Letter to the editor 03.29.10

members walk through protest

I sent the following letter concerning accusations of racism to the Daily Beacon, the University of Tennessee’s student newspaper, on March 29, but it was never printed:

Columnist Sam Smith is either a victim or, worse, a collaborator of propaganda. On March 20, the day before passage of the historic blunder misnamed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, several male members of the Congressional Black Caucus sauntered through a large crowd of mostly white demonstrators outside the Capitol–that is to say, they pulled a publicity stunt.

I have watched several videos of the incident, and I have a few questions that Smith may not have asked himself. Why did this group of black men choose to walk through the excited crowd? Almost every other representative traveled to the Capitol that day through the underground tunnel connected to their offices, and almost every other day these men do so as well. Why did all of these black men walk to the Capitol together? Why were two of the members recording the event with mobile devices? Why, after watching all of these videos, did I never once hear the N-word? It was mostly shouts of “kill the bill.” No one in the media, or even on a layperson’s hand-held recorder, has been able to produce any evidence that a racial invective was ever uttered, much less shouted, by the demonstrators that day. Fortunately, it appears the Black Caucus’ attempt to instigate a racial incident failed. The “Tea-Party” contingent was not so racist as had been hoped.

The publicity stunt, however, worked wonders. Just hours later, every evening news program reported that the demonstrators shouted the N-word at the men repeatedly. The intended message is clear: citizens opposed to Obamacare are ignorant, unreasonable racists that should be ignored. Despite the fact that this message is based on lies and propaganda, Smith affirms it.

Then, after forcing Republicans to accept this propaganda as reality, Smith challenges GOP leadership to denounce the fabricated bad behavior of its base, apparently unaware that House Minority Leader John Boehner has already issued a public condemnation. Smith also asks, “How long will we continue to watch the GOP behave this way and accept it as part of our political dialogue?” The answer: until we stop believing the perpetual myths of propagandists like the Congressional Black Caucus.

Hate crime legislation perpetuates injustice

Blind Justice

What we have established is not justice.  We have established laws, law enforcement, legal proceedings, punishments, and all the trappings of a system of justice.  At a glance, the credulous simpleton may call that system justice, and on a windy night, he may see a white sheet on a clothesline, and call it a ghost; in the second instance, he is perhaps less the fool.  A mysterious white figure in the night is not a ghost, and a justice system is not justice, and it may be that, over the course of history, humans have known true justice only as often as they have known true ghosts.

The Senate recently passed legislation expanding the definition of hate crimes, and also expanding federal jurisdiction over the enforcement of hate crime legislation, which reminded me of a justice system injustice: hate crime legislation.

One hope of such legislation is to deter hate crimes by handing down harsher sentences.  The proponents of hate crime legislation also claim that it promotes justice.  In Congress, as usual, absurdity triumphs.

Firstly, the term “hate crime” is problematic (can we please have some “love crime” legislation?).  Is a crime committed out of greed any less offensive, any less dangerous, or any less deserving of punishment than one committed out of hate?  What about a jealous crime?  Is the jealous felon more noble than the hateful one?  Blind justice does not see a greedy murderer, a jealous murderer, and a hateful murderer; she senses that all three act with malicious intent, and if their crimes are otherwise identical, their emotions are inconsequential.  Of all killers, she absolves only the fearful self-defender, who is no criminal at all, and who may serve as an example to further test the justice of hate crime legislation.

If a human kills another in indisputable self-defense, that human is guilty of no crime; no one inquires into the dead’s race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.  It is not unthinkable that, had the assailant been of another gender, the person acting in self-defense would have employed non-lethal measures.  This possibility, however, does not affect justice; justice is blind to group distinctions.  The person acting in self-defense always acts justly.  In like manner, the person committing a crime always acts unjustly; still, justice is blind to group distinctions.

“Hate crimes” are designed to protect victims who may be targeted because of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.  However, judges only protect certain groups.  Absurdly, it is ruled that many majorities and even some minorities cannot legally be the objects of hatred.  A white, heterosexual, Christian, American male is incapable of being the victim of a hate crime, no matter how vehemently his attacker hates white, straight, Christian, American men.  If a criminal targets obscenely wealthy people only because they are obscenely wealthy, and the criminal admits to hating such people, he cannot be charged with a hate crime.  Hate crime legislation requires that individuals belonging to certain groups are given more legal protection than others.  This is unequal treatment under the law; it is, by definition, injustice.

