Revolution? 4

Is America in the throes of a revolution? Are we sliding unstoppably into totalitarian communism?

Angelo Codevilla writes at American Greatness:

Some conservatives, rejoicing that impeachment turned into yet another of #TheResistance’s political train wrecks and that President Trump is likely to be reelected by a bigger margin than in 2016, expect that a chastened ruling class will return to respecting the rest of us. They are mistaken.

Trump’s reelection, by itself, cannot protect us. The ruling class’s intolerance of the 2016 election’s results was intolerance of us.

Nor was their intolerance so much a choice as it was the expression of its growing sense of its own separate identity, of power and of entitlement to power. The halfhearted defenses with which the offensives of the ruling class have been met already advertise the fact that it need not and will not accept the outcome of any presidential election it does not win. Trump notwithstanding, this class will rule henceforth as it has in the past three years. So long as its hold on American institutions continues to grow, and they retain millions of clients, elections won’t really matter.

Our country is in a state of revolution, irreversibly, because society’s most influential people have retreated into moral autarchy, …

Autarchy, or autocracy, is rule by a dictator. Has any Democrat proclaimed a desire for a dictator, or to be a dictator? If so, we missed it. The Democrats want absolute power in their own hands, but have’t yet wished up a Stalin or a Mao. It’s highly likely that Bernie Sanders would like to be an American Stalin, but has he admitted it?

Besides which, there is not a single Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States who could run a poll in Iowa, let alone the country. 

Moral autarchy? Not sure what that means. But okay, let’s accept the term in order to follow the writer’s argument.

… have seceded from America’s constitutional order, and because they browbeat their socio-political adversaries instead of trying to persuade them. Theirs is not a choice that can be reversed. It is a change in the character of millions of people.

Does character change? Does the character of a people – a nation – change? What characterizes any nation must by definition be what does not change about it. For a country to change its character it would have to have its population replaced by a different population – as is happening rapidly in Sweden, France, Spain, and Germany.  The Democrats seem to like the idea of America becoming more “Hispanic” than “Anglo”, but it hasn’t happened yet, and might never happen.

There has been a change in America over the last 70 years or so. It is not a change of character. In all their variety, Americans are recognizably the same as they were 100 years ago. What has changed in America are ideas about values and morals, about what matters and what doesn’t.

And that is what the article under discussion is really about.

The sooner conservatives realize that the Republic established between 1776 and 1789—the America we knew and loved—cannot return, the more fruitfully we will be able to manage the revolution’s clear and present challenges to ourselves. How are we to deal with a ruling class that insists on ruling—elections and generally applicable rules notwithstanding—because it regards us as lesser beings?

The resistance that reached its public peaks in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the impeachment imbroglio should have left no doubt about the socio-political arbitrariness that flows from the ruling class’s moral autarchy, about the socio-political power of the ruling class we’re forced to confront, or of its immediate threat to our freedom of speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over the Senate’s impeachment trial, was as clear an example as any of that moral autarchy and its grip on institutions.

Pursuant to Senate rules, Senator Rand Paul sent a written question through Roberts to House Manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) regarding the extent of collaboration between Schiff’s staffer Sean Misko and his longtime fellow partisan, CIA officer Eric Ciaramella in starting the charges that led to impeachment. Roberts, having read the question to himself, declared: “The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted.”

The chief justice of the United States, freedom of speech’s guardian-in-chief, gave no reason for declining to read Paul’s question. The question was relevant to the proceedings. It violated no laws, no regulations. The names of the two persons were known to every member of the House and Senate, as well as to everyone around the globe who had followed news reports over the previous months. But the Democratic Party had been campaigning to drive from public discussion that this impeachment stemmed from the partisan collaboration between a CIA officer and a Democratic staffer.

“Collaboration” is the polite term for it; “conspiracy” the more accurate one.

Accordingly, the mainstream media had informally but totally banned discussion of this fact, supremely relevant but supremely embarrassing to Schiff in particular and to Democrats in general. Now, Paul was asking Schiff officially to comment on the relationship. Schiff could have explained it, or refused to explain it. But Roberts saved him the embarrassment and trouble—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spared senators the problem of voting on a challenge to Roberts’s  ruling. The curtain of official concealment, what the Mafia calls the omertà, remained intact. Why no reason?

