Archive for the ‘liberal’ Category

My liberal identity!

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a class traitor–the little guy is getting screwed and too stupid to realise they are being screwed.

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Working Class Warrior, also known as a blue-collar Democrat. You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.

Take the quiz at www.FightConservatives.com

Daniel Kurtzman divides the conservative movement into several cleverly named segments:
(1) Rapturfarians–Christian fundamentalists.
(2) Enron-omists–über capitalists.
(3) Big Brethren–militant authoritarians.
(4) Gunfederates–people with confederate flags and gun racks in their pickup trucks.
(5) Spongebob-ophobes–militant anti-gay activists.
(6) Crusadomasochists–imperialistic neoconservatives.

Posted 13/07/2011 by lacithedog in liberal, liberalism, liberals

The Revolution Will Not Be Deactualized


Tired of the astroturf, corporatocracy apologists? Do you believe in peace, economic justice, human rights and a healthy environment?  Then clear your calendar for the 6th, the 7th, the 8th…however long it takes for the Obama Administration to yield to key progressive demands, including immediate withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the other wars. Participants are being asked to sign a pledge to attend at http://october2011.org.

Join together in Washington, D.C., beginning on Oct. 6, 2011.

October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.

See also:
SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Revolution Will Not Be Deactualized

Holy Astroturf, Batman!

This photo has been reblogged from Liberals Are Cool and Look At This Fucking Teabagger

If we listen to the USMSM (which includes US Public broadcasting), the “Tea Party movement” is truly a viable, grassroots movement rather than astroturfed horseshit.

2,000 people were expected at a Tea Party rally in South Carolina, just 30 showed up after Donald Trump cancelled his appearance with Gov. Nikki Haley (R), according to the Columbia State. The picture above from the rally is truly priceless for showing how much the “Tea Party” is a creation of US MSM.

The problem is that US MSM refuses to acknowledge the progressive viewpoint. How many people have heard of “the People’s Budget” proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus for Fiscal Year 2012? Instead of heading on a crash course for a US Default, the “the People’s Budget” eliminates the deficit in 10 years, puts Americans back to work and restores our economic competitiveness while protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and responsibly eliminates the deficit by targeting its main drivers: the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars overseas, and the causes and effects of the recent recession.

Why do we hear about the Tea Party initiatives, but not the “the People’s Budget”? Might it have something to do with US MSM being controlled by a few large corporations?  They even control “Public Broadcasting (USPM=US Public Media)” through underwriting so that even that avenue may provide more in-depth coverage than Fox News,  USPM is nearly as biased as Fox when it comes down to coverage.

See also:
6 Tips For Spotting Astroturf
The Corporate Accountability Project
Look At This Fucking Teabagger

Remember when?

OK, this message is making it’s way around the internet and I’m happy to share it:

Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, AmeriCorps, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither. Please share this message.

Stop Blacking Out Progressive Protests

Ever notice how progressive events and speakers don’t get too much air time on US media? Here’s an example<

A sparsely attended Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C., on March 31 in support of federal spending cuts received generous media attention. One report (Slate, 3/31/11) suggested there was “at least one reporter for every three or four activists,” and a Republican politician joked that there might be more journalists than activists at the event.

An antiwar rally in New York City on April 9 was in some respects very similar. Protesters were speaking out on an equally timely issue (wars in Afghanistan and Libya), and connecting them to the budget and near-government shutdown in Washington.

The difference? The ratio of activists to journalists. The antiwar protest had thousands of attendees–and received almost zero corporate media coverage

This is despite the progressive events putting out extensive media outreach. What gives here?

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR.ORG) has noted this phenomenon before. It’s time for to media explain why it seems that any Tea Party event, no matter how small, is considered far more newsworthy than progressive citizen activism. Now, it has a petition drive to get more attention to this lack of media attention:

Thousands marched against war in New York City on April 9. Two thousand protested the Koch brothers in Washington, D.C. Neither event was covered by major media. A sparsely attended Tea Party rally just a few days earlier, though, was big news. We call on news media to explain the journalistic principle that makes thousands of progressive activists far less newsworthy than dozens of Tea Party protesters.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/592/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6545

What a ‘Liberal Media’ Might Look Like

From consortiumnews.com via Keeping the public in Public Broadcasting

What a ‘Liberal Media’ Might Look Like

By Lisa Pease
February 9, 2011

Editor’s Note: For decades now, the American Right has pushed the myth that the national U.S. news media is “liberal,” even though the owners are mostly wealthy corporations run by rich executives who generally favor Republicans over Democrats. And that was true even in the days before Fox News and right-wing-dominated talk radio.

