I met him in Philadelphia, which is a city I rarely visited. However, my wife and I attended the first Midatlantic Green Party Conference in June of 1985. I had only been back in the states for less than a year. I just finished an 18 month gig as a ship’s cook. Having no job options during the Reagan years, I let the state pay my way through accounting school. My wife was always politically active and attending the conference was her idea of getting away for a weekend. Being newly married, I readily agreed. It was either that or spend the weekend alone with my stepson.
That conference began my love/hate relationship with the Green Party. I love the principles it was founded on, and I love the idea of belonging to the movement that caused real change in Europe. The hate part started after I discovered how deeply the black market had been involved in early Green politics, and how so many of today’s party members are bat shit crazy. Quite frankly, Cynthia McKinney scares the living crap out of me.
But I was talking about the first Green Conference in 1985. I was only 27 years old and incredibly naive. Politically I was would have to say I was a libertarian socialist. The libertarian part began at the age of 19. I was one of a handful of students to attend Karl Hess’ lecture at Lebanon Valley College. Hess was such a polished public speaker that he left me a true believer. The Socialist came in when I was 21 and attending Rutgers University. Dr. Stephen E. Bronner was beginning his career there. I credit Steve as being the man who taught me how to think, and he started me in my off and on association with the DSA.
At the time, the DSA was still catching up with the ecological crises, I thought the Greens might be a more profitable outlet for my energies. During that three day conference, I felt as if I had come home. Everybody seemed to hold the same contradictory view of politics I entertained. It never occurred to me that it was this very contradiction between libertarianism and socialism that invited the black market to settle in and make itself at home.
The irony is I fell into the black market crowd right out the gate. My wife, in all innocence, got in contact with this girl in Easton PA who was also going to the conference. That’s how we ended up traveling from Easton PA to the state capitol on the Rainbow Bus.
Being part of the New York punk scene, I heard rumors of the Rainbow Bus, and even knew some members of the Youth International Party. I went to a couple of parties at Number 9 Bleeker St. They were so frightening in their intensity, I would wake up determined to live a life of abstinence and holy charity. The resolution would last until the next Friday.
So imagine my delight when I got to introduce my new bride to Aron Kay, the man who hit Ronald Reagan with a banana cream pie. The banana was symbolic of Reagan’s banana republic politics. Then was Bruno, a person I lost track of and wish I hadn’t. He did a workshop on computers and networking that introduced me to a new idea called the internet. Then, of course, there was Dana Beal. Dana was the absolute commissar of YIP and controlled his minions through the pound of pot he always carried in a double ziplock. A year later, a big guy named Ozzy and I would be hunting Beal through the Lower East Side with the intent of beating the crap out of him. At the time, Beal was sizing me up for minionhood so he did his best to charm me.
Another character we met at the conference was Jack Herrer, the same guy they named a genetically modified pot plant after. At the time, it never occurred to me why a guy from Oregon would be at the Midatlantic Green conference. Today I know it was to promote his pot business. The truth about Herrer is the idea of legal marijuana scared the bejesus out of him. He was making too much money growing it and shipping it to Beal who sold it in Manhattan. They were involved with the Green Party to grow their network and to maintain a legal defense of police persecution in case of busts. At the time, I hated Herrer for hitting on my wife right in front of me. Yes, he was that damned low. It was a good thing he was doing time in South Carolina a year later, otherwise Ozzy and I would have been out looking for him, too.
But I digress, this was about Abbie Hoffman. Abbie was there, too. He was with the sincere Quakers, peace activists, ecologists, German Green Party representatives, The Committee of Correspondence and others who made the conference a success. Hoffman was our superstar. If I knew what I know now, I would have laughed my butt off at the way Beal and Herrer kissed Abbie’s ass. Beal was instrumental in having Abby and Jerry ejected from YIP, but that day they acted like Wayne and Garth with Alice Cooper.
Abbie was more than a gentleman, he was one of nature’s royalty. I don’t know if he held any ill will towards Beal, because he did not let it show. He took their adulation with quiet aplomb and mingled with the organizers. He joined us in the kitchen to help prepare dinner. That’s when I introduced myself and shook his hand. I mentioned that I was an accounting student and that seemed to amuse him.
It’s hard to believe that 27 years passed and the conference I swore I would never forget is so vague. Eric Sternglass was there, and I remember his lecture on acid rain. John Judge was there as well. Along with some rather painful conspiracy theories, he was also the man who outed the Eastern Service Workers as a cult. Abbie’s speech was the last event of the conference. He spoke on his best subject, organizing, and I wish I had a transcript. I would send it to every member of Occupy I could find. They need to read it, learn it, and live it.
His message was to never take on a fight you cannot win. It demoralizes the troops and robs the movement’s energy. Today I look at the pathetic state of the left, and realize how right he was. We haven’t had anything resembling a definitive win since Nixon was impeached. The false success of having Obama elected has faded into the ashes of being had.
A couple of years later, I was at an Abbie led protest and watched him get people arguing over who got to lie under the bulldozers. Hoffman was a natural leader who brought out the best in people. I heard that in his lecture, when he explained why he used sports analogies in his rallies. By using a language everybody could relate to, he got the message through and raised enthusiasm for the cause. Most importantly, he stressed the need to keep things simple. It is easier to win against a single issue than to clog things up with extraneous goals.
Now that I think of it, we owe the organizers of that conference a tremendous debt. They were the people who funded Abbie Hoffman so he could lead the fight against nuclear reactors. Were it not for them, the crises that is still happening in Japan could have happened here. Abby put an end to US nuclear reactor proliferation. His victories lasted until the election of the current moron-in-chief, who is trying to gear up the nuclear madness again.
