Pre-Meditated Murder, Not "Insanity": Thomas Szasz on the Tucson Massacre Reply

From The Freeman.

E. Fuller Torrey, a recognized expert on schizophrenic murderers, agrees. He refers to Loughner as “the alleged shooter” and states that he “is reported to have had symptoms associated with schizophrenia … and almost certainly was seriously mentally ill and untreated…. These tragedies are the inevitable outcome of five decades of failed mental-health policies.”

Torrey’s remedy for the problem of people being at liberty to commit crimes and suffer the consequences is intensifying the traditional legal-psychiatric practice of incarcerating innocent individuals and calling it “hospitalization” and “treatment” and even “suicide and crime prevention”: “The solution to this situation is obvious — make sure individuals with serious mental illnesses are receiving treatment. The mistake was not in emptying the nation’s hospitals but rather in ignoring the treatment needs of the patients being released…. Others are unaware they are sick and should be required by law to receive assisted outpatient treatment, including medication and counseling…  If they do not comply with the court-ordered treatment plan, they can and should be involuntarily admitted to a hospital.”

In contrast, Ashley Figueroa, a former girlfriend of Loughner, told ABC News that she remembers Loughner as “a drug user with a grudge against the government…. I think he’s faking everything…. I think that he has been planning this for some time.” A writer for adds: “Figueroa is not a doctor, and these claims conflict with the opinion of top doctors in the field of psychiatry. (Dr. E. Fuller Torrey actually told Salon that Loughner looks like a ‘textbook’ case of paranoid schizophrenia.)”

True, Figueroa is not a “doctor.” Do we need to have a medical degree to diagnose a person we have never laid eyes on as schizophrenic? Does the fact that Figueroa knew Loughner, that they had a real-life human relationship, count for nothing?

GI Jane and the End of Conservatism Reply

So argues James Kirkpatrick.

I disagree with this author’s argument that women make inherently incompetent soldiers. See here, here, here, here, here, and here. But the important part of this writer’s argument is that even the supposedly most conservative institution in the U.S. is itself thoroughly penetrated by political correctness.

The defining insight of the Alternative Right is that every traditional institution in the West has been fatally compromised by egalitarianism and radical leftism, and that ultimately modern conservatism serves as nothing more than the defense of the liberal establishment. The one possible exception to this rule has been the United States military.  In the popular imagination, the military represents an American warrior tradition that predates the Republic itself and is a bastion of conservatism and patriotism in a society gone mad.  It remains the only public institution that enjoys the widespread trust and support of the American people, far exceeding the approval ratings of the media, branches of government, corporate America, and even religion.

Nonetheless, a steadily increasing collection of papers and books from Thomas Ricks’s Making The Corps in 1997 to Lt. Col. J.K. Dempsey’s Our Army in 2010 contain much furrowing of brows and lamentations about the alleged monolithic conservatism of the officer corps and supposed alienation of officers from a decadent American society. Conservatives can smugly assert in response that it is the very innate conservatism of the military’s leadership that makes the institution so worthy of trust.  Furthermore, they could argue that this conservatism is inherent to the military profession, as Samuel Huntington elaborated in his seminal 1957 work, The Soldier and the State. Any progressive attempt to crack open the military and force it to operate like any other government bureaucracy is therefore doomed to failure.

Unfortunately, the progressives have succeeded.  Whatever the private opinions of the officer corps, the last few years have shown that the Army essentially operates with the same principles as any Ethnic Studies Program at a typical university.  In 2009, a major in the United States Army who had openly expressed outright contempt for the country he ostensibly served murdered American soldiers on an Army base.  Soldiers could not fire back and had to be saved by the police—because they are not allowed to be armed on base. Our mighty centurion General George Casey—in a pronouncement as immortal in its own way as Casear’s “Vini, Vidi, Vici”—commented that while the shootings were a tragedy, the greater tragedy would be if the Army’s diversity were a casualty.

