Wednesday, November 15, 2006

DEMOCRATS AND LIBERTY 2

Glenn Greenwald has an article in Salon: “Uncle Sam, keep out” (www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/11/15/az_gay_marriage/print.html).

No, it’s not about gay marriage. It’s about what Dems can learn from the fate of the Arizona gay-marriage amendment.

The author says that the important lesson revolves around the sharp conflicts between the “evangelical social conservatism” of the South and the “libertarian political ethos of the Mountain West. Neisss. Yes and No.

Yes that the West is libertarian and the South is communitarian. And in an era when the federal government is engorging itself even domestically, and where the Dems’ alliance with postmodernism has driven even the modestly spiritual willy-nilly into the Republican fold, then the South isn’t the only chunk of the votery who will want to see a Republican-type federal intrusiveness continue and expand. And let’s face it: the West never really had to twist itself into weird shapes in order to control its ‘problems’; the natives were driven off or beaten down through broken treaties and force of arms in relatively short order and folks could ‘move on’ in the march of Progress. But the South had to close ranks against its ‘problem’, and it never enjoyed the dispersing effect of the West’s wide open spaces; geographically the South was a pressure cooker, Hell in a hot, small place for a long, long time (until air-conditioning and civil rights came along, neither of which are ancient history). That sort of stuff does things to folks.

But the Dems as they are today are hardly the bunch to be talking turkey with the libertarians. If the postmodernists (and so much of the Identity phenomenon is grounded in postmodernism) are against the religiosity of the South, they are also very much in favor of the intrusiveness of the federal government. Indeed, without the engorgement of the federal police power domestically, it’s hard to see how most of the Identity programme could succeed. Or how it can be sustained. It was under the Democrats that we saw the police power of the federal government engorge domestically over the past 40 years, in the service of the Good Cause and the Outrageous Emergency of this or that Identity.

There was the ominous fine-tweaking of federal law to chase down, and then to pre-empt, even the thought of racism. Western civilization had evolved to restrict its jurisprudence only to the judgment of an act, a deed; this wisely prevented the police-power (and the government – king, Parliament, President, Congress) behind it from literally creating ‘evidence’ which could not possibly exist in any way that it could be examined. It respected the Interiority of the citizen and of the person, not only as a philosophical and even a spiritual entity, but as a political entity upon whose creative and free participation the polity rested. The effort post-1965 (well-intentioned and Good-Caused) to tear up racism root and branch, once and for all, brought the four-engined police power of the federal government down to tree-top level, indeed into the mind of the suspected ‘racist’; and since anybody in the South was considered a racist to begin with, there was little chance of not finding racism wherever one looked, and there was little chance that a police foray would turn up without evidence, especially since – the ancient firewalls of Western jurisprudence having been increasingly twisted out of shape by the heat of the righteous fires of Good Cause – what constituted ‘evidence’ no longer needed to be an act, but might simply be construed from words and thoughts or inferred from circumstances and results or might simply be presumed. But what the hey? Western Civ had to go. And so it has.

The feminist Identity-Advocacy (which I do not equate with the rights of women as human beings and as citizens) brought something new to the ongoing, developing equation: a more or less full-blown postmodernist philosophy that 1) rejected capital letter words (CLWs) or any Vertical dimension to human existence (the capital letter world, CLW), thus 2) flattening human existence into a Horizontal this-dimensional world, 3) into which much-shrunken vessel all of the intense passions and energies of human existence would have to be poured – all of the wondrous complexity of the human Personal reduced, Lenin-like, to ‘the political’.

And on top of that it also brought the specifically feminist assumption that “men” were evil, oppressing women for the purpose of ‘sex’ or through ‘sex’, such that the power of men had to be broken in order for women to be free (E. Ruth Klein has a worthwhile discussion at www.philosophersnet.com/magazine/printer_friendly.php?id=728). And, nature abhorring a vacuum, somebody else’s power would of course have to flow in to create the void created (hopefully) by the destruction of the power of men. And, women (or at least the feminists) being an Identity upon whom the Dems desperately relied, then the police power of the federal government and of the criminal law would be deployed on their behalf. And once again, the evidence of the (already presumed) ‘evil’ became even less tangible (a man could now commit a crime of violence without being physically present), and said violence might not be physical but ‘emotional’ and need only be ‘felt’ to be violent by the ‘feeler’. The presumption would be in favor of the ‘feeler’ (also by definition the plaintiff and/or victim) simply because the evil oppressiveness of men was a presumed given.

