At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Herman Cain, Race, Sex, and the Left

posted by Jack Kerwick

GOP presidential frontrunner Herman Cain has had a rough couple of weeks.  Several women have come forth accusing Cain of sexual harassment.  Now, Cain may or may not be guilty of the charges that are leveled against him.  It is not my intention here to defend him.  In fact, I am not now nor have I ever been a Herman Cain supporter.  However, as a conservative, I am disposed to be skeptical of most things in life.  And there are few things as deserving of skeptical treatment as the phenomenon that has engulfed Cain since he has become a presidential frontrunner. 

This is the first reason for why I am disinclined to extend Cain’s accusers a sympathetic hearing: it is only now, once his party’s presidential nomination is within his reach, that they have come forward.

Second, not only have these women waited until Cain became a frontrunner before they decided to disclose these revelations, they waited well over a decade to do so!

Third, the publicity-hungry, Democratic-friendly Gloria Allred is representing at least one of Cain’s accusers.  This fact alone suggests that the Cain “scandal” is politically motivated.  When, however, it is taken in conjunction with the foregoing considerations, it all but compels this conclusion.

There is another reason, though, to account for my suspicions that, whatever may or may not have happened in Cain’s past, this episode is largely a plot hatched by his political opponents.

To put it bluntly, Cain is black and, thus far, his accusers are white.

Beyond this, some of them—including and especially Sharon Bialik, the woman who is the first to put a face to the sexual harassment charges—are white women with blonde hair.

Now, the base of the Republican Party remains predominantly white.  From the leftist’s perspective, white Republicans are even more preoccupied with “racist” delusions than are whites generally.  This explains, according to the leftist, why white Republicans love Herman Cain: he is a black man “who knows his place.” 

This, at any rate, is what MSNBC analyst Karen Finney said during an exchange on Martin Bashir’s television show.  “One of the things about Herman Cain is, I think that he makes that white Republican base of the party feel okay, feel like they are not racist because they can like this guy.”  Finney continued to say that she believes that Cain has given the Republican Party base “a free pass” because they view him as “a black man who knows his place.” 

Janeane Garofalo, on more than one occasion, has attempted to reinforce this notion of an incorrigibly “racist” Republican Party and its relationship to Cain.  While speaking with Keith Olbermann, she asserted: “Herman Cain is probably well liked by some of the Republicans because” such support on their part “hides the racist elements of the Republican Party.”  So that no one would miss her point, Garofalo was blunt: “[The] Conservative movement and tea party movement [are] one and the same.”   That is, they are “racist” against blacks. 

From the perspective of the leftist, then, Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Partiers generally dislike blacks—except for when those blacks, like Herman Cain, “know their place.”  When blacks like Cain come along and defy those threatening stereotypes concerning blacks that “racist” Republicans regard as self-evident truths, then they exploit him in order to prove that they aren’t “racist” after all.

But now, so goes the logic of the leftist’s vision of Republicans, the latter will have a change of heart.  Cain would have only appeared to Republicans to have undermined the worst of black stereotypes.  But the women—white women—who now alleged that Cain made unwanted sexual advances toward them will surely throw this into doubt, for Cain sounds like precisely the sort of black man that they have always feared, a black man with an insatiable sexual drive and an irrepressible attraction to white women.

On November 14, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and Catharine A. MacKinnon co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times in which they touch upon this theme of the intersection of black male sexuality, miscegenation, and white hostility.  As is clear from the title of their essay, “Why Herman Cain is Unfit to Lead,” the authors are no fans of Cain’s.  However, they caution against casually dismissing Cain’s claim to be, like Clarence Thomas two decades earlier, the victim of a “high tech lynching.”  They write: “It would be wrong to dismiss the appeal of his defense, given the common dimension of public sexual humiliation and how deeply ‘lynching’ resonates as a metaphor for black men in the real context of the sexual politics of racial hierarchy.” 

That is, whites generally and white men in particular have always reserved the harshest treatment for black men who insist on pursuing white women.

Leftist MSNBC contributor Toure is even more explicit on this score.  While on Martin Bashir’s program, he remarked: “We’re going to see how open the GOP is to this black—their ‘new black friend’ when they find out he is harassing blonde women as opposed to black women.”  The idea here is that because this “sort of thing,” i.e. “predatory black sexuality,” is still “very frightening,” “very threatening,” inAmerica (emphasis mine).

