The media barrage descending upon billionaire Presidential candidate Donald Trump for speaking too bluntly on non-legal immigrants reinforces the point (among other trends) that the summer of PC bullying continues. From historically insouciant campaigns to bring down the Confederate flag, to constitutionally bogus court decisions to force gay marriage on all the red states, down to calls to replace Andrew Jackson with Rosa Parks on the twenty dollar bill, the cultural left has been going at a full speed steamroller pace with one “go with this, or you’re racist” agenda item after another.
The Donald has simply pointed to incarceration statistics from ICE showing the illegal or undocumented immigrant population (5% of the general population) is committing 27% of the federal crimes. He has also noted data admitted by the General Accounting Office that 70% of the nation’s southern border is unsecure. Speaking only about last year, Breitbart reports that “thanks in part to deadly ‘sanctuary city’ policies, 347,000 convicted criminal immigrants remain at large in the U.S. — and illegal immigrants accounted for 37 percent of all federal sentences handed down in 2014.” Of course, the unscripted, self-obsessed tycoon has not let any handlers polish his attempt to raise this subject in a non-incendiary fashion, hence the furor over his impolitic bluntness in talking about Mexico “sending us” rapists, murderers and the like. He’s also not been shy about challenging a cultural Marxist media that would like to shame him back into conformity on this and other issues. Katy Tur’s encounters with him have been not exactly relaxing sniffs of lavender oil:
So Trump is currently making the neocons and GOP leaders squirm, but is not otherwise disagreeing with their interventionist, big government agenda. Trump really does think his rivals in the race are incompetent dummies and fools, who can’t get the job done, whereas he would bomb and knock enough heads around to get things done. He’s apparently an establishment water carrier in most other respects, which is why you see him picking fights with the frontrunners, to keep them in the news, not real pro-liberty contenders in the Republican race like Rand Paul.
Trump is both currying to and protecting himself from the statist establishment, as shown by his bipartisan contribution habits, and (at other points) by his paying that establishment off to leave his big business ventures alone. Yet look at how fast they’ve been trying to clobber him financially anyway, over his comments on immigration. Trump has a business empire that can be busted like a big piñata to suit the needs of the elite to control him and other tycoons who enter politics.
Trump has been as independent as he has mainly because a large fraction of his fortune is in real estate, thus not as subject to boycotts, endorsement withdrawals, naked short options and other maneuvers used to destroy wealthy outsiders. This may be a reason why Ross Perot kept just about all his money in municipal bonds across the 50 states. Despite the lousy low interest, it kept him from being threatened with sudden financial ruin if he spoke too much out of line. Most politicians, who have less or no money, are controlled even more completely with the prospect of total destruction if they stray from the mainstream, and establishment media sources are threatened with exclusion (no access to officials for interviews, press conferences, or leaked info) if they pursue the “wrong” stories or questions.
In this manner, the entire “mainstream” usually runs in smooth conformity, from the pols to the pundits, with everyone in between cowed into compliance. It becomes a one-two punch, of the candidates not wanting to touch certain aspects of the “no-no” issues, and the establishment media not wanting to raise them. Even bringing up measures to address the crimes of the deported would draw too much attention to the issue for elite comfort. The real reason much of the establishment is in an uproar over Trump is that he is discrediting Jeb Bush’s credibility (Trump is more charismatic, hitting issues the base cares about, and has deeper pockets) much more than they would like. Jeb is the selected sacrificial lamb who is designed to lose to Hillary in 2016, and they don’t want their pigeon replaced by somebody who might actually beat her.
Changing the Framework
Trump has changed the discussion framework (emphasizing the criminal aspects the PC and establishment side wanted to ignore), but not the policy debate (which is stilled geared around the “so when are we giving them amnesty” sense of inevitability). Trump himself appears to support the “pathway to citizenship” euphenism for amnesty when pressed on the subject, so he represents no real change on the substance. This confirms my view Trump is an establishment tool whose job in the race is to poison the well, by making a flawed or comical case for legitimate issues, like the negative aspects of illegal immigration, or meeting the constitutional criteria for President, so the media and candidates can dismiss dealing with them. If we had a liberty candidate who argued we had to end the NSA surveillance program because “the Martians may be listening in,” it would have the same effect.
I note more and more pundits are catching on to this “false flag” nature of Trump’s candidacy. Someone on FOX recently noted the same thing I’ve mentioned, that Trump takes a widely held position among conservatives (be it on Presidential qualifications, or on immigration) and contaminates it by making it seem ridiculous. Is he doing so deliberately? Probably, since the effect keeps rebounding to the mainstream media’s (MSM’s) benefit in each case. Trump’s purpose is thus to marginalize populist sentiments on these issues, making the world safe for the GOP moderates to dismiss them and advance the establishment agenda. He’s largely revived the Pat Buchanan agenda of the ’90’s, precisely in order to wreck it.
But in the meanwhile, on the surface at least, it’s fun watching somebody seem to stand up to mainstream framework makers. Trump handles or ‘trumps’ the PC immigration barrage by pushing back the junk of male and female media figures alike–whereas when Rand Paul happened to be aggressive with female interviewers early on, he gave the MSM an opening to say he was bullying women (even though it’s men writing basically all the leading questions they feed to the on-camera people of either sex). But there is definitely a need to be assertive in blasting the establishment’s PC framework on issues to smithereens, which is what Trump is hilariously doing.
Rand may yet be able to use Trump’s macho bluster to triangulate himself as a bold, but real statesman, if he plainly calls out the media on their over-reactions, while re-stating Trump’s views on immigration etc more reasonably. Rand has played the chess game to protect himself, but you can only castle the king once. He’s made compromising rhetorical and political gestures to cover himself long enough—post his Patriot Act victory, it’s time for him to go after the enemy.
