It was 30 years ago today...
Justin Raimondo has written a powerful piece marking today's anniversary. You can find it here.
Unfinished essays and spontaneous eruptions on radical politics and popular culture
During the Clinton years, that administration, "liberal" media pundits, and Democrats in general accused right-wing talk radio's so-called "hate speech" of being responsible for everything from physical attacks on gays and blacks to the 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. They even threatened that talk radio might have to be monitored for its sometimes fiery rhetoric.
Announcer: "A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn't safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp." (Audio sound of four gunshots.) "Just try it, you little bastard." (Audio sound of a gun being cocked.)Says a government source: "Even joking about shooting the president is a crime, let alone doing it on national radio... We are taking this very seriously."
Christians search scripture routinely for wisdom on moral and ethical issues. We freedom-lovers should likewise spend more time searching the writings of our heroic predecessors for insight on challenges that now plague us.
While the so-called Libertarian Party descends further into cowardice and “big tent” Neolibertarians raise their hawkish heads, Lew Rockwell’s unearthed and reprinted a timely and indispensable essay by Murray Rothbard titled “Do You Hate the State?” First published three decades ago, Rothbard’s piece identifies the “crucial dividing line” that split libertarianism in 1977 and still does so today. That division,
The conservative libertarian,
On the other hand, the radical libertarian, whether anarchist or limited-government classical liberal, “hates the existing
“...the radical libertarian ... refuses to think in such terms as a Four Year Plan for some sort of stately and measured procedure for reducing the State. The radical — whether he be anarchist or laissez-faire — cannot think in such terms as, e.g.: Well, the first year, we’ll cut the income tax by 2%, abolish the ICC, and cut the minimum wage; the second year we’ll abolish the minimum wage, cut the income tax by another 2%, and reduce welfare payments by 3%, etc. The radical cannot think in such terms, because the radical regards the State as our mortal enemy, which must be hacked away at wherever and whenever we can. To the radical libertarian, we must take any and every opportunity to chop away at the State, whether it’s to reduce or abolish a tax, a budget appropriation, or a regulatory power. And the radical libertarian is insatiable in this appetite until the State has been abolished, or — for minarchists — dwindled down to a tiny, laissez-faire role.”So here’s where I see the line drawn in today’s libertarian movement:
Conservatives — the Libertarian Party, the recent Neolibertarian splinter (it hasn’t yet distinguished itself as a movement), Reason and
Radicals — The Mises Institute, LewRockwell.com, "Rob" and Strike-The-Root.com, the Antiwar.com coalition, the Movement of the Libertarian Left, and a growing number of writers and bloggers like B.K. Marcus, Claire Wolfe, Wendy McElroy, Tom Knapp, Karen De Coster, Anthony Gregory, and Roderick T. Long.
Okay, okay...I am often guilty of getting overly excited about an upcoming movie, then suffering minor — sometimes great — disappointment. But the trailer for Joss Whedon’s Serenity debuted online just a few hours ago.
It kicks ass, comrades. It really does.
Serenity springs from Whedon’s Firefly TV series, which Fox unveiled in fall 2002. Firefly was set 500 years from now, shortly after a galaxy-wide civil war ends in victory for the totalitarian
The Fox network did what it had to do, of course. It stuck Firefly on Friday nights, television’s graveyard. Then it began airing the series’ episodes out of sequence, making it difficult to follow; the last episode aired was the pilot, fer crissakes! Finally, after ten episodes were broadcast, it dumped the show and began making preparations for memorable fare like Joe Millionaire.
Remarkably, Firefly refused to die. It built a cult viewership. And in 2003, the complete series of 14 episodes (three never before seen) were released in a box of DVDs. And goddamn if that package wasn’t a hit! A movie was greenlighted, to be written and directed by Joss Whedon and to star the original cast. That film, Serenity, is scheduled for release to theaters on September 30.
Buy or rent the Firefly DVD package. You won’t regret it. And watch the trailer for Serenity right here.
Matt Drudge is reporting that U.S. spy satellites have spotted heightened activity at missile sites and other "suspect sites" in North Korea. So the ever-vigilant U.S. has quietly warned China that North Korea could be preparing for a nuclear-weapons test and asked the Chinese to urge Pyongyang to desist. Fears of these tests have also been conveyed, Drudge reports, to South Korea and Japan.
"...suddenly the mighty achievement, the huge sweep of the conception, the genius and wonder of the execution, broke upon their minds. ... From every part of the field there came the cries of admiration, and from the hillock [Challenger] could look down upon the lake of upturned faces broken only by the rise and fall of waving handkerchiefs. ... He rose from his chair, his eyes half closed, a smile of conscious merit upon his face, his left hand upon his hip, his right buried in the breast of his frock-coat. ... The June sun shone golden upon him as he turned gravely bowing to each quarter of the compass. Challenger the super scientist. Challenger the arch-pioneer. Challenger the first man of all men whom Mother Earth had been compelled to recognize."Doyle wrote five Professor Challenger tales -- two novels (The Lost World and The Land of Mist), one novella (The Poison Belt), and two short stories ("The Disintegration Machine" and "When the World Screamed"). Each one is a gem.