I am proud to say that I was a part of Abbie’s fight, and I kept on fighting after the Greens and I parted ways. The New York leadership took the moderatorship away from Dana Beal a few years after that first conference, and my wife and I had the misfortune of being known as YIPsters,and we got caught in the purge. For years we were ignored by most of the party, but I didn’t care. I was one of Abbie’s people and didn’t need them.
The day after Abbie’s lecture, we all gathered to sign the Midatlantic Charter before going home. Abby stood next to me when it was my turn to sign. I wrote it big, so Ronald Reagan could see it without his glasses. That made Abbie laugh so hard we became friends and stayed in touch until he died. We met at several other conferences, and he helped my family get home after Beal and Herrer arranged to have my wife, son, and I stranded in Erie PA.
The last time I saw Abbie, We had just “dumped the pump” on the Fork’s river. At the time, I owned a book store in Allentown PA. Three days before he died, we had coffee in my back room, making plans for my shop to become a meeting and recruiting center. It was never to happen. He died when we needed him most. I have to argue with both the suicide and murder conspiracy people. It was an accidental overdose. There is no doubt in my mind.
When Abbie Hoffman died, the left died with him. We haven’t had a significant victory since The Pump got dumped. Just as religion took over the right, it took over the left in the form of the New Age movement. To my shame, I have to accept my own responsibility in promoting that bullshit. In retrospect, I have to wonder what it was I was thinking. The concept of consensus as opposed to democratic leadership has poleaxed the American left. Today the vocally mentally ill have driven out the sane people, and it all started with the foolish idea we didn’t need leaders.
The need for new leadership is made manifest by the OWS movement, which is becoming a clusterfuck before our eyes. That last demonstration in Oakland was pathetic. The cops provoked a reaction because less than ten percent of the demonstrators have non-violence training. Nobody protested with Abby without non-violence training. The police were never able to provoke us. That is an important reason why we won and OWS is getting its asses handed to them. We need to find the strength to start enforcing the limits and taking the mic away from the crazies. Somebody has to have the responsibility to prioritize and choose which of the many issues facing us needs to be addressed first, and keep addressing it until it stops being an issue. Then choose which issue we move on to next. So far, Democracy has proven to be the best way to choose and to replace leaders. I think it’s time to go back to what works.
Once upon a time, I associated tea parties with little girls and teddy bears sitting on little chairs around a tiny table. That cute little image has been permanently ruined by a bunch of raging morons marching around with tea bags hanging off their hats. Tea Parties are now associated with bullies tossing dollar bills at a sick man. What’s worse is that now tea parties are associated with screaming racism.
Things became absolutely surreal when the left wing press started calling the Tea Party, populist. When I first saw this on an Alternet article, I could not believe what I was reading. The Tea Party is no more populist than Goldman Sachs or the Democratic Party. The Tea Party is an AstroTurf movement organized by the same Wall Street crooks who tanked the economy. The Tea Party is nothing but a smoke screen. Sean Hannity and our darling Sarah Palin are using time honored advertising techniques to whip the right wing true believers into a lynch mob. The stupid, the bigoted, the ignorant, and the arrogant are frightened. The economy has tanked, their retirements are in jeopardy, their mortgages are foreclosing. Their health care is inadequate. Credit card limits are dropping. Rather than organizing against the Wall Street criminals who caused it, they are organizing against their fellow victims. The poor, the minorities, the educated, and the progressive are all targets of Tea Bagger rage instead of the real cause of their problems.
Populism and populists movements have never been middle class. They have never had the support of Wall Street talking heads. Throughout American history they have been poor people’s movements. When the middle class gets involved it is for reasons of personal ethics, as illustrated by the Abolitionist and Civil Rights movements. The earliest recorded American populists were the Regulators. In the days before the Rapture was created, a large group of religious non-conformists got together to use government as a means of establishing the Millennium. Poor farmers, freed slaves, and wealthy plantation owners joined together to establish just laws that included abolition, progressive taxation, land ownership for tenant farmers, and free elections.
While the Regulators were finally wiped out in the Whiskey Rebellion, Populism lived on through the Abolition movement. Abolition was a movement that never died and still exists today. Despite attempts by the libertarians and John Birchers to rehabilitate the South, slavery was one of the main reasons the South tried to leave the Union. Abolitionists simply did not give a fiddler’s damn about state rights. Slavery was an abomination and the Abolitionists were out to end it. Like their Regulator grandfathers, the Abolitionists were using the power of the Federal Government to end a monstrous injustice.
Jump forward a few decades and look at the beginnings of the labor movement in the United States. I cannot think of a better example of a Populist Movement. The beginnings of the labor movement can be found in the churches. Free Methodists, Western Baptists, Congregationalists, and even Catholics were amongst the leaders of the early American unions. While there was a socialist labor movement going on in Europe, it had very little to do with the American movement until the beginning of the twentieth century. While the American press was yelling “anarchism” during the 19th Century, the unions were anything but. They were organized by their churches and they were not calling for the end of the American government. Rather they were demanding their voices in the American government. They were demanding that the government oversee safety standards, collective bargaining, and that the rich be taxed the same as the poor.
Here is another reason that the Tea party is not populist. Populist movements were never anti-tax. They knew that government did not happen by magic. All the populist movements from The Regulators to the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s knew full well that it was going to take tax money to make their dreams come true. The difference is that the populists were demanding that the rich be taxed the same as the poor. The income tax was a populist movement. The entire idea behind the income tax is that the corporations pay as well as the poor. “I’m a taxpayer and I have my rights” would mean the same to the poor as well as the rich.
