Recently by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.: u2018Repeal' of Glass-Steagall Irrelevant to FinancialCrisis
One thing I notice more and more is that when the mainstream media deigns to acknowledge a libertarian viewpoint, it does so not with the intention of refuting it. Perhaps these media sources can't refute it, but I suspect they're not even interested in trying. What they want to do is demonize and exclude. They present the anti-state view, often tendentiously, and make clear their disapproval. And that's it.
My first exposure to how the MSM uses this tactic against dissidents came in early 2005, when the New York Times denounced my book The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History — which had already spent two months on that paper's bestseller list by that point — on its editorial page. That denunciation was written by a former employee of a well-known thought-control organization that monitors American life for deviant opinions. (A deviant opinion is one that — need I say it? — diverges from the Joe-Biden-to-Mitt-Romney spectrum of allowable thought.)
The Times warned Americans that my book contained all sorts of subversive arguments — but without actually explaining my positions, disclosing any of the evidence I had offered for them or — and this is the point — bothering to show why I was wrong. It was enough to state what I had said — usually in a way intended to make it sound ridiculous — and leave it at that, as if it were self-refuting. That was the treatment I deserved for being ungrateful for all the gifts the political class had bestowed on Americans.
For example, I pointed out in the book that European recovery after World War II owed little or nothing to the sacred Marshall Plan. In response, the Times merely restated the conventional view: the Marshall Plan "lifted up devastated European nations after World War II," the very premise I had challenged, and which the Times did nothing to rehabilitate apart from merely repeating it.
Where was I wrong? Which arguments were mistaken? My mistake, evidently, was questioning the received version of U.S. history. A deviant like me was not entitled to having the nature of his errors explained to him. It was enough to list my offenses and banish me.
(I responded right here at LewRockwell.com, incidentally.)
The book's sales actually picked up more steam following the New York Times' attack, as I figured they might. So I can't say I was surprised that when Meltdown, my Austrian look at the financial crisis, made the Times' bestseller list for ten weeks, the paper ignored it altogether.
I've seen the same pattern in a lot of the attacks on Ron Paul, and I've spent my time making videos and writing articles and blog posts defending Dr. Paul against these non-arguments. The most recent of these comes from Salon.com, which ran an article by Gary Weiss called "Ron Paul's Phony Populism."
Of course, it doesn't matter whether the word "populist" is appropriate to describe Dr. Paul or not. The word itself doesn't matter. What matters is the charge behind the Weiss article: that when Ron Paul postures as the champion of the people against the entrenched interests and the power elite, he is blowing smoke. Ron Paul is a "friend of the oligarchy," Weiss contends.
That must be the most unrequited friendship in history.
But the gist of the article is this: Ron Paul wants to cut A, B, and C. A, B, and C have nice-sounding names, so there's no need to defend them. Their names are so nice-sounding that we don't even need to inquire into why Ron Paul might want to eliminate them or whether, amid all their wonderfulness, there may be anything even a teensy-weensy bit problematic.
We learn that Ron Paul is opposed to "the very existence of the Federal Reserve," though again we're not given any reason to believe he is wrong. (I always get a kick out of it when alleged progressives rush to the defense of the reactionary Fed, which no doubt appreciates having progressive cover.)
As in the usual treatment, Weiss makes no effort to understand Dr. Paul's position. Here, believe it or not, is the view he attributes to Dr. Paul: "It is not the function of society to provide healthcare for the poor. If they get sick, tough."
When has Ron Paul ever said providing health care for the poor isn't supposed to be one of the functions of "society"? Never, of course. At every opportunity he has said the very opposite. In his own medical practice, as even NPR reported not long ago in an interview with Dr. Paul's medical partner, his policy was to treat the needy for free.
Weiss has committed the elementary — and deeply reactionary — error of confusing government with society. Merely because we do not wish to entrust a particular task to guys with guns does not mean we do not want to see the task performed.
Then we get the usual lecture that if Ron Paul cared about the people, he'd go through the tired charade of coming up with "more regulation" to rein in Wall Street. I reply to this line of thinking in Rollback, my book from earlier this year, and in brief in the video below. Weiss likewise takes Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank to be self-evidently good, so there's no need to try to understand why someone might oppose them, apart from a belligerent refusal to help mankind. Same for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which Weiss tries to claim is "underfunded." Sure it is.
Once in a while I make a longer video, in which I go through an article like this one from Salon point by point. I do this partly to show the anti-Paul side that there are arguments aplenty to support his views, though it's my shorter videos that are probably more effective with opponents. But I do it also to help equip Ron Paul supporters with arguments they can use with their friends, on blogs, in comments sections, or whatever, so people like Weiss can't get away with attacking the true man of the people, and the great principles he represents, so easily.
I've done it for this Weiss column. I think it takes him down. Please see if you agree.
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [send him mail; visit his website], a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, is the author of eleven books, most recently Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse and Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, as well as the New York Times bestsellers Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. He is also the editor of five other books, including the just-released Back on the Road to Serfdom.