Rantings and Fulminations Against the State
Much of what passes for the Democratic base nowadays is in fact that activist base of that party, as the Democrats out in Iowa are not apt to support such exotic programs of statist intervention like affirmative action, or such procedures as partial birth abortion. Quite simply, if all politics is local, as legendary House speaker Tip O’Neill once famously claimed, the Democrats are a bit out of touch with locality. One does not need to reach the Netroots Nation, because their overall influence is completely pathetic. They make hay, and little else.
Democrats have built their constituencies over the past seventy years or so on platforms of divisiveness, and while they wrapped these platforms of division in the language of unity, the fact remains that one had to accept a lesser standing as a white male before the platform if one wanted to be a good little foot soldier in the Democratic Party. The sins of your father were your fault. All around, there was hand-wringing to be done, and blame to be distributed for the failures of one demographic of victims after another.
What no one wanted to acknowledge was that while blacks were subjected to the scourge of crack cocaine as a result of a drug smuggling operation involving former Contras who operated with the knowledge of the DEA and the CIA, no one forced blacks to pick up the pipe or cook the stuff up in the first place. The black community, despite the best attempts of idiots and ne’er do wells within the state to rescue them by consigning them to Section 8 housing, remains woefully mired in the muck of poverty and cultural degradation precisely because its leaders fail to recognize that the culture is the problem.
What passes as a leader in the African-American community these days is indicative of the problem: we have right reverends fathering children out of wedlock, falsely accusing police officers of gang rape, and extorting corporate America of money to line their organizational coffers with trumped up charges of racism. We have normal black men fathering children out of wedlock at a higher rate than the general population, although the general population is struggling mightily to catch up. We have normal black men and women complaining about the undue scrutiny of police officers on their kind, in the form of profiling, and blaming this scrutiny for the fact that police officers actually catch them in possession of illegal firearms and drugs quite routinely.
That’s not to say that the police are anything other than bullies towards minorities, because they are. Even if there are no drugs or firearms, the police tend to find some reason or another to harass and arrest people of color. If you doubt my assertion, go on a ride along with a person of color in an urban setting for a week or so. The closer to the black neighborhoods of the municipality in question, the better. Let us talk about the nonsensical automatic crimes that result in a one way pass to jail for people of color; the possession of firearms and drugs being among the most common ways for a person of color to wind up in jail.
So what? So what if a convicted felon has a gun? So what if he has pot? Has he shot anyone with the gun? Has he forced anyone to smoke the pot over their objections? Leave him be! So what if his gun isn’t registered, or if he doesn’t have a concealed carry permit. I don’t care, because my objection to such requirements is clear enough: I don’t want the state licensing the exercise of a right. If I have to register my firearm, or gain the state’s approval for a license to carry that firearm in certain situations, what’s to stop the state from licensing speech or requiring permits to exercise one’s right to avoid self-incrimination? Oh, that’s right: with no-refusal DUI stops, the state is already obviating self-incrimination. If you refuse to consent to a test whereby you will be hanged for having a BAC in excess of whatever subjective level the state determines equals out to impairment, you’re guilty of impairment anyway! Your refusal to give them the opportunity to prove as much is proof in and of itself!
If a person shoots at someone, or shoots someone with a firearm, then he should go to jail, no questions asked. He should go to jail for the rest of his life. There are certain things that we ought not tolerate, and gun violence is one of those things, unless gun violence is used in self-defense of one’s person, property, or liberties from an imminent threat. That may seem broad to you, but my attitude is this: if the civil authorities were aware that their public declarations could constitute a perceived immediate threat to liberty, they’d ratchet down the inflammatory rhetoric and stop promoting an agenda that threatens said liberties, lest they wind up gunned down for their trouble. I don’t feel that we should be encouraging the passive-aggressive behavior of would-be tyrants in elected office or bureaucracy who feel insulated by the fact that the election is eighteen months away. The possibility of justifiable homicide in protection of one’s liberties would do wonders to lessen the enthusiasm of ninnies who want to regulate every area of our lives.
I’m a libertarian extremist, an anti-statist who believes in the efficacy of force because the state’s own history offers up heaps of evidence to demonstrate that force works. I’ve noticed something about my own militant attitude in personal dealings: people do not take liberties with me face to face. I give off the impression that I will resort to violence, and therefore I live a rather peaceful life because few people want to give me the opportunity.
I’m civil enough, for I’ve never been arrested. So long as you don’t violate my person, my property, or my liberty, we won’t have an issue. I do not wait for the day when states perish to declare my own autonomy. I am autonomous today. To the extent that I’m plugged into the state, I render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. I have no problem with paying taxes for the services I use, like national defense, infrastructure, and education.