Even the limited inroads of liberalism in media have been under pressure in recent days with MSNBC’s ouster of liberal icon Keith Olbermann and AOL’s purchase of HuffingtonPost (raising new questions about Arianna Huffington’s ideological sojourns). However, in this essay, Lisa Pease contrasts what today’s media is versus what a “liberal media” might look like:

I’m surprised that otherwise intelligent people continue to believe the myth that the media is “liberal.” I think it’s worth discussing what a liberal media would look like if we had one, so we can better understand that we don’t have one.

Let’s imagine a fictional cable network called LNN – the Liberal News Network. What might the morning news on such a channel be?

The show might lead with pictures of starving children all over the world, so that while you sat down to breakfast, you’d be reminded of just how lucky you were to have been born in the U.S., and how others are still very much in need.

Viewers would be encouraged to send in at least some of their morning latte money to feed a baby for a week. Each morning, the number of children who had been moved out of poverty would also be shown. If there were truly a liberal media, that number would be growing, daily, by leaps and bounds.

You would see pictures of the war – really horrible, tragic pictures, showing not just death, but the maiming, the suffering, the devastation to innocents we currently think of solely as “collateral damage.” Each day, the grievances of both sides would be fully aired.

We’d hear not only from our own soldiers but from soldiers we were fighting, so we could start to understand why they are fighting back. If we are truly the good guys, there’d be no reason for anyone to oppose us.

A truly liberal media would allow us to hear the other side so we could better understand how our actions are affecting others, and what we could do to improve relations with the ultimate goal of ending all wars.

Truly, fostering better communication skills, deploring greed, and promoting fairness would be keystones of this network.

The commentators would be drawn from not merely all nationalities, but all walks of life. Instead of recycling the same news and intelligence and government figures, commentators would be sought among farm workers and blue-collar workers as well as low-level white-collar workers. The view from the socio-economic top would be balanced by the view from the bottom.

On LNN, union issues would be a regular discussion. Are workers getting a fair shake? Are unions really helping their membership or are they getting too close to management? When do unions go too far?

The ecological “state of the planet” would also be a regular discussion. Audiences would learn the science behind pollution, so that they’d make the link between the chemical elements in the products they buy and the environmental damage caused at every point in the production chain.

Corporations that were finding a way to offset their environmental damage would be recognized as heroes, while those whose policies amounted to a hit-and-run on the environment would be publicly castigated at ever turn.

Truly educational information about child rearing would be offered. Are those soft drinks making your children obese? No amount of advertiser action would stop LNN from exposing such a connection.

Can yelling at your child be a form of abuse? A liberal media would talk about things many people would rather not think about.

A liberal media would not make us feel good all the time, but would poke at us and challenge us to be better parents, better neighbors, better people.

A liberal news channel would have a regular report about working conditions around the world. Would you still buy that piece of clothing if you knew it was sown under essentially slave-labor conditions, sometimes by children working 12 hours a day?

Would you admire China’s economy if you realized its coal-powered growth made it one of the most polluted places in the world? Would you travel to Thailand if you understood how much of the tourist economy depends on sex-slave trafficking dollars?

Or might you spend that money instead on a country that plowed the money received from tourism into a public fund from which all citizens who shared that country could benefit? Would you enjoy flowers sent to you on Valentine’s Day if you found those flowers had been picked by forced labor on farms where women routinely faced sexual harassment?

If we had a liberal media, we’d be hearing about other economic models around the world. When does capitalism work best? Would the answer be like what we hear from CNBC anchors who say capitalism should be unregulated – or “self-regulating” – allowing monopolies to take over, which then can raise prices and strangle our options?

A rising tide won’t lift all boats if it’s only happening in a private pool.

LNN would talk about the difference between labor-based income and non-labor-based income (passive income), and discuss how the upper class has kept the latter from the masses to preserve the power of the rich, and how we need to change that.

There are other models, even within our own country, such as the Alaska Permanent Fund, a fund that allows all citizens of Alaska to receive royalties on the oil recovered from their state.

All products come ultimately from some finite earth resource. Imagine if we all had a share of income generated from the products taken from the ground in our respective countries.