Just as no dog wags his tail without a reason, neither did Roberts wag his without reason. Neither the laws of the United States nor the rules of the Senate told the presiding officer to suppress the senator’s question. Why was Roberts pleased to please those he pleased and to displease those he displeased? In short, why did this impartial presiding officer act as a man partial to one side against the other?

This professional judge could hardly have been impressed by the ruling class’s chosen instrument, Adam Schiff, or by Schiff’s superior regard for legal procedure. Since Schiff’s prosecution featured hiding the identity of the original accuser—after promising to feature his testimony—and since it featured secret depositions, blocked any cross-examination of its own witnesses, and prevented the defense from calling any of their own, it would have been strange if Chief Justice Roberts’s bias was a professional one.

Is it possible that Roberts favored the substance of the ruling class claim that neither President Trump nor any of his defenders have any right to focus public attention on the Biden family’s use of public office to obtain money in exchange for influence? That, after all, is what Washington is largely about. Could Roberts also love corruption so much as to help conceal it? No.

Roberts’s professional and ethical instincts incline him the other way. Nevertheless, he sustained the ruling class’s arbitrariness. Whose side did he take? His dinner companions’ side? The media’s? His wife’s? Roberts’s behavior—contrary as it was to his profession, to his morals, and to his political provenance—shows how great is the ruling class’s centripetal force.

The sad but inescapable consequence of this force is that conservatives have no choice but to follow the partisan logic of revolution—fully conscious of the danger that partisanship can make us as ridiculously dishonest as Adam Schiff or CNN’s talking heads, into rank-pullers like John Roberts, and into profiteers as much as any member of the Biden family.

Do conservatives have no choice but to go along with “the revolution”, with the abandonment of the values that inspired the Constitution, with corruption as a matter of indisputable but unchangeable fact?

The writer then seems to change his mind. He suggests there is a choice:

And yet, revolution is war, the proximate objective of which is to hurt the other side until it loses the capacity and the will to do us harm. That means treating institutions and people from the standpoint of our own adversarial interest: controlling what we can either for our own use or for bargaining purposes, discrediting and abandoning what we cannot take from our enemies.

Opposing them by the means they choose, the weapons they use? That – so the writer suggests – is our best recourse?

Unlike our enemies, our ultimate objective is, as Lincoln said, “peace among ourselves and with all nations”. But what kind of peace we may get depends on the extent to which we may compel our enemies to leave us in peace. And for that, we must do unto them more and before they do unto us.

Which is true? Do we have no choice but to join “the revolution” – a change from a free open society of self-reliant individuals into a government-controlled, race and sex obsessed, doom prophesying, totally organized community? Or are we still in control of our destiny? And if we fight our revolutionary enemy, must it be with their weapons, or ours? On their terms, or ours?

We do not see that there has been a revolution – though the Obama administration tried to make one. We do not think the only way to save America from totalitarian one-party rule is by following the rules laid down by the Gramsci-Alinsky school of sedition and the Cloward-Piven blueprint for chaos. (See here and here and here and here.)

By great good luck we have President Trump leading us in another direction, showing us another way, prioritizing better (characteristic) values: freedom, individual enterprise, innovation, industry, competence, patriotism, strength, ambition, self-confidence, prosperity. For a few more years at least. During which the Left revolutionaries may, in the fury of their frustration, stamp themselves into the ground.

A libertarian’s foreign policy 3

What Muslims are doing to Christians is atrocious. The Muslims must tell themselves to stop it.

The hole in the political theory of libertarians is foreign policy. One of them is trying to fill it in. Senator Rand Paul has been speaking up for the Christians persecuted in Muslim lands, especially those in Syria. He’s still for non-intervention. But he’s showing that he’s not unconcerned about what’s going on out there in the dim and irrelevant Rest Of The World. He rightly analyses that what’s going on is – nasty. And he has advice for how that Muslim-on-Christian persecution problem should be fixed.

Cliff May reports and comments at Townhall:

Last month, at the Values Voter Summit, a gathering of conservative activists from around the country, Senator Rand Paul gave a speech [you can hear it all on this YouTube video] on what he called “a worldwide war on Christians by a fanatical element of Islam”.

The senator was careful [as almost all Western politicians always are] not to paint all Muslims with the brush of fanaticism. He stressed that only a minority of Muslims read Islamic scripture as mandating an armed struggle against Christians and other “unbelievers.”

