Then They Came For Jack Hunter. They Can Have Him.
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[ Note: So far, Rand Paul is "standing with" Hunter—he hasn't given in and fired him for un-PC speech.]

The recent attack on Jack Hunter a.k.a. “The Southern Avenger” radio host follows an all-too-familiar script in Washington. Someone connected to the Republican mainstream is accused of saying something Politically Incorrect. The Left and neoconservative echo chamber repeats the smear and tries to connect the Politically Incorrect statement to as many of its enemies as possible. The offender grovels. He may or may not be able to survive.

Jack Hunter is a leader of the “Liberty Movement” in his capacity as an official blogger for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and a close aide to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. The younger Paul appointed Hunter as his social media director last year and Hunter coauthored the Senator’s book The Tea Party Goes to Washington . Hunter had previously written columns and had a radio show under the name “The Southern Avenger.”

The neoconservative webzine the Washington Free Beacon ran a hit piece on Hunter entitled Rebel Yell: Rand Paul aide has history of neo-Confederate sympathies, inflammatory statements (by Alana Goodman, July 9, 2013)

Among Hunter’s sins:

  • He was a member of the secessionist group, the League of the South during the 1990s.

The “conservative” Free Beacon even interviewed a representative from the Anti-Defamation League, as if it were an authority: the ADL proclaimed

The League of the South is an implicitly racist group in that the idealized version of the South that they promote is one which, to use their ideology, is dominated by ‘Anglo-Celtic’ culture, which is their code word for ‘white’.

More "evidence" against Hunter:

  • In 2004, Hunter wrote: “Although Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s heart was in the right place, the Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln’s murder automatically turned him into a martyr.”
  • In 2007, Hunter wrote that, while blacks and Hispanics and blacks are encouraged to celebrate their racial identity, “not only are whites not afforded the same right to celebrate their own cultural identity—but anything that is considered ‘too white’ is immediately suspect …The term ‘diversity’ has become nothing more than a code word for ‘not white,’ and it’s a shame that just because we have fair skin, we are always denied fair treatment.”

(Note: This was long before some people started posting “anti-racist is a code word for anti-white” all over the internet, so it is unlikely that Hunter took the idea from them.)

That Americans, white or otherwise, don’t want Spanish-speaking people dominating their airwaves, neighborhoods, or country is no more racist than Mexico’s lack of interest in Seinfeld…Native Americans had no illusions about how their land would change as boatloads of white men landed on their shores and modern Americans aren’t wrong to deplore the millions of Mexicans coming here now. A non-white majority America would simply cease to be America for reasons that are as numerous as they are obvious – whether we are supposed to mention them or not.

The horror!

But in response, Hunter told the Free Beacon that while he still supports the right of secession, he has renounced his Politically Incorrect views on race and immigration (“I abhor racism”):

He said his comments about Hispanic immigrants and culture was meant to be “a point [about] how the culture changes with migration patterns. That’s true. The difference between now and then is I saw that as a serious problem then. I don’t think I see that as a serious problem now.”

He expressed surprise when read his remarks about race, saying, “Hearing you even read that to me, because I just don’t speak like that, sort of bothers me.” He said his views had changed dramatically.

According to the Free Beacon’s “About Us” page, it is “dedicated to uncovering the stories that the professional left hopes will never see the light of day.”

But in fact the “professional left” was notably happy to see this Paul-smearing story. Within hours, Talking Points Memo, Salon, Daily Beast, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Wonkette, and a variety of Leftist and Establishment rags were repeating the story. The neocon side of the professional Left, including the Weekly Standard, Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller, and Washington Post Neocon Queen Jennifer Rubin also piled on.

Most simply echo-chambered the attack, but others tried to find more dirt on Hunter, and, if possible, tie him to other mainstream conservatives. Thus the Leftist vigilante group Media Matters managed to associate him with Heritage Foundation president and former Senator Jim DeMint. As usual, other MSM publications quickly parroted Media Matters’ story.

Heritage has faced this sort of smear many times, most recently with Jason Richwine. While I don’t like to see this happen to anyone, Hunter is a different case: Richwine was attacked because he was conducting important work on the costs of Amnesty. His crime was a thoughtful and provocative, but quite irrelevant, Harvard dissertation. In contrast, although I am not myself morally outraged by what Hunter said about John Wilkes Booth a decade ago, it was far more impolitic than anything that Richwine, or for that matter other purged conservatives like John Derbyshire or Robert Weissberg, ever wrote or said.

The real scandal for those of us on the Dissident Right: Hunter’s steady retreat from race and immigration.

Ever since Rand Paul started to flip-flop on Amnesty, Hunter has been silent. This April, he acknowledged his changed views on racial issues.

The 20-something me would consider the 30-something me a bleeding-heart liberal. Though I still hate political correctness, I no longer find it valuable to attack PC by charging off in the opposite direction, making insensitive remarks that even if right in fact were so wrong in form. I’m not the first political pundit to use excessive hyperbole. I might be one of the few to admit being embarrassed about it.

The occasion for this mea culpa: an article against the fashionable comparison of gay marriage to Civil Rights. Hunter supports gay marriage, but he thinks that “slavery, segregation, and institutional racism left a heavy mark” and nothing can compare to the “inhumanity suffered by African-Americans in our early and later history.” [Why Gay Marriage Isn’t the ’60s Civil Rights Fight, The American Conservative, April 1, 2013]

Hunter’s shift is indicative of the negative influence that Ron and Rand Paul have exerted on many of the Dissident Right. Almost everyone I knew in the movement supported Ron Paul’s 2008 campaign and ran a sympathetic Q&A with him. But by 2010 it became evident that Ron Paul would not support, and in fact would oppose, patriotic immigration reform. Nonetheless, many of Ron’s, and later Rand’s, supporters have gone on insisting that their heroes are really “one of us.”

Unlike most Dissident Right Paul supporters who simply wasted their time and money on the campaigns, Jack Hunter was lucky enough to take root in the glory of the Paul’s celebrity and find some success of his own. Good for him. However, rather than influence Ron or Rand Paul, he adapted his views to their perceived political needs.

Hunter specialized in lecturing the Paul grassroots about how they should not criticize the Bilderberg Group, question Obama’s birthplace, or oppose Rand Paul’s Romney endorsement—or Ron and Rand’s Ted Cruz endorsement.

I am myself wary of conspiracy theories. And I believe both Ted Cruz or even (despite’s criticism) Mitt Romney have better views on immigration than either Paul.

Thus, I could care less about the particulars of Hunter’s campaigns to re-educate Paulista purists—but his actions are all too indicative of a mindset that views “extremists” in the grassroots as a liability to gaining Mainstream respectability.

Now, ironically, Hunter’s past is creating a greater liability to the respectability of “Liberty Movement” than all the “Bilderbirthers” and 9-11 Truthers combined.

Nevertheless, I hope Hunter survives. His Leftist and neoconservative enemies are loathsome, and I can’t help but sympathize with anyone subjected to these smears.

However, as with Rand Paul’s past flip-flopping on immigration, Hunter’s present snuggling up to Establishment PC shows that his fight is not the Dissident Right’s—or America’s.

Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist

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