“Uncompromising men are easy to admire. They have courage – so has a dog. But it is precisely the ability to compromise that makes men noble.”
The Earl of Carrick, leprosy-stricken and utterly amoral father to King Robert I of Scotland, as (plausibly) depicted in the film Braveheart
The proverbial “Hand” that manipulates public opinion may be invisible, but it is readily detected by those who consume the news with any degree of critical intelligence. The Invisible Hand has rarely been less subtle than it's been during the past several days when it has summoned into existence a classic hate campaign against Ron Paul. The Hand has assumed a very familiar configuration – a pointing finger of spurious accusation at the end of a limp wrist.
In using the term “Invisible Hand” I do not mean that we are seeing the product of a highly organized conspiracy, with dozens or hundreds of people working with Jesuitical guile and Prussian efficiency. It is most likely a “conspiracy” in the precise etymological sense of the expression – a large group of people “breathing together,” or sharing the same inspiration.
It is certainly possible that “Mordor sent out the memo the libel Ron Paul,” in the words of the somewhat (but not entirely facetious) comment by the estimable Lew Rockwell. But whether or not a specific directive was handed down, it's certain that there has been a distinct change in the direction of the prevailing suck-up wind. Pundits, power brokers, and blogosphere second-handers know that in order to cultivate the favor of an alarmed but potent Power Elite it's necessary to join in the unfolding smear of Ron Paul. The result has been a torrential outpouring of unfiltered ... well, in the interests of decorum, suffice it to say that it's been a real colon-full.
The currency of this smear is the language of guilty insinuation, denominated in hints, winks, smirks, and “I'm-just-passing-this-along” deniable libels. None of the people giving circulation to the charge that Dr. Paul is somehow “linked” to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups appears to believe that Paul himself harbors such views or impulses. This includes Don Black and others of that persuasion who are, as my perceptive friend Tom Eddlem points out, most likely looking for the free publicity they've obtained from Paul's detractors. (There is, as I've noted, an imperceptibly small chance that the Stormfront set might convert to libertarianism,which would require a complete re-examination of their premises.)
The first to put a whetted finger to the suck-up wind, and the source of some of the seminal smears against Ron Paul, was Eric Dondero, a former staff aide to Paul who has announced his intention to run for Paul's congressional seat.
Dondero's resume proudly boasts that he's a “20-year federal appointee [to the] Selective Service Board” for the Houston area. Authentic liberty activists seek the abolition of the SSS, not a seat at the table on the local draft board.
[Correction, 12/26: As can be seen in the comments section below, Mr. Dondero insists that his objective in taking a seat on the draft board was to help bring about the end of the SSS. Since he is the expert regarding his own motives, I accept that explanation -- while pointing out that the militarist foreign policy Dondero supports -- see below -- will eventually require conscription.
And as long as we're in the business of corrections and clarifications, I will exploit this opportunity to encourage Mr. Dondero to begin what would be the long and daunting task of fumigating the blogosphere to abate the foul-smelling insinuations he has made regarding Ron Paul's supposed anti-Semitism. A good place to begin would be to retract his misrepresentations regarding Dr. Paul's views of foreign aid -- again, see below. I would hope that Mr. Dondero's zeal for accuracy would not be purely self-serving. -- WNG]
But Dondero's soi-disant “mainstream libertarianism” makes generous allowance for imperial militarism: Like a number of celebrity libertarians, Donadero seems to believe that it's possible to have minimalist government at home while following a foreign policy of endless and unlimited interventionism. Or it's possible that he doesn't care at all about intellectual consistency, and he's just in the habit of spitting out words to watch them splatter.
Dondero announced his desire to unseat Dr. Paul following the now-famous confrontation between the good Doctor and the Demented Rudy Giuliani over the origins of the 9-11 attack.
That isn't a kilt, folks: Rudy Giuliani, Eric Dondero's vision of martial virtue, appearing -- as he frequently has -- in drag.
“I have spent the early morning scanning the major political blogs, and news sites,” wrote Dondero on RedState.com, which is sort of a cyber-Volkischer Beobachter for Red State Fascists. “It's unanimous," declared Dondero after a small poll of people who agree with him. "Ron Paul got slammed by Rudy Giuliani last night for suggesting that we - the United States of America - are to blame for the attacks on 9/11. He even had the audacity to cite Osama bin Laden.”
One of the basic understandings shared by all libertarians is that the people of our country, and the government ruling us, are not identical, and our interests very rarely – if ever – coincide. Ron Paul has underscored that principle by pointing out that the attack on innocent Americans that took place on 9-11 was in large measure “blowback” from Washington's decades of foreign adventurism.
