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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

 
Slavery, schmavery. Let's talk about taxes

by digby

I assume you've already heard about this, but just in case:
An aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has a history of inflammatory comments about race and the Civil War.

Yes, that's the real guy

As first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online publication, Paul new media staffer Jack Hunter has for years been a provocative talk radio host who called himself the “Southern Avenger.” Before that, he was a member of the League of the South, a group that advocates Southern secession.

“Sen. Paul holds his staff to a standard that includes treating every individual with equal protection and respect, without exception,” spokeswoman Moira Bagley said in a statement.
It’s not clear how close Hunter is to the senator. He serves as Paul’s new media director. According to a recent Washington Monthly article, Hunter has been advising Paul on foreign policy. In addition to his current work for the senator, Hunter helped Paul write a 2011 book, “The Tea Party Goes to Washington.” But on his Web site and radio show he clearly speaks for himself (as when he endorsed Mark Sanford in the May South Carolina special election). Hunter also worked on former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint’s 2011 book, “Now or Never: Saving America From Economic Collapse.”

“My entire adult life I’ve defended the Old South and the southern cause in America’s bloodiest war. Not because I support slavery or racism but despite it,” Hunter says in one 2011 video.

But in other commentary, Hunter has waded explicitly into racial politics.

“Americans aren’t wrong to deplore the millions of Mexicans coming here now,” he wrote in 2007. “A non-white majority America would simply cease to be America for reasons that are as numerous as they are obvious – whether we are supposed to mention them or not.”
I have been informed that Daddy Paul's foray into confederate calumny was done mostly for political purposes --- he needed the backing of the neo-confederates for money etc. I'm just saying, I've heard that.

Sonny boy doesn't need any of that.  But that doesn't mean he doesn't see the political upside for himself. He's obviously running for president and I would expect him to run a southern strategy.  (In fact, any Republican pretty much has to.) These dogwhistles mean something to a certain rather significant subset of GOP primary voters. What else is new?

However, that's not the most interesting thing about this story. The reporter Rachel Weiner followed up today with this very interesting run down of an internecine war among libertarians over "the war of northern aggression." It's so much fun!
[L]ibertarians have spent years trying to deal with the sliver of their movement that is focused on re-litigating the Civil War. Yes, the Civil War, which officially ended 148 years ago.

The divide is between so-called “neo-Confederates” and the “cosmotarians” or “liberaltarians” (all disputed terms) who oppose them.

Cosmotarians see the neo-Confederates as an embarrassing stain on libertarianism; neo-Confederates in turn see cosmotarians as intolerant, hypocritical and pro-war.

“These groups are usually at each others’ throats more often than not,” said Reason magazine editor Matt Welch.

Reason is firmly in the anti-neo-Confederate camp. In 2008 they reported on the racist newsletters put out under Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s name and criticized the presidential candidate for allying himself with that strain in libertarianism. In response, they received scores of angry letters accusing them of selling out the movement. The neo-Confederates are largely centered around libertarian author Lew Rockwell (who worked with Paul and is widely suspected to have written the offensive newsletters), his website LewRockwell.com and his think-tank the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
[...]
And there are some ideological similarities that explain the gravitation of the anti-Abraham Lincoln crowd to the pro-liberty movement. Libertarians often support a person or political group’s right to secede peacefully. America was founded, after all, on a secession movement). But most will say that seceding so that it can enslave an entire race is not by any stretch of the imagination libertarian. Individual freedom easily trumps “state’s rights.”

Libertarians also pride themselves on their open-mindness, and the movement is made up of people who have been dismissed by the political mainstream. That can make libertarians tolerant of views they find personally repugnant.

There are contrarians who criticize Lincoln’s use of federal power and argue that the South had a right to secede — but have no love for slavery or the Confederacy. Libertarians are anti-war and in favor of market-based solutions, and some argue that even though slavery was abominable, it would have ended for economic reasons with far less bloodshed if the North had allowed the South to secede.

“Though I think Lincoln was the worst tyrant in U.S. history and his war was illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, I do not think the [Confederacy] was some quasi-libertarian bastion of freedom or justified,” said Stephan Kinsella. “The real enemy is, as always, the State — whether it be the USA or the [Confederate States of America].”

One would think that the ultimate defenders of individual liberty would have no problem distancing themselves from a culture and philosophy that literally owned other human beings. But for some reason this is complicated for many of them and they just can't seem to make what would seem to be an obvious leap. I'll leave you to speculate as to why that might be ...

Anyway, it's a really interesting little post. Highly recommended.


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