Most harmfully, hate crime legislation actually encourages and perpetuates group bias, inequality, and injustice.  An unbiased perspective cannot prevail among a people whose government legally differentiates between individuals on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, income, economic status, political ideology, or any other such distinction; and that is exactly what hate crime legislation does.  Ironically, it is the self-proclaimed champions of the unbiased perspective that–perhaps unwittingly–prevent it from taking root.

No liquidity problems for Lawson campaign

Lawson

While every other entity in America is crying about its inability to access cash, BJ Lawson’s Congressional campaign just received a huge injection of liquidity.  Lawson, who is running for a U.S. House seat in North Carolina’s 4th district, raised over $150,000 from thousands of donors on Tuesday alone.

Many citizens across the nation feel betrayed by a Congress that recently passed an unconstitutional $700 billion Wall Street bailout, which has evidently done nothing for market confidence or financial stabilization.  North Carolina’s 4th district voters share in the dissatisfaction.  Their House member, David Price, voted for the record taxpayer bailout, after his office failed to answer phone calls from constituents trying to convince him to vote against it.  It appears that, in David Price’s 4th district, representative government has taken a back seat to other interests.  Since the bailout’s passage, U.S. markets have closed down considerably every day, as Americans are quickly abandoning a system that they feel has thrown them–and their freedom-loving values–overboard.

Despite what we’re told is a vacancy of cash in the U.S. financial system, some Americans are still investing what they have left in a brighter future, and many believe the best way to invest is to contribute money to representatives who will vote to replace an overtly corrupt banking system.  They recognize that free market capitalism has disappeared under the weight of an inflationary system of unrecoverable public and private debt–a corrupt and bankrupt system that continues to garner the support of Rep. Price, despite its detriment to North Carolina’s working citizens.

$150,000 says North Carolina’s residents will want less interference and more freedom in their financial lives this November.  Congress’ approval rating is 9%, and BJ Lawson is in tune with a lot of angry voters, who seem to understand that David Price voted to take away a chunk of their paychecks and some of their economic freedom.

Thomas Jefferson on “implied powers” of the Congress

Constitutional Convention

Thomas Jefferson gave his opinion on the Constitutionality of a national bank on February 15, 1791. In that testament, he not only provided a brilliant legal argument against the institution of a national bank; he also explained the intent of the Constitution’s two most controversial phrases. Today’s political analysts exchange differing opinions on the “general welfare” and “necessary and proper” clauses, but Jefferson’s explanations of them are more than a matter of opinion; they reveal the true intent of the American republic’s framers. Here is Jefferson’s historic opinion (verbatim, even the italics were added by Jefferson–not me–for emphasis):

1. To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose.

To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.

It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. It is known that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention which formed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection urged in debate was, that then they would have a power to erect a bank, which would render the great cities, where there were prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution.

2. The second general phrase is, “to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.” But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase. It has been urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes. Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution allows only the means which are “necessary,” not those which are merely “convenient” for effecting the enumerated powers.

Jefferson makes it clear that much of what the Congress does today is not allowed by the Constitution.

B.J. Lawson: a common sense conservative

A Congressman who cares

Remember when Republicans were elected to downsize government? In 1994, the American people were inspired by the prospects of economic freedom to vote Republicans into office. In 2001, George W. Bush was expected to come in and aid them in that effort. It did not happen. Under Bush and the Republican Congress from 2001 to 2006, the U.S. federal government grew tremendously, and fiscal conservatives everywhere were left shaking their heads in disdain. What happened to the small government Republican?

Remember when Republicans were elected to end wars? The time may be returning. Democrats were elected to Congress in 2006 to end the war in Iraq, but the war goes on. Now, a new breed of Republican has emerged–or more properly, an old breed of Republican has returned–to end draining wars that are, upon full investigation, little more than a product of power and greed, an excuse for higher taxation, as well as a cause of rising inflation–not to mention the leading cause of brutal death among American youths. When we elect policymakers, we will do well to remember that “the most unprofitable of all commerce is that connected with foreign dominion. To a few individuals it may be beneficial, merely because it is commerce; but to the nation it is a loss. The expense of maintaining dominion more than absorbs the profits of any trade.”

