Interesting and, I think, accurate history of the modern Left from Paul Gottfried.
After 9/11, the fear of another attack on U.S. soil cleanly supplanted the fear of having one`s penis chopped off by a vengeful lover in the pantheon of irrational American fears.
While we`re constantly being told that another attack is imminent and that radical Islamic fundamentalists are two steps away from establishing a caliphate in Branson, Missouri, just how close are they? How do the odds of dying in a terrorist attack stack up against the odds of dying in other unfortunate situations?
The following ratios were compiled using data from 2004 National Safety Council Estimates, a report based on data from The National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, 2003 mortality data from the Center for Disease Control was used.
— You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack
— You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack
— You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane
— You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack
–You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack
— You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack
— You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack
–You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack
–You are 9 times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack
–You are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist
–You are 8 times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack
— You are 6 times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack
SOURCE: The Progressive Review
On six different occasions between 1984 and 1994, I cast a ballot in an American election, including five general elections and one primary. Of my five general election votes, four were for Democrats and one for a Libertarian. I’ve only voted for a Republican once, in the 1988 Super Tuesday primary. I voted for Bob Dole, not because I liked him, but because I wanted to vote against two other candidates. The philosophe in me was thrilled at the prospect of voting against the Rev. Pat Robertson, and I also wanted to vote against Reagan’s Vice-President George H.W. Bush.
The Republicans are primarily the party of the right-wing of the traditional plutocracy, the upper class, and the military-industrial complex, with the uber-Zionist neoconservatives serving as their intellectual and political leadership, and the no doubt typically sincere libertarians, conservatives, and populists who vote for them are their useful idiots. I’ve previously explained why that is here and here. The Democrats are primarily the party of the newer, more high-tech industries as opposed to the traditional plutocracy of oil, agriculture, manufacturing, and finance (although elite banking interests and the great corporations obviously have their hands in both parties). In particular, industries related to the mass media and entertainment are aligned with the Democrats. That is why the New York and Los Angeles areas are among the few localities where the wealthy vote typically goes Democratic. It is in these newer industries where the newly rich, and the so-called “bourgeois bohemians” can be found. These represent a new, rising force within the plutocracy, and one that is more culturally liberal than the traditional elite. Essentially, the present manifestation of the Democrat/Republican dichotomy represents a class struggle between the traditional upper class (comparable to the old European aristocracies) and a rising newly rich that is comparable to the rising bourgeoisie of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The new rich and the bourgeois bohemians represent the rising upper middle and new upper class in the industrial sector, with the New Class of professional and bureaucratic elites representing this rising upper middle class in the public sector. This is also a cultural struggle, as the rising upper middle class represents the values of the post-1960s culture, with the traditional elite and the more traditional middle to upper-middle class continuing to represent the pre-1960s culture. To some degree, this is also a racial and religious struggle, with the Democrats representing the elite members of traditional outgroups, and the upwardly mobile sectors of America’s traditional racial and religious minorities, and the Republicans continuing to represent the traditional WASP elites and the traditionally dominant WASP culture.
As readers of this blogsite are aware, the American Revolutionary Vanguard/Attack the System platform and strategy is based upon a number of predictions and presumptions. The first of these is that the traditional WASP elite will eventually be dethroned by the rising, multicultural, post-60s upper middle class who will then constitute the new plutocracy and have full control over the economy and the state. This rising new elite brings with it the ideology of totalitarian humanism, which I have explained here, here, here, and here, and here. This ideology of totalitarian humanism is the contemporary equivalent of the Jacobinism of the French revolutionaries or the Marxists of the twentieth century. As the great liberal-monarchist scholar Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn observed:
Marxism is absolutely bourgeois and therefore appeals strongly to the left-of-center, middle-class mind with its commercial background. Waldemar Gurian was very much to the point when he wrote, “Marxism, and therefore Russian Bolshevism, does but voice the secret and unavowed philosophy of bourgeois society when it regards society and economics as absolute. “…It was the late Ben Hecht who admonished his readers not to believe in the picture of the Communist as a man with a bomb in one hand and a dagger in another. To Hecht, bolshevism was a movement that evolved logically from nice middle-class democracy.
