Jack Hunter, who praised John Wilkes Booth for murdering Lincoln, still works for Rand Paul. Any questions?

Neo-Confederate Jack Hunter is still on Rand Paul’s Senate staff. But he’d now like you to forget his annual birthday toast to John Wilkes Booth for murdering Abraham Lincoln, along with lots of other opinions that might impede his boss’s White House ambitions. The editor who published some of Hunter’s work – the work that led Rand Paul to hire him in the first place – explains why he won’t take it down, and why the Jack Hunter/Rand Paul “I’m-not-really-a-racist” racism is just a coward’s version of the original article.

Let me repeat: Jack Hunter is still on Rand Paul’s Senate staff. And Rand Paul is still in good standing both as a Republican and as a libertarian.

Any more questions?

Update Read libertarian Jacob Levy’s thoughtful reflection on the relationship between libertarianism and pro-Confederate thinking. Levy is indeed prepared to read Rand Paul out of the movement.

The Confederatistas perpetuate the white southerners’ two-century-long scam of dressing up the cause of racial dominance in classical liberal clothes, perverting the goal of liberty into the project of slavery. This has been a defining fact of American political life; it has served to discredit some of those classical liberal values and institutions, while also perpetuating a story in which the freedom of African-Americans (postbellum as well as antebellum) lies somehow outside the calculus of American liberty.

Like Ilya Somin, though more cautiously, Levy likens the cult of the Lost Cause among the deranged Right with the cult of Che on the deranged Left. Yes, there’s an analogy. But there’s also a key difference. No Democratic Senator would hire someone in a Che T-shirt.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

22 thoughts on “Albatross”

  1. “And Rand Paul is still in good standing both as a Republican and as a libertarian.”

    I never thought either group was all that picky about their bedfellows. Doesn’t surprise me at all no on has pulled “membership” from either — or even suggested they might want to keep a lower profile. This is mainstream stuff for Republicans in much of the country, although I understand there are a few moderate Republicans still striving to breathe through the scum on top of that pond with a straw in a few places.

    1. I never thought either group was all that picky about their bedfellows.

      The big tent of kooks.
      To paraphrase Goldwater: They don’t care if you can think straight, all they care is if you can shoot straight.

      Or put another way: What do Hunter, Snowden, Paul, and Bellmore have in common?

  2. You know, you’d think that a member of party who thinks this is what a US Senator looks like would be more forgiving of a dude who expressed a bunch of his opinions while wearing a luchador mask.

    Also, the ability to exploit both the T. Martin killing and the Lincoln assassination while yawning loudly at the mentions of Senator Klansman and Senator Drowns-His-Mistress is, um, breathtaking.

    1. You do realize that Al Franken was a professional comedian, and wore that garb as part of his job? (time travel not ‘yet’ discovered, btw.)
      As opposed to Senator Vitters who apparently used similar garb while he was a sitting US Senator?

    1. If Byrd were still alive today and still a full-fledged, paid-up member of the Klan, then I guess there’d be at least one Democrat you could admire.

    2. And we should care about the opinions of a John C Calhoun fanboi – why, exactly? Because Brett Bellmore is so very white and victimized, yes?

  3. Ah, more libertarian-bait. Please accept my condolences that Rand Paul won’t do what Democrats demand. It must be sooo demoralizing to suffer from such a strong compulsion to control someone else’s hiring decisions and fail so spectacularly.

    1. Is it your position that we shouldn’t draw any conclusions about someone based upon who they choose to employ in a public capacity?

    2. I have no desire to control Sen. Paul’s behavior. The more he demonstrates his fundamental unfitness for office, the happier I am. But am I to assume from your post that you approve of the neo-Confederate views to which the Senator has voluntarily linked himself? Do you agree with him that only white people are really entitled to be Free Men, and that the freedom of white people to oppress non-white people is a core libertarian value?

      1. Let me repeat: Jack Hunter is still on Rand Paul’s Senate staff.

        I don’t see why this is noteworthy, or worthy of a second post on the subject, or worthy of reiterating in this post, unless someone expects the uproar from the left over the news to have changed that situation. So you’re “just sayin'”?

