Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rock 'Em Part 3

Let's "Talk a Little Treason"

"Well, it's a nice soft night so I think I'll go and join me comrades and talk a little treason."
-- Barry Fitzgerald as Michaleen Flynn, in The Quiet Man, 1952.

King Arthur: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
Woman: Order, eh? Who does he think he is?
King Arthur: I am your king.
Woman: Well I didn't vote for you.
King Arthur: You don't vote for kings.
-- Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

"The man wasn't satisfied with McCain's answer. He asked McCain why the U.S. couldn't execute large-scale deportations, as he had heard they did in France and other countries. The question seemed to pique McCain. 'In case you hadn't noticed, the thousands of people who have been relegated to ghettos have risen up and burned cars in France,' McCain said. 'They've got huge problems in France. They have tremendous problems. The police can't even go into certain areas in the suburbs of Paris. I don't want that in the suburbs of America.'
-- "Immigration debate follows McCain to campaign stop in Iowa", Associated Press, 2 June 2007

"Seditionist? What's a seditionist? Is it catching?"

Well, the Amnesty Conspirators have called us stupid nativists, xenophobic racists, and implied that we are disloyal to the country for opposing them. Now they threaten us, as John McCain does above, with violence in our own neighborhoods unless we acquiesce in their demands. It was only a matter of time, of course. There is no lie, stratagem or dirty dealing they will not stoop to in order to enforce their "enlightened" opinion upon the rest of us. This Amnesty Conspiracy is about power, folks -- money and power. The elitist RINOs sniff the money and the socialist Democrats smell the power and both are intoxicated thereby.

This artificial implantation of a foreign helot class upon our country by the likes of Teddy Kennedy & Co. is designed to negate the Constitution and overwhelm the voting power of their opponents in a master stroke. The RINOs, some of them, believe that they can persuade the illegals that they are their real friends. This is just so much moonshine self-deception. The rest of them -- slaves to their big business campaign contributors -- know where this is headed, but are satisfied that THEIR seats are safe until they retire. They are happy to sell out the country in the mean time.

"As we consider the coming of an elite, an authoritarian state, to fill the vacuum left by the loss of Christian principles, we must not think naively of the models of Stalin and Hitler. We must think rather of a manipulative authoritarian government. Modern governments have forms of manipulation at their disposal which the world has never known before." -- Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? -- The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, 1976, p. 228

Schaeffer wrote this THIRTY years ago and yet who can doubt that our government is becoming more maniuplative and more authoriatarian? We are certainly being manipulated by the Amnesty Conspiracy. And remember this: NOTHING will ever be the same if this monstrous attack upon our sovereignty and the rule of law succeeds and THEY KNOW IT. Why is it that the rest of us have such trouble seeing the danger? I exclude myself, of course, since I am a seditionist. I know I am a seditionist because somebody (actually, several somebodies) called me that after the circulation of my first essay on this subject ("Rock 'Em: The Last Chance to Stop the Amnesty Conspiracy). Apparently my urging of petty vandalism in the cause of liberty and the preservation of the greater rule of law was offensive to some. Now I was a little hazy on the meaning of "sedition", and while I understood that a "seditionist" was obviously a practitioner of that ill-appreciated art, I looked it up in an on-line dictionary:

"Sedition: The raising of commotion in a state, not amounting to insurrection; conduct tending to treason, but without an overt act; excitement of discontent against the government, or of resistance to lawful authority."

Hmmm. "The raising of commotion in a state, not amounting to insurrection" and "conduct tending to treason, but without an overt act" -- I guess that means a seditionist is a traitor-in-waiting and an insurrectionist-in-training without the immediate guts to do the job. Indeed, I was accused of that very thing on one of the web blogs by a poster who said that if I had the courage of my convictions, I would be breaking windows and not just talking about it. Of course, this was coming from someone who refused to consider that I might have a point about the danger that the Amnesty Conspiracy poses to what's left of the tottering old Republic. What he really wanted us all to do is sit down and shut up. Like George Bush, John McCain and Monty Python's King Arthur, he wants to order us to "Be quiet!"

In the present state of affairs, I'm actually kind of proud to be called a seditionist. I suppose, as things decline, I will one day be labeled a "traitor" and, since I am a "traitor" with firearms, I will then be an "insurrectionist." And my old man told me I'd never amount to anything! Shows you how much he knows. I called up a buddy of mine and told him that I was being called a "seditionist" on-line and he said, "Seditionist? What's a seditionist? Is it catching?" I guess sedition is a lost art in America, the last successful practitioners being the Founding Fathers.

When I explained to my friend what a seditionist was, he immediately made a connection I had not. "Hey," he observed happily, "you could just disappear!" What he meant was that the miserably misnamed PATRIOT Act could be used to arrest me without explanation or trial and whisk me away into the land of the "disappeared" -- a term made familiar by South American dictatorships but heretofore unknown in this country. One more thing to thank George Bush for, I guess. In any case, I'd like to state publicly right here and now that if I "disappear" I didn't run away from home of my own volition. If I disappear, I did not willingly hop on the Greyhound bus to Guantanamo.

(NOTE: I do not have a problem with filling up Guantanamo with foreign "combatants" who have committed acts of war against the United States of America. But as Justice Learned Hand once observed: "What seems fair enough against a squalid huckster of bad liquor may take on a different face, if used by government determined to suppress political opposition under the guise of sedition." And if you think that the PATRIOT Act is only about Jihad terrorists you haven't read it. Of course, if things get so bad in this country, as they well may in the future, that I perforce become an "insurrectionist," well, then, I'll just have to take my chances, won't I? As Super Chicken said to his sidekick: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.")