"The neocons have been going berserk (their specialty) over how the Left has been criticizing the new Pope, but they're sure to turn on him as well. Shortly after John Paul's death, Bill O'Reilly used his forum on the Neocon News Channel to insinuate that the pontiff was opposed to the war in Iraq because he had apparently gone senile. It won't take long before he and other neocon blabbermouths begin trashing Benedict XVI for his anti-war stance."
B.K. Marcus performs the near-impossible on his blog today. He summarizes in a totally understandable way the differences between liberal and conservative, Left and Right, in their original and now-forgotten 18th and 19th century forms (as opposed to their corrupted 20th and 21st century definitions).
loved several more days of photo ops at the Vatican.
"Only recently I read his long essay on Christianity and politics, and found myself just thrilled by its level of understanding and grasp of history. Not that politics should be the first concern, but he knows and understands the state, sees Christianity as separate from the state, condemns the role the state has played in diminishing the impact of faith on the world, and believes in the right to resist. On Church and State relations, he is genuine liberal in the late 19th century sense."No wonder the Catholic Left seems to hate him.
Who Killed Bambi? And I loved every minute. For four reasons:
As most everybody online is noting, today marks the tenth anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City.
I just finished re-reading for the umpteenth time Eric Frank Russell's classic 1951 short story "And Then There Were None," first published in Astounding Science Fiction in 1951 and later incorporated into Russell's 1962 novel The Great Explosion. I don't think anyone's written a more whimsical and skillful skewering of posturing bureaucrats and stodgy militarists than Russell. After more than 50 years, both this story and the novel are still amazingly contemporary, and very anti-statist (downright anarchist, in fact).
Sheesh! It's bad enough that Che Guevara's image has come to represent the spirit of revolution on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and posters. Now it adorns, along with the image of Fidel Castro, a restaurant in Providence, RI, called Cuban Revolution! According to their website, this restaurant "is much more than a place to find great food at a great price with great atmosphere. We honor the revolutionary spirit of individuals who struggle against tyranny and oppression, fight big government and corporate greed, while giving their lives in the fight against injustice -- wherever it exists. ... We honor those who have fought in the name of revolution. And we openly question the sordid history of US policy and the economic embargo directed against Cuba and its people."
What a nice surprise on this most hideous of days -- Tax Day 2005. Lew Rockwell has linked my You Can't Take It With You post from yesterday to the front page of today's LewRockwell.com. As usual, there's a lot of other great stuff there, too.
Here's a fun way to celebrate Tax Day tomorrow:
You Can't Take It With You:
IRS Agent: "Our records show that you have never paid an income tax."
Grandpa Vanderhoff (Lionel Barrymore): "That's right."
IRS Agent: "Why not?"
Grandpa Vanderhoff: "I don't believe in it. ... What do I get for my money? ... I wouldn't mind paying for something sensible."
IRS Agent: "Something sensible. What about Congress and the Supreme Court and the President? We gotta pay them, don't we?"
Grandpa Vanderhoff: "Not with my money."
It’s bad enough the so-called Libertarian Party’s spent more than three decades sucking radicalism out of the libertarian movement. Now there’s a small faction of self-described “pragmatic libertarian hawks” calling itself Neolibertarian and publishing a webzine named The New Libertarian. You can find some of their nonsense here.
“The libertarian ideal of a truly limited government is an [sic] utopian dream. In the real world, where powerful interests — individual and collective — compete for the reigns [sic] of power, there will be violations of the ideals libertarians hold. After all — as a result of their disavowal of power — libertarians are uniquely unqualified to defend their ideals against political opposition. ...Whew! That’s an exciting program I can get behind!
“So, doctrinaire Libertarians are fighting an uphill battle against human nature. And they do so, precisely because they refuse to accept human nature as part of their political calculation. ...
“Pragmatic libertarians — Neolibertarians — cannot win, but we can ameliorate the loss. ...
“Indeed, Leviathan is with us, for better or worse. Libertarians should try to make it better, rather than worse.”
“Anarcho-Pragmatism ... simply doesn’t work. It cannot push radicalism among the public, and it cannot build a radical movement. All it can do is subvert, weaken, and, if unchecked, even destroy the libertarian movement which the anarcho-pragmatists claim they are striving to strengthen and promote. Objectively, anarcho-pragmatists can only function as wreckers of libertarianism.”Worst of all, these neolibs are further corrupting the term libertarian (as if the LP hadn’t corrupted it enough already), just as socialists and social democrats hijacked and corrupted the term liberal more than a century ago.
Funny that Bob Wallace was writing online about his love for Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars series while I was revisiting the series myself. I just finished the third novel, The Warlord of Mars, this afternoon. I hadn’t read it in probably 35 years or more, and I still found it exhilarating when the gorgeous Phaidor, daughter of the Holy Hekkador of the Holy Therns, plunged her gleaming blade deep into the heart of the vile Thurid not once but five or six times before shoving his carcass off the deck of the flier and into the yawning depths of the chasm outside Kadabra. This book completes the “John Carter trilogy” that began with A Princess of Mars (1912) and continued through The Gods of Mars (1913). There are eight more Mars books beyond Warlord, which was written in 1914, but they deal generally with characters other than John Carter, including Carter’s son Carthoris. John Carter remains my favorite Burroughs character, other than Tarzan.
