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.
I find myself looking at America’s founders much differently since I read William Hogeland’s book on the Whiskey Rebellion. Like most other Americans, I believed that thought and planning went into the Constitution. Having been educated in the American public schools, I was taught that there was nobility and self sacrifice amongst the founders of this once-great nation. Hogeland could not have busted those myths more thoroughly if he used C-4.
Sadly, the events between 1780 to 1789 looks more like the recent coup in Honduras than the establishment of a nation based on laws. France supported the new United States as a means of weakening their rivals in England. The British crown waited in the wings for a chance to take the colonies back. The Iroquois nations were still British allies, and they waited on America’s western borders for Britain’s order to attack. Other European nations saw the American Revolution as a chance to grab their own piece of the continent.
At the same time rivalry amongst the states created the very situation Europe was waiting for. Maryland and Virginia were at war over borders. While that madness was going on, New Jersey and New York were fighting over access to New York Harbor. The Confederate government was too weak to stop the fighting or to enforce trade agreements. The Continental Congress was funded by voluntary donations by the thirteen states, and nobody was sending money. All thirteen states were ignoring the authority of the Congress to enter and enforce trade agreements with Europe. The states also ignored Congress’s orders to stop fighting.
The only thing that could save America from becoming a colony again was a strong central government. The Constitutional Convention was called specifically to create a national government that could levy taxes, command the armed forces, establish trade regulations between the states, and enter into treaties with foreign governments. A handful of wealthy men exploited the situation to grab power for themselves. These Federalists were not interested in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They were out for themselves. John Adams and John Jay were both unabashed royalists out to create the same sort government the wealthy enjoyed in England. Alexander Hamilton was a financier whose influence gave Wall Street the power it enjoys today.
Regulators, abolitionists, farmers, and small artisans watched in horror as the United States turned into a monstrous caricature of England. The final straw was when Washington and Hamilton used the army to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. As the new American dictators were protected by an army of over 13,000, the angry populace turned to Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr as their saviors. After Burr shot Hamilton (to the delight of the Pennsylvania farmers) there was only Jefferson.
According to libertarian propagandists, the founders were a band of drinking buddies who slept with each others’ wives and were cool with it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Federalists and Democratic Republicans were at each others throats. Burr shot Hamilton over their political differences. Burr was lucky that Jefferson was president. Burr was a stone cold murderer and he finished his term as vice-president. If Hamilton won, I wonder if Jefferson would have been as lenient?
My questions about Jefferson began when I did my sophomore thesis on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was then that I discovered that most of the nastiest stereotypes of African-Americans came directly from Thomas Jefferson. As president he ended the practice of importing slaves from Africa. As president he owned 117 slaves, and the domestic slave markets still did a brisk trade. He fathered several children with a slave named Sally Hemmings. He owned those children like they were cattle. This is strange behavior for a man who has become “Liberty’s Poster Boy”.
All too many people are willing to rationalize bigotry. This is especially true when it comes to the American Founders. Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Burr, and Jefferson, all owned slaves. Many historians are all too willing to pass this off as the customs of the time, and ignore the growing abolitionist movement. At the same time, Jefferson also ignored all the other populist movements and demands, such as a progressive tax of wealth, the end of land speculation and absentee landlords, as well as full civil rights for people of African descent and First Nation People.
Jefferson is also the darling of the New Atheists for taking his oath of office on a law book. I wonder about the true significance of that. Could it be that he was sending a message to the religious populists of his day? Could he have been telling them that there would be civil rights for freed slaves and a progressive tax on wealth over his dead body? The Jefferson administration was not significantly different from the Adams administration. Many historians feel that Jefferson had more in common with Adams than he did with his friend Thomas Paine. Jefferson repealed the Whiskey Tax but did nothing to break the monopoly on whiskey production. While he opposed the Aliens and Sedition Act, he did nothing to remove it from common law, where it still exists as a valid precedent. John Yoo used it in his infamous torture memos.
