Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

The progress from Western colonial global expansion, and the construction of American wealth and industry on the backs of enslaved Blacks and Native peoples, followed by the abrupt "emancipation" of the slaves and their exodus from the South to the Northern cities, has led us to our current divided society. Divided by economic inequities and unequal access to social resources, the nation lives in a media dream of social harmony, or did until YouTube set its bed on fire. Now, it is common knowledge that our current system of brutal racist policing and punitive over-incarceration serves the dual purpose of maintaining racial prejudice and the inequities it justifies. Brief yourself on this late-breaking development in American history here.

Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

Postby admin » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:22 pm

Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing
There are two kinds of libertarians: true believers in the constitution and racists hiding behind the constitution. Determining what kind of libertarian someone is, though, is as easy as asking his or her opinion on Ferguson.
By Jeffrey Cavanaugh
August 25, 2014

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The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has once again highlighted the bitter divisions between left and right and black and white in America. As might be expected, the usual suspects on both sides have lined up to support their view of events and lambast the other side’s interpretation of what went on between Mr. Brown and the police officer who killed him.

As usual, very little is being produced by these arguments except a lot of hot air and angry feelings.

Yet, there is a place where watching the debate between the two sides is both useful and productive, though not for the reasons you might think. For outside observers interested in the ebb and flow of right-wing politics, some of the most enlightening discussion is taking place among libertarians. Why? Because it is highlighting the deep divide that exists between true devotees of small-state conservatism — who have mostly progressive views on Ferguson — and the racists in Libertarian clothing who have closed ranks in support of the Ferguson police.

Reason

Perhaps one of the best places to watch this debate in real time is in the comments section of the flagship libertarian publication, Reason. To Reason’s credit, the magazine has stuck to its libertarian principles by consistently highlighting how deeply wrong police militarization is in Ferguson and has actively condemned the excessive use of force there against both protesters and, indeed, the murdered Michael Brown.

That this should be so isn’t surprising, after all, Reason was once the home of Radley Balko, the journalist who got the ball rolling in libertarian circles on the subject of police and prosecutorial misconduct and police militarization. What’s more, the publication has, for years, demonstrated a strong commitment to covering police brutality and injustice and has done so far better than many ostensibly liberal or mainstream outlets. Their record in this area, in particular, is superb and would make any progressive proud. Bottom line: Reason is on the side of the angels on this issue.

The same cannot be said, however, of many of its readers, some of whom have vociferously called out the magazine for jumping onto a media bandwagon in order to score points before all the facts were in. One comment on Reason’s Facebook page, for instance, argues that Reason’s writers sound like they are “sheltered enough by their wealth to ignore the very real need for security in especially urban areas.” “Urban,” of course, is universal code for “black.” The commenter goes on to say that Reason “sounds a lot like sheltered wealthy liberals,” while another further down the page asks if the libertarian magazine had suddenly been bought by MSNBC.

To be fair, not all of Reason’s commenters have been so critical of the publication’s record. In fact, many have stood up for its coverage of both police misconduct, in general, and Ferguson, specifically. Still, a good number — some even proudly bearing a version of the Confederate stars and bars as their avatar — lambasted Reason for being anti-cop and too quick to play into the hands of liberal activists who, apparently, plot and scheme to ruin the good name of police everywhere.

A split in the ranks

What’s more, this split in the libertarian ranks isn’t something that’s merely fodder for Facebook flame wars and comments section hissy fits, but is seen more broadly in the larger movement. There are, for example, many national-level politicians who are widely seen as being very sympathetic to libertarianism, such as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, that have been pretty critical of events in Ferguson and of the way in which the justice system generally comes down like a ton of bricks on people of color. So, too, have libertarian pundits like John Stossel and Glenn Reynolds, both of whom have long questioned America’s love affair with zealous cops and increasingly militarized police forces.

Yet, there are also libertarians who nonetheless come down squarely on the side of the cops in ways that don’t just seem racist, but are racist. Take, for instance, the words of the actual Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate in 2008, Tea Party activist and and current Fox News commentator Wayne Allyn Root. He commented: “It’s like we’re reliving the 1960s with Barack Obama. He didn’t come in to help us end the specter of racism, he brought it back, folks.”

The police in Ferguson, continued Root, were afraid of a black president indicting them for racism and so allowed rioting to occur.

Root isn’t a senator, of course, so it is wrong to use him to demonstrate that the clearly racist portion of the libertarian movement is as powerful as the Reason/Rand Paul side, but his words and the voices from Reason’s comments section nonetheless highlight something that has long gone unremarked upon by many in libertarian circles: many in their movement do not actually support small government, but, rather, support libertarianism because it is a way to oppose advancement for minorities like blacks without instantly being labelled a racist.


FASCIST IDEOLOGUE MICHELLE OBAMA: "OUR SOULS ARE BROKEN"

It is frequently Michelle Obama who hints in a cryptic and sinister undertone at the real goals of the Obama campaign. Since her own mind is a rage-filled postmodern multicultural ragbag of inchoate thoughts, she sometimes blurts out the program of the exercise of which she is a part. "Our souls are broken," she said on one occasion. "And right now we need some inspiration. Inspiration and hope are not words. Everything begins and ends with hope. And the only person in this race who has a chance of getting us where we need to be is Barack Obama." Where is it then that we need to be? On another occasion, she revealed that her husband was demanding that Americans not merely vote for him, but that they also reformed their lives according to his dictates: "We need a leader who's going to touch our souls because you see, our souls are broken," Michelle Obama said. "The change Barack is talking about is hard, so don't get too excited because Barack is going to demand that you too be different." How then should we be different? In yet another speech, Mrs. Obama specified that we would all have to give up something: "We need a different leadership because our souls are broken. We need to be inspired ... to make the sacrifices that are needed to push us to a different place," she said.

To learn more about the sacrifices, we need only read the policy papers of the Warren Rudman's Concord Coalition, Felix Rohatyn's infrastructure program, and the calls for the drastic curtailment of entitlements coming from the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Lehrman Institute, and the Manhattan Institute.

-- Obama, the Postmodern Coup: Making of a Manchurian Candidate, by Webster Griffin Tarpley


This has been so since the dawn of the modern American libertarian movement and it should come as no real surprise that the first overtly sympathetic libertarian presidential candidate for the 1964 election — Arizona’s Barry Goldwater — attracted a great deal of following in the Deep South precisely due to his opposition to federal enforcement of civil rights legislation, especially public accommodation sections. No one, Goldwater honestly felt, should be forced by the government to serve those they did [not] want to serve or sell or buy from someone they did not want to sell or buy from. As it happened, the Southern segregationists felt exactly the same way once Washington went against them.

I’m pleased to report that I filed a friend-of-the-court brief, on behalf of the Cato Institute, Dale Carpenter, and myself, arguing that wedding photographers (and other speakers) have a First Amendment right to choose what expression they create, including by choosing not to photograph same-sex commitment ceremonies. All the signers of the brief support same-sex marriage rights; our objection is not to same-sex marriages, but to compelling photographers and other speakers works that they don’t want to create.

-- Amicus Brief in Elane Photography v. Willock (the New Mexico Wedding Photography Case). By Eugene Volokh


As a result, an alliance — still in operation today — was born between small-government libertarians and conservatives and white racists who wanted to keep blacks and all other non-whites in what they assert is their proper, inferior place. Known as the Southern strategy, the segregationist political doors unlocked by Goldwater led, in turn, to their further opening by Nixon and Reagan — who famously opened his 1980 presidential campaign with a speech on states’ rights at the Neshoba County Fair in Deep South Mississippi near where three civil rights workers had been slain by the Klan for trying to register black people to vote.

By all accounts, Goldwater held his position on civil rights for principled reasons and there is no indication that he, himself, had an animosity toward black Americans or, indeed, anyone else. Similarly, his latter day ideological descendent, Rand Paul, has also gotten tripped up over the public accommodation sections of America’s civil rights laws for the same reason: it requires government power to regulate private interactions — the thing libertarians hate the most. Like Goldwater and his father, former Congressman Ron Paul, Rand Paul is more than likely not a racist and shouldn’t be taken as such, yet his ideological beliefs leave him supporting a position, like Barry Goldwater, that was nonetheless very attractive to racists.

This leads us, in turn, to why it’s so interesting to watch libertarians arguing over Ferguson. It highlights in a rather stark manner this old alliance of convenience between well-meaning, if naïve, ideological libertarians and the racist variety who use the movement to cloak their animosity toward blacks. After all, as their support for the Ferguson cops clearly demonstrate, the latter brand of libertarian isn’t actually so against government or state power — they, just like the conservatives they really are, want the government to support people who look and live like them and not support those who don’t.

So, the next time you talk to a libertarian, just ask his or her opinion on the Ferguson police. If the libertarian answers one way, you’ll know he’s a true believer, but at least a consistent and honest one. This isn’t a bad thing — after all, there is a lot in the libertarian movement to respect, admire and support.

If, on the other hand, the libertarian answers another way, you’ll know exactly who you’re dealing with: someone who uses libertarianism not because he actually believes in it, but because libertarian ideas advance the interests of his group at the expense of others.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.
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Re: Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

Postby admin » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:33 pm

How Ron Paul’s Libertarian Principles Support Racism
By Jonathan Chait
January 2, 2012

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Ron Paul at December's Iowa debate. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The furor over the racist newsletters published by Ron Paul in the nineties is, in some ways, more revealing than the newsletters themselves. In a series of responses by Paul and his supporters ranging from anguished essays to angry dismissals to crazed conspiracy diagrams (check out page seven), the basic shape of the Paul response has emerged. Paul argues that he was completely unaware that, for many years, the newsletter purporting to express his worldview consistently expressed vicious racism.

This is wildly implausible, but let’s grant the premise, because it sets up the more interesting argument. Paul’s admirers have tried to paint the racist newsletters as largely separate from his broader worldview, an ungainly appendage that could be easily removed without substantially altering the rest. Tim Carney argues:

Paul's indiscretions -- such as abiding 9/11 conspiracy theorists and allowing racist material in a newsletter published under his name -- will be blown up to paint a scary caricature. His belief in state's rights and property rights will be distorted into support for Jim Crow and racism.


The stronger version of this argument, advanced by Paul himself, is that racism is not irrelevant to his ideology, but that his ideology absolves him of racism. “Libertarians are incapable of being racist,” he has said, “because racism is a collectivist idea, you see people in groups.” Most libertarians may not take the argument quite as far as Paul does — many probably acknowledge that it is possible for a libertarian to hold racist views — but it does help explain their belief that racism simply has no relation to the rest of Paul’s beliefs. They genuinely see racism as a belief system that expresses itself only in the form of coercive government power. In Paul’s world, state-enforced discrimination is the only kind of discrimination. A libertarian by definition opposes discrimination because libertarians oppose the state. He cannot imagine social power exerting itself through any other form.

You can see this premise at work in Paul’s statements about civil rights. In a 2004 statement condemning the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Paul laid out his doctrinaire libertarian opposition. “[T]he forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty,” he wrote. “The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties.”

Paul views every individual as completely autonomous, and he is incapable of imagining any force other than government power that could infringe upon their actual liberty. White people won’t hire you? Then go form a contract with somebody else. Government intervention can only make things worse.

The same holds true of Paul’s view of sexual harassment. In his 1987 book, he wrote that women who suffer sexual harassment should simply go work somewhere else: “Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity. Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts?” This reaction also colored his son Rand Paul’s response to sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain, which was to rally around Cain and grouse that he can’t even tell jokes around women anymore.

This is an analysis that makes sense only within the airtight confines of libertarian doctrine. It dissipates with even the slightest whiff of exposure to external reality. The entire premise rests upon ignoring the social power that dominant social groups are able to wield outside of the channels of the state. Yet in the absence of government protection, white males, acting solely through their exercise of freedom of contract and association, have historically proven quite capable of erecting what any sane observer would recognize as actual impediments to the freedom of minorities and women.

The most fevered opponents of civil rights in the fifties and sixties — and, for that matter, the most fervent defenders of slavery a century before — also usually made their case in in process terms rather than racist ones. They stood for the rights of the individual, or the rights of the states, against the federal Goliath. I am sure Paul’s motives derive from ideological fervor rather than a conscious desire to oppress minorities. But the relationship between the abstract principles of his worldview and the ugly racism with which it has so frequently been expressed is hardly coincidental.
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Re: Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

Postby admin » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:45 pm

The Marriage of Libertarians and Racists
By Robert Parry
June 27, 2013

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In the U.S. news media, there is often a distinction made between the racist Right, which emerged from the struggle to maintain slavery and segregation, and the “small-government” Right, which supposedly represents a respectable conservatism focused on the libertarian ideals of personal freedom and free-market principles.

But the reality is that both of these major branches of the American Right grew from the same political trunk, i.e., the South’s fear that a strong federal government would intrude on the practices of slavery and, later, segregation. And, throughout U.S. history, those two branches of the Right have been mutually supportive.


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Conservative pundit and publisher William F. Buckley Jr.

Thus, prominent leaders of the “libertarian” Right – the likes of William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and Ron and Rand Paul – have opposed major legislative efforts to combat Southern segregation, typically citing the “liberty” of a white restaurant owner to bar black patrons as trumping the right of the patrons to be treated fairly.

Similarly, on Tuesday, the right-wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court embraced the freedom of states and communities with a history of racial discrimination in voting to change their voting rules without having to get clearance from federal authorities as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (and renewed in 2006) had required.

The right of these districts to set their own standards topped the power of Congress to require that the principle of one person, one vote be respected for black and brown people, according to the Court’s five right-wing justices. Thus, the libertarianism behind “small government” principles again supported the goal of white supremacy.

The reality of these two wings of the Right flapping together in coordination has existed since the Founding of the Republic when Southern opponents of the Constitution’s proposed concentration of national power in the federal government argued that the shift away from state sovereignty – as contained in the Articles of Confederation – would inevitably doom slavery.

In the Virginia ratification convention of 1788, opponents of the Constitution – Patrick Henry and George Mason – pressed the case that Virginia’s lucrative investment in slavery would be put at risk by a powerful central government that they claimed would eventually come under Northern dominance. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Source of Anti-Government Extremism.”]

Jefferson’s Racism

Though the Anti-Federalists lost the fight over the Constitution’s ratification, they continued to oppose President George Washington’s vision of a vibrant federal government building the young nation and protecting its fragile independence.

After Thomas Jefferson returned from France in 1789, the Anti-Federalists found their charismatic political leader. Along with his intellectual prowess, Jefferson was not above engaging in secretive personal attacks on Washington’s key lieutenants, particularly Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. Jefferson ultimately organized his faction into the Democratic-Republican Party.

Despite his elegant words about freedom and equality, Jefferson was at his core a racist hypocrite who believed in white supremacy and rejected ever incorporating emancipated blacks into American society. Like Henry and Mason, Jefferson recognized the threat that a strong central government posed to his beloved Virginia and its lucrative institution of slavery.



So, Jefferson fiercely opposed the Federalist program that sought to promote the country’s development through everything from a national bank to a professional military to a system of roads and canals.

The primary distinction between Washington and Jefferson was that – although both were Virginian slaveholders – Washington was arguably the First American while Jefferson was a Virginian first, rooted deeply in its soil and traditions.

Washington understood the new country as it was born through the Revolution’s motto of “Join, or Die.” He led the Continental Army in battles from Massachusetts to New York through New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Virginia. He knew the perspectives of the various regions and grasped the potential (and the problems) of the young nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, Washington also experienced the gross ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation, which governed the country from 1777 to 1787 and which made the 13 states “sovereign” and “independent.” He had seen his troops go hungry because states reneged on pledges of support.

After Washington’s army defeated the British in 1781, he watched in dismay as the squabbling among the states continued. Not only did Washington perceive how the Articles were holding back the nation’s economic development but how they were endangering its fragile independence, as European powers played one region against another.

When Shays' Rebellion broke out in western Massachusetts in 1786, Washington was particularly concerned that the disorder might serve the interests of the British, who had only recently accepted the existence of the United States. Washington kept in touch with his Revolutionary War associates in Massachusetts, such as Gen. Henry Knox and Gen. Benjamin Lincoln.

On Oct. 22, 1786, in a letter seeking more information from a friend in Connecticut, Washington wrote: “I am mortified beyond expression that in the moment of our acknowledged independence we should by our conduct verify the predictions of our transatlantic foe, and render ourselves ridiculous and contemptible in the eyes of all Europe.”