LNN would never shade the truth to further an agenda. The facts would be selective, necessarily, but extraordinary effort would be used to ensure all sides of an issue were fairly presented.

Note that, however, that does not mean all sides would be proportionally presented by certain measures. Although 20 percent of the people control 93 percent of the wealth, it does not follow that they should be allowed to control 93 percent of the media. The other 80 percent deserve a much larger say than they have.

Our fictional liberal network would be absolutely fearless in taking on corruption within our own government. A liberal media would relentlessly ferret out secrets, exposing them unless doing so would genuinely damage more people than would be helped.

Even “taboo” topics with strong factual support, such as the Kennedy assassination and the October Surprise case, would receive a fair hearing, on our mythical LNN.

A liberal media would talk seriously about the very real danger that the use of computers in our elections may be compromising our votes. Without a transparent system, without a way to genuinely audit, by hand and in public, election results, what’s to stop a computer voting manufacturer from building in hidden switches that allow the reprogramming of elections in undetectable ways?

Nothing, as this network would point out to us regularly until people filled the streets in protest, insisting on a change.

A liberal media would even dare to explore all the money in the sporting world and ask, is anyone really worth that many millions? Should there be a cap – or at least a significantly higher marginal tax rate – beyond which some of the money goes back into the communities that have to put up with the traffic, pollution, noise and drunken damage that accompanies such events?

Sure, keep your first $50 million. You worked hard, you risked your life, you earned it. But how much more than that does one ballplayer or owner need? If that cap allowed whole communities to be employed, would that be a worthy trade? A truly liberal media would open such discussions.

A liberal media would ask hard questions of corporations. If the product you create comes from a violence-torn region, where the violence comes over the fight for the minerals you need to make your product, what responsibility should the corporation have for that violence? What should the corporation give back to those areas to end the violence?

A liberal media would be inspiring. Every day, people who fought for justice and won would be highlighted. Legislators who took brave stands that helped the many, rather than the privileged few, would be lauded.

Shareholders who overthrew bad regimes within corporations, ushering in management that was more socially responsible would be featured. Class-action suits won against corporate polluters would be praised.

The values of fairness, equality, freedom of movement and opportunity and – perhaps especially – the freedom to imagine a better, more equitable future – would be the cornerstone of this liberal media network.

A liberal network would not treat opinions as news, nor facts as opinions. Viewers would be educated to quickly recognize the difference. And historical context would be brought into play.

Events from the past would be use to better inform our understanding of present events, because after all, everything is connected. Every event transpires based on what has led up to that point. There is no “spontaneous evolution” at play in world events.

LNN doesn’t exist, of course, and it’s no surprise why. Media depends on advertisers for sustenance. Major media outlets depend on major corporations. Major corporations don’t want you to hear the kind of stories mentioned above because then you might press them to change their ways, cutting into their profits. And that would be bad for business, even if it might be great for the planet.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t find good news on television. CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox, once in a while, produce useful and valuable stories. But not one of them shows you the spectrum of coverage demonstrated here.

There are a lot of points of view you never hear, a lot of stories never attempted. There are many places they dare not go, in their coverage.

There is no liberal network out there. There is no “fair and balanced” network out there, either. They are all unbalanced in favor of the corporate landscape from which their revenues grow.

Lisa Pease is a historian and writer who specializes in the mysteries of the John F. Kennedy era.

To join the Liberty Underground news service, email libertyuv at hotmail dot com with “join” for a subject. Here you can experience what is in fact “liberal media” — and see some of the best in populist political cartoons, as well.

Chris Hedges on the Death of Liberalism in the US.

I found this while looking for posts about Nixon’s “Liberalism” due to the rightward shift in US politics.

Journalist and author Chris Hedges delivers a lecture based on his book Death of the Liberal Class. Hedges argues that there are five pillars of the liberal establishment – the press, liberal religious institutions, labor unions, universities and the Democratic Party – but that these institutions have failed the constituents they purport to represent.

Some of Nixon’s liberal programmes:

* imposed wage and price controls.
* indexed Social Security for inflation.
* created Supplemental Security Income.
* created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
* created Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
* promoted the Legacy of parks program.
* implemented the Philadelphia Plan, the first significant federal affirmative action program.
* dramatically improved salaries for US federal employees worldwide.
* signed a bill that lowered the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 miles per hour to conserve gasoline during the 1973 energy crisis.
* established the Office of Minority Business Enterprise.
* On February 6, 1974, he introduced the Comprehensive Health Insurance Act. Nixon’s plan would have mandated employers to purchase health insurance for their employees, and in addition provided a federal health plan like Medicaid that any American could join by paying on a sliding scale based on income.