Populism are movements that demand that special privileges become universal privileges. Nothing demonstrates this more than the Civil Rights Movement. Abolition neither died nor went to sleep after the civil war. Citizens of African descent continued to live in conditions little better than slavery. Jim Crow simply rubbed salt into the wounds. Separate can never be equal. Dr. King demanded that the vast resources of the US government be used to correct this injustice. Part of the correction that Dr. King demanded was that more tax money be placed into education and affirmative action.
That’s right, libertarians. Dr. King was behind affirmative action. I know this is not true in your fairy tale world of George Washington meets John Galt, but in the real world, Dr. King demanded affirmative action. The reaction of the bigots was to run around screaming “states rights” while turning the fire hoses on peaceful protesters. I mean really, what relevance do states rights have in the 21st Century? It was an idea that made sense in the 18th Century when it took weeks to travel from Philadelphia to New York by land. By the 19th Century such inventions as the telegraph and the railroads made states rights irrelevant. The civil war showed the practical limits of states rights.
The entire purpose of the Constitution was to establish a national tax base, place the armed forces under one command, and to establish a uniform code of law. Under the Constitution, the DEA has every right to come into California and close dispensaries. We may not agree with what they are doing, and I feel it is just wrong. However, it is constitutional and we are not going to accomplish anything by ignoring that unfortunate fact.
During the Whiskey Rebellion, George Washington sent tax collectors and marshals into Pennsylvania to enforce federal law over states rights. The president was made into the commander and chief of the armed forces. Under the Constitution, the state militias were called out to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. The militias of Pennsylvania were called up and those who did not support the Federal Government, were declared outlaw.
So there is nothing populist in the Tea Party movement. First of all, populist movements don’t really care about the Constitution. Quite often, like the income tax and women suffrage, populist movements demand changes in the Constitution. Populist movement are not anti-taxation but demand a fair tax burden and a fair distribution of tax money. But most telling of all, populist movements are all about justice and equality. The Tea Party exists to protect white middle class privilege.
It is fear of change more than anything else that inspires the Tea Party and other libertarian organizations. They live in a fantasy world where the western expansion is still happening and free market capitalism still works. Once again, Wall Street has proven the sham of the free market. Rather than accept this, the Tea Party has dived into a never ending pool of denial, and they have Fox News and Libertarian Radio to egg them on. If the Tea Party was reacting to reality, they would be preparing to dip Rush and Sean into a vat of tar and cover them with feathers.
Nothing exemplifies the American oppression of minorities more than the Tea Party. They cannot see beyond the color of the president’s skin. They ignore the fact that each of them pay more in taxes than Rush Limbaugh, and focus on the fact that minorities demand equality. Like the bigots in Alabama and like Barry Goldwater, they concentrate on non-existent states’ rights and ignore the basic racism of their arguments. They cry over being denied the special privileges enjoyed by Wall Street insiders. Rather than get angry with White Privilege Wall Street, they get angry at a non-existent “Gangsta Government”, demand a return to a Constitution that only exists in their imaginations, and they get ready to kill liberals.
The Tea Party Populist? It is to laugh.
Scott Adams wrote a few cartoons where his character Dogbert had a taser, and he used it on everybody who annoyed him. Sometimes I wish I lived in that world. That way the next time somebody quotes Benjamin Franklin out of context, I can zap him with the taser until smoke pours out his ears. Maybe then people will learn that they will never win a point by quoting somebody out of context. Ben Franklin was speaking of standing armies when he said, “he who would sacrifice a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security, will lose both and deserve neither.” Franklin was against standing armies while other delegates to the Constitutional Convention were very much in favor of them. Like all of Franklin’s other Constitutional ideas, it was ignored.
In the last few years I have seen that quote applied to such diverse matters as cameras at stop-lights, the enforcement of libel laws, September 11th conspiracies, breaking the media monopolies, health care, weapons of mass destruction, cell phones, and the income tax. Not once has anybody applied that quote to standing armies. It has become the all purpose response when there is no other argument. When shown proof that cameras at stop-lights reduce traffic fatalities, out comes the quote. When presented with an idea that journalistic standards and ethics be enforced again, there is always the quote. I have no idea what Franklin would say about national health, but I hardly think he would equate it with standing armies. Suggesting that September 11th conspiracists should take their medications becomes a threat to liberty. The quote has become an internet meme which has completely lost any meaning. It is another way of covering your ears and singing, “la la la, I can’t hear you.”
Nor has this become the sole example of quoting out of context. Recently Glenn Beck has been trotting out Thomas Paine in support of the tea baggers. Paine was part of a social movement called the Populists. He advocated a progressive tax on wealth, welfare, subsidized farm loans, and representative democracy. He even declared health to be a basic human right. It just goes to show you that any point can be won if the person being quoted is dead. Paine was an anti-federalist who strongly advocated for the original American Confederacy of 1780-1790. Upon his return to the United States in 1802, he lived in obscurity for seven years and his funeral was ignored. Once he was dead, he immediately became the darling of the nation. Great monuments were built in his honor, and Common Sense has been quoted out of context by public school teachers for over a century.