Shays’ Rebellion was finally put down by a militia force led by General Lincoln, but it helped convince Washington to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia with the goal of throwing out the Articles of Confederation (along with the notions of state “sovereignty” and “independence”) and drafting a new governing structure that centralized power.

Madison’s Role

Two of Washington’s chief lieutenants in this endeavor were his Revolutionary War aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, who had studied various governing models and pushed for a system relying on checks and balances.

As a protégé of Washington, Madison favored even a stronger federal government than emerged from the compromising in Philadelphia. For instance, Madison wanted to give Congress the power to veto state laws, but had to settle for making federal law supreme and giving federal courts the power to strike down unconstitutional state statutes.

However, after Jefferson’s return from France where he had served as U.S. representative, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence began organizing political and public opposition to President Washington’s activist vision. Jefferson, as Secretary of State, became a particularly fierce rival of Treasury Secretary Hamilton.

Among other tactics, Jefferson secretly financed newspapers to attack his rivals, including Washington’s successor, President John Adams. The nastiness of Jefferson’s approach alienated Adams and prompted retaliation in kind from the Federalists. Washington’s great fear of factionalism was being realized. While the nasty political exchanges were extremely personal, they also reflected the agrarian interests of Jefferson’s Virginia (i.e. slavery) versus the commercial and industrial interests of New York and New England, represented by Hamilton and Adams.

Historically, Jefferson’s political operation has been dressed up in the fineries of ideology and his desire for “Republicanism.” But the core of his insistence on a weak central government and his emphasis on states’ rights was his recognition that the Federalists would otherwise become a threat to slavery. His defense of simple “farmers” was a euphemism for his advocacy on behalf of his real “base,” plantation owners.


The brilliant Jefferson also pulled his Virginia neighbor Madison out of Washington’s orbit and into his own. In modern times when the Right claims Madison as one of their heroes, it is this later incarnation of Madison who joined with Jefferson. It is not the Madison who drafted the Constitution and worked with Washington in centralizing power in the federal government.

The Virginia Dynasty

After building his political party, which became known as the Democratic-Republicans, Jefferson wrestled control of the presidency from John Adams and established the Virginia Dynasty, a 24-year string of Virginians as president from Jefferson in 1801 through Madison in 1809 and James Monroe in 1817. (Monroe, another fierce advocate for slavery, had sided with Henry and Mason in opposing the Constitution in 1788.)

Unlike George Washington who freed his slaves in his will, neither Jefferson nor Madison granted a blanket grant of freedom in their wills. Jefferson only freed a few slaves who were related to his alleged mistress, Sally Hemings, and Madison freed none.

As historians Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg wrote in Madison and Jefferson, these two important Founders must be understood as, first and foremost, politicians representing the interests of Virginia where the two men lived nearby each other on plantations worked by African-American slaves, Jefferson at Monticello and Madison at Montpelier.

“It is hard for most to think of Madison and Jefferson and admit that they were Virginians first, Americans second,” Burstein and Isenberg note. “But this fact seems beyond dispute. Virginians felt they had to act to protect the interests of the Old Dominion, or else, before long, they would become marginalized by a northern-dominated economy.


“Virginians who thought in terms of the profit to be reaped in land were often reluctant to invest in manufacturing enterprises. The real tragedy is that they chose to speculate in slaves rather than in textile factories and iron works. … And so as Virginians tied their fortunes to the land, they failed to extricate themselves from a way of life that was limited in outlook and produced only resistance to economic development.”

Not only was Virginia’s agriculture tied to the institution of slavery but after the Constitution banned the importation of slaves in 1808, Virginia developed a new industry, the breeding of slaves for sale to new states forming in the west. [For details on this history, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Right’s Dubious Claim to Madison.”]

Weaving of Right-Wing Threads

So, Jefferson and the Virginia Dynasty combined the two core elements of what would become America’s right-wing ideology, racial bigotry and hostility to government, a pairing that grew even more constricting on the nation’s future in the decades before the Civil War when Southerners even opposed federal disaster relief out of fear that it could serve as a precedent for abolition.

When 11 Southern states formed the Confederacy after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, the merger of “states’ rights” and racism reached its zenith.
Meanwhile, President Lincoln represented the opposite approach, favoring a strong and activist central government. Before his assassination in April 1865, Lincoln had not only defeated the Confederacy, reunified the nation and pushed through the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery, but he began construction of the transcontinental railroad.

After Lincoln’s death, the Congress of the Reconstruction era passed the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments, guaranteeing equal rights for blacks and their right to vote. Lincoln had bequeathed the country a federal government demanding justice for blacks and eager to strengthen the nation through economic development.

However, in the years after Reconstruction ended in 1877, a new alliance emerged between racist Southern whites and “laissez-faire” Northern industrialists. The arrangement was that the white Southern aristocracy could reassert itself under Jim Crow laws and the white Northern “robber barons” could minimize federal regulation of their businesses and their stock speculation.

That political paradigm continued for the next half century despite the occasional emergence of reform-minded politicians like Theodore Roosevelt who pressed for a greater government role in restraining the worst abuses of capitalism. It took the Great Depression and the election of Franklin Roosevelt to change things.

Drawing on the traditions of Washington, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, FDR asserted a strong role for the federal government on behalf of the common citizen as well as in regulating the excesses of powerful businessmen. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt also began speaking up for oppressed African-Americans.

From FDR’s New Deal and the follow-on efforts of an activist federal government under Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, the Great American Middle Class was built. The Feds also intervened in support of the civil rights movement to break the back of Southern segregation.

However, the white backlash to this federal activism against segregation became the energy driving the modern Republican Party. The smartest right-wingers of the post-World War II era understood this reality.

Regarding the need to keep blacks under white domination, urbane conservative William F. Buckley declared in 1957 that “the white community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically.”


Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona, who wrote the influential manifesto Conscience of a Conservative, realized in 1961 that for Republicans to gain national power, they would have to pick off Southern segregationists who were growing disenchanted with the modern Democratic Party and its embrace of civil rights. Or as Goldwater put it, the Republican Party had to “go hunting where the ducks are.”

Then, there was Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy of using coded language to appeal to Southern whites and Ronald Reagan’s launching of his 1980 national presidential campaign with a states’ rights speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the notorious site of the murders of three civil rights workers. The two strands of historic conservatism — white supremacy and “small government” ideology — were again wound together.

Whiting Out History

In a recent New York Magazine article, Frank Rich summed up this political history while noting how today’s right-wing revisionists have tried to reposition their heroes by saying they opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 simply out of high-minded “small-government principles.” But Rich wrote:

“The primacy of [Strom] Thurmond in the GOP’s racial realignment is the most incriminating truth the right keeps trying to cover up. That’s why the George W. Bush White House shoved the Mississippi senator Trent Lott out of his post as Senate majority leader in 2002 once news spread that Lott had told Thurmond’s 100th-birthday gathering that America ‘wouldn’t have had all these problems’ if the old Dixiecrat had been elected president in 1948.

“Lott, it soon became clear, had also lavished praise on Jefferson Davis and associated for decades with other far-right groups in thrall to the old Confederate cause. But the GOP elites didn’t seem to mind until he committed the truly unpardonable sin of reminding America, if only for a moment, of the exact history his party most wanted and needed to suppress. Then he had to be shut down at once.”


This unholy alliance between the racists and the libertarians continues to this day with Republicans understanding that the votes of blacks, Hispanics, Asians and other minorities must be suppressed if the twin goals of the two principal elements of the Right are to control the future. That was the significance of Tuesday’s ruling by the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority to gut the Voting Rights Act. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Supreme Court’s War on Democracy.”]

Only if the votes of whites can be proportionately enhanced and the votes of minorities minimized can the Republican Party overcome the country’s demographic changes and retain government power that will both advance the interests of the racists and the free-marketeers.

That’s why Republican-controlled statehouses engaged in aggressive gerrymandering of congressional districts in 2010 and tried to impose “ballot security” measures across the country in 2012. The crudity of those efforts was almost painful to watch.

As Frank Rich noted, “The boosters of the new voting regulations would have us believe instead that their efforts are in response to a (nonexistent) rise in the country’s minuscule instances of voter fraud. Everyone knows these laws are in response to the rise of Barack Obama. It is also no coincidence that many of them were conceived and promoted by the American Legal Exchange Council, an activist outfit funded by heavy-hitting right-wing donors like Charles and David Koch.

“In another coincidence that the GOP would like to flush down the memory hole, the Kochs’ father, Fred, a founder of the radical John Birch Society in the fifties, was an advocate for the impeachment of Chief Justice Warren in the aftermath of Brown [v. Board of Education] Fred Koch wrote a screed of his own accusing communists of inspiring the civil-rights movement.”

Yet, this marriage of slavery/segregation and small-government philosophy has endured as long as there has been a United States of America. It is how the worst aspects of America’s Founding era – the enslavement of African-Americans and the Southern white fear that a strong federal government would eventually right that wrong – reach to the present day.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
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Re: Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

Postby admin » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:20 pm

Source of Anti-Government Extremism
By Robert Parry
May 27, 2013

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One reasonable way of looking at democratic governance is that it carries out the collective will of a society, especially in areas where the private sector can’t do the job or needs regulation to prevent it from doing harm. Of course, there are always many variables and points of disagreement, from the need to protect individual rights to the wisdom of each decision.

But something extreme has surfaced in modern American politics: an ideological hatred of government. From the Tea Party to libertarianism, there is a “principled” rejection – at least rhetorically – of almost everything that government does (outside of national security), and those views are no longer simply “fringe.” By and large, they have been embraced by the national Republican Party.

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Don't Tread on Me

There has also been an effort to anchor these angry anti-government positions in the traditions of U.S. history. The Tea Party consciously adopted imagery and symbols from the Revolutionary War era to create an illusion that this contempt of government fits with the First Principles.

However, this right-wing revision of U.S. history is wildly askew if not upside-down. The Framers of the U.S. Constitution – and even many of their “anti-federalist” critics – were not hostile to an American government. They understood the difference between an English monarchy that denied them representation in Parliament and their own Republic.


Indeed, the key Framers – James Madison, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton – might be called pragmatic nationalists, eager to use the new Constitution, which centralized power at the national level, to build the young country and protect its fragile independence.

While these Framers later split over precise applications of the Constitution – Madison opposed Hamilton’s national bank, for instance – they accepted the need for a strong and effective federal government, unlike the weak, states’-rights-oriented Articles of Confederation.

More generally, the Founders recognized the need for order if their experiment in self-governance was to work. Even some of the more radical Founders, the likes of Sam Adams, supported the suppression of domestic disorders, such as Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts and the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania. The logic of Adams and his cohorts was that an uprising against a distant monarch was one thing, but taking up arms against your own republican government was something else.

But the Tea Partiers are not entirely wrong when they insist that their hatred of “guv-mint” has its roots in the Founding era. There was an American tradition that involved resisting a strong and effective national government. It was, however, not anchored in the principles of “liberty,” but rather in the practice of slavery.

Southern Fears

The battle against the Constitution and later against an energetic federal government — the sort of nation-building especially envisioned by Washington and Hamilton — emanated from the fears of many Southern plantation owners that eventually the national political system would move to outlaw slavery and thus negate their massive investment in human bondage.

Their thinking was that the stronger the federal government became the more likely it would act to impose a national judgment against the South’s brutal institution of slavery. So, while the Southern argument was often couched in the rhetoric of “liberty,” i.e. the rights of states to set their own rules, the underlying point was the maintenance of slavery.

This dollars-and-cents reality was reflected in the debate at Virginia’s 1788 convention to ratify the Constitution. Two of Virginia’s most noted advocates for “liberty” and “rights” – Patrick Henry and George Mason – tried to rally opposition to the proposed Constitution by stoking the fears of white plantation owners.

Historians Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg recount the debate in their 2010 book, Madison and Jefferson, noting that the chief argument advanced by Henry and Mason was that “slavery, the source of Virginia’s tremendous wealth, lay politically unprotected” and that this danger was exacerbated by the Constitution’s granting the President, as commander in chief, the power to “federalize” state militias.

“Mason repeated what he had said during the Constitutional Convention: that the new government failed to provide for ‘domestic safety’ if there was no explicit protection for Virginians’ slave property,” Burstein and Isenberg wrote. “Henry called up the by-now-ingrained fear of slave insurrections – the direct result, he believed, of Virginia’s loss of authority over its own militia.”

Henry floated conspiracy theories about possible subterfuges that the federal government might employ to take away black slaves from white Virginians. Describing this fear-mongering, Burstein and Isenberg wrote:

“Congress, if it wished, could draft every slave into the military and liberate them at the end of their service. If troop quotas were determined by population, and Virginia had over 200,000 slaves, Congress might say: ‘Every black man must fight.’ For that matter, a northern-controlled Congress might tax slavery out of existence.

“Mason and Henry both ignored the fact that the Constitution protected slavery on the strength of the three-fifths clause, the fugitive slave clause, and the slave trade clause. Their rationale was that none of this mattered if the North should have its way.”

Madison, a principal architect of the new governing structure and a slave-owner himself, sought to finesse the Mason/Henry arguments by insisting that “the central government had no power to order emancipation, and that Congress would never ‘alienate the affections five-thirteenths of the Union’ by stripping southerners of their property. ‘Such an idea never entered into any American breast,’ he said indignantly, ‘nor do I believe it ever will.’ …

“Yet Mason struck a chord in his insistence that northerners could never understand slavery; and Henry roused the crowd with his refusal to trust ‘any man on earth’ with his rights. Virginians were hearing that their sovereignty was in jeopardy.”

Right to Bear Arms

Despite the impassioned arguments of Henry and Mason – and after Madison gave assurances that he would propose amendments to address some of these concerns – Virginia’s delegates narrowly approved the Constitution on a 89-79 vote.

The key constitutional revision to allay the fears of Southern plantation owners was the Second Amendment, which recognized that “a well-regulated Militia [was] necessary to the security of a free State,” echoing Mason’s language about “domestic safety” as in the protection against slave revolts.

The rest of the Second Amendment – that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” – was meant by definitions of the day to ensure the right to “bear Arms” as part of a “well-regulated Militia.” Only in modern times has that meaning been distorted – by the American Right – to apply to individual Americans carrying whatever gun they might want.

But the double-talk about the Second Amendment didn’t begin in recent years. It was there from the beginning when the First Congress acted with no apparent sense of irony in using the wording, “a free State,” to actually mean “a slave State.” And, of course, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” didn’t apply to black people.

The Second Congress enacted the Militia Acts, which mandated that military-age “white” men must obtain muskets and other supplies to participate in bearing arms for their state militias. Thus, the South was guaranteed its militias for “domestic safety.”


Yet, the South still faced the broader political imperative of constraining the power of the federal government so it would never get so strong that it could end slavery. So, during the early decades of the Republic, leading Southern politicians tried to sabotage many of the federal plans for strengthening the United States.

For instance, when James Madison pressed ahead with his long-treasured plan to use the Commerce Clause to justify federal road-building – and thus improve national transportation – he was mocked by Thomas Jefferson for his excessive support of government, as Burstein and Isenberg noted in their book.

In the years after the ratification of the Constitution, Madison gradually pulled out of the Washington-Hamilton orbit and was drawn into Jefferson’s. The key gravitational pull on Madison was Jefferson’s opposition to federal initiatives grounded in the agrarian interests of the slave-owning South.

Madison’s realignment with his Virginia neighbor, Jefferson, bitterly disappointed Washington and Hamilton. However, after Jefferson gained the presidency in 1801, he and Madison joined in one of the biggest federal power overreaches in U.S. history by negotiating the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France – despite the absence of any “enumerated power” in the Constitution that envisioned such an act by the central government. [For more on the politics of the Founding era, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Racism and the American Right.”]

March toward War

As the national divisions over slavery sharpened, the South escalated its resistance to federal activism, even over non-controversial matters like disaster relief. As University of Virginia historian Brian Balogh noted in his book, A Government Out of Sight, Southerners asserted an extreme version of states’ rights in the period from 1840 to 1860 that included preventing aid to disaster victims.

Balogh wrote that the South feared that “extending federal power” – even to help fellow Americans in desperate need – “might establish a precedent for national intervention in the slavery question,” as Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne noted in a May 22 column.

