Ron Paul’s Past: Yeah, It’s That Bad, But It Won’t Matter

There had been concern about Ron Paul’s ideological past among the more suspicious liberal netnerds for some time. Inbetween terms in Congress, he published a newsletter which mostly circulated amongst violent far-right white supremacist militia types. The only copy of that which had been made available to the public — one of the subscribers had posted it on Usenet years back — was conspicuously racist. But hey, it’s just a usenet posting, and maybe it was a hoax or maybe, as Ron Paul’s own people said, it was not actually written by Paul, but by somebody else who was writing for him at that time. A fluke. Somebody was at the wheel who shouldn’t have been and made Paul look bad in that one instance.

Well it ain’t a fluke. A reporter from the New Republic finally tracked down a large cache of Ron Paul Newsletters, and they were all in that vein. Blatantly racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, supportive of violent uprisings against the government, nostalgic for the Confederacy and agitating for a new secession. Year after year after year. If, as RP still claims, he never saw this stuff and doesn’t agree at all with it, it is strange indeed that for years and years he allowed it to be distributed under his name. Strange indeed.

Will this sink his popularity with libertarian computer nerds?

I don’t believe it will for a minute. If you read the news sites frequented by libertarian computer nerds, you’ll find that a lot of them are quietly bigoted themselves. You know how last year James Watson got drunk and started babbling racist pseudoscience to reporters? They ate that right up. Loved it. The violent stuff? They’re cool with that. They’re cast in the mold of Eric S. Raymond, gun nerd and twitchy threat-maker extraordinaire. The homophobia? I don’t know that they’re specifically homophobic but they’re often rampantly sexist (another matter which affect the selection of articles on their news sites) — they tend to be obsessed with the “discrimination” suffered by straight white males, and resentful of the Political Correctness which makes it impolite to express open bigotry.

In short, I don’t think that this will cost Ron Paul much of his audience at all. I don’t think most of them will find this side of him objectionable. In fact, the only revelation about Ron Paul that has consistently shocked many of them is that he is a creationist, and they’re largely atheists and seethe with contempt for any religious person except Ron Paul, most especially creationists. Racist, anti-Semite, homophobe? Whatever, just keep it quiet. Creationist? Eew, that makes them squeamish! But only a little squeamish.

Tthe evidence dug up by TNR is damning. There is no way he could consistently allow that stuff to be published in his name over a decade or more, whether or not he wrote it himself, unless he approved of it. That is just unbelieveable. Ron Paul has a history of approving of blatant racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and right-wing militia violence. That is undeniable.

Will the Ron Paul nerds care?

No. I predict they will not care one bit. He will remain their hero — and perhaps become a bit more of a hero, for daring to say what you can’t say (except quiety. to your Aryan militia friends).

UPDATE: Michael thinks that my pessimism about libertarian nerds is unwarranted; possibly my opinions have been skewed by hanging around reddit too much, where the worst of the worst rule.  That’s cool.  It’s great when pessimistic predictions turn out to be wrong.

Spotten On A Whole New Level

Ever play Credo, the card game from Chaosium where you play out the Council of Nicea and determine the future path of Christian orthodoxy, assembling a creed in the process?

That’s small potatoes compared to The Last Supper, an entry in the Iron Game Chef 2005 competition.

The Last Supper must be played in a single session and incorporates a potluck supper. Each participant should bring one or more dishes, and they are encouraged to coordinate for a satisfying meal. The GM will provide the beverage.

One participant – the GM – takes the role of Christ. The remaining participants – the players – each play one of the twelve Apostles. Of these Apostles, some – the evangelists – will go on to write the Bible. Others – the proselytes – will travel unto the corners of the world and spread Christianity to the masses. And one – the traitor – will betray Christ to the Romans and initiate the crucifixion. Without a traitor, all other efforts will fail.

