Posted on | December 23, 2011 | 79 Comments
Question: What do Ron Paul and Charles Manson have in common?
Answer: Both warned their followers of an impending “race war.”
Maybe Lisa Graas isn’t the first blogger to make that comparison, and if some other blogger wants to accuse Lisa of “stealing” their material . . .
Well, lots of that going around lately. Back of the line, pal.
Being a huge Beatles fan myself — quick, somebody tell Charles Johnson — and feeling in a rather contrarian mood today, I’m going to hazard an extremely limited defense of Ron Paul on this newsletter controversy.
Stipulate from the outset that those newsletters contained a lot of bad, wrong, racist and paranoid stuff. Further stipulate that Ron Paul authorized some cranky ghost-writer to use such fear-mongering to raise money, thereby attracting to his core following a bunch of the kind of people who enjoy reading stuff like this:
“I’ve been told not to talk, but these stooges don’t scare me. Threats or no threats, I’ve laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one.) The Bohemian Grove — perverted, pagan playground of the powerful. Skull & Bones: the demonic fraternity that includes George Bush and leftist Senator John Kerry, Congress’s Mr. New Money. The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica. And the Soviet-style ‘smartcard’ the Justice Department has in mind for you.”
Considering myself something of a connoisseur of lunatic gibberish, I stand in awe of whatever unknown genius wrote that demented paragraph of paranoia-for-profit. One of these days, when some shrewd publisher hires me to edit a college textbook (The Norton Anthology of Right-Wing Extremist Literature), I’ll probably cite this as a classic example of late 20th-century direct-mail fundraising appeals.
By God, he pushed every button, didn’t he? Racism, homophobia, secret societies, currency manipulation, Jew-hating, anti-communism, Big Brother surveillance — it’s all there in 94 cleverly crafted words of undiluted 100% pure fearmongering. You have to appreciate the prophetic vision of the thing, foreshadowing in the dead-tree era the subsequent development of e-mail solicitations from MoveOn.org, Organizing for America and other such radical groups.
Lament this as politics, if you will, but as literature, it just might be the finest example of its genre ever written. It is to hate-hustling what Michelangelo’s David is to sculpture.
When future scholars of American kookdom some day speak reverently of The Golden Age of Fringe, we can be certain that this fundraising appeal from Ron Paul will be ranked with Bill Ayers’ Prairie Fire and The Collected Works of Amanda Marcotte as immortal classics.
We can stipulate as true everything in the case against Ron Paul, and say that it disqualifies him for our support as a presidential candidate, without demonizing Paul and his supporters as evil menaces. Because sometimes in politics, believe it or not, weird people out there on the scary extremist fringes are the first to glimpse the future drift of events.
Decent, intelligent, responsible citizens can “read the whole thing” — Reuters has the PDF of that eight-page 1993 letter — and not be persuaded of the truth of anything claimed by Dr. Paul (or the anonymous crackpot genius who ghosted it). And yet, for the target readership of tinfoil-hatters at whom it was directed, this newsletter served the invaluable purpose of sending them a crucial message:
You Have a Friend in Washington!
This is the beauty of democracy, a tribute to our nation’s greatness, that even the dangerously deluded are entitled to representation in the halls of Congress, where courageous men and women like Ron Paul, Maxine Waters, Sheldon Whitehouse, Alan Grayson and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are unfraid to Speak Truth to Power on behalf on their core constituencies of kooks.
Moonbats, perverts, goldbugs, socialists, feminists, Alec Baldwin, environmentalists, freaks, geeks, Keynesians, disco fans, dopeheads, sodomites, animal rights activists, neo-Nazis, James Wolcott, MSNBC viewers, Boston Globe subscribers, Daily Kos contributors, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Krugman, Sean Penn, Chris Matthews — dangerously deranged people who in any sane and responsible society would be confined to psychiatric institutions are here, in America, free to speak and write whatever manic nonsense erupts from their addled minds.
These brain-damaged freaks are also free to support with their money and votes whichever dimwitted nutjob, cynical charlatan or hateful demagogue they believe best represents their neurotic interests.
And if there is no other blogger who will take a stand in defense of the Constitutional rights of these wackos and weirdos . . .
Well, I’ve been told not to talk, but these stooges don’t scare me.
Thank you for your patriotic support,
Robert Stacy McCain
Founder and CEO,
American Institute for the Advancement of American Institutions