As it turned out, the fears of Patrick Henry, George Mason and like-minded Southerners proved prescient. The federal government would become the enemy of slavery. As the United States grew in economic strength, the barbaric practice became a drag on U.S. global influence.

With the election of Abraham Lincoln from the anti-slavery Republican Party, Southern states saw the writing on the wall. Defense of their beloved institution of owning other human beings required extreme action, which manifested itself in the secession of 11 Southern states and the enactment of a Confederate constitution explicitly enshrining slavery.

The South’s defeat in the Civil War forced the Confederate states back into the Union and enabled the Northern states to finally bring an end to slavery. However, the South continued to resist the North’s attempts to reconstruct the region in a more race-neutral way. The South’s old aristocracy reasserted itself through Ku Klux Klan terror and via political organization within the Democratic Party, reestablishing white supremacy – and oppression of blacks – under the banner of “states’ rights.”

The Klan had a special arrangement with the 20th SFG. The 20th SFG actually trained klansmen in the use of firearms and other military skills at a secret camp near Cullman, Alabama, in return for intelligence on local black leaders. The earliest of such training exercises began on November 12, 1966. Some members of the 20th SFG also used these sessions for illegal weapons sales. The U.S. Strike Command (CINCSTRIKE) was the overall coordinating command (which could call upon all military forces on U.S. soil) for the purpose of responding to urban riots in 1967-1968. At that time it included liaison officers from the CIA, FBI, and other nonmilitary state and federal agencies. It was headquartered at MacDill air force base in Tampa, Florida, and the ACSI and USAINTC commanders were primary leaders in developing CINCSTRIKE strategy for the mobilization of forces as required for defensive action inside CONUS.

-- Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, by Dr. William F. Pepper


There were, of course, other American power centers opposed to the intrusion of the federal government on behalf of the broader public. For instance, the Robber Barons of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries used their money and their political influence inside the Republican Party to assert laissez-faire economics, all the better to steal the country blind.

That power center, however, was shaken by the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression. Recognizing the abject failure of the “free market” to serve the nation’s broader interests, the voters elected Franklin Roosevelt who dealt a New Deal that stimulated the economy, imposed securities regulations and took a variety of steps to lift citizens out of poverty.

In the post-World War II era with the United States asserting global leadership, the South’s practice of racial segregation became another eyesore that the federal government haltingly began to address under pressure from Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. By the 1960s, the South had lost again, with federal laws prohibiting racial segregation.

The momentum from these two government initiatives – intervention to create a more just economy and racial integration – helped build the Great American Middle Class and finally fulfilled some of the grand principles of equality and justice espoused at the Founding. However, the energy behind those reforms began to fade in the 1970s as right-wing resentment built.

Finally, in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the combined backlash against Roosevelt’s New Deal and King’s new day prevailed. Too many whites had forgotten the lessons of the Great Depression and had grown angry over what they viewed as “political correctness.” Over the last several decades, the Right also built an imposing vertically integrated media machine that meshes the written word in newspapers, magazines and books with the spoken (or shouted) word on TV and talk radio.

This giant echo chamber, resonating with sophisticated propaganda including revisionist (or neo-Confederate) history, has convinced millions of poorly informed Americans that the Framers of the Constitution hated a strong central government and were all for “states’ rights” – when nearly the opposite was true as Madison, Washington and Hamilton rejected the Articles of Confederation and drafted the Constitution to enhance federal power.

Further, the Right’s hijacking of Revolutionary War symbols, like yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, confuses the Tea Party rank-and-file by equating the Founding era’s resistance against an overseas monarchy to today’s hatred of an elected U.S. government.

Amid this muck of muddled history, the biggest secret withheld from the American people is that today’s Right is actually promoting a set of anti-government positions that originally arose to justify and protect the South’s institution of slavery. The calls of “liberty” then covered the cries of suffering from human bondage, just as today’s shouts of outrage reflect resentment over the first African-American president.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
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The Right’s Dubious Claim to Madison
By Robert Parry
June 23, 2013

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By asserting a connection to America’s First Principles, the Tea Party is forcing a reexamination of the early years of the Republic and a reconsideration of what the Framers of the U.S. Constitution intended.

That debate may be useful even if the Tea Party’s chief motivation in provoking it is simply a “rebranding” that recognizes that the image of white people waving the “Stars and Bars” and seeking “states’ rights” to disenfranchise black and brown people has a negative connotation for many modern Americans.

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James Madison, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution and the fourth President of the United States.

So, to present a more palatable image, today’s Right has dialed back the time machine from 1860 to 1776, trading in the Confederate flag for the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag with its coiled snake and “Don’t Tread on Me” motto, except with the federal government replacing the British monarchy as the source of “tyranny.”

Substantively, however, nothing has changed in this rebranding. There’s the same animosity that the Confederates felt toward President Abraham Lincoln and the Union when the South’s beloved institution of slavery was threatened. Only now the neo-Confederates are expressing their hatred for President Barack Obama and the federal government for advocating programs – like voting rights, immigration reform, food stamps and guaranteed health care – that are viewed by the predominantly white Tea Party as disproportionately aiding racial and ethnic minorities.

But instead of referencing the precedent of the Confederacy’s secession from the Union in defense of “states’ rights” and slavery, the Tea Party and today’s Right are asserting that they simply want to restore the original vision of America’s Founding, which they insist is not much different from the argument that the Confederates were making in 1860.


To that end, the Right has invested heavily in “scholarship” that seeks to present the Framers as essentially pre-Confederates who believed strongly in “states’ rights” and wanted a weak central government. However, that “history,” in turn, requires slanting the evidence and kidnapping of one key Founder in particular.

Madison as Flip-Flopper

At the center of today’s ideological struggle over the Founding era is James Madison, a chief architect of the U.S. Constitution when he was essentially a protégé of George Washington in the 1780s. But Madison was also a practical politician who drifted – in the 1790s and later – into the orbit of his central Virginia neighbor, Thomas Jefferson, who led bitter fights against Washington’s Federalists and especially Alexander Hamilton.

This ambivalence of Madison – as central to Washington’s vision of a strong central government yet his later realignment with Jefferson’s fierce loyalty to Virginia and its interests – makes him a perfect candidate for the Right’s rewriting of the narrative surrounding the Constitution. The earlier Madison who sided with Washington on centralizing government power can be blurred with the later Madison who supported Jefferson in defending Virginia’s regional interests, particularly its investment in slavery.

In this regard, Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg’s Madison and Jefferson offers some valuable insights into the history of the era and the political collaboration between these two important Founders. Unlike many histories that glorify Jefferson in particular, this book, published in 2010, provides a fairly objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the two leaders.

Perhaps the authors’ most significant observation is that Jefferson and Madison must be understood as, first and foremost, politicians representing the interests of their constituencies in Virginia where the two men lived nearby each other on plantations worked by African-American slaves, Jefferson at Monticello and Madison at Montpelier.

“It is hard for most to think of Madison and Jefferson and admit that they were Virginians first, Americans second,” Burstein and Isenberg note. “But this fact seems beyond dispute. Virginians felt they had to act to protect the interests of the Old Dominion, or else, before long, they would become marginalized by a northern-dominated economy.

“Virginians who thought in terms of the profit to be reaped in land were often reluctant to invest in manufacturing enterprises. The real tragedy is that they chose to speculate in slaves rather than in textile factories and iron works. … And so as Virginians tied their fortunes to the land, they failed to extricate themselves from a way of life that was limited in outlook and produced only resistance to economic development.”

Not only was Virginia’s agriculture tied to the institution of slavery but after the Constitution banned the importation of slaves in 1808, Virginia developed a new industry, the breeding of slaves for sale to new states forming in the west.

The Virginia Dynasty

In that way, the so-called Virginia Dynasty over the presidency that ran consecutively from Jefferson in 1801 through Madison starting in 1809 and James Monroe ending in 1825 – defended the interests of the South’s slaveholders in part by constraining the role of the federal government in building the young nation’s industrial strength and its financial development.

It had been a fear among Southern politicians from the earliest days of American independence that a strong federal government would eventually eradicate slavery. So, it was a Southern imperative – carried forward by the Virginia Dynasty – to limit that power even though Madison had been instrumental in centralizing it.

While the Right likes to look at Madison as a constitutional purist who always favored tightly constrained federal powers, a more useful prism for seeing the historical Madison is that he shifted from the patronage of Washington, who despised the idea of state “sovereignty” after experiencing its inefficiency while commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, to the tutelage of the brilliant but mercurial Jefferson, who was wedded to the interests of Virginia.

Whereas Washington – working with his protégés Madison and Hamilton – had a national vision of a fast-developing country with states subordinate to the federal government, Jefferson could not move beyond his more parochial concept of Virginia and Southern states maintaining substantial freedom from a federal government that might seek to abolish slavery.

Under Washington’s wing in the years immediately after independence – while Jefferson was serving as the U.S. representative to France – Madison recognized the disaster of the Articles of Confederation, which set the rules for U.S. governance from 1777 to 1787. The Articles made the 13 states “sovereign” and “independent” and deemed the federal government simply a “league of friendship.” For instance, Madison shared Washington’s interest in placing the development of national commerce under the control of the federal government, but Madison’s initial Commerce Clause failed to win the support of the Virginia legislature.

The United States was also flailing in regards to maintaining domestic security with the Shays’ Rebellion rocking western Massachusetts in 1786-87 and the federal government too weak to help restore order. Washington feared that Great Britain would exploit the regional and social divisions of the new country and thus threaten its hard-won independence.

“Thirteen sovereignties,” Washington wrote, “pulling against each other, and all tugging at the federal head, will soon bring ruin to the whole.” [See Catherine Drinker Bowen’s Miracle at Philadelphia.]


Madison’s Federalism

Madison was of a similar mind. In 1781, as a member of the Congress under the Articles of Confederation, he introduced a radical amendment that “would have required states that ignored their federal responsibilities or refused to be bound by decisions of Congress to be compelled to do so by use of the army or navy or by the seizure of exported goods,” noted Chris DeRose in Founding Rivals. However, Madison’s plan – opposed by the powerful states – went nowhere.

Similarly, Madison lamented how the variety of currencies issued by the 13 states and the lack of uniform standards on weights and measures impeded trade. Again, he looked futilely toward finding federal solutions to these state problems.

So, after a decade of growing frustration and mounting crises under the Articles, a convention was called in Philadelphia in 1787 to modify them. Washington and Madison, however, had a bigger idea. They pressed instead to scrap the Articles altogether in favor of a new constitutional structure that would invest broad powers in the central government and remove language on state sovereignty and independence.

Madison told Washington that the states had to be made “subordinately useful,” a sentiment that Washington shared after seeing how states had failed to meet their financial obligations to his troops during the Revolution.

As Washington presided over the convention, it fell to Madison to supply the framework for the new system. Madison’s plan called for a strong central government with clear dominance over the states. Madison’s original plan even contained a provision to give Congress veto power over state decisions.

The broader point of the Constitutional Convention was that the United States must act as one nation, not a squabbling collection of states and regions. James Wilson from Pennsylvania reminded the delegates that “we must remember the language with which we began the Revolution: ‘Virginia is no more, Massachusetts is no more, Pennsylvania is no more. We are now one nation of brethren, we must bury all local interests and distinctions.’”

However, as the contentious convention wore on over the summer, Madison retreated from some of his more extreme positions. “Madison wanted the federal assembly to have a veto over the state assemblies,” wrote David Wootton, author of The Essential Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. “Vetoes, however, are bad politics, and again and again they had to be abandoned in the course of turning drafts into agreed texts.”

But Madison still pushed through a governing structure that bestowed important powers on the central government – including the ability to tax, to print money, to control foreign policy, to conduct wars and to regulate interstate commerce.

Madison also came up with a plan for approving the Constitution that bypassed the state assemblies and instead called for special state conventions for ratification. He knew that if the Constitution went before the existing assemblies – with the obvious diminution of their powers – it wouldn’t stand a chance to win the approval of the necessary nine states.

Resistance to the Constitution

Still, the Constitution prompted fierce opposition from many prominent Americans who recognized how severely it reduced the powers of the states in favor of the central government. These Anti-Federalists decried the broad and sometimes vague language that shifted the country away from a confederation of independent states to a system that made the central government supreme.

What Madison and his cohorts had achieved in Philadelphia was not lost on these Anti-Federalists, including Pennsylvania delegates who had been on the losing side and who then explained their opposition in a lengthy report which declared: “We dissent … because the powers vested in Congress by this constitution, must necessarily annihilate and absorb the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the several states, and produce from their ruins one consolidated government. …

“The new government will not be a confederacy of states, as it ought, but one consolidated government, founded upon the destruction of the several governments of the states. … The powers of Congress under the new constitution, are complete and unlimited over the purse and the sword, and are perfectly independent of, and supreme over, the state governments; whose intervention in these great points is entirely destroyed.”

The Pennsylvania dissenters noted that the state sovereignty language from the Articles of Confederation was stripped out of the Constitution and that national sovereignty was implicitly transferred to “We the People of the United States” in the Preamble. They pointed out that the Constitution’s Article Six made federal statutes and treaties “the supreme law of the land.”

“The legislative power vested in Congress … is so unlimited in its nature; may be so comprehensive and boundless [in] its exercise, that this alone would be amply sufficient to annihilate the state governments, and swallow them up in the grand vortex of general empire,” the Pennsylvania dissenters declared.

Some Anti-Federalists charged that the President of the United States would have the powers of a monarch and that the states would be reduced to little more than vassals of the central authority. Others mocked the trust that Madison placed in his schemes of “checks and balances,” that is, having the different branches of government block others from committing any grave abridgement of liberties.

Famed Revolutionary War orator Patrick Henry, one of the leading Anti-Federalists, denounced Madison’s scheme of countervailing powers as “specious imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances.” Henry and other opponents favored scrapping the new Constitution and calling a second convention.


Toward Ratification

Though the Anti-Federalists were surely hyperbolic in some of their rhetoric, they were substantially correct in identifying the Constitution as a bold assertion of federal power and a major transformation from the previous system of state independence.

For his part, Madison was not only the chief architect of this shift from state to national power, he even favored a clearer preference for federal dominance with his veto idea over actions by state assemblies, the proposal that died in the compromising at Philadelphia. However, Madison and other Federalists faced a more immediate political challenge in late 1787 and early 1788 – securing ratification of the new Constitution in the face of potent opposition from the Anti-Federalists.

Despite Madison’s ploy of requiring special ratifying conventions in the various states, the Anti-Federalists appeared to hold the upper hand in key states, such as Virginia and New York. So, to defend the new Constitution, Madison joined with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in anonymously composing the Federalist Papers, a series of essays which not only sought to explain what the Constitution would do but – perhaps more importantly – to rebut the accusations of the Anti-Federalists.

Indeed, the Federalist Papers are best understood not as the defining explanation of the Framers’ intent – since the actual words of the Constitution (contrasted with the Articles of Confederation) and the debates in Philadelphia speak best to that – but as an attempt to tamp down the political fury directed at the proposed new system.


Thus, when the Anti-Federalists thundered about the broad new powers granted the central government, Madison and his co-authors countered by playing down how radical the new system was and insisting that the changes were more tinkering with the old system than the total overhaul that they appeared to be.

That is the context which today’s Right misses when it cites Madison’s comments in Federalist Paper No. 45, entitled “The Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered,” in which Madison, using the pseudonym Publius, sought to minimize what the Constitution would do. He wrote:

“If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS.

“The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the Articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them.”

Today’s Right trumpets this essay and especially Madison’s summation – that “the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite” – but the Right ignores what Madison was trying to accomplish with his essay. He was trying to defuse the opposition. After all, if Madison really thought the Articles only needed some modest reform, why would he have insisted on throwing them out altogether along with their language about state “sovereignty” and “independence”?

come back to bite you: If a problem will come back to bite you, it will cause more trouble for you in the future if you do not solve it now.
-- Come Back To Bite You, by Cambridge Dictionaries Online


Power with Teeth

Nor was it entirely accurate for Madison to suggest that replacing the federal government’s toothless powers in the Articles with powers having real teeth in the Constitution was trivial. Under the Constitution, for instance, the printing of money became the exclusive purview of the federal government, not a minor change. Madison also was a touch disingenuous when he downplayed the importance of the Commerce Clause, which gave the central government control over interstate commerce. Madison understood how important that federal authority was.