How does he know that? If it were the case, it would mean that only a minority of Muslims read the Koran. Or that the majority of those that read it don’t take in what it says.

But because the global Muslim population is so large — more than 1.5 billion — even a relatively small percentage translates into tens of millions of jihad supporters.

Paul cited a few of the atrocities not making the evening news: a priest shot in the head in Zanzibar; churches bombed in Kenya; the beheading of three girls on their way to a Christian school in Indonesia; converts to Christianity murdered in Cameroon; churches burned and worshipers killed in Egypt; a pastor in Iran tortured and ordered to renounce his faith. …

All true. And he did not mention Nigeria, where thousands of Christians have been killed by a Muslim terrorist group calling itself Boko Haram (“book-learning is forbidden”), and where the random slaughter is on-going.* It is one of the few places where the Obama administration had something to say about the Muslim-on-Christian violence: it warned the Nigerian government, when it attempted to take military action against the Boko Haram terrorists, that it must not “violate their human rights”.

Syrian Christians, more properly called Syriacs, are widely believed to be pro-Assad. But that’s not quite accurate. A recent newsletter of the European Syriac Union states proudly that they were among those asking Assad for “their rights.” As a consequence, they have been seen as “the enemies” of the regime that continues to “attack, arrest, torture and imprison Syriac people.”

Syrian Christians have appealed to the U.S. government for assistance and … have been turned down. Paul argues: “We must work to ensure our country, our policies, our tax dollars, are on the side of ending this violence rather than encouraging those who perpetrate it.” But he never gets around to saying who or what he has in mind.

What he says instead: “How someone could believe that killing innocent people would further one’s cause is beyond me.” Is that really so hard to fathom? Both the Nazis and the Communists killed innocent people by the millions to further their causes. By now we should understand that totalitarianism is totalitarianism — whether [the ideology] is based on race, class, or religion.

It’s not entirely true that he didn’t say what might be done to discourage violence against Christians: he sensibly said that “not one dollar of US money” should go to any place where they burn the US flag, and no money should go to Pakistan where Christians are being held in jail – at least one of them on death row – for the offense of being Christian.

He also, interestingly enough considering the general pacifism of the libertarian movement, declared that “there are times when it is right to use military action”, for instance “after 9/11”. But he thinks (and we do too) that it would be wrong for the US to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war.

“Radical Islam will end only when Islam begins to police Islam,” Paul adds. Can you imagine Churchill saying Nazism will end only when Germans begin to police themselves? Can you imagine Reagan saying Communism will end only when Russians begin policing themselves?

Paul insists that “Islam needs to remember and recreate the good in their history.” But those waging jihad believe the best in their history was when there was an Islamic empire as extensive as Rome at its zenith, dominating, and often destroying, communities of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and other “infidels”.

The presumption of radical Islam, wrote Bernard Lewis (the world’s leading scholar of the Middle East before that field of study became extensively politicized and compromised), is that “the duty of jihad will continue, interrupted only by truces, until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule”. 

Western politicians have been reluctant to acknowledge this reality and act on it by developing a strategy aimed at defeating revolutionary Islam in both its Sunni and its Shiite variants. The best President Bush could do was to declare a global War on Terrorism — as if we objected only to the jihadis’ weapon [method, tactic] of choice. President Obama insists we’re fighting “violent extremism,” a term so nebulous as to be meaningless.

Yes, but it enables him to dissolve events like the Boston marathon bombing in the general problem of violent extremism soon to be practiced his administration alleges – by the Tea Party and US army veterans. But while those potential terrorists are named and pre-shamed in DHS reports and military training guides, Islam goes unmentioned. If you were to accuse him of never saying anything against Islamic terrorism, he’ll get members of the press to point out that he has emphatically condemned “violent extremism”.

Senator Paul has yet to improve on these flawed conceptual frameworks. “The ultimate answer must come from Islam itself,” he told his audience. “They will never accept us through force of arms. …

We don’t want them to accept us. We want to be rid of them.

“Somehow, though, they must come to understand that they must police themselves, that they must root out and destroy the sadists and killers who distort and contort religion to justify killing civilians and children.”

So Rand Paul found out nothing about Islam before making this foreign-policy speech!  It is no distortion or contortion of Islam, the killing of civilians and children. It’s what Islam does. It’s what the Koran – a military manual for ruthless conquerors and enslavers – requires Muslims to do. It’s what Islam is all about. He seems to think of “religion” as one big bundle with the golden rule and cheek-turning instructions tucked up inside it.