Another MSNBC contributor, Karen Finney, seconded her colleague’s sentiments.  Of Republicans, she commented: “Look, I think it will be interesting to see if these guys rally around Herman Cain with as much voracity as they have these last couple of weeks now that it’s clear that a whole other layer of black sexuality has been infused into this.”  Finney is confident that the fact that these are “white women” and Cain is a “black man” is not bound to sit well with Republicans—or most whites, for that matter.

Michael Tomasky, contributor to The Daily Beast, argued before anything was known about Cain’s accusers that if the latter were black, this wouldn’t hurt Cain in the least, for “white conservative voters are less likely to care what black people do amongst themselves.”  If, though, his accusers turn out to be white, then he can count on losing much support, and “if they’re blonde,” he will lose that much more support (emphasis mine).  Granted, Tomasky’s article—“The Cain Sexual-Harassment Game”—is satirical.  But it is obvious to all who read it that Tomasky sees his hypothetical thought experiment as embodying real truths about Republicans and blacks.         

We know, of course, that when it comes to the issue of white Republicans and Herman Cain—like when it comes to most issues—the leftist is self-delusional.  Yet it is precisely because leftists do think this way about white Republicans, race, and sexuality that invests my theory that the Cain “scandal” is politically conceived with a measure of plausibility.  

It becomes even more plausible, though, when we recognize that the interracial character of this episode serves another crucial function.  It kills two birds with one stone, if you will.  Not only can it be made to alienate white Republicans from Cain; it can serve in alienating blacks, black women specifically, from him as well.

As Thomas Sowell has written of Cain: “My gosh, he is certainly one of us [i.e blacks], far more so than Barack Obama [.]”  The Democratic Party establishment is not at all comfortable with the prospect of a black man raised in the old South during Jim Crow going up against Barack Obama, a much younger bi-racial candidate who enjoyed a relatively privileged life coming of age in plushHawaii.  A brief perusal of their respective histories suggests that Cain is more “authentically” black than Obama.

This, at least, is what leftists think the rest of us think.  So, for the sake of precluding that perception, they depict Cain as a black man for whom black women aren’t good enough.  That he has been married to a black woman for many years, far from detracting from this message, actually strengthens it, for his wife’s is the face of the black women everywhere who he has disrespected and denigrated by pursuing white women.  Cain, blacks can now know, really is “the sell-out Uncle Tom” that they have suspected.

To reiterate, my point here is neither to exculpate Cain from the allegations made against him nor to convict the left of foul play.  Rather, I simply wanted to present a theory as to why the left, if it was interested in framing Herman Cain or any black Republican, would choose to do so in terms of the kind of scandal at the center of which Cain currently stands.

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

An Honest Look at Mitt Romney

posted by Jack Kerwick

From the time the GOP presidential primary contest got under way, Mitt Romney has been heralded in the media as the frontrunner.  Since its crushing losses in ’06 and ’08 and the ensuing rise of both Barack H. Obama as well as the Tea Party movement, the Republican Party has claimed to have learned the error of its ways.  It alone is the party of “limited” or “constitutional government,” the party of liberty.  Yet during its reign of power under the tenor of George W. Bush, it not only abjectly failed to reduce the size and scope of the federal government; it significantly expandedWashingtonD.C.’s control over our lives. Now, the GOP promises us, it will “return to its roots.” 

From the time the GOP presidential primary contest got under way, the media has treated Mitt Romney’s nomination as virtually inevitable.  How, though, does the idea of an allegedly repentant Republican Party renewing its commitment to individual liberty square with the idea of Mitt Romney as this party’s presidential nominee?

To put this question another way, is Romney a credible standard bearer of the party of “limited government?”

To answer this question, we need to look not so much as what Romney says now, during a Republican primary race.  We need, rather, to look at what he has said and done throughout his career.

Abortion

The first thing of which to take note is that in spite of his assurances that he is opposed to abortion, for most of his political career he has been a proponent of women’s “right to choose.”  Mind you, it isn’t just that Romney refused to ally himself with the opponents of abortion; he actively sought to counter their efforts. 

In 1994, while he was running for the Senate in Massachusetts, Romney was photographed at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser.  That same (election) year, he insisted that “we should sustain and support” Roe v. Wade, as well as “the right of a woman to make that choice” to pursue an abortion or not.  Whatever Romney’s or anyone else’s “personal beliefs” regarding the wrongness of abortion, he adamantly rejected the possibility that it would be appropriate to interject them “into a political campaign.” 

