Blogs > Liberty and Power > Ron Paul and Senator Borah

May 29, 2008 1:06 am


Ron Paul and Senator Borah



In yesterday’s Republican primary in Idaho Ron Paul won 24% of the vote and six delegates. There’s an historical context for this, of course. The noted anti-interventionist Senator Borah represented Idaho from 1907 until his death in 1940. Although his economics were far removed from those of Ron Paul and he supported FDR’s confiscation of privately-held gold by executive order in 1933, he favored a low tariff and was opposed to much New Deal legislation. To this day Borah remains the longest-serving member of the United States Congress in Idaho history.

For a bare-bones account of his life, go here. For a left-of-center appreciation of him, go here. And for a fine defense of Borah against G. W. Bush’s recent slander, go here.



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Jesse Walker - 5/30/2008

I believe Bill Kauffman wrote more about Borah in his previous book America First!.


Mark Brady - 5/29/2008

"But I just don't get this Ron Paul vote total thing. 24% is, presumably, neither a majority or a plurality. Only majorities or pluralities count in an absolute district electoral system. But, somehow, when its Ron Paul a defeat becomes a victory. Very strange."

In Idaho delegates are apportioned according to the share of the vote that each candidate receives. Ron Paul's 24% suggests there is a fair amount of dissatisfaction with John McCain as the Republican nominee for president.


Mark Brady - 5/29/2008

"I always appreciate learning about the libertarians or near libertarians of earlier days. Just ran across Pierre Paley, for instance."

Like you I always enjoy reading about new (to me) people in the classical liberal tradition. Pierre Paley is not a name I recognize and a quick search on Google didn't help. Please tell us more.


William Marina - 5/29/2008

Dear Mark,
It might be nice if you sent your note to William Kauffman, whose recent book,Ain't My America, discussing "anti-imperialism" has received several favorable reviews in libertarian sources.
What this suggests is that there is an abysmal ignorance of that tradition among several libertarian and leftist reviewers, and certainly with respect to Kauffman himself.
In amongst all of his witty prose, on page 145, Kauffman manages to mention Borah, much admired by WA Williams', as one of the last of the "Sons of the Wild Jackass," almost as much space as his nice mention of David and Linda Beito on pages 125-6.
Looking also at his mention of Williams, I wonder how much of WAW's work our "beloved" author has read, beyond a biography of the historian by Buhle and Rice-Maximin.
But, to return to Borah. who was the most important Opponent of Empire (all forms) which Kauffman never gets around to analyzing. With all due respect to Ron Paul, there is no indication that his reputation "out there" in the Third World is anywhere near the magnitude that Borah achieved from 1919 to 1941.
For example, his opposition to Great Britain's and the US's policies toward China was so well-known there, that a reporter could travel unscathed across China in the midst of revolution with only a letter of introduction from Borah. How far do you think one might get with a letter today from Dubya? I'd prefer one from Jimmy Carter, myself!
With respect to Nicaragua, Cuba and Latin America in general, it was Borah's, and not FDR's speeches that were carried in English and Spanish, at a time when the fabled "Good Neighbor" had surrounded Cuba with gun boats, and a punitive economic policy designed to destroy the Revolution of 1933 there and put Batista in power.
Kauffman also makes a mess of the earlier "anti-imperialist movement" as well, but I'll end these observations here. Interested readers might consult my dissertation on that topic (1968), based upon over 100 mss collections and the vast BIA and Philippine Insurgent Records in the National Archives, for which I did an Index still in use there. Also, my essay on "Billy Apple," in V. 17 of the DLB (1983), 20th Century American
Historians, edited by Clyde Wilson.
Regards,
Bill Marina, Exec. Dir., the Marina-Huerta Educational Foundation


Craig J Bolton - 5/29/2008

I always appreciate learning about the libertarians or near libertarians of earlier days. Just ran across Pierre Paley, for instance.

But I just don't get this Ron Paul vote total thing. 24% is, presumably, neither a majority or a plurality. Only majorities or pluralities count in an absolute district electoral system. But, somehow, when its Ron Paul a defeat becomes a victory. Very strange.

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