A frightening parallel: European Jews and the FLDS sect

“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.” – Martin Niemoller, on the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power.

It seems appropriate that this post should come on Passover, the day that Jews all over the world celebrate the exodus from enslavement in Egypt, because for Jews like myself, today is a day to be thankful (and vigilant) for religious freedom. Today is also a day to remember the way a group of humans in Europe mistreated (and eventually began exterminating) other groups of humans, simply because they did not live in a manner deemed proper by mainstream culture. Today we remember the Nazis, and their ideas of a perfect society and a final solution. Today we watch the news, and we hear about a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) accused of–at the very least–child abuse and gender discrimination. We rush to judgment, which we base on what is considered mainstream, proper, or even perfect, about our own society.  If we are to learn anything from history, we must constantly compare our society to the facts of the past, and we must continue to utter, to declare, to yell and scream and burn into the hearts and souls of anyone who will listen, “NEVER AGAIN!”

When I read the headlines, and watch the cable news clips of these people, I am reminded of my Jewish grandmother, whose Passover Seder I attended this evening. She is 86 years old, an immigrant from pre-World War II Poland. Her family lived in a small town that was separated from “mainstream” European culture. Everyone there was Jewish, and everyone spoke Yiddish–think “Fiddler on the Roof”, where arranged marriages, traditional clothing, and gender roles were simply a way of life. Families were generally happy there, as they are in any society, but their way of life was very different. Dotting the landscape of southeast Europe before World War II were hundreds of towns just like hers, where free and good people–Jewish people–lived in relative peace, away from the bustle of liberal European philosophy and culture, which was probably most advanced in Germany.  Despite its destruction, the world of my grandmother’s childhood was a unique but legitimate society, with mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, morals, customs, and respect for laws and tradition, where young boys played games and young girls exchanged meaningless secrets, and the individual lived, loved, smiled, laughed, cried, and felt the growing pains of youth, and the debilitating pains of age–a culture that lended to its subscribers a different but normal life. It was a self-sufficient bubble, soon to be burst by German tanks and train cars, eventually thrust behind the now infamous fences of concentration camps.

The Jews were just a little bit too indoctrinated, too oddly clad, too nostalgic, too stubborn in their matrimonial traditions to see the enlightenment of proper German culture, and so they had to be dealt with coercively. 

Could it happen here?  It is happening here.  It’s happening to a fundamentalist mormon sect in El Dorado, Texas.   That our own government imitates the beginnings of Nazi oppression is as shocking as it is true.  Although they seem trifling when reflecting on the state-sponsored kidnapping of several hundred children, the media’s headlines reveal the coldness of the collective American soul today, and do great harm to the reputation of our nation’s many good individuals.  Among the top stories in major metropolitan newspapers:

“Sect children will undergo genetic tests” (This headline is Holocaust Museum material.)

“Cult kids will remain in state custody” (It’s strange how the press only refers to their ranch as a “compound,” while the state is the entity actually keeping them locked up.

“Polygamist sect indoctrinated girls” (There is irony when commercial media accuses anyone of indoctrinating girls.)

“400 children saved from Mormon sect amid allegations of child abuse”

“Texas authorities must protect children” (From their parents? Are their parents Meth addicts?)

Taken at gunpoint without explanation, herded to a government facility, and detained endlessly without any presentation of evidence.  As it turns out, the phone call that led authorities to them now appears to be a hoax, and the abused teen girl, “Sarah,” may not even exist. 

Never again to the Jews, the FLDS, or any group.  Never again destroy a peaceful and free people.  Never again assume that people who live differently are living incorrectly.  Never again allow a government to forcefully shape the individual soul.  This is not America.  This is totalitarian hell.  Let these people go.  If you stand with the government on this one, you stand with Hitler.  Sit down.

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Red Light Cameras = Proof Evil Exists

Hey Dubya, here's your proof that evil exists.

“All agree that the legislature cannot bargain away the police power of a State. ‘Irrevocable grants of property and franchises may be made if they do not impair the supreme authority to make laws for the right government of the State; but [101 U.S. 814, 818] no legislature can curtail the power of its successors to make such laws as they may deem proper in matters of police.’ Metropolitan Board of Excise v. Barrie, 34 N. Y. 657; Boyd v. Alabama, 94 U.S. 645 . Many attempts have been made in this court and elsewhere to define the police power, but never with entire success. It is always easier to determine whether a particular case comes within the general scope of the power, than to give an abstract definition of the power itself which will be in all respects accurate. No one denies, however, that it extends to all matters affecting the public health or the public morals. Beer Company v. Massachusetts, 97 id. 25; Patterson v. Kentucky, id. 501. Neither can it be denied that lotteries are proper subjects for the exercise of this power.” – Chief Justice Waite

Despite the good intentions of public officials, in its “Request for Proposals for Automated Red Light Enforcement System,” the City of Knoxville’s legislature affects to “bargain away the police power,” which is forbidden by the United States Supreme Court in the decision above (Stone vs. Mississippi, 1879). The restriction invoked hinges on the debatable definition of “police power,” which is generally accepted as “the capacity of a government to regulate behavior and enforce order within its territory.”

Beyond the obvious illegality of camera systems, there are other noteworthy aspects of original intent that pertain to automated enforcement systems like the red light cameras in Knoxville. When we consider the constitutional framework of our government, the implementation of automated enforcement is offensive to the liberty intended. In opposition the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, it assumes, searches for, and punishes the trivial moral shortcomings of free and good people-without probable cause.

