December 26, 2012

“[…] our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.”

Interesting piece from Ron Paul, who argues that when it comes to the fight over gun rights and legislation, both progressives and conservatives are wrong:

The senseless and horrific killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut reminded us that a determined individual or group of individuals can cause great harm no matter what laws are in place.  Connecticut already has restrictive gun laws relative to other states, including restrictions on fully automatic, so-called “assault” rifles and gun-free zones.

Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control.  This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned.  Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented.  But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.

The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence.  If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.

While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence.  Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets.  We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.

Let’s not forget that our own government policies often undermine civil society, cheapen life, and encourage immorality.  The president and other government officials denounce school violence, yet still advocate for endless undeclared wars abroad and easy abortion at home. [….]

Obviously I don’t want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting, but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.

Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?  We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders.  This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse.  School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

Do we really believe government can provide total security?  Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence?  Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place.  Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives.  We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.

Our freedoms as Americans preceded gun control laws, the TSA, or the Department of Homeland Security.  Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference, not by safety. It is easy to clamor for government security when terrible things happen; but liberty is given true meaning when we support it without exception, and we will be safer for it.

This pretty completely nails the classical liberal position with respect to how liberty operates and is supposed to operate — cherishing liberty necessarily means we must accept that total security is an impossibility, given that such an arrangement is the hallmark of a police state (ideally; such even brackets out the inevitable corruption that makes security negotiable) — with a notable difference when it comes to foreign policy, whereby a classical liberal would appreciate that it is perfectly prudent to take whatever military measures we need take to protect the lives of our citizens and create an environment in which we as a people and as a country are safer.  Peace through strength was a Reagan hallmark; sadly (to my way of thinking), it has been rejected by some libertarians, who promote a kind of security-based effective isolationism while still promoting robust international trade and free markets.

But that’s an argument for another day.

Here, the question is, does the federal government lack the moral authority to legislate against violence?  Paul’s position to mean seems, on one level, a kind of offhanded tu quoque:  the reason we lack the moral authority to legislate against violence is that we either engage in military violence, or we allow for violence against unborn children in a culture of disposability grown so commonplace that we now routinely include (potential or actual, depending on your medical position) life.

But on another level, the assertion seems to be that government itself, because it post-dates the civil society, doesn’t have the moral authority to legislate against violence; it only has the authority to protect the rights of the people.  Meaning, for instance, laws against murder or rape or theft, etc., while putatively moral, are really no more than procedural correlatives to the moral code that precedes government and is indicative of the civil society’s collective moral framework.  In the US, we have place natural law and unalienable rights for individuals above all else — and those rights are to be protected and upheld by the government.  Which means that, for Paul, the federal government lacks moral authority to legislate against violence not only because it itself has embraced certain violent practices, but because moral authority is a product of the civil society, not the government we lay over that society to guard it.  The federal government as a necessary evil with specific enumerated powers — with no practicable right to adopt the stance as a nanny state dispenser (and withholder) of basic protected liberties.

— Which is why I take issue with Paul’s attempt to cast indictments of overlegislative-impulse equally along the political spectrum.  While it’s true some on the political right called for a police presence in schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, many of us were entirely put off by the idea.  It is unnecessary, expensive, and separates out at a legal level who can and who cannot protect children from predators.   Alternately, it seems to me that those of us who have advocated for the potential arming of teachers are doing precisely what those who value liberty do:  asking the government to get out of the way, to remove gun-free zone ordinances and laws, so that teachers who have or wish to try to obtain CCW can do so and then carry their weapons with them into their place of business.  That is, we wish to see basic rights taken away by the government returned to private citizens.  And if it takes new legislation to overturn prior, liberty-squelching legislation, I hardly see the equivalence Paul does between the left’s attempts to begin bans and the attempts by some on the right to use legislation to effectively deconstruct and disable prior harmful legislation.

