Friday, January 11, 2008

The value of the historical record, Wisconsin-style

So, I've been hearing about how Ron Paul used to have a newsletter in which various 'controversial' things were published — let's just call them vile and reprehensible rantings. As it turns out, the Wisconsin Historical Society played a role in verifying the details, as laid out here. I didn't catch until now that this wasn't simply published in Paul's newsletter, but some directly under Paul's name and others in a way that strongly implied that Paul wrote them.The already-famous article "Angry White Man" by in the New Republic summarizes the bottom line this way:
Some of the earlier newsletters are signed by him, though the vast majority of the editions I saw contain no bylines at all. Complicating matters, many of the unbylined newsletters were written in the first person, implying that Paul was the author.

But, whoever actually wrote them, the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul's name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him--and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays.
Maybe because our Historical Society and another institution did such good work in preserving the relevant documents, Ron Paul will be history himself?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, his fringe views aren't all buried so deep in the past …