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
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.)
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.
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.
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.
right here at LewRockwell.com, incidentally.)
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."
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
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
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
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
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,
I’ve done it
for this Weiss column. I think it takes him down. Please see if