Conservatism, Criticism, Philosophy, Politics

On Lenin’s “Word And Deed”

LeninWriting

We are constantly making the mistake in Russia of judging the slogans and tactics of a certain party or group, of judging its general trend, by the intentions or motives that the group claims for itself. Such judgement is worthless. The road to hell—as was said long ago—is paved with good intentions.”1

                        Lenin wrote these words at a time in history that would inevitably be seen to be nearly providential by those looking back from the contemporary vantage point. In 1913The crucible of revolution had yet to boil over into the true paradigm shift that was the fall of the Russian Monarchy and capitalist structure. Today the events of that moment in time were indeed the destination found at the end of a hellish road. But we forget today, or are made to ignore the fact that history is not preordained or inevitable. Lenin wrote in this letter, Word and Deed, of very immediate and relevant social upheaval. We cannot look at this letter as a piece of self-conscious dogma; instead we must realize that Lenin is expressing a realization of political reality that is made self-evident by the events taking place around him.

The workers strike was still seen as a violation of societal doxa, a rejection of the contract written and executed from above and based upon the premise that mass civic action was a form of terrorism. Lenin makes an especial case against the liberal members of the structural orthodoxy who viewed worker organization and proletarian action as a dangerous attack on their own pursuit of “reform” within the context of the existing system. The rejection of the liberal bourgeois conception that change within a flawed system is required or preferable to the dismantling of the system through class struggle was an important step for the socialist movement in Russia and an essential signpost on the road that we are still traveling towards a more sustainable and equitable system. By accepting the claims of liberal parties and movements that they are friendly towards the proletariat socialism is undermined and indeed made heterodox. A step forward on a crooked road is not progress made towards the destination; it is for all intents and purposes a step backwards to a state of affairs intolerable to the interests of the proletariat and its aims.

For example, look at the liberal Democratic party pledge of strengthening the middle class[es] through “hope” for “change” in the system of market capitalism. But what sort of “change” can be expected when there is no rejection of underlying conditions that lead to inequality or abuse? The classic capitalist class system is upheld and even celebrated by the acceptance of a reformation of processes and laws that can only see success as the increasing stratification and separation of workers from each other. The middle class becomes a destination away from the working classes, a realm apart and a vantage point from which the anointed can look back in shame and increasing disgust at the situation of the proletariat. Lenin says that there is nothing remarkable about the upper class, governmental or conservative reactionary dismissal of proletarian needs and struggles but that “Much “newer” is the amazing indifference of the bourgeoisie”.

                Similarly the antagonism between the Democratic party and the vast and expanding ex post politico “working poor” (as the proletariat is referred to within the context of contemporary American politics) is, if not actually increasing, becoming more apparent and shocking to those who once labored under the delusion that at least one party represented a means of support for the worker. The liberal “solution” to the problems of the unequal division of wealth and exploitation of labor is simply a less violent entrance into a feedback loop that preserves the systems that create the need for such exploitation. Members of the proletariat need to come to terms with the fact that they were and are “making the mistake of […] judging the slogans and tactics of” the liberal Democratic party based on their own standards that reject the very idea that the capitalist system is something to be overcome. Indeed, Lenin goes on to say, “in many cases this indifference [on the part of the liberal factions] changes to a negative attitude” and eventually expresses itself as so much reactionary more violence against the rejection of the class constraints advocated by the Marxist philosophies and socialist parties. Lenin is correct that we must look beyond the word and to the deed when examining the intentions of those professing to be allies of the proletariat and its cause. Lenin makes it clear that in order to move the proletariat cause forward liberal conciliation with reactionary forces and capitalist institutions must  be combated as though the factions were one and the same.