In a recent interview, former pro-wrestler turned politician, Jesse Ventura, criticized the Democrats and the Republicans for not working together. I will be the first to admit it when Ventura says something intelligent. It happens so rarely. Then Ventura had to ruin it by quoting the founding fathers out of context. He said that George Washington, John Adams and others warned us against the dangers of political parties. If I lived in Scott Adams’ world, I would zap Ventura with my taser until lightning came out of his nose. The founders liked the two party system just fine. It was the many political parties being formed in England they were scared of. Different factions were creating their own political parties and having them elected to Parliament. In order to get anything done, the different factions had to work together to create a compromise. This is the foundation of Parliamentary Democracy. The delegates, Ministers of Parliament, Congresspeople, whatever you want to call them, directly represent their constituents and get them the best deal possible. That was what our founding fathers were worried about. They wanted to make sure their people stayed on top.
The Constitution represents a naked power grab by a faction in government whom we now call the Federalists. Had the revolution not happened, George Washington would have been jailed by Britain for his shady land deals. Alexander Hamilton was very well connected to the American and British financial industry. He and his relative by marriage, Robert Morris, worked together on a bond scam that defrauded the Revolutionary enlisted soldiers of their back pay. Even the leader of the anti-federalist movement, Thomas Jefferson, was a wealthy landowner as well as a slave owner who held his own children as property. These were not people who particularly cared about the rights of other people. When Jefferson became president, he continued the Federalist system and liked it.
Our Federalist founders created a system which imitated the British court of the time. Our president has the exact same powers as the Constitutional Monarch. He is the head of the army, disperses funds, oversees the execution of the law, industry, diplomacy, etc, through his cabinet. Originally the Senate was appointed by the state governments. There are no term limits for the Supreme Court, and British common law gives any American judge the same power as a British duke. Alexander Hamilton created a taxation system where the wealthy were barely taxed and the poor and lower middle class maintained most of the tax burden. Washington selected his cabinet from industrialists and landowners. You did not find Patrick Henry or Herman Husband amongst his closest advisers. To this day the cabinet is selected from the wealthy to serve the interests of the wealthy, and the Supreme Court Justices are selected by their loyalty to the monied interests.
Due process in law has always been at the whim of our government. Four years after the Constitution was ratified, Washington’s Attorney General declared that the Constitution did not apply to anyone accused of rebelling against the United States. Suspects in the Whiskey Rebellion were arrested without warrant. They were paraded down Market Street in Philadelphia as traitors, and tossed into an unheated cell without food or light. This was a precedent John Yoo turned to in his torture memos. In a foreshadowing of Guantanamo, all twenty men were found not guilty, even though the judges gave instructions to enter a verdict of guilty. Over the years due process has also been denied to freed slaves, European immigrants, and anyone else without the funds to buy due process.
Those tea baggers, and anarchist libertarians who talk about freedom within the Constitution have no idea what they are talking about. The United States was never a representative democracy. Our president is chosen by the electoral college, so I don’t even know why we bother with the popular vote. It’s all show anyway. Our Congress and Senate are representatives of military industrial complex, just as our federalist founders wanted it. There has never been a time when the wealthy paid their share in taxes, and a poor man has rarely won against a rich man in court. That is how our legal system is set up. The Bill of Rights was a major concession won by the few populist delegates to the Constitutional Convention, but even the Bill of Rights is interpreted through the Supreme Court, which historically championed Jim Crow.
When Libertarians prattle on about a return to the Constitution, I wish I was Dogbert so I can tase them until they do the Monster Mash. The America they talk about never existed in the real world. Maybe if they walked through a wardrobe and traveled through Narnia, Aslan might direct them to it. We are living in the exact America the Federalists wanted. A return to the Constitution is only going to cement corporate control over this country. If we want to change the country, we need to look to the future. Trying to return to the past never works. The clock never ticks backwards, and trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions only makes things worse. Look at what happened to Germany when they tried it.
The scariest thing about libertarians is that they can vote. As a general rule they cannot tell the difference between The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and The Federalist Papers. They are so gullible they actually believe the income tax is illegal and so ignorant that there is no way to explain it to them. As Glen Cook puts it, they fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. Unfortunately for us and the rest of the world, there are no IQ provisions for citizenship. Libertarians can vote. Small wonder the economy is tanking around us.
In Libertarian Land, I think the American Revolution went down something like this. Little Tommy Jefferson went into their clubhouse (with the no icky girls allowed sign on the door.) and said, “That George III is a real poophead. I don’t want to play with him anymore.”
And little Al Hamilton replied, “Me too. Let’s get rid of him.”
Georgie Washington added “I’m tired of playing with this hatchet. Let’s have a revolution instead. You got book learnin’, Tommy. Why don’t you write him a letter and tell him to go soak his head?”
In the real world, the founders of America were a very diverse group. Many shared a common tie with the Masons, which only reaffirms the Mason’s mission of bringing different people together. Jefferson and Washington spoke for the southern agrarian plantation owners. Alexander Hamilton was the most progressive of the founders, but even he spoke primarily for the northern industrialists. Then there were other founders such as John Adams and John Jay who were determined to see to it that the wealthy had the same special privileges as they had under England. All these people were brought together out of a common need to escape British rule. Jefferson wanted an agrarian utopia while Adams wanted a hereditary Senate in imitation of the British House of Lords, but all put aside their differences to achieve a common goal.
The Declaration of Independence was a legal document telling the British Monarch that the colonies were demanding independence. It has no standing in American Law. It was an inspiring piece penned by the inimitable Jefferson. It had the effect of winning the loyalty of those who were going to die in the upcoming war. Still, the Declaration of Independence was written in the proper legal language of the time. When they said “All Men are created equal”, it was not the generic term as it is generally used. Men was defined as people of substance with money or property. It did not include women who were still chattel. It did not mean slaves or children. They were legally chattel as well. Men meant upper class white males.