This list neglects the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. I would also toss in some of the gun control laws which are now being overturned (in particular waiting periods).

Video here

Liberalism and populism in the US.

I have to admit that I find the blog American Creation to be really interesting and informative. Which leads to their credit for having a post about William Hogeland (Hysteriography), which is a name I’ve encountered before since we share interests: in particular, early American insurrections and populism. Although, I have to admit his pieces in the Boston Review, Real Americans, and at New Deal 2.0, Liberals and Populism: An Uneasy History, really struck a chord with me.

The left is often left wondering why its message is lost on the people. For example, I read a blog which made some wild claims about progressives being against “freedom”. Of course, the blogger in question probably has a different concept of the word freedom than I do if he dislikes the changes that progressivism has brought about: such as the pure food and drug act, the clean air and water acts, child labour laws, laws about safety in the workplace, and so on. Or is it a person’s right and freedom to want to be a slave?

The problem is that there is a strong anti-intellectual streak in the American population. As Hogeland points out “the main populist assault (During William Jennings Bryan’s time), just as today, was on common liberal modes of discussion, debate, and expertise.” There was the disgust with the East Coast, Elites, which today would be termed the “Within the Beltway mindset”. Hogeland takes his premise even further back at Liberals and Populism: An Uneasy History going to the War for American Independence.

Liberals and Populism: An Uneasy History gets me thinking my usual question about how many of the founding fathers would have chosen to incite the masses had they known how hard the mob would be to control? As I said at American Creation, Especially since Samuel Adams wasn’t a populist! That is truly an interesting point. I know that he had made a comment about Shays’ Rebellion which would point to his being a strong denouncer of insurrectionism (“Rebellion against a king may be pardoned or lightly punished, but the man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death.”). Given that Sam Adams was prone to stirring up mobs as happened in the Boston Massacre and Philadelphia, this is truly a revelation!

Of course, this post may tend toward the elitism for which overeducated people such as myself, but one has to wonder how much the people who wanted independence at any cost would view the effect on US Politics (as opposed to the Tories who wanted any change to be done through legal means)? The problem is that the mob is not a body which can be controlled or is reasonable. One needs leadership. Or to quote James Madison:

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions. Federalist #10

Feeling “left” out?

Despite all the demonising talk of liberals, socialists, progressives, and other left wing types, there is a surprisingly little attention paid to their activities in the US Main Stream Media. In fact, the astroturf tea party movement receives an out of proportion amount of attention. Of course, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

For example, the fact that the Tea Party Convention this February received more coverage than the U.S. Social Forum convention held last June, five days of strategizing, organizing and activism inspired by the 2001 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The Social Forum, in Detroit, drew an estimated 15,000–20,000 progressive activists from around the country, while the Tea Party Convention in Nashville hosted a meager 600 attendees. Compare the two “activist” gatherings striving for political and social change, one at least 25 times larger than the other—but the smaller one received the larger share of the media coverage. Across 10 major national outlets in the two weeks surrounding each event, the Tea Party got 177 mentions to the Social Forum’s three. Per participant, the Tea Party got 1,500 times as many mentions!

The U.S. Social Forum was subject to a virtual news blackout in the USMSM! Aside from local coverage, the only corporate media mentions found in the Nexis database came from Glenn Beck (Fox News, 6/29/10, 6/30/10)—warning viewers about “socialists and communists coming out of the woodwork to co-opt the youth and spread a dangerous disease”—and Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, a guest on John King’s CNN show (6/30/10).

The U.S. Social Forum’s archive of news coverage can be found here.

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that the left receives virtually no coverage in the USMSM: especially in the current economy. In fact, the choices which are presented to the US public are incredibly distasteful: republican, democrat, or “tea party”. The libertarian ideology is one which receives far more press than it deserves, but no surprise since Rupert Murdoch’s newscorp is a contributor to the Cato Foundation.

On the other hand, it is encouraging that the U.S. Social Forum could raise the level of participation it did despite the MSM News Blackout. An estimated attendance of 15,000–20,000 isn’t bad given that few people heard about this. Not to mention that Detroit is a dead city. I wonder what the level of participation would have been had the U.S. Social Forum had better coverage?

