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Dec 29 2011

Ron Paul’s Crazy Conspiracy Theories

One of the other serious problems I have with Ron Paul is his embrace of some of the right’s looniest conspiracy theories. Talking Points Memo details one example, his claim that there is a plot to eliminate American sovereignty and form a single union with Canada and Mexico. On his 2008 campaign website, he said:

“NAFTA’s superhighway is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system. Forget about controlling immigration under this scheme.”

And as TPM points out, even conservatives like George W. Bush and Rick Perry are all part of the conspiracy:

The NAFTA superhighway has long been a popular icon in conspiracy theory circles, much to the chagrin of various elected officials working on actual unrelated highway issues. Rick Perry caught a lot of heat over his attempt to build a Trans-Texas Corridor from critics who believed it was part of the grand plot, among them Ron Paul, who took to extremist Lew Rockwell’s site todenounce the effort. It got so bad that Perry had to deny the plot in an interview with right-wing news site Human Events in 2006.

“I’m trying to secure the southern border, so the idea that somehow or another that we’re going to create this big, tri-lateral connection between Canadians, the United States…we’re pretty independent in Texas,” Perry said.

Paul teamed up with other fringe legislators, most notably former Rep, Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), to introduce legislation denouncing the nonexistent superhighway, even as both the Bush administration and the top ranking Republicans on the relevant transportation committees insisted there was no basis to the theory. Paul took their denials as further encouragement he was onto something and insisted that federal officials were using “secret funding” to advance the project.

The North American Union and NAFTA Superhighway are part of a theme for Paul, who often warns of shadowy efforts to give up US sovereignty to international authorities.

All of this is part of a long tradition among the paranoid American right. It’s pretty standard stuff for the John Birch Society and similar groups, who are forever telling us that the United Nations is going to take over the Untied States, take away their guns and do away with the Constitution and American currency. In fact, Paul appeared in a John Birch Society video making precisely those claims in 1998.

These are the same people who claimed that President Eisenhower was a Soviet agent, that Chinese troops were massing on the Mexican border to invade the United States, and any number of similarly crazy ideas. Remember all that nonsense about the backs of road signs supposedly containing codes that would tell U.N. troops how to invade and take over the country? Same people, same insanity. Never mind that the U.N. can’t do a damn thing without our permission because we have veto power in the security council and that they have no army; facts are unnecessary when pushing a crazy conspiracy theory.

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  1. 1
    d cwilson

    Never mind that the U.N. can’t do a damn thing without our permission because we have veto power in the security council and that they have no army; facts are unnecessary when pushing a crazy conspiracy theory.

    That just proves that the US federal government is part of the conspiracy. Doy.

  2. 2
    chilidog99

    The 100 Amero note will have a picture of Ron Paul on it.

    I also believe that he is on video somewhere talking about the “grassy knoll”. . . .

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    “NAFTA’s superhighway is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system. Forget about controlling immigration under this scheme.”

    And… If that happened, why would we want to “control immigration”? Since Mexico’d basically be annexed as another state? Sounds like a plan! Let’s offer statehood to Canada, too!! (except Quebec, of course) Too bad they’d never be stupid enough to fall for it.

  4. 4
    Marcus Ranum

    That just proves that the US federal government is part of the conspiracy

    As we’ve seen thanks to Bush and Obama: if the government does it, it’s not a “crime” or a “conspiracy” – it’s legal, and it’s foreign policy. Q.E.D.

    That’s what it’s boiling down to: “we did it, therefore it can’t possibly have been a crime.”

  5. 5
    interrobang

    That’s hardly Ron Paul’s conspiracy theory, unless he’s been propagating it since the late 1990s. I remember running into that one years and years ago online. The Canadian version of the same conspiracy theory is opposed to something called “deep integration.” (Actually, I’d be opposed to that kind of thing, were it real, too; there are ten times as many Americans as Canadians, and you’re all about ten times as crazy as we are. To hell with letting you make more decisions for us.)

  6. 6
    Sastra

    Never mind that the U.N. can’t do a damn thing without our permission because we have veto power in the security council and that they have no army…

    The U.N. has no army? Oh yeah?

    Take another look at Ron Paul supporters.

    Yeah. You’re getting it now. Perfect cover.

    Wheels within wheels, my friend. Wheels within wheels …

  7. 7
    Dr X

    @5:

    That’s hardly Ron Paul’s conspiracy theory, unless he’s been propagating it since the late 1990s.

    Read much? Ed wrote:

    One of the other serious problems I have with Ron Paul is his embrace of some of the right’s looniest conspiracy theories.

  8. 8
    Johnny Vector

    One internets to Sastra.

  9. 9
    Ingdigo Jump

    @5

    In fact, Paul appeared in a John Birch Society video making precisely those claims in 1998.

    DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUR!

