As the valiant and few readers of this once-great blog are undoubtedly aware, I’ve not been writing much – or even thinking much – about politics lately. You may also be aware that, while I have a certain sympatico with Ron Paul’s small-government, balanced-budget mindset, I also regard him as a bit of a kook.
Nevertheless, when verbal and literary conservative-on-conservative violence escalates to the point of ridiculousness, as now, I find I must speak up, even through the multiple levels of apathy that form my disinterest in the ugly farce is the winnowing process as we know it.
What’s got me so irked? David Swindle’s column bashing Ron Paul contains some valuable food for thought for those wavering on the event horizon of Paul’s influence singularity; however, Swindle goes too far with this outrageously childish bit of non-transitive logic:
If you believe that the ideas of the Old Right have great value and that we should have followed a “non-interventionist” path during the rise of Nazism then you are an antisemite [sic]. You know good and well that the practical consequence of American inaction would have meant an even higher body count in the Holocaust. But dead Jews are apparently not something that concerns you much.
False. There were many valid reasons for not interfering in internal German politics in the 1930s, notably a little economic downturn called the Great Depression. Heard of it, David? The fact is, America had all she could do to stay afloat while Hitler was consolidating power.
Moreover, a casual student of American demographics will be aware that a significant percentage of immigrants to this country came from Germany or neighboring counties. Sympathy with Germany the fatherland, as opposed to Germany the fascist state, was significant, even compared with the strength of our ties to Great Britain. It was hardly a no-brainer to go to war a second time with Germany, particularly when our WW I allies were mincing around the issue themselves.
Now, Swindle is undoubtedly correct in saying more Jews would have died in Hitler’s ovens if the U.S. had not become involved in WW II. The Nazis would not have been defeated without our contribution, so no other argument is possible.
Nevertheless, to equate non-interventionism with anti-Semitism is both outrageous and fallacious. The many valuable successes of post-WW II American interventionism notwithstanding – Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, anyone? – there is no inherent value in our nation becoming embroiled in foreign entanglements. Each action must be carefully weighed and pursued on its own merits. This is what our leaders were doing, in fact, when Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and lost the war for the Axis by forcing us to take sides against them. Perhaps we would have done so anyway, but it is pure folly on Swindle’s part to believe that our participation on the side of the Allies was either demanded or inevitable.
Similarly, the manner in which Swindle applies the anti-Semite label to Dr. Paul – the only popular libertarian presidential candidate in recent memory – nearly 80 years later is galling. It’s clear to me that traditional conservatives are threatened by Paul. This fear causes them to lose their cool and say foolish things. In his panic, Swindle presents such a severe and personal bias against Paul as to render the question of his own impartiality void and his words valueless.