What the American elite and ruling class fears more than an end to deficit spending and a return to the gold standard, is that the United States return to an isolationist foreign policy.
Although the “globalist” precedent-setting and poll boosting that is the underlying purpose of Obama’s Libyan action has been mentioned elsewhere by the likes of Limbaugh and Mark Levin, the legal aspects of his action bear analysis because Obama has said some extraordinary things which suggest he feels he has no need couch the globalist nature of U.S. military action in the language of national defense nor “national interest.”
As he said in a speech given in El Salvador, “we have confidence that we are not going in alone, and it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally. ”
But despite the protestations of his conservative critics, the use of the American military for international, United Nations sanctioned warfare has been the law of the land since 1949. In that year Congress passed the United Nations Participation Act, which grants the President the authority to send American forces into combat merely in support of peacemaking missions approved by the United Nations. The UNPA allows the President to do this without obtaining the authority of Congress beforehand.
Section 6 of the UNPA states: “The President shall not be deemed to require the authorization of the Congress to make available to the Security Council on its call in order to take action under article 42 of said Charter (UN Charter).” To date, the courts have upheld this under the dictates of customary treaty law, where treaties supersede domestic law-yes, even the U.S. Constitution.
In light of this old law and the decades-long globalist orientation of the U.S. military, the question of constitutional war powers appears to be moot. The more important and poignant question should be “When were we asked to make it so?”
Perhaps the answer to that was given by the court historian of the liberal regime, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., in a 1995 symposium on American isolationism (for them a chronic problem). Notice in what he says that the isolationists tendencies of the people were suspect, so it is implied the question never would be directly put to the people. It would be engineered out of them. Do you expect anything less my dear readers? He said:
For President Roosevelt the great objective in 1943–1945, besides winning the war, was to tie the United States into a postwar structure of peace. The memory, still so vivid, of the repudiation of the League two short decades before was not encouraging. Isolationism had been the American norm for a century and a half; internationalism was only a two-year Wilsonian aberration. No one could assume that isolationism would simply wither away. It had, Roosevelt felt, to be brought to a definite end by binding American commitments to an international order. And he felt additionally that as many of these commitments as possible should be made while the war was still on, before peace could return the nation to its old isolationist habits. F.D.R. said privately, “Anybody who thinks that isolationism is dead in this country is crazy. As soon as this war is over, it may well be stronger than ever.”
So, while the war was still on, Roosevelt organized international meetings at Bretton Woods, Dumbarton Oaks, San Francisco and elsewhere to involve the United States in the international machinery that would deal with postwar questions. In particular, in the words of the diplomat Charles E. Bohlen, who served as White House liaison to the State Department, F.D.R. saw the United Nations as “the only device that could keep the United States from slipping back into isolationism.” And, as Winston Churchill said on his return from the Yalta Conference, this new international organization must “not shrink from establishing its will against the evildoer or evil planner in good time and by force of arms.” Once again, the ultimate guarantee of peace, the ultimate test of collective security and world law lay in military enforcement.
That the American people do not understand that their military is the spearhead of global governance and the United Nations is nothing new.
That they believe their law is purely derived from the U.S. Constitution and not from international legal institutions is nothing new either.
In a country that continues to celebrate a war (WW2) that had as its most important outcomes the enslavement of 1/3 of humanity under the iron heel of International Communism and the establishment of global governance by its “most popular” president, is it any wonder?
When the American people wake up and begin to understand that their corrupt elite has been using their blood, labor and treasure to subvert America and end its sovereignty in the name of the New World Order, I certainly hope there will be hell to pay.
I would not expect anything less.
(Hold on, it’s coming. Hold on, it’s almost here.)
…which along with the notion that Sen. Joe McCarthy was right, would have been most likely laughed at by the History Department from which I got my B.A. in the 1980s.
My favorite part of the review:
Nonetheless, in their concluding chapter the authors also make the very important point that ‘…Soviet espionage in the United States changed history. The espionage-enabled rapid acquisition of the atomic bomb emboldened Stalin’s policies in the early Cold War and contributed to his decision to authorize North Korea’s invasion of South Korea. Soviet espionage also led to the loss of America’s ability to read Soviet military communications and ensured that the Korean invasion was a surprise for which American forces were unprepared.’