The story of the “real” Last Supper should be considered simply one example of how the game might turn out, just as our world should be considered an example of how the world might be shaped by Christianity over the millennia which follow this event. There is no guarantee that Judas Iscariot will be the traitor, nor that any other disciple will follow the destiny we see for him in our world. Ultimately, the point of the game is to interpolate the doctrine of the church which will form around Christ, and to simultaneously extrapolate the effects of this doctrine on the world to come.

Credo was really cool. Sounds like this would be too.

(“Spotten,” [thanks to Jonathan and James for spelling correction in the comments], is an admonitory word older Reformed people of Dutch extraction in West Michigan sometimes use to describe speech that threatens to go over the line, or actually falls over the line, into blasphemy. “Hey, that’s spotten’.”)

UPDATE: Hours after I write this I happen to see a post on the author’s blog, describing a playtest of the game — and noting that the final rankings for the game chef contest are out — and the Last Supper was one of the two runners up! Neat.

There are far more cool ideas and designs on the Iron Game Chef entry list than made it into even the finalists. To enter that contest, and make a serious effort, is in a real sense to win.

“Judeo-Christian” or Dysfunctionally Humanistic?

A Religious Liberal Blog critiques a Dennis Prager column.


One major conflict between the Judeo-Christian value system and the various secular ones competing with it revolves around the answers to these questions: Is nature created for man or is man merely a part of nature? Or, to put it in other words, does the natural environment have any significance without man to appreciate it and to use it for his good?

The Judeo-Christian responses are clear: Nature has been created for man’s use; and on its own, without man, it has no meaning. Dolphins are adorable because human beings find them adorable. Without people to appreciate them or the role they play in the earth’s ecosystem to enable human life, they are no more adorable or meaningful than a rock on Pluto.

Religious Liberal:

ccording to Prager, “Nature has been created for man’s use; and on its own, without man, it has no meaning.” This sounds like a pernicious form of humanism.

Why? Because it locates value soley within the mind of humans, as if there was no relationship determined by the environment. If I like ice cream it’s not simply me imposing this on the food, it’s because there are particular ingredients such as chocolate that is agreeable. If it was made of sludge it’d be awful and no amount of imposition by my mind could change this. There are elements in the valued and the valuer, which make up value.

Also Prager looks to human beings and our valuations to determine the importance of others, using human utility as the standard. Monotheism looks to God to determine the importance of any one thing not human likes or dislikes. Augustine’s example is that of a spider. Humans find little use for such a creature, many kinds of spiders are poisonous and at best they are a nuisance for us.

But the spider’s ultimate value is not determined by human likes or dislikes. Rather the spider’s value is in relation to God and God’s aims in the world including the whole complex eco-system of which the spider plays it’s part. That is God is concerned with the good of the whole and sometimes that may or may not be agreeable to humans. But monotheism pushes us to think of the whole to move beyond our likings to a greater vision of the good.

But Prager would have us forgo this believing that the cosmos was created for human beings. But that’s an odd reading of Genesis where God declares the creation good well before humans were created. And in Romans 8:21-22, Paul writes of the salvation story as including the whole universe, not just humans. And the evolutionary account precludes such a human centric reading of our standing in the cosmos.

I highlight this piece because it’s important to not confuse right wing politics with orthodoxy.

Clearly We Need More Conservative Judges

Like this one, to help preserve freedom in America.

In a divorce case between two parents who practice the Wiccan religion, a judge spontaneously introduced into the divorce degree a provision that neither of the parents expose the child to “non-mainstream” religious beliefs.

That’s right, the judge banned either of the parents from exposing the child to the religion they shared. The judge was following the suggestion of the “Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, which provides recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights.” The Bureau had worried about the confusion caused by the “discrepancy” between the parents’ religion and the “belief system” adhered to by the Catholic school the boy happened to attend.

The religion of the parents had to be suppressed by court order because it conflicted with the religion of the boy’s school.

Every time I think it’s safe to read the news, they come up with something even more depressing.

On the flip side, everyone involved in the case seems to think it’ll be trivial to get this overturned. But that it happened in the first place is pretty sad.

“Then they came for the Wiccans, and I did not speak out because I was not a Wiccan…”