But what is the reasonable pro-liberty path on this matter going forward? Are 3,000 mile border fences and mass deportation of at least 11 million illegals the answer, or even logistically feasible? Probably not. Is wholesale amnesty, or its polite code word “a pathway to citizenship” the answer? Certainly not, and it’s already been done in the past, leading to the greater wave of lawless immigration we are currently experiencing. Well, what about the practice of individual responsibility, on the part of the migrants, to do what’s right? Bingo. Basically, the issue is freedom of association, or liberty right of current citizens to set the rules of their consent for immigration to protect all parties, vs. illegal immigrants having forced access to American resources against the consent of native citizens.
There already is a pathway to citizenship, called the naturalization process. Immigrants should be able to transfer their citizenship freely, but they should follow the rules–just like people should be able to rent property freely, but they need to sign a lease, otherwise their occupancy is trespassing. It is the individual responsibility of those immigrants to themselves complete the process for obtaining legal citizenship or residency, not that of the government the citizens delegated to establish a “non-process,” or special “pathway” for them. Whether or not the state should or can logistically perform mass deportation, or put up border fences, it is still the responsibility of the migrating individuals to follow the naturalization process. This approach, combined with deportation of violent offenders, balances retaining free immigration (which supports the liberty interests of those who want to become citizens) with protecting the borders (which defends the liberty interests of current citizens).
Some ‘open borders’ libertarians (who sometimes express “there are no borders,” or there are no “illegals”) object to government regulating immigration, arguing that anything the government does with regard to immigration is a violation of property rights, since anything the government does requires funding, meaning the action requires confiscation of private property. But this is valid only if one presumes there is no legitimate way to fund government apart from confiscation, and/or think there is no legitimate function of government. That is a disputed view, which is too often presented as if it is self-evident. Supporters of this concept go as far as asserting it is the only “real” libertarian view about borders, which amounts to exclusively embracing anarchism, instead of minarchism as the libertarian approach to government.
In the end, the ‘open borders’ view doesn’t believe the people can legitimately delegate their rights to a civil government, and that the state can have no delegated self-defense basis for legally defining citizenship. My point is, this basis for an open borders position is thereby anarchism, not libertarian principle. A consistent libertarian approach would be at least as much concerned with the migrant’s violation of private property, not just the state’s. And it would focus on the responsibility of the migrant as to what to they should be doing, which the open approach does not.
The latest Supreme Court unconstitutional decisions on Obamacare, and especially gay/same sex marriage, rendered at the end of its 2015 term, represents the usual mishmash of left-oriented judicial activism, rhetorical “jiggery-pokery” (a term I first heard on Dr. Who, but here used by a flustered Justice Antonin Scalia in his heated dissents), and other basic breaches of rational jurisprudence. Once again, at least from this Christian libertarian’s perspective, rulings that involve (at minimum) severe and unprecedented re-inventions of constitutional understanding, have been resorted to in order to impose a one size fits all “politically correct” solution on a divided country.
Court Overreach, Liberty Conflations
This overreach confirms the impression of many that the current court is staffed by the Devil’s favorite demons, to borrow a WWE line, determined to hasten the slide of the society and nation into lawless and amoral chaos. But if this has been the trend for years, why does yet another year ending with laughably flawed decisions count as breaking news, some would ask? The answer: It matters in terms of the long standing, but broken promise of the Republicans to fix the activism problem with constitutionally sound Justices. They’ve had 35+ years, and 4 of the 7 appointees they delivered have turned out to be totally compromised (with Roberts seemingly under out and out blackmail when it comes to Obamacare). Meanwhile, on every big ruling, there has been no deviation by the Democratic appointees whatsoever from furthering the activist agenda.
Kennedy appears to have been bought off since at least ’92 (when he initially ruled to overturn Roe in the Casey decision, making him the 5th vote after oral arguments, then magically flipped by the day the ruling was announced). This last minute flip has happened only 3 times in the last three decades (O’Connor with Webster, Kennedy with Casey, and Roberts with Obamacare), in each case by a GOP selected “conservative.” As with the politicians, until the one way cave-in syndrome and compromise stops, there is no remedy to or relief from the ongoing SCOTUS slide into PC tyranny.
Libertarians have supported the freedom of gays to exercise personal liberty as a matter of tolerance, and leaving people alone. The key unifying point is that homosexuality is personal behavior that is not bothering other human beings, and as such does not need to be a concern of the state. This comes down to being a neutral “social libertarian” approach to their behavior that neither presumes “they are sinners” who must be shunned (the social right dogma), or that “they’re born that way” and must be embraced or approved, and hold civil rights class status (the social left dogma).
Some libertarians have wrongly conflated the social libertarian view with social liberalism. Many such libertarians, having come from a “Democratic liberal” or “moderate Republican” background, equate the liberty diversity approach (tolerate it and protect personal liberty) with social liberal advocacy (approve, embrace and promote it). This has in turn led to many unfortunate campaigns to “recruit” social liberals through issues like marriage equality. These efforts have failed for the same reason they usually fail to persuade social conservatives—both the right and the left are usually authoritarians, who want to impose their views and disputed presumptions (through law or through the courts) on everybody else. In terms of the current crusade, gay advocates do not want to live and let live, they want state enforced legitimacy, and the power to marginalize and punish the social right.
What’s the Issue?
Let’s concentrate on the gay marriage decision to get to the heart of the problem. Exactly why is it alright to the left for a federal edict and one Justice (Kennedy, who has written the last three gay-related decisions) to govern the approach of 350 million Americans from diverse states? More pertinently, how is this acceptable to libertarians, who supposedly believe in getting government out of divisive areas of life— except of course, for left-leaning federal decisions it likes? Neither a federal law like DOMA, nor a constitutional amendment, nor a Supreme Court decision should be defining marriage for the entire country, in either a traditional nor modernist direction.
