Sunday, April 06, 2008

Paul endorses loony Far Right conspiracy group.

This blog was, to make an understatement, less than enthusiastic that Ron Paul was selling himself as a libertarian given his unlibertarian views on certain issues. And I was less than thrilled with his associations to the lunatic Right. I mean the truly lunatic Right of secret conspiracies, banking plots and world-government cabals that are best understood while on LSD.

I also mentioned that Paul was more than friendly with the crazed John Birch Society. The Birchers like to sell themselves as sane by emphasizing their areas of agreement with libertarians. Some people think this a big deal. But socialists have areas of agreement with Libertarians. Hillary has areas of agreement. Even King George has areas. Libertarians have become such cheap political whores that any agreement seems sufficient to buy their praise.

The Birchers started out as your typical Right-wing group obsessed with the “Communist conspiracy”. But JBS founder Robert Welch had other wacko theories in mind. He believed that in 1776 a satanic (sometimes “Satanic”) plot was organized to set up world government. The group that supposedly did this was the Illuminati.

In reality there was an Illuminati. It’s goals were far more modest that the deluded fantasies of Welch and it’s other critics. The Illuminati was founded in Bavaria during a very conservative era. It was not a good time to oppose the State or the Church and most classical liberals would oppose both. The Illuminati was the good guys. They would trying to expand intellectual and political freedom against a regime that was run by the landed aristocracy and the church.

Thomas Jefferson basically praised the goals of the Illuminati and said it operated as secret society because it was forced to do so by the regime it opposed. The conservative forces, of course, were against the classical liberal revolution and the Illuminati in Germany was basically destroyed by the state. But it lived on in the fevered imagination of crazed conservatives ever since. Jefferson’s kind words for an organization that was promoting the same liberal goals as the American Revolution was cited as proof that he was the head of this “Satanist” plot in America.

Various writers for the next couple of hundred years imagined the Illuminati being involved in anything they didn’t like. For some the “international bankers” were the plot and the Illuminati controlled them. Some said it was the Jews and that the Illuminati was the cabal at the very top. Catholic conspiracy mongers like to see the Illuminati running the Masons and Protestantism. Fundamentalist nutters saw the Illuminati controlling the Catholic Church. Over the years there is nary a wacko plot that has been invented that wasn’t then put under the alleged control of this defunct organization.

Robert Welch, the founder of the Birch Society, took this stuff about as far as you good. For him all the various conspiracies existed but were controlled by the “Insiders” by whom he meant the Illuminati. Many of the top Birchers were convinced the Insiders were really all Jews and that Jews were the plotters behind all the world’s troubles. Welch preferred to keep that sort of thing under the table. But prominent Birchers frequently went off into the anti-Semitic land of neo-Nazism. Many a JBS chapter ended their official meetings with unofficial discussions where anti-Semitic tracts came out of hiding and were discussed but never “officially” lest the JBS be tarnished.

The Birchers were against the Civil Rights movement for equality of black Americans. Today they are leading the charge against Hispanics and homosexuals. They are still pushing their wacko conspiracy theories and it is from them that Paul got his bizarre material on NAFTA and the alleged “North American Union”. The Birch Society is for the war on drugs, for censorship and wants abortion banned. They are not advocates of separation of church and state across the board.

If a libertarian is broadly defined and socially liberal and economically conservative they are NOT libertarians. They hold Ron Paul’s views which were conservative and, at best, merely wanted the social control run on the state level. They don’t oppose state control they just want a different level of government doing the controlling. A libertarian opposes the control full stop. Simple lesson but a lot of alleged libertarians don’t get it.

Now Ron Paul has basically come out of the closet and publicly endorsed the John Birch Society. Paul called them “a great patriotic organization” and wished “them continued success and endorse their untiring efforts.” Their efforts are supposedly for “less government” but their definition of less government and a libertarian definition are very different. A libertarian says you can have less government by abolishing the war on drugs. The Birchers and Paul say you get it by having the states run the war on drugs instead.

A libertarian says that church and state (any level of government) must be separated. The Birch and Paul view is that church and state may be combined at the level of the 50 states just not at the federal level.

Ron Paul’s endorsement of one of the nuttiest of the far Right groups is an indication of how far from libertarianism he has drifted. What worries me isn’t that he drifted in this Far Right direction as much as some libertarians drifting along with him. The libertarian movement is drifting far from its original principles and turning in a rump of the Far Right with their bigoted campaigns and their intolerance for individual freedom.

Note: This was written a few days ago but we were on the road and hotel WiFi stopped working on us as we were preparing to put this on line and we didn't get it working again. My apologies for the delay.

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