Ike Was Right About the Military-Industrial Complex Reply

From The Independent

In his speech, Eisenhower warned about the growth of a ‘military-industrial complex,’ and the risks it could pose. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power,” Ike said, “exists and will persist.” His anxieties back then were prompted by the ten-fold expansion of the US military after two world wars, and by the development of a “permanent arms industry of vast proportions”. Today, the proportions of both the military and the industry that serves it are vaster than ever.

Adjusted for inflation, US national security spending has more than doubled since Eisenhower left office. Year after year, the defence budget seems to rise – irrespective of whether the country is actually fighting major wars, regardless of the fact that the Soviet Union, the country’s former global adversary, has ceased to be, and no matter which party controls the White House and Congress.

One common thread however exists: the military-industrial complex, or perhaps (as Eisenhower himself described it in a draft of his speech that was later amended) the military-industrial-congressional complex. Others have referred to the beast as the “Iron Triangle”.

In one corner of the triangle stands the arms industry. The second is constituted by the government, or more precisely the Pentagon, the end-consumer of the industry’s output. In a totalitarian state, such as the Soviet Union, that combination would be sufficient. The US however is a democracy, and a third corner is required – an elected legislature to vote funds to pay for the arms. This is Congress, made up of members who rely on the defence industry for many jobs in their states and districts, and for money to help finance their every more expensive re-election campaigns.

But maybe even triangle is an inadequate description. Today, more than ever, a fourth element underpins the military-industrial complex. It is the extraordinary prestige, verging on veneration, Americans accord their armed forces. Whatever the country’s soldiers need, the general public broadly believes, they should have.

The Trouble with Liberty Reply

A critique of libertarianism from New York magazine by Christopher Beam.

This critique is limited solely to the modern postwar American version of libertarianism. It doesn’t reference classical anarchism or even modern left-anarchism at all. So it’s focus is pretty narrow. A much more comprehensive treatment of anti-state radicalism is certainly possible. Many of the criticisms offered strike me as shallow and not very well informed of actual libertarian beliefs and the reasons for holding them (and I say this as someone who is very critical of some of the strands of libertarianism described in the article). Still, it’s a rather fair and nuanced article from a mainstream, relatively centrist, somewhat liberal perspective. I take it this writer is not any kind of “conservative” as he fails to get a hair up his ass over libertarian anti-militarism and proposals for decriminalizing things like drugs and commercialized vices.

Strauss, Beyond Left and Right Reply

by Jack Ross

Paul Gottfried has paid me the high compliment of writing an extended response to a message board comment I made of his essay on the critics of Leo Strauss.  Though I’m amused that Gottfried seems to be taken in by the argument of some Straussians, of which I was vaguely aware, that Strauss was really a Cold War liberal, I think in the end it misses the point to debate whether Strauss was a man of the right.

Gottfried is correct that Strauss’ Zionism was not a right-wing predilection in the European context.  The analogy to black nationalism is instructive with its very great likeness to Zionism.  Before World War II, to be a Zionist was a right-wing choice in the Jewish context, not only with socialism still a force to be reckoned with but with German Zionism still very much influenced by classical liberals like Hannah Arendt.  Indeed, Jabotinsky was probably responding to the likes of Arendt and Magnes far more than to Labor Zionism.

As for whether Straussianism belongs on the right today, I go back to the template that I actually picked up from a very bad leftist professor, that the right, as opposed to conservatism, is simply the enemy of the left which hates the left more than it believes in any positive program – which goes far, of course, in explaining how so much of the right through history, from fascism to neoconservatism, came out of the left.  (This professor, by the way, who was in great measure responsible for the failure of my graduate school career and I was told on good authority was only even there as a condition for hiring his wife, was furious when I invoked his template in embracing Edmund Burke).