It is encouraging to see movements such as the U.S. Social Forum appearing. I wish that they received far more attention and that they will receive the amount of attention they deserve. Although, as I keep mentioning, the policies needed to address inequality (even if it means more jobs) “will always be controversial since they mean neutralising the advantages of wealth. A prospect that those with money and influence will fight hard against.”

See also:
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4143

Dazed and Confused!

I have to admit that between pro-gun weirdness, climate change denial, and not putting more blame on BP (and the rest of the oil drillers) for the mess in the Gulf of Mexico.

Somewhere in all this came in the fact that the North Sea Oil rigs have worse anti-spill technology than in the Gulf.

Actually, there’s a bit of a link in here. US pro-gun weirdness and climate denial are being funded by the Cato Institute, which somehow gets left out of the equation. The “pro-gun” crowd will mention that the Joyce Foundation funds various gun control groups, but they neglect how much funding comes from the Cato Institute. On the other hand, one of Cato’s founders is a billionaire co-founder of Koch Industries (Charles Koch)–the largest privately owned company in the United States. Though diversified, the company amassed most of its fortune in oil trading and refining, which explains why it is big on funding the climate change denial industry!

In case you missed it, Cato has also been bankrolling the two Supreme Court gun cases: DC v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.

Cato demonstrates why I have a big problem with libertarianism: it’s confused. Whose rights are more important gun owners, or property owners who don’t want people carrying guns on their property. So, while most of the Cato foundation’s financial support from entrepreneurs, securities and commodities traders, and corporations such as oil and gas companies, Federal Express, and Philip Morris that abhor government regulation; however, the foundations Cato’s corporate fund-raising may be hampered by its scholars’ tendency to take positions that are at odds with some of the interests of some large corporations: in particular the concept of “corporate welfare”. The Cato Institute has published numerous studies criticizing what it calls “corporate welfare”, the practice of funneling taxpayer money to politically well-connected corporate interests.

Something that alienates its supporter base.

Anyway, the real point here is corporate responsibility, which is something that Cato abhors. The fact that they are anti-regulation should make people question their motives. And the BP Deep water drilling disaster highlights the need for corporate responsibility. I believe that people were assured that the technology existed to handle any problem which might arise from a deep-water oil platform, or so one would hope. Unfortunately, it seems that the technology seems to be as primitive as that which existed when the Torrey Canyon struck Pollard’s Rock back in 1967 and everybody is making a gigantic mess of the Gulf of Mexico.

Of course, everyone is forgetting the slogan “drill, baby, drill”. The fact that it was chanted by Sarah Palin makes it even more ironic since Ms. Palin comes from the land of Exxon Valdez.

The Petroleum industry is an incredibly lucrative one as BPs ponying up US$ 20 Billion without blinking shows. So, it’s obvious that someone who made his money from oil trading and refining might be able to pony up large amounts of money to ensure his interests were protected. In fact, we are talking about companies which are hostile to the worker’s interest, but they have managed to dupe the working class most effectively with issues such as gun rights and abortion.

The problem is that there is no real left wing party in the US and politics seems to favour the right and corporate interests. It interesting that a campaign finance reform act would exempt the NRA from any financial disclosures!

I am truly amazed that there is no viable left wing political party in the US to press for corporate responsibility!

But we need to remember the golden rule:
The person with the gold makes the rules

Conservative or Liberal?

I mentioned this post over at Opinione in my previous post, but feel it deserves special mention on its own.

Opinione discusses how the terms liberal and conservative have different meanings depending one where one is in the world. He also points out that: “Looking at Barack Obama from a European perspective, the only issue Obama is considered a liberal on is the support and endorsement of liberalism as an economic model and his liberal support of continuing the perpetual use of military power.”

Opinione also says that “After spending a considerable amount of time of living in Italy, it is safe to say that even the most liberal American politician would be a candidate from the conservative polity party of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy or the political party of Pier Ferdinando Casini and the Union of Christian Democrats.” One doesn’t need to go to Italy or other Continental European country to see that the US is far more right wing than Europe. One can go to The United Kingdom to see that even the Conservatives would seem liberal by US standards.

I have to admit that I find it amusing at the misuse of the term “liberal” in US politics. Even more amusing is the abuse of the term “socialism”. Fortunately, it is quite easy to get the American public to work against their own self interests.

"There’s some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England."