Nothing in the original intent of the 14th Amendment guarantees a right to marry, be it heterosexual or homosexual, making the question of what is or is not allowed state to state moot. At the time of the amendment’s passage, marriage itself was understood to be a private institution or sectarian ritual, much like baptism or communion, thus not a matter of law. And the 14th amendment protects individual rights, not the privilege claims of a group that they need to be treated as a protected class. Gay advocates want a government privilege (a government marriage license) extended to them as a group as if it was an inalienable right, based on collectivist claims of being a civil rights category (which is itself disputed, since half of us do not agree “they are born that way”).
Regardless of the above reasonable considerations, gay marriage advocates have tried to pack their disputed presumptions into the law, and into the framework of the public dialogue on the subject. The gay lobby has spent billions in marketing to re-characterize immorality as a variety of civil rights, in order to get people to buy into the normalization, including marginalizing opponents as “bigots” or “homophobic” (not a DSM defined psych term, but a put-down epithet designed to chill debate). A full court press effort of over a decade has resulted in the current court decision, that has apparently succeeded in intimidating pols, pundits and justices alike into compliance with the “correct” view.
If you doubt there has been propaganda going on, ask yourself 1) why, in one news story after another, there’s always video shown of gays celebrating or kissing when they get a victory, but no video showing religious conservatives celebrating when they win? 2) If you replaced all the known gay news figures, gay actors and gay-friendly situations shown in current movies and TV shows with conservative evangelicals and Catholics, wouldn’t it seem obvious the media was over-stacking viewers with social conservatives? So if that’s the case, why is it okay to saturate the viewers by over-representing gays?
Benefit, insurance and other support issues involved with alternate relationships should be resolved through private contract. Gays should be free to identify such a contractual bond as ‘marriage’ but people should also not be forced by the state to recognize it as such. Gays can do whatever they want and can call it whatever they want, just so they don’t expect to impose their relationship on someone else. They can’t make me personally accept what they do, and gay couples can do whatever they want.
I regard much rhetoric about ‘rights’ in politics to be illegitimate, and often simply a pretext for demanding group privileges or subsidies that increase overall state aggression, in a manner that comes at the expense of the real liberty rights of others. I support individual personal liberty in sexual matters, but oppose efforts to further expand group rights by using government to codify legitimacy or approval for behavior that remains highly disputed. Initiating force through laws that de-facto coerce people to accepting behavior they see as immoral, is not the way to solve this, or other social issues.
Last but not least, the traditional and preponderant understanding of marriage is that it is a union God sanctifies and consecrates, or makes holy, for His glory–which is why the ceremony is most often done at a place of worship, and conducted by a cleric. That same historic tradition understands that homosexuality is sin, or a form of sexual immorality. Since it is impossible for God to make sin holy, to believers, the entire concept of same sex marriage is at least impossible, and at worst an attempt to ‘demand’ that God consecrate something that is immoral, or patently contrary to His law. This principled commitment to the sanctity of marriage is why cultural traditionalists reject the idea of gay marriage, not hatred.
The issue is not private contracts, or recognizing man’s love for man’s sake, but government conferring false legitimacy to a version of a private institution (and imposed on everybody) that runs contrary to the preponderant understanding of that private institution. Are gay baptisms or communions valid, if somebody gets a government license saying they are? The government does not have the right to treat a government marriage license (a privilege, that is dependent on the state’s approval) as if it is a right (something human beings have that is recognized to derive from outside, or beyond the state).
Nor should the state have the power to use its issuance of a privilege (a license) to fraudulently convey or curry legitimacy for gay marriages that could not be obtained by the culture or history. The decision this week confuses or conflates individual rights with group privileges, and is in essence a back door statement that the state recognizes no source or authority for rights outside of itself.
Culture Wars 2.0
At the moment, I see there are two clarifying strategic considerations for true advocates of liberty, here understood to be inclusive of cultural tradition:
1) The culture wars are geared to go into 2.0 mode, as the PC side will (as they did following Roe) presume this latest imposition of social liberal concepts on a divided country “settles the matter”–only to find it fuels divisive elections for the next several decades, as abortion has. The best overall approach, given the current circumstances, is to elect more constitutionalists to Congress who will use their direct powers to vote to remove the court’s jurisdiction on gay marriage, abortion and other cultural wedge issues, which would vacate the bad decisions made in each area, thus de-federalizing these issues.
2) This further exposes the complete failure of the Republican Party’s cowardly, half-hearted strategy of waiting for vacancies in the Supreme Court to appoint conservative replacements. For 40 years the GOP has strung the social right out with promising to reform the courts in this manner, while not prioritizing putting reliable appointees to the Court (compared to the perfect record of Democratic administrations in appointing social liberals). It’s clearly time to abandon this as a primary method going forward. (As an aside, I think it’s also time Republicans stopped running for President leading with an emphasis on interventionist foreign policy, which I believe cost them the election in ’92, ’96 and since ’08, and thus cost them more chances to make court appointments, but that’s another issue.)
Reagan appointed O’Connor and Kennedy, GHWB appointed Souter, GWB appointed Roberts, meaning 4 out of the 7 GOP appointees to SC have been duds, since 1980. Their failed approach has only emboldened the left to continue to pack the courts in the other direction, and continue to impose a left-authoritarian agenda through the courts and bureaucracies. The federal government should be out of these issues on both the legislative and judicial sides, so a successful removal of the court’s jurisdiction would send a stinging warning to the justices to not overreach their constitutional boundaries, as they have just done with these current decisions.
Rand’s New Mousetrap
GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul has written an amazing editorial for Time on the court’s gay marriage decision that suggests this exact path for getting the government out of marriage, and for giving cultural traditionalists the principled high ground on the moral issues without resorting to authoritarian measures (more laws, regulations, court decrees and other initiations of force) to counter the PC authoritarians of the social left. His approach mousetraps both the right and left’s self-contradictory attempts to settle the matter on the federal level in the first place:
…While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract.