  10. 10
    flatlander100

    What? No Paul concerns over “black helicopters” crossing the US border in the dead of night to carry out some nefarious government purpose? His having said nothing on the “black helicopter” matter makes him almost sane in comparison to other right wing paranoids.

    Almost.

  11. 11
    briandavis

    How long will it take the Birchers to figure out that Paul is a sell out? Once he has the reins of power he’ll hand over his newsletter’s mailing list to the UN abduction squads.

  12. 12
    rogerallen

    Don’t the Mexicans and Canadians have a say in the matter? What happened to manifest destiny, the doctrine that the mighty USA would make ‘a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico’ whether or not the Mexicans or Canadians wanted it?

  13. 13
    JustaTech

    Not to mention that this “North American Union” assumes that either Canada or Mexico would have us! Who would Canada have to make fun of if they joined the US? And the US has only been talking smack about Mexico for what, a century?

    Trade partners, sure. One country? No way in hell. And the Queen would not approve.

  14. 14
    matty1

    So the US is going to take over Canada and Mexico (which is what any kind of union would mean)by improving roads in Texas?

    That’s not even a very good conspiracy theory, where are the illuminati, the aliens, the mind control rays and why oh why won’t Ron Paul discuss the effects of communism on precious bodily fluids?

  15. 15
    d cwilson

    And the Queen would not approve.

    Well, now we know what the trigger event will be. The black helicopters will be in the air before Liz is room temperature.

  16. 16
    democommie

    Yeah, that would be interesting. The new head of the ATF would be some narcotrafficante from Jalisco.

  17. 17
    feralboy12

    If he could work Walter Mondale, the Queen of England, and the drug trade into this, he would be in Lyndon LaRouche territory.

  18. 18
    chilidog99

    Actually, there was an article titled “black heleicopters” in one of the newsletters.

    I wish I could find the image of the newsletter again.

  19. 19
    chilidog99

    It was in the September 1995 issue of the Ron Paul Survival report.

    Does anyone havea link to an archive of these things?

  20. 20
    John Hinkle

    Mexico and Canada? Hell, I’d be happy if we could just roll the tanks into Madison and take over Wisconsin!*

    * (Yeah, I live in Chicago, where it’s well known that Wisconsin will 5 buck you to death for camping, entering parks, obtaining something from the lost and found, chocolate covered bacon, etc. Ok, I made up that last one).

  21. 21
    DemetriusOfPharos

    @chilidog99

    A list of all Paul’s most egregious statements:
    http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/98883/ron-paul-incendiary-newsletters-exclusive

    Seemingly the one in particular you were talking about:
    http://www.tnr.com/sites/default/files/September1995.pdf

  22. 22
    stubby

    I still don’t understand the appeal of Ron Paul. I expect to see a press conference some day where his supporters will admit it was all a joke.

  23. 23
    freemage

    I seriously, honestly do not get what would be so horrible about a merger with either of our neighbors. In the case of Canada, we’re talking natural resources out the wazoo. In the case of Mexico, our southern border shrinks to a tiny line easily patrolled, while all those companies that moved production facilities to Mexico suddenly find themselves actually paying living wages and proper taxes for awhile.

  24. 24
    Raging Bee

    “North American Union?” Seriously? I first saw that phrase in the “Rosinante” science-fiction novels by Alexis Gililland. Have Ron Paul and his fellow crackers been victims of a Sokal-style hoax?

    Why any sane adult EVER took that worthless old fart seriously is still not apparent to me.

  25. 25
    Raging Bee

    …and why oh why won’t Ron Paul discuss the effects of communism on precious bodily fluids?

    If he doesn’t, I’m sure he has plenty of core supporters who will.

  26. 26
    juice

    So, everyone here is going to sit it out in 2012? Surely you aren’t going to vote for Obama and give a vote of approval to his continuance of so many horrible policies and the prolonging of the occupations of the countries the US military hasn’t been kicked out of yet. You don’t support that, do you? But you’re going to vote for it.

    Oh, you’ll be voting against the Republicans and not necessarily for Obama? Ok, then how about some of you vote against war and police militarization by voting in the Republican primary for the one person who speaks out against it? It doesn’t mean that you’re voting for paranoid conspiracy theories, but that you’re voting against the status quo.

  27. 27
    Ingdigo Jump

    Oh, you’ll be voting against the Republicans and not necessarily for Obama? Ok, then how about some of you vote against war and police militarization by voting in the Republican primary for the one person who speaks out against it? It doesn’t mean that you’re voting for paranoid conspiracy theories, but that you’re voting against the status quo.

    Because Paul is a racist and asshole who wants to see many people I love dieing in the street.

  28. 28
    Who Knows?

    I still don’t understand the appeal of Ron Paul. I expect to see a press conference some day where his supporters will admit it was all a joke.