In other words, proponents of totalitarian ideologies are almost always alienated intellectuals, professionals, and educated persons from the left-wing of the middle class, whether they be Jacobins, Marxists, Fascists, Nazis, or Totalitarian Humanists. This rising upper middle class considers itself to be revolutionary in nature, as indicated by an ideologue of Totalitarian Humanism, Tim Wise, a self-proclaimed, self-styled, professional “anti-racist”:
And in the pantheon of American history, conservative old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms.
Fine, keep it up. It doesn’t matter.
Because you’re on the endangered list.
And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are not worth saving.
In forty years or so, maybe fewer, there won’t be any more white people around who actually remember that Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Opie-Taylor-Down-at-the-Fishing Hole cornpone bullshit that you hold so near and dear to your heart…
And by then you will have gone all in as a white nationalist movement — hell you’ve all but done that now — thus guaranteeing that the folks of color, and even a decent size minority of us white folks will be able to crush you, election after election, from the Presidency on down to the 8th grade student council…
Because those who have lived on the margins, who have been abused, maligned, targeted by austerity measures and budget cuts, subjected to racism, classism, sexism, straight supremacy and every other form of oppression always know more about their abusers than the abusers know about their victims.
Wise’s reference to “forty years” is particularly relevant because what he is referring to is the projected demographic transformation of the United States that is predicted to occur sometime around the year 2050. It is projected that at that point there will no longer be an ethnic majority in the United States. According to the utopian-universalist-Jacobin-Marxist beliefs of people like Tim Wise, everyone will then live happily ever after in a multicultural utopia administrated by enlightened New Class liberal elites like himself (or his ideological descendants) who will have a privileged existence in the manner of a Soviet apparatchik.
“Forty years” is also highly relevant to the ARV/ATS program. Last year, I published an essay titled “Forty Years in the Wilderness” where I projected a time frame for the advancement of our struggle and the achievement of victory. ARV/ATS differs from most other anarchist factions in that we conceive of the struggle not in terms of the proletariat versus the bourgeoisie on the model of nineteenth and early twentieth century radicalism or in terms of traditional outgroups versus traditional WASP culture on the model of late twentieth century radicalism. Instead, we identify Totalitarian Humanism as the primary enemy, recognizing that it’s defeat of the traditional WASP elite is inevitable, and recognizing that the anarchist struggle against Totalitarian Humanism is the twenty-first century equivalent of the historic rivalry between Anarchists and Communists, between Stirner, Proudhon, or Bakunin and Marx and Engels, between the rival wings of the First International, between the Bolsheviks and the Kronstadt rebels, between the Spanish anarchists and the Spanish Communist Party, between Rothbard and the neocons, between liberty and statism.
The ARV/ATS outlook calls for the creation of a radical elite committed to the metapolitical outlook of “anarcho-pluralism,” a synthesis of the varying schools of anarchism and informed by relevant ideas from other ideologies (paleoconservatism, European New Right, bioregionalism, distributism, black nationalism). The ARV/ATS program advances the meta-strategic concept of “pan-secessionism” as the means of ultimately destroying the emerging Totalitarian Humanist state. The ARV/ATS outlook recognizes ten core demographics, each of them with numerous subgroups, that will be the natural constituency for the resistance to Totalitarian Humanism.
So what does this have to do with Tuesday’s election? This ABC News exit poll identifies an “anger vote,” implicitly rooted in the demographic associated with the “Tea Party” movement. One of the ten core demographics is the so-called “populist right” element that presently identifies with the Tea Parties. The Tea Parties are a reactionary, not a revolutionary movement, but this sector has the potential to become revolutionary once it finally realizes that it has no chance of reclaiming the state for itself and as it becomes increasingly subject to state repression as Totalitarian Humanism becomes more deeply entrenched in institutions. It is significant that the mainstream media would identify these sectors as an “anger vote” because anger is the sentiment that fuels revolutions. The exit poll in question also identifies an “economy vote.” This sector will become increasingly large and significant in the future as economic decline and widening class divisions continue. It is also significant that the “economy vote” went for the Republicans. This is an indication that the economically frustrated are casting their lot against the political party most strongly identified with Totalitarian Humanism in the public mind. The “economy vote” is at present drawn primarily from the sinking middle class, which is another of the ten core demographics.
