Scholarly Standards

by Tom Palmer on July 31, 2008

StrangeloveBat.jpg

Bat Guano*

I’m in Germany and missed a staged demonstration by a couple dozen kooky anti-free-trade protesters outside the Cato Institute’s offices. But the “scholar Thomas DiLorenzo” did not. As he pointed out, in a display of his novel standards (“his sloppiness has earned him the abuse and ridicule of his critics“): “Recall that CNN dismissed Ron Paul as a crackpot for believing that any such highway exists. But of course, it does exist, and is even described on Wikipedia.” Right! It’s on the internet. Ergo….It’s true!!! Q.E.D.

DiLorenzo (whom I used to know many years ago, before he went off the far, far deep end, lost his connection to reality and evidence, and rejected individualism for racist collectivism) writes of an alleged conspiracy to connect Mexico and Canada and strip Americans of their jobs (rather like the warnings of “Jack D. Ripper* in Dr. Strangelove of “a Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids”). The tinfoil-hatted professor reminds us that it’s “even described on Wikipedia.” There you have it. It’s even described on Wikipedia.

Now, I hesitate to describe anyone as incompetent or lacking in capacities, but the same person asserted that the ugliness uncovered in the Ron Paul newsletters by a young journalist was obviously a set up, for “How on earth would a kid just out of college know to go to a library in Kansas, of all places, to dig up such stuff?” Maybe it was because the collections of libraries in Kansas are available on the internet, the same internet that has “an entry” on the alleged plot to sap Americans of their vital jobs.

I am reminded of seminars with undergraduates when occasionally 19-year-olds will say something odd and I ask “Why do you think that?,” to which they answer, “I saw it on the internet.”

Sad. Very sad.

*Correction: I had originally written “Bat Guano,” but Dan provided a useful correction. Thanks!

P.S. I did find a residue of the last DiLorenzo outburst at http://digg.com/political_opinion/CATO_Protesters_Tom_Palmer_has_a_sputtering_hate_fit But when you click on the link, you get
Not Found

The requested URL /blog/lewrw/archives/022229.html was not found on this server.

The link was here, as shown by the Google archives: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/022229.html

A Little Update: An internet troll (evidently the same “Francisco” who posted comments on Ron Paul support websites asserting, on the basis of “social networking theory” that I simply must have had an affair with a New Republic writer I had never met or had any contact with) has attempted to defend the undefendable in the long thread that follows. I can’t imagine any serious people being misled by it; a quick check of the links I provided in response should convince the unconvinced that there is something rotting on the fringes of the libertarian movement, something that denies its core principles and undermines its effectiveness. I leave it to readers to make up their minds for themselves. Click through to the links and see if what you find there represents your own self-understanding.

{ 59 comments }

Anonymous July 31, 2008 at 9:55 pm

What is sad is that you take a minor reference and avoid the real issue. How CATO-like. When are you going to quit hiding behind the “free-trade” rhetoric and actually embrace the corporate statism that NAFTA and other managed-trade treaties represent?

Dan August 1, 2008 at 12:08 am

Bat Guano didn’t say that, General Jack D. Ripper, played by Sterling Hayden, did.

Otherwise good post, although I’d like to see you address the (absurd) claims about the highway.

Tom G. Palmer August 1, 2008 at 1:52 am

Dan,

Whoa! You’re right!

And Anonymous….. In other words, you’re saying that we should overlook the obvious, which is that DiLorenzo is an incompetent hack who believes that if “it’s on the internet,” it must be true. There is a pattern here that’s hard to miss.

NAFTA and CAFTA, which are far from perfect, but have reduced barriers to trade, are fair topics for discussion. I am happy to defend them as improvements over what preceded them, but I would prefer more extensive liberalization and I am convinced that unilateralism is a more promising route for liberalization in future. I would have that discussion (and have had it numerous times) with serious people. But those who gloat over an invasion of property by ignoramuses and go on about an alleged plot to siphon off jobs through a North American highway are, well, contemptible.

Anonymous August 1, 2008 at 1:54 am

The “scholarship” and collectivist racialism noted in the post only strenghthen corporate power. It certainly seems preferable to some Dixiecrat market wonderland. Somehow the political package delivered daily from the high-traffic site in Alabama doesn’t sound like freedom. Nor like love spelled backwards, although that seems to be the direction of the reactionary rEVOLution recently spelled out by hovering blimps.

Demonization of Abraham Lincoln, fanaticism that would exercise a delusional right to stone people to death, acquisitiveness wrapped in unctuous religiosity, asides on the economic benefits of monarchical rule — it’s hard to believe anyone takes this mess seriously.

Anonymous August 1, 2008 at 2:29 am

Tom,

No, I wasn’t saying that at all. What I was saying is that if NAFTA and other trade agreements are helping solidify corporate statism, the Alabama “scholarship” tank isn’t a source of opposition with any clout or credibility.