In the end, Jefferson and John Adams ended their careers and lives as the closest of friends. This in itself makes me doubt that the Aliens and Sedition Act was specifically aimed against Jefferson. It was more likely to have been aimed at the populists, or as both Adams and Jefferson called them, the “White Savages”. I cannot see how Jefferson the slave owning plantation farmer and absentee landlord could have truly been a champion of freedom. Like Washington and Adams, he was a champion of his own class. He and Adams’ only real disagreement was how their class was to rule over the working classes. After all, slaves, white savages, and natives were not capable of running a nation. That was for men of wealth and culture.
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.
Tea baggers across the country have this bumper sticker on their gas guzzling SUVs. It asks who is John Galt? Being literate, we know that John Galt is the mysterious stranger of Ayn Rand’s epic piece of capitalist drivel, Atlas Shrugged. Rand, a Soviet refugee, brought PTSD to new heights when she declared that anybody who did not smoke is a communist, and accused tobacco researchers of treason. Despite this obviously Stalinist line of reasoning, Rand continues to be the darling of the libertarian right. Just who is John Galt?
Rand gets really cute in the name she gives her character. His first name is the most common in the English speaking world. That represents his populist roots. His last name Galt, sounds like a Anglo-Saxon surname, but it is also the alias used by the God Odin when he walked amongst humans. Odin was in the habit of handing doomed swords out to unsuspecting vikings, and when asked, Odin would say he was Galt. At that point the viking would know that he was completely and totally screwed. If he followed the course of common sense, dropped the sword, and ran like hell, he would earn the wrath of Odin. If he kept the sword, he would be led to a particularly tragic and heroic doom. So Galt is God Almighty, but a particularly sadistic and untrustworthy God who has no use for free will.
Now, what captains of industry do we know who are in the habit of giving out cursed gifts? I can think of two right off the top of my head: Henry Ford and Prescott Bush. Their support of Hitler and the Third Reich resulted in death, devastation, destruction, and the systematic murder of 10 million human beings. It ended in the deaths of many Nazi leaders; most dramatically in Joseph Goebbel’s murder of his innocent daughters. I think it is safe to assume that John Galt is somebody who thinks he’s God Almighty, and does not shrink at murder as a means to an end. As a God, Odin was a great fan of war and destruction, we can say that John Galt is a warmonger.
To understand why John Galt is such a bloodthirsty bastard, we need to look at the Odin myth a little more closely. Why did Odin, reputably the wisest of the Gods, have this compulsion to create death, destruction, and misery amongst the mortal population? He was serving a higher purpose, and one that only he in his wisdom could truly understand. The other gods had a partial understanding of that purpose, and mere humans could receive glimpses of that purpose. Only Odin could see the whole purpose, and he gave up an eye to do it. Like Odin, John Galt is the one eyed man in the land of the blind. The world depends on his vision so that it can keep on turning. This is why the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same rights as human beings. Captains of industry, CEOs, Chairmen of the board are all ubermench. It is only right that they have more power than us lesser mortals who are too humble to share in their great vision.
Next, you may ask, what is this great vision Galt cannot share with the rest of us mere mortals? Simply that there is a war coming up between the good guys and the bad guys. It will be the war to end all wars and humanity needs to be ready for it. Odin keep humanity in training by stirring up wars, and choosing the best of the slain to be his warriors when the final conflict happens. Our captains of industry, our John Galts, also see a great war coming, but instead of the Frost Giants, we’ll be fighting godless communists. No, that was two generations back. Instead of the Frost Giants, we’ll be fighting the drug cartels in South America. That really didn’t work out that well. This time, we will be fighting the Jihadists. True, they are a handful of extremists whom our forces chase around the Himalayas like it was a Keystone Kops movie, but they are the enemy that will destroy our way of life! We better get them before they get us.
Ultimately who is John Galt? He is a war mongering bastard who does not care how many people he has to have killed to achieve his goals. He is a captain of industry who knows better than the rest of us as to how we should run our lives. He is a man with such power that governments declares anybody who opposes him as the powers of darkness. John Galt is a man who kings and presidents listen to because in Galt’s mind he is always right. What historic figure fits this mold? There is only one, Joseph Stalin.