    Nah, they’re true believers. That and, HE’S GOING TO LEGALIZE WEED, MAN!

  29. 29
    frankb

    Juice, I agree with Pat Buchanan when he criticizes Israel, but I would happily hand him over to the Anti-Defamation League if I had the opportunity. Pat says what he says because he is antisemitic, not because he is for human rights. Ron Paul is a despicable human being. He is not getting any support from me.

  30. 30
    Michael Heath

    frankb writes:

    I agree with Pat Buchanan when he criticizes Israel, but I would happily hand him over to the Anti-Defamation League if I had the opportunity. Pat says what he says because he is antisemitic, not because he is for human rights.

    I do not perceive Mr. Buchanan’s position on Israel is motivated by anti-semitism but instead by his fiercely held paleo-conservative isolationist positions; coupled to his objection for Israel treats other humans where his objections are near-equivalent to how liberals object to Israel’s policies against the Palestinian people. At least in the syndicated weekly columns published in my newspaper over the past couple of decades which is primarily where I encounter his arguments. In fact he’s remarkably consistent in his opposition to imperialism, e.g., criticizing what he thinks was FDR’s gamesmanship which effectively forced Japan’s hand opening a Pacific theater in WWII.

  31. 31
    frankb

    Michael, Buchanan is fairly complex in his political rhetoric, and I cannot claim to have studied him well. His defense of Hitler led me to believe he had neo-nazi sympathies. But maybe this isn’t the case. Buchanan praised Hitler as a social conservative, but one would think that better examples could be found. In fact Hitler was the ultimate failure as a social conservative in that his disregard for individual liberty and human rights led to the logical conclusion of genocide. I do not want to Godwin Ron Paul, but Paul and Buchanan scare me.

  32. 32
    dan4

    @26 “OK, then, how about some of you vote against war…by voting in the Republican primary by the one person who speaks out about it?”

    Paul is a pacifist (you wrote “against war,” not “unnecessary war,” after all)? That’s a reason to vote AGAINST him, not FOR him, lol.

  33. 33
    Modusoperandi

    Remember all that nonsense about the backs of road signs supposedly containing codes that would tell U.N. troops how to invade and take over the country?

    That’s idiotic. If the markings were for the UN, they’d only be able to read them as they were leaving.
    The markings are for the British. Think about it.

  34. 34
    organon

    I don’t care to defend Mr. Paul, but from what I’ve seen he is only against the wars we shouldn’t be in, not wars for actual self defense. There are plenty of reasons to not vote for him. But his stance on the wars is not one of them. Someone who studied medicine, only to be for teaching ID in the schools. Opposing separation of church and state. Believing that states should be able to establish laws that violate the federal constitution. And so many more. If Obama signs off on the 2012 NDAA, it will be abominable that anyone vote for him. If he should veto it, then it will fall back on at least he won’t stack the Supreme court further. Or so at least we can only hope. How many out there have signed the white house petition to veto the NDAA? There’s just under 24 hours remaining, and it still needs thousands more signatures. A shortcut to the petition is: http://wh.gov/jeY

  35. 35
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    No matter what I do, the whitehouse.gov website refuses to treat me as logged in for the purposes of signing that petition. Anyone else having this problem?

  36. 36
    dingojack

    Azkyroth – Ron Paul sez: ‘Co-incidence? I think not!’
    ;) Dingo

  37. 37
    organon

    This seems to be an ongoing problem that happens sometimes but not others. Those who have run into it say to just keep trying. Maybe try a different web browser to make sure that isn’t a problem. I’ve fortunately not had it happen to me. It is awesome you are trying. Please don’t give up.

  38. 38
    Michael Heath

    frankb writes:

    I agree with Pat Buchanan when he criticizes Israel, but I would happily hand him over to the Anti-Defamation League if I had the opportunity. Pat says what he says because he is antisemitic, not because he is for human rights.

    I respond:

    I do not perceive Mr. Buchanan’s position on Israel is motivated by anti-semitism but instead by his fiercely held paleo-conservative isolationist positions; coupled to his objection for Israel treats other humans where his objections are near-equivalent to how liberals object to Israel’s policies against the Palestinian people. At least in the syndicated weekly columns published in my newspaper over the past couple of decades which is primarily where I encounter his arguments. In fact he’s remarkably consistent in his opposition to imperialism, e.g., criticizing what he thinks was FDR’s gamesmanship which effectively forced Japan’s hand opening a Pacific theater in WWII.

    frankb responds:

    Buchanan is fairly complex in his political rhetoric, and I cannot claim to have studied him well. His defense of Hitler led me to believe he had neo-nazi sympathies. But maybe this isn’t the case. Buchanan praised Hitler as a social conservative, but one would think that better examples could be found. In fact Hitler was the ultimate failure as a social conservative in that his disregard for individual liberty and human rights led to the logical conclusion of genocide.

