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Is Ron Paul racist? - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Jul. 7th, 2007

05:02 am - Is Ron Paul racist?

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myrch cites Ron Paul’s writings on race and his vote against the Voting Rights Act as causes for concern that Paul is a racist. I think Paul generalized too broadly from the data regarding black crime rates, and in doing so I think he exhibited some racist thought processes. However, I don’t think he is at heart a racist, and I think that many of his policies would do a great deal of good for the black community.

First off, Paul explicitly denounces racism:

“Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans only as members of groups and never as individuals. Racists believe that all individual who share superficial physical characteristics are alike; as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called “diversity” actually perpetuate racism. Their intense focus on race is inherently racist, because it views individuals only as members of racial groups.”

Both of the quotes myrch cites come from a copy of the Ron Paul Report entitled Los Angeles Racial Terrorism. It was published shortly after the Rodney King riots.

The quote regarding black crime rates:

“… we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational… Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.”

…is backed up by the following citation:

“Of black males in Washington, D.C, between the ages of 18 and 35, 42% are charged with a crime or are serving a sentence, reports the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives. The Center also reports that 70% of all black men in Washington are arrested before they reach the age of 35, and 85% are arrested at some point in their lives. Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the “criminal justice system,” I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”

His assertion that 95% of the black males in D.C. are semi-criminal or entirely criminal is not justified by the stats he cites. Getting arrested does not mean you’ve committed a crime. Going beyond the data to make assertions about the population as a whole is a characteristic of racist thinking, and I think Ron Paul was wrong in doing so.

However, I don’t think his broader point — that black males commit crimes at much higher percentages than males of other ethnic groups — is in any doubt. Nationwide, according to The Sentencing Project, one out of three black men will go to prison at some point in their lifetimes, vs 17% for hispanic males, and 6% for white males.

And it’s not like Paul is not the only one pointing out the problems with black culture. In a 2004 speech to the NAACP on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Bill Cosby took blacks to task for blaming their problems on racism rather than on failings within their own culture.

So I would say that Paul made a mistake in making overly broad claims about the criminality of black males in D.C. But I think his main point is true.

“Paul voted against the Voting Rights Act last year, a law that is intended to prevent discrimination on the basis of race and, more topically in Texas these days, first language, at the polls. Not sure how you square his opposition to the law with his supposed libertarianism; the law limits what government workers may do to citizens. In other words, it is a law that forbids government from harming its own citizens.”

Many so-called “civil rights” bills contain a mixture of provisions, some of which may support liberty, some of which restrict it. For example, here’s how Paul explains opposition to the “Civl Rights Act of 1964″ in his essay The Trouble with Forced Integration:

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.

This expansion of federal power was based on an erroneous interpretation of the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. The framers of the Constitution intended the interstate commerce clause to create a free trade zone among the states, not to give the federal government regulatory power over every business that has any connection with interstate commerce.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business’s workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge’s defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife.”

As for his vote against the renewal of the “Voting Rights Act of 1965″, I haven’t yet been able to find his rationale for opposing it. However, I would guess that he regards it as an unconstitutional imposition on the rights of the states to administer their voting requirements. Paul often votes against bills that he believes are worthwhile in themselves, but should be decided at the state level, not the federal level.

If you’re concerned about how a Paul presidency would affect the black community, consider this:

  1. Paul is the only candidate who would end the federal War on Drugs. This would be a huge boon to the black community (as well as the rest of us). Those incarcerated for the first time accounted for two-thirds of the growth in prison population between 1974 and 2001. This is largely the result of the war on drugs and mandatory minimum sentencing: one in four inmates in federal and state prisons is in for drug-related offences, most non-violent. No longer would a black man need fear that he will go to prison, ruining his future chances for a good job, because he did some coke or pot. Drug gangs would disappear as addicts could buy their drugs legally from pharmacies. Crime rates would go down as drugs would be less expensive due to the elimination of the risk premium.
  2. The military is disproportionately made up of blacks and hispanics, who therefore bear a higher burden of the risk and cost of the war. Paul is the only Republican candidate who opposed the War on Iraq from the beginning, and who proposes to end it soon.
  3. Paul opposes gun control regulations which prevent law-abiding blacks in crime-ridden areas like D.C. from obtaining the means to defend themselves.
  4. Paul opposes the minimum wage laws which prevent low-skill, high-risk blacks from getting their first foothold out of poverty.
  5. Paul would eliminate many of the regulations that hinder entrepreneurs from starting and running new businesses, which would increase the demand for workers.
  6. Paul would eliminate racist “affirmative action” laws, which forever taint achievements by blacks, and breed resentment among those not favored by ‘affirmative action’.