You don’t say? You mean I went through an entire four-year History program (and some graduate school) only to find out now that just about everything I was taught about the Cold War (it was a massive deception and U.S. propoganda effort solely to justify imperialist wars) was wrong?
I want my money back!
John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev; Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, Yale University Press: New Haven, CT,
-Review by Benjamin L. Landis
In the opening sentence of their preface, the authors John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr ask, “Is there anything new to be learned about Soviet espionage in America?” The answer is, of course, a resounding “Yes,” as they then demonstrate in the 500 plus pages of their text. Is their work the definitive history of KGB espionage in the United States? No. Nor can it be, as they themselves admit. “Frustratingly, archival information regarding intelligence and counterintelligence activities from the 1930s onward continues to be tightly held and parceled out in a miserly fashion.” One can say, however, that this book is as definitive a look at that history as we can hope for “until the likely far off day when Russian authorities open up the KGB’s archives for independent research.”
What gives this Spies its aura of historical authenticity and its aspiration to be “the most complete look at Soviet espionage in America we have yet had or will obtain” until the floodgates will be opened to Soviet archives? The answer: Alexander Vassiliev. Before plunging into the story itself the reader should definitely read the Preface and the Introduction. In the latter, Mr. Vassiliev, journalist and former KGB officer, explains how he was able to obtain access to KGB files and to prepare transcripts of KGB documents, which he later was able to take out of Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. His story is as fascinating as that of the Soviet agents and American spies whose activities are described in the Haynes, Klehr, and Vassiliev text.
The book is based to a large part on the facts reported by Mr. Vassiliev in his notebooks. The reader has every right to be very skeptical of the veracity and authenticity of what he reported. Messrs Haynes and Klehr certainly were. They had previously authored three other books on Soviet espionage and Communist activity in the United States. They were very familiar with the existing literature on the Soviet espionage covered by Mr. Vassiliev’s notebooks. As they explain in the Preface, they tested Mr. Vassiliev’s transcriptions thoroughly and became convinced that they were authentic. And so they have given us, with the collaboration of Mr. Vassiliev, as complete a history of KGB espionage in the United States from the 1930s to the early 1950s as we are likely to have in our lifetimes.
Messrs Haynes and Klehr are historians and they have written a serious history. The stories they recount are dramatic, melodramatic, oftentimes tragic, but they write with a historian’s detachment and matter-of-factness. Yet their telling is never bland, never dull. And the story they tell is fascinating. The reader is swept along, caught up in the tidal wave of Soviet espionage, captivated by the personalities of the Soviet KGB officials and the American spies.. The chapter titles indicate the various currents: “Alger Hiss: Case Closed”; “Enormous: The KGB Attack on the Anglo-American Atomic Project”; “The Journalist Spies”; “Infiltration of the U.S. Government”; Infiltration of the Office of Strategic Services”; “The XY Line: Technical, Scientific, and Industrial Espionage”.
In a conventional history with the title “The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America” a historian would have most probably concentrated on the organization of the Soviet espionage structure in the United States and on the actions of the members of that structure in developing and managing networks of spies. However, lacking access to the KGB files that would permit the writing of a conventionally organized, top-down history, the authors have, of necessity, adopted a bottom-up approach to their theme of rise and fall. They concentrate on the individual American spies recruited by the Communist Party, by Soviet officials, and voluntarily by the spies themselves. This technique renders their history more personal, less organizational, less procedural, and consequently more fascinating, more telling, and, yes, more agonizing. It is the story of a moment in American history when well meaning Americans for ideological reasons were willing, even eager, to betray their country for another in the belief that this latter country represented the fulfillment of the ideal human destiny.
One of the narrative techniques used by the authors that enhances considerably the impact of their story is the humanizing of these American “traitors” by telling the reader who they are, whence they came, what were their social, professional, and marital relations, what were their personalities. This is a history, not only of the rise and fall of the KGB in the United States, but also of the psychological anguish that coursed through American society in the 1930s and 1940s. Almost all of the American spies were ideologically motivated. The authors cite only two who were motivated by money, one of whom was unfortunately, a Congressman. They were from every stratum of American society: the wealthy, the privileged, the intellectuals, the well educated, the not well educated, the middle class, the poor, native-born, immigrants. Amazingly and happily the authors could identify only one African-American spy. The individual stories of these “lost” Americans make captivating and thought-provoking reading alongside the basic tale of the ups and downs of Soviet espionage in America.
