Rand Paul, standard bearer for a particular brand of American Libertarianism, either knew about his new media director’s past as the masked Southern Avenger for 13 years and decided it didn’t matter, or he didn’t know and hired a key aide without doing even a pro-forma background check. I have to think the former since even a bonafide libertarian would care if say, a pedophile, joined his staff, and would therefore, have some sort of background check set up.
Perhaps Paul himself doesn’t think having Jack Hunter, a man who celebrates the birthday of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, on his staff is a problem — for himself. Perhaps he sees it as the epitome of libertarian tolerance. But Rand Paul is a p-o-l-i-t-i-c-i-a-n. His success in his chosen field depends not on his personal feelings alone, but on thousands of voters. Did it not occur to him that someone who ‘compared Lincoln to Saddam Hussein and suggested that the 16th president would have had a romantic relationship with Adolf Hitler if the two met,’ would be a force-field pushing not a few voting hands to another lever?
From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
During public appearances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was printed a Confederate flag.
Prior to his radio career, while in his 20s, Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which “advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.”
Rand Paul’s statements against American warmongering are to be applauded, but as in certain Japanese universities we should all rumble the floor with the foot beats of disapproval when he hires a man who has led the way in mainstreaming ugly strains of the country’s racist past.
[And yes, people do change, as Hunter has claimed he has. If so how about some public self analysis? How about a real look at what he did as the Southern Avenger and some conversation about what led him to change from those ideas? How about letting himself be grilled, as other public penitents have done? How many hours did he hold forth on the idea that '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.”? Can we have one-tenth of the time to decide if he has really changed? ]
The Free Beacon, a conservative on-line source, broke the story about Hunter. The Daily Caller, for which Hunter has written recently, with a muted pen, headlines that his old ideas are no longer with him. Chris Hayes, of MSNBC, who featured the Paul-Hunter relationship on Tuesday‘s show, said that Paul himself, had three racist strikes against him and should be known as holding such views.
Keeping It Real on ‘neo-Confederate Libertarians’
…the neo-Confederates, the Lew Rockwells and that whole crew are fundamentally about white supremacy and nativism. And the Paul clan has been thick as thieves with those folks forever.
Who knows what’s in their hearts and frankly who cares? But none of this latest stuff should surprise us. And I don’t know why real libertarians waste any time making any sort of common cause with these folks.
The Libertarian War over the Civil War
[The Libertarian magazine] 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.