I went to college on a scholarship and a Pell Grant. It was a fantastic use of tax dollars, because I became a productive, employed, responsible citizen with a higher rate of income as a result. People who have higher incomes pay more taxes. I think the state has made its money back on me, and will make even more over the course of my life as I pay off my law school loans with interest. Isn’t it interesting, though? The gall of the state is that they loan you back the money they take from you through confiscatory taxation, as though they have their own pool to draw from, and then charge you a rate of interest to finance their expenditures on other programs. The state is a parasite, albeit one that offers a purportedly symbiotic relationship with its hosts in the form of grants, loans, and programs that constitute the crumbs while others better connected to the state than the average man feast from the seat at the table.
The Democrats exist in fear of people like me. I’m not after a handout, because I refuse to commit myself to voluntary enslavement. I’m not after reliance on the state. I’m after self-sufficiency, because my ethos commands self-sufficiency and self-reliance. If the state collapses, I must be prepared to fend for myself and my kin.
Interestingly enough, Ashton Kutcher recently gave an interview in which he noted his own preparations towards this end. He’s buying guns, and learning self-defense in preparation for a stateless society that comes about as a result of cataclysmic collapse. He’s preparing to take his family away from modern society to a place where they’ll be safe if the state and the modern conveniences associated with it collapse.
This is a man who promised his fealty to the President not long ago, and he’s reading the writing on the wall. Our state can’t deliver a solution to the current crisis, because it is paralyzed by ideological gridlock. We are governed by the weakest men and women among us, people who seek power through division and fear with appeals wrapped up in the language of unity around some imaginary and mythic view of the state. We shouldn’t challenge the state, because we’re weakening the nation. We shouldn’t question the state’s methods, because doing so hurts the troops. What hurts the troops is a state that expends over $700 billion on defense yet can’t be bothered to ensure that the troops are equipped with adequate armor and plentiful ammunition in combat theaters.
We imprison more of our citizens than any other state on the planet. Think about that: even in states with bigger populations and totalitarian governments where freedom is in scarce supply, there are fewer prisoners than in the United States. You can go to jail in China for speaking out against the government, but in the United States you can go to jail for exercising your right to gun ownership under certain public policy exceptions. We all witnessed the recent case of Brian Aitken, a man whose offhand remark to his mother led to police pulling him over and arresting him for having two unloaded handguns in the trunk of his car. Aitken got seven years for lawfully owning and transporting handguns because a judge refused to allow the jury access to the statute which provided a moving exemption for handgun owners. The jury, thereby denied access to the law which could have informed its verdict towards a result consistent with the actual law, rendered a guilty verdict and Aitken was sentenced to jail for lawfully owning and transporting a firearm.
People are polarized precisely because they expect the state to deliver a just result to them in every situation, when the state is incapable of providing such a guarantee of justice or consistent legal treatment. Ashton Kutcher tied the disenchantment of the population to its dependence on modern convenience, but I would reply that our disenchantment stems from our reliance on the state itself. When the state delivers an incompetent, absurd, and altogether ludicrous result, we don’t know what to do. After all, we suck at the teat of the state for everything.
If we’re parents, we rely on the state to subsidize our parenting with tax exemptions related to our status as parents. If we’re homeowners, we rely on the state to subsidize our homeownership with mortgage tax credits and interest exemptions. If we’re businessmen, we rely on the state to subsidize us with tax exemptions for our depreciations. If you lose money in business, you can claim it against your tax liability! How is this anything other than an incentive to fail? If you’re a senior citizen, the state underwrites your retirement by robbing others of their earnings in order to provide you a benefit in your old age, along with heavily subsidized healthcare and drugs. Social Security and Medicare are theft, plain and simple. You didn’t pay into anything. You consented like a fool to the theft of your earnings back when you worked, and you get indignant when others with more sense than you object to be stolen from to pay your way.
Remove any of these exemptions or subsidies, and you’ll see the indignation of parents, homeowners, businessmen, and seniors turn into a frothy rage. They feel as though they have been robbed! The fact that their tax credits and exemptions are underwritten by borrowing that will further rob future generations of their earnings is no matter to them. The state is ubiquitous in our lives, and if it is appropriated by liberty-minded men and women who try to draw back its tentacles in order to limit it to the constitutionally mandated role of the federal government, the general population will revolt. They don’t know how to live without the state assisting them in some way or another.
The pernicious legacy of the state is that it inculcates weakness within constituencies and demographics in the name of strengthening them. It indoctrinates us into a culture of dependency.
Witness the indignation of victims who cannot understand why it took the police or emergency services so long to arrive on the scene; and understand that the courts have held that the police owe no responsibility to show up after at a 911 call in a timely manner. Stop waiting for the state to fix your problems: get a gun and blow the bastards away when they break into your home, threaten your life and your safety. Be a self-reliant man or woman rather than a state-dependent slave.
