence. He speaks out in favor of the sovereignty
of this country. U.S. foreign "aid" to Israel’s enemies
is a multiple of what that country receives. Ending that program
thus redounds to the benefit of Israel. See on this here,
is among the most vocal defenders of earmarks in Congress
funds are thus already consigned for expenditure. Ron Paul violates
no libertarian axiom in attempting to divert some of them to his
constituents who have paid for them through taxes. Earmarks also
increase government transparency, surely a goal to be desired
by libertarians. By the phrase "among the most" is a rather improper
way of quantifying anything. Biterman should do his homework,
if he wants to make these charges stick. He has not done so. For
Ron Paul on this earmark charge, see here,
has the arrogance to want to redefine
human life itself.
Yes, what "arrogance" on the part of an Ob-Gyn who has
delivered some 4,000 babies. Who is Dr. Paul to define life as
beginning at conception? Why, everyone knows, they just know,
that life really begins at birth. Therefore, such horrors as partial
birth abortion are entirely justified. I mean, the effrontery
of the man! Here, I must agree with Biterman; Ron Paul is
an arrogant would-be dictator, wanting to save the "lives"
of mere bits of protoplasm, of no more moral importance than a
On a more
serious note, this is part and parcel of what it means to be pro
life. It is entirely legitimate for a libertarian to disagree
with Dr. Paul on this issue. The libertarian community, as in
the case of the population at large, is greatly divided on this
issue. Thus, to make this into some sort of litmus test for libertarians
As it happens,
I disagree with Dr. Paul on this issue. I am neither pro life
nor pro choice. I adopt a third alternative, the evictionist position.
See on this here,
But, do I oppose Congressman Paul’s campaign since he does not
agree with me on this stupendously complicated issue, about which
the greatest minds in libertarianism can come to no consensus?
Of course not. I’m no Biterman.
Let me end
this depressing section on a lighter note. Question: Do you know
when the fetus is viable in the Jewish tradition? Answer: When
it graduates from medical school.
2) His mean-spirited
cult of supporters
I suppose I’m one of them. I worship the very ground upon which
Ron Paul treads. (Where’s the Kool Aid?) I’m meaner than a rattlesnake.
Every other supporter of this Congressman from Texas is just like
me in this regard. Nasty as the day is long.
Hey, a silly
objection deserves a silly response
1) The racist
Ron Paul newsletters, which Paul admitted writing in his 1996 Congressional
campaign (see: Dallas Morning News, May 1996)
old charge has been answered, and answered and answered once
again. Only a mean-spirited cultist would bring it up once again
at this late date.
thanks the following people for valuable feedback on an earlier
version of this article: Thomas Nash, Lew Rockwell. All remaining
errors are of course his own responsibility.
Block [send him mail] is a
professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior
fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending
the Undefendable and Labor
Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book
Privatization of Roads and Highways.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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