The fact remains that, even as Dianne Feinstein prepares to dust off her “assault weapons” ban legislation — and many cowardly Republicans prepare to break ranks and vote for frivolity merely for the optics, trading our liberty and security for their own public halo — those who actually wish to “do something” about gun violence other than use it as a tool to promote their political agenda, recognize that the prior assault weapons ban didn’t work, that “gun-free zone legislation” is dangerous, deadly, feel-good magical thinking, and that doubling down on all of the failed policies of the left by way of exploiting a tragedy is grotesque, ineffective, and has nothing at all to do with children or even guns:  it has to do with the power of the federal government arbitrarily, using whatever the available occasion, to gin up populist, majoritarian sentiment and then pass laws that take away individual rights and ascribe those rights to an ever-growing government.

And we simply must resist it.

Hope you all had a great Christmas!  Have fun between now and the beginning of the new year. Because that’s when the social hangover will really begin to kick in.

(h/t JHo)

 

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:42am
71 comments | Trackback

Comments (71)

  1. Ron Paul is nuts!

  2. Ron Paul is only insane on a few things. On many others he makes important sense

    which is very frustrating

  3. The cool thing about the insane is that they come with nice carry handles.

  4. Another great piece, Jeff. Someone should recognize your talents, maybe with a “best writer on a blog” award or something.

  5. Pingback: Cranky-D » New entry in my “all guns, all the time” series

  6. While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence.

    In this case, it would be completely appropriate. It’s going to require federal legislation to repeal prior federal intrusions into issues that should be left to states.

    We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.

    But we can reverse bad law that way, specifically the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. In fact….

    On July 21, 2011 US Representative Ron Paul introduced H.R. 2613 which would repeal the Federal Gun Free School Zones Act.

  7. It’s going to require federal legislation to repeal prior federal intrusions into issues that should be left to states.

    …which constitutes positive feedback, bureaucracy’s employer. The bastards live for convolution.

    Can someone tell me why sunsetting laws — which pays the added dividend of keeping these assholes busy accomplishing not much more than nothing — is never, ever raised as a valid, classically liberal principle?

  8. I’ve long advocated sunsetting everything, 10 years hence. Let them spend the next decade on reenacting the laws we actually need.

  9. I remember you being the source now, Pablo. It’s perhaps one of the most important strategies possible.

    Elsewhere, not raised as an option.

    Positive feedback in the law — where the end result’s error produces another new input-side influence instead of a genuine correction — is a huge problem. Imagine: writing laws to correct other laws. Or to lend new clarity and authority to the Constitution itself.

    Lunacy.

  10. “We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders.”

    Just as a function of clarity in political speech, I’m made to wonder [if conceded certain priors] whether ‘culture’ is actually the word we want in this context, rather than, say, ‘regime’. It may seem, or be, a minor thing, yet pile a heap of minor things together and before we know it, we’re living amidst a de facto socialism.

  11. I just call it tyranny.

  12. I got D’Souza’s The Roots of Obama’s Rage (published 2010) for Christmas, and I have to say, it’s an intriguing case: that Obama is an anti-colonialist first and a socialist only as a means to an end.

    It explains the evolution of the TSA, the mission of humiliating Americans because they — at least the ones who travel by air on a regular basis — represent the power of a country Obama regards as a rogue neo-imperial regime.

    I remember discussion of this theme back when this book would have come out but it doesn’t appear to have gelled into a well-defined critique of Obama, nor spawned an effective line of attack on his policies.

  13. Charles Kesler’s reply to his friend D’Souza is fairly apt I believe — Kesler makes the point that there are very many standing with Obazma on the political left, right down to the jot and tittle (and long have been, far longer in fact than Obazma’s been on the scene), so to speak, and yet these are not the children of anti-colonialist fathers. So to say, there’s something else fundamentally at work behind Obazma’s views of political affairs than mere anti-colonialist tendencies, and that that wider fundament offers better explanations of Obazma’s probable path than anti-colonialism can do by itself.

  14. Anti-colonialism is expressed pretty widely in the academic Left, it’s true — and it’s voiced among the proglodytes in Congress as well. But none of them are POTUS.