In addition to its essential theme, the book finally puts to rest, or anyway, it should put to rest, the Alger Hiss story. The very first chapter is devoted to him and proves conclusively that he was, in fact, a Soviet spy. It also proves that Robert Oppenheimer was never a Soviet spy, although the authors recount the strenuous efforts made by the Soviets to recruit him. It also ends, or should end, any doubt about the guilt of the Rosenbergs. The book details the effectiveness of the spy network that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg managed. It also shows how unaware or unbelieving the American government was to the penetration of Soviet espionage throughout sensitive sectors of American society and government. It is difficult, if not almost impossible, to believe today that Whittaker Chambers, that much maligned bearer of bad tidings, as early as 1939 advised the Department of State that Alger Hiss was spying for the Soviet Union. It was not until almost 10 years later that he was finally brought to justice. Given the psychological atmosphere that developed in American society during the Cold War, and that is perpetuated today, it is also very difficult to realize that the FBI took almost no interest in the possibility of Soviet espionage until the late 1940s and then primarily because certain spies gave up their allegiance to the Soviet Union and turned themselves into witnesses against their former comrades. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr expose all of these phenomena, as elements in their description of the rise and fall of KGB espionage.
In their concluding chapters they make two very important points.
In Chapter 9, “The KGB in America: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Structural Problems” they show that the real-life KGB did not live up to its romantic reputation as “a near superhuman organization, staffed by skilled officers carrying out sophisticated schemes designed by clever Moscow overlords…” They conclude from the case studies of the Soviet espionage efforts that comprise the substance of their book: “The KGB was not a ten-foot tall superman. In the world of intelligence, it was surely a strapping six-footer, but one that tripped over its own shoelaces from time to time and occasionally shot itself in the foot. And in the late 1930s, it turned into a paranoid schizophrenic who heard voices telling it to cut off its limbs, and it proceeded to do just that.”
Nonetheless, in their concluding chapter the authors also make the very important point that “…Soviet espionage in the United States changed history. The espionage-enabled rapid acquisition of the atomic bomb emboldened Stalin’s policies in the early Cold War and contributed to his decision to authorize North Korea’s invasion of South Korea. Soviet espionage also led to the loss of America’s ability to read Soviet military communications and ensured that the Korean invasion was a surprise for which American forces were unprepared.”
Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America captures the realities, the successes and failures of Soviet espionage in the United States as well as its eventual dismantling. It is history that is not well known by most Americans or badly understood by that minority who has acquired some knowledge of the phenomenon. But it is essential history, if we wish to fully understand not only the Cold War, but also American society of the 1930s and 1940s, out of which have grown much of the attitudes and beliefs that shape our actions in today’s world.
The Federalist Blog explains the politics behind judicial decisions that have allowed the unconstitutional expansion of the Federal government in the United States.
If you think fighting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a matter solely devoted to filing lawsuits you are deeply mistaken. The reason lawsuits will have little effect is because the entire judicial system is a house of cards built upon a foundation of fiction and lies the court is willing to jealousy defend even if they must continue with deceit. Justices on the court are no longer concerned with defined limited powers or original meaning behind enumerated powers anymore then they are interested in why States refused to surrender domestic concerns over to the general government.
The court has increasingly grown in modern times to concern itself only in declaring what it feels the Constitution ought to have said instead of what it was approved by the people of the States to have said.
Lawsuits against Obamacare is by no means frivolous, but because the court in the end will always choose not to disturb the great centralization of power that has been judicially created by deferring to Congress. Example: When the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 was challenged, the court held that “The Civil Rights Act of 1964, as here applied, we find to be plainly appropriate in the resolution of what the Congress found to be a national commercial problem of the first magnitude.”
In other words, since a majority in Congress had decided discrimination was something they ought to regulate within State limits the court was not going to entertain any serious factual analysis to whether the regulation of commerce ever had anything remotely to do with intrastate discrimination. This act of judicial restraint has become a valuable defensive tool the court employs to protect the centralization of federal power within State limits.
Likewise, members of Congress will avoid the question all together by pointing to the courts past deference when the court would uphold the power of Congress to “regulate many aspects of American life” through the Commerce Clause. This deferring back-and-forth assures questions of limited powers and original meaning will go ignored by both branches.