Stalin began as a peasant and worked himself up to the head of the Soviet Union through his own talents for murder and lack of ethics. Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions, and used the needs of the state justification. Stalin was a strong man who commanded the resources of all of Mother Russia and a good chunk of Eastern Europe to boot. On top of everything else, the crazy bastard thought he was God. To this day, there are Russians who still support and apologize for Joe Stalin.
Ayn Rand took the Stalinist qualities that so scarred her as a child and deified them into her character of John Galt. Let’s bring things back to reality here. Who is John Galt? John Galt is a parasite who grew up in a privileged class and accepts these privileges as part of his due. You can also look at John Galt as Bill Cosby, a man who feels that he owes nobody anything because he paid his own way into the upper class. John Galt can be seen as National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who does not want the world to think that she got her job through affirmative action. After all, her grandfather paid blood to bring his family into the ruling class. George W. Bush is also John Galt. We all know that the draft was created for poor people, and not the son of the EXXON heir. John Galt is every politician in Washington who denies the majority of Americans jobs and health care.
John Galt is useless, because if John Galt was really all that talented, he could make it to the top in any economic system or society. This makes Galt just another one of Timmy Geithner’s Wall St. cronies, stealing money from honest tax payers. That’s who John Galt really is. Stop and remember, Stalin made it to the top by robbing banks.
I was very surprised to discover an article about Rand on Alternet today. (Okay, I admit it, my wife discovered it for me.) In this chilling article, we see that Rand was a serial killer groupie, and that her heroes was based on a sicko who strangled and dismembered a little girl. What does this say about the people who take her nonsense seriously. What’s worse, is that Alan Greenspan was one of her buddies.
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.
I was not expecting to make any friends when I posted my series on libertarianism. I expected to make some enemies when I posted my opinions on libertarianism and the occult. The last thing that I expected was to find myself in an actual dialog with members of the Church of All Worlds. I spent this morning on the telephone with CAW’s communications officer. What can I say? The man is very good at his job. He managed to change some of my opinions of Church of All Worlds.
I am not going to retract my opinion of CAW as a political entity. I still believe that Church of All Worlds is part of the reactionary wave that hit the nation during the Reagan years and looks to seek answers in a past that never happened. This goes along with my opinion that religion and the concept of god/dess is a reactionary belief. I think the world would be a much better place without the concept of divinity. I would also be more receptive to the entire CAW concept if they would just cut the religious aspect out of it.
The founder of CAW sent me an email which denied that CAW was a libertarian church. The founder says one thing and followers say another. This is a basic problem with religion in America. The followers always take the ideas of the founders and “Americanize” them. The CAW I was introduced to was a bastion of American concepts like the Protestant Work Ethic, sin, and libertarianism.
I am not going to change my stand on polyamory. I feel strongly that HIV and STDs make polyamory a dangerous idea. I also think that polyamory is extremely sexist. It puts the weight of the risks on the women. The closest I will come to an agreement on polyamory is to agree to disagree.
I spent this morning speaking to the CAW Inc. communications officer. He explained that there is no copyright on the name Church of All Worlds. There are other entities calling themselves Church of All Worlds. From what I understand, they may be splinter groups of the original CAW. These splinter groups even share the same meeting grounds as CAW Traditions. There may even be a CAW or two which have nothing to do with the original CAW. The original CAW went out of existence some years ago. It is returning under the name CAW Inc. The original founders and many of the original members are involved in CAW Inc.
In my blog entry about Libertarianism and the Occult, I mentioned that I was in contact with people who had been sexually assaulted by members of CAW and on CAW meeting grounds. I have been assured by The information officer from CAW Inc. says that such behavior was never condoned by the original CAW. Such behavior will not be tolerated by by the board of directors of CAW Traditions Inc. He also stated that CAW Traditions Inc. will do their utmost to to prevent sexual abuse and to prosecute abusers if caught.
