Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – By the way, Mr. Goldberg, while we’re on the subject, if you want to start convicting people and accusing them of bigotry and bile, why don’t you read to your National Review Online audience — or would you like me to do it for you? — some of the more particular and unbelievably racist sentiments and writings of the great Abraham Lincoln? Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Jonah Goldberg, “Rand Paul’s Paleo Problem.” What is this? Let’s inquire. “In a climate where Mitt Romney and John McCain are demonized, Rand Paul has a lot of work ahead.”
Rand Paul is the most interesting contender for the Republican nomination. And when I say interesting, I mean that in the broadest sense.
A case in point: Last week, the Kentucky senator hit some turbulence when the Washington Free Beacon reported that Jack Hunter, Paul’s aide and the co-author of his book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington, was once the Southern Avenger. [Mike: Actually, Jonah, last I checked, Jack’s online sobriquets @SouthernAvenger and Southern Avenger on those illusory communities known as Facebook and Twitter are still active. I don’t know, maybe he’s not using them any longer, but they’re still there.]
Who’s that? Starting in the 1990s, as a radio shock-jock, Hunter would wear a wrestling mask made from a Confederate flag, while making jokes about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and having the South re-secede.
Mike: See, folks, like Tom Woods says, you listen to me, citizen. You listen to me all you other citizens that don’t want to take Mr. Goldberg’s admonitions to heart. Understand, citizen, you are never, ever to consider that any act of any nation or country seceding in the history of earth was ever a good thing other than an act of overt despotism, treason, and racism. Citizen, you will listen, and you will always, for the rest of your natural-born existence, and 30 generations hence, you will always be a member of this Union of states, I’m sorry, of this nation. Don’t you even think about leaving. I love how people love to make these pronunciations while going through their third and fourth divorces. I don’t know if that applies to Goldberg, but there are many who do fit that description….
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Hunter’s defenders, including my Fox News colleague Andrew Napolitano, think the reaction against Hunter has been cranked up by neocon “hawks, whose ideology is . . . being discredited every day.” According to Napolitano, “Jack’s sin in their eyes was having spoken favorably of states’ rights, and negatively of Lincoln.”
“Negatively of Lincoln” is a curious understatement, given that Hunter — who admits to giving a “personal toast” to Booth on his birthday — once suggested Lincoln would have had an amorous relationship with Adolf Hitler. [Mike: What’s that old adage, the first person that uses Hitler loses the argument?]
Meanwhile, Hunter says he has matured and is embarrassed by much of what he said in the past. Moreover, he says that for all the theatrics and bombast, he’s never said, believed, or done anything racist. “I abhor racism,” he wrote at his site, Southernavenger.com, “and have always treated everyone I’ve met with dignity and respect.”
Such controversies are hardly new to Paulworld. Most famously, Rand’s father, former Representative Ron Paul, the three-time presidential candidate (for whom Hunter worked in 2012), published newsletters bearing his name that brimmed with bigoted bile. When his writing became controversial, the elder Paul insisted he hadn’t known what was in his own newsletters (though in 1996 he took responsibility for them).
Mike: I was wondering when this was going to be picked up. [mocking] “He is the son of the great newsletter writer. He is the son of the guy that published the Ron Paul newsletters.”
Both controversies stem from the same sinful strategy adopted by so-called paleolibertarians in the 1980s.
Mike: I wonder if Goldberg would give Thomas Jefferson a pass today. Just thinking, Jonah, we could reanimate the body of Jefferson and bring him to stand trial right now in front of the editors of National Review. You guys would convict him of all manner of bigotry. By the way, Mr. Goldberg, while we’re on the subject, if you want to start convicting people and accusing them of bigotry and bile, why don’t you read to your National Review Online audience — or would you like me to do it for you? — some of the more particular and unbelievably racist sentiments and writings of the great Abraham Lincoln? Some of this stuff is just, folks, it’s beyond the pale. You want to elevate Lincoln to demigod status because he is purported to have done [insert here]. You want to talk about Ron Paul and his newsletters, fine.
Mike Church Show Transcript – The Neo-Confederate Storm: Rand Paul, Jack Hunter, And All Those “Bigoted Southern Rebels”
While you’re sitting there and making a demigod and a graven image of a god, namely the Lincoln statue right here on Earth, guess what your boy Lincoln was doing back in the 1840s, ‘50s, and early 1860s. Don’t bring that up now because that was then and this is now. Oh, really? But in the case of anyone like Jack or anyone else, that can’t be then and this can’t be now, right? Do I have that right? You get to be the judge of how many years it takes to cure something or how many years’ worth of penance or how many years of historical revision are applied, Mr. Goldberg, really, seriously? I’d like to see that certificate. It must say king on it somewhere. It’s not just Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online. It’s the entire cacophonous roar of this.
Both controversies stem from the same sinful strategy adopted by so-called paleolibertarians in the 1980s.
Mike: Folks, I must confess to you that I read and study an awful lot. I have never read anything about what I am about to read you. I’m not saying it’s not true; I’ve never heard it, and I don’t know anyone that bases their political philosophy on the following.