When Romney’s opponent in the Senate race, Ted Kennedy, accused him essentially of flip flopping on the abortion issue—Romney was “multiple choice,” according to Kennedy—he replied that among his most cherished beliefs is the belief that he must not “impose my beliefs on other people.”  Upon losing “a dear, close family relative” who had “passed away from an illegal abortion,” Romney said that he, his mother, and his family “have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter [i.e. abortion].”  So that there would be no doubts regarding the strength of his conviction on this issue, Romney unequivocally asserted: “And you will not see me wavering on that, or being multiple-choice, thank you very much.” 

As of 1994, then, Romney confessed to having been a lifelong advocate of “abortion rights” for women.  By 2002—when he ran for the governorship of Massachusetts—things had not changed in this respect.  Romney pledged to “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose” and his platform reiterated his stance on this topic: “The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one.  Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not [those of] the government’s.”

As Romney relays the story now, all of this changed for him in 2004 when he had an encounter with Harvard University stem cell researcher, Douglas Melton.  When Melton explained to Romney that destroying two week-old embryos via therapeutic cloning was unobjectionable, the governor supposedly had an epiphany.  Turning to his chief of staff, Beth Myers, Romney told her that “we have cheapened the sanctity of life by virtue of the Roe v. Wade mentality.” 

Melton, however, takes exception to Romney’s account of their meeting.  There was, he insists, no talk of killing embryos at all.  That a year later, in 2005, Romney underscored that he was “absolutely committed to” his “promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice” suggests that perhaps there is more than a grain of truth in what Melton says.

So up until he decided to run for the presidency in 2008, Mitt Romney was essentially “pro-choice.” 

Unfortunately, many Republicans and self-declared conservatives will miss the main significance of this.  From the perspective of a champion of “limited government,” the primary problem isn’t that Romney was effectively “pro-choice.”  The problem is that he favored usurping the right of individual states to negotiate this most controversial of issues for themselves.  Romney defended an obscene power grab on the part of the federal government, a concentration of government authority over an even greater part of our lives.

Yet this was far from the only time that Romney betrayed his sympathy for Big Government. 

Education

Romney, like most Republicans, supports “school choice” and charter schools.  And, like most Republicans, he wants to preserve the Department of Education.  There is no inconsistency here.  The rhetoric of “choice” is politically appealing, but when it comes to this issue of education, Republicans are no more interested in depriving the federal government of the role in education that it has assumed over the decades than are Democrats.  Romney, furthermore, is actually a fan of the Department of Education.  In the GOP primary race of 2008, Romney remarked that he had come to “see that the Department of Education can actually make a difference.”

Oh, and he is a proponent of “No Child Left Behind,” a law that has served to strengthen the federal government’s grip over state schools.

The Second Amendment

It turns out that Romney hasn’t been all that much friendlier to those committed to protecting the Second Amendment than he has been to the unborn and the champions of states’ rights. 

While campaigning for the governorship of Massachusettsin 2002, Romney both acknowledged his state’s strict gun laws and expressed his belief in them.  He was unequivocal: “We do have tough gun laws inMassachusetts; I support them.  I won’t chip away at them.  I believe they protect us and provide for our safety.”

And lest one object that Romney was just governing a specific state in accordance with the prevailing sensibilities of the majority of its residents, we would be well served to recall that during his Senate campaign, he endorsed “the Brady Bill”—a federal piece of legislation requiring all would-be purchasers of firearms to wait five days before they can follow through with their purchases.  He commented that his decision to do so was “not going to make me the hero of the NRA [National Rifle Association].”  But that was fine with Romney, for as he proudly noted, “I don’t line up with the NRA.”

In 2008, on the eve of the declaration of his candidacy for president, Romney acquired a membership with none other than the NRA. 

Other Domestic Issues

Government Subsidies and Industry

Romney supported the government’s bailout of the automobile industry.  Not only, though, does he call for the federal government to subsidize this industry, he also believes that it ought to continue subsidizing the agricultural industry.  Romney wasn’t always this sympathetic to the latter, though.  While he was running for the Senate in 1994, he demanded what he referred to as “the virtual elimination” of the Department of Agriculture.  However, in 2007, when he was pushed on this point, one of hisIowa spokespersons assured farmers that “Governor Romney believes that investing in agriculture is [the] key to our economy and families.”