CAWInc. is in the process of recreating the CAW concept and correcting past mistakes. While some of the people I had bad experiences with were indeed members of the old CAW, they are not members of CAW Inc. The information officer doubts that they will ever become members of CAW Inc. The spokesman was very enthusiastic about how CAW Traditions Inc. is dedicated to creating a safe environment for everybody. I am happy that they are receptive to the idea of creating structures to protect people from abuse.
I hope that we can keep the lines of communications open. There are more things I would like to discuss with CAW Inc. We never touched on the subject of victim’s rights and the difficulty of intervening in child abuse. However, for the time being, I am willing to believe that the members and board of CAW Traditions Inc are innocent of sexual abuse, harassment, and molestation. My experiences with some of the past members of CAW were pretty ugly, and left a very bad taste in my mouth. I think that this colored my post about libertarianism and the occult.
I have taken my blog post about Libertarianism and the occult offline. I will be rewriting it soon. I also invite a representative of CAW Inc. to write an article on Positive Sexuality and to post it on my blog. I want them to include contact information so that interested parties will get in touch with the CAW Traditions Inc. I may not agree with CAW Traditions Inc. and all it stands for, but if people are going to get involved in polyamory, I would rather they get in touch with them instead some other people I could think of. There are many things that CAW and I are going to have to agree to disagree on, but fair is fair. After all the drama we went through, it is only right that I give CAW a chance to tell their side on my space.
Dedicated to my friend Jon
He was a strange duck, no doubt about that. Had he lived today he would be taken to task for his sexism. His poor wife didn’t have that much say in their relationship. There was no doubt that he was something of a religious fanatic, although there are those who insist that he’s a saint. There is no doubt of the profound effect he still has in the world, and we have not yet seen the full effect of his life and works.
Today, Gandhi has become a stereotype. He has become another dead person who is shamefully used by the establishment. Who can forget the callous Apple commercials that portrayed a picture of Gandhi with the words “think different”? Of course, what the observer was supposed to think about was MacIntosh Computers. Born again preachers will invoke his name as readily as neocon politicians to support ideas Gandhi would never have agreed with.
This only succeeds in keeping Gandhi in the public mind. This is something that preachers and politicians may live to regret. Gandhi remains a powerful symbol in the public mind. You can stick his picture on a billboard to sell computers, but he remains the man who liberated India. He did so without firing a shot. As a young attorney in South Africa, Gandhi was the man who began resistance against Apartheid. True, Apartheid did not fall until about forty years after his death, but Gandhi was the pebble that began the avalanche. Had Gandhi not challenged the South African marriage laws and won, there would have been no victories for Steven Biko and Nelson Mandela to follow.
Gandhi is a constant reminder that you do not need a gun to stand up against injustice. You do not have to use violence to make your point. You do not have to make war to be free. Courage and determination are what creates freedom. Independence is not won through battle but through negotiation. Gandhi forced the authorities in South Africa to recognize non-Christian marriages. Gandhi forced the British to the table and negotiated British withdrawal from India. In both cases, Gandhi did not lift a gun. He did not threaten harm to anyone, South African White or British Raj.
Where would the Libertarian movement be if Gandhi’s example begins to catch on? Where would their Second Amendment mania get them, except to show what a dangerous anachronism Libertarianism is? Would the FBI be able to create another Weather Underground if the left really embraces the principles of nonviolence? What would have happened if we acted like Gandhi after the Sept. 11th attack? What would have happened if we had listened to the other side? I suspect that quite a lot of oil profits would be going towards reparations and that bin Laden would be in an American prison right now.
If Gandhi has taught us anything, it is that the person who shoots first loses. Apply this lesson to the war in Afghanistan. Oh, how the American public cheered as Chimpy McFlightsuit sent the troops to the Middle East. It was called “definitive action”. I once spent an afternoon listening to an acquaintance tell me the horror that is now Kabul. He told me how he sent his young cousin to school, just to have the boy return dead in a neighbor’s arms half an hour later. Two years later we invaded Iraq. Would that have happened if we had adopted the principles Gandhi taught us?