“Somehow, though, they must come to understand” is neither a policy nor a strategy. Senator Paul is to be commended for speaking out about the plight of Christians in Muslim-dominated lands at a time when so many other voices are silent. But if he would step back from the trees he’d see a deep and dark forest: attacks on Christians are battles in a “War against the West” being waged by the 21st century’s most lethal imperialists. If Paul seriously aspires to be a world leader, he would be well-advised to begin developing a response not based on retreat, passivity, and drift.

Another thing Rand Paul said was, ‘Make no mistake – this is about religion.”  He’s right of course. Ever more human suffering because of religion. (But that was not what he meant.)

The part of his speech with which we thoroughly disagree, and strongly object to, is an extended eulogy (as routine for politicians, when they make any criticism of Islam, as proclaiming that most Muslims are peaceful persons full of goodwill towards the infidel) on a purely mythical Medieval Islam, a beacon of cultural light; caliphates bristling with scientists and mathematicians, steeped in Greek and Latin learning, irreproachably tolerant.** Either he was only repeating this nonsense because he felt the politician’s need to do so, or he has really swallowed all that deceitful Muslim propaganda. He makes the case that as such an Islam existed once, it could exist again. Which would be a persuasive argument, if it were not untrue that it had ever existed at all.

 

* We have posted a number of articles on the murder of Christians by Boko Haram, the Muslim terrorist group in Nigeria. See for instance: More acts of religion in Nigeria, January 19, 2012; More Christians burnt to death by Muslims, July 11,2012; Another murderous act of religion in Nigeria, May 10, 2013; More Christians slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria, September 30, 2013.

**There is a large body of literature refuting the Muslim claim to an enlightened Islamic Civilization in the Middle Ages. Some of the best articles are:  The Real Islamic ‘Golden Age’ by John O’Neill, who also wrote a book on the subject titled Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Culture; Who Is Really Being Dishonest About Islam? By Robert Spencer; ‘Islamic Civilization’ – The Biggest Lie Known to Man by Ali Hassan. On the intolerance of Islam throughout its rule over Christians and Jews the leading authority is Bat Ye’or. Among her magisterial books on the subject are: The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam, 1980; Islam and Dhimmitude, 1984; The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, 1996. This great historian was chiefly responsible for making the word “dhimmi” known to the West.

 

America’s most formidable enemy – it’s president 4

From Canada, David Solway surveys what Barack Obama has done and is doing, and sees a multitude of reasons to fear for the United States. He writes:

I have been suspicious of Obama from the very beginning of his meteoric national career. I could not understand how a man with so obscure a dossier, very few salient records disclosed to the public; with little or no executive or working experience; and affiliated with a host of decidedly shady characters — communist poet and activist Frank Marshall Davis, former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, unrepentant former terrorist Bill Ayers, America-and-Jew bashing Jeremiah Wright, corrupt financier Tony Rezko, racist leader of the Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan, to name only a few — could captivate the media, bask in the glow of an adoring public, receive the Democratic nomination, and then be elected to the presidency of the United States.

We too were astonished and bewildered. And distressed.

My suspicion of the man’s bona fides deepened even more after the Honduras affair in July 2009, in which Obama (and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton) sided with leftwing strongman Manuel Zelaya, implicated in a conspiracy to overturn the civil Constitution of the country, and against the democratic legislature that had deposed him.

The historically invalid and politically tendentious Cairo speech, the evident shilling for the Palestinians and their flagrantly concocted narrative of ancestral title, the clear animus against Israel and the outrageous treatment meted out to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu only confirmed my misgivings concerning the president’s political agenda.

That an American president should cozy up to the Venezuelan leftist dictator and bow from the waist to the Saudi monarch was beyond my comprehension. (And more recently, his hearting of Turkish autocrat and neo-Ottoman jihadist Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his personal “friend and colleague” is only a further indication of Obama’s troubling and discreditable policies.)

That he should see to the massive increase of the American debt within only a few years and apply himself, in the words of Victor Davis Hanson, to “tun[ing] a properly moribund economy,”—i.e., “ensuring 50 million on food stamps, putting over 80,000 a month on Social Security disability insurance, and extending unemployment insurance to tens of millions”—was another sign that something was profoundly amiss.