The idea was that libertarians needed to attract followers from outside the ranks of both the mainstream GOP and the libertarian movement — by trying to fuse the struggle for individual liberty with nostalgia for white supremacy. Thinkers such as Murray Rothbard hated the cultural liberalism of libertarians like the Koch brothers (yes, you read that right) and sought to build a movement fueled by white resentment.
Mike: I’ve read an awful lot of Rothbard and I’ve never read anything that I would apply that statement to. Most of the things I’ve read by Rothbard I couldn’t even get through because of their detail. I haven’t read all of Rothbard because the man was a prolific writer.
This sect of libertarianism played into the left-wing view of conservatism as racist. The newsletters, probably ghostwritten by Rothbard and former Ron Paul chief of staff Lew Rockwell, were the main organ for this effort.
“The paleo strategy was a horrific mistake,” libertarian economist Steve Horwitz wrote in 2011, “though it apparently made some folks (such as Rockwell and Paul) pretty rich selling newsletters predicting the collapse of Western civilization at the hands of the blacks, gays, and multiculturalists.”
By no means do all Ron Paul supporters subscribe to this dreck.
Mike: This is classic. You lay the charge and insinuate that something is untoward, but you say: I don’t mean to apply that to you guys today, I don’t mean that at all. Why bring it up then? Why bring it up?
Some are ignorant about this history, while others dismiss the controversies as a distraction from Paul’s real message. Most take great offense at any suggestion that Paul or Paulism has anything to do with racism. [Mike: I would say that it doesn’t.]
Rand Paul literally and figuratively grew up in the shadow of all this, but while he’s always circumspect when talking about his dad, in private and in public he has given no hint of subscribing to the Rockwell-Rothbard thesis. [Mike: If he hasn’t and you don’t have any evidence to support it, why do you bring it up? Why is it a subject of controversy then or even of discussion?] Indeed, he is sincerely eager to reach out to African-American voters on issues like the drug war.
Rand Paul shares his father’s ambition to be president. Color me skeptical. Even though he’s a vastly better politician — morally and strategically — than his father, in a climate where politicians . . .
Mike: What is moral about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in faraway countries that most people can’t point to on a map at the hands of you and your decepticon buddies and your thirst and quest for this thing called American exceptionalism and are ramming our way of life down their throats at the point of the end of our guns and bombs? What’s moral about that? What’s moral about dropping ordnance on houses in Pakistan and Yemen and not knowing who lives inside that house and casually dismissing it as, [mocking] “Nothing to see here. We don’t know who was in there, but they shouldn’t have been anywhere in the neighborhood. Collateral damage, don’t worry about it.” Really, collateral damage? Are aborted fetuses collateral damage, too?
Again, ladies and gentlemen, this moral relativism when it comes to being pro-life, either you are pro-life or you aren’t. Either all life is sacred and you better have a damn good excuse for exterminating one or it’s not. I don’t think that innocent civilians living in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Egypt, I don’t think they’ve done anything to earn the ignominious fate of being taken out by American armaments. Now, if they’ve committed atrocities and they’re in an act of war, of course. That’s not what we’re talking about here, is it?
. . . in a climate where politicians like Mitt Romney and John McCain can be demonized as bigots, should Rand Paul ever be nominated, one can only imagine what his opponents, in and out of the media, would do. Unfairly or not, his task of clearing the air would be Augean.
Hence another irony. Defenders like Napolitano think Paul’s critics subscribe to a “dying ideology,” but Paul’s only shot at the White House hinges on thoroughly interring an ideology far more deserving of death. He’s got a lot more work ahead of him.
Mike: One thing that I can say about this is the idea that achieving a higher office is the grandest and greatest way to effect any kind of political or cultural change, I don’t think that’s true. I would say of all the people that ran for the Republican nomination, Jonah, in 2008 and 2012, none has had a greater impact on the things we talk about today and the manner in which we talk about it than the guy that lost twice, Ron Paul. Like it or not, the conversation about foreign policy and about our bellicosity has changed dramatically, and it’s changed in which direction, towards McCain and never-ended intervention anywhere on the freaking globe, or towards a more humble, founding father-based foreign policy where we don’t meddle in other people’s affairs? Which direction is the pendulum swinging?
By my count, Jonah, Ron Paul didn’t even win a primary state. He didn’t even win a primary state, yet who is it whose politics and whose philosophy about politics and about our government and the way it works, whose is it that has the greater influence today? Is it Mitt Romney’s, John McCain’s, or Ron Paul’s? Are there young people still out there clamoring for more Mitt Romney or are there millions of young people that are joining Young Americans for Liberty, organizations like that, Campaign for Liberty, who are going to this year’s Liberty Political Action Conference — which I’ll be speaking at in September — to get more of a heaping helping of the kind of philosophy and attitude towards politics and liberty that Ron Paul brought into the discussion? I don’t even think that’s a horse race. So if you’re going to get into an election, you better get in it to win. I suppose there’s something to be said for that. I also would say that because Ron Paul did get in it, and even though he did not win both times, it matters not. The pendulum, as I just descried, has indeed swung in that direction, and many of us view that as a positive development. Yet, no office was attained.
End Mike Church Show Transcript