Anonymous August 1, 2008 at 3:49 am

P.S. But Ralph Nader might be.

Daniel C August 1, 2008 at 10:40 am

Thomas DiLorenzo didnâ??t say, “This road is described on Wikipedia, therefore it exists.” He said, “It exists, and it is even described on Wikipedia.”

I think his point was basically that, whereas Ron Paul was branded a loony for believing in the highway, he was right to do so, and information about the highway is available from mainstream websites. That’s a little different than saying “it’s on the internet; it *must* be true!” Thereâ??s no reason to take the most uncharitable (and illogical) reading possible and blow it up like this.

Silvia M. August 1, 2008 at 10:54 am

The whole Dilorenzo comment is bizarre: “So protesters swarmed the Cato Institute today, protesting its support of NAFTA, and now, the I-69 highway being built that will connect Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.” He seems pleased at invasions of property and opposed to roads. Does he think that roads will suck jobs into Mexico? If he does, he’s no economist. .Stephan Kinsella is also certifiable; he describes a line of police keeping people from invading property as “I-69 protesters pushed and shoved by cops at CATO Institute” I watched the little video and the police are just standing there — not even any pushing or shoving, which would have been justified, anyway. Those guys are so extreme in their hatred of the Cato Institute they abandon all claim to being libertarians, let alone rational. Anyone who hadn’t noticed that they’re fruitcakes should know it now.

Anon August 1, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Daniel,

I don’t think your distinction makes much of a difference.

Clearly DiLorenzo was using the mention on Wikipedia to bolster the legitimacy of the I-69. At the very least, DiLorenzo is using the the mention on Wikipedia to show that the highway’s existence is an item of uncontroversial common knowledge and that its believers do not deserve to be ridiculed. Otherwise, why is the mention on Wikipedia relevant at all?

Best,

William Wallace August 1, 2008 at 1:34 pm

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59105

Those silly Albertans, they missed the memo that there is no NAFTA superhighway.

Good to see they’ve updated their site to clear things up.

http://www.infratrans.gov.ab.ca/INFTRA_Content/docType56/Production/pol306.htm

As for, “Stephan Kinsella is also certifiable; he describes a line of police keeping people from invading property…” All he was doing was describing the situation, nothing wrong there. And with him being an anarchist, he’d rather see a line of Cato’s private security doing the job. That said, there was no justification for trespassing on the Cato Institute’s property.

I think between Ed Crane, Jerry Taylor, and Tom Palmer, they could have easily taken care of these scrawny protesters.

Mickleover Derby August 1, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Good point, Tom, about the other Tom mentioning Wikipedia!

After all, we all know that Wikipedia is a notorious dumping ground for outlandish conspiracy theories. Just look at the pages proving that there really were aliens in Mexico and that Queen Elizabeth II (an alien herself, according to Wikipedia) is secretly fronting the world’s largest drug-trafficking cartel.

So, of course, you are quite right to belittle the absurd idea that the existence of I-69′s Wikipedia article might suggest that the project may be something more than purely a fantasy enjoyed by those people who sensibly wear a food preserver to protect themselves from extra-terrestrial mind control (a phenomenon also described in great detail and “proven” to exist on Wikipedia).

Keith August 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm

How is protesting NAFTA anti-free trade? NAFTA is not free trade, but centrally planned, managed trade. NAFTA should be protested, along with the other government planned agreements.

The best part is how you try to divert the attention away from CATO’s support of NAFTA and make it a character assassination. How does that change the fact that CATO supports NAFTA?

It is interesting to see how anyone who does not agree with you is labeled as either “kooky”, “tin-foiled”, or ridiculed as not being a scholar in your mind. How exactly is that providing a shining example of individualism? It sounds to me like you are the one who has some collectivist attitude problems and not the other way around.

Lastly, the I-69 project may or may not be true. However, the government is capable of much worse things (i.e. Nuclear Bomb, fire-bombing Dresden, Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Project MKULTRA, sanctioning Iraq that led to thousands of dead Iraqi children) just to name a few. Yet, you still thing it is crazy to believe that the government might possibly be building a road to allow easier access for trade between Mexico and Canada (thus screwing Americans out of jobs)?
Now who is the one that is acting “kooky?

Jess August 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm

I cruised over as soon as I saw Tom DiLorenzo’s really hilarious rage against you, Dr. Tom! He didn’t link to you (no balls), so I googled your name and I found a voice of sanity. Thank you.

Anonymous August 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm

“He didn’t link to you (no balls)”

It’s rare for DiLorenzo to link to the items he denounces, or for that matter to the items that allegedly support what he says. If he did, people might notice that he is incapable of posting even the briefest blog entries without grossly distorting at least one fact.

In this case, he says that “Palmer lies through his teeth about what I’ve said. I never said I opposed this particular Cato-supported socialist road-building project, only that the protesters don’t like it.” I have read Palmer’s post three times now, and I don’t see anything in there about whether DiLorenzo opposes the project. It would be hard to read Palmer’s post without getting the *impression* that DiLorenzo opposes it, but then, it’s hard to read DiLorenzo’s posts without getting that impression as well.

