'Old News'

Andrew responds to my post on Ron Paul:


Paul has taken two stands on it: the first was to take formal responsibility, even though he claims he didn't know about the contents; the second was to insist he didn't write them or know who did. Some of his early responses cited by TNC do seem defensive and cranky. But the notion that he has been actively seeking victimology in all this or that he is defined by these isues seems unfair to me. I think the papers (and comments almost two decades ago) should definitely be considered, in context, when judging his candidacy, and not because the neocons are determined to smear anyone challenging their catastrophic record. But compared with Rick Perry's open bigotry in his ads, or Bachmann's desire to "cure" gays, or the rhetoric around "illegals" in this campaign, these ugly newsletters are very, very old news. To infer from them that Paul is a big racist is a huge subjective leap I leave to others more clairvoyant than myself.

Paul certainly took a form of responsibility--the peculiar kind that finds you defending the notion that 95 percent of African-American men in Washington DC are criminally inclined. So it is true that Paul initially took responsibility for printing bigotry under his name--chiefly by endorsing bigotry. 

But this is mostly beside the point. I am a fan of Stanley Crouch's "flip it" test as applied to bigotry. I would ask those of us who are fans of Ron Paul's present defense of individual liberty, who are inspired by his critique of the drug war and the criminal justice system, to take a moment and reconsider the statements published under Ron Paul's name, old news though they may be.

I would ask that we consider Ron Paul's newsletter on HIV:

"Needlin'," a new form of racial terrorism, has struck New York City streets on the tony Upper West Side. At least 39 white women have been stuck with used hypodermic needles-perhaps infected with AIDS-by gangs of black girls between the ages of 12 and 14. The New York Times didn't find this fit to print for weeks and weeks, until its candidate David Dinkins was safely elected. Even then the story was very low key, with race mentioned many paragraphs into it. Who can doubt that if the situation had been reversed, if white girls had done this to black women, we would have been subjected to months-long nation-wide propaganda campaign on the evils of white America? The double standard strikes again.

Ron Paul's newsletter on crime in the nation's capitol:

To be white in Washington, however, is to experience a culture that is anti-white and proud of it. Radio stations urge listeners not to shop in white (or Asian) owned stores. Ministers lead anti-white and anti-Asian boycotts. Professors teach that whites are committing genocide against blacks and invented crack and AIDS as part of The Plan. Employees of neighborhood convenience stores and gas stations radiate hostility at white customers. On the streets-hard as it might be to believe in these days of Bensonhurstomania-black crime against whites is the norm, with some of it even justified as "fighting the power." Pedestrians scowl, make anti-white remarks, and shout anti-white rap songs to the accompaniment of boom boxes tuned just slightly off to grate on your nerves.



If you live in a major city, you've probably already heard about the newest threat to your life and limb, and your family: carjacking. It is the hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos. The youth simply walk up to a car they like, pull a gun, tell the family to get out, steal their jewelry and wallets, and take the car to wreck. 

Such actions have ballooned in the recent months. In the old days, average people could avoid such youth by staying out of bad neighborhoods. Empowered by media, police, and political complicity, however, the youth now roam everywhere looking for cars to steal and people to rob. What can you do? More and more Americans are carrying a gun in the car. 

An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example). I frankly don't know what to make of such advice, but even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming


At the recent world AIDS conference in Japan, researchers admitted what I have long told you: there is no prospect of a cure or vaccine for AIDS. For one thing, the virus keeps mutating. A drug that might work today won't work tomorrow. Researchers also admitted that they had been lying about the incidence of heterosexual AIDS to increase funding for homosexual programs. Those who don't commit sodomy, who don't get a blood transfusion, and who don't swap needles, are virtually assured of not getting AIDS unless they are deliberately infected by a malicious gay, as was Kimberly Bergalis. Note: more and more patients ask if their physician and dentist are married and have children.

And there's so much more.

But that aside let us grant Ron Paul all the charity we can muster and say that he, in fact, did not write any of this. Let us also dismiss the fact that this alleged someone else (Lew Rockwell) remains in Paul's orbit. Having granted that charity, let us "flip it," and ask what we would think of Barack Obama who, under his own name, published such racism directed at whites and HIV. How seriously would we take the "He didn't actually write it--he just published it" defense? Would we really be so forgiving? 

Or would we say, as we should, that this sort of thing is fit for an NOI mosque, but not for the White House? Perhaps we would be completely generous and grant that Obama was not, as Andrew puts it, "a big racist." But would this not, still, raise troubling questions of incompetence? How could we justify handing off the launch codes to a man so careless with his very name?

I could not. You need not be a racist to be disqualified for the presidency; a truly stunning level of incompetence will do in a pinch.

Nothing about the comments to this post will be moderated. I take what is coming as a testament to the fervid desire of so many to believe that there is a savior coming, untainted, who will deliver us from the mess in which we find ourselves. In fact there is no God, and all our champions have come up shaky. 

But I am not here to be anyone's conscience. I'll close out at 500 comments. Until then, feel free to knife away in peace.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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