Romney has also made known his fondness for the federal government’s indispensable role in “investing” in technology.  For Romney, it isn’t enough that, to his own admission, “we as a country already invest an enormous amount…in defense technology, space technology,” and “health”; we need as well “to invest in some of the emerging technologies that are important at a basic science level such as fuel cell technology, power generation, materials science, [and] automotive technology.”  The federal government must also combat the “moral pollution” that engulfs America’s children on a daily basis.  To this end, Romney wants to coerce home computer manufacturers to install a device that will permit parents to block objectionable content.  According to Romney, “We have to recognize that where we invest as a nation, both from a government standpoint but also from a private standpoint, those are the areas we’ve been most successful” (emphasis mine). 

Global Warming

Romney doesn’t just believe in “global warming;” he thinks as well that human beings contribute significantly to it.  In and of itself, this belief is neither here nor there, but as we know all too well, believers in “global warming”—especially when they are politicians, like Romney, with dreams of amassing vast quantities of power—invariably jump all too easily from this belief in an impending apocalypse to the conclusion that “we must do something to thwart it.”

And this, of course, means that we need bigger and bigger government.

When he was governor ofMassachusetts, Romney authored a 72 point “Climate Protection Plan” and supported the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—both measures designed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. 

Though he has thus far said little about it, you can bet the bank that as president, Romney would be ever so eager to combat “global warming” at the federal level.

Health Care

There is very little that hasn’t already been said concerning “Romneycare.”  Still, it bears repeating: Romney’s socialized health care scheme for the citizens ofMassachusettswas instrumental in the formation of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”—i.e. “Obamacare.” 

Regrettably, for Romney, his attempt to establish a morally relevant difference between his health care plan and that of Obama’s has failed abysmally.  Certainly, there is indeed a difference between policies enacted at a state level and those enacted at the national level.  But much of “Romneycare” is funded by the federal government.  That is, the citizens of the 49 states—American taxpayers living outside of Massachusetts—have been made to part with their resources so as to finance “Romneycare.”  This much Romney never mentions. 

Furthermore, in the hard cover edition of his book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, Romney said that he would like to do for all of America’s citizens vis-à-vis healthcare what he did for the citizens ofMassachusetts.  Since “Obamacare” became woefully unpopular, the paperback version of his book has been released.  Only this version is slightly different from its predecessor inasmuch as it omits this line.

Foreign Policy

Romney is no different from any other Republican inasmuch he enthusiastically embraces a robust, activist military, a military that is engaged in exporting “Democracy” throughout the Middle East and (potentially) beyond.  He supported invading Iraq as well as “the surge” of 2008.  Romney doesn’t deny that we continue to face real challenges in Iraq, but he attributes these problems, not to the fact that we are there, but to our government’s “mismanagement” of the situation. 

That is, like all proponents of Big Government, it is never the government itself that accounts for the disasters that occur when government seeks to intervene in this or that; it is always specific government office holders that are responsible.  It isn’t that government cannot get the job done correctly; it is that government just has not been able to do so thus far. 

Conclusion

There is much more that can be said about Romney.  But I think that what has been said should suffice to convince readers that Romney is as devoted a lover of Big Government as anyone.

An Honest Look at Newt Gingrich

posted by Jack Kerwick

Imagine a world in which Americans weren’t remotely as susceptible to media manipulation as they currently are.  Let’s call it “America2.”  In such a world, Americans would be more disposed to “think for themselves,” as we say, to think just a bit critically about the images and sound bites to which they are bombarded daily.  The measured skepticism with which they would treat the media, especially its coverage of politics, would cultivate within them intellectual and moral virtues that, in reality, are sorely lacking among a good portion of the electorate.  In this possible world, Americans would be far more fortified against intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy than are their counterparts in the real world.

For example, self-identified Republicans would know that when they loudly and passionately affirm “limited government” and “individual responsibility,” it is because they and those who aspire to represent them are genuinely committed to such goods.  Safeguarding liberty would be their top priority.

Our America, however, is a far more confused place.

Let us take Newt Gingrich, to begin with.  Gingrich is now in second place in some national polls.  In other words, today, in 2011, in the Age of Obama and the Tea Party movement—just that time when the Republican Party is supposedly amending its ways by returning to its “conservative” principles—long time establishment Republican Newt Gingrich  is regarded as a viable presidential candidate by the base of his party.