Nothing like a quote from another Old Rugbeian to start my post (Rupert Brooke’s “The Soldier”). I’m also adding one of my fav New Yorker Cartoons of all time. It had me howling when I found it.

But the point I am making here is about community or society, which are the institutions by which humans join together for cooperation.

Part of the Whig and Libertarian fantasy is that governments and society can be placed into turmoil on whims and fancies. Despite some commentators attempts to portray the radical whig concepts which led to the US War for Independence, this movement comes from the liberal spectrum: in particular republicanism. As a political philosophy, liberalism includes John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Karl Popper, Friedrich Hayek, Isaiah Berlin, and John Rawls. As a political movement, it is represented by the continental-European liberal parties in the Liberal International. This belief in liberal republicanism has odd concepts regarding the legitimacy of governments, hence the War for American Independence.

Conservativism by its nature advocates institutions and traditional practices that have developed organically within a nation over a period of time. Change is organic rather than revolutionary. Any attempt to modify society, for the sake of some doctrine or theory, runs the risk of running afoul and creating unintended consequences. The US Whig movement did this and found itself facing Rebellions Such as Shays’, The Whisky Revolts, Second American Civil War (War between the States), and quite possibly a future civil war based upon the “Insurrection theory”. The War between the States is the Second American Civil war because the War for American Independence was the first civil war since it pitted those who were loyal against those who were not loyal.

The problem is that the Libertarian fantasy views government as a destroyer of liberty. The fact is that government is essential to create liberty. This notion that government is bad is peculiarly American. Even conservatives in Europe bemoan the rich/poor gap, and recognize an important role for government. The paradox is that only people with a pretty good government could come up with such an absurdity. When you really have a bad government, such as in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, or Russia, it’s obvious that you need reform, not anarchy.

But my real point is that whatever you call yourself, you are a part of society. It is positively absurd that the Second Amendment was created to fight the government since in a democracy, the people are the government. To quote, once again, Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951) puts paid to the insurrectionist theory:

The obvious purpose of the statute is to protect existing Government, not from change by peaceable, lawful and constitutional means, but from change by violence, revolution and terrorism. That it is within the power of the Congress to protect the Government of the United States from armed rebellion is a proposition which requires little discussion. Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a “right” to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change.

Somehow, there is this desire to be a frontiersman and beholden to none but the laws of nature; however, one has to go quite far afield to find somewhere that is not a part of civilisation. The world is becomming smaller and boundaries are collapsing. We need to stop seeing ourselves as being a part of a small localised community, but as part of a larger society: world civilisation. And while one can define themselves as American, British, Irish, Italian, Itrish (I thought I would keep that typo), or whatever, we are still part of a larger society and need to develop a global consciousness.

Part of the failure of Copenhagen is due to the fact that the United States has failed to notice that there is a need for environmental protection for nearly the past 40 years. Nixon achieved the clean air and clean water acts, yet such legislation was not followed upon. In fact, “Conservatives” have sought to repeal it. And following upon that Administrations have failed to show leadership regarding global warming.

Gun Control is a no-brainer, yet it is mired in bizarre rhetoric about non-existant rights. The unintended consequence of trying to prevent a professional standing army has failed. The anachronistic Second Amendment has been distorted to create rights where no right has existed. It has been used to fight regulation of firearms to the detriment of society. Thus a document which was to form a more perfect Union is being cited as justification for all sorts of silliness.

This means that a document which was to be a blueprint for society may end up being its downfall. Not from intent since the stated intent was not to destroy the nation, but to build it. Its destruction came about from failing to heed the more conservative voices of the loyalists whom they called “advocates of despotism” in the words of George Washington:

“I am mortified beyond expression when I view the clouds that have spread over the brightest morn that ever dawned in any country… What a triumph for the advocates of despotism, to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves and that systems founded on the basis of equal liberty are merely ideal and fallacious.”

While Washington said this over 200 years ago, the sentiment remains vibrant. It may be hindsight, but despotism can come from either one person or a mob. The advocates of “independece” were such a mob in that they silenced the voices of those who would have kept the Union and sought independence through the institutions available to them. Instead the advocates of freedom created a precedent where one could scream “tyranny” and “despotism” and hope that others would follow to overthrow the government.

That is not society, but madness.

Yeah, yeah, I am over a couple of hundred years late in writing this and James Chalmers Wrote “Plain Truth” as well. No actually, as long as there is a belief in the insurrectionist theory and movements like the tea baggers, this sort of comment is never late.