By the end of the revolution, African slavery was still an accepted institution. Children were still sold into apprenticeship and adults could still sell themselves into indentured servitude. You could still be jailed for your debts and most of the thirteen states limited the vote to people above a certain income level. In the State of Maryland you had to be both wealthy and Catholic to vote. In Massachusetts you were only allowed to vote if you were a Congregationalist. Each state was autonomous and sent representatives to Philadelphia mostly to negotiate trade. Britain was killing the colonial industries by supplying finished goods at prices local craftsmen would not beat. The south still sold its cotton to England but at much lower prices. New York and New Jersey went to war over access to New York Harbor. The Free Market reigned supreme and the only one happy about it was England.
Thirteen independent nations were being eaten to death by England and internal rivalry. Free Market capitalism was tearing the fledgling US into shreds and leaving the door open to England walking in and taking America back without a shot being fired. This is why there is a Constitution. This is why we are not the Confederated States of America. The wealthiest and most influential men in the new nation joined together to create a more perfect union. That is why they needed the Federalist Papers.
Keep in mind there was a lot of resistance to a Constitution. On the whole the southern states wanted it. They needed protection from England purchasing their cotton for too little money. On the other hand, the northern states had influential citizens who were making a fortune by buying cheap finished goods from Europe and a tariff would cut into their trade. So Madison, Hamilton, and Jay got together and wrote newspaper articles in favor of the Constitution. Put together, the Federalist Papers are a fascinating document. It outlines the philosophy behind the Constitution. It explains the economic and political conditions of the day. It has little to do with the Constitution itself.
You will find nothing inspiring in the Constitution. This is why the libertarian propagandists rarely quote it and libertarians never read it. It is as bland as oatmeal and as exciting as watching hot grannies knit sweaters. Alexander Hamilton did not conceive it after a night of peyote buttons and cheap tequila. The Constitution of the United States was written by a committee. Many people worked on the Constitution, and the finished document had little in common with the hopes of the Federalist Papers. Alexander Hamilton fought against the Bill of Rights. Jay must have cursed when the rabble were awarded the vote, but managed to slip in the electoral college anyway. The south was happy to get a central government which could both ratify and enforce treaties with Europe. The north was pissed because the new Federal Government could impose and enforce tariffs, ending England’s domination of American trade. More to the point, the new Federal Government had the right to impose and collect taxes. How and when the Federal Government can regulate business is written into the Constitution, even though Hamilton and Madison both argued against it.
The most frustrating thing about the Constitution is its vagueness. It was a document that was designed to change with the times. You can peruse the constitution all your life but you will not find one word that enshrines capitalism as our only possible economic system. There is no clause that makes the income tax illegal. There is nothing that says we have to vote for either Democrats or Republicans. The people who joined together to create the Constitution understood that conditions change. They expected their tomorrow to be different than their today, and they left it to us as to how we wanted to interpret the Constitution. The Constitution shall not fall because we voted for the single payer system. There is nothing unconstitutional about unions.
The libertarians have forgotten that the American Revolution was more than the hand full of dead statesmen they canonized into their lords and saviors. They forgot that Jefferson had very little influence on the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton created the first American Tax, and that Washington lead troops to put down the Whiskey Tax rebellion. They are like Christianoids and the Bible. They have no idea of what the Constitution says or represents but parrot any damned babble that their leaders tell them. Laws that protect American industries, impose taxes, and impose limits to unacceptable behavior are written in the Constitution. Libertarians can hold their breath and kick their heels all they want, and it will still not change the fact that they are the greatest threat to the Constitution since George III.
Absolute good is sitting on a fluffy white cloud in the sky. Absolute evil squats in a lake of fire deep within the earth. The two are at constant war with each other with domination of the earth and possession of our souls are the spoils of victory. So we poor mortals are caught between two sides in an invisible war. Of course good is going to win. The dude on the fluffy white cloud is God after all. So we all better get right with God to make sure we are on the winning side.
This is the basic underlying myth of Christianity, and it is the myth that underlies all of Western Civilization. This is the myth that the pilgrims brought over from Europe. Since only the pilgrims had the true religion, only the pilgrims represented absolute good. The pilgrims added an interesting twist in their myth. They added the Protestant Work Ethic, which came from Calvinist predestination. They believed that God revealed who was saved by making them rich. Conversely, God revealed who was damned by making them poor. The Puritans saw wealth as a sign of innate moral superiority.
To this day, the battle between absolute good and absolute evil remains the cornerstone of Western culture, but only America still has a twist of Protestant Work Ethic. Europe could produce James Bond, who fought the absolute evil of Russian Communism while screwing anything in a skirt. America had The Gray Lensman, who would never think about touching a girl before marriage. Europe has a long string of myths about the wandering hero who wins the heroine only to discover that she is his long lost sister. In America, absolute evil reveals that Leia is Luke’s sister. There is no greater example of the American Protestant Work Ethic than Stephen King’s The Stand, where the most unexpected people join with the absolute evil Randall Flag.
Libertarians buy into the myth of absolute good vs. absolute evil as well as the Protestant Work Ethic. It’s all a part of the American Religion. Even non-Christian religions such as Judaism or Neo-Paganism fall into it to one degree or another, but Libertarians accept it on a mystical level. One does not question the Libertarian doctrine, because theirs is the interpretation approved by the Founding Fathers. Any others are seen as the works of absolute evil.