There may well be a strong argument that in the 20th century context Strauss and his immediate disciples were closer to Cold War liberalism than even the new right, but in placing Straussianism on the right today one need only examine the fundamental Straussian influence behind Glenn Beck and the Tea Party doctrines generally.  I remember well back during the 2008 Republican primary, when I asked my friend Joe Stromberg, a Mormon apostate, what he thought of Mitt Romney’s speech on religion in America.  Blessedly cut off from the media circus, Joe wasn’t even aware of it, so we ended up having a very general conversation about Mormonism.  In explaining his quite compelling thesis that Mormonism is the ultimate religion of American predestination, at one point I was led to ask in shock “are there Mormon Straussians?”, to which Joe bemusedly replied “one or two, yes.”

Mormon Straussianism, in short, is the secret of the Glenn Beck phenomenon.  Its core doctrines about the divinely inspired Constitution (something the two groups separately believe anyway) were expounded Beck’s acknowledged forebear Cleon Skousen.  The above link by Michael Lind explains how it was the Claremontistas who first began pushing the notion that Woodrow Wilson was our worst President – not because his crusade to make the world safe for democracy directly led to all the totalitarian horrors of the 20th century by allowing the Allies a decisive victory, not because he set up the worst police state in American history (yes, Southern partisans, worse than Lincoln, we can have that out another day), but because he introduced theories of government that contradicted the Straussian belief in natural law.

It was in watching Glenn Beck’s coming out party as the white Farrakhan last August that I was finally determined to figure out how the American right came to believe such bizarre things about Martin Luther King.  I soon enough realized that it was but a classic Straussian exercise, to banish any historical and cultural context and divine the secret meaning of a great man’s words in the abstract.  In his bizarre “Rally to Restore Honor” religious revival speech that was one part Elmer Gantry and two parts Edward Bellamy, Beck made brief allusions to Mormon theology about the predestination of early America at creation.

He deftly went over this in an instant, but that he got away with it at all before his evangelical audience is shocking.  What it proves is that the American right is far more steadfast to the neocon “fourth great western religion” of Americanism than to Christianity.  What this owes to Leo Strauss hardly need be repeated here.

So if – and I realize many, not least Gottfried, will want to debate this point – the Tea Party represents the right in America today as opposed to principled conservatism, than the progeny of Strauss most assuredly belongs there.  But I should think that categories of left and right are superfluous in diagnosing the militant world-redemptive idolatry of Americanism.  And to be clear, I am the last person who would deny its debt to liberalism.

That 1918 Feeling Reply

by Jack Ross

Though it may well be too soon to assume any real significance to the withdrawal of Hezbollah from the Lebanese government, it is nevertheless suggestive of what I have argued for a while – that we are on the brink of an uprising across the Arab world to cast off the yoke of the American empire akin to the wave of uprisings that finally freed Eastern Europe from the Soviets.  Helena Cobban writes:

My sense from afar is that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and his friends and backers in Tehran are sending a fairly blunt message to the west (whose leaders often like to describe themselves as the “international community”) that regime change is indeed a game that more than one side can play.

Where is Saudi King Abdullah? He has had several serious medical procedures recently. Who has PM Saad Hariri been listening to as he has made his decisions of recent weeks?

If Nasrallah and his friends in Tehran (especially Supreme Leader Khamenei) indeed think the time has come to give the western house of cards in the Middle East a little nudge in Beirut to see what happens, the fallout from this could well end up extending far beyond Lebanon’s tiny confines.

Cobban believes that Saudi Arabia is indeed as ripe for revolution as Egypt, with King Abdullah as near death as Mubarak.  There is apparently even some shit going down in Tunisia, of all places.  The neocons, in their moral outrage at the comparison to 1989 (or is it 1919?) will now doubt insist that this would only be the conquest of the Middle East by Iran.  But it is certainly no more so than the fall of Communism meant that Eastern Europe was absorbed by the American empire.  Indeed, who can imagine the Iranians constructing an apparatus to compare to NATO?