Politics: Conservative

I find it odd that people describe me as a liberal, although I don’t mind that monicker given what I believe conservative has come to mean in this country. Case in point, my wife’s uncle has a t-shirt with American Revolutionary “patriots” saying “Right wing crazies” or some such.

Now, Conservative is described as a political philosophy that favours tradition and gradual change. Another description of conservative is cautious with adherence to custom and precedent. Any movement toward change is considered. The American Revolutionaries were in no way conservative. They broke from England in contradiction of law and for no sensible reason. The American Revolutionaries were like bratty children. And, the people in the United States which claim the title “conservative” are in no way conservative either, especially if they wish claim to being the rebels’ progeny.

On the other hand, that appellation has changed quite a bit since Richard Nixon. Looking back at Nixon’s administration, he would seem surprisingly liberal to today’s conservative. I would also posit that James Clark McReynolds would also seem very liberal by today’s standards. He believed that the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment included an individual’s right “to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, to establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience, and generally to enjoy privileges, essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men”. This belief eventually went on to found the right to privacy in Griswold v. Connecticut 381 U.S. 479 (1965), and the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

McReynolds also penned US v. Miller 307 U.S. 174 (1939) and its Collective right interpretation of the Second Amendment. Justice McReynolds would find Justice Kennedy’s comment about Miller being “deficient” as showing Kennedy’s mental deficiency. McReynolds was a person to whom things were obvious. To McReynolds issues were right or wrong, and if you could not tell the difference then no amount of explanation would help. He had no patience for those who disagreed. What was right, was self-evident.

McReynolds didn’t feel the need to spell out his decisions for those who were not at his intellectual level. So, I believe Justice McReynolds would return Justice Kennedy’s “complement”.

Additionally, the Supreme Court which is considered “Conservative” may overturn McReynold’s precedent in US v. Miller wihtout any real basis. It goes against the Court second guessing legislation. It goes against public policy. And it goes against logic if the reason is merely that “the public believe the Second Amendment comprises this right”. I have mentioned the logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum ad naseum and don’t feel the need to repeat what it is. I would also add it goes against the rule of law.

Anyway, there are a few strains of conservativism: Cultural, religious, and fiscal. I would also add neo-conservativism, however, I am not sure what that really is. Neo-Conservativism runs contrary to everything that Conservativism is supposed to be.

A bit of an aside, Conservatives are also supposed to value property rights. An RKBA type wrote to say that he believed his right to self-defence outweighed my rights as property owner. This is thorough nonsense as self-defence is limited by law. I am allowed to bar firearms from my property and you are free not to enter if you feel this is not safe.

Cultural conservativism supports preservation of the heritage of a nation or culture. There is a national myth in the United States which varies greatly with US history. They myth began with the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the proud yeoman rising up against British tyranny. Although, the more I read Loyalist history, the less I believe that there was any strong support for the rebellion. In fact, I believe many people were forced to the “patriot” cause, but this isn’t the place to expound on that. The independent frontiersman is the image we see, instead of the middle class citizen of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Alexandria, Baltimore, Hartford, Providence, Charleston, and Savannah. The first is a myth and the latter is the reality.

Religious conservativism. Again, the radical right is doing everything to trash people’s freedom of conscience. Amazing that someone like Justice McReynolds can be considered the father of Roe v. Wade! Additionally, the puritan strain, those who came from Cromwell and the New Model Army were the ones who wanted a separation of Church and State. Yet historical amnesia has struck and we see the resurgence of Cromwell and the New Model Army.

Fiscal conservativism. Is a joke from my previous posts. “Tax and spend” is vilified yet we have profligate spending on the military. We spend more on Iraq while this nation crumbles. Of course, there is a study that says more people are liberal/progressive than conservative in this country; however, one couldn’t tell that from the media. And the media is supposedly liberal.

But, then again, what exactly is a conservative since I have just shown that Justice McReynolds would seem liberal by today’s standards. He might have to become politically correct, but he would seem liberal. So, labels such as conservative and liberal seem to make no sense in US politics. And, given what conservativism has come to mean, as opposed to what I understand it to be, I am glad to be called something else.

EDITORIAL NOTE: I am not sure where Justice Kennedy was going with the “deficient” comment, but since McReynolds was a known bastard, I will not retract this. I believe McReynolds would have done something as fucked up as that

Posted 20/03/2008 by lacithedog in conservative, Conservativism, liberal