    D’Souza seemed to be making a case that this explains Obama’s psychology and his political trajectory as well as his policies. It may not be wise to reject the thesis without a little more examination.

  15. We might ask how anti-colonialism determines a move toward a nationalized healthcare system. Though it may be possible to build a case suggesting a path from the former to the latter . . . a simple review of the history of the desire for nationalized healthcare would suggest otherwise. It’s certainly true that Obazma has firm desires to internationalize American foreign policy choices (see only his every turn to the UN begging for justification for action he may or may not wish to take), but it seems to me that we’d have to dance down a highly twisted road to conclude the primary motivation for a nationalized healthcare was born in an effort to curb ‘colonialism’, particularly in a nation that isn’t especially given to a serious attempt to ‘colonize’ anything, save in the most metaphorical sense, i.e. sending abroad its degenerate movie and song productions (and these!, we note with glee: the products of a thoroughly committed leftist political orientation, propagandizing to beat the band! So Obazma’s going to be on board with the very ‘colonization’ he pretends to abhor! Fancy that!)

  16. “Can someone tell me why sunsetting laws …. is never, ever raised as a valid, classically liberal principle?”

    Personally, I’d be happy to go all the way back to the Icelandic model where the laws were limited to what one person could memorize and recite from memory. If the bard forgot one, it wasn’t a law any more.

  17. WRT “anti-colonialism”, that’s pure Soviet rhetoric. Ally of the United States -> “colonized”. Satrapy of the U.S.S.R. -> “liberated”.

  18. Spengler made the same anti-colonial argument, more or less.

    I prefer to think of him as anti-American. And it doesn’t really matter to me if it’s because he hates the free market, our position on the world stage, or that bitter clinging rubes, hicks and hayseeds are impudent enough to think that they’re just as good as an urban sophisticate like himself, first and foremost.

  19. It’s a mistake, I think, to dismiss anti-colonialist opinion in the Third World, although D’Souza argues that it’s a dying ideology — dying ideologies are the most dangerous. And no, it’s not a Cold War thing anymore; like anything sufficiently useful to a tryannical regime it metastasized.

    If Obama’s intention is to undermine The Last Neo-Imperial Rogue State, weakening a health care system that is second to none would fit the bill. In the updated foreword to the copy I received, D’Souza points to three predictions he made in the original text, which have all occurred since 2010. He argues that other models to explain Obama would not have led to these predictions.

    I’d been predicting that Obama’s response to the Tea Party wave election of 2010 would not be to pivot as Clinton did after 1994, but to double down and stay on course and damn the torpoedoes — but I relied on intuition, and have waited in vain for a satisfactory explanation for why I was right (merely replying, “he’s an ideologue” doesn’t work; how does ideological rigidity explain his resort to crony “capitalism”?). D’Souza offers an explanation that seems to work.

  20. I don’t disagree. I can’t disagree, not having read the book. But I do think SBP raised a valid point. Anti-colonialism is part and parcel of Lenin’s contribution to Marxism-Leninism.

    We elected a fucking communist. Twice.

    More the fools, we.

  21. Read the book, Ernst. D’Souza addresses that.

    It’s hard to understand a national leader whose every impulse is to diminish his own country; and too easy to dismiss him as anti-American. It’s near impossible to understand an anti-American leader being re-elected by Americans; and too easy to dismiss the voters as too blind to see the evidence.

    Convincing the Right to take that position would help cement another of Obama’s supplementary objectives I think we all agree on, which is to destroy that political base that supports a strong, prosperous, free and respected America.

    D’Souza argues that Obama has made the most of the willingness of much of the “Right” to cede the moral high ground without a fight when the issue is any of the “-isms” deemed unacceptable by political correctness. Now Obama seeks to make us holdouts radioactive by encouraging us to conclude that the American people are lost and cannot be saved.

