proposal to create a new super-agency, the ominously Germanic-sounding Department
of Homeland Security (HomeSec) that would absorb everything but the FBI and the
CIA into a giant bureaucratic sinkhole the BorgBureau
has certainly debunked the idea that central planning has been discredited.
The American government's response to the 9/11 terror attack, if it succeeds at
nothing else, has successfully raised the spirit of socialist "efficiency" from
the dead. For this compulsive monolithism is the central organizing principle
of Marxism an ideology thought to have crumbled with the fall of the Berlin
Wall, yet now being rebuilt, brick by brick, in Washington. But not without determined
opposition from a newly active Congress
good news is that George Bush isn't going
to get his BorgBureau, at least not in the form he originally envisioned.
The Coast Guard has wriggled free of HomeSec's embrace! Of all the government
agencies in existence, the Coast Guard is one of the very few that, come the Revolution,
ought to be kept. Indeed, if the physical defense of the nation is the main (if
not the only) function of the feds under a limited government regime, then we
ought to stand this proposal on its head and insist that all "defense" and 'intelligence"
agencies be absorbed into the Coast Guard.
BLAME AMERICA FIRSTER?
the course of civilization takes an unexpected turn when, instead of the continuous
progress which we have come to expect we find ourselves threatened by evils
associated by us with past ages of barbarism we naturally blame anything but
Chomsky? Arundhati Roy? Robert Fisk?
F. A. Hayek: it's the opening
sentence of his seminal book, The
Road to Serfdom, published in 1944. Wisdom for the ages
TAKES A BEATING
don't usually comment on matters not pertaining to foreign policy, but in this
case I think the videotaped
beating of a handcuffed teenager by out-of-control officers
and the subsequent arrest of the
videotaper! is yet more anecdotal evidence that we are well along down the
road to serfdom. As one cop picks up the youth helpless, at that point,
and not resisting and jams his face onto the back end of a patrol car, another
pig punches the kid square in the jaw. Naturally, they were white, and do we even
need to ask if their victim was black? The Reuters report adds:
other officers, who appeared to be black and Latino, were observed at the scene."
no doubt thinking to themselves: there, but for the grace of God, go I
videotaper, Mitchell Crooks, was later scooped up by cops outside the Hollywood
offices of CNN. The Associated
he was driven off, he repeatedly screamed, 'Help me, help me.'"
had good reason to scream. Crooks had repeatedly stated in that he wouldn't show
up in court because he was afraid of a police beating. His fears were justified,
it seems. CNN reports:
was taken to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Men's Central Jail after his
release from the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Healthcare
Network hospital Friday. He was taken to the hospital Thursday after complaining
was he arrested? The cops did a little research on Crooks and found an outstanding
warrant. He was previously arrested in February 1999 for stealing a couple of
VCRs from his mother's home, driving while intoxicated, and leaving the scene
of a wreck. Sentenced to jail time, he never showed up. Obviously a major criminal.
But the Los Angeles District Attorney's office didn't seem too concerned with
his criminal past: "Let's put it this way," Chief Deputy D.A. Curt Livesay told
the Los Angeles Times. "Had we been able to secure his presence on the
first day, the second day or the third day, we wouldn't have even known about
the warrants. He could have been here and gone and been free today."
last time anybody saw Crooks, he was being hauled out of a police station tethered
to a hospital gurney, handcuffed and dazed, on his way to the hospital. He has
since been flown to Placer County, where he will face criminal charges. The moral
of this story? Videotape a crime go to jail
HUSH, SWEET MOWBRAY
sort of thing happens in non-white communities all the time. So what else is new?