Meanwhile, DiLorenzo states flatly that the road-building project is “supported” by Cato. Is this true, or is DiLorenzo the one who’s “lying through his teeth”?

Tackle August 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Can you precisely cite or link to racist words or deeds by Tom DiLorenzo? You may have many valid points but if you can’t substantiate a charge of racism then you lose any shred of “scholarship”.

DixieFlatline August 1, 2008 at 3:08 pm

I am also curious about the racist collectivism mentioned in the post. I’ve listened to several presentations by DiLorenzo, but I was unaware that he was racist.

Tom, could you provide more background on this in the comments or in a new post?

Satisfied August 1, 2008 at 3:51 pm

It took me about a minute with Google to find Palmer’s entry documenting DiLorenzo’s gross and racist remarks about Rosa Parks, http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/026647.php I suspect that there’s more, but that was enough to satisfy me. And the racism over at Lew Rockwell is well documented. The Ron Paul newsletters are a smoking gun, if you ask me.

Francisco August 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm

So quoting a Cedric the Entertainer joke about Rosa Parks makes you a racist?

Please.

With standards of purported offense like that, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be asking them to excise the word “niggardly” from Webster’s. Honestly, Tom, at times your quest for racial bogeymen in the Mises Institute’s garden has the unenviable effect of making the likes of Al Sharpton sound reasonable by comparison. This is one of them.

Francisco August 1, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Tom – Let me ask you this. Have you ever quoted or linked to Wikipedia to illustrate something on this very blog?

Oh wait. That doesn’t even need to be asked, because you did so in this post only phrases after chastizing DiLorenzo. You have also linked to wikipedia dozens upon dozens of times before this instant.

It is therefore entirely fair and factual to state that you are guilty of the very thing you chastise, which tells me your motive for chastisement has less to do with purported “scholarly standards” than it does with your long-running schoolyard feud with the Mises folks.

That feud is regrettable at best, and more often an annoyance to political libertarianism that would be better to forget. Unfortunately it is not a feud you can shy away from as you have personally fed it at every opportunity. Today’s post is no different.

Rusty August 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Some of us are wondering if you and DiLorenzo feed off each other. Why not just ignore him?

The newsletters have been brought up a thousand times on your site. I know you are trying to make a point but it would be nice if once and awhile you linked to some of Paul’s many, many, many heroic actions such as his attack yesterday on the drug war. Heck, he didn’t even back off when the reporter tried to use the crack example against him.

The newsletters were not one of Paul’s shining moments but given his vast superiority to other politicians, he deserves better treatment from you. Heck, you said he that you accepted his apology. Why keep harping on it?

Let’s at least have some perspective here. How many times, for example, have you harped on McCain’s “gook” statement?

Anon August 1, 2008 at 4:47 pm

A link to Wikipedia is appropriate for general uncontroversial facts or perhaps those of little real importance (e.g., whether Superman is stronger than the Hulk).

But DiLorenzo’s referencing of Wikipedia to say something about a controversial proposition, even if it should not be controversial by rational standards, is problematic…to say the least.

There is thus no inherent hypocrisy in Palmer criticizing DiLorenzo for a Wikipedia reference even though Palmer makes them himself. The appropriateness depends on the matter at issue.

Francisco August 1, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Rusty – He doesn’t harp on McCain’s “gook” statement (or many other verbal insensitivities of the racial and sexual kind). Nor does he harp on Obama’s blatant race baiting such as yesterday’s “dollar bill” comment. Heck, he doesn’t even harp on the fact that Jamie Kirchick cozied up to a bunch of neo-nazi klansmen in a desperate attempt to get dirt on Ron Paul for his story.

But Palmer harps on Paul for the newsletters at every opportunity. Why? Because for Palmer, none of this is really about McCain, or Obama, or even Paul. It’s all about his own little petty, childish schoolyard feud with Lew Rockwell going back several decades. This petty little feud, more than anything else, is why Palmer did not actively and enthusiastically support Ron Paul’s candidacy despite what should have been a natural political alliance. And when I say petty, I mean pettiness of the type that makes the shrill cackling and soundbyte baiting of those late-primary Hillary vs. Obama debates look like a birthday cakewalk.

Lest anyone forget, Tom Palmer is the same guy who published a lengthy tirade against the Mises Institute’s libertarian credentials for – get this – sending out a form fundraiser letter that he deemed over celebratory of the real Ludwig von Mises’ historical relationship with the Hapsburg royal family. It doesn’t get any pettier than that.

Rockwell and Co. have their own guilt for partaking in this feud, but Palmer is among its most fervent partisans and offenders as today’s rant proves. Sadly, and with apparent obliviousness to its chief participant here, the libertarian movement is only harmed by its continuation.