    You can’t crack a regime without separating the head from the body. That’s what Obama seeks to do. To stop him — to crack the regime of Obama-ism — we need to know where his head is, figuratively speaking.

    We would be fools not to seek that answer.

  22. Okay, I’ll read it on your recommendation. But I want you to know that my nightstand already has to wear a truss because of all the books I pile upon it. So if it turns out to be a waste of my time, I’m coming to you to get those hours of my life back!

  23. Ernst, get yourself a Kindle. You can pack aund a library’s worth of books.

  24. *around

  25. But can you annotate?

  26. Yes. You can make notes and you own the book so you can make notes all over it, as your heart desires.

  27. Highlight and underscore? What about circling key words? Different colors?

  28. I like the feel of a book in my hands. My wife and I have quite the collection.

    Anyway, looks like McGehee put a few more dollars into Amazon’s pockets, as I’m about to order the book.

    I’ll have to read a few of the reviews on Amazon. It’s always easy to pick out the raging leftist reviews, because their reviews are always substance free.

  29. I’m rather tactile myself. Much to my wife’s annoyance.

    Wait. Did I just type that?

  30. Underscore and highlight. I haven’t tried to circle any words. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I don’t know if the other Kindle’s offer more features.

  31. The Kindle has solved my night-owl reading habit grousing from my husband since I don’t have a lamp on or my laptop computer screen keeping him awake anymore.

  32. Can you use “exotic” playing cards as bookmarks?

  33. Probably if you pay twice as much for an Apple product.

  34. Booklights are how I get even for the damn TV being on all fucking night.

    This time, I’m not joking around.

  35. You know, leigh, there probably is an App for that!

  36. There probably is!

    I wouldn’t tolerate a TV being on all night. I’d keep turning it off when she went to sleep. TV and radios are really disruptive to getting decent sleep.

    Or, I’d leave my bedside lamp on and tell her your eyes are bothering you and you need more light. Create a pillow wall if she bitches.

    Or don’t listen to me or I’ll have you in separate rooms or Divorce Court.

    Not really.

  37. How would crony capitalism (which we say isn’t a free-market commerce of any sort) fall under a supposition of an ‘ideological’ rigidity? That shouldn’t be too hard to conceive, at least not given the opportunistic approach taken to just such ‘real’-world problems by Obazma’s political antecedents, nor, for that matter, if we can conceive as a primary motivation so-called ‘anti-colonialism’ or ‘anti-imperialism’ as an end in relation to bringing on a universalist nationalized healthcare system as a means, a means conceived to bring about the economic downfall presumed to necessitate a cessation of ‘imperialist’ behavior, where it isn’t otherwise possible to persuade to a cessation of ‘imperialist’ behavior. Something about selling rope comes to mind.

    Just for fun though, it would be a pleasantry of a sort to see fervently nationalist Americans setting up shop across from the White House on Lafayette Square to chant [bellow?] :

    U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!, WE’RE NUMBER ONE!, WE’RE NUMBER ONE!, WE’RE NUMBER ONE!, U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!

    — all day and all night, for the next four years.

  38. For less than $10 I got myself for Christmas:

    History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, All 6 volumes plus Biography, Historiography and more. Over 8,000 Links (Illustrated) [Kindle Edition]$2.99

    The Gallic War and The Civil War (Illustrated) [Kindle Edition]$0.99

    The Twelve Caesars (Illustrated, Annotated) [Kindle Edition]$0.99

    The Byzantine Empire (Annotated) [Kindle Edition]$1.99

    The Fifteen Decisive Battles of The World From Marathon to Waterloo [Illustrated] [Kindle Edition]$0.99

    The Works of Procopius: The Secret History and the Wars of Justinian (Halcyon Classics) [Kindle Edition]$0.99

    Delivered in seconds. Don’t get me wrong between my wife and myself we have over 4000 hardbacks and thousands of paperbacks but our Kindles are nice to have too.

  39. I hear you, geoff. We have thousands of books and with the cost of hardcovers at around $30+ the Kindle is a real godsend.