The constitution is silent on the question of marriage because marriage has always been a local issue. Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not to Washington, DC.
I’ve often said I don’t want my guns or my marriage registered in Washington.
Those who disagree with the recent Supreme Court ruling argue that the court should not overturn the will of legislative majorities. Those who favor the Supreme Court ruling argue that the 14th amendment protects rights from legislative majorities.
Do consenting adults have a right to contract with other consenting adults? Supporters of the Supreme Court’s decision argue yes but they argue no when it comes to economic liberties, such as contracts regarding wages.
It seems some rights are more equal than others…
Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.
These remarks would be consistent with a three part approach of 1. Calling for eliminating marriage licenses. 2. Calling for defending religious liberty. 3. Removing jurisdiction of the federal courts concerning abortion and homosexuality, which would have the effect of vacating all of their unconstitutional rulings of the last generation to impose social liberalism on a largely conservative country. Some states, like Mississippi, are already considering ending their issuance of ALL marriage licenses. Rand himself may or may not openly champion all of these specific remedies, but he has opened up a specifically pro-liberty plan for the non-PC side of the culture wars to take up. That plan is, simply: restore morality, by removing government from all these areas.
In terms of how this plays into his primary chances, Rand could shave some votes off the statist social conservatives if the pro-liberty side did not appear to be stone-faced aloof, or outright hostile to moral issues. Just because we want to avoid getting sidetracked by wedge issues, doesn’t mean there is NO connection between moral decline and the loss of liberty. A culture that allows the legal slaughter of the unborn, for example, shouldn’t be surprised that not long after, it sees its government allow torture, rendition, no-due-process detention, and drone assassinations of civilians as well.
While standard or hack social right pols don’t acknowledge these connections, they do bring up the relevance morality has as a partial explanation to our general blight. The voting bloc that can be culled by doing so can also be mined by Rand and the movement, but liberty advocates need to lose the wholesale contemptuous attitude towards those voters in order to win over a faction of them.
The Road Ahead
In general, Rand’s op-ed is the guide for getting the social right onboard with fighting for their agenda on a non-authoritarian basis. Central (especially federal) government encroachment on private or local matters is the problem. Cultural conservatives have missed this by trying to lock state force in their direction, and hitching their wagon for decades to a GOP leadership that, as is now plainly obvious, was never trying to deliver for them on these issues. At this point, they should realize that the social left authoritarians are much better at getting state force to go their way, and the “waiting for the Supremes” or new judicial appointments to save the day game has run its course.
With the SCOTUS path seemingly blocked off to them now on both abortion and homosexuality, they now need to embrace the libertarian path of stripping the federal government of jurisdiction on these issues, and dumping the pols, Republican or Democrat, who won’t stay in line. They also need to back away from the rigid partisan thinking that isolates the Christian right in the GOP from those in the Democratic party (in other words, bring back the landslides of the Reagan years, where the less-government candidate united the social conservatives of both parties behind him).
That faction in the Democratic party still exists, as demonstrated as recently as a few years ago in CA, where most black voters rejected gay marriage by referendum and caused its defeat in that state. This cross-party re-unification of the cultural right is one of the things the elite fear the most, which is why they so quickly moved to co-opt the Tea Party within the GOP, and why they have boxed or blacked out any candidate who could have revived the Reagan coalition, from Buchanan to Ron Paul. If Rand leads them along the new strategy of de-federalizing the issues, the more thoughtful of them may realize they have no other place to go than the liberty route to make progress going forward.
Time Horizons and the Poker Face
For those fellow Christian libertarians who feel disheartened by the events of recent weeks, think on this: My metaphor is, we’re in the middle of one of the Rambo movies, where the triumphalist establishment figure says “Rambo’s done, it’s over. He lost.” Rambo here stands for liberty, the Constitution and cultural tradition. What we need to do is maintain our Col. Trautman poker face, and while conceding things do look bad, quietly suspect a turnaround will happen.
The last time they told us “Rambo” was done, was after the Sandy Hook shootings, as the cheerful gun control freaks chortled over how many legislative goodies they were going to get from riding that tragedy to victory. Three years later, no victory, since Americans loaded up buying more guns, residents of even liberal states like NY are not complying with gun control laws, and the Tea Party and liberty people in Congress have beat back the gun control drumbeat. The PC crowd is cheering over the ‘bring down the Confederate flag’ and ‘impose gay marriage acceptance on all’ victories now, but will they be laughing after the next elections?
That’s the longer time horizon we have to have. The statist and cultural PC forces always presume their winning a battle means they’ve won the war, when all it actually means is, we’re at the end of a round. Then when they get blown out at the last two mid-term elections, they turn to us flustered and say, “you knew, you KNEW Rambo would come back!” That’s when we get to have a little victory and reply, “I suspected.” The battle continues, but I say, liberty will come back from this.
There were highly tragic, and very comic disasters this past week related to race, from Spokane to Charleston. One relates to a deluded Caucasian woman, whom we’ll get to later. First and foremost, though, the heinous mass murder of nine churchgoers at a bible study in Charleston June 17 appears to have been a ‘perfect storm’ device to push a number of agendas the NWO has lost momentum on. The menu of issues this story feeds into is just too efficiently uniform, to wit:
—Gun control (note how Obama prominently threw this into his first press announcement)
—Hate crimes (hold the massacre not just in a black church, but in SC, one of the few states with no such law)
—Racial tensions/division (note the cable news banter linked this immediately to the Confederate flag in Charleston, the historic black church in SC, “coded language” on FOX news excusing racism, etc).