His bruited release of criminal illegals from American prisons defies common sense, as does his refusal to patrol and seal the incendiary border with Mexico.

And that he should eagerly adopt the lifestyle of a Hollywood playboy and the jet-setting 1% … while the country was foundering economically and absorbing one setback after another in the international theater, should have earned him the distrust of every sentient American citizen.

Another stain on this dismal record of political degeneracy is his abandonment of the American ambassador and his entourage in Libya, leading to the death of four Americans.

That, we think, is one of the worst stains on his not merely dismal but shocking record.

… At the same time that ordinary Americans may be deprived of their guns, or forced to scale back on legitimate ownership of certain models and magazine capacities, the Department of Homeland Security has ordered millions of weapons and over a billion rounds of hollow-point bullets (banned internationally), as well as riot gear and other military equipment. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has followed suit, putting in an order for 46,000 rounds of .40-caliber hollow-point bullets. Why, we may wonder, is a weather service being armed to the teeth? Are U.S. citizens now at risk from their own government? …

The National Defense Authorization Act provides for indefinite detention without warrant or probable cause. … The bill does not apply exclusively to terrorists or terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay …  As Senator Rand Paul objected, “Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus … is both questionable and not enough. Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole.”

Some patriots are profoundly apprehensive over these developments, fearing something like a “hostile takeover” of civil society by a growing state apparatus.

Reason piles on reason to fear Obama.

…  This is a president who has presided over an imploding economy, a ballooning deficit, a deteriorating international situation, an out-of-control Department of Justice, a diminished military, political and racial divisions that are tearing the nation apart, the specter of restrictions on freedom of expression, the appointment of indisputable incompetents and highly dubious characters to sensitive positions of authority (read: Lew, Hagel, Brennan and Kerry, who are only the most recent), and a de facto alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood whose self-admitted project is the destruction of the United States   

This is a president who traffics in blatant lies, cover-ups and misdirections at the cost of American interests and consequently merits being suspected of nefarious designs. …

I say this to my American readers: One way or another, your trophy president is going to bring down your country.

All the evidence points to the likelihood that he is not only an enemy of the United States of America, but its most formidable enemy in the world today. …

I am scared to death of Obama.

You should be too.

*

From the first 6 minutes of this video we learn about an adviser to Obama who condones the oppressive treatment of women in Afghanistan and would have no objection to the blinding of children if it fulfilled a religious obligation.

(Hat-tip Frank for the video)

Death or due process? 1

The government of a democratic country has two main duties: to protect it from attack by external enemies, and to protect every individual within its borders by upholding the law. 

If a conflict should arise between the two, which should take precedence?

Hypothetical: The president is informed that – once again – hijacked civil aircraft are being flown to destroy buildings in New York and Washington, D.C.

Should the president give an order to shoot them down, although they are full of innocent US citizens?

We ask this in connection with the question of the moment: Should the president have the power to make a drone strike against a US citizen, or against anyone on US soil, who is known to pose an imminent lethal threat?

The Attorney General’s reply is a guarded yes:

Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday stopped short of entirely ruling out a drone strike against an American citizen on U.S. soil — without trial.

Holder’s comment came in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul. Paul had sent a letter to President Obama’s CIA director nominee John Brennan asking for the administration’s views on the president’s power to authorize lethal force.

In the letter, Holder said “It is possible I suppose to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”

In a separate letter, Brennan told Paul that the CIA has no such authority.

To protest Eric Holder’s reply, and to delay confirmation by the Senate of John Brennan’s appointment as director of the CIA, Rand Paul staged a thirteen hour filibuster yesterday.

It was a stalwart performance, but is he right or wrong to take a principled stand against such a drone strike (or strike by other lethal means to the same end)?

We hate to find ourselves on the same side of any question as Eric Holder even momentarily. (In addition to many other reasons, we think it was grossly and inexcusably dishonorable of him not to resign after he was impeached.) But we find ourselves in agreement with him that a lethal military strike within the United States under extraordinary circumstances (at least of the kind we have hypothetically posed) could be justified. We don’t see, however, that the Constitution sanctions it, or that it can be said to conform to existing laws.

So which is more damaging to a nation under the rule of law: the government’s allowing a mass murder to be committed, or its desecration of the law – so setting a disastrous precedent?

We would like to know readers’ thoughts on this question.