Sunday, March 28, 2010

No longer a free people?

Lawrence Auster, who has in the past generally been upbeat about the possibilities for reversing America's slide into a Euro-style, velvet-glove tyranny, is uncharacteristically gloomy:
For the first time in my life, I feel that I am not a free person, and that we are not a free people. When I say that we are not free, I obviously do not mean that we cannot (at least for the moment) say what we want and do what we want and go where we want. I mean that we are no longer living under a constitutional representative government, flawed and overreaching and swollen to gargantuan size though it may be; we are living under a lawless regime of power holders who are hostile to us and ruthlessly seek greater and greater control over us.
I understand. If there is such a thing as mental nausea, I often experience it these days reading news stories -- no, make that "news" stories, since the long-established journalistic sources have willingly debased themselves to become propaganda outlets for the radical Left. The levers of power are now operated by people who want to remake the country in their image through redistribution, open borders, social engineering to favor their cherished victim groups, using educational institutions as indoctrination centers, subverting American military capability, and bending the knee to foreign governments.


Beginning with mostly reasonable reforms in the Franklin Roosevelt administration, the Left has gradually extended its reach institutionally and ideologically. It's had a few setbacks, mainly in the Cold War years when its Communist ties and sympathies tainted its domestic ambitions. Since the Soviet Union self-destructed, however, its "long march through the institutions" has been rapid and successful.

Newton's Third Law of Motion says that "every action has a reaction equal in magnitude and opposite in direction." What is true in physics, however, is not necessarily true in politics. Aggrandizement of the state, forced race replacement, and restrictions on free speech and individual liberty have not produced an equal reaction in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union.

How can that be? It could be argued that most of Europe has never really had much love for the individual, that hierarchy is in its DNA, and that the EU is just the latest avatar of feudalism and royalty. Not so Britain and Canada. They have had their traditional freedoms bred out of them in a couple of generations.


A Marxist or quasi-Marxist takeover has certain realities always going for it.

1. Most middle-class and professional people are so wrapped up in their work lives that they have only a thimble-full of time and energy to study the political overview. And once the Left occupies the ideological heights, speaking or -- especially -- acting against it is perilous for a career.

2. Modern societies are steeped in entertainment of countless types, easy and usually inexpensive to access. For most, entertainment fills up such leisure hours as are available outside work, to the impoverishment of serious political thought.

3. About 90 percent of people take their opinions as received from the culture. Thinking is too much work, and why do mental work when so much fun is available? Besides, getting ahead financially or just making ends meet is a job in itself.

It is true that the United States is unique in some ways that offer a serious barrier to Marxist penetration: geographic dispersion, relative prosperity in most of its history, and a streak of individualism in its indigenous population. The Tea Party movement is one manifestation of stubbornness in defense of liberty -- although it remains to be seen whether the movement will be co-opted, the Tea Party population becoming no more than a Republican adjunct, foot soldiers for Fox News.


I can see two possibilities that could shake up the New World Order thoroughly and encourage a turnaround against creeping Statism.

The first is economic. The United States was bankrupt even before the Bad Medicine bill was passed. Federal government now functions like a massive home equity loan: borrowing money against our assets, mainly the longstanding asset of being a "safe haven" for money because of the once-so-solid dollar. The rest of the world has built up for many years a habit of thought, believing that their money is protected when loaned to the U.S. Our two largest creditors are China, followed by Japan. For the moment it suits the government of China to keep the Treasury bonds it owns, but that can't be counted on.

When and if the Chinese and others decide that it's no longer in their interests to keep lending money to a bankrupt, the Treasury will have no choice except to raise interest rates drastically to attract buyers, if it can attract any on a large scale. High interest rates will weigh heavily on the U.S. economy; a default will send it into the tar pit like an unwary dinosaur.

A Greater Depression will either cause Americans to acquiesce in an authoritarianism that promises to save them through rationing and central planning, or it will cause a revulsion against the financial irresponsibility in both parties and whatever Left powers are in place at the time.


The second real, if incalculable, possibility is another domestic terrorist act, on a far larger scale than any so far. If it can be traced to Al Qaeda or any Muslim organization, it's game over for open borders and a Mus-symp president.

I hope it is needless to say that neither of those factors is to be wished for. Realism tells me, however, that one or both are most likely to create the ideological shift that will drive our domestic masters from the temple. Will that involve a new birth of freedom, or an even greater submission to authoritarianism? The answer is not in the stars, but in ourselves.



Anonymous said...

Excellent post, as always, Rick. Thank you.

I'd like, however, to differ with you on one point:

"...another domestic terrorist act, on a far larger scale than any so far. If it can be traced to Al Qaeda or any Muslim organization, it's game over for open borders and a Mus-symp president."

After 9/11, a sane and healthy nation would have slammed the door on islamic immigration and made it absolutely suck to be a muslim within its borders. As we all know though, our response was to punish our own people. 8-1/2 yrs later, my 88-yr-old mother, retired school teacher, widow of a WWII vet, has to get partially undressed before she's allowed aboard a domestic airline flight, while muslim immigrants are welcomed with open arms and, afaik, enjoy the full benefit of minority set-asides to give them advantages over indigenous Americans.

On the basis of the above, I suggest that another 9/11-type attack would, far from spelling " over for open borders and a Mus-symp president," would be this admin's excuse to impose martial law, "temporarily," of course. "For our own safety," naturally. I can't imagine that that would not provoke armed resistance on some level, but I fear it would look more like Tiananmen Square than the American Revolution. I am with Auster. I am afraid.