To cite Madison as an opponent of an activist federal government, the Right must also ignore Federalist Paper No. 14 in which Madison envisioned major construction projects under the powers granted by the Commerce Clause. “[T]he union will be daily facilitated by new improvements,” Madison wrote. “Roads will everywhere be shortened, and kept in better order; accommodations for travelers will be multiplied and meliorated; an interior navigation on our eastern side will be opened throughout, or nearly throughout the whole extent of the Thirteen States.

“The communication between the western and Atlantic districts, and between different parts of each, will be rendered more and more easy by those numerous canals with which the beneficence of nature has intersected our country, and which art finds it so little difficult to connect and complete.”

What Madison is demonstrating in that essay is a core reality about what he, Washington and Hamilton were seeking. They were pragmatists seeking to build a strong and unified nation.

Yet, despite the prestige of George Washington and the propaganda of the Federalist Papers, Madison encountered intense opposition to ratification at the Virginia convention where fears of a federal abolition of slavery were raised, ironically, by two of the most famous voices for “liberty,” Patrick Henry and George Mason.



Henry and Mason have gone down in popular U.S. history as great espousers of freedom. Before the Revolution, Henry was quoted as declaring, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Mason is hailed as a leading force behind the Bill of Rights. But their notion of “liberty” and “rights” was always selective. Henry and Mason worried about protecting the “freedom” of plantation owners to possess other human beings as property.

[Dexter] You'll find it under Harvard Classics. Give Darwin a little nudge there.

[Mike] I thought I'd pour a little champagne.

[Dexter] It's a great leveler.

[Mike] It makes you my equal.

[Dexter] I wouldn't say that.

[Mike] Well, it almost makes you my equal....

Image

[Dexter] I drink to your health.

[Mike] Nah, let's drink to your wealth.

[Dexter] You're my bon'amie.

[Mike] Hey, that's French ...

[Dexter] A liberty ...

[Both] fraternity ...

-- Liberty Fraternity: Vignette from High Society, directed by Charles Walters


The Virginia Convention

At Virginia’s Ratification Convention in June 1788, Henry and Mason raised several arguments against the proposed Constitution, but their hot-button appeal centered on the danger they foresaw regarding the abolition of slavery.

As historians Burstein and Isenberg wrote in Madison and Jefferson, Henry and Mason warned the plantation owners at the convention that “slavery, the source of Virginia’s tremendous wealth, lay politically unprotected.” At the center of this fear was the state’s loss of ultimate control over its militia which could be “federalized” by the President as the nation’s commander-in-chief under the proposed Constitution.

“Mason repeated what he had said during the Constitutional Convention: that the new government failed to provide for ‘domestic safety’ if there was no explicit protection for Virginians’ slave property,” Burstein and Isenberg wrote. “Henry called up the by-now-ingrained fear of slave insurrections – the direct result, he believed, of Virginia’s loss of authority over its own militia.”

Henry floated conspiracy theories about possible subterfuges that the federal government might employ to deny Virginians and other Southerners the “liberty” to own African-Americans. Describing this fear-mongering, Burstein and Isenberg wrote:

“Congress, if it wished, could draft every slave into the military and liberate them at the end of their service. If troop quotas were determined by population, and Virginia had over 200,000 slaves, Congress might say: ‘Every black man must fight.’ For that matter, a northern-controlled Congress might tax slavery out of existence. Mason and Henry both ignored the fact that the Constitution protected slavery on the strength of the three-fifths clause, the fugitive slave clause, and the slave trade clause. Their rationale was that none of this mattered if the North should have its way.”

At Philadelphia in 1787, the drafters of the Constitution had already capitulated to the South’s insistence on its brutal institution of human enslavement. That surrender became the line of defense that Madison cited as he sought to finesse the arguments of Mason and Henry.

Burstein and Isenberg wrote, “Madison rose to reject their conspiratorial view. He argued that the central government had no power to order emancipation, and that Congress would never ‘alienate the affections five-thirteenths of the Union’ by stripping southerners of their property. ‘Such an idea never entered into any American breast,’ he said indignantly, ‘nor do I believe it ever will.’

“Madison was doing his best to make Henry and Mason sound like fear-mongers. Yet Mason struck a chord in his insistence that northerners could never understand slavery; and Henry roused the crowd with his refusal to trust ‘any man on earth’ with his rights. Virginians were hearing that their sovereignty was in jeopardy.”

Despite the success of Mason and Henry to play on the fears of plantation owners, the broader arguments stressing the advantages of Union carried the day, albeit narrowly. Virginia ultimately approved ratification by 89 to 79.

Return of Jefferson

With the return of Jefferson from France in 1789, the political physics of the young Republic began to change. Though Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, had offered little input into the development of the Constitution, he immediately grew concerned over how the Federalists around Washington and Hamilton sought to implement it, with ambitious projects for national development.

Jefferson, who served as Washington’s Secretary of State, and Hamilton, who was Treasury Secretary, represented the two poles of how the nation should proceed – and their clashes were personal as well as ideological. The two men gave impetus to the emergence of “factions,” what Washington had feared as a great threat to the Republic.

Soon the lines were drawn between Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans and Hamilton’s (and Washington’s) Federalists. In the middle was Madison who shocked Hamilton and Washington by essentially abandoning their side of the argument and aligning himself with Jefferson. In the Federalist view, the gravitational pull of Virginian politics had yanked Madison out of Washington’s orbit and moved him into Jefferson’s.

Madison, who had previously recognized the logical disconnect between the liberties of a Republic and the existence of slavery, soon fell silent on the issue. As Burstein and Isenberg note, 1791 was the last time Madison criticized slavery publicly: “That was when Madison prepared notes for a National Gazette essay, never published, in which he asserted that slavery and republicanism were incompatible.”

In effect, Jefferson began acting on the logic of the Henry-Mason argument, that a strong central government would eventually doom slavery. Thus, Jefferson opposed the Federalist project to deploy the empowered central government under the Constitution to build the nation, ideas like Hamilton’s national bank and even Madison’s road construction.

Jefferson proved to be an adept, even ruthless, politician as he secretly financed newspaper attacks on his Federalist rivals, such as John Adams, who succeeded Washington as the second president in 1797. Jefferson pushed Adams aside in 1801 to become the third president.

In doing so, Jefferson presented his ideology as an insistence that the Constitution be strictly interpreted to keep federal authority within its “enumerated powers.” Politically, he portrayed his movement as one defending simple “farmers,” but his true base of political support was the Southern slaveholding aristocracy.

Jefferson’s Racism

Jefferson’s racism, which included pseudo-science of skull measurements to prove the inferiority of African-Americans in his Notes on the State of Virginia, colored his administration’s foreign policy, too. He sided with French Emperor Napoleon’s scheme to crush the slave uprising in Haiti, a movement for black freedom that Jefferson feared would spread northward.

Ironically, the defeat of Napoleon’s army in Haiti forced the Emperor to forego the second phase of his plan, to expand his empire into the center of the North American continent. Instead, he offered to sell it to Jefferson in a deal negotiated by Secretary of State Madison. In buying the Louisiana territories, Jefferson and Madison ignored the principle of the Constitution’s “enumerated powers” which didn’t say anything about buying land that doubled the size of the country.

Similarly, as the fourth president, Madison’s stumbling performance in the War of 1812 changed his mind about the value of a national bank as a necessity for financing an effective military force.

Yet, while showing flexibility on their governing principles while in office, Jefferson and Madison hardened in defense of Virginia’s industry of slavery. Though both recognized the principled case against slavery, their political and financial interests overcame any moral qualms that they may have had.

After their presidencies, Jefferson and Madison remained loyal to their neighbors, the slaveholders of Virginia who – as a group – had discovered a lucrative new industry, breeding slaves for sale to the new states emerging in the west. Jefferson himself saw the financial benefit of having fertile female slaves.

“I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable than the best man of the farm,” Jefferson remarked. “What she produces is an addition to the capital, while his labors disappear in mere consumption.”

While recognizing the economic value of slavery, Jefferson suggested that the ultimate resolution of slavery would be to expatriate black Americans out of the country. One of Jefferson’s ideas was to take away the children born to black slaves in the U.S. and ship them to Haiti. In that way, Jefferson posited that both slavery and America’s black population could be phased out.

Slaveholders as Victims

Jefferson and Madison also insisted on framing the slavery issue as one in which the white Southerners who owned slaves were the real victims. In 1820, Jefferson wrote a letter expressing his alarm over the bitter battle surrounding the admission of Missouri as a slave state. “As it is, we have the wolf by the ear and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go,” Jefferson wrote. The imagery sought sympathy for the Southern slaveholders as the ones caught in a dangerous predicament, tenuously holding onto a ravenous wolf.

After returning to his Virginia plantation, Madison expressed his own sympathy for the slave-owning South in a play that he wrote, entitled “Jonathan Bull and Mary Bull.” The plot involved the wife Mary having one black arm, which husband Jonathan had accepted at the time of their marriage but later found offensive. He demanded that Mary either have her skin peeled off or her arm cut off.

In Madison’s script, Jonathan Bull becomes obnoxious and insistent even though his remedy is cruel and even life-threatening. “I can no longer consort with one marked with such a deformity as the blot on your person,” Jonathan tells Mary, who is “so stunned by the language she heard that it was some time before she could speak at all.”

Madison’s play clumsily made the belligerent and cruel Jonathan represent the North and the sympathetic and threatened Mary the South. As historians Burstein and Isenberg note, “Madison’s refusal to acknowledge the North’s right to speak out against southern slavery is matched by his feminization of the South, vulnerable if not wholly innocent and routinely subjected to unwarranted pressure.”

In other words, Madison considered the South’s white slaveholders the real victims here, and the North’s abolitionists were unfeeling monsters.

Late in his life, Jefferson was confronted on the moral and intellectual contradiction between his soaring “all men are created equal” rhetoric and his prosaic defense of slavery. The French patriot, the Marquis de Lafayette, who had fought at Washington’s side against the British and who became an advocate for emancipation in 1788, challenged his old friend Jefferson during a tour of the country that Lafayette had helped forge.

In 1820, Lafayette “pressed Jefferson to become again the activist [for liberty] he had been when they first met.” Lafayette told Jefferson that “I find, in the Negro Slavery, a great draw back upon my enjoyments” from the success of American independence, as Burstein and Isenberg note.

But Lafayette’s pain over the continuation – and even expansion – of slavery in the United States did not move Jefferson to reconsider his position. Unlike Washington and some other Founders whose wills freed their slaves, Jefferson (who died in 1826) and Madison (who died in 1836) did not grant any blanket freedom. Madison freed none of his slaves; Jefferson only freed a few related to the Hemings family of which his purported mistress, Sally Hemings, was a member.

Heading to War

Jefferson and Madison (at least the later incarnation of Madison as Jefferson’s ally) also helped put the nation on the path to the Civil War by lending support to the “nullification” movement in which Southern states insisted that they could reject (or nullify) federal law, the opposite position from the one Madison took in the Constitutional Convention when he favored giving Congress the power to veto state laws.

In the early 1830s, Southern politicians sought “nullification” of a federal tariff on manufactured goods, but were stopped by President Andrew Jackson who threatened to deploy troops to South Carolina to enforce the Constitution.

In December 1832, Jackson denounced the “nullifiers” and declared “the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.”

Jackson also rejected as “treason” the notion that states could secede if they wished, noting that the Constitution “forms a government not a league,” a reference to a line in the Articles of Confederation that had termed the fledgling United States a “league of friendship” among the states, not a national government.

Jackson’s nullification crisis was resolved nonviolently, but the South continued to resist any application of federal authority, even when the government sought to provide disaster relief, out of fear that such efforts could become a legal precedent for abolishing slavery.

Finally, in 1860, with the election of Abraham Lincoln from the new anti-slavery Republican Party, Southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy which explicitly authorized the institution of slavery in perpetuity. It took the Union’s victory in the Civil War to free the slaves and to make African-Americans full citizens of the United States. However, the defeated South still balked at equal rights for blacks and invoked “states’ rights” to defend segregation during the Jim Crow era.

White Southerners amassed enough political clout, especially within the Democratic Party – the successor to Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party – to fend off civil rights for blacks. The battle over states’ rights was joined again in the 1950s when the federal government finally committed itself to enforcing the principle of “equal protection under the law” as prescribed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Many white Southerners were furious that their system of segregation was being dismantled by federal authority. Southern rightists and many libertarians insisted that federal laws prohibiting denial of voting rights for blacks and outlawing segregation in public places were unconstitutional. But federal courts ruled that Congress was within its rights in banning such discrimination within the states.

The Modern Right

The anger of Southern whites was taken out primarily on the Democratic Party, which had led the fight for civil rights. Opportunistic Republicans, such as Richard Nixon, fashioned a “Southern strategy” that deployed racial code words to appeal to Southern whites. Soon, the region flipped from solidly Democratic to predominantly Republican as it is today.

It remains highly significant that Bush began his public political career in the ideological guise of a southern Republican, specifically in Texas. ... In order to create a Republican Party in the south, it was first necessary to smash the old FDR New Deal constituent of labor, the cities, farmers, blacks, and the Solid South. ... The method that the southern Republicans devised to breach this solid front was the one theorized years later by Lee Atwater, the manager of Bush's 1988 Presidential campaign. This was the technique of the 'wedge issues,' so called precisely because they were chosen to split up the old New Deal coalition using the chisels of ideology. The wedge issues are also known as the 'hot-button social issues,' and the most explosive among them has always tended to be race. ... Racial invective, anti-union demagogy, jingoistic chauvinism, the smearing of opponents for their alleged fealty to 'special interests' ... these ideas were further refined in Richard Nixon's brain trust, presided over by Wall Street bond lawyer John Mitchell ... and received their definitive elaboration from Kevin Phillips who advanced the thesis that the 'whole secret of politics is in knowing who hates who,' which is of course another way of speaking of wedge issues. The result of the successful application of the Southern Strategy in 1968 and in the following years has been a period of more than two decades of one-party Republican control over the Executive Branch ... which has proven a mighty stimulus to those tendencies towards authoritarian and even totalitarian rule which have culminated in the Administrative Fascism of the current Bush regime.

-- George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin


Southern white anger was also reflected in the prevalence of the Confederate battle flag on pickup trucks and in store windows. But direct appeals to racism became politically unpalatable in modern America, so today’s Right began its rebranding. From a movement that resented federal intervention on behalf of blacks and other minorities, the Right became a movement that decried federal intervention as a violation of fundamental American “liberties.”

Imagine that Stan, a congregant of no particular church, thinks the Jews killed Christ, and would prefer not to sell nails to Jews at his local hardware store, because he wants to adhere to his belief that Christ-killing is wrong and that the Jews to this day are morally responsible for it.

Or imagine that Wayne, who owns a local Denny's franchise, believes based on his self-directed study of the Bible and 19th-century interpretations thereof and the encouragement of his peers that African-Americans are the heirs of the imagined Curse of Ham, and shouldn't be seated in his restaurant with the heirs of Shem and Japheth, and should be seated instead in a separate and inferior section of the restaurant, if he must seat them at all.

Or imagine that the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church runs a shaved-ice stand at the local county fair, and would prefer not to sell shaved ice to multi-racial couples or families visiting the fair, because its membership disagrees with race-mixing.

Federal anti-discrimination laws prevent Stan and Wayne and the GFWBC from implementing their beliefs when they sell goods and services to the public at large. So do many state and local statutes.

This generates relatively little outrage. Politicians do not campaign against anti-discrimination laws on the premise that the dilemma of Stan and Wayne and the GFWBC presages increasing loss of freedoms. People like Stan and Wayne and the GFWBC sue quite infrequently in an attempt to win a right to discriminate in providing public services, and don't get much support when they do. In "mainstream" publications, few angry columns are written about their plight. A few people will assert that anti-discrimination laws like those that restrain Stan and Wayne and the GFWBC are unconstitutional and unworkable, but will not articulate that belief with much heat or light.

Compare that to the response to the assertions of Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado.

Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to make a cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who sought a Colorado celebration of their Massachusetts marriage. The Colorado Attorney General has filed a complaint against Philips and Masterpiece Cakeshop before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. That decision has spurred outrage and warnings of the loss of personal freedom of conscience. Philips' lawyer has skillfully manipulated the outrage, pronouncing that Phillips faces a year in jail for following his conscience — by which he means that a court could order Phillips not to discriminate, and in Colorado defiance of such an order could potentially lead to a prosecution that could potentially yield a prison sentence.