While there can be no denying that Gingrich is deserving of credit for some of his accomplishments as House Speaker, neither can there be any denying that he is as committed a proponent of Big Government—i.e. a system within which the federal government is ultimately the supreme authority—as anyone.  To put this point another way, Gingrich is most definitely not a champion of the liberty that the framers of the Constitution sought to bequeath to their posterity.

As far as foreign policy is concerned, Gingrich conceives of the United Statesgovernment as an agent by which the entire world may be fundamentally transformed.  While interviewing with Christiane Amanpour on ABC’s This Week back in February, Gingrich called for America’s promotion of “democracy” around the globe.  “I think we should be pressuring everywhere, includingRussia, including China, including Cuba,” he told the host.  “We should be pushing steadily and saying, ‘America stands for freedom’” (emphasis mine). 

Gingrich, not unlike both the vast majority of his colleagues in the Republican Party as well as his leftist rivals, is preoccupied with visions of grandeur.  He shares none of America’s Founders’ skepticism regarding large concentrations of authority and power, a skepticism that our Constitution both reflects and codifies into the supreme law of the land. Rather, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives desires a tireless, activist government, a government that, whether the world wants it to or not, will make it “safe” for Democracy. 

Gingrich also supports “foreign aid.”  During the same ABC appearance in which he called for theUnited Statesto “democratize” the planet, Gingrich reiterated his endorsement of “foreign aid.”  Although he expressed dismay with the current government-to-government model, urging instead the transfer of American resources to non-governmental organizations, it is clear that he has no objections at all to the federal government’s deployment of American taxpayers’ resources in time, energy, and money to foreign lands. 

Domestically speaking, Gingrich is no less an advocate of an omnipresent federal government. 

In 2003, he supported the controversial Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act that created the Medicare Part D prescription drugs benefit program.  As the “non-partisan” site Politifact.com states, this new program expanded government “hugely.”  In 2010, 34.5 million people availed themselves of this benefit, and by 2015 that number is expected to soar to 40.5 million.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, through last year, the entitlement had cost $203 billion.  By 2015, at $391 billion, it will have cost nearly twice as much.  Politifact quotes Paul Van de Water, a senior fellow at theDemocratic-friendlyCenteron Budget and Policy Priorities.  Van de Water asserts that the creation of Medicare D marked “the biggest expansion of the program since the beginning.” 

On May 15 of this year, during an interview on Meet the Press, Gingrich unabashedly reiterated his long held belief that “all of us have a responsibility to pay—to help pay for health care.”  We could fulfill this collective “responsibility,” he said, by way of either an individual mandate to purchase health insurance—precisely that feature of “Obamacare” that renders it anathema to the vast majority of Americans—or a requirement to post a bond that would insure health coverage—which doesn’t differ from the mandate in any morally meaningful way.

In 2005, together with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gingrich proposed the 21st Century Health Information Act.  If enacted into law, this bill would have authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make “health information technology grants” as well as serve “other purposes,” according to Govtrack.us.  That is, it would have strengthened the federal government further.

Gingrich is in favor of eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency.  However, this isn’t so as to trim down our bloated federal government.  Gingrich, rather, seeks to replace the EPA with an agency of his own imaginings, what he refers to as the “Environmental Solutions Agency.”  In short, his objective is to substitute one bureaucracy for another.  That the latter would allegedly be more market-oriented, more accommodating of “choice,” is neither here nor there: whether the federal government owns “the means of production” or whether it simply seeks to oversee it, it is the federal government—not the private sector—that is in control. 

Ever the environmentalist, Gingrich also supports a “flex fuel” mandate for all automobiles sold in theUnited States.  Ostensibly, such a course of action would lower fuel prices while improving the environment.  For Gingrich to take this position, though, belies his reputation as a man of good economic sense.  As the Cato Institute’s Jerry Taylor says, “Congress can no more guarantee that fuel prices will go down from now until the end of time than it can guarantee a robust sex life for fat, balding, middle-aged men.”  If Congress enacted this mandate into law, it would prove that it “is not a serious legislative body.” 

In 2008 Gingrich joined with Nancy Pelosi in ad for government “leadership” vis-à-vis “climate change.”  This dynamic duo “demanded” of the country’s “leaders” that they do something immediately to address this crisis.  The ad, it is worth noting, was sponsored by the Alliance for Climate Protection—an organization founded by none other than Al Gore.  Pelosi exploited this appearance with Gingrich to push for “Cap and Trade.”  Conveniently, Gingrich now refers to this as among the biggest mistakes of his career.