Speaking of Iran, in a possibly related matter we have seen the dramatic shift in the party line about the Iranian nuclear program, in what can only be interpreted as the desperation of the war party to buy time, for reasons as yet unclear.  The official consensus mouthpiece itself, the Washington Post, is typical:

The challenge for the Obama administration, Israel and other allies will be to make use of that window to force a definitive end to the Iranian bomb program. The administration still hopes negotiations, set to resume Jan. 20, will achieve that end, but most likely it will require a fundamental change in Iran’s hard-line regime. From that point of view, five years is certainly not much time.

Perhaps Barack Milhous Obama really is about to actually reach out to Iran and end the madness.  But it may also be that the neocons and Israel lobby have decided all they can do now is go for broke and do all the moral chest-beating they can muster, and perhaps try to put across the big lie that America is legally bound to use its military to prevent “crimes against the Jewish people”.  The apparent strategic retreat may also be a sign that America has already lost the war – like Russia before the revolution, like France before the Americans came in, and like Germany thereafter.

But the liberation of Lebanon, and perhaps also Tunisia, if they spread to Egypt and Saudi Arabia could create a revolutionary wave that not even the most U.S. garrisoned Gulf sheikhdoms could withstand.  Let the Arab Spring commence!!!!

Drug War Kabuki Theater Reply

Kevin Carson on the modern version of the Baptist/Bootlegger alliance.

The ostensible opposing sides in the so-called Drug War have a similar relationship.  In the real world, the private drug cartels derive their power from the existence of a lucrative black market which the state plays a central role in maintaining.  And the state itself is just another drug cartel which profits from controlling — rather than eliminating — the drug trade.

You can be sure that, if anyone presented a plausible threat of actually ending the production of all illegal narcotics, the black ops people in the national security state would “neutralize” them, and that right quickly.  Without the drug trade, how would the CIA fund its global network of death squads and other criminal thugs around the world?

In a dipolomatic cable published by Wikileaks (quoted in an article by Ginger Thompson and Scott Shane at the New York Times — “Cables Portray Expanded Reach of Drug Agency,” Dec. 25),  we see a long list of examples of the Drug Enforcement Agency acting — not so much to eradicate illegal drugs — but to determine the balance of power between government and private drug cartels.

Some Drugs Are More Equal Than Others Reply

So says “Thoreau.

As a helpful guide to our readers, I have prepared a detailed classification scheme for illegal drugs:

Class Ia:  The drugs that you used when you were young and wild.  Not as potent as today’s drugs, and nothing to get judgmental about.  Sometimes worth getting a bit nostalgic about, though.

Class Ib:  The drugs that you used before  joining a 12 step program and/or a new religion.  Dangerous, evil things that even a fine person like you could not handle, and definitely too strong for anybody else.  Well worth getting self-righteous about, but not worth losing your rights over.

Class II:  The drugs that your young children might use some day unless the government Does Something About It.  Dangerous, evil things that must be stopped at any cost, as long as that cost is mostly paid by somebody else.

Class III:  The drugs that your teenage children just used.  These drugs are a private family matter that nobody else needs to get involved in.

Class IV:  The drugs that you heard are being used by people with less money than you and/or more melanin than you.  These drugs are not only incredibly potent and dangerous substances, they are also a sign of a deep moral defect that warrants a stiff prison sentence, substantially reduced employment prospects, and permanent suspension of voting rights.

The New White Nationalism in America 5

Scott McConnell of The American Conservative reviewed this book by Vanderbilt law professor Carol Swain.

I consider this book to be the very best scholarly work on the question of American white nationalism. In fact, it is probably the only such work of any genuine quality. Dr. Swain is an African-American, and not personally sympathetic to white nationalism, while giving it an objective scholarly analysis. It is this work that has most influenced my own thinking regarding the question of white nationalism, and it is largely Carol Swain’s policy recommendations (with some adjustments to make them more compatible with the anarcho-libertarian paradigm) that I have incorporated into the ARV/ATS program.

Swain reminds us that the affirmative action policies that mandate quotas, timetables, and diversity monitors were initially developed as a means to give immediate succor to the black poor in the aftermath of the civil rights revolution. They have now developed into anything but that. Instead, they are seen either as a means to impose diversity, now construed as an end it itself, or as a method to provide black and Hispanic students with role models.