Well, how about this: Aside from the brazenness of going after the Ingleside videotaper,
rampaging cops are also going after
reporters from National Review! Yes, it's
true. It seems National Review Online writer Joel Mowbray was "detained,"
as the magazine's own account puts it, at the State Department after reading from
a classified State Department document at a press briefing:
Mowbray was leaving the briefing, a State Department official, accompanied by
four guards, asked him to stay to answer a few questions. Mowbray said he could
come back later. The official said, no, they wanted him to answer a few questions
Mowbray began to get the feeling that he couldn't leave even if he wanted to,
he asked, "Am I being detained?"
uh, yes what did he expect after revealing the contents of a classified
document? Doesn't Mowbray know there's a war on? As Deroy Murdock, complaining
about journalists blabbing US secrets, put it in National Review Online
[October 10, 2001]:
that Operation Enduring Freedom has exploded into a full-blown shooting war, journalists
and their official sources urgently must clam up about sensitive military and
intelligence matters. Media coverage of the September 11 massacre investigation
and subsequent allied response has been a rich feast for news junkies. Unfortunately,
terrorists and their state sponsors may be enjoying this banquet, too."
that, Mowbray? Clam up!
all, it's the spirit of the times: shut up, pledge allegiance to the flag, and
obey our glorious leaders. Either that, or you'll unleash the Floodgates of Anarchy.
And anarchy is something the authorities simply will not tolerate except in
of certain government
agencies as 15-year-old Katie
Sierra found out when she tried to organized her Anarchy Club at Sissonville
High School, in Charleston, West Virginia. The Thought Police (Pedagogical Division)
not only rejected her proposed club they suspended her for three days, as the
Associated Press reports,
she had fliers at her desk promoting her proposed club after administrators rejected
Forbidden literature! Seize her!
of subversive samizdata, it seems, is the least of
Forrest Mann also ordered Sierra not to wear T-shirts with handwritten messages
that included, "When I saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a
newly recovered sense of national security. God Bless America."
dopes these public school administrators are! As one of the few public school
students who can write a simple declarative sentence, Katie should be commended,
not persecuted. Good for her for taking her fight to a trial by jury. I hope she
appeals their Bizarro World verdict, which
merely underscores the bullying stupidity of her persecutors. The AP reports that
"the jury agreed with the school board's argument that such messages disrupted
other students' education" but that's only if one equates education with indoctrination.
about a school debate over the ideas expressed on that t-shirt? Maybe this
would help students learn the rudiments of how to make an argument, improve their
language skills, and encourage them to think for themselves. Isn't that what education
is supposed to be about?
message to high school students everywhere is this: challenge your teachers to
do their job. Isn't that what we're paying them for? Your parents are taxpayers,
and you need to enlist their support. Not only that, but you need to remember
that every public school administrator is your enemy: he or she is the implacable
opponent of free speech and free thought. It's the nature of the job, and the
State-controlled "public" school system, which was founded
as an instrument of mass indoctrination. Your goal: overthrow the administration.
Take your fight to the community, the school board, the streets
I'm sounding pretty left-wing, these days, don'tcha think?
Franklin Foer you
remember him thinks
so, too, and, well, he's ready to report me to the House
Committee on Un-American Activities, or whatever they're calling
it these days, as get ready a leader of "the anti-globalization
left"! In an article on Buchanan's new magazine, The American
Conservative, in The New Republic, Foer writes:
is, however, one group that shares the Buchananite docket of suspicions--of Wall
Street, capitalism, Zionism, American power: the anti-globalization left. Indeed,
Buchanan has fitfully wooed them
. During his 2000 presidential bid, he said he
hoped to turn the Reform Party into the 'Peace Party.' Some of his aides-de-camp
have gone further, taking Buchananism to its logical left-wing conclusions. Justin
Raimondo, an adviser to Buchanan's 1996 campaign and a historian of the old right,
runs Antiwar.com. The site posts screeds against American interventionism that
complain about 'empire' and 'increased military spending.' And by lifting the
language of the left, he has acquired an audience on the left: The Nation's Alexander
Cockburn has published a column on the site, and Salon and alternative newsweeklies
plug his work. For his part, Raimondo is unabashed about his ideological transformation.