  40. How would crony capitalism (which we say isn’t a free-market commerce of any sort) fall under a supposition of an ‘ideological’ rigidity?

    Depends on the ideology, which is why the blanket “ideologue” allegation is insufficient.

    Cronyism in African “anti-colonial” regimes is most rampant in the non-Marxist ones; Marxist regimes take title as well as control, which makes it difficult to manintain crony relationships.

  41. Just for fun though, it would be a pleasantry of a sort to see fervently nationalist Americans setting up shop across from the White House on Lafayette Square to chant [bellow?] :

    U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!, WE’RE NUMBER ONE!, WE’RE NUMBER ONE!, WE’RE NUMBER ONE!, U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!, U.S.A.!

    – all day and all night, for the next four years.

    Heh. And it works as well whether Obama is anti-colonialist or merely anti-American. But his reaction might be different depending on which he is, and if the purpose is to provoke a reaction it makes a difference.

    If you can predict your enemy you can set him up. But you have to be able to predict him.

  42. It’s worth bearing in mind when reading this book that it was written in 2010, and more recent events may have shed new light on D’Souza’s thesis.

    I should probably re-read it in a week or so with those events in mind specifically to form an opinion of whether they bolster or weaken the argument. Obama’s loathing for Mitt Romney, for example, and the first debate between the two. Benghazi, and the subsequent personnel changes in the administration’s top levels, for another.

    On first reading the thing that struck me most was the extreme xenophilia/oikophobia exhibited by Obama’s mother, and the role it appears to have played in his upbringing even after she sent him to live with her parents. She was seriously messed up.

  43. Editions matter.

    Sometimes. Like here with Gibbon. It doesn’t seem to be the Bury Gibbons.

    He said esoterically.

    (J.B. Bury’s editor’s notes, introduction etc. are what make his edition of Gibbon’s Decline THE edition.)

  44. Pingback: A Lot Worse Before It Gets Better | Daily Pundit

  45. Ok, thanks.

  46. That’s odd. The hardback set here, the Kindle one linked is different.

  47. Mistrusting somewhat, I went back to listen and transcribe Kesler’s talk, to make sure I wasn’t misrepresenting his point of view. The relevant bits:

    [00:07:18]

    Kesler: […] And I even disagree with my old friend Dinesh D’Souza, who tries to understand him as a Third World ideologue, as a kind of anti-colonialist, who inherited these strange ideas from his Kenyan father. The problem with that I think is that it suggests that there’s something uniquely — uh — bad about Obama. That if he hadn’t had a Kenyan father he’d be a perfectly ok, if he hadn’t encountered anti-colonialism, he would be ok. But in fact, um, you know, anti-colonialism I don’t think explains national healthcare, the Stimulus bill, Dodd-Frank, all of the signature achievements of his administration, on which he was backed by every liberal Democrat in the Congress. None of whom had Kenyan fathers. So it seems to me one has to begin to understand Obama as he understands himself, as a ‘Liberal’. As a ‘Progressive’. And that’s what I try to do.

    * * * * *

    Of course, Kesler’s hawking his own book, so there’s that. But heck, after a year or so of research and dwelling on the subject, that’s little surprising. Anyhow, I don’t mean to suggest D’Souza’s book doesn’t contain much that’s worthwhile, down even to his arguments on anti-colonialism, verging into a psychological account. In a sense, the more the merrier.

    Yet in another sense, we’ve still got a problem with Progressivism, apart from Obama, or after Obama (to the extent we can conceive such a time), and Kesler, I think, contributes something to that end.

  48. I think Obama has been sucking a lot of the oxygen out of that whole side of the spectrum. If we can figure out how to get him to flame out it’ll be like Red Adair setting off an explosive on an oil well fire.

    Then the progg problem becomes a simple matter of shutting off the fuel supply to prevent a reignition. And really, a 16- plus trillion on-books national debt with a hundred tril or more implicit — that’s a damn good excuse to shut off the fuel supply.