Neither the court nor many members of Congress have any desire to defend their self-created powers publically over anything having to do with buying and selling because they know they cannot defend such powers in any open, honest public forum where facts can be presented to dispute the courts numerous instances of ignoring historical facts.
The court would consider it a nightmare to have to defend such positions as “the power to regulate commerce includes the power to regulate the prices at which commodities in that commerce are dealt in and practices affecting such prices” in the face of overwhelming evidence such nonsense was never part of the practice of regulating commerce. Price control never remotely had anything to do with the regulating the exchange of trade for that was something strictly left to the exclusive legislative powers in making rules for buying and selling – something Congress does not possess intrastate. The fact is the regulation of commerce was solely to protect or encourage domestic manufactures through imposts and duties on importable articles of trade insures the court will avoid any evidentiary analysis of its meaning and constitutional purpose. (See here for a historical analysis of the regulation of commerce.)
The court will almost assuredly resort to the great defense shield of denial known as “stare decisis” as a clever way of protecting the courts own judicial malpractice from scrutiny while at the same time leaving its vast centralization of power in Congress intact. Therefore, all the lawsuits in the world challenging Congress or the courts own erroneous interpretations of the past will fail.
A better way to attack Obamacare than with lawsuits will be to confront justices of the court and members of Congress indirectly with the truth. Wouldn’t take long before the media starts questioning why they court is not responding to questions of how their stated precedent could be so wrong.
An example for an indirect question for the court is a half-page Ad in the WSJ that asks the court and Congress how did the States and other Nations regulate their commerce with each other before and after the adoption of the Constitution? Answer: The Levying of imposts and duties on “goods, wares, and merchandizes” imported.
Billboards could quote James Madison on the purpose behind the power to regulate commerce among the States as growing “out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government.”
Alternatively, how about quoting Madison on the understood meaning of regulating commerce: “The power (regulation of commerce) has been understood and used, by all commercial and manufacturing nations, as embracing the object of encouraging manufactures. It is believed that not a single exception can be named.”
As these two quotes show (find more here), the regulation of commerce was never understood to embrace laws on buying or selling. If it had meant that you could bet none of the original 13 States would had ever consented to adopting the Constitution.
While such tactics might not change anything over night, it could ultimately prove to influence the court enough to realize their bogus constitutional revisionism lacks critical factual analysis, and thus, makes them nothing less than a judicial accessory to despotism by continuing with their game of constitutional deceit.
Below is the full text of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Notice that there are a number of enumerated powers listed directly after the opening clause of the section containing the general welfare provision. It is also important to note, as James Madison pointed out in Federalist 41, that the listed enumerated powers and the opening clause are only separated by a semi-colon and not a period.
Also notice that the necessary and proper clause explicitly grants Congress the power to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States.”
For Madison, the meaning of both parts of this Section were obvious on their face: The Constitution granted Congress the power to tax and spend only for those national priorities listed in the Constitution. Madison believed that this was plainly made clear by the construction of the text because to assume the general welfare clause or the necessary and proper clause granted unlimited powers to Congress, would make the powers expressly listed in this section (and the rest of the Constitution) redundant.
Madison’s position is explained here:
According to Madison in Federalist #41, the statement of the power to tax and spend serves as the general statement with the manners in which that general power is to be exercised explicitly enumerated thereafter.
For example, if the portion of the clause “to provide for the common defense” was indeed a standalone power, why would the founders then explicitly list a power “To raise and support armies”? It would be redundant. Does providing for the “common defense” exclude the raising and supporting of armies? Absolutely not. Therefore the only reasonable construction is that the power to raise and support armies is the explicit enumeration of the manner in which the general power to provide for the common defense is to be carried into effect.
We can then deal with the “promote the General Welfare” portion of the clause in a similar manner. An example of the manner in which the General Welfare is to be promoted can be demonstrated by the power “To establish post offices and post roads”. Again, any alternative construction renders the enumerated power redundant.
Lastly, the founders were very precise in their wording. They used the words “person” or “citizen” when speaking of individuals and the phrase “United States” or the word “union” when referring to the federation of states. The general power to tax and spend in Article I, Section 8 clearly states that the powers are directed at the “United States” not “persons” or “citizens” therefore the power applies only to objects which will promote the solidarity and prosperity of the union of states, not its citizens.