 

  1. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1913/jul/16.htm
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Conservatism, essay, Free Market, Politics, Socialism

Laissez [Un] Faire

MILTY

“When you buy something at the store are you keeping my or somebody in China’s interests in mind?” Without intending it or realizing it my good friend hit upon what is perhaps the central problem facing contemporary socialism. All the more fitting, then, that this question was asked of me by a self-described Randian libertarian. I presume my friend expected me to come up with an answer that denies any thought on my part for others when it comes to my purchases or my participation in the “free market”. I fear I did not supply the answer he wanted or expected to hear. But what was my answer? Was my answer up to the standard set by the fantastic question? My friend believes, or rather knows to be true but must as a concession to tact and modesty if not intellectual rigor, that the market is made up of billions of individuals acting in their own individual i.e. selfish interests. I do not agree with this view of the matter. In fact I find this conception of the market perverse, if not utterly abominable. But what do I argue in contrast to this view? Are my conceptions any less based on faith in a universal ideal of human agency?

The ideal my friend holds to, the faith he adheres to, is that of laissez faire and the beneficial self-interest of individuals in a market. The faith of laissez faire is essentially un-provable and un-falsifiable, as it would require the evacuation of all human bureaucratic and societal pressures and influences in order to be observed in all its “natural” truth. Popper would find enough there to dismiss the doctrine out of hand, but then how would I measure my own ideas against it? As to beneficial, even enlightened, self-interest in the market, one would have to define what it means to be an individual in a market of billions, what it means to act as an individual, and how would one act otherwise? There cannot be an individual in the market if there is no antithesis inherent within the system. But this letter is not meant to tear apart capitalist pretensions (I have done that elsewhere), but to enlighten myself as to my own pretensions and beliefs about the market, and the question posed by my friend.

When I buy something, do I keep the interests of others in mind? The answer to that question is of course a simple yes and no. No, of course I am not totally and thoroughly aware of ever ramification of my purchase, that would require the sort of omniscience claimed by certain Near Eastern deities and Friedrich Hayek, but I am aware that there is indeed a ramification. I fully admit I am not aware enough about my purchasing power and my “choices”. But I am not so arrogant as to claim that my ignorance is proof positive of the absence of my power and choice or lack thereof. Is it in my best interest (and therefor by the logic of laissaz faire and Smithian capitalist theory in everyone’s best interest) to buy a cheaply priced consumer good? Well, that depends. In the immediate sense it may seem nice to “save” money, but these savings are in the end an illusion. Consumer goods are priced at levels that are conducive to large corporations that sell consumer goods to amass capital, award management bonuses, and further reduce prices on the  backs of their employees and the workers who make the goods in question. It is a vicious cycle.

The laissaiz faire theorist will tell you that the market dictates prices, and the market is driven by the self-serving choices of individuals. Maybe this would be the case in society where your economic vote is as equal man to man as your democratic vote. But this is of course a utopia, and the reality is a world of corporate interests that create and sustain themselves on the principle of thwarting the desires and market opinions of so called “self-interested” individuals.

Many libertarians and free market theorists postulate that the market is akin to an enormous democracy, the purest form in fact: everyone can participate and by participating steer the market and dictate economic fortunes for all mankind. There is one glaring problem with this postulation however: a democracy is based upon the concept of one person one vote. In this view of the market as great democracy we forget that in the market a man or woman is only as powerful as their vote, and that vote is a dollar, and a man or a woman can have anywhere from 1 to 1,000,000,000 or more dollars, and hence the same discrepancy in voting power. And this voting process is not influenced by merit or inherent value within a social contract, but based on who can exploit capital, labor and manipulate political circumstances with the most guile and skill. This is the antithesis of a democracy. Mass participation in a system does not give that system the legitimacy of a democracy nor does it give that system the imprimatur to make change and choices on the behalf of the mass of people.

I must say, I have no quarrel with evil if it forthrightly states its’ purpose. The free market as a democracy, and the illusion of choice hoisted upon us by corporations of self-interested and powerful individuals acting in concert are both damnable lies, made all the more so for their proponents failure to come out and admit this self-evident truth. So, what do I think of when I buy something at the store? Well, I now think about how what I am buying is not just a shirt, or a new gadget, or a piece of fruit but the product of someone’s labor that I am now consuming. I owe it to those people who have supplied me with these goods, and I do not mean the corporations that exploit that labor, I owe it to them to think before I purchase something: to think about the price and what it should be versus what it is, and to think about whether or not this product is worth the abuse of labor it took to produce it. As I said before, I am not a perfect consumer, or a perfect socialist. What I am, however, is someone who will no longer knowingly consume the un-reimbursed and exploited produce of labor. I go without things I once wanted, and I look to less exploitative sources for what I need. I am not perfect, and I will not always make the right choices, but it is better to be imperfect and err then to be ignorant and exploit out fellow human beings.