Last month he wrote on his site, 'The only voices of dissent are heard, today,
on the Left. ... This is where all the vitality, the rebelliousness, the willingness
to challenge the rules and strictures of an increasingly narrow and controlled
national discourse has resided.'"
status as a leftist cult figure will no doubt astonish the dozens of Commies who
write in every week descrying my slams of Noam Chomsky, and
my digs at the left-led antiwar
movement not to mention my defense of George W. Bush's
election victory against the Clintonian coup plotters. Just as my status as
a "campaign advisor" to Buchanan will no doubt astonish PJB, whose friendship
I value and who never appointed me to any such position. Whatever influence
my ideas have is another question. Nor do I have any connection with The American
Conservative, other than as a possible market for my work.
one who reads what is posted on Antiwar.com could possibly mistake us for "anti-globalization"
regularly feature articles and links pointing out the benefits of free trade,
and that is a point I dissented from in my otherwise enthusiastic support for
Buchanan's views on foreign policy. As for Antiwar.com or this column appropriating
"the language of the left," precisely the opposite is the case and that
is what the War Party (historically embodied, in the world of political magazines,
by The New Republic) finds so
disorienting. We frame our arguments against
this perpetual war for perpetual peace in terms of the damage it does to the Constitution
and the legacy of the founding fathers, a libertarian heritage anchored in the
idea of strictly limited government. "A republic, not an empire"! this
is the language of the left?
I'm a writer, fer chrissake, not some party leader, and I don't have a
"following" I have readers, lots of them. And they read critically: I
know, because I hear from them all the time. I don't have followers, I have fans.
The former robotic drones who parrot back whatever the party leaders tell
them, only louder are perfect fodder for politicians, left and right, but
of absolutely no interest to writers, who tend to be a solitary lot. Fans, however,
are quite a different story. What writer doesn't want them? My fans disagree
with much of what I write and habitually log on to my "screed" (as The New
Republic characterizes Antiwar.com's material) first thing in the morning.
article goes on at length about how Buchanan's new magazine, The American Conservative,
is doomed to fail for all sorts of reasons, first of all because Taki Theodoracopulos
is funding it: he's an "aristocrat," but Pat "venerates the working class." How
strange that liberalism has come so far from its popular roots that concern for
the fate of ordinary people is now considered some sort of Marxist plot. Foer
dutifully echoes David Brooks' boast that "we're
all neocons now" it's funny how these neos, left and right, all stick together
-- and claims the conservative movement has already been turned into a subsidiary
of the Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard. The anti-globalist Right has been "extinguished,"
first glance, September 11 seemed to add fuel to Buchanan's critique. What better
evidence for Fortress America than the spectacle of visa-finagling foreigners
blowing up lower Manhattan? Buchanan wrote a quickie book, The
Death of the West, about the swarthy menace; and across Europe his brand
of nativism began harvesting votes in record number. But over time it has become
clear that on this side of the Atlantic, 9/11 hasn't boosted the isolationist
right; it has extinguished it. Instead of America Firstism, September 11 has produced
a war on terrorism that has virtually ended conservative qualms about expending
blood and treasure abroad. And as a corollary, it has produced an unprecedented
eruption of conservative and evangelical support for Israel. The conservative
establishment has co-opted post-9/11 fears of Muslim immigration, and Bush has
covered his protectionist flank on trade. In short, Buchanan and his rich friends
couldn't have chosen a worse time to start a journal of the isolationist right."
begin with, Foer hasn't got his "swarthy menaces" straight. Hispanic rather than
Muslim immigration seems to me to be the main danger to the national character
singled out in The Death of the West. While George W. Bush was campaigning
in Spanish, the anti-immigration Right seethed: these, after all, are the folks
who believe our de facto policy of an open border on the Rio Grande represents
a direct threat to
US sovereignty over the American Southwest.
for the alleged "end" of "conservative qualms about expending
blood and treasure abroad," I wouldn't be so sure about that.