In two paragraphs, I have acknowledged the two most important goals in the minds of American voters over the last 15 years: to decrease the size of government, and to end the war in Iraq. These two goals have been the major deciding factors for the partisan power shifts in Washington in recent decades. Neither has yet been accomplished, and it seems that those who desire one of the two, are willing to concede the public goal for another benefit that is less important to the people. However, there is a new breed of Republican, modeled after the 18th century intellectual, who makes both of these primary intentions of the American people the top priorities in policymaking. Who is this dream candidate? B.J. Lawson of North Carolina’s Fourth District.

Despite his facing a multiple-decade incumbent of Washington’s bureaucratic old guard, there is, in my opinion, little doubt that Lawson will win a seat in Congress this year. If he were to lose, it would be an insult to the intellect of North Carolina’s Fourth District. He is as vivacious as his opponent is ancient, but his energy is not a product of his youth, but of his enlightenment; there is a sense that has been awakened in him, which will soon be awakened in all of us–it is as Paine described it: “a mass sense lying in a dormant state, and which, unless something excites it to action, will descend with us, in that condition, to the grave.”

My advice to the Fourth District of North Carolina is simply this: do not vote again for a ruler; vote instead for a leader. On this, our Independence Day, remember that men who shared David Price’s political philosophy were among those that favored the British Crown in 1776; but men who shared the philosophy of B.J. Lawson, who believed whole-heartedly in liberty, pledged to the American cause their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. If the citizens are informed and intelligent, and vote their consciences, B.J. Lawson cannot fail to be elected.

Government submits to God, who wants to leave us alone

God at his computer.

This story is, of course, fictional.  If you see this headline in the newspaper tomorrow morning, you will need to pinch yourself–and if that does not wake you–realize that you have in fact died and gone to heaven.  As I imagine it, there are no tax collectors in heaven.  Upon entry into heaven, I could pick up the Times and read the following:

Today God announced major cutbacks in everything government. 

God called for an immediate end to all hostilities in Iraq, and condemned George W. Bush for lying to His people and killing His children without just cause.  “You’ll burn in hell for this,” God ordained matter-of-factly, in an unusually calm damning ceremony.  Taking questions after the announcement, God explained the departure from the usual thunderbolt display.  “Our traditional ceremony was a little over the top, and we’re trying to cut expenditures in these ceremonies anyway.  After the Falwell incident, I don’t really trust the lightning machine anymore–he wasn’t supposed to burn until he actually got to Hell.  I am not one to deprive Lucifer of his fun, but I am told he has still had plenty of it with Falwell.”  He then belted maniacal laughter for over three minutes.

God’s announcement expectedly drew some disfavor from President Bush, who backwardly believed he was doing God’s work.  “But God–” he started to say, but The All-Knowing knew what was coming and responded before Bush could finish.  “I do my own work, thank you,” God thundered.  “Love thy neighbor.  It’s simple, really.  Why couldn’t you just do it?  Jesus!”

The military will be mostly dissolved by mid-year, much to the dismay of the military industry.  Sources tell us that one CEO was particularly opposed to God’s will.  God quieted his argument, saying, “I never intended for you people to go around killing one another because of your petty arguments about me.  I’m going to let you keep fire and subsequent technological advancements.  Don’t push your luck with this fighting fetish you’ve developed.”

God called for the immediate dissolution of the CIA, FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and all government secrecy.  He said His “reasoning here is simple: if people really want to be free, information must be free to them.  Besides, there is no reason for a good government to have secrets.  Good governments do not need protection, because people find no fault in them worth attacking.  If anything is going to be mysterious in this world, it’s going to be Me.”

No more personal taxes or tax identification numbers.  God seemed particularly frustrated by these human measures.  “I don’t know what nation is before me now, when I look at these income taxes,” God offered.  “Soviet Russia? Nazi Germany? Oceania?  Certainly not one nation, under Me, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  There’s no liberty in assigning everyone a number and staking claim to their labor–it’s as if you’ve modeled your society after Hell.”