—Terrorism (calls for upping the surveillance, equating all extremists with terrorists, which would immediately make them subject to all the same legal gestapo provisions created for that population)
If the murders were just a random event by a stray lunatic, the odds those issues would all just happen to line up in the same cultural left direction, are astronomical. The fact there was almost no delay by talking heads in going into the PC political rants on all of the above, and the pattern of “yet another drug-controlled patsy” that the killer Dylann Roof appears to fit, confirms this is very likely a false flag, built to push these policy memes simultaneously. I have gone into the mechanics and rationale behind covert ops of this kind recently in discussing the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, so I won’t go into all details about Roof or the chain of evidence that don’t make sense. But in brief, the apparently orchestrated effect is the same: a highly emotional tragedy is used to drive a framework or mindset leading to a change in policy, or acceptance of it that otherwise would not have rationally occurred.
Waiving the White (Confederate) Flag
What the episode exposes is how efficiently the establishment can put a delphi campaign together that pours saturation coverage onto what The Powers That Be have decreed must be the one and only mainstream view on the above four issues. Using their control over both parties, they ordered the Democratic minions to go into uniform charge mode, especially with regards to the “put the Confederate Flag in a museum” sing-song meme, while coordinating the GOP leadership to crumble and cave like a house of race cards. What a craven farce of a party the Republicans are at this point, with Governor Nikki Haley, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney etc being hailed as “heroes” for calling for the flag’s removal from the public square, when their backtracking is more accurately a classic act of sheer cowardice under drumbeat pressure. Some corporations have joined in the move to marginalize the flag such as Walmart and eBay, who now state they will no longer sell Confederate flag products (but you can still buy certain items sporting the Confederate flag design on eBay as of this writing).
Note how, even with polls plainly showing that 74% of Republicans in a Republican state support keeping the flag up on display at the state capital, and a current poll showing 57% of Americans see the flag mainly as a symbol of southern pride, the national media paraded a cascade of “take it down” advocates almost non-stop, to create the massaged impression that the South Carolina public had entirely reversed itself on a long standing position. All that was actually happening was the forces of political correctness had bullied a state and its pols into marginalizing their view, and crying “yes, I Toby” to the smear charge their Confederate-friendly stand was mainly about race and hate.
This is not to say the flag had no associations with racism, since the flag was at times used by hate groups (though not nearly as often as the regular US flag). But that minor key aspect of its history does not justify the absolutism displayed by the ardent Confederate opponents, who deny the very existence of any other symbolism behind the flag. That absolutism is the smoking gun evidence no healing is going on, as the cultural left is never satisfied, and will promptly move on to still other fronts for crushing the spirit of resistance to federal tyranny. A more complex breakdown of the flag issue can be found here, and here, as the many aspects of the war between the states are too involved to fit into this blog post. The truth is, if the cultural left had its way, every viewpoint held by cultural conservatives would be marginalized and consigned to a museum. As one forum writer sums it up:
“My concern is that it basically is trying to sweep the history of the civil war under the rug. Yes, slavery was horrible, yes many people who love the confederate flag may very well be racists, but there were also atrocities committed against the confederates during the war as well like being allowed to starve and freeze to death while captured in union POW camps. Not all of those soldiers were slave owners…many of them were teenagers not even old enough to enlist. One of my own distant relatives fought on the side of the union and used to raid the camps of his own townspeople and rob and murder them. There are a lot of stories that will just no longer matter because only one side of the story will matter and once again, history will get re-written.”
The PC agenda is, always and forever, to normalize the modern ‘correct’ view, while marginalizing and making taboo any other view. The attempt to discredit or whiteout any history pointing to the self-determination desires of the south as the real thing symbolized by the flag, is par for the course for this agenda. While the PC advocates will cite white supremacist quotes from selected Confederate leaders to buttress their position that the flag was conceived in hate, they will leave out the detail that most US Caucasian people in the mid 1860’s, be they yankee or confederate and including Lincoln, believed blacks were not the equal of whites. Nor will they bring up other miscellaneous fun facts such as General Grant’s owning slaves, while General Lee owned none. Or, the fact that on the morning of Lincoln’s Inaugural in 1861, there were more union states practicing slavery than confederate states. And what about the fact that many free blacks were slave owners (indeed, a third of slave-owners in Louisiana were themselves black)?
Could it be that the real purpose is to lock away any social memory of the self-determination basis for the south’s secession? Statists do not like people remembering they are free, after all, including being free to secede. The PC police want a monolithic mainstream culture, that entertains no notion unapproved of by their controllers. These days (from a deep politics approach), is there any PC cultural issue where senior Democratic figures will deviate from “the line” set by their masters? These days, is there any PC cultural issue that top Republicans won’t cave on, when intense emotional pressure is applied? Of course not, they both have their marching orders. So long as everybody is getting properly wedged over the flag, all is well as far as the elite is concerned, because we aren’t thinking about the TPP, the imminent collapse of the financial markets, and other matters they don’t want you to focus on.
Or put another (traditional partisan) way, the GOP now appears to stand for nothing except a militaristic foreign policy–it’s the one area it won’t budge on (Rand Paul excepted), and can be otherwise expected to throw their conservative base vote to the wolves on the rest of the issues, once the heat gets too hot. This one-area fixation on foreign intervention, will likely continue to de-energize the Republican base and lead to more loses for them in Presidential years. Democrats are likewise stuck in “when you’re losing, convert every issue into race” in order to turn things around. We’re only half a year removed from a mid-term election where Democrats suffered huge losses in Congress (losing control of both houses) and in state governments. Isn’t all this huff and puff just window dressing for setting up race wedge issues, to help the party get back on its feet nationally in time for the 2016 elections?