Another decision over which Gingrich now admits to having regrets was his decision to endorse left-leaning Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava over her Conservative Party rival, Doug Hoffman, in New York’s “special” 23rd congressional district race of 2009.  

Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi aren’t the only leftists with whom Gingrich has partnered during his career.  He joined forces with, of all people, Al Sharpton to promote “educational reform.”  If Sharpton found Gingrich a worthy ally in his cause, it is clear that this cause in essence amounted to the promotion of ever bigger government.  Even if Gingrich, not unlike most Republicans, advanced school vouchers and charter schools, contrary to appearances, these do nothing to liberate education from the dominance of the federal government.  The language of “choice” appeals to Americans.  But the truth of the matter is that until the Department of Education is abolished and the federal government recognizes that education lies well beyond its constitutionally-defined jurisdiction, our educational system will remain subject to its power.

In 2008, while he initially rejected the bank bailouts, Gingrich eventually, albeit, “reluctantly,” came to support them.

While some of Gingrich’s ideas for the country may be less destructive of liberty than those of others, there is no circumventing the ugly truth that he is an establishment Republican through and through.  Newt Gingrich, that is, is just another Big Government politician who will do nothing to weaken the federal government’s control over our lives.  

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

originally published at The New American 

 

Libertarians and OWS: Useful Idiots

posted by Jack Kerwick

The Occupy Wall Street movement appears to be growing.  And it is growing ever more disruptive.

From the losses suffered by many a small business to the desecration of property, from the destabilization of communities to violent clashes with law enforcement officers, the phenomenon simply known as “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS) is becoming a force to be reckoned with in cities across America—and beyond.

As it turns out, there is no small measure of self-identified “libertarians” who populate the ranks of the Wall Street “occupiers.”    

For instance, the libertarian-friendly website, lewrockwell.com, features a couple of youtube videos of a “Captain Midnight,” a self-declared Ron Paul supporter currently “occupying” Wall Street.  The well known site lavishes praise upon this young man for the eloquence with which he articulates his case for abolishing the Federal Reserve as well as his familiarity with such libertarian figures as Henry Hazlitt, Murray Rothbard, and Lew Rockwell himself. 

There are still other sympathetic postings regarding OWS to be found at lewrockwell.com. 

In “What OWS is all about, Herman,” Michael S. Rozeff blasts Herman Cain for disparaging the “occupiers” of Wall Street while aligning himself with “the establishment” and opposing “change.”  In “Let Them Eat Keller,” Michael Scheer takes New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller to task for being critical of OWS.  Scheer charges Keller with being consumed by “the arrogance of disoriented royal privilege.”

Over at the Raleigh Libertarian Examiner, in “Defining the Occupy Wall Street Movement,” Brian Irving likens OWS to the Tea Party movement inasmuch as it is supposedly comprised mainly of folks who have, justifiably, lost faith in their government.  He notes differences—namely, the Tea Partiers attribute blame to “corrupt politicians and an overbearing government” while Wall Street “occupiers,” though disgusted with politicians, hold as well “corporations” responsible for our ills.  Still,Irving tries to reveal the ideological diversity of OWS by pointing out that among its constituents are unabashed Ron Paul supporters parading signs that read “End the Fed” and “Ron Paul for President.”          

And libertarian Jesse Ventura has recently made an appearance at OWS.

Speaking as a certain kind of libertarian, albeit, a conservative libertarian, I find all of this more than a bit disturbing.

Unlike their leftist comrades-in-arms, the dragon upon which the aforementioned libertarians set their sights is not “capitalism” per se, but “crony capitalism.”  It isn’t the lack of regulation and the allegedly laissez faire manner in which Wall Street bankers pursue their “obscene” profits that arouse their anger but, rather, the fact that these bankers are in cahoots with a corrupt government that continued propping them up with tax payers’ dollars long after they should have folded.

The libertarian’s anger is warranted, for sure.  Corporate welfare is as immoral an enterprise for the government of a civil association to embark upon as is taxpayer-subsidized welfare of any sort.  And it isn’t just immoral but unconstitutional for the federal government of the United States of America to do such a thing.  But this being so, it seems obvious that libertarians—and, for that matter, every member of the movement in question—have selected for themselves the wrong stage on which to enact their displays of outrage: if territory must be “occupied,” it is not the financial capital of the world that should be seized, but the capital of the nation.