It is beyond comprehension that any court could so disastrously misinterpret an entire section of the Constitution. As Madison predicted in Federalist #41, just such a construction has led to a Congress limited only by its own imagination rendering the Constitution itself completely irrelevant.
Given that one of the framers of the Constitution believed that Congress’ powers were so limited, shouldn’t the Courts revisit this interpretation given that through the health care reform bill, Congress has claimed vast new powers for itself?
In the last post on this blog I included links to the website of Patrick Bedell. Because of the name of his blog, “Rothbardix,” and the content contained within, I concluded that Bedell’s politics were based on the libertarian philosophy of Murray Rothbard, a prominent thinker in the Austrian School of economics; a wing of the classical school of economics that has produced the essential conservative thinkers Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrick Hayek.
When I first conveyed the information about Bedell, I did so knowing that given the evidence about the sources of his political philosophy and the information contained on his website, that the Left would seize on this information in order to blame the Right and conservatives somehow for Bedell’s attack on the Pentagon. I did not think that there was any reason to defend Rothbard’s theories or to show whether Bedell had misinterpreted them or not. The fact that someone who was reportedly mentally ill decided to attack police officers at the Pentagon should speak for itself.
When I post such information my intent is to be as objective as possible, while I wait to see how far the Left will go in concocting their horror stories even before all the information is out. In the case of Bedell, the Left’s response was no different nor any more deliberative than the knee-jerk attacks blaming “right-wing” extremism for the death of census worker Bill Sparkman 2009 and the “falling down kamikaze” attacks committed by Joe Stack a few weeks ago. Without getting into a long list of examples, let this article by the Christian Science Monitor suffice to show the typical pre-fab template that is endemic to the liberal mind when it contemplates such events.
However, as has been proven here, Bedell was actually a registered Democrat.
Now, while it is tempting to rub their faces in it with this new information, much like I did in this post on the Sparkman case, like most conservatives, I am reluctant to play the blame game and infer by some massive stretch of credulity, that Bedell’s conspiracy theories and his registration with the Democratic Party proves that all such people and their philospohies are intrinsically violent and suggest they are a clear and present danger to the Republic.
Nevertheless, one must point out that the Left’s reactionary response to these three attacks and the fact they repeatedly followed the pre-fab template blaming “right wing extremism” without the evidence to prove it, suggests that there is something quite disturbed or disturbing about their world view. I think it has gotten to the point where we can see the results of living out the intellectual life on the squalls of theory, and it just may be that …dare I say… it has driven the Left a little crazy.
Is there any better explanation for those who continue to rely on an unproven invective and who, by doing so, are creating a very poisonous atmosphere for political debate in the country?
The Other McCain has written an article about this, and in it he suggests that in fact, the Left (yes, the entire Left) believes that their opposition is suffering from political psychosis. He writes:
Very little knowledge of Bedell’s personal story was necessary, however, for some people to construe his Pentagon attack as politically important. They had their explanations ready-made, thanks to an army of “experts” who had been warning since last year that political opposition to the Obama administration was inherently dangerous, rooted in irrational malevolence with an extraordinary potential for violence.
McCain then links back to an earlier article he published in the American Spectator where he discussed the origin of this belief amongst leftists. In December, Congressman Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island gave one of the most remarkable speeches in recent memory concerning health care reform. In that speech, Whitehouse relied on the theories contained in The Conspiratorial Style of American Politics by Richard Hofstadter written in 1965. He even read from the book while on the floor.
Ever since Obama was elected, the ideas contained in this book have been the preferred approach by the Left to attack conservative opposition to their agenda. There have been any number of left-wing pundits who have directly quoted from the book in attempts to explain the tea party and any number of others who clearly accept the book’s main premise. So much so, that it is clear that progressives use clinical psychology as a tool in their attacks against conservatives. For instance, here is one of the more..ahem.. extremist quotes from Whithouse’s floor speech:
Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action? All to break the momentum of our young president. They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The ‘birthers,’ the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militias and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Obama should exist.