    Again I’ve never encountered Mr. Buchanan praising Hitler in his weekly newspaper columns. I googled them both and found only one item, Buchanan’s typical WWII revisionist perspective where he argues that Hitler was not a threat to the U.K. and U.S. and didn’t want war or even plan for war (beyond Germany wanting to seize cities dominated by Germans). But that was in no way praise for Hitler nor did these google results even go into social issues. Do you have some cites validating your very provocative claims?

  39. 39
    leonardspencer

    I’m surprised about Ron Paul, and any libertarian in general, opposing immigration. Surely the government controlling where people are allowed to go, where they can live, and what jobs they can take is total anathema to a libertarian.

  40. 40
    democommie

    “1977: “Those of us in childhood during the war years were introduced to Hitler only as a caricature…Though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier’s soldier in the Great War, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him. But Hitler’s success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path.”

    - St. Louis Globe – Democrat, Aug 25, 1977″

    That’s all I could find before the ADD said, “Fuck it, man. Let’s go twittercruzin’.

    Praise for Hitler, not so much, teh batshit KKKrazze? Well, it is from Pukecannon.

  41. 41
    tcmc

    Was that intentional–”…to take over the Untied States”?

  42. 42
    Michael Heath

    democommie,

    What Buchanan quotes here is a historically correct description of some of Hitler’s attributes, it’s not even revisionist as Buchanan’s version of the motivations to go to war in WWII clearly are. Hitler wouldn’t have gained and employed so much power if he only possessed negative attributes. It’s accurate to the point it was taught in public schools when I was growing up as a case study. It’s not laudatory of Hitler but instead descriptive. In fact the lesson we need to learn and which was taught to me in public school was that enormous talent doesn’t necessarily equate to character and integrity. That we shouldn’t conflate some qualities with others. As far back as elementary school were taught that Hitler had great charisma (which I can’t perceive) but charisma doesn’t necessarily equate to other traits that define a person’s moral fitness.

    We also see from this quote that Buchanan is clearly defining Hitler’s courage in WWI, not that his actions in regards to the Holocaust were courageous. Again, just because someone exemplifies courage doesn’t necessarily equate to their applying that courage to morally good causes, they could even depend on it for evil purposes. In fact this misunderstanding of Buchanan’s quote here (I see this all the time in the Internet), is equivalent to how Bill Maher was unjustly criticized for pointing out that conservatives were wrong in claiming the 9/11 bombers were cowards. Maher was right, they weren’t.

  43. 43
    Aquaria

    Because Paul is a racist and asshole who wants to see many people I love dieing in the street.

    And a misogynistic piece of shit.

    I wouldn’t vote for him if someone put a gun to my head. I’d rather die than vote for that scumbag.

  44. 44
    WordsOfAWizard

    What’s wrong with having a highway that connects Canada and Mexico through the United States? That seems like it would have huge economic benefits for all the parties involved.

  45. 45
    slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #42

    Ole Frankenberger wasn’t all bad. After all,he did away with unemployment, built the Autobahn, and set up the Volkswagon company.

  46. 46
    24fps

    Like visiting the US and all, but until you adopt universal government-funded health care, don’t even think about absorbing Canada. It’s a total deal breaker for most of us up here. And even then it would be a hard sell.

    I’ve never understood why some Americans think we all want to be American, too.

  47. 47
    democommie

    24fps said:

    “I’ve never understood why some Americans think we all want to be American, too.”

    Ummm, what YOU want is not all that important as you will no doubt discover, once you’ve become part of the Ameriborg.

  48. 48
    Modusoperandi

    24fps, just think how much cheaper junk food and truck nuts will be!

  49. 49
    twincats

    What’s wrong with having a highway that connects Canada and Mexico through the United States? That seems like it would have huge economic benefits for all the parties involved.

    As I have pointed out to my fundie, ditto-head aunt in Iowa (who has forwarded this particular conspiracy gem to me via email) a few years ago, we already have two major north/south highways that pretty much connect Mexico and Canada already. US Interstate 5 is the only one that actually touches both borders, but US Interstate 15 very nearly does, as it originates a few miles from Mexico in San Diego and *gasp* passes within a few miles of my house!

    At least she didn’t send a follow up ‘I told you so’ email…

  1. 50
    one for the kids … yer’ boy is crazier than a lohan outta cocaine … « hip is everything

    [...] Ron Paul’s Crazy Conspiracy Theories [...]

  2. 51
    It’s Time For Libertarians To Clean Our Own House « Kevin's Rants

    [...] Liberty continues to attract anti-Semities. There is also the pandering to and embracing of loony conspiracy theories such as the North American Union nonsense and 9/11 Truth among others. It is time for libertarians [...]

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