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Activism, Civil rights, Civil War, Conservatism, Conservatives, Constitution, Freedom, GOP, history, Justice, Liberty

Deconstructing Reconstruction: Conservatives and Black Leadership

reconssss

It occurred to me the other day that the way many conservatives and Republicans are reacting to President Obama the same way Southern Whites reacted to reconstruction era policies and politicians. This is not a direct correlation but more a reemergence of societal and political rage that often goes unexpressed in the public dialogue. Let me explain, and it does warrant at least a cursory explanation of the Reconstruction Period. After the Civil War the Federal Government allowed for the political and economic reconstruction of the defeated south. This was meant to be achieved through Federal Government programs and spending and through Military enforcement of these policies. We must remember that what the United States government was faced with was a hostile region that had just been beaten into submission and wrecked socially and economically and structurally. I for one believe that the US government had every right to treat the southern states as conquered territories and to impose top down reformations of inherently flawed systems. This was a feudal economy based around paternalistic government, chattel slavery and a misogynistic and anti-worker social structure. The North was of course guilty of profiting from this backwards region and its inhumane systems, but they had at least allowed for a constructive conversation on how to eliminate ties with this abomination and eventually went to war to eradicate it from the national and political landscape. The South would have gone on for as long as possible keeping slaves and abusing the rights of blacks, workers and women. As long as the system was profitable and kept rich white planters and their business partners in power it would have continued.

The US government and Military overthrew the governments of the rebellious regions, abolished their unconstitutional state constitutions, and called for immediate reform and free elections. Combined with (often faltering and under-funded) attempted education of newly freed slaves and poor blacks this system of reconstruction was meant to drag the south kicking and screaming into the modern era. This approach worked for a while: state constitutions were purged of institutional protections for chattel slavery and discrimination against black citizens, black politicians were elected to statewide and federal office for the first time, black men were given the full franchise, Civil Rights Bills were passed at the federal level, and Amendments to the Federal Constitution were passed to enshrine and ensure these laws forever. We cannot overstate the revolutionary nature of these changes and the ideas that went behind them. This proved to be the final vindication of black and white abolitionists and their philosophies. The “radical” Liberal Republicans, so called by southerners and entrenched racists who had an interest in the status quo, did more than any other congress to achieve true equality for all citizens. The fact that these efforts survived for the 20 years they did in the South is amazing on its face and should be celebrated as more of a victory than it currently is in our history tomes and textbooks.

“There was one thing that the white South feared more than negro dishonesty, ignorance, and incompetency, and that was negro honesty, knowledge, and efficiency.” W.E.B. Du Bois said this over a hundred years ago and it is as true now as it was then. Replace “negro” with “anything liberal and non-white” and you have an exact explanation of the political fears of the White Christian Male power structure that still exists throughout the south to this day. In direct contradiction of what many southern authored, edited, and published history textbooks [See “Lies My Teacher Told Me” by James Loewen for more on this scholarly travesty perpetrated against American students] real scholars and firsthand accounts of history show that the Reconstruction era black and liberal legislators/legislatures were elected democratically, overwhelmingly, and were entrusted by a more diverse voting population to rebuild the southern states as a more egalitarian society. According to Mississippi legislature and former slave John Roy Lynch

 

The [Radical Republican Reconstruction] campaign was aggressive from beginning to end… the election resulted in a sweeping Republican victory. That party not only elected the state ticket by a majority of about thirty thousand, but also had a large majority in both branches of the state legislature.1

 

Men (and they were all men unfortunately; civil rights for women of all races had yet to reach critical mass at this point in the Republic’s history) who had only a few years before been considered sub-human were now entrusted with rebuilding a region devastated by a war it had brought upon itself through intransigence and widespread inhumanity towards its own residents. Lynch goes on to talk about just some of the challenge facing the new legislatures

