Newt Gingrich, lapsed adulterer, impenitent warmonger, and self-appointed “teacher of civilization,” has excommunicated Ron Paul and his supporters from the ranks of human decency. A similar anathema has been pronounced by left-wing heresy hunter David Neiwert — a former sidekick to the degenerate fraud named Morris Dees – and many other self-appointed political “watchdogs.”
Those banishment decrees condemn Dr. Paul and his supporters for rejecting the fundamental tenet of statism – the belief that officially sanctioned lethal coercion is the key to social progress.
“I think Ron Paul’s views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American,” insisted Gingrich in a CNN interview. Although Gingrich alluded to the manufactured controversy over decades-old newsletters published by Dr. Paul that contained supposedly offensive material dealing with matters of political correctness, Gingrich’s chief complaint – which he has reiterated on many occasions – is that Dr. Paul seeks to end America’s interventionist foreign policyand the God-awful wars that policy entails.
Gingrich has also dismissed Dr. Paul’s constituency as being limited to “people who want to legalize drugs.” Unlike Gingrich – who used government-proscribed canabinoids as a young adult – Ron Paul has never used such illicit substances nor condoned their non-medical use, while understanding that no government has the moral right to punish individuals who consume them as they see fit. In 1988 – at a time when, according to Gingrich and other detractors, Paul was peddling racist propaganda – Dr. Paul was denouncing the racist roots of the so-called War on Drugs. Gingrich, on the other hand, has endorsed the execution of first-time drug offenders who possess trivial amounts of narcotics.
For Gingrich and the dominant militarist wing of the GOP, it is rank indecency to oppose the mass murder of foreigners through aggressive war overseas, and to leave individuals free to choose what mood-altering substances they consume, if any. For “Progressives” of Neiwert’s ilk, it is similarly uncivilized to treat Americans as adults capable of managing their own affairs, and choosing their own associations, free from the directives of bureaucrats and social engineers whose mandates are backed by the threat of deadly force.
Neiwert volubly disapproved of foreign war when George W. Bush was in power, but found other things to complain about once Obama ascended to the Imperial Purple. A deeper problem than such facile and predictable hypocrisy is the insistence – which Neiwert shares with many other figures on the academic Left — that war and military occupation are morally superior to peaceful, market-centered action in dealing with institutionalized bigotry.
“The hand-wringing about whether Paul is a racist or not really is beside the point,” declared Neiwert in a typically sanctimonious outpouring. “Labels really become inconsequential when the real issue is how their politics would play out on the ground if they achieved power.” He denounces a supposed “monstrous bind spot in libertarianism – namely, their apparent belief that the only element of American political life capable of depriving Americans of their rights is the government….”
Actually, the core libertarian tenet is the non-aggression axiom (an application of the Golden Rule), which recognizes that it is an unalloyed wrong for anybody to commit aggressive violence against the person or property of another human being. Libertarians do not exempt private actors from that principle. We refuse to exempt the government from it, as well – and this is what is deemed unacceptable by collectivists of Neiwert’s ilk, who believe that all good things in life begin with officially sanctioned coercion.
Consider, for example, Neiwert’s claim that it was libertarian-leaning conservatives (or their philosophical ancestors) in the aftermath of the War Between the States, who “led the resistance to Reconstruction that overturned the verdict of the war….”
Neiwert’s use of the term “verdict” in this fashion resonates with the view expressed by Thrasymachus, the notorious sophist depicted in Plato’s Republic – namely, that “in all states there is the same principle of justice, which is the interest of the government; and as the government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable conclusion is, that everywhere there is one principle ofjustice, which is the interest of the stronger.”
In Neiwert’s moral universe, only incorrigibly hateful people question “verdicts” imposed through mass slaughter and property destruction.
The “Reconstruction,” it must be remembered, was an undisguised military occupation of the conquered South, in which “wholesale corruption, intimidation of new voters by the thousands and tens of thousands, political assassinations, riots, [and] revolutions … were the order of the day,” as Dr. Paul Leland Haworth wrote in his 1912 study Reconstruction and Union, 1865-1912.
The objective that inspired Reconstruction was not a vision of civic equality, but rather a desire to destroy the troublesome Southern aristocracy, which was seen as an impediment to the designs of the Northern corporatist elite.