Francisco August 1, 2008 at 5:07 pm

“But DiLorenzo’s referencing of Wikipedia to say something about a controversial proposition, even if it should not be controversial by rational standards, is problematic…to say the least.”

You cannot be serious, anon. The simple existence of the planned Canada-to-Mexico U.S. Interstate 69 is not a matter of “controversy.” Part of the thing is already built, and its construction phases are laid out by the DOT’s of every state it crosses.

Hell, I even used to drive past a little green highway sign that says “Future Interstate 69 Corridor” every day on the way to work when I lived near its planned route.

Linking to Wikipedia about that simple fact is no more problematic than what Palmer does here all the time when he links to Wikipedia in his posts.

Now the political controversy about where I-69 is going, the eminent domain problems surrounding it, and – yes – even its role in the NAFTA agreement are certainly matters of dispute and discussion, for which Wikipedia would be an unreliable source.

But I-69 and a planned north-south expansion of I-69 indisputably exist, and DiLorenzo did nothing more than link to an article about that fact.

Of course, none of that really matters though because this dispute isn’t really about I-69 or NAFTA. It’s really about Palmer continuing his personal feud with Lew Rockwell at the expense of the larger libertarian movement. But that’s nothing new…

Michael August 1, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Tom Palmer’s blog is on the internet and hardly anything on it is true, so QED.

The Inquisitor August 1, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Sigh, another statist engaging in perfevid rants about an anarchist. Please, please do yourself a favour and embrace consistency, not Catoite doublespeak. As for Lincoln, so what if someone dislikes him and as DiLorenzo has done, debunks the hero-worship of that tyrant? Is that a “mess”? Sorry that the egos of some “critics” have been hurt.

The Inquisitor August 1, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Oh, and I forget how oh-so scholarly Dr Palmer is for engaging in what amounts to an adult version of high school bitchfights. Pfft.

Daniel C August 1, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Anon, surely we’d agree that there’s a difference between saying “A proves B” and “B, and A is relevant here, too.”

As for relevance, DiLorenzo *stated* its relevance (did you read the LRC blog post)? The Wikipedia page contains dozens of links to magazine and newspaper articles on the highway. He went on to point out that 49 congressmen have officially protested the highway.

You’re saying you don’t see the relevance of this for countering the people who labeled Paul a conspiratoid loony?

MHC August 1, 2008 at 7:31 pm

1) This constant harping hurts libertarianism in general; and it is very hard to take anyone seriously when everyone acts like a bunch of school children on a personal level.

2) I don’t even get what this argument is about. You guys stopped having disputes of substance ages ago. Now the fighting is just pro forma.

3) I don’t get what is “kooky” about saying that Interstate 69 exists. Everyone knows where it is going to go. I have even driven on two of the already constructed legs of it. (Three if you count the Canadian part.) So, quite frankly, those commentators insisting that this thing is a fiction are at best ill informed and at worst delusional.)

Tom G. Palmer August 1, 2008 at 9:22 pm

I’m back at the internet (quite late, German time) and will review these remarks later. I have an early morning session and then I’ll drive to Cologne and then on to Duesseldorf for meetings. I hope I’ll have the chance to comment later.

In the meantime, it’s charming to see oddballs and cranks post gloating comments about anti-freedom kooks invading private property and then saying that they’re upset about any response to their abandonment of private property rights. Anyway, I’ll sleep on this and look at the comments in the morning.

(I did notice that DiLorenzo rewrote his blog post. It is no longer the same as the one I commented on. I wonder if he’ll change it again.)

Anonymous August 1, 2008 at 9:37 pm

You missed the best part! Rockwell took down the crazy DiLorenzo response! I wish I had saved it. It was….deranged.

Anonymous August 2, 2008 at 12:47 am

Do you know if he’s going to take down all the deranged writing and just leave the ads?

Keith August 2, 2008 at 9:47 am

Once again you resort to labeling people who don’t believe what you believe, as kooks and oddballs. I haven’t seen any comments gloating over the invasion of private property.

You should be excited that people are actually reading your site and taking the time to comment, instead of bashing anyone with a differing view on NAFTA and the I-69 project. Especially since your site probably does 1/100 of the traffic of Lew Rockwell’s. Maybe that is the real reason for the feud with Mises/Rockwell in the first place.

Anonymous August 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I think Cato’s readership is probably more sophisticated and discriminating, which of course is not to say elitist. ;) However, rockwell.com might see an uptick in hits every time someone there calls Cato Stato.

Is there a place where people can comment on the Rockwell site? Tom may call people kooks and oddballs, but he supports their First Amendment rights.

Rockwell writers habitually label people statists, communists and war mongers ad nauseam if they oppose the so-called anti-state, anti-war, pro-market ideological package they promote. I’ve noticed they’re quite adept at hurling names, while at least one of them would like to cast stones along with epithets. Not a strict “constitutionalist” take on things, would you say?