The Founders' Sedition

Of course the PATRIOT Act is not the first American law to deal with "sedition." Sedition runs like background music through our history, and its practitioners and opponents often changed sides with political fortunes.. Sam Adams, "The Grand Incendiary" without whose multiple seditions an independent United States would not have been possible, opposed Daniel Shays' rebellion even though he sympathized with it. John Adams, an accomplished seditionist himself under King George III, decided once he was President that he didn't like people saying nasty things about him so he contrived to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts. This attempt to quash opposition merely inflamed it and guaranteed that Thomas Jefferson and not Mr. Adams would be the next President of the United States. Jefferson, of course, never lost his taste for sedition, counting "a little rebellion" every now and then to be a positive social good.

Still, I guess it's always been dangerous to be "seditious". As journalist Frank I. Cobb wrote of the 1919 Palmer Raids in the New York World:

"If the author of the Declaration of Independence were to utter such a sentiment today, the Post Office Department could exclude him from the mail, grand juries could indict him for sedition and criminal syndicalism, legislative committees could seize his private papers ... and United States Senators would be clamoring for his deportation that he ... should be sent back to live with the rest of the terrorists."

In the January, 1920 issue of LaFollette's Magazine, Cobb also wrote:

"The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority... It is the one guarantee of human freedom to the American people."

It is a guarantee, yes, but only if it's upheld by the actions of the people, for authority does not like to have anything in its face, let alone a clenched fist. Lest we forget, Bill Clinton's Imperial Presidency made its own unique contribution to the anti-sedition legal mix with the Counter-Terrorism Act in the mid-90s. It will be interesting to see what happens when the Clintonista's turn at national power comes round again and they begin enforcing the PATRIOT Act on the very people who wrote it.

The Founders were first "seditionists", then "traitors" and finally "insurrectionists" against the King -- until they won. Then they became patriots and Founders. If Sam Adams was a seditionist in a good cause (and he was) then why not me? Or, a more dangerous question: Why not you?

Thinking and Acting Before Feeling

“What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom--a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks. One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance. They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked. …"

-- Peggy Noonan, "Too Bad: President Bush has torn the conservative coalition asunder", Wall Street Journal, 1 June 2007

I would like to thank such an experienced political commentator as Peggy Noonan for reinforcing my point about elitists laid out in my last piece, Rock 'Em II: "The Masters of the Universe." She calls them "hacks," the Founders called them "courtiers" and I call them "Mandarins." It's six of one, and a half dozen of the other. But the key thing is this: having recognized the problem, what shall we do about it and, perhaps more importantly, when?

Some folks have chided me for being too "paranoid" or "conspiratorial" in suggesting it is time to break windows. They say it is too soon, that we are not yet oppressed enough to consider even petty vandalism to make a point. They would have us wait for true tyranny before acting. This is not the way of the Founders. I present in proof of this statement, the following excerpt from historian Gordon S. Wood:

In the American Revolution, Wood wrote, "there was none of the legendary tyranny of history that had so often driven desperate people into rebellion. The Americans were not an oppressed people; they had no crushing imperial shackles to throw off. In fact, the Americans knew they were probably freer and less burdened with cumbersome feudal and hierarchical restraints than any part of mankind in the eighteenth century. To its victims, the Tories, the Revolution was truly incomprehensible. Never in history, said Daniel Leonard, had there been so much rebellion with so 'little real cause.' . . . The objective social reality scarcely seemed capable of explaining a revolution . . .

As early as 1775 Edmund Burke had noted in the House of Commons that the colonists' intensive study of law and politics had made them acutely inquisitive and sensitive about their liberties. Where the people of other countries had invoked principles only after they had endured 'an actual grievance,' the Americans, said Burke, were anticipating their grievances and resorting to principles even before they actually suffered. 'They augur misgovernment at a distance and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.' The crucial question in the colonists' minds, wrote John Dickerson in 1768, was 'not, what evil HAS ACTUALLY ATTENDED particular measures-- but what evil, in the nature of things, IS LIKELY TO ATTEND them.' Because 'nations, in general, are not apt to THINK until they FEEL, . . .therefore nations in general have lost their liberty.' But not the Americans, as the Abbe Raynal observed. They were an 'enlightened people' who knew their rights and the limits of power and who, unlike any people before them, aimed to think before they felt."

(Source: Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, UNC Press, 1969, pp. 3-5)

I say we would do well to emulate the Founders, to think and ACT before we feel, when it will be too late. We must act, as in break some windows, just to see if our putative representatives are paying attention. The Founders would. They wouldn't have waited this long.

So, like Micheleen Flynn, I call you all to gather together in your homes, your businesses and in the places where you sit quietly and share a cup of coffee with friends. It is time to "talk a little a treason." It is time to be "seditious." It is time to do these things because our would-be rulers have decided it is time.

Frustrating the Tyrant's Appetite

Tyranny is a wolfish appetite. All it requires is willing silverware and a complacent main course of mutton. The problem for any wishful American tyrant is that they do not have a monopoly on cutlery, making the eating a dicey proposition. But there is an easier way for Americans to stay off the tyrant's table. Instead of acting like tasty sheep we can act like watchful sheepdogs. It is time for those of us who consider ourselves sheepdogs to growl a bit, lest the wolves mistake their chances. This is in the wolves' interest as well as the sheep: a heeded warning growl is better than a ripped throat if the confrontation goes too far. So for everyone concerned, it is time for sedition. It is time to "talk a little treason." It is time to break some windows, before something far greater and far more precious is irretrievably broken instead. And if we lack the courage to act now, in this small crisis which portends future catastrophe, our children will surely be food for the tyrant's table in that dark and bloody future. We must think and act before THEY feel. Is there any greater cause than that?

Mike Vanderboegh
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126

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