As McCain points out in his AmSpec article, Hofstadter based the theories contained in The Conspiratorial Style on the ideas of Theodor Adorno of the Frankfurt School. Adorno, a committed Marxist and leading light in the doctrine of Critical Theory, developed the convenient concept hat all political opposition to left-liberalism was rooted in psychological maladjustment; in effect that conservatism was pathological. In fact, Adorno’s most influential work, “the altarpeice” of the Frankfurt School, was his book The Authoritarian Personality, where he developed a subjective scale through which he claimed to be able to rate how those with middle class, conservative, or Christian values would support a racist and a pre- fascist politics.
The obvious subjectivity of Adorno’s theory has always posed a problem for empiricists. Many have questioned whether “authoritarianism” is a personality trait that can be measured scientifically at all. But others have challenged the theory on other levels. Shortly after The Authoritarian Personality was published, researchers in psychology recognized that the Frankfurt School failed to recognize authoritarian tendencies on the Left. This led to a whole range of studies-not necessarily rooted in psycho-analysis- that attempted to analyze political ideologies, some of which showed that adherents to left-wing ideologies displayed a higher tendency or degree of authoritarianism than the right-wing.
Due to the left-wing bias in American academia, many students have heard about Adorno, the Frankfurt School and Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style. However, many have never been exposed to the field of psychological research that has shown left-wing ideology produces a high degree of authoritarianism. For instance, one of the most prominent studies was conducted in the 1950s by H.J. Eysneck. In his book The Psychology of Politics, Eysenck showed that the most authoritarian of the political groups studied were Communists. In other groundbreaking works, like The Uses and Abuses of Psychology and Sense and Nonsense, Eysenck showed how the application of psycho-analysis to social psychology was flawed. Eventually, Eysenck declared that Freudian psycho-analysis was a pseudo-science, and in light of the evidence, it should be dismissed as such. His 1992 book, Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire, details this idea.
Even though Eysenck’s findings should have called into question the theoretical foundations of books like The Paranoid Style long ago, other objective studies of political ideology should have also challenged the Left’s obduracy on this subject. For instance, a study conducted by Rokeach in 1960 developed a scale for dogmatism, a characteristic he found was possessed by those from all political ideologies. In another study, Balik and Kubat showed how left wing authoritarianism could be defined. Characteristics of left-wing authoritarianism feature:
1. A high degree of submission to authorities which attempt to subvert the authorities currently ruling in the given society.
2. Generalized aggression towards the established elites or those who support them.
3. A high degree of dedication to the norms accepted by the revolutionary authorities. Left-wing authoritarians are also dogmatic and ethnocentric. Chiefly, left-wing authoritarianism correlates with its right-wing counterpart.
So, even though I have a huge problem with the application of science, or as Eysenck would have it “pseudo-science,” to determining the nature of political belief and using it to predict political behavior, in light of the research, it is obvious that the idea of the authoritarian personality cannot be isolated to analyze only the political Right. That is intellectual dishonesty and politicized science writ large.
The Left has been using The Paranoid Style ad nauseum in order to bludgeon conservative criticism of Obama’s radical social agenda, and it is clear that their tendency towards dismissing the tea parties and other opponents as “crazy” and “dangerous” comes directly from the Marxist perspective bred in the laboratories of the Frankfurt School of Social Research. It is ironic that when leftist supporters of Obama bash conservatives for labeling him a socialist, they do this through an ideological prism developed by German Marxists.
As The Other McCain has shown, it is this ideological prism which is the source of the Left’s reactionary impulse to blame conservatives for any violence that appears political. However, as I have shown, there are many violent incidents that go unreported and are impliedly acceptable or considered “understandable” by the Left as violence is indeed, an aspect of its strategy.
It remains a mystery why conservatives haven’t acquainted themselves with the research on the authoritarian personality that has developed since The Frankfurt School’s original. In light of the development of the theory conservatives can use it to show how much the radical, violent and totalitarian modern Left is the really dangerous political movement in our times.
Because it extends beyond the mere ironic, conservatives should be making the case that the Left’s obduracy in repeatedly blaming conservatism for the recent attacks despite the evidence, is itself, a characteristic of the authoritarian personality discovered by social psychology. Instead of always being on the receiving end of high theory, conservatives could also use these discoveries to point out the authoritarian, violent, paranoid, and dangerous tendencies of various Marxist and leftist groups in history.