The aforementioned “Request for Proposals” leaves the responsibility of policing public intersections to a private entity. This private entity is not a local company, and moreover has no responsibility to the electorate.  If the citizens do not like the way the firm operates, they cannot elect a new firm; it remains unfettered by political dissent.  Whereas the public police force has a primary objective of protecting and serving the people, the private firm’s primary objective is to earn a profit, even if at a cost to the rights, safety and happiness of citizens (as has been proven in Chattanooga’s case, among others).  With the “Request for Proposals”, the enforcement of a traffic signal is no longer for the benefit of the public, but for the benefit of a private firm.

There is a psychological change that takes place in drivers as a result of traffic light enforcement, which existed before automated camera systems, but is exacerbated by their introduction. When the rules of the road originated, it was not necessary to enforce their use. With rare and extremely unusual exception, people followed the signals out of an interest in their own safety. It is now unusual for drivers to follow signals for this reason; the reason now is to follow a law, without regard to safety. While people know the signals are there to keep them safe, they do not follow them for their personal safety. Because of traffic law enforcement, the objective of an automobile’s operator has been fundamentally altered. The driver’s original purpose, “to arrive at a destination as quickly as is safely possible,” has been replaced by a new one, “to arrive at a destination as quickly as is legally possible.” This psychological change, which can only be attributed to unnecessary and costly enforcement, has made American roads much less safe, because individuals are more apt to act for their own benefit than for the pleasure of authority.

It is unfortunate for lazy enterprises that good government practices rarely grant profitable contracts, and it is the policy of bad governments, as well as bad businesses, to reward mere association and sloth. Proper engineering and timing of signals will do much more for reducing accidents than any enforcement firms ever could, but these will require natural law and common sense to be used in place of coercion and lucrative contracts, an occasion rarely seen in our time. 

Automated enforcement contracts are a dangerous sign that we are but a step from the sort of fascism Mussolini called “corporatism,” and defined as “a merger of state and corporate power.”

Request for Proposals for Red Light Automated Enforcement:
http://www.cityofknoxville.org/purchasing/bids/0513_redlight.pdf

Stone vs. Mississippi (1879):
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=101&invol=814

Fourth Amendment text:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

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,

The Road to 1984: Corporatism and the International Police State

Below is an excerpt from my upcoming book (title undetermined): 

Washington, D.C. is broken. The tweaks and levers of contemporary politics offer no fixes for the economic and social problems the United States faces, as they are more of the same. The more energetic a government becomes, the fewer freedoms its citizens enjoy.  Still, the petty partisan battles for power continue at the expense of liberty.

Which Republicans are perverts? Which Democrats are hypocritical tax evaders? Who is flip-flopping? Who accepted money from an entity of questionable character? Any Congresspersons up for a friendly game of “Pin the Tail on the Racist”? At such a serious time in history, I am put off by the partisan banter. There is one idea almost every politician in D.C. can agree on: if they spend enough money, they can rid the world of whatever ails it.

The only things scarier than the fake battles being fought in Washington are the real ones. What will we teach your children? What limits should be enforced against youtube.com users? What can you watch on television? What sort of books are evil people reading? As terrorists lurk among us, what’s the best way to watch and listen, and catch them? After we catch them, do they really deserve a trial or a defense? Why shouldn’t we torture them? They wouldn’t have been arrested if they weren’t up to something. We should help them meet their virgins sooner than they anticipated.* What is suitable for radio broadcasts? How many polar bears are there? Which cancer treatments can you have? Should you be allowed to use incandescent light bulbs? Should you be allowed to use that much gasoline? Should you be allowed to purchase a firearm? What’s the best way to overthrow a foreign elected leader who disagrees with our global vision? How should we control oil prices? How much of your money should you be allowed to have? Where should we go to war next? If an American disagrees with U.S. foreign policy, at what point is he emboldening the enemy and considered dangerous enough to arrest? Who doesn’t deserve our trade? Where are the moderate Muslims?

“What’s the answer to ninety-nine out of a hundred questions? Money.” All of the questions above-though different-have similarities. All are completely unnecessary, and all contain answers that corporations love to hear, because all require the federal government to grant them more lucrative contracts. No entity can waste money like the U.S. government, and that is why corporations have taken it upon themselves to start running the show in Washington. Businesses are in business to make a profit. When the private sector will not purchase their goods or services (meaning those products have no consumer value), there is a good chance that, after some lobbying, the government will. The market does not hold these corporations accountable, allowing them to do slow and shoddy work, without fear of losing their customer (the government). Washington attracts and breeds all of the following economic parasites: entrepreneurial con-artists, administrative cheats, lazy workers, inferior products, and ineffective services.

A Congressperson needs not read a bill before enacting it. A lobbyist, representing whichever corporation or industry stands to financially benefit from that law (at the expense of the citizen), will always visit the Congressperson and tell them exactly why the law is necessary, elegant, and great for the United States. Voting for it often helps that Congressperson get re-elected.

The difference between the citizens and the corporations, with respect to government, is that the citizens blame government, believing it to be something; and the corporations laugh at government, knowing it to be nothing at all. The United States has a two party system made up of Democrats and Republicans, who, though they are opposed, are still united to keep up the common mystery. The Democrat despises the Republican, and visa versa, and each prescribes certain remedies for the symptoms of America’s illness, but neither of them dares to mention the cure (less government-don’t tell.)

In America, the democratic republic itself is now a smokescreen for corporate greed. War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery. The media is a key component of corporatism, and one of the major beneficiaries of perpetual war and widespread economic strife. News about peace and prosperity does not sell.

*apologies to Fred Thompson

If interested in pre-ordering a copy, let me know.