God ended drug laws as well, and allowed all non-violent drug offenders to leave prison.  He called for a cutback of over 85% of the nation’s local police forces.  “You’ve got a lot of nerve,” He reprimanded Congress.  “Do you think I put cannabis on this planet so that you could spend your days trying to destroy it?  It’s not going away.  I put it here for your enjoyment.  Don’t tell people what they are allowed to do with what I put here.  I ought to damn you all to Hell for this!  As I look around, you’re all headed there anyway–oh, except for you, Dr. Paul of Texas: the Lot of Washington D.C.  What’s that, Ron?  Alright, you can bring Duncan along too.  No, Kucinich burns with the rest of them!  Alright, you may rescue Barney Frank from damnation as well, as we cannot fault the mentally handicapped.”

In perhaps related news, the Federal Reserve Board has disappeared.  No one can find any of them anywhere.  God did not explain where they went, but did say they will not be back.  “Gold and silver will always back the currency, to protect My people’s savings from confiscation.  The market, which I created, will determine rates of interest.”

To cap off His day of governing, God smote Mike Huckabee.  “Huckabee is a false idol,” decreed God, “almost as bad as the pope.”  The Almighty went on to relate Huckabee to the ancient Golden Calf, and his followers to ancient pagans because of their lack of respect for what God called “civic virtue.”

Fear is Tyranny was able to catch up with God during an evening prayer session.  We asked Him if He was done with governing for awhile.  “Absolutely not,” He said, “this is just the first day.  I’ve got five more to go before I rest.  My motivation here is very basic and has never changed: I gave people the capacity to think so that they might use it to guide themselves, and I am simply taking steps to encourage individual thought.”  Pray for similar results tomorrow.

Letter to the neo-American



I wrote the following to a dear friend and fellow American who will remain anonymous:

When I reflect on our conversations, and consider the compassionate and insightful person I know you to be, I find it hard to believe that you sincerely support the hostilities in Iraq, or that you cannot see through the confines that social planners have built around you. I would like to believe that this world is a bad dream, that the free and prosperous people of our continent could not be so overwhelmed by the narrowness and greed of an unpardonable elite. I would like to think that Americans have always refused to initiate violence–that we, as a nation, have always done what was right for everyone. I would like to wake up tomorrow morning, and be in a country where there are no talking points, no significant news concerning the federal government, no significant power or money in Washington, where the middle class feels accomplished and alive and fearless and capable every single day, and candy bars cost a penny, and freedom really does ring–it is a dream that once was near reality, in the nation firmly built on the philosophical foundations of Adam Smith and John Locke, in the constitution. Instead I will wake up to what, in this nation, should be only possible in a nightmare. I will have to gather my tax information together, and file a 1040, and write a check to the U.S. Treasury, knowing I will never see that money again, and reflecting that it may be spent killing an out-of-work delivery person in a place far away, or bailing out wealthy bankers who got a little too greedy, or throwing more money at a problem no amount could solve, or taking the home of an elderly couple so that it may be bulldozed, and the land granted to some Congressman’s golfing buddy, who specializes in developing strip malls. I will endure the artificially high prices of a market handcuffed by collusion and regulation, and hear about a recession from bank-employed market strategists whose jobs are in no danger; and through all of this, ordinary Americans will come to know the difference between being broke and being impoverished–between being a slave with a generous master, and being a slave with a discontented one–when with all of their honest labor and goodness, the people of this country should have known neither. It is difficult today to read the words of Jefferson or Paine, Goldwater or Reagan, and not become frustrated or saddened by the nuttiness of a nation that has given up on the idea of liberty, only to serve the ever-changing, highly propagandized collective ideal made up by a tiny elite in a city hundreds of miles away. My aim in writing you is only to ease the sadness and frustration I feel for the individuals of our society, and restore my own confidence in my worldly pursuits; I know these things don’t interest you all that much, and I certainly will return the favor by humoring your repulsive stories of creepy crawlies inside dead bodies. But, I feel that if I can awaken you to these issues–that if you, the American _____ ______, in your infinite compassion and enviable wisdom, can recognize the recent errors of our nation’s ways and want to see them corrected before they become our greatest mistakes–liberty may still find a rightful home here. So tell me, am I crazy?

Respecfully,