Tom has said he’s willing to discuss the merits of NAFTA with serious people. Keith, why don’t you take him up on the offer instead of speculating as to “feud” motivation?

Tom G. Palmer August 2, 2008 at 5:23 pm

I’m off early to Belgium, after a busy day, so I’ve not had much time to devote to the issues raised here. I think that Satisfied made the point well that DiLorenzo has shown himself remarkably hostile to equal rights for certain groups, and he has certainly made common cause with the neo-Confederate apologists for slavery. A visit to “The Fever Swamp” at http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/cat_the_fever_swamp.php should convince anyone who is not a cultist. In the present case, the Rockwell cult managers took down DiLorenzo’s last outburst. The ones that are still up are largely there because I took screen shots of them and had the evidence of the really, really ugly racism they displayed.

P.S. I did find a residue of the last DiLorenzo outburst at http://digg.com/political_opinion/CATO_Protesters_Tom_Palmer_has_a_sputtering_hate_fit But when you click on the link, you get
Not Found

The requested URL /blog/lewrw/archives/022229.html was not found on this server.

The link was here, as shown by the Google archives: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/022229.html

Francisco August 2, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Tom – You ignored the question. Exactly how, and in what world, is quoting a Cedric the Entertainer joke about Rosa Parks from a major motion picture “really, really ugly racism”?

Your quest to find the R word lurking around every corner is, at least in this ridiculous case, reminiscent of the type of people who take offense at the word “niggardly.”

Your childish feuding with Rockwell (and desire to lob a bomb in his direction by tacking the R word to him) has, at least in this instance, caused you to wear matters of race on your shoulder where in a less emotional state you would probably be more discerning.

Tom G. Palmer August 2, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Francisco,

You are completely distorting Dilorenzo’s truly hateful comments. He did not merely quote a comedian; he mocked a brave woman who had just died, after leading a life of dignity. He mocked her for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. His colleagues added to the insults by insisting that she wasn’t really a dignified person at all, but an activist, who had attended NAACP training sessions in nonviolence. The hatred directed at Rosa Parks, as documented in the screen shots I took of the Rockwell comments, is an instance of pure, unadulterated racism. The fetish for the Confederate flag and the extremist defense of keeping it in the Mississippi state flag (it was not a “tradition,” but was added in the 1950s to remind black people to stay in their place) are symptoms of a deep and systematically ugly racism.

Note the priorities: “the staged events of modern American â??historyâ?? even more disturbing” than Jim Crow. There you have the Lew Rockwell story. The courage of Rosa Parks and the involvement of the NAACP in promoting equality before the law are worse than segregation. That is, in a word, disgusting.

Those people have caused tremendous damage, as witnessed by Rockwell’s very, very disturbing statements in the Ron Paul newsletters. If you don’t believe me, you should read what has been documented over and over again about the connections between Rockwell and racists, white supremacists, and neo-Confederates. But it seems that looking at the evidence impartially is not a part of your agenda.

Doctor Reality August 2, 2008 at 7:46 pm

You’ll notice, Tom, that the dean of sloppiness doctored his posting, which is not the same as when you first linked to it.

Anonymous August 2, 2008 at 8:33 pm
Anonymous August 2, 2008 at 8:34 pm
Anonymous August 2, 2008 at 8:36 pm
Sandeep August 2, 2008 at 8:59 pm

The DiLorenzos and Rockwells of the world are truly an embarrassment to people who favour liberty, because they keep falsely referring to themselves as ‘libertarians,’ which they manifestly are not. Libertarians believe in equality before the law and in equal rights, and do not call for beating up people (Rodney King) or claim that racial segregation was less offensive than the civil rights movement and what they, in their white robes, consider a ‘politically correct’ version of history. The oppression of people of colour was a great crime and a terrible episode in American history. (I hasten to add that the Americans confronted that crime and dealt with it much better than most nations have confronted theirs, and my remark is in no way ‘anti-American.’ The true anti-Americans are the ones who prefer the way things were to the advances of civil rights for all and the promises of the American Declaration of Independence.)

They are also an embarrassment to the very idea of civilized discourse, which is based on thought, analysis, and respect for evidence.

Francisco August 3, 2008 at 2:37 am

Tom – Your emotions from the feud are getting the better of you again. A couple points are worth addressing though:

1. The notion that Rosa Parks was a brave woman is not inherently at odds with the fact that she was also a political activist, that she supported and belonged to a very left-wing organization that espouses many plainly anti-libertarian positions, or even that she can be a subject of a joke by a well known black comedian over the media hype and attention that surrounds her name. It is simply unreasonable if not deranged to assert that repeating that joke, or stating facts about her activism with the NAACP somehow undermines her “dignity” as a person (unless, of course, you are asserting, Tom, that her dignity is somehow besmirched by knowledge of her membership in the NAACP) or depicts her in a “hateful” light. In short, your alleged racial grievances are shrill, whiny, hyperbolic, and generally lacking in any meaningful substance or perspective beyond the obvious reality, to wit: they are the product of the childish antics of your long running and well documented personal feud with Rockwell.

