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The Company Ron Paul Keeps

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Dec 26, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 15 • By JAMES KIRCHICK
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The Republican Jewish Coalition announced this month that congressman Ron Paul would not be among the six guests invited to participate in its Republican Presidential Candidates Forum. “He’s just so far outside of the mainstream of the Republican party and this organization,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the RJC, adding that the group “rejects his misguided and extreme views.” 

Photo of Ron Paul

He didn’t pay attention to newsletters that earned his family millions?

NEWSCOM

Paul’s exclusion caused an uproar, with critics alleging that his stand on Israel had earned the RJC’s ire; an absolutist libertarian, Paul opposes foreign aid to all countries, including the Jewish state. “This seems to me more of an attempt to draw boundaries around acceptable policy discourse than any active concern that President Dr. Ron Paul would be actively anti-Israel or anti-Semitic,” wrote Reason editor Matt Welch. Chris McGreal of the Guardian reported that Paul “was barred because of his views on Israel.” Even Seth Lipsky, editor of the New York Sun and a valiant defender of Israel (and friend and mentor of this writer), opined, “The whole idea of an organization of Jewish Republicans worrying about the mainstream strikes me as a bit contradictory.”

While Paul’s views on Israel certainly place him outside the American, never mind Republican, mainstream, there is an even more elementary reason the RJC was right to exclude him from its event. It is Paul’s lucrative and decades-long promotion of bigotry and conspiracy theories, for which he has yet to account fully, and his continuing espousal of extremist views, that should make him unwelcome at any respectable forum, not only those hosted by Jewish organizations. 

In January 2008, the New Republic ran my story reporting the contents of monthly newsletters that Paul published throughout the 1980s and 1990s. While a handful of controversial passages from these bulletins had been quoted previously, I was able to track down nearly the entire archive, scattered between the University of Kansas and the Wisconsin Historical Society (both of which housed the newsletters in collections of extreme right-wing American political literature). Though particular articles rarely carried a byline, the vast majority were written in the first person, while the title of the newsletter, in its various iterations, always featured Paul’s name: Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Political Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report, and the Ron Paul Investment Letter. What I found was unpleasant.

“Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks,” read a typical article from the June 1992 “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism,” a supplement to the Ron Paul Political Report. Racial apocalypse was the most persistent theme of the newsletters; a 1990 issue warned of “The Coming Race War,” and an article the following year about disturbances in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., was entitled “Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.” Paul alleged that Martin Luther King Jr., “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours,” had also “seduced underage girls and boys.” The man who would later proclaim King a “hero” attacked Ronald Reagan for signing legislation creating the federal holiday in his name, complaining, “We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.” 

No conspiracy theory was too outlandish for Paul’s endorsement. One newsletter reported on the heretofore unknown phenomenon of “Needlin’,” in which “gangs of black girls between the ages of 12 and 14” roamed the streets of New York and injected white women with possibly HIV-infected syringes. Another newsletter warned that “the AIDS patient” should not be allowed to eat in restaurants because “AIDS can be transmitted by saliva,” a strange claim for a physician to make. 

Paul gave credence to the theory, later shown to have been the product of a Soviet disinformation effort, that AIDS had been created in a U.S. government laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Three months before far-right extremists killed 168 Americans in Oklahoma City, Paul’s newsletter praised the “1,500 local militias now training to defend liberty” as “one of the most encouraging developments in America.” And he offered specific advice to antigovernment militia members, such as, “Keep the group size down,” “Keep quiet and you’re harder to find,” “Leave no clues,” “Avoid the phone as much as possible,” and “Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

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