It’s more than an option: it’s your fucking responsibility. If you have children, or a spouse, you have a duty of care to see to it that they are taken care of, and that includes defense against unlawful behavior. Don’t believe that the state is going to magically fix anything. The police aren’t going to come on time, and they certainly won’t get there faster then you can draw a gun and kill an intruder.
Stop shoving shit down your gullets in the form of food that is poisonous for you and yours. If you’re buying McDonald’s for your children on a regular basis, you’re their fucking problem. If you justify the purchase of fast food on the grounds that your life requires you to work long hours, perhaps your expenditures are beyond your fucking means. There is more to life than living in a certain type of house and owning a certain type of car. If your life has enslaved you to the point where you don’t even have the time to prepare a meal for your own children, don’t blame the state. Don’t blame society. Don’t blame consumerism. You slid the plastic, you bought the high-priced home, and you chose the expensive car. You chose a life and lost yours by virtue of the life you chose.
Most of all, if you’re a fat, overweight slob of an individual who preaches personal responsibility while carrying fifty pounds of evidence to the contrary around your waistline, shut up. Lose some weight before you tell me how to live my life and conduct my affairs. I’ve cut my calorie count to under 2,000 a day in order to lose weight myself, and I’m 6’0 and 193 pounds. I ride a bike to my destination whenever I can. My goal is to get to 175 pounds, which would be 35 pounds less than I weighed at my peak.
I’m utterly stunned to realize that people consider a $4.00 cup of coffee to be their entitlement in life. That’s the sacrifice they make, if there is a sacrifice to be made. A daily latte. And they resent it! We have this pessimism in America, as though our way of life is being undone, and yet we don’t bother to question whether that way of life is worth preserving.
I didn’t agree with Phil Gramm at the time he made his statement about America being a nation of whiners, because the context of his remark was that America was whining about banks and fat cats who had abused the system. But the fact of the matter is that we are stronger than ever relative to the rest of the world, and we’re in a better position to weather this storm. Will we retrench? Will there be some form of short-term sacrifice? Yes. Is it wrong that banks and financial institutions have gotten through this storm largely scot-free for their systemic abuses? Yes.
The answer isn’t to whine and bitch. It’s to mobilize and move forward in order to tackle the future head on with an attitude of empowerment rather than fear. Civilization isn’t on the verge of collapse unless you resign yourself to such a fate. The problem is that we’re in a state of existential paralysis, and nobody wants to acknowledge that the way things were and still are has to change. You can’t live on credit at 24.99% interest. This is a point I’ve warred with my own wife over time and time again. It’s the biggest point of contention in our marriage, to be honest. She believes that strength means the ability to instantly buy whatever you want, but she doesn’t question the notion that buying it on credit is a compromise of strength. The debtor is slave to the lender. Period.
The person who looks to the state for a solution is going to be disappointed, at least until average people start looking at the state and contemplating how to take it over for themselves in order to make it work according to their interests. For me, that means engaging the state and taking it over politically and practically, in order to prevent the state from being used to throw people like Brian Aitken in jail even if there is a law on the books that would enable such an outcome.
During my first semester of law school, one of the first cases we examined contained within it an idea that I will never forget: the law does not exist to give rise to an absurd result. Damn right. We legislate everything in this country, and it’s time to turn back the tide. There are certain things we can agree on: we don’t want shit or carcinogens in our water. It’s disgusting and dangerous. We shouldn’t even have to have an argument about the degree to which we should go to protect our water supply. It’s just common sense. We go as far as we need to go to keep our water clean, or at least reclamation ready. That is, if you can’t filter whatever it is that you’re leaching into the water out, you don’t put it in the water.
The same is true of our air. I’m all about the idea of clean coal, but after some level of study on the subject, I’ve come to the conclusion that clean coal is bullshit. Burning coal releases mercury into the atmosphere, and mercury can get into our water supply and wreak havoc. I don’t believe in energy independence at this point either, because while we’re making some promising strides towards new technologies that could replace fossil fuels, we aren’t at the destination yet.
Moreover, we need to understand that energy efficiency is paradoxically part of the problem. Whenever you make it easier for people to use more of something, they will. That’s not to say that we should roll back progress in order to go backwards in time, but we need to dispense with the illusion that energy efficiency is energy conservation. It actually expands demand for energy, to be honest.