  49. Another possibility (but yeah, I’m confident it is dim) is to simply eclipse both Obama and the remainder of the left.

    Ha. You saw through my little joke there already, I’ll bet.

    Eclipse them, comes the question? With what? That is, with who or what that hasn’t already been tried?

    So, it’s a kind of joke, but a kind of joke with something left over to ponder.

  50. Who eclipses the eclipsers?

  51. Herbert Hoover.

  52. “So it seems to me one has to begin to understand Obama as he understands himself…”

    But does Obama understand himself? If there’s a pathology involved he may not. If, as I believe, his mother was seriously messed up, the odds are so is he.

  53. Herbert Hoover.

    Mister, we could use a man like him again.

  54. As to Obama’s self-understanding, I’d reckon it’s reasonably negligible. But then Kesler’s merely pointing to Obama’s writings and statements, not to a serious estimation of himself, I think. He’s aiming at what he can most readily cite, and supposing that both a surface reading of that, along with a nominal exegesis of the implications, will suffice to paint a character which can be relied upon (in the sense of, heh, “it’s good enough for government work”) for the purposes of counter operations.

    As to Hoover, I’m positing that Coolidge was the man of the century (in serious Constitutional terms, that is), and, having utterly wiped the board of the Wilsonian infection, was then himself injudiciously eclipsed by Hoover: so that Coolidge stood to Wilson as the needful eclipser X would stand to Obazma. But then with the ruinous cycle some yokel in Hoover’s shoes (GHWB like) comes along to start the whole thing over again.

  55. GHWB admitted to Intensive Care tonight.

  56. Kesler: […] And I even disagree with my old friend Dinesh D’Souza, who tries to understand him as a Third World ideologue, as a kind of anti-colonialist, who inherited these strange ideas from his Kenyan father. The problem with that I think is that it suggests that there’s something uniquely — uh — bad about Obama. That if he hadn’t had a Kenyan father he’d be a perfectly ok, if he hadn’t encountered anti-colonialism, he would be ok.

    One problem with this is that his anti-colonial ideas were not inherited from his father. Barry barely knew Sr, so except to the extent that he was able to learn his ways after his death, that’s largely impossible. Barry learned to hate America from his mother, and later from Uncle Frank.

  57. “So it seems to me one has to begin to understand Obama as he understands himself…”

    Narcissists aren’t really that complicated.

  58. Barry learned to hate America from his mother, and later from Uncle Frank.

    Let’s not be going and letting Grandma off the hook. However typical a white womanshe may be.

    Then there’s the whole Manchurian Candidate aspect of the Long March through the elite institutions that vomited him forth to scourge and chastize a sinful people.

  59. Grandpa was a crackpot too. What kind of man names his daughter Stanley, after himself?

  60. What kind of man names his daughter Stanley, after himself?

    the same kind that lets his 17 yo daughter be photoed by fmd.

  61. They were the people Joe McCarthy knew were out there somewhere.

  62. As to Hoover, I’m positing that Coolidge was the man of the century (in serious Constitutional terms, that is), and, having utterly wiped the board of the Wilsonian infection, was then himself injudiciously eclipsed by Hoover

    I’ll go along with that. Of course I consider Obama to be trying to eclipse all that is right and good and just and holy, so the counter-eclipse-revolution would be a good thing. Who is to good-eclipe the bad-eclipser?

    As for Kesler, “good enough” hasn’t proven to be good enough after all.

  63. Barry learned to hate America from his mother, and later from Uncle Frank.

    Stanley Anne didn’t really teach Obama to hate America, so much as set him up to hate it. Her oikophobia, expressed in the xenophilia that led her not only to marry people as different from her Kansas roots as she could possibly contrive but to regard anyone with a drop more melanin than her as morally unassailable, didn’t really take root in her son — otherwise he would have hated Kenya as well as Kansas.

