Deranged mass murderer Woodrow Wilson explains his philosophy of government, April 6, 1917.
Deranged mass murderer Vladimir Lenin, agreeing in principle with Wilson.
“What is government if words have no meaning?”
Jared Loughner reportedly posed that question to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a forum two years ago. Perhaps unwittingly, Loughner answered that question himself by murdering six people and attempting to murder fourteen others, including Giffords. In doing so, the young nihilist effectively privatized government’s central function.
Shorn of the sophistries that provide it with a moral disguise, pared down to its essentials, political government is the systematic use of exactly the same kind of criminal violence employed by Loughner, only on a much grander scale. This was illustrated the day before Loughner’s murderous rampage, when agents of the government ruling us used a remote-controlled drone operated from the safety of an office building in Nevada to murder six people in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region.
Americans were not admonished to observe a moment of chastened silence in memory of the victims of that exercise in criminal violence. This is, in part, because observances of that kind would quickly become tedious: Since 2008, Pakistan — a country with which the government ruling us is not formally at war — has endured at least 250 drone attacks, in which roughly 1,400 people have been killed.
According to the most conservative estimate of “collateral damage,” only a tithe of those slaughtered through drone strikes are “militants.”
Hundreds of civilians have likewise been massacred in the ongoing “surge” in Afghanistan, many of them in nighttime raids by “Special Operations Forces” — that is, death squads — whose behavior is not easily distinguishable from that of Jared Loughner. At least a hundred thousand civilians have been annihilated in the continuing war in Iraq, which was inaugurated for reasons just as delusional as anything that percolated in Loughner’s distressed mind.
For those who worship at the altar of the omnipotent State, mass murder of this kind is an exercise in sanctified violence. In a 2009 interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Bill Clinton– who has repeatedly denounced “anti-government” speech as a form of criminal sedition –defined terrorism as “killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority.” (Emphasis added.) What this means, of course, is that “killing and robbery and coercion” by duly authorized agents of the State isn’t terrorism, it’s policy.
You see, bombs and drones may demolish homes, but only “anti-government” words can harm us. This is why one of the political elite’s most urgent priorities is the control and criminalization of anti-government speech.
Thus Rep. Robert Brady, a Pennsylvania Democrat, announced that he would propose legislation criminalizing verbal or symbolic expression that could be perceived as conveying a threat against a federal official, or an incitement to violence against such exalted personages.
“The president is a federal official,” observed Brady. “You can’t do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator, or federal judge…. The rhetoric is just ramped up so negatively, so high, that we have got to shut this down.”
That last statement, of course, is an oblique but unmistakable threat: How else would federal officials “shut this down” without the involvement of armed functionaries authorized to kill those who would resist?
“All we’re doing is trying to protect ourselves,” simpered Brady, announcing that this new assault on what remains of the First Amendment would begin as soon as Congress re-convenes. He also reported that his proposal found support on both sides of the aisle. This isn’t surprising. For House Speaker John Boehner, the most important thing in the aftermath of the Safeway Massacre was to assert the primacy of the coercive class: “An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Such acts of violence have no place in our society.”
If Boehner’s intent was to denounce criminal violence against the innocent, why did Boehner italicize the sanctified status of Judge Roll and Congresswoman Giffords?
The same priorities were on display in the charges filed against Loughner in his arraignment: One count of attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, two counts of unlawfully killing a federal employee, and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. The crime committed in Tucson is covered by Arizona’s state laws, of course, and the victims — including all four who were murdered, not merely the federal judge and congressional aide — were all residents of the state.
But in death, as in life, those on the federal payroll are to be regarded as consecrated beings. This is why an attack them is not merely a crime of violence, but — in the words of FBI Director Robert Mueller — an “attack on our institutions and our way of life,” or, as totalitarian theologian Jim Wallis put it, an attack on the “soul of the nation.”
Wallis could be considered the Obama administration’s court prophet. Economist andinvestigative journalist Bill Anderson points out that neither Wallis nor his publication,Sojourners ever so much as mentioned — let alone condemned — the 1993 federal massacre at Mt. Carmel, in which scores of innocent people (including seventeen young children) were either immolated or slaughtered by automatic gunfire when they tried to escape their burning sanctuary.