Although it requires a certain kind of dogmatic ignorance to do so, I can imagine how someone of a certain political bent could regard the government to be completely blameless in its foreign policy, and insist that its actions abroad have no material connection to 9-11. A person of that sort, however, couldn't honestly call himself a libertarian.
Dondero, it should be noted, wrote in the immediate aftermath of the first debate, in apparent anticipation that the machinery of mass conformity would make quick work of Dr. Paul. He described the exchange as “a horrible moment for Ron Paul. My former boss looked like a complete nutcase. He looked frail. His hands shaked [sic]. He showed his age. He was completely unprepared for Giuliani's romping response.”
Well.... not exactly. More than half a year later it's clear that Dr. Paul – whose demeanor was actually quite composed, and who made his points with plangent conviction – impressed millions of Americans (and millions more abroad) by the courage and decency he displayed in that exchange. He has become an increasingly effective spokesman of truths largely unspoken – about the Constitution, about the Federal Reserve, about our impending descent into bankruptcy and ruin.
Uncompromising men are easy to admire. This is why those accustomed to compromise feel such urgency to compromise them somehow or, failing that, to traduce them by any means necessary.
Dondero takes credit for inducing Rep. Paul to cast one of the few votes with which I've taken issue, and one he now publicly regrets – his “yes” vote on the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Although described as authorizing military action against Afghanistan, the AUMF is now widely recognized as little less than an Enabling Act – in the Reichstag Fire sense of the expression, if you will.
Donadero, who is Jewish, has likewise been chumming the waters with greasy intimations that Dr. Paul is anti-Semitic. Donadero claims that Paul was somehow guilty of tokenism in hiring him and using him as his “Jewish staffer,” even though he admits Paul had no idea he was Jewish until after hiring him.
“Ron and I finally departed [sic] ways, partly because I was ashamed to work for such an explicitly anti-Israel advocate,” Donadero wrote on one occasion in typically malapropism-strewn prose. “If you still doubt his anti-Jewish/anti-Israel views, ask yourself this question: Why is it that when Ron Paul talks about the evils of taxpayer dollars going overseas for foreign aid, he only singles out Israel as a recipient? Why does he never mention the billions we send each year to Egypt for foreign aide?[Sic] Turkey, the Palestinians, other Nations?”
Leaving aside, for the nonce, the fact that Israeli government is by far the largest and most influential aid recipient (that nation's people don't benefit therefrom), it's a lie at once bold and inept to say that Paul has been fixated only on Washington's aid to Israel. Consider this 2006 essay which doesn't mention Israel, and condemns foreign aid for enriching domestic middle men in this country.
Consider as well this essay from last January – several months prior to Donadero's above-cited denunciation.
In that piece, the congressman protests: “We give Israel about $3 billion each year, but we also give Egypt $2 billion. Most other Middle East countries get money too, some of which ends up in the hands of Palestinian terrorists....Our foolish and unconstitutional foreign aid has produced more violence, not less. Congress and each successive administration pledge their political, financial, and military support for Israel. Yet while we call ourselves a strong ally of the Israeli people, we send billions in foreign aid every year to some Muslim states that many Israelis regard as enemies. From the Israeli point of view, many of the same Islamic nations we fund with our tax dollars want to destroy the Jewish state. Many average Israelis and American Jews see America as hypocritically hedging its bets.”
Even more germane to this discussion is a long and thoughtful speech given by Dr. Paul on September 25, 2001 – while Donadero was on Paul's staff – in which he condemned, in detail and at great length, financial and military aid given to various radical Islamic states and movements; in that speech he doesn't mention Israel at all, which is a curious omission for someone so fixated on that nation, as Donadero would have us believe.
Like others who seek to bemerde the name and character of Ron Paul, Donadero accuses the mild and principled doctor of being obsessed with Israel because he doesn't share their obsession with that foreign state. (Rudolph Giuliani, incidentally, has surrounded himself with such people.) Paul obviously and indisputably wants to see the Middle East at peace, which would certainly be to the benefit of the Israelis, as well as everyone else in the region. Dr. Paul has expressed understandable misgivings about the process through which the United Nations created the modern nation-state of Israel.
But his chief concern is to extricate the United States from its entanglements in the region because he is convinced that our national interests – which is to say, the interests of the individuals who compose our nation, rather than its ruling elite – requires it.
Robert the Bruce in Battle: Although he equivocated in his career, and even signed a dishonorable peace accord with England's King Edward I, The Bruce found his true calling at Bannockburn, winning his country's independence in 1314.
Ron Paul is obsessed with individual liberty and prosperity, national independence, and international peace. As someone consumed with principle rather than individual ambition, he's willing to retain his integrity and lose, rather than compromise and "win" politically. This makes him utterly incomprehensible to the Smearbund -- and it may make him invulnerable to their tactics.
Dum spiro, pugno!