        And Rand Paul is still in good standing both as a Republican and as a libertarian.

        I disagree, but your point is — what? To paint Republicans and libertarians with the broad brush of Hunter’s racism? As I said before, anyone over the age of 12 should be able to see through that nonsense.

        As to the rest of your reply — try not to be so ridiculous! There’s nothing libertarian about racism, enslaving our fellow men, or celebrating the assassination of the president who liberated American slaves, no matter how many assumptions partisan political hacks invoke in order to assert it.

        The more he demonstrates his fundamental unfitness for office, the happier I am.

        I’m with you on that one. As I said before, part of being a libertarian is understanding the value of minding our own business and letting fools fail on their own.

        1. Political fools won’t fail on their own if no one points out that they’re fools. And as mich as you may not like it, Rand Paul really is popular among libertarians, his neo-Confederate associations notwithstanding. You may define the word “libertarian” however you like for your own personal use, but the rest of us are going to use it to describe the people who call themselves libertarians.

          1. Do carry on. So persuasive!

            This attitude is no more attractive than that of one of my co-workers, who refers to Democrats as “left-wing bomb-throwers”. And yes, I call him out on that b.s. too.

          2. I have no idea what point you are even trying to make. I happen to know and interact with a number of libertarians, at least 80% of whom praise Rand Paul to me. So I don’t think it;s unfair in the slightest to say that libertarians have a favorable opinion of him. And when it comes to someone like Paul, or neo-Confederate beliefs, I have no intention of trying to win them over. Unlike them, I think the white working class in general has some very legitimate concerns that we ought to try to accommodate. Jack Hunter and the guy who employs him and the people who praise that employer, not so much.

          3. My point is that there is a failure to recognize that the R’s have “misappropriated and grotesquely disfigured a few cherry-picked aspects of libertarian values (much like they have also done with Christian values)”; a failure to understand that there is a huge difference between the Libertarian Party platform and the antics of the Tea Party, just as there is a huge difference between the Christian Bible and “Christian Conservatism”.

            I don’t see folks around here sneering down their noses with contempt at Christians in general because of the words and actions of republican partisans who call themselves Christian Conservatives, though I have seen a great deal of criticism of the policies and candidates they promote and support (as it should be). Perhaps you’d like to explain to me why libertarians in general should be singled out for such treatment because of the words and actions of republican partisans who call themselves libertarians.

            I would venture to guess that those 80% of “libertarians” you happen to know and interact with happen to be partisan republicans who identify with those cherry-picked and disfigured aspects of libertarian values. You might find it interesting to dig a little and try to find out. I happen to know quite a few libertarians too. Generally speaking, the ones I know are comfortable with Ron Paul’s Congressional voting record (not so much his personality), but consider Rand Paul and the rest of the Tea Party to be a bunch of poseurs who don’t represent the rest of us. I also know several tea partiers who call themselves libertarians but couldn’t tell you anything accurate about the platform, and are registered Republicans, every one.

            I didn’t say the Dems have much opportunity to appeal to “someone like Paul, or neo-Confederate beliefs”, or “Jack Hunter and the guy who employs him and the people who praise that employer”. I said those people don’t accurately represent libertarianism (which is rooted in classical liberal ideology), and you’re missing (nay, rejecting) the opportunity to appeal to any libertarian while aiding and abetting the hijacking of the libertarian brand by the Tea Party, by lumping them all together as an object for your scorn.

          4. To put it another way, it’s as if you are the Roadrunner telling Sam Sheepdog:

            “And as much as you may not like it, Ralph E. Wolf really is popular among sheep, his Wile E. Coyote associations notwithstanding. You may define the word “sheep” however you like for your own personal use, but the rest of us roadrunners are going to use it to describe these animals:” ** points at Wile E. and Ralph in obvious fake sheep costumes **

            To me, that doesn’t make much sense unless you’re a wolf disguised as the Roadrunner trying to convince Sam Sheepdog (who knows more about sheep than you do) that it’s natural for you to attack the flock indiscriminately (which is the game the tea partiers are playing on you), or else you’re not aware that Ralph E. Wolf and Wile E. Coyote aren’t actually sheep (which is how the tea partiers are able to game you).