2. Your comments on the Mississippi flag exhibit both appalling ignorance for someone of your alleged academic caliber and a propensity to grossly misstate basic historical facts. The current Mississippi flag with the confederate image in the ensign was adopted over a century ago in response to a request by then Gov. John Stone to create an official state flag, which Mississippi had not had since the civil war. The matter was sent to a committee in the legislature, which included several civil war veterans among its membership. They unsurprisingly included the confederate image in their design, which was approved by Stone (who was also a civil war veteran) and officially adopted on February 7, 1894, not the 1950′s “to keep black people in their place” as you claim. Considering the amount of time you have spent on this very thread nitpicking at DiLorenzo for errors in his history, your own endeavor into that field plainly leaves much to be desired and exposes you to the very same kind of hypocrisy that quickly engulfed your whines about Wikipedia links at the outset of this escapade.

3. It is simply absurd to say that the Ron Paul newsletters story caused “tremendous damage,” or any noticeable harm at all for that matter, anywhere outside of the small clique of beltway libertarians in which you personally reside. Paul continued to draw significant money bomb funding well after the newsletter story (including $1.8 million raised on MLK day) and he made his strongest percentage showings (Nevada, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and Washington) long after the story broke. Considering that the support for Paul’s candidacy was, at best, lukewarm among the membership of that same clique before so much as a drop of ink had been spent on the newsletters, it is difficult to see how the loss of your confidence materially impacted Paul’s campaign in any way.

Should you respond in acknowledgment of these points at all, I suppose it will only be to impugn my “impartiality” from your own perch in the cat-littered end of sandbox that is the libertarian movement’s most notorious schoolyard feud. If that is how you feel, Tom, so be it. I’ll rest content with the knowledge that you have thoroughly embarrassed your own credibility through a combination of hypocritical indignation, historical ignorance, and venomous name-calling over a decades-long playground fight from which you have apparently yet to recover, all done in the borrowed moniker of condemning the very same things you have come to perpetrate and embody.

Tom G. Palmer August 3, 2008 at 3:39 am

Well, Francisco, you’ve got me dead to rights on one point: in my haste in the wee hours of the morning in my German hotel room, I DID confuse the Georgia and Mississippi state flags; the former was changed in 2001 — the same year as the Mississippi referendum — and then again in 2003 to eliminate entirely the Confederate flag from it. (The Georgia state flag was adopted in 1956 for openly segregationist reasons; the Mississippi flag was created by a racist state government after Reconstruction had ended and they set about the task of oppressing black people with great intensity.) And that’s a real error of fact. Mea culpa. Really. The issues were parallel, of course, and the meanness of the state flag issues were very much about reminding blacks of their proper place, which was to be subjugated to other people, or, if possible, to be property of other people again. But I freely concede the confusion. It’s a material error that I should have checked, but not a moral one, for the issue of forcing people to walk into a court house with the flag associated with the oppression of them and their forebears is no different from forcing people to walk into a Bavarian court house with a flag that incorporates the crooked cross, which flew over that state for longer than the stars and bars flew over Mississippi.

The issue was indeed the very one that suggested to me and others that DiLorenzo had gone off the deep end, for he responded to this reasonable essay by David Boaz:
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=4320
with the claim that Boaz had called for a ban of the confederate flag, which he certainly did not. If you want to fly it on your home, that’s your business. Putting it on a court house is another matter.

Go ahead and defend the vile and grotesque attacks on Rosa Parks by the people at Lew Rockwell. I hope that others will read the evidence here:
http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/026647.php
and make up their own minds. ONLY someone with the agenda of defending such trash would dismiss the remarks as unoffensive.

Lew Rockwell’s disgusting and racist comments, which Ron Paul disavowed and denounced (and credibly, as he has never been reported — ever — as having uttered such things, which is a good sign that they were not his own views), most certainly did cause damage to his campaign and to the proposals for liberty associated with it. Ron’s strongest showings were after other candidates had dropped out, which is not a good sign for your weak case that no one cared. And it did create a lasting impression among the national media that was quite clearly negative. Rockwell should have been booted Rockwell for the disgraceful things he did, and Ron Paul was about to do and had written a statement, until his now late campaign chairman convinced him it would be unwise:
http://www.reason.com/blog/show/124485.html

Francisco August 3, 2008 at 4:25 am

Tom – Your “confusion” over the Mississippi flag is ultimately forgivable, but not without noting the bitter irony that accompanies it given that it appeared in a discussion where you chastised the
“scholarly standards” of another for similar and lesser historical “confusions.” While I do not necessitate apologies for your error, I will suggest that you should take this instant as an example of why you should extend greater charity as you read and approach those you deem your adversaries. When you fail to do so, you always run the risk of leaving yourself vulnerable to the same faults that you find with others and, worse, use to attack and ridicule. Such an instant just happened.