It was also necessary to reorganize, reconstruct, and in many instances, rebuild some of the penal, charitable, and other public institutions of the state. A new code of laws also had to be adopted to take the place of the old one, and thus wipe out the black laws […] That this great and important work was splendidly, creditably, and economically done, no fair-minded person who is familiar with the facts will question or dispute.2

 

Though of course this was disputed and still is in many corners of the country where it is impossible on its face for a liberal government to make any positive change. We see this same sort of intellectual intransigence today in Tea Party and Conservative Republicans circles. They condemn the “socialist” evils of a national Federal government that is making an attempt to structure a more equitable system for more Americans. As the Southern Poverty Law Center has pointed out the levels of participation in hate groups and anti-government militias has exploded since the election of the first American President with African heritage3. This hate and irrationality has only increased with the attempt by the Obama administration and its allies to craft meaningful firearms regulation reform in the face of the many recent mass shooting tragedies in communities throughout the nation.

The Drudge Report has trotted out (false) equivalencies to the Hitler and Stalin regimes and their firearms policies. Radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones have literally screamed about coming assaults on liberty and mass death camps being used against gun owners and white conservative Christians throughout the nation. Private citizens are getting in on the irrationality by posting videos about how “the killing” will start of the government “takes away” the guns of citizens (see the spectacle of the video posted by a TN gun rights fanatic)4. With apologies to the Four Tops, this is “The same old song/But with a different meaning/Since” Jim Crow was forced out of the political scene. Just look at what was said about the black legislatures of the Reconstruction era South by contemporaries and their later “academic” apologists

 

“The southern people literally were put to the torture…[by] rugged conspirators…[who] assumed the pose of philanthropists and patriots.”— Claude G. Bowers, The Tragic Era: The Revolution After Lincoln

 

“I here declare my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule–to all political, social and business connections with the Yankees and the Yankee race.”—Edmund Ruffin, Confederate Sympathizer

 

Republicanism or democracy has nothing to do with it; it is from the fact that these people believe they have been plundered by him [Reconstruction Era Northern Republican representative of black political rights], and their property has been attempted to be confiscated by him; that he has undertaken his way to make a serfdom of this country. — B. W. Marston, white Louisiana Planter5

 

We see this sort if insane refusal to see the truth in many of the GOP and Tea Party attacks on President Obama and liberal government officials in general. Gun sales are through the roof, hate groups are expanding, and conservative white males are seeing themselves as an “oppressed minority”. This echoes the (albeit much more extreme) reaction of white southerners to reconstruction policies. The Klan rose, militias formed, and violent and paranoid screeds were written by white southerners who saw the expansion of political rights to an oppressed people as an attack on their inherent supremacy. Equality is servitude to a person or a group used to institutional and cultural hegemony. There is even a rise in people who insist that Federal debt makes “everyone” a slave…and by “everyone” we should read “white people”. Because it is one thing to have blacks and women in servitude…but when white MEN are put upon, well then there is tyranny afoot!

The white south has not really ever gotten over Reconstruction, The Civil War, or the Civil Rights era of the mid-20th century. The election of a black President who dared to continue left of center solutions to problems brought about largely by right of center-mistakes is a bridge too far for many conservative whites who feel like they have “suffered” enough equality and diversity. The big change is that now the southern white male mentality has been scattered across the country like a seed pod smashes open in the midst of a gust of wind. How else do you explain Confederate flags on bumpers in Dekalb, Illinois and  hung from the porch in Allentown, Pennsylvania? Now every white man (and the deluded women who support them) can buy into the “lost cause” of the late Confederacy; the south will rise again all over the nation but this time it will come through SEC football, gay-bashing, and eliminating the minimum wage and welfare. One of the popular prophets of the new post-geographical South is Glenn Beck and he sees neo-reconstructionism behind every bush and in every law

 

“The health care bill is reparations. It’s the beginning of reparations.”6

 