Need an example? How about this:
A lot was made about the pro-life ad that ran during the Superbowl sponsored by Focus on the Family and featuring college QB Tim Tebow and his mother. Feminist and pro-choice groups came out against the ad and a lot of ink was spilled in an attempt to counter what some groups said was its “dangerous” message.
Of course, the message wasn’t “dangerous” at all, it was simply pro-life.
But, I was personally struck by the imagery of the ad. Why was it necessary to show Tebow tackling his mother?
Not that I was offended by the ad and I certainly understood that the intent was supposed to show the “toughness” of his mother, but why was it necessary that the ad show him taking her down in a full tackle? I don’t get it?
If you ask me, the ad failed on its own, because without the outside controversy, I wouldn’t have really known what it was about. In the context of the ad, I would have been forced to ask, “Does Tebow have a form of Turet’s Syndrome where he compulsively tackles his mother without warning from time to time?” Remember, in the text of the ad, she does say “I still worry about his health” just before he rams into her.
But, worse, the ad was one of many that were overtly violent, and dare I say, one of a number that were openly misogynist. I know, as conservatives we’re not supposed to get all uptight about such things lest we wander into the land of political correctness, but my concerns are not what you think; I am concerned here about the state of the culture.
Now, I know that Super Bowl ads do not make up the whole of the cultural output of contemporary Western civilization. I am constantly reassured that there is plenty of great art being produced today, and any “end is nigh” hysteria about the state of cultural production does not take into account the quantities of what is being produced these days.
However, I personally believe that these commercials are saying something and that something is an ominous sign of a failing civilization. With all due respect to “A Clockwork Orange”, when “ultra-violence”provides us with humor and fun, and open hostility to women is tolerated within a culture, something wicked this way comes.
Someone has put together a montage of the violent ads in the Super Bowl and it is below.
This video led Joe Carter at First Thoughts to comment:
Apparently, advertisers get their ideas about how to market to us from watching the Ain’t-It-Funny-When-Someone-Gets-Hurt clips on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Which got me to thinking about the movie the Idiocracy. Released in 2006, to a very limited run in movie theatres, Idiocracy is a not-so-concealed commentary on contemporary American culture. Despite it being set in the “distant” future, the director, Mike Judge, was no doubt aiming his sights on a dumbed-down, overly consumeristic American culture, which he obviously believes (using poetic license and not a little hyperbole to make the point) is producing a population that within the span of a few generations will become so incompetent that even the most basic knowledge necessary for survival will be lost to it. In the movie, for instance, the fact that water, and not Gatorade, is needed to grow crops is high science even to the country’s political leaders.
In this idiotic America of the future, the most popular television program is a show called “Ow, My Balls!”It features a guy who finds various ways to abuse his own testicles and films the self-injury in real time.
So, I wonder: Are we there yet? I mean, if this kind of stuff is being used to sell products and TV shows and movies now (think Jackass), where will the culture be in a few years? And what does it mean for society and politics in general? I think history shows that societies in such a state of decline are neither predisposed nor capable of self-governance. But, we’ll leave that discussion for a a later post.
Along with the violence exhibited in this year’s Super Bowl ads, most of it aimed at men, there was a concomitant and equally disturbing theme running through some of the ads during the game: There seemed to be a hint of hostility towards women. The best ad that exemplifies this is below:
This one too:
Both ads express an appeal to power for men, and sort of frustration with women and domestic life.If marketers have determined that this is the experience of a good number of men in modern society, and they can use the experience in order to sell more stuff, what is it saying about the state of male/female relationships and the traditional family altogether? What does it mean for the American dream-at least for men?
The answer to that question may take a lot more posts, but in brief, it is my opinion that these ads express a kind of pre-Fascist consciousness. According to historian Edward Veith, Fascism arose out of a cultural milieu of Europe which included an alienation from the 19th century positivistic and materialist worldview. The reaction to this alienation bred a form of romanticism or, a sort modern pantheistic paganism that reasserted the value of the natural world and insisted that it be experienced not through reason, but through experience and emotion.
According to Veith and other historians, this renewal of paganism led to a very open hostility to the established order which expressed itself primarily by violence and ugliness through art. And as eith has written, the aesthetic of pre-Fascist and Fascist art is visible in the culture today:
In the 1930s, avant-garde artists shocked the bourgeoisie with their aesthetic theories that glorified violence and the release of primitive emotions. Today, if you like examples of early fascist aesthetics, simply go to the latest Hollywood blockbuster, turn on MTV, or go to a Heavy Metal concert.