Swain has no patience with any of these rationales. It strikes her as pathetically small minded to imagine that blacks need black role models to succeed: her own, she adds with some poignancy, were white male academics who prodded her to push herself intellectually. As it is, the current system undermines both the self-esteem and the education of its purported beneficiaries. Swain asks how the personal chemistry of college sports teams would fare if teams were required to have proportionate quotas of white and Asian athletes. And she relates a bitter truth from her own experience with black students on campus—many of whom pass through college believing that affirmative action guarantees their admission to top-quality professional schools regardless of their academic performance. Such a belief
may be only partially true, but it has had devastating consequences for black academic performance.

When liberal immigration policies are thrown into the mix, the American racial system is threatened with overload. Swain estimates that by the middle of the present century well over half of Americans will be entitled to racial preferences. It seems most unlikely that such a development could take place without fierce resistance by white Americans.

Swain’s own recommendations are the epitome of common sense. Racial preferences for hiring and promotions should be eliminated. Affirmative action should be remodeled with an emphasis on class rather than racial background in order to benefit the poorest Americans. Racial preferences for new immigrants should be scrapped entirely. Immigration rates should be reduced, and the laws against hiring illegal aliens (who compete with and drive down the wages of the American working poor) should be enforced. The black leadership should be challenged: its current focus on divisive issues like reparations or its obsession with eliminating statues, street names, and other symbols of the Confederacy do nothing for the black poor and only drain the reservoir of racial good will. Social policy should be refocused on aiding the working poor through such measures as income subsidies and vocational training for high school dropouts.

The Contradictions of Noam Chomsky 2

Excellent, comprehensive take down of the High Priest of Left-Anarchism by left-anarchist Roderick T. Long.

I will always acknowledge my intellectual debt to Chomsky, whose writings more than those of anyone else helped me to develop a thorough understanding of the history and nature of U.S. imperialism. But as the years have passed I’ve come to find his views on domestic issues and his contradictory analysis of the state to be increasingly revolting.

*Note on Racial Separatism 1

One of the biggest controversies surrounding myself is my association with the national-anarchists, my recognition of them as a legitimate branch of anarchism, and efforts to include them as part of a pan-secessionist alliance. This statement by the National Anarchist Tribal Alliance of New York provides what is perhaps the most concise yet thorough clarification of the true relationship between national-anarchism and racial separatist ideologies.

Left and Right Against Fascism 12

This interview with Naomi Wolf gives a good overview of the real problems with the police state that has arisen from the terror war. Read it here. Wolf is actually a pretty good antidote to the histrionics of the Glenn Beck and/or Alex Jones crowd. She actually provides solid intellectual arguments, firmly supported by evidence, as to how the police state continues to grow and expand, rather than relying on conspiracy theories and over the top rhetoric based on assertions from questionable sources.

The only problem I have with Wolf is that, from what I can tell, she doesn’t give much of a back story on how the modern American police state actually began to develop long before the terror war. It really has its roots in the FBI’s COINTELPRO program in the late 1960s, and was further expanded by Nixon’s initiation of the drug war. The drug war was later intensified by Reagan, and his successors expanded the drug war to a war on “crime” generally. The culmination of all this was the terror war that began after September 11. As Wolf points out, Obama is now institutionalizing the provisions of Bush’s terror war and making them into permanent features of American political life.

Also, this analysis of Obama by Pat Buchanan is right on target. Buchanan debunks the hysteria of the FOX Newsians who insist Obama is an American Hugo Chavez or Robert Mugabe. Rather, he’s more comparable to an ambitious corporate executive who finally makes it to the CEO’s chair and is more interested in protecting his own position rather than imposing some far-reaching ideological agenda. His personal opinions are obviously left of center, and he’s arguably the most liberal president the US has ever had, but the claim of the Glenn Beckians that he’s a Marxist revolutionary is insanity.