What can be more terrifying to a conservative white man then the idea that his hard earned money will go to pay for the sins (and they were not that terrible, those sins, anyway) of their forefathers? Everything is reconstruction program today: food-stamps, welfare, unemployment insurance, even Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Never mind that the vast majority of these services go to poor whites; there may be a black person taking advantage of “our” money somewhere! The money “we” gave them! Because everything that black Americans have is the result of white largess apparently. Remember, it was the slave owners who taught black a “work ethic” and “clothed and fed them” during slavery, at least according to the men and women desperately clinging to respectability in the reconstruction era and today on the revisionist history sites and pro-south “cultural” groups and even in the state legislature of a “modern” southern state

 

So, also, as society advanced and the human race multiplied in the earth, the idleness of some, the incapacity of others, and the vices of a still greater number, would lead to greater inequalities.”– George W. Freeman, pro-slavery orator7

 

“…the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.”—Rep. Jon Hubbard, Alabama legislature and author of Letters to the Editor, Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative8

 

If I didn’t make it clear would anyone be able to guess that which speaker lived in the 19th century and which the 21st? During reconstruction society was treated to dozens, hundreds of political cartoon lampooning black legislators and voters, and degrading black men and women in general. They are shown as chimpanzees, drunkards, and corrupt. The modern day “Tea Party” movement supplies us with surprisingly familiar racially charged and outright racist sentiments mostly consisting of, but not limited to, attacks on our first (half-black) president

 

Obama’s Plan: White Slavery

 

                Obama Loves Taxes [sic] Bankrupts USA

 

                Congress = Slave Owner Taxpayer = [misspelled racial slur]9

 

Perhaps not up to the quality of 19th century political cartoon art, but it gets the job done.                Confront any Tea Party supporting person on these signs or on the persistent and revoltingly xenophobic racist meme that President Obama was born in the African nation of Kenya and you get a litany of excuses ranging from the usual “this is not representative” to “well I have never seen or heard people say these things”. Given the prevalence of these signs and the Obama as Kenya usurper myth this assertion does not pass the smell test. In fact according to a CBS news Poll 45% of Republicans and 45% of self-identified Tea Party supporters believed as recently as 2011 that President Obama was born in a country other than the US. I can bet you that most of these 45% where NOT black or liberal.10

While not exclusively southern anymore, the reaction against President Obama and his policies is has the unmistakable stench of racial animus and reactionary hatred for liberal/reconstructive policy and governance.

Another trope of reconstruction era southern prejudice has reemerged in the form of vilifying and belittling African American governmental figures in positions of power. The political spectacle involving the potential nomination of UN Ambassador Susan Rice is only the most recent example of this irrationality. With a new report now essentially confirming what was asserted by Rice and her associates at the UN and the State Department and the Obama Administration regarding the assassination of the US Ambassador to Libya, the criticism of this brilliant diplomat and policy analyst are revealed for what they are; attacks motivated by innate bigoted mistrust of black people in positions of authority

 

“If this select committee clears her of any wrongdoing, besides not being very bright, because it was obvious that this was not a quote ‘flash mob,’ there was no demonstration, Charlie…”—Sen. John McCain 11

 

Not very bright? This is a strange thing for a Senator to say about a woman who runs the American mission to the United Nations and who was also a Rhodes Scholar. There really is no other valid excuse for this slander, especially when considered upon the other baffling and often racially tinged attacks upon other black Obama administration officials such as Eric Holder, Shirley Sherrod the Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture, the first Lady Michelle Obama, and Van Jones, special Executive Branch Advisor for Green Job initiatives. Secretary Holder and Mrs. Obama in particular have been ravaged in conservative circles; the former being decried as a secret “black nationalist” and corrupt scam artist and the latter with horrid racist stereotypes of black women that have not been aired so blithely in public media and discussion since the reconstruction era. In no other administration have black appointees and officials been subject to such constant vitriolic and often un-warranted criticism.

