Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BREAKING: Rand Paul Says He Was Misquoted by The New Yorker

In an essay that will be published here at EPJ later this afternoon as part of my on-going debate with Walter Block over Rand Paul, Walter will disclose that Rand now claims he has been misquoted by Rand.

Walter writes:
[W]hat I did was get in touch with a highly placed person in the Rand Paul campaign, and asked him about all of this. He assured me that Rand never said what was attributed to him by The New Yorker; he was entirely misquoted. Here is what this person e mailed me: “(Rand) actually does know that (you don’t support slavery) and said so when discussing this article with this reporter. The conversation bears little relationship to the mangled one (that appeared) in The New Yorker today. He (Rand) clearly noted (that) The Times butchered what a bunch of people believe, including you.”
I admit it. I was fooled. I read what The New Yorker quoted Rand as saying, and I initially believed it. I was dismayed. It is one thing to be mistreated by The New York Times, but to be dealt with in such a manner by Rand, who I had defended, by the son of Ron who I revere? This was, how shall I put it, harsh? In the event, I should have known better. I recently had an experience of my own about being misquoted by a mainstream journal, the New York Times. You would think that once bitten, twice shy: I should have discounted as a misquote what Rand supposedly said about me. I am an idiot. Why should I, knowing full well just what the mainstream media is capable of, think that another member in good standing of that club would accurately report a quote?

I asked this senior member of the Rand Paul staff if the Senator would issue a clarification. He told me that when a politician gets into it with a journalist, the candidate for office typically comes off a far away second best. His exact words were: “debates with journalists rarely end well for pols. So my guess is we will leave it alone.”
Note: When the full Walter essay is up, I will post a link here. I have also contacted the New Yorker and the Rand Paul profile writer, Ryan Lizza. I will add any responses from them to this post, so please check back here.


The full Walter Block piece is here.


The New Yorker has denied the charges and issued a statement saying they have an audio copy of the interview, see the statement here.


  1. I"m glad that Dr. Block has come to his senses as I think of him as one of the true leaders of the libertarian movement. He should know better than to trust the New Yorker after what the NYT did to him.

    The moderator of this site should have known better as well.

  2. "I should have discounted as a misquote what Rand supposedly said about me." And therein lies the uselessness of the mainstream media. You can never know when they are telling the truth. You can only know that they will be trying to serve there own interests.

  3. Perhaps one of the most fortuitous misquotes in the history of politics.

    How did: “(Rand) actually does know that (you don’t support slavery) and said so when discussing this article with this reporter.”

    Become: “I really was disappointed,” Rand said, his voice rising. There was a quote “from some guy who I’ve never met saying something about how slaves should have been happy singing and dancing because they got good food or something. Like, O.K., so now I’m in the New York Times and you’re associating me with some person who I don’t know.”

    And if it did, why? (An answer to this would really be enlightening.)

    This response to Dr. Block from “a highly placed person in the Rand Paul campaign” is wholly unsatisfactory. It can just as easily be interpreted as a further attempt to sit on both sides of the fence – keep his dad’s supporters while distancing himself from his dad – as it can be interpreted as Dr. Block wishes to do.

    I write these words while being sympathetic to certain portions of Dr. Block’s initial post – yet the “clarification” conveyed by Dr. Block clarifies exactly nothing.

  4. Yes. I'd like to have my cake and eat it, too!
    Bob - your headline is wrong. From the excerpt, Rand didn't say anything to Walter Block. Someone else said it. Which makes it all pretty perfect.
    We don't have to believe that The New Yorker accurately quoted Rand to think that this is a made up story.
    A third party says that Rand never said that, and he loves you Dr Block, but we really can't go back and fix the record. You just have to trust me when I tell you that Rand is a fan. (Pssst - just please don't tell anyone!)

  5. RW hates Rand Paul more than he hates the state. RW, you should go into criminal justice and prosecute Paul for not being the kind of guy you want him to be.

    1. Mr. Wenzel has such contempt for the state, as does yours truly, that he advocates for the complete abolition of it.

  6. While I have tremendous respect and adoration for Walter Block, he really put Rand in a bind. "Otherwise, slavery wasn't so bad" was Block's quote in the NY Times. He explained that what made slavery wrong was the mechanism of coercion and forced association.

    But this is nonsense. The very definition of slavery is ownership of another person by force. Block's statement is akin to saying "rape isn't so bad, except that it's non-consensual." Or "white t-shirts are very colorful, except they have no colors."

    What's the point of even saying it? Slavery is bad unequivocally. If Block was going to make an astute point, he could have said something like "Even if slaves were given all their desires and treated like princes, it is wrong from the libertarian perspective because it perpetuates the illegitimate use of force against the individual."

    All Block accomplished was driving a wedge between a viable, mainstream libertarian-lite politician and real libertarianism and, more important, laissez-faire economics. Now Austrianism and libertarianism are back to being dog-whistle racism.

    Takeaway: If you're going to play the game (that is participating in mainstream media and politics) then play to win. Block ran a fake punt on 4th and 20 from his own 30 yard line.

  7. Would love to know what became of this.