Since Libertarians see themselves as absolute good, they need their absolute evil to war against. Libertarians see the government as the absolute evil because the government follows a different interpretation of the Constitution. Corruption in high office is not seen as something to be corrected, but as an excuse to destroy the entire institution. More unstable elements of the Libertarian movement claim that the Second Amendment gives them special dispensation to destroy the Government by armed force. The myth that might makes right is a very important element of Libertarian philosophy. It ties directly into the Protestant Work Ethic, where only God chooses the victor.
In American myths, evil conspires against good. So the Libertarians see the government as a massive conspiracy against them. It never occurs to them to stand up to the Government to change the obvious problems in the system. That would be unAmerican. Everything from the war on drugs to the Income Tax is seen as a massive conspiracy against them. They see the only way that absolute good to triumph is to destroy the present incarnation of the Federal Government. They want to move time back to an era where the country was ruled by the Free Marketplace and American Citizens had no limits. We will examine Libertarian Never-Never-land tomorrow when we look at Libertarianism and the occult.
Censorship is the primary tool of all dictatorships. Be it a Communist or Capitalist dictatorship, control of the masses depends on the control of the media. In Communism, the media is directly controlled by the state. The Russian language even had a word for it, Pravda. Pravda literally means “Official Truth” as opposed to real truth. In other words, Pravda means that you know it’s a lie but you are going to make believe it’s true. The alternative is a one-way ticket to Siberia. In a Capitalist dictatorship, or fascism, the media is controlled by the corporations and is used to support their puppet government. This is why we have a White House press corps which obediently tells the American public any Pravda the White House hands them. You know that they are lying, but it is even more difficult to discover the truth than it is in a Communist dictatorship.
The Corporations discovered how dangerous a free press is when Woodward and Bernstein brought down the Nixon Administration. That set the fascist takeover of America back by an entire decade. From the beginning of the Reagan Administration, the corporations began a massive push to emasculate out free press, and they have succeeded. Just look at Fox News or CNN. That obscene example of “McNews” was made possible by the deregulation of the media.
Back in my youth, the media was regulated for the public good. Antitrust laws prevented any single network from taking over the airwaves. Local affiliates were required to serve their broadcast area. They had to promote local interest broadcasts, advertise local businesses, and present opposing views to editorials. Most importantly, the free press was protected by law. Today deregulation has reduced the media to the personal mouthpieces of the monopolistic corporations. Local affiliates are no longer independently owned thanks to the eliminations of anti-trust laws. Local businesses stay solvent by selling Chinese-made merchandise, and the only point of view the media is required to promote are their owner’s. This means that the press is no longer free. The media is now exclusively the mouthpiece of the monopolies which own them.
Deregulation has utterly destroyed any semblance of a free press. The courts have ruled that press releases can be treated as real news. Public Relations puff pieces can be presented as fact, and there is nothing that the public can do about it. Fox News and CNN can falsely report weapons of mass destruction in Iraq without legal consequences. The laws that protected a free press are no longer in force. What is left is corporate Pravda.
Now that the corporations have the media just the way they want it, they need to make certain that it stays that way. This is where the Libertarians come in. The purpose of the Libertarian party is to protect corporate power. (More about this in a future section.) In the strangest example of double-speak that I have ever seen, the Libertarians call the laws that protect free speech censorship. They decry the obvious censorship of Fox News and CNN while opposing any sort of regulation that would put a stop to it.
There is a certain logic to that. The Libertarian movement serves as another source of government disinformation. Libertarians are a source of conspiracy theories that act as a smoke screen for government misconduct. They are a source of rumors which undermine the legal system which protects us from fascism. The Libertarian disdain for defamation laws also act as a divide and conquer tactic to split the left.
A common Libertarian tactic is to say “Do you expect the government to tell you the truth?” and then turn around and tell a bigger whopper. Accusations of the Mossad being behind the Bush Administration, or that jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt cheap steel. The rumors about Karl Rove being indicted by a grand jury would guarantee that it would not happen. (Such rumors undermine the grand jury process and would invalidate any such indictments. ) Holocaust denial and the return of the International Jewish Conspiracy assures that Jews will be frozen out of the left. Thus, Libertarians are as big a tool of censorship as the Born Again Christianoids. I will go into more detail in my next post about the Libertarian Market Place of Ideas.
As shown by the Minutemen, Libertarians use scapegoating as a unifying principle. Contrasting American Libertarians with German National Socialists, there were many more scapegoats than just Jews. Disabled people were the first victims of Nazi genocide. The corporations were looking towards milking the national coffers for scheckel they could get. The Nazis preached that Jews, socialists, intellectuals, and disabled people were threats to German principles, and Brown Shirts would beat them up in the streets of Berlin. The disabled were quietly murdered and cremated in a chilling prequel to Auschwitz. That way the money that went to care for the disabled could be sucked up by the corporations.
Libertarians are not beating people up in the streets yet, but they are getting close with the Minutemen. Undocumented workers are being presented as the cause of all economic woes. Mexican migrants are accused of stealing American jobs. They are also accused of stealing American tax money through social services. As I mentioned in my last post, the low wages that undocumented farm workers earn make produce grown by small farms competitive. If the small farmer had to pay minimum wage, he would have to sell his produce at a higher price than produce imported from Mexico. Not being able to make a living, the small farmer would have to sell out to a corporation. The myth of government spending is also an excuse to oppress undocumented workers. Fear of money being drained from the non-existent government mattress is used as an excuse to disregard the 14th amendment.