“The people who were shot and immolated at the Branch Davidian location were not real people to Wallis, who sees literally everything in political symbolism,” observes Anderson. “So, the rule of thumb is that if he cannot find a way to put an incident into his worship of the State, it simply doesn’t happen.”
|Idolater: Rev. Bellows.|
Wallis has anointed himself an apostle of what he calls “God’s politics,” a perspective in which Mao’s totalitarian regime is considered the ideal “Christian state.” He is hardly a modern aberration; the concept of the state as “God walking on the earth” has been around since Hegel. Its first significant American expression may have come in the form of a February 1, 1863 sermon entitled “Unconditional Loyalty,” which was preached — and later published as a pamphlet — byRev. Henry W. Bellows, the immensely influential Unitarian minister of New York City’s All Souls Church.
Bellows insisted that Abraham the Destroyer, as “head of the nation,” was literally “a sacred person…. You cannot rudely assail the personal character or judgment of a Chief Magistrate, without weakening public respect for the office he holds…. To rally round the President — without question or dispute — is the first and most sacred duty of loyal citizens….”
Rev. Bellows extolled the U.S. President as a literally messianic figure; his text was the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, which contains the phrase “and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Those who condemned Lincoln’s crimes against the Constitution, he insisted, were made of the same wretched stuff from which were formed “the enemies of our Saviour, who were always flinging in his blessed face the authority of the Mosaic law.”
Bellows granted that Lincoln violated the Constitution in countless ways, but maintained that just as Jesus was the incarnate Lawgiver, Lincoln should be regarded as the living Constitution. Were the actual written document to prove an insuperable impediment to Lincoln’s divine mission, “the sooner it were abandoned, the better.”
But Rev. Bellows wasn’t content to hymn the praises of the Divine Lincoln and heap anathemas on the heads of those who failed to recognize his transcendent magnificence. Indeed, his purpose was to plead “the sacred cause of Government itself.” He shuddered with pious disapproval at the spectacle of “Government despised, sneered at and distrusted by its own children.”
Those in the employ of the Federal Government, Bellows insisted, are men “whose characters and reputation ought at this time to be under the shield of every patriotic citizen’s allegiance and gratitude.” Yes, at one point they were mere Mundanes, commonplace human beings burdened with the same weaknesses that afflict all of us. Now, however, “the lightning of God has touched them, and rendered them sacred,” Bellows pontificated. They are entitled not only to dispose of the lives and property of the lesser beings they rule, but to their praise and worship as well.
“Thus, brethren, do I commend to you the cause of unconditional loyalty,” Bellows summarized, issuing an idolatrous grand commission to his congregation to become “missionaries” of the divine State “wherever you go, and with whomsoever you are conversant. Let our women and children become the propagandists of unconditional loyalty. The country needs not only the fealty of her sons, but of her daughters who sing the songs of patriotic devotion at your hearth-stones…. Frown on every syllable of distrust, of wavering, of disrespect, that pollutes the air you breathe. Require of all your friends to be first the friends of the nation! Have nobody’s love that does not love the country more! Make a religion of patriotism.”
Bellows’ oration was one of many he made in the service of what he called the “holy war” to vindicate the power of the central government over those who had withdrawn their consent to be ruled by it. In coming decades, the themes and tropes he expressed would be embroidered and delivered by other acolytes of the Total State — in Russian, German, Italian, Korean, and other languages. And the Bellows Estate should collect a royalty payment every time critics of government are accused of fomenting “violence” by speaking irreverently of the Holy State.
Occasions like the Safeway Massacre should prompt condemnation of all criminal violence against the innocent. Instead, they prompt public liturgies that celebrate the Divine State and its monopoly on the “legitimate” use of lethal violence — and offer the President an opportunity to carry out his ceremonial function as Pontifex Maximus of the civil religion. Some people describe this kind of thing as an “Oklahoma City moment,” in which an episode of mass bloodshed inspires an altar call for Americans who have lost their faith in the divine State: The prodigals are given an opportunity to “Come to Molech,” as it were.
Shortly after winning re-election in November 1996, Bill Clinton confided to reporters on Air Force One that his political recovery began with the Oklahoma City bombing: “It broke a spell in the country as people began searching for our common ground again.” That “common ground,” as Rev. Bellows put it, is found in unqualified submission to the central government.
Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and former bagman for the IRA, plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime for Mundanes to carry firearms within 1000 feet of a federal official. This proscription wouldn’t apply to those employed to protect those sanctified personages, of course.
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