    What she did was exploit Barack Sr.’s absence to create an idealized Barack Sr. that could cast a shadow over Barry all through childhood. The resulting father worship was so ingrained in him that even when he was disillusioned by the discovery that Barack Sr. was a drunk and a loser, Barry blamed Big Bad Colonialism for Daddy’s downfall instead of Daddy’s own innate character flaws.

  64. …or so D’Souza argues, I should say.

  65. baracky you read this?

    Things Fall Apart

  66. “Who is to good-eclipe the bad-eclipser?”

    Ah, but you’re erasing my joke: there is no such being.

    It’s bad to explain though, right? Or nevermind the explaining. It’s more like an aoristy “it’s bad”.

  67. [W]hat should the standard be?

    Even under current law, mental illness can become a label for unconventional political beliefs. Remember Brandon Raub, the Marine Corps veteran who was forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in Virginia last summer based on his conspiracy-minded, anti-government Facebook posts?

    The malleability of mental illness was also apparent at a 2007 debate among the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. After seeing a YouTube video in which Jered Townsend of Clio, Michigan, asked about gun control and referred to his rifle as “my baby,” Joseph Biden said: “If that’s his baby, he needs help….I don’t know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun. I’m being serious.”

    So perhaps excessive attachment to your guns should be grounds for taking them away. Biden, by the way, is in charge of formulating the policies the Obama administration will pursue in response to Lanza’s horrifying crimes.

  68. Catch 22, it’s the best catch ever.

  69. Kesler, from toward the very end of his talk, surveying the scene he has drawn:

    “At any rate, we begin to see where Obama goes beyond old fashioned Liberalism, beyond the creed of Woodrow Wilson or Franklin Roosevelt. Obama doubts, or comes close to doubting the inevitability of progress. Partly because he doubts that there are fixed goalposts or standards by which to measure progress. The Prophet leader, as it were, the great hero figure of Liberal politics, the charismatic leader that Liberals all long for, is therefore on his own if there is no such thing as progress that he can ride along on or foresee. The Prophet leader is forced to tell stories about the future, a future that he cannot know or discern anymore, but can only if his will to power is sufficiently strong — will into existence. If History has no happy ending in store, no guaranteed values of its own, then the leader may have no choice but to impose his values on the chaos.

    Thus the second half of Liberalism’s crisis, the first half is fiscal, the second philosophical: Avant-garde Liberals, especially in the academy, tend no longer to believe Liberalism is true, or right, in any objective sense.

    Fortunately our President is not a thoroughgoing post-modernist. But his confusion about whether there is truth, combined with a traditional Liberal impatience with the Constitution, makes for a very harrowing combination. And so we ought to remember that not every change is an improvement. A movement that began by promising to every American a New Freedom and a New Deal, beyond necessitousness, now runs from the necessity of paying its own bills. A movement that promised complete spiritual fulfillment in a Great Society, including the right to choose one’s own values and lifestyle, now verges on confessing that no lifestyle can be better than any other. And a movement that put such faith in its leader’s ability to predict, understand and control the future, now faces a very uncertain and perilous future, with or without Barack Obama.”

    * * * * *

    This leans, so far as I can see, directly toward the collapse thesis with which you began. There doesn’t seem to be any exit from the inherent contradictions the Progressives have created. (Or, looking at it another way, we [the nominal American we] fucked up: we trusted them.) Yet it isn’t clear that any such collapse is a matter of knowing intention, so much as an ignorant confusion or mystification. For now, for them, it’s simply a matter of grasping and riding the tiger’s tail: they daren’t let go. Audacity — possibly willy-nilly — makes the watch-word.

  70. IIRC, D’Souza has noted that the reason Stanley sent Barcky to live with her parents was that Lolo was too pro-American and capitalist for her liking and she didn’t want Baracky exposed to that.

  71. In the book D’Souza writes that during Lolo’s “backsliding” before Stanley Ann sent Barry back to Hawaii, she openly dissed Lolo to Barry and held up Barack Sr. as a far better role model.

    In a way, Barack Sr. ensured he would influence world events simply by abandoning his son and baby-momma.

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