My question is this: is there a principled reason that some people are outraged when anti-discrimination laws are applied to forbid discrimination against gays, but not to discrimination against Jews, or African-Americans, or any other group?

Is there a principled reason that people will assert that a baker should have a right to refuse service to a same-sex couple, but not take the next step and say that the baker should be able to refuse service to anyone — including based on race or religion — according to his or her conscience?

Is the answer merely that anti-gay religious sentiment is relatively mainstream, but racist or racial separatist religious sentiment is steadily more and more marginalized and unusual in American society? In other words, is the defense of Jack Philips a plea for preferred treatment of a favored religious belief? Or would Jack Phillips' defenders be equally willing to defend Stan, and Wayne, and the GFWBC? Is the relatively narrow defense of the Jack Phillips of America a matter of a principle subject to articulation, or is it a matter of political calculation — a belief that Americans might agree with a right for a merchant to discriminate against gays, but not a right to discriminate against Jews or African-Americans? Is there an ideal at hand more principled than "society should allow the types of discrimination in which I, personally, might want to indulge"?

Statutory and Constitutional rights frequently conflict. There is an inherent tension between anti-discrimination laws, on the one hand, and the rights of free association and free exercise of religion, on the other hand. Recognizing that tension is simply being honest about the structure of rights acknowledged by our society; it doesn't dictate one outcome or the other. Even vigorous libertarians reach different conclusions on the subject.

But if someone makes a rights-based objection to application of an anti-discrimination law — whether based on free exercise of religion, or freedom of association — I think it's reasonable to ask whether the objection is consistent, or a case of special pleading. An honest dialogue about the proposed right to discriminate against same-sex couples would examine that right's necessary implications.

-- A Few Questions About the Socially Acceptable Range of Discrimination, by Ken White


Still, the rebranding was only cosmetic. Today’s Tea Party wants much the same thing – and is motivated by many of the same fears – as the generations of pre-Confederates, Confederates, post-Confederates and neo-Confederates. They all want to maintain white supremacy, and they resent the federal government’s insistence that blacks (and brown) people be treated as full citizens.

Thus, you see the Tea Party’s aggressive support for state laws restricting voting rights (especially for minorities) and the Tea Party’s furious opposition to immigration reform that would give millions of Hispanics a pathway to citizenship. Plus, it was the election of the first African-American president that created the impetus for the Tea Party’s emergence in the first place, amid calls from whites to “take our country back” and slurs about Barack Obama being born in Kenya.

But the overriding historical question – raised by the Tea Party’s insistence that it represents the founding ideals of the United States – is whether the nation embraces the intent of Washington (and the earlier incarnation of Madison) for a strong central government seeking the public good or the resistance to the Constitution that was pushed by slave-owning Virginians, such as Jefferson (and the later incarnation of Madison).

The former interpretation sought to deploy the federal government on behalf of fulfilling the goals of the Constitution’s Preamble, including the need to “promote the general welfare.” The latter interpretation saw an activist federal government as a death knell to slavery.

Today’s Tea Party may wish to pretend that its overwhelmingly white membership dressing up in Revolutionary War costumes separates it from the image of angry white segregationists wearing white sheets, waving the Stars and Bars and spitting on black children on their way to school. But the Tea Party’s opinion of the Constitution and the interpretation that embraced slavery, secession and segregation are one and the same.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
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Re: Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

Postby admin » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:32 pm

Whitewash: The party on the brink of destroying the Voting Rights Act reminds us that Republicans were really the great civil-rights leaders all along.
By Frank Rich
May 5, 2013

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Strom Thurmond, whose primacy in the GOP’s racial realignment is the most incriminating truth the right keeps trying to cover up. (Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux)

When you start talking about race and the Republican Party, Republicans tend to say the following things. First, they tell you that most Republicans are not bigots (true) and that Democrats can be bigots, too (also true). Then you’re reminded that during the decades when southern segregationists made their home in the Democratic Party, Republicans were instrumental in founding the NAACP, in 1909; a Republican chief justice (Earl Warren) presided over Brown v. Board of Education, in 1954; a Republican president (Eisenhower) called in troops to desegregate Little Rock’s schools, in 1957; and another Republican president (Nixon) created the first federal affirmative-action program with teeth. (All true.)

Then you ask, what about today? You’re told that Newt Gingrich calling Barack Obama “the food-stamp president” and Sarah Palin’s invocation of “shuck and jive ” were just ephemeral campaign-season gaffes from sideshow clowns soon to get the hook. Rush Limbaugh’s perennial race-baiting? Yesterday’s news. Mitt Romney’s alliance with the off-the-rails birther Donald Trump? Just clueless Mitt being Mitt. Those sightings of racist placards at tea-party rallies? Cherry-picked, planted, or invented by the liberal media. And besides, the Democrats have their own history of race-baiting ranters—queue up the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s greatest hits on YouTube.

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"Conservative Black Chick" Blogger Crystal Wright on the GOP's Failed Minority Outreach

The only fact that can’t be easily batted away by defensive Republicans is that actual black Americans almost never vote for Republicans in a national election. What’s up with that? Why have they been so ungrateful for the good works of Warren and Ike, year after year? Today the answer to that question matters more than ever. In the Obama era, the spike in GOP efforts to pursue policies punitive to minorities is unmistakable. State and local governments in every region have been in a race to enact restrictive new voting laws. Congressional Republicans are adamant in preserving the sequestration cuts for Head Start, Job Corps, and unemployment insurance, even as they carve out a self-serving exception for air-traffic control. Next month, a conservative-dominated Supreme Court is poised to eviscerate a crown jewel of civil-rights law, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, at a time when, if anything, it should be expanded to address the growing obstacles to voting in ever more jurisdictions: long lines, the mischievous purging of voting rolls, and new registration requirements redolent of the Jim Crow South.

Paradoxically, this is all happening as the GOP makes a big postelection show of trying to jettison its image as an all-white party hostile to almost every minority group in the nation. The GOP chairman, Reince Priebus, announced a $10 million outreach plan to minorities. Congressional leaders, gobsmacked by the discovery that Hispanics were more inclined to vote Democratic than to “self-deport,” have manacled themselves to Marco Rubio and started slouching toward immigration reform. A smattering of Republican senators and Fox News personalities has even joined the Democratic stampede to “evolve” on same-sex marriage. And African-Americans? Well, that’s now, as always, where it gets truly embarrassing.

Romney may have received a paltry 27 percent of the Latino vote, but that was an incipient landslide next to his 6 percent of the black vote. Six percent is the exact percentage of blacks who voted for the GOP in the 1964 presidential election, when its standard-bearer, Barry Goldwater, kick-started the metamorphosis of the Party of Lincoln into the Party of Strom Thurmond by defying most of his own Republican senatorial colleagues to oppose that year’s landmark Civil Rights Act. You’d think the persistence of the GOP’s near-total estrangement from black America almost a half-century later would merit the most drastic corrective action in its new outreach effort. But you would be wrong. The party still believes it can spin its racial history and, when required, literally and figuratively whitewash it.

For the moment, the GOP is recycling its time-honored, if increasingly threadbare, publicity stunts to address the problem. As part of a postelection “listening” tour, damned if Priebus didn’t listen to twenty—count ’em, twenty—bona fide African-Americans at a megachurch in East Brooklyn in March. He has hired not one but two blacks to staff the Republican National Committee’s minority-outreach program: the 24-year-old son of the Fox News commentator Juan Williams and a suburban-Washington real-estate agent whose brief career as a legislative assistant on the Hill ended in 2002. The party has also recruited a new telegenic black conservative with no record of public service, the Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson, to take on the Alan Keyes–Herman Cain role of delivering incendiary sound bites (inevitably describing the Democratic Party as a “plantation”) while pretending to be a plausible presidential candidate.

Such ruses won’t fool anyone now any more than in the past. It’s not a stretch to imagine that the party chairman knows this and that neither he nor anyone around him cares. As McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed discovered three weeks after Priebus parachuted into Brooklyn to genuflect before authentic urban blacks, there’s still “not a single racial minority among the twenty most senior officials who run the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, and National Republican Senatorial Committee—the three wings of the GOP apparatus charged with promoting candidates and winning elections.” This newfangled integration fad doesn’t come easy to the right. At the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual conclave in Washington in March, a black “Frederick Douglass Republican” had to fend off a white attendee defending slavery at the Tea Party Patriots’ panel “Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You’re Not One?” (Trump may not have been the mot juste to deploy in this particular title.)

Perhaps some GOP leaders can still rationalize the party’s racial status quo, not to mention its all-white hierarchy, because scant black support has not been a bar to winning past presidential elections. Mathematically, the GOP doesn’t need African-American voters. Blacks, who made up 12 percent of the population at the start of this decade (versus 17 percent for Latinos), are likely to remain a fairly static demographic in the future—rising to only 13 percent of the population in 2050, by which time Latinos could be at 29 percent, according to Pew projections. Their votes will rarely be decisive in the Electoral College.

But in a more and more diverse America, the real political risk in the GOP’s continued apartheid is greater than ever. The party’s alienation from black Americans threatens to turn off larger and larger blocs of nonblack voters—white, Latino, young—who don’t want to be associated with a brand still carrying a whiff of twentieth-century, and even nineteenth-century, racial animus. From the birth of the GOP’s “southern strategy” in the Nixon years until now, that risk has defined the party’s most vexing political calculus: How does it convince mainstream, non-racist America that it is still the color-blind, racially ecumenical party it purports to be, even as it has remarkable luck in attracting whatever die-hard bigots are still out there and perennially fails to win over any but a fringe of black voters? The ascent of America’s first black president has only compounded that challenge by inspiring the GOP’s racial provocateurs to be more uninhibited, and hence more visible, than they have been since Anita Hill testified in Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings in 1991, or perhaps since the George H.W. Bush political strategist Lee Atwater exploited a black felon, Willie Horton, to slime Michael Dukakis in 1988.

There have been various public-relations strategies throughout the years for finessing this conundrum, many of them as silly as Priebus’s listening tour. Few who were present will ever forget the legions of break-dancers and gospel singers tossed onstage at the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia to distract from the lily-white delegate pool in the hall. But the most durable and effective tactic has been the right’s transparent effort to sanitize its own modern history on race to hide it from voters who might find it distasteful. As last year’s election results proved yet again, black Americans, who lived through this history firsthand and were sometimes victimized by it, aren’t fooled for a second. They remember what happened. But as more time goes by and the right’s concerted mythmaking about its history takes root in the culture, many other Americans don’t question it. Indeed, a new generation of conservatives seems to be downright cocky about its ability to falsify the Republican past and peddle the fictions to an inattentive or ill-informed public.

This was most recently illustrated by the new Great White Hope of the GOP base, Rand Paul, the winner of CPAC’s presidential straw poll this year and a man who is not shy about his White House ambitions. In pursuit of higher office, the image-conscious Paul took his own stab at outreach last month, giving a speech at Howard University. Facing a mostly young and African-American audience, he was determined to airbrush history—even very recent history of his own. He had “never wavered” in his “support for civil rights or the Civil Rights Act,” he claimed, when in fact he had done exactly that in a Louisville Courier-Journal interview during his 2010 Senate campaign. Back then he’d argued that while it was “abhorrent” of Woolworth’s to refuse to serve Martin Luther King Jr. at its lunch counter, a private business still should retain the freedom to do what it wants. He espoused similar views in a contemporaneous prime-time appearance with Rachel Maddow, who replayed her interview with Paul the night of his Howard address.

But far more representative of the larger Republican effort to neutralize its racial history in the civil-rights era was another passage in Paul’s speech. “How did the Republican Party, the party of the Great Emancipator, lose the trust and faith of an entire race?” he asked rhetorically. “From the Civil War to the civil-rights movement, for a century, most black Americans voted Republican. How did we lose that vote?” After a meandering account of the party’s glorious record on black emancipation in the post–Civil War era, Paul arrived at the Great Depression and this answer: “The Democrats promised equalizing outcomes through unlimited federal assistance while Republicans offered something that seemed less tangible—the promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets.” In other words, African-Americans of the thirties were deadbeats bought off by FDR’s New Deal, much as those of the sixties (in the right’s eyes) were bought off by LBJ’s Great Society entitlements and those of the present day (along with the rest of America’s downtrodden “47 percent”) were seduced by Democrats brandishing still more of what Romney called “free stuff” and “gifts,” starting with Obamacare. In this telling, the GOP’s growing opposition to civil-rights laws in the past half-century (Rand’s opposition included) is blameless for black defections; the party was just too high-minded, too egalitarian, too devoted to freedom to compete with Democratic bribery.

This kind of historical fantasia—and worse—has become more brazen than ever since Obama arrived on the scene. Three years ago, while contemplating his own presidential run, Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor and Republican leader, went so far as to praise the rabidly segregationist White Citizens’ Councils of his youth for their opposition to the Ku Klux Klan. (The racist Councils had opposed the Klan, a rival, in the same sense that the Capone gang opposed the Moran gang in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.) Barbour also boasted about attending integrated schools in Yazoo City, Mississippi, in the sixties, even though the courts didn’t step in to finally enforce desegregation there until 1970 (when he was 22). “I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” he said of the racial climate in his hometown in 1962. That was the same year that a riot killing two and injuring more than 300 broke out 150 miles away, in Oxford, Mississippi, when the then-governor, Ross Barnett, defied a court order forcing the university to admit a black student, James Meredith. Almost matching Paul and Barbour in historical fabrication is another Republican with presidential ambitions, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who in 2010 omitted any mention of slavery from his already dubious declaration of Confederate History Month; he explained he wanted to focus on issues he thought “were most significant” for his state. (McDonnell, like Barbour, soon had to undertake a public reeducation tour and backpedal.)

Yet the most insidious and determined campaign to rewrite racial history on the right has come not from yahoo political hacks but from a coterie of writers who pop up at relatively highbrow conservative publications like The Wall Street Journal, National Review, and The Weekly Standard. Their work, often underwritten by conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, feeds the politicians their source material. Some of these writers’ spurious output makes it into the so-called liberal media as well, including that of Gerard Alexander, an AEI “scholar” who published a piece titled “Conservatism Does Not Equal Racism. So Why Do Many Liberals Assume It Does?” in the Washington Post in September 2010. Alexander, the author of a previous Weekly Standard article defending the GOP as “the party of civil rights,” wrote in the Post that “many white conservatives swoon when members of minority groups proudly share their values” and that “the old conservatism-as-racism story has outlived all usefulness and accuracy.” Oh, really? In just the six months before his article appeared, a short list of conservatism-as-racism stories would include Andrew Breitbart’s attempted high-tech lynching of the black Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod; the epithets hurled at the civil-rights hero John Lewis, among other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, in a mêlée on the Capitol grounds; and a “parody” letter by a Tea Party Express spokesman in which the “NAACP head colored person” called Lincoln the “greatest racist ever.”

The history that such Republican water-carriers want to blot out was succinctly summarized recently by the Princeton historian Sean Wilentz: “Everybody knows that in 1964, a proud southern Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, pushed hard to secure the civil-rights bill, with the aid of a coalition of northern Democrats and Republicans. This sent the defeated segregationist southern Democrats (led by Strom Thurmond) fleeing into the Republican Party, where its remnants, along with a younger generation of extremist conservative white Southerners, including Rand Paul, still reside.” The only part of this that is not true are Wilentz’s first two words: In our amnesiac country, everybody does not know what happened 50 years ago, which is why the revisionists have an opening to fill the vacuum.

And so we have Kevin Williamson’s essay “The Party of Civil Rights—It Has Always Been the Republicans” (in National Review last year) asserting that the rise of the GOP in the South in the sixties was mostly about economic issues, the Vietnam War, the counterculture, law and order, and anti-communism, because race was then in “decline” as “the most important political question.” (That decline may have been less evident to black Southerners of that time who witnessed, among other seminal events, Bloody Sunday in Selma in 1965 and the King assassination in Memphis in 1968.) Williamson also stated that Goldwater’s vote against the 1964 civil-rights bill was only that of a “principled critic,” as opposed to that of a candidate pandering to segregationists in southern states, five of which just happened to go Republican that year for the first time since Reconstruction. In a new National Review essay last month, Williamson goes further still, portraying Goldwater as a civil-rights hero next to the “low-rent” LBJ.