Others among the ten core demographics are the lumpenproletariat, traditional outgroups that are not included within the Left’s pantheon of the oppressed, and declasse sectors (persons of affluent origins or class positions who reject the values of their class). The various drug cultures are an obvious example of these. California’s Proposition 19 for the first time brought the drug decriminalization movement into the mainstream of American politics. Particularly significant is that the Obama administration, the most committed to Totalitarian Humanism of any regime in U.S. history, was openly hostile to Proposition 19, and Attorney General Eric Holder, himself a Totalitarian Humanist ideologue, threatened to disregard Proposition 19 in California if it were to pass.
Still others among the ten core demographics are racial minorities outside the liberal paradigm, the lower class members of the traditional outgroups, or members of the traditional outgroups who reject the values of Totalitarian Humanism. The ABC News exit poll indicates that the Republicans won the working class vote, the white Catholic vote, and roughly fifty percent of the women’s vote. As interesting as any other data from this election is the evidence of gains by black Republican candidates. What all of this indicates is that, as I have long predicted, the liberal coalition that forms the support base for the rising Totalitarian Humanist elite is unstable and is in the very early stages of showing its cracks.
None of this should be taken as an apology for the Republicans. The GOP represents the dying forces of a decrepit old bourgeoisie elite and a bankrupt empire. It is our task as revolutionaries not to side with the reactionaries of the GOP but to develop a movement that will eventually replace the Republicans as the primary competitors to the rising upper middle class and its totalitarian humanist ideology and state. Just as the Republican Party emerged through the collapses of the Whigs, and the synthesis of its more radical elements with a collection of fringe parties united by opposition to Southern secession, so is it our task to replace the Republican Party by absorbing its more radical populist elements and synthesizing these with others among the core demographics to be drawn from other sectors of American society, and unite these disparate elements under the banner of pan-secessionism.
The Phantom Left by Chris Hedges, representing the “good” Left
The two comics evoked the phantom left, as the liberal class always does, in defense of moderation, which might better be described as apathy. If the right wing is crazy and if the left wing is crazy, the argument goes, then we moderates will be reasonable. We will be nice. Exxon and Goldman Sachs, along with predatory banks and the arms industry, may be ripping the guts out of the country, our rights—including habeas corpus—may have been revoked, but don’t get mad. Don’t be shrill. Don’t be like the crazies on the left.
“Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?” Stewart asked. “We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. But the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don’t is here [in Washington] or on cable TV.”
Perhaps we Marxists are “undermining the Constitution.” I’m all for it. It’s not a holy document. It’s a racist treatise that divides American society into the have and have-nots. Even the rights we are granted are politically moderated. Attacking the injustices embedded in the Constitution is not an attack on the American people; it is an attack on the ruling class.
I refuse to buy into the American liberal notion of “bipartisanship”–that somehow “reaching across the aisle” is somehow better for everyone and is the only avenue to “change.”
Call me insane if you will, but the right wing is my enemy. I have no interest in working with them, or compromising away my rights for war funding.
The Democrats are not even the other side of the same coin. If the Republicans are the raised edges that cut into the skin of the working class, the Democrats are the pits that give the edges definition. It is not in my interest to murder my brothers and sisters in Afghanistan to continue the occupation of their country in order to pass the DREAM Act or to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” That is an unacceptable compromise.
If that is “sanity,” then sanity is inadequate and unacceptable.
Yes! says Gonzalo Lira.
This is a question I used to discuss with a history professor of mine who was a Civil War expert. He got his Phd from Berkeley in the 1970s and Eric Foner was on his dissertation committee so you can guess what his politics were (very Meatheadish). He always insisted there was no evidence that blacks actually fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War. His arguments were the same as the ones Levine uses in the Post article. I’d ask him about some of the evidence to contrary (like the stuff cited by Williams and some of the responders to Levine) and he would dismiss it as unreliable or fabricated. He could never effectively answer my questions like why black historians in early 20th century America would want to forge evidence of blacks having fought for the Confederacy.