Here you will see realized the fascists’ artistic ideals: pleasure from violence; the thrill of moral rebellion; the cult of the Aryan body. The grisly blood-letting of a slasher movie; the body-builder who takes the law into his own hands by machine-gunning his enemies; the masses of teenagers slam-dancing as Metallica sings `Scream, as I’m killing you!’–such art is the quintessence of the fascist aesthetic.
Well, I could go on. But it is also important to mention that culture and politics are inexorably intertwined. If our culture exhibits the “quintessence of the fascist aesthetic” I think we need to truly examine that culture and the state of our political life as it relates to human liberty. And I believe that phenomena like the personality cult that surrounds Barack Obama, is a part of something that is very wrong with Western civilization, but let’s leave that for future posts.
As for the culture, conservative philosopher and writer Roger Scruton has the cure:
“I think we are losing beauty, and there’s a danger that with it, we will lose the meaning of life!”
I just wonder if we aren’t too far gone for Beauty ever to have meaning in our lives again.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – A Supreme Court judge cleared Honduras’ military commanders Tuesday in the coup that toppled Manuel Zelaya, and hours later lawmakers approved amnesty for the ousted leader and all those involved in his removal.
The two measures — combined with Wednesday’s inauguration of a new president, conservative rancher Porfirio Lobo — appeared to spell the last chapter in the bitter political dispute that led to Honduras’ international isolation.
Supreme Court President Jorge Rivera ruled the country’s top generals did not abuse their power in ordering soldiers to escort Zelaya out of the country at gunpoint June 28.
“Prosecutors failed to prove the military chiefs acted with malice,” he said in a statement.
The prosecution’s case did not question Zelaya’s ouster itself — only whether the six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff went too far in flying him to Costa Rica after he was arrested by soldiers in a dispute over a constitutional referendum.
Those charged included the head of the armed forces, Gen. Romeo Vasquez, and five other top-ranking officers, including the air force chief, Gen. Javier Prince, and the navy commander, Gen. Juan Pablo Rodriguez. The abuse of power charge carries a sentence of three to six years in prison.
Rivera said in his ruling that the commanders were justified in sending Zelaya into exile because their actions were aimed at preserving peace in Honduras and they did not intend to cause the leftist president any harm.
Late Tuesday, Congress approved an amnesty for all those involved in the coup as well as for pending charges against Zelaya.
The body voted along party lines, with Zelaya’s Liberal Party abstaining and Lobo’s National Party voting in favor.
The amnesty, expected to take effect Wednesday, freed the military and other forces of any legal responsibility in the coup, and absolved Zelaya of charges of treason and abuse of power stemming from his campaign to change the constitution, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had ruled his plans for a referendum illegal.
Zelaya sneaked back into the country in September to reclaim the presidency and finish out his term, but has been holed up in the Brazilian Embassy since then, facing the threat of arrest if he leaves.
A deal has been brokered for Zelaya’s safe passage into exile Wednesday, the day Lobo is sworn in.
With the threat of arrest eliminated by the amnesty, Zelaya could apparently leave the embassy at will Wednesday.
But Honduran chief prosecutor Luis Alberto Rubi said Saturday that he was investigating Zelaya for allegedly embezzling at least $1.5 million in government funds. Such a charge would apparently not be covered by the amnesty.
Zelaya is scheduled to travel to the Dominican Republic as a private citizen Wednesday under an accord signed by Lobo and Dominican President Leonel Fernandez.
Lobo said he would accompany Fernandez to the embassy when Zelaya exits the diplomatic mission. “Can you imagine starting a term with a president locked up in an embassy … that is not fair for a president,” Lobo said.
Lobo said at a news conference Tuesday that he believes the United States will re-establish normal relations with Honduras as soon as he is sworn into office and that he is confident other countries will soon follow suit.
“With the United States, starting tomorrow everything will be normalized … they are going to state that to me officially tomorrow, when I am president,” Lobo said.
The U.S. Embassy in Honduras had no immediate comment on that claim.
Only the presidents of three other countries are scheduled to attend the inauguration: Taiwan, Panama and the Dominican Republic.