It’s a leading plank among these revisionists that Goldwater and other conservative heroes opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 championed by that “low-rent” Johnson only because of constitutional objections (much like those Paul raised about the law in his 2010 Senate campaign). As Noemie Emery tried to make this case in 2011 in The Weekly Standard, “the law was opposed by leading members of the emerging conservative movement—Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and William F. Buckley Jr.—for reasons having to do with small-government principles that nonetheless permitted their theories and the interests of the segregationists for that moment in time to converge.”

She and her fellow travelers in racial revisionism protest too much. To believe that the convergence between lofty conservative theory and expedient racial politics was innocent, you have to forget Buckley’s 1957 declaration that “the white community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically.” You have to ignore Goldwater’s famous 1961 political dictum that the Republican Party “go hunting where the ducks are” and pander to southern white conservatives. You have to believe that it was a complete accident that Reagan chose Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site of the “Mississippi Burning” slaughter of three civil-rights workers, to deliver a speech on “states’ rights” in 1980. You also have to disregard the political game plan codified by Kevin Phillips, the Nixon political strategist whose book The Emerging Republican Majority helped cement the party’s “southern strategy” of mining white backlash to the civil-rights movement. Speaking to the Times in 1970, Phillips said, “The more Negros who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the ­Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are.” Or, in Goldwater’s earlier parlance, the ducks.

To buy that it was only “small-government principles,” uncorrupted by cynical racial politics, that led these conservative leaders to oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you most of all have to redact the crucial role played by Thurmond when he bolted to the GOP in 1964 and enlisted in the Goldwater campaign. By all accounts, Goldwater himself was not a racist. But he knew the political value of playing the race card. There was no reason for him to welcome the militant white supremacist Thurmond into the GOP except for the obvious one: His presence sealed the deal with voters who wanted confirmation that, whatever Goldwater’s “principled” opposition to the Civil Rights Act, his election as president would help assure that similar laws would be resisted for years to come. (Goldwater, not so incidentally, was the only senator in either party who filled in for Thurmond when he took a bathroom break during his record filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.) Thurmond gave the Republican ticket—and by extension the entire party—the imprimatur of a top-tier bigot. The South Carolina senator had previously left the Democrats to run as a third-party Dixiecrat in 1948—“All the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes,” he had declaimed then—and had opposed civil-rights legislation, even anti-lynching laws, ever since.

The primacy of Thurmond in the GOP’s racial realignment is the most incriminating truth the right keeps trying to cover up. That’s why the George W. Bush White House shoved the Mississippi senator Trent Lott out of his post as Senate majority leader in 2002 once news spread that Lott had told Thurmond’s 100th-birthday gathering that America “wouldn’t have had all these problems” if the old Dixiecrat had been elected president in 1948. Lott, it soon became clear, had also lavished praise on Jefferson Davis and associated for decades with other far-right groups in thrall to the old Confederate cause. But the GOP elites didn’t seem to mind until he committed the truly unpardonable sin of reminding America, if only for a moment, of the exact history his party most wanted and needed to suppress. Then he had to be shut down at once.

A decade-plus after Lott’s fall, the whitewashing of Thurmond and his role in defining the modern GOP continues. When Joseph Crespino, a historian at Emory University, published the most authoritative study on Thurmond to date, Strom Thurmond’s America, last year, The Wall Street Journal assigned a review to a writer named Lee Edwards, whom it identified as a Goldwater biographer and “a fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.” What the Journal didn’t say—but Crespino did, in his book—is that Edwards was also “an assistant press secretary in the Goldwater campaign and editor of a 1965 exposé of alleged Communist connections to the civil-rights movement.” Unsurprisingly, Edwards’s review portrayed old Strom as a principled constitutional conservative and a “shrewd pragmatist who loved the Old South but welcomed the New South, with its voting rights for all citizens.” In Edwards’s estimation, “the majority of South Carolina voters, black as well as white,” would accept so benign a judgment. Edwards also praised Thurmond for being a generous dad to his secret African-­American daughter, Essie Mae ­Washington-Williams, who had revealed her paternity six months after the senator died in 2003. “Her mother had worked for Thurmond’s parents” was how the Journal’s writer blandly described the circumstances of ­Washington-Williams’s birth.

What he might more accurately have written was that Washington-Williams’s mother was a family maid, and that Thurmond, then in his early twenties, had impregnated her when she was only 15. For all the racial hypocrisy this episode entails, let’s not forget that today such a scenario might also be grounds for a charge of rape, an avenue of justice not open to Essie Mae’s mother in the South Carolina of the twenties. It’s an indicator of how much the Republican Party and the conservative movement want this shameful history to go away that when Washington-Williams, the human embodiment of Thurmond and segregation’s legacy, died at 87, in February, her death went unmentioned in National Review, The Weekly Standard, and most other conservative outlets, and unacknowledged by any conservative columnist at the Times, the Journal, or the Washington Post.

As an accident of timing would have it, Washington-Williams died a few weeks before the Supreme Court heard arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, the Alabama challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that Thurmond and his fellow segregationists—Republican, Democrat, Democrat-soon-to-turn-Republican—tried so hard to defeat and then to thwart. It’s no coincidence that the case has come before the court simultaneously with the proliferation of those new local laws abridging voting rights. This is a calculated two-pronged effort to fix the GOP’s minority deficit by extra-democratic means.


The boosters of the new voting regulations would have us believe instead that their efforts are in response to a (nonexistent) rise in the country’s minuscule instances of voter fraud. Everyone knows these laws are in response to the rise of Barack Obama. It is also no coincidence that many of them were conceived and promoted by the American Legal Exchange Council, an activist outfit funded by heavy-hitting right-wing donors like Charles and David Koch. In another coincidence that the GOP would like to flush down the memory hole, the Kochs’ father, Fred, a founder of the radical John Birch Society in the fifties, was an advocate for the impeachment of Chief Justice Warren in the aftermath of Brown. Fred Koch wrote a screed of his own accusing communists of inspiring the civil-rights movement.

The current chief justice, John Roberts, has made his perspective on the landmark civil-rights laws of that era clear. His now notorious pseudo-aphorism—“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”—is nothing if not an echo of Goldwater’s (ghostwritten) laissez-faire philosophy of racial justice as delineated in his 1960 manifesto The Conscience of a Conservative. Goldwater said that while he supported school desegregation in principle, he believed it wrong “to impose that judgment” on “the people of Mississippi or South Carolina” or to instruct them on how to achieve that goal. “I believe that the problem of race relations, like all social and cultural problems, is best handled by the people directly concerned,” he concluded. Or, in other words: The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. No law enforcement is required.

Should the Goldwater-Roberts view prevail next month, it will be a setback for American voting rights. But I also wonder if so reactionary a decision could backfire on a GOP that has tried and is still trying so hard to disguise its role in the history that necessitated the Voting Rights Act in the first place—as well as the act’s repeated extension by Congress, most recently with near-unanimous bipartisan support in 2006. It’s that history, not happenstance or habit or “free stuff,” that drove African-Americans to give the Republican ticket the exact same 6 percent of its votes in both 1964 and 2012.

A gutted Voting Rights Act might spark an uproar so raucous that a whole new generation of voters could be compelled to learn just how we got there. The more Americans who are armed with the truth, the better it is for the country, of course, but also for a party that is unlikely to move forward in a fast-changing 21st-century America until it is forced to free itself from its past.
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Re: Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

Postby admin » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:33 pm

Lott Fails to Quell Furor and Quits Top Senate Post
By CARL HULSE
December 20, 2002

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 - Facing the collapse of support from his Republican colleagues, Senator Trent Lott today abandoned his effort to remain Senate Republican leader, clearing the way for the White House's preferred successor, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee.

As late as Thursday night, Mr. Lott insisted he would stay in power. But by this morning, he concluded that he could not quiet a racially charged furor that Republicans feared would damage their party and threaten Mr. Bush's agenda in Congress.

After several colleagues turned on Mr. Lott by endorsing Mr. Frist's challenge late on Thursday, Mr. Lott this morning issued a statement from his home in Mississippi saying he would step aside ``in the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country.''

He said he would continue to serve in the Senate, putting to rest Republican concerns that he would resign his seat - and perhaps help tip the balance of power in the Senate to the Democrats. ``To all those who offered me their friendship, support and prayers, I will be eternally grateful,'' said Mr. Lott.

This was the first time that a party leader in the Senate had been forced from his post, Senate historians said, though such ousters have become increasingly frequent in the more raucous House.

By this afternoon, roughly 30 of the 51 Senate Republicans endorsed Mr. Frist, a wealthy former heart surgeon who, as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, guided the successful campaign in November to regain Republican control of the incoming Senate.

No other senator put up a public challenge to Mr. Frist, and senators scheduled a conference call for Monday afternoon to affirm his election.

Mr. Frist, who was in Washington today, did not address his own future but in a statement praised Mr. Lott for putting ``concern for his family, country and his colleagues first.''

For two weeks, Mr. Lott tried to put out a firestorm that began with informal remarks at Senator Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party on Dec. 5. Mr. Lott said the nation ``wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years'' had Mr. Thurmond won the presidency in 1948. Mr. Thurmond, the South Carolina senator, had broken with the Democratic Party and run as a Dixiecrat on a platform of maintaining racial segregation.

President Bush spoke by telephone to Mr. Lott this morning after learning he was stepping aside, a White House spokesman said. In a statement, Mr. Bush called Mr. Lott a ``valued friend, and a man I respect.'' He credited him with helping pass his program of tax cuts last year, among other accomplishments.

Despite his kinds words today, Mr. Bush played a role in Mr. Lott's departure. He was sharply critical of Mr. Lott's comments in a Dec. 12 speech in Philadelphia, saying they were not in keeping with party principles. And while the White House maintained publicly throughout that Mr. Lott need not resign his post, advisers and other Republicans close to the administration, including Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, sent a steady stream of signals that Mr. Lott should go.

It was a remarkable turn of events for Mr. Lott, 61, a Congressional insider who had been so close to recapturing the majority leader's post he lost in 2001 when Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican ranks and became an independent.

Just a month ago, Republican gains in the midterm elections led Mr. Lott to savor a return to the role of majority leader. Still, he was undone by a chain of events that began with what he considered a flip comment - he later said ``I was winging it'' - at a birthday party.

The remark at first escaped press scrutiny but came under sustained criticism from across the political spectrum. It later arose that Mr. Lott had made virtually the same remark at a rally in 1980.

After the initial outcry, Mr. Lott tried to secure enough votes from his colleagues to survive any potential challenge that might have been mounted in a caucus meeting then planned for Jan. 6 but which now looks moot. About a dozen senators had publicly signaled they would vote for him - and Lott allies insisted that the number was closer to 20 of the 26 needed to maintain his position.

That, however, came before an alternative emerged. Mr. Frist's challenge turned the tables quickly, as five senators, including Senator John W. Warner of Virginia and Senator-elect Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, immediately endorsed him. Others were following suit this morning even before Mr. Lott acted.

This afternoon, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate and a potential rival, joined his colleagues in rallying behind Mr. Frist, saying he was ``confident he will lead the Republican party to accomplish important priorities for the American people'' Mr. Santorum, as a party leader, scheduled a conference call for next week to seal Mr. Frist's ascension.

The elevation of Mr. Frist was assured when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, slated to be the No. 2 Republican next year, pledged his support rather than seek the post himself. He said the party needed to avoid any further ruptures.

``I felt it was important that we have a unified conference,'' Mr. McConnell said in an interview, noting that he also discouraged others from seeking the post. ``It is important for us to begin with a united party on Jan. 7, advancing the president's agenda.''

Mr. Santorum gave the idea of a contest some thought, allies said, but momentum moved very rapidly in the direction of Mr. Frist, who has been in the Senate since 1994.

``Time was just not on our side,'' a Santorum backer said.

Other Republicans suggested Mr. Frist will have to contend with some resentment among his colleagues over his maneuver, as well as concerns that he is not sufficiently independent of the White House.

Mr. Frist built his rise on a broad coalition of support, starting with the incoming Republican senators whom he helped to win in November.

He also appealed to moderates in the Northeast and succeeded in winning support from conservatives like Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, who had complained that Mr. Lott, in his apologies, was retracting some conservative stands.

``I felt it would be very difficult for Trent Lott to be a standard bearer for the party when he has been forced into making statements that are inconsistent with the philosophy of the party,'' said Mr. Inhofe.

Among those who enticed Mr. Frist into the contest was Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma, who started the drive against Mr. Lott on Sunday when he called for reconsideration of the Senate leadership.

``He will provide the leadership necessary to bring Senate Republicans together and move us forward,'' Mr. Nickles said of Mr. Frist.

Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader, said Mr. Lott was right to resign.

``The Senate is a forum for honest disagreement about the direction and policies of our nation, but there can be no room for the sentiments expressed by Senator Lott,'' he said.


He and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the new House Democratic leader, said the Republican Party needed to do more than replace Mr. Lott to show it was serious about changing its approach on minorities.

``Republicans have repeatedly exploited the issue of race, as recently as the election in November in Georgia, where their successful campaigns for U.S. Senator and governor centered on the Confederate flag,'' said Ms. Pelosi of California.

Some Republicans have expressed concern that Mr. Frist does not have extensive experience in Senate floor fights and could be outmaneuvered by Mr. Daschle. Democrats agreed that Mr. Frist would have to get up to speed quickly. ``He is going to have to hold his caucus together and pass legislation with a majority of one,'' a top Democratic aide said.

Mr. Frist also ran into criticism from conservative groups. Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, urged Republicans to hold a vote, calling Mr. Frist ``a moderate Republican at heart.''

Friends of Mr. Lott said it was exceedingly difficult for him to give up the post he worked so hard to regain but that he recognized his support had fallen apart.

There had been talk of arranging a ``soft landing'' for Mr. Lott by giving him a chairmanship, but such a move would require another senator to give up a post, which seems unlikely. Some Republicans said Mr. Lott also hurt his chance for a post because his efforts to keep his position only dragged out the controversy.
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Re: Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

Postby admin » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:35 pm

Supreme Court’s War on Democracy
By Robert Parry
June 25, 2013

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Whatever legalistic wording or tortured logic is applied, the ugly truth is that the narrow right-wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court is at war with American democracy. Or, put a bit differently, these justices don’t believe that a democratic judgment relying on black and brown people should be respected.

The five Republicans on the Court know full well that by striking down the preclearance requirement before electoral changes can be made in states and districts with a documented history of racial discrimination, they are inviting a wave of legal impediments to minority voting. The same five justices also knew that in 2010 their Citizens United ruling would open the floodgates for mostly right-wing billionaires to inundate political campaigns with misleading propaganda.

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U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts.

And, the stage for this sustained judicial assault on democracy was set when the predecessor to the Roberts Court, the Rehnquist Court, intervened to stop the counting of votes in Florida and to effectively anoint Republican George W. Bush the President, though he lost the national popular vote and would have lost the swing state of Florida to Democrat Al Gore if all ballots legal under state law were counted. [See Neck Deep for details.]

The Bush v. Gore case was the first clear indicator that the modern Republican Right was determined to use the Supreme Court as a weapon to negate democracy and assure continued GOP control of the U.S. government. The Right was determined to assert and maintain its power by almost any means possible.

Though Bush’s presidency turned out to be a disaster for the United States and the world, it was a godsend to the Court’s right-wing majority. Bush was able to replace two Republican justices who participated in appointing him – William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O’Connor – with right-wingers, John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Those two Bush appointments moved the Court even further to the Right and gave the Republicans hope that even amid the nation’s demographic changes, which were reflected in the election of Barack Obama in 2008 as the nation’s first African-American president, there was still a way for right-wing and white power to be sustained.

The Citizens United case of 2010 was the next blow, delivered by the Roberts Court, making possible unlimited spending from “dark pools” of cash to propagandize the American electorate. That surge of right-wing money – combined with progressive disappointment with the first two years of Obama’s presidency – helped elect rabidly right-wing Republican majorities in the House and in state capitals around the country.

Given that 2010 was a census year, Republicans were empowered to gerrymander congressional seats to concentrate liberal voters in a few isolated districts and arrange for solid conservative majorities in most others. (The redistricting effectively guaranteed a continued Republican majority in the House even though Democratic candidates received about one million more votes nationwide in 2012.)