And then came the sex-offender phase (distinct from although causally connected to the earlier initiatives). A suddenly-discovered class of person never before noted in law or medicine, possessed of mysterious and incomprehensibly devious powers, yet simultaneously out-of-control and ravening, sex-maddened, against whom the patient application of Due Process was an insult to the pain of his (always ‘his’) victim or victims, and whose very existence created an outrage and an Emergency in the response to which the Rule of Law as traditionally understood had to be circumvented or dismantled (‘reformed’ is the fig-leaf of choice) and made to operate not carefully and rationally but ‘responsively’, responsive to the emotions rather than to the masculine (thus oppressive, thus evil) detachment of Reason. [And does any of this sound pretty much similar to the behavior of the government and the citizenry in the run-up to the catastrophe that is now Iraq?]

The police-power of the federal government was enhanced not only by the several weakenings (“reforms”) of the classical and traditional constraints of Due Process, but by the power to create Registries of citizens, to impose upon them a level of government intrusion into privacy not before seen in American history, to render them liable for pre-emptive detention with only the most modest requirement for justificatory evidence and with the most modest opportunity to appeal and with no set limit upon the confinement, and – as we have recently seen in the Great State of Ohio – without the requirement of conviction or even a trial. [And again, can the infamous Bush & Co. really be blamed for thinking that they could simply take the ‘sex-offender’ gameplan and apply it to Saddaam and Iraq?]

And this ‘gameplan’ was put in place by the Democrats. Nor can any West-state libertarian forget that the debacle at Waco was later justified by the Democratic US Attorney-General because the government had reason to believe – she claimed – that ‘the children were being abused’ – which, even if it were to be believed, condemns the government as lethal bumblers on the scale of post-Soviets for effecting a ‘rescue’ that killed every child in the place. But then, as in the Democratic war in Vietnam, some things have to be destroyed in order to be saved. Children included, nowadays, it would appear.

So, this idea of the Democrats sitting down in peace with the libertarians of the West, while a seasonably heart-warming vision, emits more than a whiff of fantasy. Their ‘revolution of the Identities’ has turned out to be as authoritarian as any revolution eventually turns out to be (with the wondrous exception of a short string of them in the West from Magna Carta through the Glorious Revolution and up to the American Revolution), and it has dismantled ancient protections won, it has engorged the federal police power, and – through the postmodern presumptions that almost none of the Dems want to admit to any longer – flattened the many-dimensioned field of human existence itself.

The Democrats have no business inviting anybody to any tables until they discipline themselves to the reality that their dismantling of Western Justice in the Good Causes of their assorted Identities has gone a very very long way toward undermining the Rule of Law in this nation, engorging the police and executive (and Executive) power of the government, and debauching the citizenry through a sustained series of emotional circuses that has greatly weakened their ability to function as The People.

We desperately need a Party that will restore the Rule of Law, domestically as well as in foreign affairs, and that will restore our standing and our reputation as decent adults, domestically as well as in foreign affairs, and that will reaffirm our citizenry in the community of nations and of peoples and in the family of Humanity. We need, thus, a Party that will invest in our restoring ourselves as The People, upon whom the structural and moral integrity of this Republic and its Branches rest. The Democrats as presently constituted, committed and addicted do not seem up to the job. Hoping that they can get by with some subtle innuendo of who-else-ya-gonna-call? isn’t really a respectable plan. They need one. And there isn’t much time. For them or for us.

Labels: , , ,

1 Comments:

Blogger Davidco said...

25% of white, evangelicals bolted in the last election due in part to the avalanche of Republican scandals.

Reps know there is more to come over the next two years so moralizing hypocrisy will be showing diminishing returns as a campaign strategy.

They have, therefore, fallen back on their tried and true southern strategy: rehabilitation of the outrageously racist sleazoid Trent Lott - master of obstruction and delay who honed his skills fighting integration and civil rights tooth and nail. That will bring those straying Rove-bots back to the farm for sure - despite the smell of all those unmucked stalls.

4:42 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home