Threats against undocumented workers create a dangerous undercurrent of violence in the Libertarian movement. Libertarians feel free to invoke their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves against the “migrant threat”, while ignoring constitutional guarantees of due process and legal protection for everybody. Violence is proposed as the answer to other problems than simply undocumented workers. A Libertarian on another blog recommends shooting somebody over the theft of a sandwich. With this sort of mentality, it’s only a matter of time before the Minutemen work themselves into actual violence against undocumented workers and other scapegoats
Once the violence begins, other minorities will also be targeted. We can look forward to threats and violence against anybody who does not conform to the Libertarian version of American values. Through the Protestant Work Ethic, poor people are seen as inferior and targets for Libertarian bile. Disabled people are seen as objects of charity and not as actual individuals with contributions to be made. Disabled people have already become verbal targets for demanding their Constitutional rights through the courts. African Americans have been verbal targets for years, and Libertarians now use Martin Luther King as a ventriloquist puppet just as they use Tom Jefferson.
There is a strong current of bullying and preying on the weak in Libertarian philosophy. Essentially it is the philosophy of the school yard bully. Disagreements with the majority are simply not allowed. Rather than argue, Libertarians deride opposition. They shout down rather than speak. “Do you think government can do a better job?” is a common intimidation tactic. Another tactic is referencing grade school anti-socialist propaganda. When all else fails they appeal to the Founding Fathers like Christianoids appealing to the Bible.
The purpose of Libertarianism is to manipulate society for corporate advantage. Corporations want workers who will obey, not workers who will think. Peer pressure makes a workforce that is ready to follow company policy without question. This is why there is such an anti-intellectual current amongst Libertarians. This is why there is always the threat of violence. Scapegoating assures the corporations employees who will not stop and consider their own needs and wants. To do so would be unAmerican.
There is no branch of the Libertarian Party that shows its true fascist colors better than the Minutemen. That they are tolerated within the ranks of the Libertarians is proof that the Libertarians have absolutely no respect or regard for the Constitution they claim to be defending. The Minutemen are the Libertarian version of the Nazi Brown Shirts. Rather than tormenting Jews, the American Fascists are tormenting undocumented workers. Their actions vary from posting bizarre paranoid articles on the Internet to threats of actual violence and bodily harm to Mexican immigrants; documented and undocumented alike.
Claiming 2nd Amendment rights, The Minutemen are armed and claim that they are a legal and well regulated militia. They are not legal. Minutemen exist in defiance of the 14th Amendment.
Everybody within the borders of the United States has the same legal protections. Undocumented workers have the same rights to legal protection for their lives and property as American citizens. Undocumented workers have the same rights of due process and a jury of their peers. So far, the Minutemen have contented themselves with blowing off a lot of hot air. They do some counter protesting, or they swill beer in their yards while watching the border. So far there has been no violence. Once the Minutemen harm an undocumented worker, they will prove themselves to be an illegal organization and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The Minuteman are a perfect illustration of the mindless nationalism which dominates the entire Libertarian movement. It is reminiscent of Nazi Aryan superiority. To the Libertarians, only American citizens have the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Apparently Constitutional rights are so rare that there are not enough to share with guests. The very name “Minutemen” brings to mind the Revolutionary War and Paul Revere’s famous ride. It is a chilling reminder of the Brown Shirt’s association with the Teutonic Knights and the Vikings. The Minutemen evoke mythic history to confront their make-believe danger.
Indeed, undocumented workers pose no danger to either the American economy or the tax payer’s money. Undocumented workers take jobs that the average Libertarian spits upon, and the undocumented worker’s role in agriculture is the only thing that keeps the small farmer competitive with the agromonopolies. In a healthy economy, the cost of medical and social services are easily absorbed through the intelligent investment of our tax money. True, right now we do not have a healthy economy. Thanks to the Neocons and their Libertarian lap-dogs, we have a very sick economy. Still, that is no excuse for ignoring the 14th Amendment.
This brings us to the Libertarian disdain for human rights. Just like the Nazi Brown Shirts, the Minutemen exist only to deny rights to a minority. In this specific case, to a brown skinned Spanish speaking minority. You might notice that the Minutemen are not that active at the Canadian border, even though we do get our share of undocumented Canadians. I have not heard of the Minutemen protesting the undocumented Irish in San Francisco. The Minutemen are simply an expression of economic white elitism that is one of the cornerstones of the Libertarian movement.
In my next post I will be describing scapegoating in Libertarianism, and then we will return to the subject of the Minutemen.
There are few things that threaten corporate profits more than human rights. Laws that protect the rights and dignity of humans beings also protect human beings from corporate exploitation. Human rights include the right to housing, the right to medical care, the right to a living wage, and the right to legal protections from abuse. Each of these rights limit corporate profits. All fascist movements exists to destroy all laws that limit corporations. That is why eliminating human rights is amongst the Libertarian Party’s highest priorities.
Disdain for human rights goes along with the rampant nationalism. In Germany the Nazis had their myths of genetic superiority. Nationalism was equated with Aryan purity. If you were pure Aryan, you were superior to non-Aryans, and that gave you more rights than everyone else. So the rest of the population had to identify with Aryan superiority or be treated as a lesser person with fewer rights. Sympathy and compassion towards the genetically inferior people (Slavs and Jews) was seen as inferiority by the master race. This perceived inferiority became a reason for arrests and imprisonment in work camps.