I’m an environmentalist to the degree that clean air and water are necessary for my health and survival. It’s a matter of self-interest, not some esoteric belief system in Gaia or an Earth Mother. And I’m sorry, but when average Americans can set their tap water on fire, we have a problem. I don’t give a damn what Halliburton or anyone else says, I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and it’s always in proximity to a fracking operation. I know that I don’t live next to a fracking operation, and no matter how many times I’ve tried to set my tap water on fire in my apartment, it hasn’t worked. I’m from Alabama, and seeing that phenomenon just piqued my natural curiosity and made me wonder: “What if?”
I don’t know why we even have to argue over a good many of the items that seem to divide us, to be honest. I’d think it would be obvious that taking a baby three quarters out of the way of its mother’s vagina and suctioning its brains out to collapse its skull is infanticide. End of story. The individual who performs the procedure belongs in jail, and the woman who seeks the procedure belongs in a mental hospital. It’s macabre and beyond revolting.
Let’s be honest: it’s wrong for a white male to get his position or his salary level because of his race or his gender, and it’s wrong to do the inverse in order to correct the issue. Bigotry itself is one thing, but practically applied bigotry is unacceptable, and those responsible for implementing bigotry in the workplace are nothing less than traitors to the Constitution and the principal idea upon which any lawfully ordered society rests: that all men and women are equal before the law. You can’t pay a woman less than a man for doing the same job, or pay her the same for doing less than a man because she holds the same job title without violating that fundamental ideal. In my time working, I’ve seen it cut both ways.
The male cashiers always had to clean the restrooms at the end of the night when I was in retail management, while the girls got to straighten the shelves. That is, unless I was the manager on duty, because roles were quickly reversed. This wasn’t because I was a misogynist, it’s because they both made the same money and should be required to share in the duties of the job. When the point was raised that I wasn’t cleaning the restrooms as a manager, I raised the counterpoint that I did my share of restroom duty as a subordinate. I paid my dues then, and I earned my way into my current position as a result of my performance.
It’s called common sense, and the problem with America and the world at large is that everything is wrapped up in ideological abstraction. People can’t make simple connections and understand basic arguments anymore. They get the ideology of imperialism, of deconstruction, of feminist criticism, of paleo-conservatism, and they know how to apply those theories to the present day in order to argue for their pre-existent position, but when it comes to plain and simple common sense divorced from ideology, they can’t function. I am so sick and tired of hearing a graduate dissertation on gender politics and roles whenever I talk with people about what ails our culture and our society.
The other day I had a brief encounter with a girl in a coffee shop and she, all of 16 years old, quoted Paglia to me as a means of bolstering her feminist viewpoint that women were everywhere in chains. Her point was that Paglia’s insistence on feminism being wrong about the woman as victim was in fact proof that women were victims, since if women were not victims, there would be no need to mount a defense of the idea that they were not victims. This sort of idiotic logic is similar to that employed by Ari Fleischer when he insisted that the onus was on those who denied the existence of Iraqi WMDs to show the world where the WMDs were.
There is little within the way of an epistemological viewpoint being taught in schools today which offers such young people, intellectually precocious and well-read though they are, any means of distinguishing between good opinion based on reality and absurd opinion. It’s not even that there is a lack of good opinion rooted in fact, the simply truth is that today’s intellectuals are incapable of anything other than fiat declaration as a means of proving their point, and this attitude has leached down to the populists and the youth. It’s why Sarah Palin curries such favor among the masses who turn their noses up at the intelligentsia in reciprocation. It is, because I say it is, and I say it is because it is what I feel, and mere feeling legitimizes whatever pops out of my mouth.
Somewhere along the line, we confused the ability to weave webs with language with genius, and in doing so, we lost the ability to distinguish between orators and charlatans. We have grifters masquerading as modern Demosthenes, all flowery soaring rhetorical genius disguising the reality that in saying something and doing nothing, one is essentially saying nothing. If the actions do not match the professions, the words themselves have no merit.
It’s not just the Democratic Party that is failing, because we in America have exalted our politicians to modern day godhead, and we worship their personas. John Thune has no accomplishment to speak of other than his persona, which includes a chiseled face that certain media types have referred to as “central casting.” That is, he looks presidential, and in today’s television climate, that is enough to be president. See our present White House resident.
All John Thune has to do is demonstrate some way with the word, and he’ll skate into the White House as Americans don’t so much endorse him as they happen latch on to him as the alternative to a President whose administration seems inept to the task of dealing with the fiscal insolvency of the United States and its allies abroad. He has to sound the way that he looks, and that’s all the merit he will need to become the next golden calf to be fawned over and worshipped by media punditry and the electorate at large. What we are witnessing is not merely a failure of parties, but a failure of American culture, insolvent and bankrupt of anything other than the ability to recognize celebrity and elect it to responsibility on the grounds that celebrity itself is merit.
Let us pause for the night...