One of the reasons that I think so little of Ron Paul was that I was one of those supporters from his 1988 campaign who received his newsletters--and found some of what was in them disturbing. I do not find his explanation--that he did not actually read these newsletters sent out under his name--particularly impressive. Either he was just making money without bothering to see what these newsletter said (a greedy and morally objectionable action), or he really did believe what the newsletters said, and his thinking has "evolved" since then. Neither is a strong argument for making him the Republican nominee.
But that was then; this is now. The December 25, 2011 New York Times has an article about Paul's history of support by groups that range from conspiracy theorist (such as the John Birch Society) to really objectionable, such as Stormfront, a neo-Nazi group. But while Ron Paul can't control who supports him, his response to that support suggests that Ron Paul does not see neo-Nazis as quite as objectionable as I see them:
The white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied behind his candidacy have not exactly been warmly welcomed. “I wouldn’t be happy with that,” Mr. Paul said in an interview Friday when asked about getting help from volunteers with anti-Jewish or antiblack views.
But he did not disavow their support. “If they want to endorse me, they’re endorsing what I do or say — it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say,” said Mr. Paul, who is now running strong in Iowa for the Republican nomination.There is not even a pragmatic argument for refusing to condemn white supremacists--we are not talking about a significant fraction of American voters, even in the Deep South. For every white supremacist that might sit out the election if Ron Paul condemned their views, there would likely be a dozen voters who are charmed by Ron Paul's blunt speaking and in love with his foreign policy approach who would be more inclined to vote for him. My guess is that Ron Paul is not as hostile to those offensive ideas as he pretends.
Let me emphasize that this is not a criticism of libertarian ideas. I can respect but disagree with non-interventionism. (And mostly, what I disagree with is the rigid black and white idea of it--the U.S. has a long history of making things worse by sticking our nose into the problems of other countries.) It is a criticism of racist craziness that is not intrinsically libertarian.
UPDATE: What is really disturbing is how the "hatred of the U.S.is blowback from foreign intervention" seems to have taken over the brains of some many of Ron Paul's followers. My favorite example is this comment on an article over at PJ Media where one person asked:
Stupid Paulistinians, why do terrorists kill Russian school children when Russia supports Arabs against Israel?
Stupid Paulistinians, what did Spain do to deserve being invaded by the Ummayads?And the response?
The Soviets in Afghanistan in the 80′s
The Spanish Inquisition
It’s called blowback.Actually, the Chechnyan terrorists are not because of Afghanistan, but because there is an ongoing effort by Islamists to separate Chechnya from Russia. I am not at all happy with how Russian security forces have operated in trying to put down that war, but it is not because of Afghanistan.
The other answer: "The Spanish Inquisition"--just shows the ignorance. The Ummayyads invade Spain in the 700s. The Spanish Inquisition starts in the 1400s. This isn't just blowback; it's time travel blowback. And to quote Monty Python:
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition--and not seven hundred years early.