My tentative conclusion on this question has long been that the Confederate Army had a kind of policy on this question equivalent to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The official position of the Confederate political and military leadership does seem to have been to bar blacks from service. However, it’s also pretty well established that the policy was at least at times disregarded. There would seem to be two ways in which this might have occurred. One, local military commanders could have simply disregarded the policy when raising local forces out of military necessity. The other possibility is that the upper levels of Confederate leadership maintained an official policy of racial exclusion regarding military service as a means of avoiding public controversy, upholding the white supremacist ideological outlook that virtually all whites had in those days, and possibly avoiding unrest by white soldiers, but winked at military organizers and commanders who disregarded the policy in their actual practice (and possibly even encouraging them to do so).
That was my reaction to Jon Stewart’s “Rally Against Rallies” over the weekend. The best analysis of this I’ve seen yet is Jeremy Weiland’s:
But I’ll tell you what’s really absurd and embarrassing: critiquing our political culture because, in the midst of all the death, destruction, and suffering it’s causing around the world and at home, the big problem is that the rhetoric is too uncouth. The rhetoric! My poor, virgin ears! As if that’s the major problem with politics right now. Not innocent men, women, and children dying every day because of drone attacks by this supposedly calm and concerned President. Not peaceful people being jailed everyday for political crimes connected to what they choose to do with their body. Not the economic crimes committed by the corporate-government cabal destroying any wealth and future security. No, it’s the tone of national discourse we should really be concerned about.
Some more on this:
The Rally to Restore Vanity by Mark Ames (thanks, Ean)
A century-old ideological movement, Liberalism: once devoted to impossible causes like ending racism and inequality, empowering the powerless, fighting against militarism, and all that silly hippie shit—now it’s been reduced to besting the other side at one-liners…and to the Liberals’ credit, they’re clearly on top. Sure there are a lot of problems out there, a lot of pressing needs—but the main thing is, the Liberals don’t look nearly as stupid as the other guys do. And if you don’t know how important that is to this generation, then you won’t understand what’s so wrong and so deeply depressing about the Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity.
Restoration Anxiety: Rally of the Moderate Nutjobs by Richard Spencer
Throughout the 9/11 years (2001-2006), the tragedy and farce of “movement conservatism,” I found myself agreeing with most of the Daily Show clips I came across in which Stewart would criticize the pompous “democracy spreaders” and their beloved “Decidor.” Certainly, no one else on mainstream cable was willing to report on then-candidate Barack Obama’s kowtow to AIPAC using a New York “Jewy” voice, as Stewart did in a now legendary segment, “Indecision 5768.”
But that was then — in 2007, an “extremist” conservative was in the White House and Barack Obama was a plucky underdog — and this is now — Democrats run the country and grassroots conservatism has taken up the mantle of social protest. Stewart’s message has thus modulated to lampooning those who are anti-Establishment and offering the soothing counsel of take it easy, trust in your elected leaders, don’t question the system, in less subtle words, OBEY!
Rallying the Ruling Class by James Kirkpatrick
Preventing that was the purpose of the Rally for Self Satisfaction. With recycled propaganda from The Authoritarian Personality days, Leibowitz and Colbert casually denigrated people who are concerned about what is happening to their country as paranoid, ignorant, and insane. The truth is that as the debt exceeds GDP, as our urban centers turn into desolate wastelands, and as “our” government engages in openly hostile action against the core population, the remarkable fact is that there is so little reaction, and what reaction there is mostly channeled into politics as usual. Far from speaking truth to power, Stewart and Colbert are courtiers who mock what little resistance exists. The system has no breaks and as we plummet off the cliff, Stewart and Colbert insist that we laugh all the way.
