Ron Paul has recently gotten in some trouble for items written under his name in newsletters back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The article that I linked to quotes material that appears to be racist, anti-Semitic, pro-Confederate, and many other bad things. His supporters are quick to note that he did not actually write the material, but rather that it was ghost-written. One of his former chiefs of staff, John Robbins, has pointed the finger at Lew Rockwell , another of his former chiefs of staff, for these writings.
This incident reminds me that while I like some of what Ron Paul says, I would never trust him to lead this country. In fact, I wouldn’t trust him to lead much of anything. Because there are a large number of strange people among his followers.
The regular media will be more than happy to point out some of these people, but I think it will be useful if I point out two of the “punks in my neighborhood” who are among his followers. My neighborhood, metaphorically speaking, is that of conservative Presbyterianism.
There are two of Ron Paul’s supporters who have been on his congressional staff previously. The first one of note is Dr. Gary North. While Dr. North has a good understanding of past events, such as the economic thought of Puritans, when it comes to predicting the future, he is no better than Pat Robertson. He is noted for predicting that Y2K would cause a global catastrophe, and he thought that by 1992 the AIDs epidemic would overwhelm the world’s hospitals. For decades, he has been looking for a disaster to take down the United States’ economic system, so that his ideas would find a more receptive audience. You can find a sampling of his writings here.
The other person I want to mention is John W. Robbins. Dr. Robbins also served on Ron Paul’s congressional staff. Gary North once said of John Robbins, “He is a lot more conservative than I am, and a lot meaner.” He claimed to be his Chief of Staff from 1981-1985, apparently succeeding Lew Rockwell in that position. (Lew Rockwell’s bio says that he served as Ron Paul’s chief of staff from 1978-1982.)
Dr. Robbins is the head of the Trinity Foundation, which publishes the works of Christian philosopher Gordon Clark, a Calvinist with some quirky ideas. He is also quite the muckraker in conservative Presbyterian circles. If you check out the Horror Files section of his website, you will see quite a number of attacks on fellow Presbyterians. Frequently, the alleged offence is that the erring person is on the road to Rome. Such accusations are even leveled against folks like R. C. Sproul, who is a pillar of conservative Presbyterianism. Also, you do not want to get in an argument with Robbins on the Internet. He can get really nasty.
With friends like these, Ron Paul should not get more than 15% in any primary. There will be a few people who support him because of some of his views. But to get serious consideration, people will have to look at the whole man, and a man who is surrounded by people with seriously weird ideas will always be vulnerable to criticism.