What gets lost in the midst of all these political considerations is the tragedy, the truth, and liberty. The tragedy of nine dead victims, used as false flag fodder to push an overall stalling Democratic election agenda, and to distract from the larger establishment agenda. There was a similar opportunistic attempt to demogague the Sandy Hook school shootings of 2012 into massive expansion of gun control regultions, that backfired on the control freaks. The truth that bullying marginalization doesn’t heal anything, you don’t end a divisive issue like the Confederate flag by defining everyone you disagree with as “haters” and packing them into a museum closet. Might be interesting to see if a southern state or city, in response to the high-pressure intimidation campaign to bring down the flag, had the stones to actually run up a second Confederate flag, to double down on their commitment to resisting a bullying central government. And it goes without saying that liberty is not served by fostering cultural censorship, performed through intimidation and falsely smearing whole states. Different states have come to different conclusions about whether it will or won’t honor Confederate history, so freedom and tolerance supporting people should respect those differences, instead of trying to impose a single “mainstream” position concerning what a flag means, or doesn’t mean on the entire country. Respecting diversity cuts both ways.
Meanwhile, in the other related race matter, a just-resigned white local NAACP head apparently lied about her race upon applying for the job, later using the goofy cover of stating she “identifies as black.” Unlike the Roof case, this story appears to embarrass the PC narrative, thus seems to not be an orchestrated event. The strange Rachel Dolezal case that just preceded the SC shootings has given further exposure to the disingenuous nature of PC word magic, where one’s claim to “self identify” as something is supposed to end any discussion. For some reason, saying “I self-identify as gay, I was born that way and I can’t change” must be accepted, but thousands who say “I self-identify as a former homosexual, as gays are not born that way, so I can change my behavior” must never be acknowledged. And somehow the “I was born that way” gay people who self-identify that they can’t change, don’t ever consult with the transgender people who self identify as being able to change, regardless of the way they were born.
As my ally in liberty Becky Akers has asked, exactly why is it perfectly OK for a man to pretend he’s a woman, but not for a Caucasian to pretend she’s black? So social liberals are concerned that the NAACP white lady shouldn’t self identify as black, but we must accept all the other, more politically-correct self-identifications? And these same people seem to be concerned about the woman lying on the application forms in order to get a “black” job, but they’re not concerned about non-legal immigrants who lie on the paperwork in order to get “white” jobs?
And still others seem upset over the misrepresenting extremes Dolezal went to land the job, since it breaks the narrative of “white privilege” about the best jobs being on the “white” side? Oh my, how confusing the self-serving, selective game of “I am what am, if I just self-identify” gets. How about we instead accept that actual facts are more central to apprehending reality than PC word games, and individual choice and rights are more central to our humanity than is racial identity?
Sen. Rand Paul, son of libertarian titan Ron Paul, and the one real “pro-liberty” presidential candidate in the 2016 Republican field, has just killed much of the Patriot Act. A politician in Washington, almost singlehandedly, has actually repealed major parts of a major program. STOP THE PRESSES. This is a Kodak moment—even more so since this same Senator is in position to potentially win a major party nomination for President. The Beltway is ablaze with discussion, reports Politico, over how Rand ran circles around the entire political leadership, in order to maneuver himself into victory.
Unlike his straightforwardly ideological father, and in light of Ron Paul’s two GOP primary race defeats in 2008 and 2012, Rand is taking the ‘undercover,’ moderate rhetoric route to running for the office. He has been leading with well-rehearsed (at times almost neocon sounding) talking points and a bit of finesse that brings in principled positions on the backend, or as an end policy result. In sunsetting the unconstitutional provisions of section 215, Rand presented an actual balance of “liberty” (ending legal bulk surveillance) versus “security” (supporting more FBI staff to investigate real leads) the establishment merely talks about—while only delivering more security.
This has not been done as a desperate fundraising ploy, as Rand is not courting his liberty base (since he’s already married to it). He’s not married to the ‘purist’ approach of his father, but to a pragmatic or finesse approach designed to help dialogue with voters, or misdirect opponents until he moves in a substantive direction. The bold Patriot Act move was not a complete 180 on his finesse tactics, it was a planned strike, as Paul knew when the bill sections were coming up for renewal or expiration. The finesse was used to keep people guessing (including supporters) until he could seize on an opportunity. It was a tactical plan, one I and other observers have believed was laid out month ago, in order to ambush the establishment.
Justin Raimondo, who recently excoriated Rand over his vacillating rhetoric and compromising gestures, has noticed how rare Rand’s display of liberty principle is in increasingly authoritarian DC, or Mordor on the Potomac: “With everyone from the President to John McCain and Lindsey Graham attacking Sen. Paul for supposedly “endangering” the national security, the Senator has not only stood his ground but he’s also articulated the libertarian position on the utter impermissibility of what our government is doing and its dire implications for the future of our republic.”
Raimondo is the chief columnist at Antiwar.com. He has been highly critical of the pragmatic tactics Rand adopted, but likes his current achievement of forcing expiration of part of the Patriot Act. He doesn’t acknowledge that one reason why Rand was able to run out the clock was the GOP leadership thought (based on his “vacillating rhetoric”) that he would cave on the issue. They didn’t know his true intent until it was too late to save Section 215. His “pragmatism” served as countermeasures to fool the bad guys on the actual substance, just as we’ve been theorizing for months.
Confronting the “Robo-hawks” or Knee-jerk Interventionists
The DC Saurons are full uproar over this disruption of their procession to the Total State. Nor is this the only breach of the Jericho walls of the US Empire, War and Surveillance state scaled by Rand, as he has also jumped on the robo-hawks of the party over the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Taking advantage of gaffes by Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio (made during friendly questioning by FOX news correspondents, no less) handling the “if you knew then what you know now” question, Rand has pressed the issue of the wrong-headed intervention, and the subsequent Mideast disasters in its wake (including the rise of ISIS).
Moreover, Rand has been pointing out, it’s 12 years later, and we’re still in Iraq. The public, including 76% of Republicans by one poll, notices this, and agrees the Iraq is a failure or will be viewed as such by history. Not that mistakes were made in engaging the war, but that the war itself was a mistake. The original decision to start the war, and all other interventions, are viewed as correct actions by the war party—hence the GOP dilemma, or delusion, come 2016.
