Former Congressman Ron Paul is under fire after a Facebook post and a tweet about cultural Marxism contained a racist caricature, which was also wrongly attributed to cartoonist Ben Garrison.
A libertarian who retired from Congress in 2013, Paul currently runs the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, a nonprofit in Texas. A post on his Facebook page on Monday blamed “cultural Marxism” for the current fractured state of culture and political discourse in the US. It was illustrated with a cartoon of Uncle Sam being punched out by a red Communist fist – wielded by four racist stereotypes and signed with Garrison’s name.
The cartoon also appeared in a tweet linking to the post. Within minutes, it was replaced by a sign with “Political Correctness” crossed out.
“Earlier today a staff member inadvertently posted an offensive cartoon on my social media. I do not make my own social media posts and when I discovered the mistake it was immediately deleted,” Paul tweeted on Monday afternoon.
It did little to mollify his critics, however, who insisted Paul was racist and cited the 2011 accusations about his decades-old newsletter as proof. Those accusations surfaced amid Paul’s presidential candidacy, which threatened the Republican establishment lining up behind Mitt Romney.
Six months prior, someone on the messaging board 4chan had altered a cartoon drawn by Ben Garrison, a Montana-based cartoonist with libertarian political leanings, to make it look anti-Semitic.
“There’s an entity or unknown cretin out there changing my cartoons – adding in offensive Jewish stereotypes – and then spreading them throughout the internet. While leaving MY name on them,”Garrison wrote in May 2011, challenging the fraud.
On Monday, he tweeted to note that the cartoon on Paul’s original post was not his, either.
A writer with David Brock’s Media Matters confirmed it: The forgery seems to be based on a 2008 cartoon by the Brazilian artist Carlos Latuff. It still shows Uncle Sam being punched out by a Communist fist. The characters in the multiracial lineup are drawn approvingly, however.
Had the former congressman’s staffer used Latuff’s original, odds are the post would have still been called racist, however. According to a number of self-described socialists and progressives, the very concept of “Cultural Marxism” is a racist, anti-Semitic dog whistle.