He revoked his consent to be governed but they arrested him anyway. Imagine that.
by Jeff Prager
For about a decade and a half, crime rates in the United States have generally fallen. That is the good news. The bad news is that even during those “good” years, the United States still had the most car thefts, the most rapes and the most murders in the world. And even though the United States has the most people in prison in the entire world by a large margin, there are all kinds of signs that there are still enough criminals out there for crime to start moving back up again. Sure, there are some areas that are still recording small decreases in the crime rate, but there are other areas where the jump in crime statistics is more than a bit alarming. There are millions of Americans that have been out of work for over a year at this point, and when people lose everything that they have they tend to totally lose it. People get desperate when they lose their homes and they don’t have anything to eat. For example, police in Chesterfield, Virginia are investigating 16 separate incidents just this month in which thieves stole food or drinks from homes, cars and even people walking on the street. It wasn’t money that these crooks were after.
They just wanted something to eat.
As the economy gets even worse over the next couple of years, it is inevitable that we are going to start to see a lot more of this kind of thing. Frustration and anger are on the rise from coast to coast, and when people don’t feel like they have anything to live for they become very dangerous.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is undeniable that violent crime rates are significantly lower than they were 15 or 20 years ago in many areas of the nation. An unprecedented standard of living fueled by our addiction to debt has kept most Americans fat, happy and generally sedated. However, there are indications that we are approaching a “turning point” – a moment when crime rates start to go up significantly once again.
In fact, there are some forms of crime (such as sexual crime against children) that are already at ridiculously high record-setting levels. For example, how in the world did we ever get to the point as a society where we have 400,000 registered sex predators running around?
As the economy continues to unravel, things are not going to get any better. In fact, people who are suffering are only going to become more desperate. Already, there are quite a few troubling signs out there. The following are 12 crime statistics that make you wonder what is happening to America …
#1 The murder rate in New York City has increased more than 15 percent in 2010, and the number of rapes has shot up from 943 in 2009 to 1075 so far this year.
#2 In the city of Detroit, crime has gotten so bad and the citizens are so frustrated by the lack of police assistance that they have resorted to forming their own organizations to fight back. One group, known as “Detroit 300?, was formed after a 90-year-old woman on Detroit’s northwest side was brutally raped in August.
#3 Crime in Miami Beach was up almost 11 percent during the first half of 2010.
#4 The murder rate in Tempe, Arizona is now the highest it has been in 10 years.
#5 Shoplifting is completely and totally out of control. According to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention, every single day Americans steal more than $35 million worth of goods from retail stores.
#6 Today, there are approximately 400,00 registered sex offenders in the United States.
#7 U.S. authorities claim that there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs operating inside the United States. According to federal statistics, these 1 million gang members are responsible for up to 80% of the violent crimes committed in the U.S. each year.
#8 The median age of the victims of imprisoned sex offenders in the United States is 13 years old.
#9 The crime rate in the San Diego school system is escalating out of control. The following is what San Diego School Police Chief Don Braun recently told the press about the current situation…
“Violent crime in schools has risen 31 percent. Property crime has risen 12 percent. Weapons violations (have gone up) almost 8 percent.”
#10 53 percent of all investigated burglaries in the states of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens.
#11 Law enforcement officials estimate that about 600,000 Americans and 65,000 Canadians are trading dirty child pictures online. They also say that the total profit from creating and trading these images is approximately two to three billion dollars every year.
#12 Each year, one out of every five people in the U.S. is victimized by crime. No other nation on the planet has a rate that is higher.
So will the police step in to protect us all as crime increases?
Well, unfortunately police forces all across the United States are being slashed because the money just isn’t there anymore.
So all of us may soon be facing much more crime with much fewer police to assist us.
For example, because of extreme budget cuts and police layoffs, Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts has announced that there are a number of crimes that his department simply will no longer respond to due to a lack of resources. The following is a partial list of the crimes that police officers in Oakland will no longer be responding to….
- grand theft
- grand theft: dog
- identity theft
- false information to peace officer
- required to register as sex or arson offender
- dump waste or offensive matter
- loud music
- possess forged notes
- pass fictitious check
- obtain money by false voucher
- fraudulent use of access cards
- stolen license plate
- embezzlement by an employee
- attempted extortion
- false personification of other
- injure telephone/power line
- interfere with power line
- unauthorized cable tv connection
Not that Oakland wasn’t already a mess before all this, but now how long do you think it will be before total chaos and anarchy reigns on the streets of Oakland?
But this kind of thing is not just happening in Oakland.