Voter Suppression

The outcome of Election 2010 also enabled Republican-controlled statehouses to begin a coordinated strategy to suppress the votes of blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the young – seen as predominantly Democratic voters – by requiring photo IDs, tightening eligibility and reducing voting hours.

That plan, however, ran afoul of the Voting Rights Act, especially in Old Confederacy states like Texas which were covered by the preclearance requirement of the law. Using the Act, the Justice Department was able to beat back most of the attempts to infringe on suffrage – and minorities provided key votes to reelect President Obama in 2012.

So, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (which had been reauthorized overwhelmingly by Congress in 2006) became the next target of the Roberts Court. In a historic ruling on Tuesday, the five right-wing justices – Roberts, Alito, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas – gutted the law by ripping out the preclearance procedure.

The five justices barely bothered with any logical or constitutional argument. Their central point was to publish charts that showed that black voting in areas under special protection of the Voting Rights Act was generally equal to or even higher than the percentages of white voters.

But all that did was show that the law was working, not that those areas would not again resort to trickery once preclearance was removed. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued in a dissent, there was no justification for the Court to overrule the judgment of Congress, reaffirmed only seven years ago.


“Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” Ginsburg wrote.

There also is no doubt that the Constitution grants Congress the explicit power to enact legislation to protect the voting rights of people of color. The Fifteenth Amendment states that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” It adds: “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

The amendment was ratified in 1870 during Reconstruction, meaning that many whites from Southern states and other racist jurisdictions never accepted its legitimacy. Once Reconstruction ended in 1877, the whites of the Old Confederacy reasserted political control and deployed a wide array of tactics to deter many blacks from voting.

It was not until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s that the federal government reasserted its determination to guarantee justice for African-Americans, including the right to vote through the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Because the national Democratic Party took the lead in pushing these changes, many Southern whites switched their allegiance to the Republican Party.

This white backlash gave impetus to the elections of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, all of whom appealed to white voters with coded racially tinged language. The Republican strategy also included putting like-minded justices on the Supreme Court with an eye toward rolling back the civil rights gains of the 1960s.

To make its appeals to racism less offensive, the Right also began cloaking itself in the nation’s founding mythology, dressing up renewed appeals for “states’ rights” in a fabricated historical narrative that the key Framers of the Constitution – the likes of George Washington and James Madison – despised the idea of a strong central government when nearly the opposite was true. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Right’s Dubious Claim to Madison.”]

Rebranding the Racists

What the Right actually was doing with its bogus history was enabling today’s neo-Confederates to rebrand themselves, from the overt appeals to racism symbolized by the Stars and Bars by substituting the Revolutionary War banner of a coiled snake and “Don’t Tread on Me” motto. Yet, despite the more popular imagery of 1776 over 1860, the philosophy remained the same.

This cosmetic transformation of the Right – from its crude allusions to the Old Confederacy to its more palatable references to the Revolutionary War – surfaced most clearly after the election of Barack Obama in 2008. The Right recognized that the demographic shifts that made his election possible were also dooming the future of white supremacy.

So, the Tea Party – invoking the Right’s carefully constructed founding myth – rallied to “take our country back,” aided immensely by massive funding from the Koch Brothers and other right-wing billionaires.

The Right’s current message remains wrapped in the word “liberty” – much as that word was used by some of American slaveholders in the nation’s early years and by the Confederates during the Civil War. But the Right’s message is really all about the “liberty” of white Americans to reign over — and rein in — non-white Americans.

It is not even clear that many right-wing white Americans believe that blacks and other non-whites deserve citizenship, a position that many in the Tea Party appear to share with their forebears – some of the slaveholding Founders, the “nullificationists” of the pre-Civil War South, the Confederates, and the Ku Klux Klan.

That sentiment remained at the heart of the Jim Crow laws during Southern segregation denying citizenship rights to blacks despite the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments; it can be seen in the Right’s longstanding refusal to grant congressional voting rights to District of Columbia residents, many of whom are black and who face “taxation without representation”; it is reflected in the Right’s obsession with the conspiracy theory about Obama being born in Kenya; and it fires up Republican opposition to immigration reform since it would permit some 11 million undocumented immigrants — mostly Hispanic — to eventually gain citizenship.

It is this fear of real democracy – with its genuine promise of one person, one vote – that has now motivated the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority to give America’s neo-Confederates one more shot at reversing the nation’s acceptance of racial equality at the ballot box.

If the civil rights era starting in the 1960s was a kind of Second Reconstruction – forcing fairness and decency down the throats of resentful Southern whites – then what Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito have done could be viewed as the start of a Second Jim Crow era.

After the Voting Rights Act was gutted on Tuesday, some officials from the Old Confederacy immediately rubbed their hands with glee, anticipating how they could minimize the number of black and brown voters in future elections and maximize the number of white Republican members of Congress.

“With today’s decision,” said Greg Abbott, the attorney general of Texas, “the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
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Re: Ferguson Reveals Racists In Libertarian Clothing

Postby admin » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:36 pm

Fulfilling Father’s Campaign To Segregate Public Schools, Koch Groups End Successful Integration Program In NC
BY LEE FANG
JAN 12, 2011

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Left: Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries, founder and financier of the John Birch Society
Right: Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries, financiers of Tea Party


Today in the Washington Post, reporter Stephanie McCrummen detailed how a right-wing campaign in the Wake County area of North Carolina has taken over the school board with a pledge to end a very successful socio-economic integration plan. The integration plan, which created thriving schools in poor African-American parts of the school district along with achieving diversity in schools located in wealthy white enclaves, was a model for the nation. However, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Tea Party group founded and funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, worked with local right-wing financier (and AFP board member) Art Pope to fundamentally change Wake County’s school board:

In their quest to end the diversity policy, the frustrated parents have found some influential partners, among them retail magnate and Republican operative Art Pope. Following his guidance, the GOP fielded the victorious bloc of school board candidates who railed against “forced busing.” The nation’s largest tea party organizers, Americans for Prosperity – on whose national board Pope sits – cast the old school board members as arrogant “leftists.” Two libertarian think tanks, which Pope funds almost exclusively, have deployed experts on TV and radio.


In a way, the Koch brothers are simply fulfilling their father’s legacy. In 1958, Fred Koch — the founder of Koch Industries — joined a group of manufacturing executives and Robert Welch to found the John Birch Society, a virulent far-right group that dominated the civil rights debate. The John Birch Society organized an impeachment campaign against then-Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren for the Brown v. Board decision outlawing racial segregation, and mobilized its supporters to oppose integration of schools on the grounds that mixing black and white would lead to the “mongrelization” of the races. Fred supported the John Birch Society’s anti-civil rights campaign, and wrote a screed denouncing the civil rights movement as communist-inspired.

Charles and David did not only inherit an oil company, they inherited a political philosophy. The Tea Party movement, orchestrated by AFP and other Koch fronts, reflects the paranoid style of the movement started by their father, Fred. As Thom Hartmann has explained, corporate interests have long funded far-right, paranoid movements to continually shift the balance of politics in America. The radical right creates political space for corporate candidates like Richard Nixon or Mitt Romney to appear “moderate” in contrast. David Koch, it should be noted, actually supports Romney for president in 2012 even though David’s fronts have spent the last two years boosting reactionaries like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Sue Sturgis of Facing South has reported that the AFP campaign in Wake County was also aided by the private school industry, including a company called the Thales Academy. AFP has called for more charter and private schools, and now with its slate of Tea Party candidates controlling the system, they will have the power to continue their racially-segregated privatization scheme.
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Part 1 of 2

The Conscience of a Conservative
by Barry Goldwater
Foreword by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
Foreword © 2004 by The Heritage Foundation
From the book The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater.
© 1990. Published by Regnery Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by special permission of Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, D.C.

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Foreword

Among the many analyses about the 2004 Republican National Convention, one offered by the eminent conservative columnist George F. Will caught my eye. “Barry is back,” he wrote, referring to Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who won the Republican presidential nomination forty years ago but was then crushed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the general election, receiving only 38.5 percent of the popular vote and carrying just six states.

Notwithstanding his resounding defeat in the fall of 1964, wrote Will, Goldwater’s nomination sealed “the ascendancy of conservatism in the [Republican] party.” Goldwater’s brand of conservatism, Will explained, included a “muscular foreign policy,” economic policies of low taxation and light regulation, and a “libertarian inclination” regarding cultural questions. While not “fully ascendant” in the GOP, suggested Will, Goldwaterism made a comeback at the 2004 convention, as evidenced in the “rapturous reception” of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, known for their unyielding opposition to terrorism and their tolerant views regarding abortion and gay rights. The reemergence of conservatism with a socially libertarian (but economically conservative) cast, Will wrote, could make the Grand Old Party more appealing to the many young suburban voters among whom the Democrats have made substantial gains.

As usual, George Will’s political analysis was thoughtful and provocative, with a sense of history rarely found in today’s journalists. I was particularly struck by his opening words “Barry is back” because I had already decided to write the 2004 President’s Essay about the Arizona senator and his remarkable book, The Conscience of a Conservative, that had a profound impact on me and many other young conservatives of the 1960s.

Barry Goldwater was the grandson of a Jewish peddler from Poland who became a millionaire and the head of the largest department store in Arizona. He was a college dropout whose little book The Conscience of a Conservative sold over 3.5 million copies—the best-selling political manifesto of our times—and was once required reading for History 169b at Harvard University. He was a master mechanic and ham radio operator whose K7UGA MARS station patched more than 200,000 calls from U.S. servicemen in Indochina to their families back home during the Vietnam War.

He never smoked a cigarette or drank a cup of coffee but kept a bottle of Old Crow bourbon in the refrigerator of his Senate office for after-five sipping with his colleagues. He was a gifted photographer whose sensitive portraits of Native Americans and scenes of Arizona have hung in galleries around the world. He was an intrepid pilot who during World War II flew a single-engine P-47 Thunderbolt over the Atlantic to Great Britain and ferried four-engine C-54s over the Himalayas and subsequently flew more than 170 different planes, including test flights of the U-2 spy plane and the B-1 bomber.

He was a man of contradictions—inspiring and courageous, infuriating and cantankerous. He delighted in saying the unexpected and rejecting conventional wisdom but always relied upon the Constitution as his guide. He insisted that doing something about the farm problem “means—and there can be no equivocation here—prompt and final termination of the farm subsidy program.” He declared that welfare ought to be “a private concern ... promoted by individuals and families, by churches, private hospitals, religious service organizations, community charities, and other institutions.” Social issues such as abortion and gay rights had not surfaced in the sixties, but Goldwater endorsed a constitutional amendment reaffirming the right of public schools to permit public prayer. Regarding the waging of the Cold War, he had a ready solution that strongly influenced fellow conservative Ronald Reagan, “Why not victory?”

He affected American politics more than any other losing presidential candidate in the twentieth century. The political historian Theodore B. White wrote, “Again and again in American history it has happened that the losers of the presidency contributed almost as much as to the permanent tone and dialogue of politics as did the winners.” Goldwater was just such a candidate in 1964. Like a stern prophet of the Old Testament, he warned the people to repent of their spendthrift ways or reap a bitter harvest. Anti-communist to the core, he urged a strategy of victory over communism by a combination of strategic, economic, and psychological means, including military superiority over the Soviets and the cessation of U.S. aid to Communist governments that have used the money “to keep their subjects enslaved.” He talked about the partial privatization of Social Security and a flat tax. Denounced as extremist in 1964, today such proposals are deemed mainstream.

Barry Goldwater laid the foundation for a political revolution that culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980 and the Republican capture in 1994 of the U.S. House of Representatives. In his memoirs, he insisted that he did not start a revolution, that all he did was to begin “to tap ... a deep reservoir [of conservatism] that already existed” in the American people. That is like Thomas Paine saying he did not ignite the American Revolution by writing his fiery pamphlet Common Sense. Goldwater was absolutely fearless, challenging every shibboleth of the liberal establishment and sometimes requiring his supporters to be equally fearless. In mid-October of 1964, I was seated on a stage of an auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania (where I was a graduate student at the Wharton School), along with the eminent professor and foreign policy expert Robert Strausz-Hupe, listening intently to presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Suddenly some liberals, turning the principle of academic freedom upside down, lobbed a couple of tomatoes and eggs at the visiting candidate. Everyone on the stage except Goldwater ducked—he kept on talking. And I kept on supporting his candidacy because I believed in the ideas he had expressed so simply and yet powerfully in The Conscience of a Conservative.

As my colleague and Goldwater biographer Lee Edwards wrote, Goldwater’s book, published in 1960, and only 120 pages in length, “changed American politics” because it proclaimed a major new factor in the national political debate— conservatism. In a review in the Chicago Tribune, George Morgenstern, the chief editorial writer for the key Midwestern newspaper, declared there was more “hard sense in this slight book than will emerge from all of the chatter of this year’s session of Congress [and] this year’s campaign for the presidency.” Iconoclastic columnist Westbrook Pegler asserted, “Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona certainly is now the successor to Senator Taft of Ohio as defender of the Constitution and freedom.” Conservative thinker Russell Kirk wrote that “if a million Americans would read his book carefully, the whole of this nation and of the world might be altered for the better.”

What had Barry Goldwater (and his ghost-writer L. Brent Bozell) produced? Before answering that question I want to lay to rest a persistent myth about The Conscience of a Conservative— that it was entirely Bozell’s work and Goldwater had little or nothing to do with it. Although only in his mid-thirties, Bozell was a senior editor of National Review and a seasoned writer who had written speeches for Goldwater (and before that for Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin). Starting in the fall of 1959, he began drafting a 20,000-word manuscript based on Goldwater’s speeches and articles and interviews he had with the Arizona conservative. He was in frequent telephone contact with Goldwater and every week or so would visit his Capitol Hill office with the draft of a chapter. Goldwater would scribble his comments in the margins or dictate corrections to his secretary that would be passed along to Bozell.

Bozell founded the Parents Television Council in 1995, initially as a branch of the Media Research Center focusing on entertainment television, after he felt that decency was declining on prime-time television programming.[12] The PTC's stated mission is "to promote and restore responsibility and decency to the entertainment industry."[13]

In 2001 the PTC also organized a mass advertiser boycott of the professional wrestling television program WWF SmackDown! over claims that the program caused the deaths of young children whom the PTC felt were influenced by watching the program; in particular, the PTC cited the case of Lionel Tate, a 12-year-old Ft. Lauderdale boy who was arrested after murdering a 6-year-old girl. Tate's attorney claimed that he had accidentally killed her when he botched a professional wrestling move. It was ultimately determined that the girl had been stomped to death and had not been the victim of any professional wrestling move, and that the children were watching cartoons at the time the murder occurred. The World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE) would ultimately sue Bozell and the PTC for libel. PTC's insurance carrier eventually chose to settle the case and pay $3.5 million to the WWE and PTC issued a public apology.[14]

-- L. Brent Bozell, III, by Wikipedia


Goldwater and Bozell were incongruous collaborators: The easy-going Westerner and the intense Midwesterner; the college dropout and the Yale law graduate; the Jewish Episcopalian and the Roman Catholic convert; the principled politician and the activist intellectual (Bozell had run for public office in Maryland). But they shared a Jeffersonian conviction that that government is best which governs least. They looked to the Constitution as their political North Star. And they were agreed that communism was a clear and present danger.

Goldwater gave his final approval of the manuscript in late December, and Clarence B. Manion, the moderator of a highly popular weekly radio program “The Manion Forum” and the former dean of the Notre Dame Law School, undertook the publication and promotion of a book he was convinced would “cause a sensation.” Indeed it did. Before The Conscience of a Conservative appeared, Barry Goldwater was an attractive but controversial senator from a small Western state who was at best a long-shot vice presidential possibility. After the publication of The Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater became the political heir to Robert Taft, the hope of disgruntled Republicans, partyless Independents, and despairing Democrats, and the spokesman of a new national political movement—conservatism.

What had Goldwater—and Bozell—wrought? The Conscience of a Conservative was an original work of politics and philosophy, a vision of the nation and the world as it should be, not a compromise with the world as it was. It was a fusion of the three major strains of conservatism in 1960—traditional conservatism, classical liberalism or libertarianism, and anticommunism. It was a book by a conservative for conservatives at a time when conservatives were beginning to realize the potential of their political power.