Is Ron Paul perfect? No way. I disagree strongly with his views on immigration and abortion. Is he perfectly consistent? No, he’s not. But is he light years better than any other of the Republican candidates? Yes, most definitely.

Original: craschworks - comments

Comments:

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From:madfilkentist
Date:July 7th, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
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Looking through my friendfriends list has turned up some interesting things today.

To me the most bothersome thing about Paul's comment is that he apparently hasn't noticed that many of the so-called "criminal" black people in Washington, D.C., have been arrested only for drug possession, sometimes just for marijuana.

100% of us, or very nearly, are criminals given today's convoluted system of laws.
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From:crasch
Date:July 7th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Agreed.
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From:denshi
Date:July 7th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
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Paul's comments on the CRA echo 19th century logic used to argue against the liberation of slaves. Seems that law was used to create the system of slavery, so law must be used to resolve it.
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From:crasch
Date:July 7th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
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How are Paul's arguments similar to those used to argue against the liberation of the slaves?
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(Deleted comment)
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From:crasch
Date:July 7th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
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Interesting -- thanks for the info.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 22nd, 2007 01:56 am (UTC)

US military demographic

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Where are you getting this BS that the military is disproportionately made up of minorities?

Whites make up OVER 70% of the entire makeup of the DOD.
http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/poprep2003/appendixb/b_03.html

Your inference that our current infantry has been flooded with belligerent hill-billies is bunk, there hasn't been any change in the percentages of whites or minorities with boots on the ground.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 7th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)

Getting the facts straight

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It appears that the few racial statements that have been attributed to Ron Paul go back to a newsletter to which he lent his name. He didn't write those statements at all and if you check his other writings outside of that newsletter, there is nothing remotely racist in them. He has clarified this fact, but in the past has felt the responsibility to answer for these statements, since his name was given to the publication.

Just listen to the man and you'll understand that he is more for individual rights and freedoms than any other candidate out there. (yes, this includes the right of the individual, known as the unborn child, though, he wants the federal government out of that issue all together).

Preston
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[User Picture]
From:crasch
Date:July 7th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Getting the facts straight

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Yes, I know Paul claims he didn't write it. That may be true. I also believe that Paul's not racist at heart.

However, the fact remains that he let the newsletter go out under his name. He lent his reputation to the views expressed. If the views expressed are racist, the damage is done whether he wrote it himself or let some anonymous aid write it for him. And I do think some of the points in the letter exhibited racist stereotyping and made points that went well beyond the data.

That said, I think most of the points he made are not racist, but simply uncomfortable truths about black culture. Truths that have since been pointed out by Bill Cosby, and Juan Williams, and other leaders in the black community. And I don't think he should be vilified for making true but uncomfortable statements.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 11th, 2007 12:57 am (UTC)

Re: Getting the facts straight

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Hi, as someone who has been listening alot to Ron Paul lately, I think he was more referring to an unfair justice system, and a lack of a good economy where black people are forced to take part in a black market that shouldn't be illegal because they are social issues, and are targeted unfairly as the # of people arrested represents.

I think Ron Paul lent his name, but I think he would have been more clear on the issue if it had been in his own words. But unlike some people who would have just denied it, he took full responsibility for letting his name be a part of it.

IMO, His message of personal liberty is a lot like MLK's message. Only now we are all trying to get our civil rights back, regardless of race. His personal liberty message applies to everyone equally. That is why he is popular.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 8th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)

Ron Paul is Racist

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On the news he has said that the article was taken out of context, more recently he has said he didn't write them at all! AS IF...stick to a story

On MSNBC they revealed he had also made such statements as calling the street name of MLK should be name the ZOO or WELFARIA...

He also mentioned calling MLK a gay child molestor...JUST LOOK IT UP BEFORE EVEN RESPONDING TO MY COMMENT...I WOULD LIKE TO SEE U PROVE ME WRONG
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[User Picture]
From:crasch
Date:January 8th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)

Re: Ron Paul is Racist

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Well, you're the one making the positive assertion, so the burden of proof is on you to prove that Paul said such things. I'd have to be omniscient to prove that he _didn't_ say those things.
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