At a time when the economy is tanking and some
say we are this close to a stock market meltdown,
how many conservative Republican members of Congress want
to go to their constituents with the message that Saddam Hussein
is the worst of their problems? If I were Foer, before I got
too puffed up and complacent about the "final" victory of
neocon-ism on the Right, I would take a look at the historical
record. Foer's "end of isolationism" meme, along with "the
of ideology," the "end
of history," and all the other false finales proclaimed
by neocons past, present, and future, exemplifies what George
Orwell discussing the invariable wrongness of proto-neocon
Burnham's predictions diagnosed as one of the principal
intellectual afflictions of the modern age:
worship blurs political judgement because it leads, almost unavoidably, to the
belief that present trends will continue. Whoever is winning at the moment will
always seem to be invincible. If the Japanese have conquered south Asia, then
they will keep south Asia forever, if the Germans have captured Tobruk, they will
infallibly capture Cairo; if the Russians are in Berlin, it will not be long before
they are in London; and so on."
power that is being worshipped today is, of course, American power, not German
or Japanese, but what Orwell called "this habit of mind" is fully operative all
the same. Indeed, with the US in the position of a world hegemon, or "hyperpower,"
as the French put it, this mental framework dominates the punditocracy, both left
and right, so thoroughly that they think nothing of calling for the invasion and
longterm occupation of Iraq and, perhaps, much more of the Middle East, to be
accompanied by a massive "democratization"
campaign. Never mind the cost. Oh, the invasion
of Iraq will be a cakewalk, we are assured, which brings us to another aspect
of Power Worship Syndrome (PWS):
leads also to the belief that things will happen more quickly, completely, and
catastrophically than they ever do in practice. The rise and fall of empires,
the disappearance of cultures and religions, are expected to happen with earthquake
suddenness, and processes which have barely started are talked about as though
they were already at an end."
headline of Foer's piece proclaims: "Buchanan's Surefire Flop" alerting
us to yet another outbreak of PWS, a mental disability that is surely reaching
a time of perpetual war, when conservatives and liberals seem to be glomming together
in an obscene mosh-pit
embrace, the triumph of the neos, left and right, means that all parties
are the War Party, united on a program of Big Government at home and interventionism
abroad. All together now: everybody shout "Amen!" Short of abolishing the Constitution,
and instituting an authoritarian regime, it's the penultimate method of suppressing
dissent. But not so fast
about 'empire,'" as Foer characterizes Antiwar.com's editorial position, is not
limited to the left, just as a concern for individual liberty is not the exclusive
prerogative of the Right. The question is whether the American people are prepared
to pay the costs of Empire not only in troops and treasure, but in terms of
our character as a people. Will we survive its corrupting influence on our politics
and our culture? As Walter Russell Mead points out in Special
Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World quite
possibly the best book ever on the subject this essentially Jeffersonian
suspicion of foreign entanglements suffuses American political culture. To limit
that sentiment to the "left" or the "right" terms almost meaningless in the
present context is arbitrary and, with the passage of time, will be shown to
be false especially if the Republicans fail to hold on to the White House. Speaking
know how I hate to toot my own horn (yeah, right!), but Raimondamus
has been proved correct again! Bob Novak reports
that the Bullsh*t
Express may be on the road again, with John McCain rumored to be giving up
his Senate seat and possibly launching a third-party campaign for the White House.
I predicted it as long ago as June
4, 2001, and as
recently as May 1.
Michael Ewens, our new intern! Mike is currently a senior
at Washington University in St. Louis. Apart from his full-time
student status, he is actively involved in the campus libertarian
newspaper, College Libertarians and inner city tutoring programs.
Economics and mathematics occupy his academic time, while
his intellectual curiosity is further satisfied with political
theory and foreign affairs. Among his various other duties,
Mike will be helping me with the editorial side of Antiwar.com's
operations, as well as heading up our new Campus Activism
Project. We're lining up colleges for a speaking tour for
yours truly in the fall, and so if you're interested in having
me come to your campus you can email Mike at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
who knows, maybe Bill Bennett and David Horowitz will accept our standing challenges
to debate them anytime, anyplace.
and check this out: Mike will be writing a column, posted five days a week
whew! summarizing the days news. We call it "From the Front,"
and its good stuff
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