Rick Darby said...


You are right, of course, about the fallout from the September 11 attacks, and maybe the Obama administration would try to use the next attack for a clampdown.

If a lollapalooza terrorist act is carried out on American soil, particularly if it consists of simultaneous events in multiple locations -- and we know the enemy thinks along those lines, based on several foiled attempts -- the American people might react very differently than they did after 9/11.

September 11 came as a total surprise to most people (although it shouldn't have), who previously had no personal involvement with counterterrorism. Lacking any background for making choices, still shaken from the event, they were more or less pushovers for the creation of the TSA.

But that was nine years ago; time enough for attitudes to change. Everyone who flies has experienced the TSA "protection" and hates it, or at least realizes it is mismanaged and based on a false priority of keeping dangerous objects rather than dangerous people off planes. A president asking in effect that TSA-like surveillance be extended over the whole society would be deeply unpopular.

Likewise, Clinton and W. were more or less excused for failing to stop 9/11 (except among the loons who thought W. was behind it). There will be no excuses next time.

But yes, if for instance a whole pack of "sleepers" carries off a domestic attack, Americans might be so afraid and so conned by political correctness that they will sign off on a security state while continuing to allow Muslim immigration. We have to hope and pray that enough will understand that our present course offered no real security, and continuing or intensifying it won't either.

Marcus said...

I've been following Auster's blog and your discussion and it still amazes me how caught up you both are in this false left-right paradigm. The infrastructure and preconditions for everything we are witnessing was founded long ago.

As Tocqueville argues in The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution, it was the monarchy who created the giant state and its bureaucratic apparatus which the revolutionaries took over and used for their even worse aims. At the level of political institutions, the revolution was more of a continuation than a break. The ideological shift was real, but the means of enforcement were already there. The revolution inherited the despotism, both psychological and in terms of political culture.

Similarly, the US has been on this trajectory since the Cold War, something Auster, in his simplistic nationalism, cannot understand. Political Correctness and the Washington Consensus has precedence in the way cold warriors treated those who opposed, for example, arming Muslim fanatics to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, or supporting the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Iran to install the Shah for the benefit of British Petroleum, et al. We bombed Christian Serbs to establish a Muslim country in Europe and official US policy has always been support for Turkish membership in the EU. And you believe the rhetoric about a "war on terror"?

The Patriot Act allows federal agents to write their own search warrants a la Stamp Act that led to the American War of independence - or did you both buy line, hook and sinker the official story of "a nation at risk"? Auster for one has done nothing but demonize Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell and the Freedom Movement generally, running them through his endless loops of litmus tests and racialist obsessions.

The suppression of free speech was already there, only it was felt by us who opposed America's many wars. Perhaps you drum-beaters never noticed what was said of Ron Paul during the sham GOP elections, or what is said still of Pat Buchanan (another person dismissed as "anti-Semitic, in Frankfurt School fashion).

This is not a left-right issue, a takeover by some foreign force as you paint it. What is happening is an organic consequence of a nation that long ago broke from its origins and principles and has, whether you and Auster want to admit it or not, killed well over 1 million foreign people in their homes over the last decade alone. Do you not think a militarized society will eventually cough forth vermin like Obama and McCain, Patriot Acts and body scanners, speech codes and political correctness, centralized government, socialized medicine and an illiterate population?

The American public is not some innocent bystander assaulted by Obama and his minions. For as long as I can remember, this country has exerted HUGE pressure on anyone who dissents from the war de jour, the passing ideology, the latest stupid government trend, whether Bush's Homeland Security monstrosity or Obama medical madness.

DHS was created for YOU, not for some cave dwellers in Pakistan. This is how it always starts. And that is why, contrary to you closing thoughts, a terror attack, whether real or staged will only embolden the executive. 9/11 was a precondition to what we are living through - can't you see this?!

For the past decade, ideologues like Harvey Mansfield have been penning what amount to full-scale defenses of executive pejorative, energy, unaccountability and supremacy that can only be likened to Carl Schmitt's defenses of fascism's improvements over parliamentary deliberation.

Had Bush proposed this medical bill, those same Republicans would have voted for it, argued for it and demonized opponents as extremist, racist and xenophobes - as they did and will do again on immigration.

The two party American political system is a wrestling show, and it worries me that those whom I would count as allies cannot see the forest for the trees.

Rick Darby said...


I do not understand what you are taking issue with me about.

When have I ever suggested that the state of play was a simplistic "left-right" split? It's true I often use the words Left and Leftist as shorthand, but that's only because I won't try the readers' patience by banging on each time about gray areas, subtleties, and mislabeling.

If you sample the archives you will find plenty of posts highly critical of George W. Bush and skeptical or downright condemnatory of our misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. I've expressed my dismay about the TSA mentality as recently as the comment above.

Of course many of the trends we both deplore have taken root long before Obama. We can't go back in time and undo them, but we can resist Obamanation. I'll admit to thinking Obama a far greater threat to the country's traditional liberties and values than any president who has gone before, but that hardly makes me a generic rightist, much less a Republican.

Marcus said...

Perhaps I should have directed my comments to Auster, whose blog I used to read but I now find an obnoxious killjoy and prude with an incredibly limited consciousness. Rome is burning and he's ranting about breast implants, pretty girls and "liberals.". It's too bad: his cousin Paul Auster is one of America's better fiction writers.

But I'm done with all this.

Best of luck.