“I was satisfied, and have been all the time, that the problem of war consists in the awful fact that the present class of men who rule the South must be killed outright rather than in the conquest of territory,” wrote General Sherman to his wife (in a letter quoted in Victor Davis Hanson’s book The Soul of Battle). In what Hanson approvingly called Sherman’s war of “terror” against the South, the General warned that those who refused to display a properly submissive posture would be “crushed like flies on a wheel.”
|“Good Indians,” by Sherman’s definition, at Wounded Knee.|
Sherman, and his fellow state terrorist Philip Sheridan, would follow the same approach in dealing with the Plains Indians, who also had the temerity to claim a measure of independence from the supposed authority of the Central Government. Neiwert, interestingly, addresses that horrifying historican episode in his recent book The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right.
In a chapter dealing with “Eliminationism in America,” Neiwert describes some of the atrocities committed against the Plains Indians by U.S. military forces commanded by Sheridan and Sherman. He then devotes the rest of the book to ritual execration of “neo-Confederates.” That category must include anybody who understands that war to reclaim and “reconstruct” the South was a bloody prelude to the slaughter of the Plains Indians, the imperial war of conquest in the Philippines, and contemporary campaigns of humanitarian bloodshed that have blessed the lives of “people of color” in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Neiwert, who is consistently oblivious to the implications of his own research, also points out that the Ku Klux Klan’s early-20th Century revival began when it was embraced by local governments (including some in the Midwest) as “an auxiliary police outfit” to enforce laws against bootlegging. The Klan, of course, is the marquee hate group that has served as such a profitable foil for Neiwert’s mentor, Morris Dees – and it’s quite possible that group would have disappeared permanently had it not become a government sub-contractor in the first War on Drugs.
This brings up a very important point: If Morris Dees and his comrades at the SPLC are genuinely agitated over institutionalized discrimination, why have they never publicly uttered a syllable of condemnation for the patently racist “War on Drugs”?
One possibility is suggested by the fact that the contemporary SPLC, like the Ku Klux Klan of roughly a century ago, is a quasi-private adjunct to law enforcement agencies that profit extravagantly from Prohibition. Dees is too canny and cynical to disturb that lucrative arrangement by protesting about the costs inflicted by Prohibition in terms of the lives and liberties of black and Hispanic Americans. After all, complaints of that kind are the sort of thing one hears from indecent, irresponsible extremists like Ron Paul.
David Neiwert and other self-anointed custodians of social justice insist that Ron Paul and his supporters have somehow inherited the sins of bigoted people who died long before they were born, and prospectively share the guilt of those who might do horrible things if federal power were curtailed. Meanwhile, the president supported by Neiwert and his ideological kin is massacring innocent “people of color” in at least three countries, and escalating a domestic Drug War that is rife with racial profiling and racial disparities in sentencing guidelines.
The mass slaughter of brown people abroad, and mass incarceration of brown people at home, are a price Neiwert and his ilk are willing to pay to preserve a system that can regiment societal arrangements to their liking. In that system, as Neiwert candidly admits, social “verdicts” are imposed and upheld through state-licensed murder, rather than achieved through peaceful cooperation.
Professor George P. Fletcher of Columbia Law School provides an incisive description of the ideological foundation of that system in his valuable book The Secret Constitution.
Fletcher, an unabashed Marxist, is difficult to dismiss as a “neo-Confederate,” yet he agrees with the revisionist view that the war waged by the North was not an effort to “preserve the Union,” to emancipate the slaves, or (as Lincoln absurdly claimed) a crusade to restore the pre-war constitutional order. Instead, that war was intended to consolidate a confederation of states into a unitary regime governed by what Fletcher calls a “New Constitutional Order.” The founding premise of that New Order is that “the federal government, victorious in warfare,must continue its aggressive intervention in the lives of its citizens.” (Emphasis added.) That “aggressive intervention” inescapably involves the threat — and, increasingly, the exercise — of deadly force.
Newt Gingrich and David Neiwert — and the ideological cliques they represent — disagree about a great deal, but they agree that “decency” in political affairs is measured by one’s willingness to support State-sanctioned murder as the central organizing principle of society.