Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Letter to National Review re: Damning Ron Paul for his supporters' beliefs

Subject: Damning Ron Paul for his supporters' beliefs
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2012 11:54:53 -0500

Re: "Courting the Cranks", by Kevin D. Williamson

Dear Sirs:
Kevin D. Williamson unfairly tars Dr. Ron Paul for the opinions of some of his followers. In "Courting the Cranks"--an assessment of Murray N. Rothbard, an anarcho-libertarian who has been dead for twenty years--Mr. Williamson somehow gets around to attacking Dr. Paul, apparently because both Rothbard and Paul adhered to the Austrian School of Economics, which advocates a return to the principles of our Founding Fathers. Mr. Williamson admits that "Ron Paul promises to restore the American constitutional order". Yet in the same sentence he blames Dr. Paul for what he claims are the unconstitutional beliefs of his "most energetic partisans". How many, Mr. Williamson? Have you conducted a professional survey? Are any on his personal staff? I am a partisan, yet I do not hold unconstitutional beliefs. And, even if I did, how in the world can my thoughts be blamed on Dr. Paul? Further in his essay Mr. Williamson recounts the discovery of decades' old racist pamphlets that were disseminated under Dr. Paul's name and claims that they were written by Lew Rockwell, founder of the highly regarded Ludwig von Mises Institute. Dr. Paul disowns any knowledge of these pamphlets, and Mr. Rockwell denies writing them, yet both are condemned as guilty by Mr. Williamson. How can either man prove a negative? This is highly unfair.


Patrick Barron


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That's disappointing. Williamson wrote an excellent book recently, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, in which he quoted extensively from Mises and Hayek. In fact, on a forum, he wrote:

    "I don't know that I'd call myself an Austrian, simply because that would mean calling myself an economist, which I am not. But my main critique of socialism in the book is rooted in the Austrian knowledge/calculation problem, lots of Mises and Hayek, etc. ... If you've read a ton of Austrian economics, you won't find much of anything new in the book, I'm afraid, except maybe some pretty good socialism jokes, or the Sweden chapter, or possibly the stuff on socialism's environmental record. You might find some value in my simplified lines of argument, which I think are pretty helpful when presenting the case to people who haven't read Mises, Hayek, etc., and who aren't going to."

    The NRO article is subscription-only, so I'll suspend my own judgment for the meantime. Though it is always worth mentioning: does National Review not have any "crank" readers of its own?