The sheriff’s department in Ashtabula County, Ohio has been reduced from 112 deputies to 49 deputies, and now there is just one vehicle remaining to patrol all 720 square miles of the county.
So what in the world are the citizens of that county supposed to do to protect themselves?
Well, Judge Alfred Mackey said that the citizens of the county should do the following…
So is that where all of this is going?
Every man and woman for themselves?
The truth is that there are already many communities across the United States where it is simply not a good idea to go out of your home at night.
There has never been a bigger gang problem in U.S. history than we are facing today, there have never been more sex predators running around, and millions of Americans are going to become increasingly desperate as they lose their homes and can’t find jobs.
So how is crime where you live?
by Kirkpatrick Sale
There’s much talk these days, particularly by the Tea Party types, about getting back to the “real” Constitution, forcing the Obama government to honor the “original intent” of the Founding Fathers, and “understanding the Constitution through the eyes of its creators,” as one contributor to the Tenth Amendment Center recently put it. That center, in fact, is dedicated to, and attracting a growing following for, a rigid interpretation of that amendment reserving to the states the powers not expressly given to the Federal government. And along with it in the last few years has grown up a Constitution Party that has the idea that the nation’s problems can be solved by “a renewed allegiance” to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and hence a return to “limited government.” The problem with current officials of both parties, as the CP see it, is that they “ignore their oaths to uphold the Constitution,” that is to say, the Constitution as originally written and used in the 18th century .
This would be a far different country, of course, if it paid an allegiance to the document of 1787 that the renegade Congress had come up with, in secret, that summer in Philadelphia, even along with its first ten amendments. But what all the critics who believe that going back to the original Constitution would forestall the kinds of forces that have led to the present bloated, overstretched, intrusive, and unwieldy government do not realize is that this is what it almost inevitably had to lead to.
Let’s wake up these “real Constitution” die-hards and the ardent “Tenthers” and tell them that it’s a waste of time to try to resurrect that document in order to save the nation —because because the growth of government and the centralization of power is inherent in its original provisions. As the anti-Federalists were trying to say all along from the very beginning of the ratification process. Only when we get people today off this understandable but ill-fated track can we begin to open their eyes to the reality of our present peril: we have a big overgrown government because that’s what the Founding Fathers founded, and we won’t escape from it until we take the idea of secession as seriously as it must be taken. Let’s look at some of the dangerous elements of the “real” Constitution.
It starts off with a phrase that, right there at the start, sounded alarm bells in those who, having experienced the powers of the individual states as sovereign states under the Articles of Confederation, saw that it was not to the states but to “we the people” that power would be given. “What right had they to say, We ,the people,” cried Patrick Henry to the Virginia ratification convention, “instead of, We, the states?” He saw that the phrase gave power to an amorphous “people” whom the new government could define and use as it chose, bypassing and undercutting the states. If “the people” spoke through the Congress, it could willy-nilly ignore the individual states.
Which, indeed, is what happened, and Congress was cheerfully ratified in doing so by another centralizing branch of government, the Supreme Court. But the idea was never more egregiously used than when Lincoln denied that the states had any particular power, indeed denied that they were sovereign entities at all, and argued that all power rests with the people, who had created a United States and wanted it united. “Government of the people,” in other words, means that Washington can do whatever it damn pleases in their name.
And the anti-Federalists had warned of exactly that seventy years before. The framers of the Constitution, said Luther Martin, a delegate to the convention from Maryland, were crypto-monarchists whose “wish it was to abolish and annihilate all State governments, and to bring forward one general government…of a monarchical nature, under certain restrictions and limitations.” That was said in November 1787—don’t say you weren’t warned. But let’s go on with the faults of the centralizers’ Constitution. There is in Article I a bold statement that “Congress shall have the power to” and there follow some specifics about taxes and debts—and then “provide for the… general welfare of the United States.” Agree to that and you’ve agreed it can do anything it likes without check or rein, for what measure could not be thought to be enhancing the “general welfare”? James Madison, who had a hand in Federal enlargement elsewhere in the document, saw the danger here: “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of …in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police.” That is not what they had fought a war against the British monarchy for. Not more than a few phrases away is the famous “commerce clause,” by which a Supreme Court, ever-willing to enhance the powers of the Washington establishment, managed almost from the beginning to enhance Congressional control over what the states would be allowed to do. Congress shall have the power, it reads, “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states.” That would seem to mean that Congress could establish terms by which states could trade with each other, so that none would establish tariffs against any other—“a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves,” as Madison saw it, “rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government.”