In short, it is the government that makes corporate welfare and “crony capitalism” possible. 

So, the first error on the part of these libertarians is one that they share with the leftists of their movement.  If we had to give it a name, we may call it “symbolic confusion.” 

Regrettably, this is far from the only intellectual transgression of which the libertarians of OWS are culpable, and perhaps the least serious.

Leftists despise the system of private property that America’s Founding Fathers bequeathed to their posterity—what they crudely call “capitalism.”  Thus, it is eminently sensible that they should throw such intellectual virtues as honesty and consistency to the wind in ignoring the principle role played by government in bringing about the economic collapse of 2008 and the exorbitant bailouts that ensued in order to target Wall Street. 

But libertarians are champions of free markets.  Libertarians know that America has been able to emerge as the preeminent economic super power of the world for the same exact reason that it has been able to emerge as “the land of the free”: its severely limited government.  It is the liberty thatAmerica’s constitutional arrangements secure for her citizens that gives rise to its standing as an economic powerhouse, and it is Wall Street that has been about as glaring a signifier of this as anything else.

What this implies is that in participating in OWS, libertarians actually undercut their own deepest convictions.  It has been said that a picture is worth more than a thousand words.  In politics, even if in few precincts beyond that, this is actually an understatement, for there, a single picture is worth more than thousands and thousands and thousands of words.  By openly railing against America’s financial institutions, libertarians, then, reveal themselves to the world to be of one mind with socialists and communists—i.e. their mortal nemeses.  Like leftists, they appear to be saying that the pursuit of one’s material self-interests and the freedom from an intrusive government that renders this pursuit possible are the enemies of all that is True, Good, and Beautiful.

Again, a lover of liberty need not be a fan of the banking class in order for this point to resonate with him.  Nor must he regard Wall Street as the only, or even the most accurate, symbol of American economic liberty.  The point, simply, is that from the perspective of the rest of the planet, the streets ofAmericamay not literally be paved with gold, but they are worth an awful lot—a fact owing to their proximity to the Mother of all streets: Wall Street.  Furthermore, even in reality, the staggering affluence that Wall Street emblematizes is the product, not of the federal government, but of entrepreneurs and other laborious enterprisers.

In “occupying” Wall Street along with hordes of the despisers of liberty, the libertarian, ironically, sweeps his own legs out from under himself.  His actions invite—no, demand—greater concentrations of government to deal with “the greed” and “corruption” of bankers.  In so doing, he calls for an even greater diminution of individual liberty. 

The leftist may be intellectually and morally bankrupt, but at least he knows what he wants and doesn’t hesitate to pursue it—by whichever means necessary.  On the other hand, the libertarian of OWS has proven himself to be the most useful of idiots.

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.

originally published at American Thinker

 

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Libertarianism and "The Militarization" of the Police
A line that has become all too common in some libertarian circles is that the key problem, or even a problem, in Ferguson, Missouri is a problem facing the rest of the nation. This problem is what these libertarians have taken to calling “the militarization” of the police. The charge that

posted 2:20:30pm Aug. 24, 2014 | read full post »

"Libertarians" and "Racism"
In the wake of the shooting death of a young black man by a white Ferguson, Missouri police officer, it is to no one’s surprise that the usual suspects on the left are screaming “racism” from the rooftops. Infinitely more disturbing for the lover of liberty is that ever growing legions of

posted 9:25:48am Aug. 24, 2014 | read full post »

A Tale of Two Fatal Police Shootings
As if the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri aren’t bad enough, now we have the situation in Salt Lake City, Utah with which to contend. As the whole country knows, for the last week or so, large groups of blacks have taken to the streets of Ferguson in order to express their outrage over the sho

posted 8:34:16pm Aug. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Food for Thought on Ferguson
To the proliferation of articles on the shooting death of black Missourian Michael Brown via white police officer, Darren Wilson, I register the following considerations. Firstly, at this time when black underclass thugs are ruining the quality of life in but another once- decent town while their

posted 5:31:07pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Ferguson and Racial Irrationality on the Right
Thomas Sowell once noted that few topics so tap the irrational excesses of a person’s intellect as that of race.  At the very least, contemporary race-related discussions are almost invariably ridden with irrationality. The issue of Ferguson, Missouri is but the latest exhibition of this all t

posted 1:57:11pm Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »


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