I’ll further add that, while you at least acknowledged your error in date, you persist in confusing the factual history of the two cases by attempting to draw a parallel between Georgia and Mississippi that simply is not sustainable in the historical evidence. Georgia’s flag was indeed changed with what were at least in part segregationist undertones (though ostensibly, it was also done in part to commemorate the centennial of the civil war and, as such, paralleled the actions of dozens of states, north and south, which went on a civil war monument building spree in the late 50′s and early 60′s). The timing in Georgia followed Brown v. Board and accompanied a period of backlash among the Georgia political class against the civil rights movement.

It is difficult to draw analogy though between that case and the Mississippi flag of 1894. Legislative records from the Mississippi case conclusively show that the driving motive there was to design a flag de novo, and in so doing extend a commemoration to civil war veterans. This was plainly stated when the flag was proposed, and the racial rhetoric that accompanied the 1956 Georgia debate was absent from the 1894 Mississippi debate. That many of these civil war veterans were still alive and serving in the legislature that designed the flag should not be lost upon the historian seeking to determine its motive. To continue to misstate and confuse two very different motives from two different flags in two different periods of time, as you do, is to continue to abuse history in a fashion just as grievous as the original error of date.

Regarding Boaz’s essay, I suspect that DiLorenzo’s ire (and not knowing his comment in full context, I cannot speak more to it than that) is over a confusion that is readily apparent in Boaz’s essay. His argument addresses, as you say, the issue of “putting [the confederate flag] on the courthouse” as if it were an affirmative policy decision in the present, yet his logic fails because he attempts to apply it to a case where the flag is already over the courthouse and, in this particular case, has been there more than a century.

It requires a policy decision that alters the status quo, and in doing so makes what is potentially a state endorsement of a rather odious stream of political thought. At the risk of repeating a cliche, the argument for nixing long-existant uses of un-PC symbols such as the confederate portion of the Mississippi flag is extremely susceptible to the same slippery slope that desires to dismantle the busts of slaveowners on Mount Rushmore and strike George Washington’s name from elementary school doorways.

Without desiring to rehash the Rosa Parks debate further, I will gladly echo your invitation for anyone who so desires to read the text itself. They will find a quoted joke from Cedric the Entertainer, and they will find humanizing facts about Rosa Parks the human person juxtaposed against Rosa Parks the secular deity of media frenzy and political hype. Only a mind with an agenda to push against the authors of those comments will find the “hatefulness” you describe though, and that is not merely my own observation but also the observation of multiple leveler heads than your own on this issue when it was first raised as per the comments to the original thread.

As for Paul, if you wish to maintain your contention that the newsletters damaged his campaign, it is only reasonable of me to demand conclusive empirical evidence of this from you. To date I have seen no such evidence, nor have I seen evidence that Paul’s newsletters even caused distress to much of anybody beyond (a) people on the political left who already hated him for plenty of other reasons, and (b) a small cadre of DC area libertarians, who were lukewarm to his campaign at best and made absolutely ZERO material impact on his support elsewhere. You can post beltway blog links and rumors about what Tom Lizardo supposedly said to so-and-so to your heart’s content, but as evidence of “harm” to Paul’s campaign it is little more than speculation, anecdote, and gossip. But without empirical evidence, yours is simply not a claim that can be supported.

Anonymous August 3, 2008 at 4:29 am

I have to rush to the train station, so I cannot comment at length on Francisco’s rather lame defense. I will only note that Ron Paul himself denounced the newsletters in very strong terms. He’s not a racist. I cannot for the life of me understand why he tolerates them around him.

The “humanizing” information about Rosa Parks? You know better. It is not “humanizing,” it is belittling, insulting, and demeaning. She was a decent human being who changed the world through courage and determination. Insulting her is not an act of “humanization.”

But enough for now, or I shall miss my train.

Tom G. Palmer August 3, 2008 at 4:31 am

Oops. One more thing. The 1894 Mississippi government was not representative of the people of Mississippi; the bulk of black citizens had been disenfranchised in 1890. The connection with the readoption of the Confederate battle flag was hardly a coincidence.

Cedric August 3, 2008 at 4:44 am

I’ve tuned in and followed this little thread. I read the Rosa Parks blog post and the others from Rockwell and Huebert. They’re pretty gross.

Francisco August 3, 2008 at 5:00 am

So Tom, I take it then that your position is as I suspected previously: you believe that affiliation with the NAACP, and to note such affiliation, is a “belittling, insulting, and demeaning” activity for the affiliated person. I believe that cooler heads would simply view such an affiliation as a historical footnote of mixed character, given the NAACP did many good things during the civil rights movement though it also does many statist and distinctly anti-libertarian things. But by your standard, mentioning it in the context of a media-sanctioned secular deity is apparently taboo. Whatever.