But positive is what the clause became. The Supreme Court decided that practically anything that went on commercially within one state would have some kind of effect on all the others, in some way or other, and so government can regulate it; as early as 1828 it held that the government could regulate trade on the Hudson river for its entire length because some of it ran along New Jersey, and the monopoly New York state had given to Robert Fulton to run his steamboat it decided to be null and void because it affected New Jerseyans. Its reading of the clause became ever more expansive as time went on and by the New Deal it gave the government carte blanche to interfere in state business down to the level of a janitor’s salary and a farmer’s wheat crop.
And as if that wasn’t a sufficient interference in state business, the Founding Fathers wound up their Constitution with a clause that ringingly asserted that what they had just enumerated as the powers of the government—and any laws that they should subsequently pass “in pursuance thereof”—“shall be the supreme law of the land” and judges in the states better take that to heart. This “supremacy clause” was hotly debated at the time because it, like the other sections above, could be interpreted in such a broad way that the states would be powerless to act on matters of serious concern, and thus it was that when there finally came a slew of amendments that the people of the states demanded as checks on Federal power, one of the most important was the Tenth, asserting that Washington had only the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution and the states had jurisdiction in all else.
Which brings up the final deficiency in that Constitution, that Tenth Amendment itself. It seems clear that a great many serious people felt that when it said “the powers not delegated to the U.S….are reserved to the states…or to the people,” that this guaranteed a considerable sovereignty for the states. But the centralists agreed to it (and put it at the end of the Bill of Rights) because they knew that it was so unspecific, so merely rhetorical, that it was capable of any interpretation—and that a Supreme Court capable of giving itself judicial review over Congress ( not enumerated in the Constitution) would be capable of finding that the powers delegated to the U.S. were pretty vast and those given to the states were few and limited in scope. As it so happened.
The Tenthers are fighting valiantly to reverse the 220 years in which that last item in the Bill of Rights has been emasculated and rendered effectively irrelevant, and they may even be gaining some attention, particularly in the states’ growing resistance to Obamacare. But it seems most unlikely that, with the other centralizing tools at their command, the Federal courts will give it much consideration. And then when they finally see their beloved amendment in shreds, maybe then the Tenthers and other Constitutional-Firsters will begin to see that the U.S. Constitution, by the centralists, of the nationalists, and for the Hamiltonians, is not a document that will lead them to liberty and sovereignty. The only method for that, let us hope they finally realize, is secession.
Has anyone read this book? It looks rather interesting.
Some of this stuff would seem to be a possible prototype for replacing the state’s social welfare system. Presumably, these models could be utilized by separatist or decentralist movements of any type.
Apparently the Democrats are getting a little nervous about the Second Vermont Republic.
Yes, the Rent Really Is Too Damn High!! by Kevin Carson
Obamacare Feeds Insurance Oligarchs by David D’Amato
Why Building Codes and Licensing Boards Are Bad for You by Nicole Paluszek
If the Supply Trucks Stop Rolling In, What Will You Be Eating? by Nicole Paluszek
Time to Rescind the Social Contract by David D’Amato
Understanding Intellectual Property An Interview with Stephen Kinsella
Tonight, I had a conversation with a woman who has worked in a clerical capacity for the court system in three different jurisdictions in my state. She told me that during her time as a court employee she observed that if drug cases were eliminated from the court system altogether the criminal division of the courts would essentially be non-existent compared to what it is now. Hmmm.
It’s somewhat surprising to find an article like this in a relatively mainstream publication like the Guardian.
