Politico’s The Arena asked its panel on Tuesday “Do Ron Paul’s newsletter explanations hold up?” Jeffrey Stewart, Professor of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara, wrote that he believes the letters “are a symptom not an aberration.”
He sees too many similarities between “the anti-black beliefs [the newsletters] contain and the core beliefs of his candidacy.” Really, Paul’s candidacy is based on anti-black beliefs? If Paul did have it out for black people, why would he be so adamantly opposed to the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, or War in general, all of which have been devastating to black families?
Certainly if one harbored bigoted views towards black people, supporting a policy that locks them away at a staggering rate compared to non-blacks would be an effective outlet for such hatred. Another way in which to oppress black people would be to adopt certain economic policies such as minimum wage laws and central bank currency manipulation. The first contributes greatly to unemployment among younger black workers; the second disproportionately harms those in the lower income strata by destroying their money’s purchasing power.
Expanding welfare programs that discourage independence and drafting blacks at double the rate of non-blacks to fight foreign wars would also be of great help to the closet racist. The thing of it is Paul has been an outspoken critic of these policies since he first ran for congress nearly forty years ago. Perhaps this explains why he garners more support from non-white voters than any other GOP candidate, according to this recent CNN/ORC poll.
Stewart takes it further, writing that:
the antebellum defenders of slavery utilized similar arguments for individual freedom and a limited role for the federal government to claim that slavery ought to be left to the states if not the individual. Slave trading, after all, was commerce. If Paul had been president in 1861, he would not have done anything to anger the slave South.
Well, we can’t know what Ron Paul would have said at his inauguration in 1861, but we do know what the guy who was elected then said. Abraham Lincoln, who is supposed to have hated slavery so much that he launched an aggressive war to end it, declared: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” Consider also that Lincoln, in his Emancipation Proclamation, freed only those slaves behind confederate lines whom he had no authority over. The slaves residing in areas controlled by his Union army he left in bondage.
The 13th Amendment is ultimately what ended slavery. So while Paul would have had no legal authority to end slavery, as no president had at the time, it’s patently absurd to conclude that he would have been sympathetic in the least toward the government institution of slavery. Also note that only a centralized state could institute slavery and compel others to support it via taxation and fugitive slave laws. While I’ve yet to meet Paul, nothing he’s said or written leads me to conclude he’d be in favor of this arrangement.
It continues: “Paul may not admit to it today, but if his view of the proper role of the federal government had been in place during the 1950s and 1960s, Little Rock High School would never have been desegregated.” Segregation of government schools only happened because the government made it so. If Paul’s view of government (that it should only be in place to defend individual liberty) had been in place from the outset, Little Rock High School wouldn’t have needed to be desegregated, since it never would have been segregated to begin with.
Ron Paul rejects racism as simply an ugly form of collectivism. In past debates he’s borrowed from Martin Luther King, Jr., admonishing folks to focus on the content of an individual’s character, rather than his skin color. This I suppose, could be entirely lost on someone whose profession is teaching Black Studies, since the field is predicated on dividing people into arbitrary groups, based solely on skin color.