            Now if I’m wrong and it is your intention to deliberately alienate your natural allies, then I’ll go on minding my own business and allowing fools to fail. I just don’t see why you’d want to emulate this guy.

          5. There is a reason I (and pretty much everyone else) have consistently used the word “libertarian” rather than “Libertarian”. The Libertarian party gets to define the latter. It does not have the power to define the former in any way it wishes. In the end, the word “libertarians” is defined by the set of people that adopt it. In the same way that “liberal” does not mean, at least in an American context, “derived directly from the philosophy of John Locke” as it once did, “libertarian” does not necessarily mean what you want it to. I have been, and will continue, describing people that call themselves libertarians. Sorry if you don’t think that’s fair, but no one elected you Dictator of Vocabulary.

  4. And ’round we go. It’s ego-preservation 101: Racism in the GOP is “proof” that there is no GOP racism, because there has been Dem racism and therefore all allegations or critiques of racism in the GOP are in fact manifestations of Dem desires to deny their own racism.

    The fact that the equivalency ratios between the levels of implicit and explicit racism in either party are highly uneven (see SPLC list of hategroups and ideological identification; conservative comment threads), and would go a long way towards explaining current party preferences among minority groups, is apparently all just hocus pocus.

    The two truths that conservatives must grapple with are that A) conservatism isn’t necessarily about white supremacy, and B) conservatism is highly attractive to white supremacists. As far as I know, I’ve maybe once or twice in my life heard a conservative express an honest acknowledgement of this fact and the desire to dig into why this is. If every time an instance of racism comes up, and either the wagons are circled, or the individual is cast out as a complete outlier who represents nothing about the movement, the GOP will continue to fail to understand a crucial weakness in its ideological position.

  5. The ignorant, ignorant Levy is uses the word “Confederista” when anyone with the barest familiarity with contemporary libertarianism knows that the proper term is “Yokeltarian.”

    And before you write off either side forever and all time, you should note that the pro-Iraq War libertarians were all “Cosmotarians” (although many COSMOs had more sense than that) while the Yokeltarians were uniformly against the Iraq War in 2003, before opposition was cool.

    Yokeltarians continue to be more steadfastly and uniformly against war (e.g. Libya, Syria, Iran).

    1. Do you realize how utterly insane you sound, demanding that anyone concerned with the use of “libertarian” posturing in American political life must be thoroughly familiar with two obscure terms that, between them, have fewer than 3,500 Google hits? This is like the fierce enmities that could result within the British Left of the 60s if one were to refer to a Trotskyist as a Trotskyite, or vice versa, except that at least those terms were slightly better known, and at least that divisional squabble involved the feelings inspired by actual bloodshed.

      No-one cares about your yokeltarians, cosmotarians, voguetarians, muppetarians, or flibbertigibbetarians. People are about how “Libertarian” arguments and postures are used to affect significant pieces of legislation and significant numbers of voters here in the real world. I’m sure it’s possible to find isolated, pure, idealistic Libertarians, free of compromise and of taint. Maybe you’d be happier if we called them isolatedpureidealistictarians. HThe most famous “Libertarian” brand in the country is neck-deep in racism, and really there doesn’t seem to be much outrage about it.

      1. Dude, it was a joke. Levy is a very, very well-respected tenured political theorist. I find the word “Yokeltarian” inherently funny. YMMV.

  6. The strength of organized labor has always been weak in the South for reasons that date back to the days when John C. Calhoun stood on the floor of the Senate and said “There is and always has been in an advanced stage of wealth and civilization, a conflict between labor and capital. The condition of society in the South exempts us from the disorders and dangers resulting from this conflict; and which explains why it is that the political condition of the slaveholding States has been so much more stable and quiet than that of the North. The advantages of the former in this respect will become more and more manifest if left undisturbed by interference from without…”

    A cheap and docile labor force was preserved after emancipation, and remains prized in the South to this day. Blocking Obama’s nominees to the NLRB is not something that just arose in response to partisan politics. Insofar as libertarianism is hostile to labor unions, it carries forward a tradition in which it can find common ground with neo-Confederates.

    It is enough to make you feel snarky.

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