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Ron Paul and DePauw: Guilty by association

Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 20:09

Rep. Ron Paul is well known for his laissez-faire governmental stance as a Libertarian. He has served 11 terms in Congress dating back to 1976 and he has run for president three times. Supporters applaud his individualist views on the importance of liberty, low taxes and a limited constitutional government. However, Paul is known for more than just these beliefs.

Throughout his political career, Paul has long been affiliated with extremist and largely countercultural ideas. During the 2008 presidential elections, newsletters from Ron Paul Political Report, published in the 1990s, surfaced. The letters, although published to offer political news and investment advice, also contain passages that are homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic and anti-government.

An October 1990 newsletter slams black activists, saying that their next demonstration should be held “at a food stamp bureau or a crack house.” In June 1990 the Ron Paul Political Report said, “I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.” The newsletters’ statements range from making the claim that AIDS is a “deliberately engineered hybrid” to defending chess champion and Holocaust denier Bobby Fischer.

While Paul has denied responsibility for these articles, he was president of the company that published the newsletter and his name appeared in the masthead. The letters are words of the past, but Paul continues to associate with groups that hold these views.

The day after he speaks at DePauw, Paul will be giving a keynote address at the Fatima Center’s “Path to Peace” conference. The group is notorious for its published writing suggesting that Jewish people should be stripped of certain civil rights and was recently called “perhaps the single largest group of hardcore anti-Semites in North America” by the publication Salon.

Paul will be speaking alongside Holocaust deniers, geocentrists, who reject the widely accepted heliocentric model of the solar system, as well as individuals who claim that global climate change is a hoax to justify a Jewish and Israeli-led genocide. Many invited guest speakers declined the offer, citing their discomfort and unhappiness with the group’s radical, anti-humanitarian beliefs. Paul accepted.

This critique of Paul is neither a reflection of the editorial board’s political views nor a refusal to be open minded about the freedom of speech and thought. This is not a political attack. Rather, this is a question of the boundaries of whom DePauw deems legitimate and appropriate to invite to campus and to endorse as a notable speaker.

As a liberal arts university, DePauw should be inviting a diverse group of speakers to the university to open a dialogue amongst students and broaden our minds to new ideas. However, in an educational environment, Paul’s toxic anti-humanitarian associations should not be tolerated nor given a platform of legitimization.

Even Paul’s fellow conservatives have derided the ideas that he supports. William F. Buckley, founder of the conservative political magazine, the National Review, said of neoconservative ideologies, “It has been by no means unanimous in the belief that conservatism consists in that kind of evangelistic extreme.” In other words, critiquing these ideologies is not synonymous with critiquing conservatism.

Although Paul has not directly stated that he yields these views, according to the First Amendment law of the freedom of speech, one’s association can be considered just as accountable as saying something oneself. Paul’s consistent and continual participation in radical groups shows his symbolic belief and support for these ideas.

His compelling background and experiences as well as his discussion of the NSA will likely be engaging and well informed. The insights that he can share on one topic, however, does not change the fact that he has allied himself with openly bigoted groups. By paying Paul to speak at DePauw and treating him as a guest, the university and the Ubbens are associating themselves with the anti-humanitarian beliefs with which Paul associates himself.

As a campus we should be open-minded about ideas. We should appreciate intellectual diversity. But, there are some mindsets that are harmful. If the university was searching for a speaker to diversify the palette, there are hundreds of credible messengers of conservative principles that could have been chosen. In an educational environment, there are standards that have to be set.  