Moving on to Paul, I notice you cannot resist dismissing my argument as “lame” though you also did not bother yourself with answering any of my questions, much less offering any empirical evidence of your oft-repeated but never substantiated claim that the newsletters “harmed” Paul’s campaign. Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

Re Mississippi, you continue to dig your rut of historical ignorance deeper and deeper. First, there is absolutely no historical evidence linking the adoption of the 1894 flag to any earlier act of voting rights disenfranchisement. The sole instigating event for the 1894 flag was a request from the governor’s office asking the legislature to design a flag since Mississippi didn’t have one at the time. Second, the logic of your representation argument is immediately susceptible to the fact that it also invalidates virtually every action of the United States government prior to the late 1960′s. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, every congress and president elected before the 19th amendment, and every congress and president elected before the voting rights act all came to power under systems that legally disenfranchised large parts of the electorate – blacks, women, non-landowners etc. If the 1894 Mississippi flag is to be dismissed by reason of disenfranchisement, then so too must every act of government adopted prior to the modern era. Third, the representation argument, even if we accept what you contend about the implications of disenfranchisement, is mooted by the 2001 referendum in which the people of Mississippi voted in the overwhelming margin of two to one to retain the 1894 flag. If majoritarian opinion is our guiding principle, then the people have spoken and it seems that you are simply dissatisfied with the results…or, perhaps more accurately, with your libertarian feud adversaries who happen to support those results, thereby bringing your scorn to them.

Nicolas August 3, 2008 at 5:23 am

A question to Francisco:

If a left-winger or a religious conservative defend the rights that are written down in the constitution (e.g. first or second amendment), does that make their case less credible? Would you consider them as allies in that case? If they would go to the Supreme Court, would you be a plaintiff too?

Tom G. Palmer August 3, 2008 at 9:37 am

Francisco,

You are spinning, spinning, spinning. And the more you do it and the more attention you attract to the ugliness, the fewer people are fooled. You should know when to stop. The Rockwellians are generally smarter and change their posts (without any acknowledgement) or take them down, rather than defending them and drawing yet more attention to them.

The disgusting comments from DiLorenzo, who belittled (not “humanized”) a decent and honest person who made life better for all of us, and of Huebert (“then Ms. Parks begins singing a song or something,” as if the struggle for civil rights were simply an annoyance), and the comparison of the widely accepted *account* of the civil rights movement with the brutal historical *reality* of state-enforced segregation (with the former being worse than the latter!!) endorsed by Lew Rockwell are not merely noting an affiliation. You lose.

As to Ron Paul’s campaign being hurt — get real. You demand a statistical regression (not possible in this case, anyway, as there are too many variables, like other candidates dropping out, differing demographics, and more) as evidence. Less demanding standards are appropriate and the evidence is available. The fact is that Ron Paul himself strongly repudiated and disavowed the racist remarks (why do that if they were not a great embarrassment?) and said that they did not reflect his views. The gross ugly smears in the Ron Paul newsletters about Martin Luther King (e.g., that “he seduced underage girls and boys” http://www.tnr.com/downloads/december1990.pdf ), written by Lew Rockwell, are not compatible with Ron Paul’s statements praising King and with Paul’s fundraising efforts on King’s birthday, an effort that I recall showed a major drop in success compared to the moneybombs before the newsletter story broke. (I do not have the information before me; perhaps someone can check how much was raised, but I recall being surprised by a large drop in support.) It is likely that the newsletters hurt his fundraising; I was told by several people who donated before (yes, I have friends who strongly supported Paul and just didn’t like his associations) that they were less enthusiastic after the newsletters; judging from the numbers, there were enough to make a big difference. The newsletters did hurt Ron’s candidacy; that’s why he took such pains to repudiate them in very strong terms and to affirm his admiration (not shared by DiLorenzo, Huebert, or Rockwell) for Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King:

—-
reason: What do you think of Martin Luther King?

Paul: Martin Luther King is one of my heroes because he believed in nonviolence and that’s a libertarian principle. Rosa Parks is the same way. Gandhi, I admire. Because they’re willing to take on the government, they were willing to take on bad laws. So I believe in civil disobedience if you understand the consequences. Martin Luther King was a great person because he did that and he changed America for the better because of that.

reason: You didn’t write the derogatory things about him in the letter?

Paul: No
( http://www.reason.com/blog/show/124281.html )
—-

Regarding the Mississippi disenfranchisement, you have again tried to spin and grossly distorted my view. I did not call for “invalidating” all laws passed under disenfranchisement. (Laws against assault, for example, or “seducing underage boys and girls,” should not be invalidated, merely because passed in a non-democratic way.) I believe that the voters should have voted to replace the flag with one that was not a poke in the eye to a large percentage of the population.

You have laid down one red herring after another. But, in the end, you do your case no good. You merely draw yet more attention to the ugliness you are trying to explain away. It doesn’t work.

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