Compare to the invective heaped upon black legislators and officials in the Reconstruction era South, with irate southern whites accusing blacks of stealing tax money, abusing their authority and even (if the political cartoons are to be believes) drinking while on the job. Of course these myths are just that; the period was no more or less corrupt than any other, and perhaps it was less so considering for the first and only time the full force of the US Government and Military stood behind local democratic processes12.  The Obama administration and its policies also give conservative whites an opportunity to criticize the idea of representative democracy itself, with commentators ranging from pundits to former rock stars calling for poll taxes, poll tests, and the invalidity of elections that benefit people other than white conservative males. The sentiments expressed are reminiscent of southern apologists throughout American history

 

“[Southern Reconstruction] was government by the most ignorant and vicious part of the population for the benefit, the vulgar, materialistic, brutal benefit of the governing set.”— John W. Burgess, Columbia University Professor13

 

A black President and a liberal leaning government gives white conservatives the excuse to complain about views on things like government spending, government debt, and restriction to gun rights that have been imposed and proposed by Republican Presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan to the second President Bush. The REAL problem this time around is not debt or government spending (these problems existed to even a greater extent under Republican heroes like Reagan) but the fact that the current President dealing with these problems is a darker shade than most white conservatives are comfortable with. Why else would they complain NOW about problems that have been around for decades if not generations? Because the white south sees a black face implementing reform and new ideas, and a black face dealing with the issues that threaten society and government, it is now means that “they” are after them again, “they” will take away what “they” deserve. “They” will take away the power and authority their white skin has given them for far too long. This may not be a period of full reconstruction (we can only hope such an era returns) but it is a time when non-white, non-conservatives voices finally have a say in how we solve the problems facing this nation. That is just a bit too much to bear for the cultural and intellectual heirs of those who once fought a losing battle over a horrid atrocity.

 

***

 

Citations (forgive the numbers on the bottom, I had a problem with my word processor. Refer to the numbers closest to the citation)

 

  1. Excerpt from John Hope Franklin, ed. Reminiscenses of an Active Life: The Autobiography of John Roy Lynch. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/activism/ps_lynch.html
  2. Ibid
  3. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/the-year-in-hate-and-extremism
  4. http://www.salon.com/2013/01/11/tennessee_suspends_james_yeagers_handgun_carry_permit/
  5. from Testimony of B.W. Marston Re: The Coushatta Affair. House Reports, 44th Congress, 1st Session, No. 816, 645-727. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/kkk/ps_marston.html
  6. [The Glenn Beck Program, 7/22/09] retrieved from http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/08/glennys_greates_racist_hits.html
  1. 7. The Rights and Duties of Slaveholders: Two Discourses Delivered on Sunday, November 27, 1836, in Christ Church, Raleigh, North-Carolina, By George W. Freeman, retrieved from http://www1.assumption.edu/users/lknoles/douglassproslaveryargs.html
  2. 8.       Letters to the Editor, Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative, Pages 183-89, quote retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/arkansas-rep-claims-slavery-was-good-for-black-people
  3. 9.       http://www.motherjones.com/slideshows/2010/09/tea-partys-racist-signs/niggar and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/16/10-most-offensive-tea-par_n_187554.html
  4. 10. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20056061-503544.html
  5. 11. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/get-it-straight-john-mccain-did-say-susan-rice-was-not-very-bright/
  6. 12. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/plantation/sf_myths.html#e
  7. 13. John W. Burgess, Reconstruction and the Constitution, 1866-1876 (Harvard University, 1905), 264-5, retrieved from http://www.shmoop.com/reconstruction/citations.html#37

 

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Conservatism, Humor, Madness, Medieval, poetry, Republicans

Trickle Down (A Poem)

The plebs are hungry

What to do?

First we must feed the lord!

He’ll feast and have his fill

Like so many hogs fattened at the trough

He’ll grow fat and happy

And find him-self in a generous mood

So he’ll waddle to the balcony

And salute the ragged mob below

By dropping his enormous drawers

He’ll bend over the balustrade

And hoist his ass on high

And out from ‘tween his

Ham-hock cheeks

Trickled down the peasant’s share

Oh how the villeins squealed with joy

And opened up their hungry mouths ‘

Feasting upon the fetid abundance

Donated by the bowels of their lord

Thanks be to god and to the rich

For their beneficence and their appetite

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Alternate History, Bailout, Conservatism, Conservatives, Janesville, Lie, Paul Ryan, Politics, RNC