In the case of the Libertarian movement, disdain for human rights is presented as a religious principle. (We’ll go into the confusion between government and religion in the appropriate place.) The American myths taught in the school rooms take on a religious aura. The westward expansion stops being the story of blatant imperialism and becomes a myth equal to Moses leading the Children of Abraham into the promised land. Native Americans cease to be the victims of Imperialism and become “The Enemy”. Minorities who have been exploited by Corporate America become naturally inferior to those Americans who have embraced the values of our pioneer ancestors. African Americans, Gays, and Hispanics who have been historically oppressed by American Society, are seen as weak and inferior for demanding their Constitutional rights through the courts rather than embracing the Social Darwinist principle of survival of the fittest
The myth of individualism and dog-eat-dog Capitalism extends to the Libertarian’s own rights as workers and members of society. This is shown by the heavy influence that the Protestant Work Ethic has on the Libertarian movement. The original Protestant Work Ethic of the Puritans stated that wealth was a sign that you were going to heaven. Poverty was God’s way of telling the world that you were damned. Amongst Libertarians wealth is seen as a sign of superiority and poverty a sign of inferiority. Therefor, impoverished African Americans are impoverished due to their inferiority, not because of prejudice. Their inability to find work is not due to the fact that American jobs are being outsourced but through some imagined inferiority. Like all other movements where religion gets confused with politics, Libertarians see no need to be logical.
Our Puritan forefathers also believed that illness and tragedy were signs of God’s displeasure. If you were wealthy and died of pneumonia, it was a sign that God wanted you in heaven early. If you were not so wealthy and died leaving a small estate or no estate, it was a sign that you were screaming in hell and that your wife and children would soon be screaming with you. So in the Libertarian mind set, getting a fatal disease or suffering a disabling accident is a sign of inferiority. Only the inferior demand a national health plan because true Americans can pay their own way. If a True American gets sick or injured he has the insurance or the Capital to pay outrageous medical bills. If he is too sick to work and the medical bills are too much for him, then he is inferior and he can beg pennies in the streets or die in the gutter.
Any one of us can find ourselves in financial trouble through no fault of our own. As one speaker I heard stated it, “we are all one paycheck away from homelessness”. Tragedy can hit any one of us at any time, and it is not a sign from a non-existent God nor is it a sign of inferiority. The only people who benefit from the Libertarian movement are the corporations. As corporations have the most money, they are perceived as being superior and having more rights than the rest of us. Collective bargaining, employment laws, and nondiscrimination laws are seen as weaknesses. Therefor corporations can under pay their workers, can have dangerous work environments, and discriminate without restraint. Corporations can also hire goons to break strikes, refuse medical treatment to the terminally ill or indigent, and evict poor people from their homes. According to the Libertarian movement It is the fault of the victims for not being “American” enough.
The myth of the individual is simply a divide and conquer tactic designed to prevent Americans from working together. If we work together for common goals, such as human rights for everybody and not just the wealthy, we are a threat to corporate profits. We will look at this in more detail in my next post, which will concern the Minute Men.
Libertarianism is fascism tarted up in the American Flag. The original name for fascism was corporationism because fascism is rule by the corporations. Hopefully, the discerning reader will see the parallels between Libertarianism and Neoconservatism, and realize that they are two faces of the same worthless coin. Libertarianism organizes non-conformists to support Neoconservative goals, and those goals are no less than the corporate tyranny of the United States.
This is not to say that there are not major differences between American fascism and German fascism, but the Libertarians have adopted the basic structure. For instance, the Nazis had a very subtle propaganda method based on their public school system. The Libertarians have adopted the very same propaganda method, and why not? The American public school system is based on the German one. This method can be described as a direct and shameless appeal to national pride.
Fascist propaganda reduces history to bedtime stories. The Nazis treated the legends of Charlemagne as if they were real. They spoke of a time when Germany was united behind the Kaiser, and all of Germany lived under the code of chivalry. Hitler promised the German people that he would turn the clock back to a time that never happened. The Libertarians are making the same promise.
Here in America, Libertarian propaganda is a shameless appeal to elementary school stories. George Washington and the Cherry Tree becomes more real than the fact that Washington was a slaveholder. Everyone is supposed to forget that John Adams was a royalist who wanted the president addressed as “Your High and Mightiness”, and as president, Adams had a reporter jailed for criticizing him. Libertarians who oppress undocumented workers call themselves Minutemen.
The American founders are reduced from being real people to puppets mouthing whatever the Libertarians want them to mouth. They serve the same purpose Charlemagne served for the Nazis. The American Founders are presented as prophets whose words are sacred and not to be questioned. This places the Federalist Papers as the last word in American Politics instead of the Constitution. The Constitution gives the American people the right to limit the power of the corporations while the Federalist Papers were written to convince corporate officers to accept the Constitution. This is why Libertarian propagandists constantly confuse the Federalist Papers with the Constitution, which will better serve the cause of corporate tyranny.
American fascism promises to turn back the clock back to a revised history where the Federal Government did not tax the citizens. This is patently untrue, because the first thing Tom Jefferson did was impose federal taxes. George Washington put down a rebellion over whiskey taxes. Libertarians want to ignore the entire second part of the Constitution. This is the part that gives the American people the power to enforce laws to regulate corporations. For instance, Libertarians claim to be against censorship, but oppose laws to prevent Fox McNews from lying. They would confuse the Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers to justify allowing corporate propaganda.
In short, Libertarians want to further corporate tyranny by ignoring any part of the Constitution that limits corporate power. They use the Founders as puppets to justify their emasculation of the Constitution. Is it any wonder that George W. Bush called the Constitution “just a god damned piece of paper”? This is how Libertarians use rampant nationalism to trick us out of our right to stand up to the corporations. We’ll come back to this in the next post.