On the very first page of The Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater declared that America was fundamentally a conservative nation and that American people yearned for a return to conservative principles. He then blamed conservatives for failing to demonstrate “the practical relevance of conservative principles to the needs of the day.” He would try in this book, he said, to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

He began by dismissing the idea that conservatism was “out of date,” arguing that that was like saying that “the Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments or Aristotle’s Politics are out of date.” The conservative approach, he said, “is nothing more or less than an attempt to apply the wisdom of experience and the revealed truths of the past to the problems of today.” He proceeded to explain what conservatism was and what it was not.

Unlike the liberal, Goldwater wrote, the conservative believed that man was not only an economic but a spiritual creature. Conservatism “looks upon ]the enhancement of man’s spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy.” Indeed, Goldwater stated, the first obligation of a political thinker was “to understand the nature of man.”

Before the convention most of the delegates knew Franklin only by reputation. His long absence from America rendered him something of a mystery; most wondered whether he would live up to all the good things said of him -- or down to the few bad things. William Pierce of Georgia was one of the handful of delegates who recorded his impression:

Dr. Franklin is well known to be the greatest philosopher of the present age; all the operations of nature he seems to understand, the very heavens obey him, and the clouds yield up their lightning to be imprisoned in his rod....

A month into the convention the body had made frustratingly little progress. Franklin noted that the delegates had searched history for guidance and looked to the governments of other countries. "How has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings?" At the onset of the troubles with Britain, the Continental Congress, meeting in this very room, had daily requested divine help in finding its way. "Our prayers were heard, sir, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed the frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favour." Without Heaven's help the delegates would not be where they were, attempting what they were attempting. "Have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance?" Franklin remarked that he had lived a long time. "And the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?" ...

This statement was as open as Franklin ever got in public about his religious beliefs. (And it was only partially public, the delegates having pledged themselves to confidentiality.) The delegates probably did not appreciate the unusual candor in Franklin's remarks; in any case they ignored them. His motion received a second, but Hamilton and others worried that, however laudable the practice of prayer might be, to commence it at this late date would convey a sense of desperation. Franklin responded that the past omission of a duty did not justify continued omission and that the public was just as likely to respond positively as negatively to word that their delegates were seeking God's blessing on their labors.

His argument failed. After Hugh Williamson of North Carolina pointed out that the convention lacked funds to pay a chaplain, Edmund Randolph offered an amendment to Franklin's motion. Randolph suggested hiring a preacher to give a sermon on Independence Day, less than a week off, and thereafter to open the sessions with a prayer.

Franklin accepted the amendment, but the delegates put off discussion by recessing for the day, and the proposition died. Franklin remarked with some wonder, at the bottom of the written copy of his speech, "The convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary!"

Most delegates had more earthly matters in mind.

-- Part Five: Birth of the Republic, Chapter 9: Miracle at Philadelphia, by H.W. Brands


The senator then listed what the conservative had learned about man from the great minds of the past: (1) each person was unique and different from every other human being— therefore, provision had to be made for the development of the different potentialities of each person; (2) the economic and spiritual aspects of man’s nature “are inextricably intertwined”— neither aspect can be free unless both are free; (3) man’s spiritual and material development cannot be directed by outside forces—”each man,” he declared, “is responsible for his own development.”

Given this view of the nature of man, Goldwater stated, it was understandable that the conservative “looks upon politics as the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order.” But, he said, the delicate balance that ideally exists between freedom and order had long since tipped against freedom “practically everywhere on earth” (as a result of what he later called “the Soviet menace”). Even in America, the trend against freedom and in favor of order was “well along and gathering momentum.” For the American conservative, there was no difficulty in “identifying the day’s overriding political challenge: it is to preserve and extend freedom.”

Freedom was in peril in America, he said, because government had been allowed by leaders and members of both political parties to become too powerful. In so doing, they had ignored and misinterpreted the single most important document in American government, the Constitution, which was an instrument above all “for limiting the functions of government.” The alarming result was “a Leviathan, a vast national authority out of touch with the people, and out of their control.”

While deeply concerned about the tendency to concentrate power in the hands of a few, Goldwater was convinced that most Americans wanted to reverse the trend. The transition would come, he said, when the people entrusted their affairs to those “who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given.” It was a radical and some would say utopian statement. What public official would relinquish rather than seek more power? In perhaps the most famous passage of The Conscience of a Conservative— Lincolnian in its rhetoric—Goldwater said that the turn toward freedom would come when Americans elected those candidates who pledged to enforce the Constitution, restore the Republic, and who proclaimed:

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. (Emphasis added) It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.

Here was a vision of government that aimed to restore the ideas of the Founding Fathers and throw out the welfarist plans of the modern liberals. It was what conservatives believed was still possible in America; it was what liberals believed was hopelessly antiquated and even dangerous. In the following chapters, Senator Goldwater got down to specifics, dealing with civil rights, agriculture, organized labor, taxes and spending, the welfare state, education, and communism.

Summing up his feelings about government interference in any area, he said, “I believe that the problem of race relations, like all social and cultural problems, is best handled by the people directly concerned. Social and cultural change, however desirable, should not be effected by the engines of national power .... Any other course enthrones tyrants and dooms freedom.” Consistent with his principles, Goldwater had personally led the integration of the Arizona Air National Guard in 1946, two years before President Truman ordered the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces, and had been an active member of the NAACP and the Urban League in Phoenix well before he ran for public office.

Regarding farming, Goldwater pointed out that the Constitution was clear—”no power over agriculture was given to any branch of the national government.” Besides, like any other industry, farm production was “best controlled by the natural operation of the free market.” In the chapter on organized labor, Goldwater (a ranking member of the Senate Labor Committee) attacked the enormous economic and political power concentrated in the hands of a few union leaders. He advocated enactment of state right-to-work laws, the limitation of contributions to political campaigns by individuals and neither labor unions or corporations, and the elimination of industry-wide bargaining, applying the principle of anti-monopoly to unions as well as corporations.

Madison’s realignment with his Virginia neighbor, Jefferson, bitterly disappointed Washington and Hamilton. However, after Jefferson gained the presidency in 1801, he and Madison joined in one of the biggest federal power overreaches in U.S. history by negotiating the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France – despite the absence of any “enumerated power” in the Constitution that envisioned such an act by the central government. [For more on the politics of the Founding era, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Racism and the American Right.”]

-- Source of Anti-Government Extremism, By Robert Parry


Echoing the proposals of economist Milton Friedman, whom he had known since the mid-fifties, Goldwater proposed a flat tax, declaring that “government has a right to claim an equal percentage of each man’s wealth, and no more.” He bluntly described the graduated tax as “a confiscatory tax.”

As for government spending, he said, the only effective way to curtail it “is to eliminate the programs on which excess spending is consumed,” including social welfare programs, education, public power, agriculture, public housing, urban renewal, and “all the other activities that can be better performed by lower levels of government or by private institutions or by individuals.” He did not suggest that the federal government drop all these programs “overnight” but that it establish “a rigid timetable for a staged withdrawal,” encouraging the process by reducing federal spending in each field by 10 percent each year. Reducing spending and taxes, in that order, would guarantee the nation “the economic strength that will always be its ultimate defense against foreign foes.”

In the chapter, “The Welfare State,” Goldwater conceded the strong emotional appeal of welfarism to many voters and therefore to many politicians. But it was the duty of conservatives, he said, to demonstrate the difference between being concerned with welfare problems and insisting that the “federal government is the proper agent for their solution.” He demonstrated a remarkable prescience by arguing that the welfare state eliminated “any feeling of responsibility [on the part of the recipient] for his own welfare and that of his family and neighbors”—precisely the argument and finding of welfare critic Charles Murray, my Heritage colleague Robert Rector, and other analysts twenty years later. It was one of the great evils of welfarism, Goldwater wrote, that “it transforms the individual from a dignified, industrious, self-reliant spiritual being into a dependent animal creature without his knowing it.” He restated a fundamental truth for conservatives: If we take from someone “the personal responsibility for caring for his material needs, we take from him also the will and the opportunity to be free.”

After listing the several harms that can be caused by federal aid to education, Goldwater, sounding much like the intellectual historian Russell Kirk, stated that the proper function of the school was to transmit “the cultural heritage of one generation to the next generation” and to train the minds of the new generation so that they can absorb “ancient learning” and apply it to the problems of today. The role of our schools, he insisted, was not to educate or elevate society but to educate individuals.

The last part of The Conscience of a Conservative was devoted to U.S. foreign policy and the Cold War, which, Goldwater said, the enemy was determined to win while the United States and the rest of the free world were not. We have sought “settlements,” he stated, “while the Communists seek victories.” He proposed a comprehensive strategy of victory that included the maintenance of defense alliances like NATO; the limitation of foreign aid to military and technical assistance to those nations “that are committed to a common goal of defeating world communism”; superiority in all weapons, military, political, and economic, necessary to produce a victory over communism; a drastic reduction in U.S. support of the U.N.; and the encouragement of the peoples under communist occupation to “overthrow their captors.” America’s objective, he said, “is not to wage struggle against communism, but to win it.”

Risks were inevitable, Goldwater conceded, but the future would unfold along one of two paths: Either the communists would retain the offensive, ultimately forcing us to surrender or accept war “under the most disadvantageous circumstances,” or Americans would “summon the will and the means for taking the initiative and wage a war of attrition against them,” seeking to bring about “the internal disintegration of the communist empire.”

It was the latter course that President Reagan, with the backing of the American people, chose in the 1980s, leading the nation and the world to what Barry Goldwater had predicted— the disintegration of the Soviet empire and victory in the Cold War, both without firing a single nuclear shot.

I have selected the first two chapters as a representative excerpt of The Conscience of a Conservative. The reader will notice one or two outdated passages—a reference to “the aggressive designs of Moscow,” the use of the long-forgotten Arthur Larson as a prototypical big-government Republican. But ninety-eight percent of Goldwater’s manifesto remains relevant to our time.

As the author of The Conscience of a Conservative and then as a presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater insisted on addressing the key issues that have dominated the national debate for the past four decades: taxes (flatten them); government spending (work toward reducing and even eliminating subsidies, as in agriculture); Social Security (it is in actuarial trouble—strengthen it by introducing a voluntary option); law and order (the right of victims should take precedence over those of criminals); and morality in government (the president and all in public office must avoid scandal and corruption and set a good example for society).

In his 1988 memoir, Goldwater stated that his campaign for the presidency helped to broaden and deepen the conservative movement beyond “any other movement of our times.” Today, he said, “conservatives come from all regions, every social class, every creed and color, all age groups. The new GOP,” he wrote, “was forged in the fires of the 1964 presidential campaign.” And it emerged triumphant in the 1994 congressional campaign when Republicans captured Congress for the first time in forty years and which was based on the ideas first proposed by Goldwater— smaller government, lower taxes and spending, tougher anticrime measures, and less Washington meddling in people’s lives.

Barry Goldwater was, in the words of George Will, “a man who lost forty-four states but won the future.” He placed ideas at the center of his campaign. He inspired more people, especially young people like me, to enter the world of politics and policymaking than any other losing candidate in modern times. And it all began with a little book that takes about an hour to read but whose liberating words stay with you for a lifetime.

***

There are several individuals behind the scenes without whose help this publication would not be possible. I am grateful to my colleague Dr. Lee Edwards for his recommendation that I use these chapters from The Conscience of a Conservative and his assistance in drafting the text of the foreword. Mike Needham, Jonathan Larsen, Alex Adrianson, Richard Odermatt, John Cryderman, and Drew Bond have all helped in the production of this essay. Finally, sincere thanks to all of our friends who, with their numerous suggestions and encouragement, continue to make this annual publication possible.

Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
President
December 2004

***

The Conscience of a Conservative
by Barry Goldwater

Chapter One: The Conscience of a Conservative

I have been much concerned that so many people today with Conservative instincts feel compelled to apologize for them. Or if not to apologize directly, to qualify their commitment in a way that amounts to breast-beating. “Republican candidates,” Vice President Nixon has said, “should be economic conservatives, but conservatives with a heart.” President Eisenhower announced during his first term, “I am a conservative when it comes to economic problems but liberal when it comes to human problems.” Still other Republican leaders have insisted on calling themselves “progressive” Conservatives.1 These formulations are tantamount to an admission that Conservatism is a narrow, mechanistic economic theory that may work very well as a bookkeeper’s guide, but cannot be relied upon as a comprehensive political philosophy.

The same judgment, though in the form of an attack rather than an admission, is advanced by the radical camp. “We liberals,” they say, “are interested in people. Our concern is with human beings, while you Conservatives are preoccupied with the preservation of economic privilege and status.” Take them a step further and the Liberals will turn the accusations into a class argument: it is the little people that concern us, not the “malefactors of great wealth.”

Such statements, from friend and foe alike, do great injustice to the Conservative point of view. Conservatism is not an economic theory, though it has economic implications. The shoe is precisely on the other foot: it is Socialism that subordinates all other considerations to man’s material well-being. It is Conservatism that puts material things in their proper place—that has a structured view of the human being and of human society, in which economics plays only a subsidiary role.

The root difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals of today is that Conservatives take account of the whole man, while the Liberals tend to look only at the material side of man’s nature. The Conservative believes that man is, in part, an economic, an animal creature; but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires. What is more, these needs and desires reflect the superior side of man’s nature, and thus take precedence over his economic wants. Conservatism therefore looks upon the enhancement of man’s spiritual nature as the primary concern of political philosophy. Liberals, on the other hand,—in the name of a concern for “human beings”—regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mission of society. They are, moreover, in a hurry. So that their characteristic approach is to harness the society’s political and economic forces into a collective effort to compel “progress.” In this approach, I believe they fight against Nature.


-- The Preacher and the Slave, Played by Harry K. McClintock, by Joe Hill

pie in the sky: 1911, phrase originally in reference to the promises of religion taken from a song written by Joe Hill, "The Preacher and the Slave", a parody of the Salvation Army hymn "In the Sweet By and By". Hill was associated with the Industrial Workers of the World (commonly known as the Wobblies), who organized migrant laborers. When the workers returned to the cities, they faced the Salvation Army.

You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die

A fanciful notion; an unrealistic or ludicrous concept; the illusory promise of a desired outcome that is unlikely to happen.

-- Pie in the Sky, by Wiktionary


Surely the first obligation of a political thinker is to understand the nature of man. The Conservative does not claim special powers of perception on this point, but he does claim a familiarity with the accumulated wisdom and experience of history, and he is not too proud to learn from the great minds of the past.

The first thing he has learned about man is that each member of the species is a unique creature. Man’s most sacred possession is his individual soul—which has an immortal side, but also a mortal one. The mortal side establishes his absolute differentness from every other human being. Only a philosophy that takes into account the essential differences between men, and, accordingly, makes provision for developing the different potentialities of each man can claim to be in accord with Nature. We have heard much in our time about “the common man.” It is a concept that pays little attention to the history of a nation that grew great through the initiative and ambition of uncommon men. The Conservative knows that to regard man as part of an undifferentiated mass is to consign him to ultimate slavery.

Secondly, the Conservative has learned that the economic and spiritual aspects of man’s nature are inextricably intertwined. He cannot be economically free, or even economically efficient, if he is enslaved politically; conversely, man’s political freedom is illusory if he is dependent for his economic needs on the State.

The Conservative realizes, thirdly, that man’s development, in both its spiritual and material aspects, is not something that can be directed by outside forces. Every man, for his individual good and for the good of his society, is responsible for his own development. The choices that govern his life are choices that he must make: they cannot be made by any other human being, or by a collectivity of human beings. If the Conservative is less anxious than his Liberal brethren to increase Social Security “benefits,” it is because he is more anxious than his Liberal brethren that people be free throughout their lives to spend their earnings when and as they see fit.

So it is that Conservatism, throughout history, has regarded man neither as a potential pawn of other men, nor as a part of a general collectivity in which the sacredness and the separate identity of individual human beings are ignored. Throughout history, true Conservatism has been at war equally with autocrats and with “democratic” Jacobins. The true Conservative was sympathetic with the plight of the hapless peasant under the tyranny of the French monarchy. And he was equally revolted at the attempt to solve that problem by a mob tyranny that paraded under the banner of egalitarianism. The conscience of the Conservative is pricked by anyone who would debase the dignity of the individual human being. Today, therefore, he is at odds with dictators who rule by terror, and equally with those gentler collectivists who ask our permission to play God with the human race.
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