I couldn’t help but be struck by the vicious smear of Ron Paul by a Virginia Heffernan in the New York Times. You can read it here.
Sure, politics is a nasty business but I just couldn’t help but wonder why the New York Times would publish garbage like this.
Here’s the thrust of Heffernan’s attack: that Ron Paul has received donations from neo-Nazi extremist groups and has spoken at events attended by right-wing extremist individuals.
Pray tell: What political candidate does a background check of people before accepting their donations? And what political candidate does a background check of people attending a talk before he begins speaking?
Maybe Heffernan and the Times would like a national ID card that would identify which people are Nazi sympathizers and which aren’t. Then, I suppose the reasoning would go, political candidates could ask to see people’s national ID cards before accepting donations from them or addressing them in speeches.
Is this ludicrous or what? What are Heffernan and the New York Times suggesting – that Ron Paul, one of the most committed libertarians around, has instead been a closet Nazi the whole time he has been in Congress? Or maybe they’re suggesting that this committed libertarian has, all of a sudden, decided to convert to Nazism. Or maybe they’re saying that libertarians don’t really advocate individual freedom, free markets, and limited government but instead advocate statism and government control over economic activity.
Does Heffernan even attempt to address Paul’s libertarian positions? Of course not. Heck, for all I know maybe she thinks that libertarianism is the same thing as socialism and interventionism, which were core elements of National Socialism ( i.e., Nazism). Maybe she doesn’t realize that libertarianism was the philosophy of economic liberty that guided the founding of our nation. Maybe she doesn’t realize that the American people once embraced the free-market, limited-government philosophy that undergirds libertarianism.
Maybe Heffernan has never been taught that the Franklin Roosevelt New Deal revolution, which libertarians have long opposed, was based on the socialist ideas of Stalin’s Soviet Union and the fascist ideas of Mussolini’s Italy. Maybe she doesn’t realize that Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act and its "Blue Eagle" propaganda campaign, which were the antithesis of libertarianism, bore a remarkable resemblance to Nazi Germany’s economic plans. For that matter, I wonder if Heffernan knows that Social Security, the socialist program which libertarians have long opposed, originated among German socialists and was ardently embraced by none other than Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party in Germany.
I just can’t help but wonder whether some people are so scared over the fact that every day Ron Paul’s campaign is causing more and more people to look closely at libertarianism and to recognize that it is the only solution to the many crises facing our nation – crises that have their root in the socialist and interventionist ideas that American statists have foisted upon our nation during the past several decades.
Heffernan and the Times are not dumb. They undoubtedly realize that attacking libertarianism directly might cause people to examine it, especially given that attacks on libertarianism are usually intellectually weak, whether they come from the right or the left. Much easier – and more cowardly, of course – to smear Paul with some sort of Nazi nonsense in the desperate hope that frightened and cowed Americans won’t dare to even look at libertarian philosophy and ideas.
Heffernan and the New York Times should be ashamed of themselves for their silly smear of Ron Paul. No wonder people are so disgusted with politics.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.