The unending length of the conflicts have made people notice the flimsy pretexts behind the aggression, excuses which were only supposed to be temporary devices to get folks onboard, then promptly forgotten. They were never meant to stand up to the test of time. Basically, the GOP will not win back the Presidency until it runs a candidate who at least partially repudiates the original decision to invade Iraq. “Mistakes were made” or “we had bad intelligence” won’t cut it anymore, especially since the facts are more like we got lied into the war, and the data was deceptively cherry-picked. Rand is the Republican’s immediate ticket out of the Iraq problem, if they will take it.
Personally, I prefer the openly principled approach of his father, but recognize the political reality that Ron got nowhere with it within the GOP in two election cycles. Yet there is something to be said for good technique, when going the practical route. What I do love about Rand, at his verbal dancing devious best, is his crazy jujitsu reconstructive way of throwing neocon/war party talking points back at them, in a way that either mouse-traps their rhetoric, or blows up the mouse traps outright. One example is “we need to ensure the safety and security of Israel in the region,” to which Rand might reply “we certainly do, and one of the best ways to do that is to stop destabilizing the region by creating a more extremist jihadi Wonderland than the one we started with.” That is, stop meddling and expanding military action everywhere, which is what is fostering the Muslim extremism and blowback. This kind of exchange mousetraps the “Israel’s security” talking point.
Nine months ago, the war hawk talking point was “let’s arm Iraqis to combat ISIS, since they are eager to take on the enemy, so they can fight the battle themselves.” Then, it seems like the SECOND that support was approved, the rhetoric got ramped up to “oh my, it’s not working, so we need to put boots on the ground, and go all in!” Just like Bay of Pigs, the militarists commit us part way, then say later (when things go south) that we’re betraying the success of the mission unless we escalate. In both instances, the hawks probably knew the locals couldn’t succeed—they were just used to prop the door open for more US intervention. But 12 years in, the public is by now tired of being back doored into undeclared wars that have no proper justification, no real connection to defending our borders (other than protecting a bloated Empire), and no exit. Enter Rand as the best mainstream solution to halting this syndrome, and reining in the robo-hawks.
News Bombing and Rope-a-Dope
Rand is so far also solving the problem of how to circumvent media blackouts or marginalized coverage (which destroyed Ron Paul’s chances), by finding ways to consistently be at the center of the news. Notice the last few weeks how it’s “Rand holds filibuster” or “Candidates attack Rand” or now “Rand forces expiration of the Patriot Act,” etc. This alone will keep Rand’s poll numbers up, regardless of how the media covers him. Rand is in part playing political rope a dope, doing or saying 2-3 newsworthy things each week that draw the neocon candidates in to scold him. This keeps him front and center of the coverage, while further locking the hawks into a corner defending the (by now) indefensible (the Iraq invasion, its lies, bulk warrantless surveillance, and the lies about that).
Rand’s virtually single handed repeal of the Patriot Act already puts him in the history books, regardless that the Saurons are already busy replacing the law with its new evil sister. The media can’t avoid mentioning Rand if they are covering things like the battle over the Patriot Act, or are following another contender who is attacking him by name. This also gives a strong incentive for the corporate media to interview Rand to respond to current attacks against him—which naturally gives him the option of escalating the exchange with more buzzworthy comments, to extend the news story. This sets Rand up to clean up by the time of the debates, as he will have by then well-established talking points against all the other candidates.
It’s no less than the news equivalent of the money bomb (another invention of Paul supporters), as an end-around to any media blackout. I wouldn’t be surprised if his campaign hasn’t set up a schedule for the next 30-40 weeks, specifying a “news bomb” story he will create each week through the end of the year. Will it be enough to defeat attempts by the mainstream media and Republican establishment to marginalize Rand anyway, by arguing he is not “electable” the way a Bush or Walker, or Christie might be? But on that issue, I hold my tongue until next year, and give the Rand campaign the time to roll out and prove it can overcome the opposition, via solely running inside the big party apparatus.
Which Way Forward for the Movement?
Finally, about that ‘big party’ issue: some less enlightened people have expressed the notion that a victory for Rand Paul shows the best way for pro-liberty people to proceed is through the Republican Party, through a continuing “reform the GOP” campaign. According to this view, Rand winning the GOP nomination would mean the Libertarian Party, or independent liberty movement is irrelevant. But do the advocates for taking this “work within the major parties” route ever drop the other shoe?
If the Rand candidacy fails, will these GOPers panic, because they know his loss renders their case for working only within the GOP irrelevant? Do the latter understand that the Paul movement was only possible because Ron (a lifetime LP member) did not compromise his libertarian beliefs while in major office, and built a national base for himself that was independent of both the GOP and LP, thus making himself a genuine unifying figure for the realists and purists to rally around? Doesn’t this kind of integrative, grassroots network based approach represent the better way to proceed, instead of running down liberty activists from one camp or the other? I say the success of the movement depends on maintaining the relevance of its activity in both the major and minor party universes. We’ll have much more clarity on these issues upon the conclusion of the Rand candidacy, but so far, maintaining a healthy independent grassroots liberty movement appears to be the preferred way going forward.
My progressive friend and previous business collaborator Dennis Shipman asked me to look at a popular video on the election buzzword issue “income inequality,” entitled 740 Park Avenue. The film begins by chronicling the amazing economic disparity between Manhattan’s fabled avenue of billionaires, versus the poor version of the same named avenue on the Bronx side of the Harlem River, and from there makes for a compelling expose of how the super rich (the 1%, or the top 1% of that 1%) have disproportionate influence and control over the political and economic order. The full video can be viewed here:
Below are my comments on the claims made in the video (you’ll have to view it to follow many of my responses). In general, I think the elite’s negative influence is bipartisan and systemic to the entire establishment. The 1% and mega corporations use free market concepts, Ayn Rand, and opportunity rhetoric to promote their corporate welfare, cartel capitalist, and big government/big business collusion operations—so the former then get scapegoated for the ultra rich’s sins. Since I think the video makes its main point well, my comments focus on the non-liberty aspects of it, to wit:
1) The Good–Exploration of the influence of the super wealthy on the political order. The Bad–Its breakdown of the discussion along mainstream partisan lines (‘white hat’ party here, ‘black hat’ party there) which often turns the film into a bunch of cliched Democratic talking points. The documentary makes token reference to the influence of the elite on Democratic leaders like Sen. Charles Schumer, or the inaction of Democrats when they had total power in DC, but otherwise does not draw the obvious conclusion that both major parties are owned by the elite interests. Eg, the top five corporate donors to the two major presidential contenders were the SAME people—Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, etc. The documentary is silent on this.