Yet it does not require that much thought to realise that people in different countries may have different views about what policies would be most appropriate for achieving economic growth or that attitudes towards certain human rights are quite socially and culturally specific. No one should ever be tortured, arbitrarily executed or held in slavery, but notions such as freedom of expression, religion and sexual relations do vary in different parts of the world. The right to private property is basically a western concept, which may be politically sensitive in societies where it is associated with capitalism and colonialism.
Of all my positions on various things, one of the most controversial is my view that official outlaw organizations like motorcycle clubs and street gangs are potential constituents for the anarcho-pluralist struggle against the state. Indeed, aside from my militantly anti-totalitarian humanist outlook, this issue combined with my insurrectionist views are probably the aspects of my thinking that raise the most eyebrows. Here’s an illustration of why I take this position:
Notice this passage in particular:
(Defense attorney) Collins said the job of the undercover agents is to break up gangs such as the Outlaws. He urged the jury to pay close attention to whether they were collecting evidence or instigating problems.
An authentic anarchist movement should be defined first and foremost by two essential characteristics. The first of these is a commitment to freedom of thought and speech in the tradition of Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill, or Bertrand Russell. This is where our PC “anarchist” thought police fail the exam. The second characteristic should be a defense of all those who come under the attacks of the state. Clearly, the role of state agents in the infiltration of motorcycle clubs and other comparable organizations for the sake of stirring up violence between different groups should be exposed and attacked by opponents of the state. There are numerous reasons for this. First, such state agents often participate in crime themselves, and not just consensual crimes like buying and selling drugs. State agents of this kind provoke violence that would not otherwise occur in many circumstances. State attacks on motorcycle clubs or anti-gang laws essentially criminalize freedom of association and are used as a weapon against subcultures that are at odds with the establishment. Lastly, the same tactics that are used against groups like motorcycle clubs are often used against political dissidents as well. See COINTELPRO.
It matters not whether the members of such organizations are “good” people are not. Political and social struggles are not contingent on the virtue of the individual members of groups that are under attack by the state or the ruling class. We might aid a general strike by fast food workers, even though some fast food workers may be virtuous people and others may be scumbags. The historic struggle against evils like labor exploitation, slavery, the religious subordination of women, religious persecution, or the state persecution of homosexuals was not contingent on the individual character or personality of individual workers, slaves, women, religious or ethnic outgroups, and gays. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we adopt the totalitarian humanist practice of defining individual virtue by group identity, either. It is fine to recognize genuine problems caused by, for instance, the presence of street gangs for residents of nearby neighborhoods. It is fine to hold individuals accountable for harm they do to others. Not all criminal prosecutions are “unjust” by any means, though we may ultimately seek abolition of the state’s “criminal justice” system and its replacement with our own private, common law, tribal, or otherwise non-statist legal systems.
Still, a crucial test of a true anarchist is the degree to which anarchists defend all enemies of the state, regardless of their personal feelings about them or the individual characteristics of persons involved. Fuck the feds, I’m rooting for the Outlaws.
James Kalb discusses his observances concerning “gender relations” during his time as a math instructor for the Peace Corps in Afghanistan. Read it here.
This reminds me of a conversation I had a while back with a left-liberal, Dissent-magazine type who argued that liberals should be for the draft on the grounds that the draft would result in fewer wars because people wouldn’t support war if their kids had to do the fighting. I pointed out that American wars tended to be even more extreme and casualty-producing when the state had a virtually unlimited supply of conscripts at its disposal. See Vietnam, Korea, the two World Wars, and the Civil War.
He replied, “Yeah, but the draft would contribute to greater civic involvement. You can’t have a liberal society when fifty percent of the population opts out.” The latter comment was a reference to the percentage of Americans who actually vote in elections.
My reply? “Well, who cares about having a liberal society in the first place?”
Chris George discusses one of liberalism’s greatest hypocrisies.
One thing that libertarians, anarchists, radical anti-statists, left-wing civil libertarians, and anti-authoritarians who wish to repeal prohibition laws should always remember is that this automatically puts us in conflict with the proponents of therapeutic-feminist-liberalism. The primary enemies on these issues are no longer theocratic reactionaries or law and order conservatives, but those who support prohibitionism under the banner of totalitarian humanism.
Btw, Charles Johnson’s “Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty As We Know It” is well worth reading.