There are no good wars. There are no wars that could not be prevented. Even World War Two could have been prevented had the world put its foot down in Hitler’s early days. The two wars that America is currently involved in would certainly have been prevented if we as a nation had kept Gandhi in mind. Perhaps it’s good that the preachers and politicians invoke Gandhi’s name for their own purposes. It’s good to keep reminding us of what Gandhi stood for. Maybe if we are reminded enough times, we might catch on. Then when the next idiot wants to attack the next nation, we will tell him to get stuffed.
I have watched a trend towards atheism in the United States. I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. The world has been run by imaginary friends for way too long. Just picture two little kids talking together. One kid says to the other kid, “this is my invisible friend, Mikey. He sees everything and he knows everything. If you’re bad he’ll blast you with lightning.” Soon all the kids on the playground are afraid of Mikey. They do everything that the teachers say, because they don’t want Mikey to be pissed off at them. Of course the kid who created Mikey is going to be the teacher’s pet. They are going to give him special treats and extra breaks, because Mikey is such a big help. What would they do without him?
For time out of mind, being a holy man meant that you never had to find honest work. Buddhist priests went around with their begging bowls and were fed through the largess of the villagers. The funny thing is that the villagers never stopped to think that if they didn’t feed the priests they would go away. The Hindus and the Chinese had huge temples that were funded by offerings. Nobody stopped to think that they could starve those parasites out and use the money for more useful things. That would piss off the make believe friends. If you read Leviticus in the Old Testament, those Levites lived the life. The Hebrews had no end to the sins that had to be washed clean through blood sacrifice. The Levites got to eat all the best parts of the sheep and bulls that were slaughtered.
Where would government be today without religion? How would the Chinese emperors have faired without Confucian temples? Where would European Royalty be without Popes Doubtless they would have been forced to survive by their wits alone. They would have survived by listening to their subjects and promising them anything as long as they kept their jobs and positions. When you stop and think of it, European royalty would have had to behave like American Congressmen. So then why are we in our present straits today? Why do we have American jobs in the mysterious east? Why is our economy sinking faster than the Titanic? We can blame everything on God.
Even in the computer age, politicians still have God to fall back on. God can always be depended on to support the powers that be. James Dobson tells his brain washed minions that national health will fund abortions, and the brain washed minions will vote against national health. All Ron Paul has to do is tell his crowd that Tom Jefferson was against national health and the libertarian crowd will vote against national health, because Jefferson has replaced Jesus in their hearts.
The idea that there has to be some invisible force manipulating the world seems to be an essential part of the American culture. Perhaps it’s because the United States was founded by a bunch of religious crackpots who wanted to be isolated from liberal influences. Even otherwise intelligent people who have rejected religion fall for conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories state that invisible forces are manipulating the world for their own benefit. That certainly fits into anybody’s rational definition of God. Quite often, such modern religions as neo-Paganism will fall into conspiracy theories in order to have a Satan to believe in. After all, America was founded by Christianoid lunatics. You have to have a Satan in order to be an American religion.
I doubt that we will ever have a free society until we get rid of the need for invisible friends. Someday people will realize that God is an idealization of their present leaders. Someday people will realize that conspiracy theories fill the void that is left when Americans stop believing in Satan. When libertarians realize they are deifying Jefferson, we will have a truly free society. Politicians will no longer have an invisible friend to hide behind, and this is Bill holding his breath.
The Libertarian appeal is that it is based on fairy stories. It is a direct appeal to the propaganda we were exposed to as children. We were raised on stories about the American Revolution and the brave heroes that established American freedoms. Libertarians deliberately confuse human freedom with corporate freedom. They exist to prevent laws that will sacrifice corporate profits in favor of human rights. Eliminating clean air laws is good for the corporations, but most of the kids in Richmond, California suffer from asthma due to air pollution from the oil refineries. Are these kids free? Eliminating school taxes may increase corporate profits, but it raises a generation who never heard of the Holocaust. Is ignorance freedom? Outsourcing may increase corporate dividends, but it leaves the black market as the sole means of survival for many poor people. Are these people free?