The Ugly–It’s also silent on the ‘deep politics’ aspects of how the rich donate—etc, many environmentalist organizations are actually funded by the Koch or Big Oil set, since the protests against new drilling keeps more crude from being available, thus the false scarcity keeps the cost of oil up, and their profits high. The candidate that got the MOST 1% money (Wall St., top corps, etc) was Obama in 2008 and 20012, not his GOP opponents. A billion dollars in campaign donor money is already lined up for Jeb Bush, and two billion already lined up for Hillary Clinton–that is, they are both in the pocket of the rich. Hillary has made millions from hedge fund investments for a decade, and pays her female staff 70% of what she paid her male staff–so how is she going to pontificate on income inequality? Even the phrase implies some class of ‘managers’ must devise ways to ‘make things right’ for the rest of us. And who exactly will be in the overwhelmingly best position to appoint such overlords, to impose those egalitarian outcomes on the population? You guessed it, the 1% ultra rich influencers! That’s why some of us find it problematic to seek centralized solutions.
2) The role of the Kochs et al in influencing mainstream policy is duly noted, especially from dropping tons of cash around through their PACs and other front organizations, but the documentary overreaches in asserting they created grassroots movements (the Libertarian Party, the Tea Party). After Koch ran on the LP line in 1980, the brothers tried to take over the party in order to co-opt its message, so as to promote their big business agenda. THE PARTY KICKED THEM OUT instead. The tea party began in 2007 as an independent, non-partisan, ANTI-rich elite group with Ron Paul and the grassroots (who took no Koch money), and by 2009 was kicking out mainly REPUBLICAN incumbents from office.
THAT’s when the Kochs and neocons jumped in to co-opt the movement, and steer it into being another GOP group. The establishment tried to do the same to Occupy, on the Democratic side, but it pushed back against this, which is why they then sought to crush it. What the rich do is seek to dominate a ‘mainstream’ they control, and either absorb alternatives into it, or push them to the sidelines. The elite either try to co-opt independent movements (left friendly or right friendly) back into the two-party puppet show, or else marginalize them, but they do not invent the grassroots movements.
3) The video relentlessly knocks the “tax cutters,” arguing taxes are essential for paying the country’s bills, and asserts “tax cuts for the rich” is a main reason why income inequality exists. In fact, the current tax system is just 100 years old, and the country got the bills paid, the roads built, etc through tariffs and fees, without taxes for most of its history. Income taxes were pushed into being by the bankers, mainly as a means of paying the interest on the debt created when the country switched to the Federal Reserve central bank system 100 years ago. There was NO welfare state (corporate or individual) when both the Fed and the tax started in 1913.
The point of the new regime was to suck money out of the middle class through monetary inflation, mountains of public debt and taxation, into the bankers and 1%’s hands. Inflated dollars, equals less consumer spending power and diminished savings. So, why doesn’t mainstream discussion about income inequality ever talk about the role of the Fed, and central banksters in devaluing the dollar? This has been a far, far more efficient (and massive) way to generate income inequality, as noted by James Bovard: “The real 1% issue is how the Federal Reserve has rigged the economic game to crucify the middle class with zero interest rates. Folks who relied on their savings have been devastated at the same time the Federal Reserve artificially inflates stock values to benefit the richest Americans.” The elite has distracted the public about this by emphasizing left-right rhetorical battles over ‘the safety net,’ or baiting the rich ever since.
4) The video interchangeably treats the GOP, LP and various fiscal restraint movements as complementary lapdogs of the elite. Despite the occasional confluence on issues, the LP was founded in 1971 IN OPPOSITION TO Republican policy, and maintains the GOP only ‘talks the talk‘ on freedom or small government, using the rhetoric to push the agenda of the rich-backed, big government interests. That elite puts up this show of opposition parties who are divided by rhetoric only, with the exception of raising wedge topics at election time (dividing and distracting the electorate on moral issues, or race). The elite want most of the WHITE and conservative population impoverished and middle class decimated, not just the blacks, or the working poor.
The documentary also castigates Gov. Scott Waker’s battle against “collective bargaining” and public unions in Wisconsin, by lumping opposition to the union demands with catering to the elite, while dismissing liberty arguments as ‘simplistic.’ The Libertarian principle is indeed simple–i.e., there should be no introduction of force or fraud to solve problems–and believes the more effective approach, that protects rights all around, involves upholding voluntary human action. “Collective” bargaining means compulsory involvement in union bargaining, or forcing some workers who do not consent to participate into funding its activity, thus depriving them of their liberty right not to associate. That is why it is opposed by liberty advocates, irrespective of the benefits of voluntary union organizing and bargaining.
5) The documentary exposes the super rich’s existence, and their tilting of the playing field, but spends 90% of the time playing along with the partisan games by attacking the GOP. That is what I found most disappointing. The real class war is between those elite interests who benefit from a massive state to further a corporate-fascist system that only serves the big guys, versus those who only want a state big enough to protect basic rights, but otherwise leaves the playing field level to let people get things done. In the meanwhile, if the playing field is tilted, play a different game than the one the rich have rigged. Opportunity should still be pursued, but on an informed basis that avoids the crooked game the elite has set up.