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Chip Berlet

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Ron Paul's Web of Denial

by Chip Berlet

The "mainstream corporate media is "down playing or ignoring" Ron Paul's "unsavory views that are consistent with the depth and breadth of his support from the far right in the U.S.," charges Frederick Clarkson over at Talk2Action. A few posts later, blogger "wilkyjr" chronicles "Ron Paul's Vision of the Nation" as something out of a nightmare.

For decades Ron Paul has been promoting bogus right-wing theories about a conspiracy to erode America's national sovereignty--a conspiracy supposedly involving the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Trilateral Commission. These are the same allegations spread by the armed militia movement of the 1990s concerning an alleged "New Word Order." A few years ago Paul's claims about a proposed North American Union and a so-called "NAFTA Superhighway" from Mexico to Canada echoed pet conspiracy theories of dubious right-wing information sources such as World Net Daily and Human Events.

Paul denies he promotes these conspiracy theories, even though he constantly uses rhetoric that echoes right-wing conspiracy theories circulated since the 1950s. Why is it so hard for Paul to see that his name is being bandied about by bigots who suggest that Paul holds beliefs that he claims he does not hold? Why doesn't Paul realize he has an obligation to forcefully distance himself from such claims? This isn't about guilt by association; this is about a major political candidate standing up and setting the record straight using clear language. Otherwise it gives the appearance that Paul is seeking public plausible deniability, while continuing to court the very constituencies he suggests he rejects.

Since the late 1950s the source of many "Global Government" conspiracy theories has been the John Birch Society, an ultra-conservative organization who today still carries forward the proposition (first articulated in the late 1790s) that a secret society called the Illuminati are constructing a One World Government and manipulating elected officials in the United States. Ron Paul is a close public ally of the John Birch Society, but when this is pointed out, his supporters claim it is a "smear."

Paul, no surprise, has become a hero to legions of conspiracy theorists, including some for whom White supremacy, homophobia, and antisemitism are as American as apple pie. Organized racist groups use generic conspiracy theories as an entry point for recruitment. Since the 1800s, claims of sinister plots for global subversion have been interwoven with lurid antisemitic stories of Jewish plots for global conquest. It is not fair to suggest that Ron Paul applauds any of these bigoted movements, but it is more than fair to ask Paul why he lacked the common decency and common sense to quickly return a campaign donation from a notorious neonazi not long ago.

It is also fair to ask Paul to explain in more detail how his views about the covert plans of global elites to destroy U.S. sovereignty differs from the generic or antisemitic New World Order conspiracy theories easily found on the Web. What are Paul's specific sources of information for his claims? When Paul provides his sources we can compare them to the theories promulgated by the John Birch Society--as well as groups with more bigoted baggage.

The rhetoric of Ron Paul over the past decade has been interpreted by some constituencies as coded support for bigoted ideas. This use of coded language in public debate is nothing new. As a Presidential candidate, George Wallace refined the art of coded White supremacist appeals to a high political art form. Wallace knew he was speaking in code, as did President Richard Nixon who adapted the Wallace rhetoric for the Republican's racist "Southern Strategy." Does Paul ever wonder why ultra-right crackpots, conspiracy theorists, bigots, and neonazis champion his cause? Does Paul not realize his rhetoric tends to support bigots unless it is clarified?


Ron Paul's Money Conspiracy Mania

by Chip Berlet

Reporters should be asking Ron Paul the sources of his views on the Federal Reserve System. Paul is drawing from a deep well of right-wing conspiracy theories about money manipulation. On which version of the "Money Conspiracy" does Paul rely?

Conspiracy theories about the Federal Reserve, "bankster" currency control, and manipulation of gold prices are peddled by conspiracist sources such as the John Birch Society and the Alex Jones Prison Planet and Infowars websites. Where else do we find similar rhetoric in the United States today? It comes primarily from that sector of the Political Right known as the “Patriot Movement,” also known as the “Americanist” or “Consitutionalist” movements. The “Militia Movement” is the armed wing of the “Patriot Movement.” Out on the fringes of the Right are the antisemitic organized White Supremacist goups that add an over antisemitic twist to the narrative storyline.

A popular purveyor of the Federal Reserve Conspiracy Theory is Zeitigeist – the Movie. The movie recapitulates the claim of a banker conspiracy forged on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. Most of the claims in this short segment of the Zeitigeist movie are lifted without credit from the book The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin and Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins.

While Griffin avoids overt antisemitism, Mullins was a notorious antisemite who used Federal Reserve conspiracy theories as a way to introduce people to his other body of work which was noxious antisemitism. Zeitigeist – the Movie refers to the International Bankers-long a code word for Jewish Bankers.

The claim is that a national Central Bank is designed to produce debt for the average American.  This is part of a secret plot by wealthy elites who know that “Debt = Slavery.”  The American people are brainwashed by major media and politicians to accept the idea of a Central Bank.

 

 

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Democracy is a process,
not a specific set of institutions

Democracy is a process that assumes
the majority of people, over time,
given enough accurate information,
and the ability to participate
in a free and open public debate,
reach constructive decisions
that benefit the whole of society, and
preserve liberty,
protect our freedoms,
extend equality, and
defend democracy.


Democracy is a process,
not a specific set of institutions

Democracy is a process that assumes
the majority of people, over time,
given enough accurate information,
the ability to participate
in a free and open public debate,
and can vote without intimidation,
reach constructive decisions
that benefit the whole of society, and
preserve liberty,
protect our freedoms,
extend equality, and
defend democracy.


-Chip Berlet

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Democracy is a process,
not a specific set of institutions

Democracy is a process that assumes
the majority of people, over time,
given enough accurate information,
and the ability to participate
in a free and open public debate,
reach constructive decisions
that benefit the whole of society, and
preserve liberty,
protect our freedoms,
extend equality, and
defend democracy.

This site is curated by Chip Berlet