Thursday’s Herald column: I worked with a Paulite

Just a few years ago, I got an up close and personal view of the Ron Paul belief system …

So I wrote about it for this week’s column. A clip:

… The theories espoused by Paul adherents — they are on the political left as well as on the right — can be found on Internet radio, on libertarian-leaning websites like The Daily Paul, and on the late night conspiracy radio theater hosted by George Noori, popular with late night truckers concerned about things like alien invasions and black helicopters.
To my then-coworker, as to Paul, the Federal Reserve system is the root of all evil — the single biggest corrupting influence on American monetary and even foreign policy, because it undermines “sound money” based on gold.
To Paulites, America was better off before the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 capped a series of financial panics in the early 20th century. The idea of a private banking system regulating interest rates and the money supply frightens Paulites, giving rise to all sorts of conspiracy theories about secret control by a coven of New York bankers, and international plots to end America’s sovereignty.Among them:
• A conspiracy, based on Paul’s 2008 presidential platform and his rhetoric as a member of Congress, to connect the U.S., Canada and Mexico into one giant country with a common currency, kicked off by the building of a transcontinental “NAFTA superhighway.”
• Belief in a government plot to disarm Americans, using gun control legislation to eventually confiscate the firearms of law-abiding citizens to prevent armed resistance. My former coworker believed that Americans have the right to own any kind of firearm, up to and including tanks, rocket launchers and surface-to-air missiles. Seriously.
• And a conspiracy to flood the nation with foreigners who would displace American workers, making America less “American.” A strong anti-immigrant thread runs through Paulite Libertarianism. In my former coworker’s case, it was a constant, simmering rage at black Caribbean immigrants. For many Paulites, the culprits are Spanish-speaking migrants, especially from Mexico.
The belief that international forces are seeking to undermine American liberty is central to the Paulites, who in many ways are heirs to the conspiratorial mindset of the John Birch Society — which distributed a video in 1998 featuring Paul. In that video he urged a U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations, to prevent an international takeover that would result in Americans losing not just their right to bear arms, but their right to worship God. …

Read the whole thing here.

I might have added that Paulism can also be found on Glenn Greenwald’s Twitter thread (or his CATO Institute and Salon scribblings) but that’s another column entirely…

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