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13 comments

Anonymous
Wed Sep 18 2013 21:46
My favorite line
"according to the First Amendment law of the freedom of speech, one's association can be considered just as accountable as saying something oneself."
Never heard the First Amendment referred to as the 'guilt by association' clause in the Bill of Rights hah
Anonymous
Tue Sep 17 2013 06:54
I think the author is a little confused with regards to some of the terms: neocon, Libertarian etc...Guilt by association is an incredibly anti-liberal sentiment: "one's association can be considered just as accountable as saying something oneself"...Dr. Paul's newsletters and "associations" have been a focus of his critics for decades...I feel that this is a bit unjust...I would probably agree with the criticism if there was the slightest hint of racism in his rhetoric or actions...He has given countless lectures, speeches and authored several books; and there aren't any indications that he holds any "anti-humanitarian" views...He has also addressed the idea of speaking in front of "controversial" groups...He has said that others reach out to him because they support his ideals (of freedom, sound money and peace), not because he supports theirs...And he does this with a clear conscience in plain view as opposed to those who truly harbor hate hiding behind a fake facade.
hazel
Sat Sep 14 2013 11:36
Now that the lecture is over, I wonder if the editorial board will write about the actual content of Paul's lecture. Please tell us if you believe the pre-judgement expressed in the opinion piece above was consistent with the real man?
Anonymous
Thu Sep 12 2013 13:05
Glad to see The DePauw Editorial Board continue its noble tradition of providing our hardworking campus community satirical humor through the form of ignorant hack articles. Just a reminder that skepticism and open-mindedness are not mutually exclusive but in fact quite the powerful duo.
Anonymous
Wed Sep 11 2013 01:38
I suggest the author research the meaning of "neoconservative" instead of making themselves look foolish by labeling Ron Paul as one. He is the opposite of that label.
Anonymous
Tue Sep 10 2013 22:21
Ron Paul employed the chairman of the racist League Of The South, Jack 'The Southern Avenger" Hunter to write Paul's official 2012 Campaign website blog. He also allowed Hunter speak at his 'We Are The Future" rally. Doug Wead introduced him AS the 'Southern Avenger." Something his followers choose to forget.
Anonymous
Tue Sep 10 2013 19:44
Complete and utter nonsense. Ron Paul a neoconservative?! He is the EXACT OPPOSITE. The writer is either a total idiot or a major league BS Artist.
Anonymous
Tue Sep 10 2013 14:52
The author of this article must be mentally ill. The hatred portrayed towards Paul views are similar to those of the Nazis!
Anonymous
Tue Sep 10 2013 12:31
This kind of thinking is exactly what is keeping americans from forming their own views based upon reason and common sense. If you cannot see past what could be, but certainly isn't, (Paul's "unspoken symbolic belief" from his affiliates) how will needed changes or plans to improve our country ever occur? The author mentions open-mindedness and he is the exact opposite. There is not one ounce of truth that Dr. Paul's views are anti-humanitarian or even radical for that matter. His views are simply logical necessities that must happen if there is ever to be any productive change without exponentialy increasing the impact of our country's problems. "Non-interventionism" is totally different from "Isolationism" which is only one of his "radical" philosphies. Over 3/4 of americans do not want to intervene in Syria. Are 75% of americans Isolationists? Of course not. Everything can be taken out of context and this author has done that to the extreme. This author is a total bigot and I guarantee that he/she has never watched any of his speeches or the presidential debate last year, which Dr. Paul dominated by being sensible and logical (with what little time he was given). I recommend everyone listen to his speech tonight and make your decision about Dr. Paul's "radical" views for yourself without being spoonfed lies.
Anonymous
Tue Sep 10 2013 12:13
My favorite part is when you say, "we should be open minded" and then you say, "but some mindsets are harmful". Nice try, the illusion of objectivity is always appreciated. The reason you are so ignorant to the facts must be because you do not welcome a dialogue to address political ideologies. Perhaps if you heard from Dr. Paul himself rather than the wikipedia page where you likely got your information, you might find that even if you disagree, there is always something to be gained from exchanging ideas. The "standard" of education is not to ignore those with whom we might disagree, but to make an argument for why we disagree through listening and becoming informed on what they truly stand for. Maybe if you considered this lecture as a learning opportunity (as it is intended to be) you could refute Dr. Paul's political platform with some semblance of credibility and accuracy.
Anonymous
Tue Sep 10 2013 08:54
This is total BS.... Just because someones smart enough to be willing to hear from everyone and try to understand different beliefs, weeding out the trash (as you admit you can only call him guilty by association, not once has Dr. Ron Paul personally made any racist or antisemitic statement. I think what is truly toxic to your campus is all this hatred for those willing to try to understand other people! By the way I am saddened that Google is willing to publish this article as news...
Anonymous
Tue Sep 10 2013 04:45
There is NOT ONE quote of Dr Paul from 32+ years of speeches, 11 books, hundreds of newsletters, THREE Presidential campaign national news interviews, or appearances on talk shows, in this editorial. Don't you think among the heaps of material, recorded over three decades, you could find ONE quote from Ron Paul to support your position? So what is Dr Paul "guilty" of? He presents the moral case for Liberty, for defensive war, and he explains economic theory of free trade, comparing the consequences of government force and managed money vs. consequences of free human interaction.
Anonymous
Tue Sep 10 2013 04:13
I don't think that the person or persons who wrote this article really understand what neoconservatism is or the basic history around it. The neoconservatives branched out of Communist circles. They were literally former Trotskyists. Ron Paul has been diametrically opposed to neoconservatism throughout his whole life, so the first sentence in the second paragraph makes no sense.




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