The Mars (aka Barsoom) novels are still terrific, filled with fantasy, swordplay, pageantry, and always a heavy, heavy dose of coincidence. But today, John Carter is the most politically incorrect of heroes: a former Confederate officer from
Surrealistic Pillow. The crowd was responsive, but not overly so. Then Diana Mangano launched into a rousing "Somebody to Love" (not Grace, but damn close). A quarter of the audience ran up to the stage and started dancing.
It's been almost 50 years since Craig Stevens and Lola Albright sat at Mother's each week, sharing a cigarette and listening to smokey jazz late into the night until a pair of creepy lugs would waddle in to escort them outside and into the back of some crimelord's limousine. Those were great times...
Carl G. Estabrook defends the Ten Commandments in a recent Counterpunch, the best political Left newsletter around (both offline and online). Estabrook’s remarkable article, “The Subversive Commandments,” was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s focus on the Commandments’ posting on the grounds of the Texas Capitol and in two
“Conservatives defend the postings in
and Kentucky on the grounds that the Ten Commandments ‘formed the foundation of American legal tradition.’ Liberals on the other hand insist that the posting is an ‘establishment of religion,’ contrary to the first amendment to the Constitution. In fact, both are wrong; the Ten Commandments in their historical setting are a revolutionary manifesto, dedicated to the overthrow of traditional authority and religion. Texas
“... the Israelites as a people began in a revolution of slaves against the Egyptian empire, a massive rejection of the society of the time. That society was one of authority and religion, presided over by a king whose position was guaranteed by the gods. The Hebrews (the word seems originally to have meant ‘outlaws’) rejected both the kings and the gods.
“The Exodus events of perhaps the thirteenth century BCE were not so much a migration (as is pictured in the bible story) but a ‘going out’ (exodus) from a society and its assumptions. The Ten Commandments are a proclamation of that revolution, a ‘Declaration of Independence of Liberated Israel.’ ...
“The Ten Commandments in their proper historical context commend atheism in regard to the religion of the gods and anarchism in respect to the laws of the kings. Arising from a revolutionary people, they support the overthrow of authoritarian structures in the name of human community. That sounds pretty good to me.”
Sounds good to me, too. Read Estabrook’s complete article right here.
Radical chic is underfire again. This past weekend, Humberto Fontova, author most recently of Fidel:
“Did you catch Carlos Santana’s grand entrance at the Oscars?
“Well, the famed guitarist couldn’t contain himself. He stopped for the photographers, smiled deliriously and swung his jacket open. TA-DA! There it was: Carlos’ elegantly embroidered Che Guevara t-shirt. Carlos’ face as the flashbulbs popped said it all. ‘I’m so COOL!’ he beamed. ‘I’m so HIP! I’m so CHEEKY! So SHARP! So TUNED IN!’
“Tune in to this, Carlos: in the mid 1960’s Fidel and your charming t-shirt icon set up concentration camps in
for, among many others, ‘anti-social elements’ and ‘delinquents.’ Besides Bohemian ( Cuba Haight-Ashbury, Greenwich Villagetypes) and homosexuals, these camps were crammed with ‘roqueros,’ who qualified in Che and Fidel’s eyes as useless ‘delinquents.’
“A ‘roquero’ was a hapless youth who tried to listen to Yankee-Imperialist rock music in
Put more bluntly, Carlos Santana’s chic t-shirt on Oscar night displayed the symbol of a regime that made it criminal to listen to Santana’s music!
Che Guevara was killed in
Shortly after Che’s death, the great Murray Rothbard posed that very question in an editorial written for the journal Left and Right. “How come?” wrote
So what is it? Answered
“What made Che such an heroic figure for our time is that he, more than any man of our epoch or even of our century, was the living embodiment of the principle of Revolution. More than any man since the lovable but entirely ineffectual nineteenth-century Russian anarchist, Mikhail Bakunin, Che earned the title of ‘professional revolutionary.’ And furthermore, to paraphrase Christopher Jencks in a recent perceptive, if wrongheaded, article in the New Republic, we all knew that his enemy was our enemy — that great Colossus that oppresses and threatens all the peoples of the world, U.S. imperialism.”
It represents a revolutionary spirit.
Hands down, Claire Wolfe is the clearest thinker in the freedom movement when it comes to strategy and tactics. Here's what she's saying:
"Our strategy must be one suited to more patient, watchful, (and for the moment) downright sneaky people.I urge you to read Claire's "Twelve Tips for Toppling Tyrants" in its entirety.
"We must wear tyrants down without wearing ourselves out! And we must also remember that every tyranny, every empire, every top-heavy government will eventually defeat itself with its own excesses. Our greatest roles will be first to give tyranny a push when it's starting to wobble and second to be ready to restore freedom in its place. Act too soon, act randomly, or act foolishly -- and we defeat ourselves rather than our enemies.
We are small, so we must be very, very, very wise."