Libertarians exist as a fifth column in American society. Fascist movements can come out of the left as easily as out of the right. Mussolini’s Corporationism was a left wing movement back in the day, while Hitler’s Nazis were a right wing movement away from socialism. Libertarians have spread across the political spectrum, and act as a divisive force in American politics. Libertarians on both sides of the spectrum constantly confuse individual liberty with corporate rights. Laws that limit corporate crime do not threaten your freedom. Yet Libertarians will tell you that they do. Laws that watch online transactions only prevent corporations from laundering dirty money. Yet Libertarians would have those laws appealed so that corporations can steal more easily.
Libertarians constantly identify with the employers rather than with the employees. They resist unions, work place safety regulations, and the minimum wage with the same fervor as a Christianoid keeping Harry Potter out of the school library. Libertarians jump up and down and hold their breaths over laws that limit hate speech, but they resist any attempt to make Fox News and CNN accountable for their lies. Back in the 1920s, William Randolph Hearst instituted a huge lie campaign to outlaw hemp. Thanks to deregulation as advocated by the Libertarians, corporations can once again lie and get away with it.
Another part of the Libertarian appeal is that they promise to bring us back to a simpler time. Karl Hess painted a picture of a simpler America that never existed. It was an America that never needed foreign trade. It was a magical land where there were no class distinctions because the Free Market treated everybody the same. According to Hess, all America needed to do was get rid of those pesky federal regulations, and the economy would take care of itself. The Blue Meanies would run away and all would be right in Pepperland.
Welcome to reality. Some of you may be reading this from a library, because you can no longer afford an Internet connection. More of you may be reading this in the library because you no longer have a home in which to install an Internet connection. Some of you may be waiting for the foreclosure notice to come in the mail or the sheriff to come to the door. You have watched your retirement accounts disappear and waved goodbye to your jobs as they flew away to the mysterious east. We can all thank the Free Market and Federal deregulation for the loss of our homes and our jobs.
Stop and think. Banks from Socialist Europe are coming in to save our economy. The Euro is now holding up the dollar. Europe enforces its anti-monopoly laws and has stricter financial regulations than the United States. Libertarians claim that such regulations should have restrained trade and choked the European economy. Europe has strong unions. Libertarians claim that unions choke commerce through red tape and inefficiency. Europe has national health. Libertarians claim that should have killed investment through over-taxation. Yet Europe bailed us out to the tune of half a trillion dollars. Banks in Socialist Europe had the capital to save us from our free market economy.
Libertarian philosophy brought us into this mess. We have ignored our own best interests and listened to free market fairy tales. We have gained nothing but pain from deregulating the economy. We have gained nothing from the lowering corporate taxes. We have been so hoodwinked into thinking that deregulation is our friend, that we have been cheering on the corporations as they ripped us off. It is time to ignore Libertarian madness. If we don’t wise up, our children and grandchildren are going to face the exact same disasters we are facing today. What’s worse is that these are the same disasters our grandparents faced in 1929. How many times are we going to fall for the same lies before we wake up?
One of the things that really puzzles me about Libertarians is their fascination with the federal government. For a movement that advocates states rights, they seem to ignore most of the major functions of the state governments. This is evident in their ineffective attempt at election reform. Libertarians are concentrating their efforts at the federal level and have forgotten that every state regulates its own elections. State authority supersedes federal authority on almost every level, and that includes federal elections. Demanding reform on the federal level is a smoke screen to hide the corruption going on at the state level. Trying to impose change from above is definitely against the libertarian philosophy. It would be more effective to concentrate election reform to the states where the cheating occurred. Yet the Libertarians hold the federal government accountable due to their absolute good/absolute evil view of the world. This assures that their will be no effective election reform and the corporations can cheat with impunity.
If there ever is a third party president, it will be a Libertarian. A Libertarian is guaranteed to do nothing to threaten corporate profits or corporate control. A Libertarian president will not increase funding to the starving watch dog agencies, or sign new environmental bills into laws. A Libertarian president can be depended on to support further cuts to our social safety net, veto national health, and privatize Social Security. As the New American Century crashes faster than the Thousand Year Reich, the Libertarians wait in the wings to take on the mantel of American Fascism.