Ryan Lies AGAIN…

In his convention speech tonight, VP Nominee Paul Ryan claimed that a GM autoplant in his hometown of Janesville was closed because of President Obama’s policies. This turns out not to be true, and Ryan even admitted he knew this was not true ON HIS OWN CONGRESSIONAL WEBPAGE. I found the link on twitter, and went to it, and indeed it is a blurb about a letter he sent to the GM CEO asking him not to close the plant down as the announcement was made in June 2008 that it would be closed. I am sure this will soon be scrubbed, so I have the screen shot for you, along with the link to the page itself. Ryan’s speech was full of lies, but this is easily the most simple to disprove

http://paulryan.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=200270


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abortion, Christianity, Civil rights, Conservatism, Conservatives, Death, extremism, GOP, News, Paul Ryan, Pro-Life, Religion, Sex, Todd Akin, Women

Legitimate Insanity

Todd Akin is not the problem. He is the symptom. The disease is the conservative American obsession with abortion, sexual violence, reproductive health, and equal rights. Most Americans see these issues as important and essential elements of a healthy society. “Pro-Life” Americans see these issues as one issue: the unborn, and how they may be protected from the feminist inspired evils of their mothers desires and intentions. Rape in the pro-life community is not a crime to be prosecuted and an evil to be fought and condemned: it is an opportunity to bring “new life” into the world. In the pro-life mind, there is no such thing as sexual violence. If a woman is raped it is not something to be talked about or dealt with. It is a chance to educate that poor, slutty woman about the consequences of “her” actions. Former Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle summed up this point of view quite succinctly:

  “I think that two wrongs don’t make a right… look for some alternatives…[turn] a lemon situation into lemonade.”

 

Life is a means unto itself, that is, potential life. Once that life has entered the world the shame begins: shame that this life was brought into the world by a single mother, shame that it is poor or in need of welfare services, shame that it will be going to a godless public school, and if it is unfortunate to be born a female, shame on it for needing reproductive health services along with a natural desire for sexual fulfillment. Once that life is shepherded into the world by the pro-life Pretorian Guard it is immediately abandoned as yet another leech upon the liberty and the wealth of “job creating” and “hard working” Americans. And God help you if you are born anything but white.

In the eyes of the pro-life movement a woman is nothing more than a baby-incubating system at best, and a male-controlled sexual object at worst. Her sexuality is not her own. Hence the idea of “legitimate rape”.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin is only the most recent pro-life zealot to put forth this repugnant idea. “Legitimate rape” is a conservative idea that is used as a tool against women who have the audacity to be attacked by a man. The man is never at fault, at least not past the basic taboo against violence. He is merely acting out on his “natural” male inclinations. On the other hand, if a woman is raped it is only because she failed at some level. No “good” woman will ever be in a situation where she will be raped. No “good” woman is ever out of sight of a protective male authority figure, be it a father, brother, platonic boyfriend, or possessive husband. And remember, once she is married, a woman cannot be raped, at least by the man who is most likely to rape her: her husband.

These twisted views of sexual violence are being promoted as a new legal standard for all women. Akin authored and sponsored HR 3, co-sponsored by newly minted Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan, a bill that would redefine rape in a much more restrictive sense, only recognize rape as something that happens in a dark alley against a somehow “deserving” woman, and goes out of its way to protect the REAL victim of the assault: the unborn child. Yes, the real crime here is committed by the misguided little woman who wants to abort the fetus forcibly put into her by a man who decided he wanted to violate her. Remember, “life” and all that. No thought is given to the life of the woman who is actually alive and legally protected by the Constitution and US laws. A woman is worth less than a bundle of cells or a rice grain sized fetus in the pro-life world. And a newly born child immediately loses its holy aura and becomes yet another sinner and potential violator of the “rights” of the unborn. The fetus becomes a super-citizen: it has all the rights that human beings should have, and more besides. It has the “right” to live at the expense of its own mother.

Fundamentalist Christianity is at the heart of this macabre fetal recreation of the crucifixion: the woman is impregnated by the legitimizing paternal force, be it the husband or the rapist, and the highest ideal of the mother after this event is to die in the service of giving life to the fetus. Woman who die giving birth are called “heroes” and “true mothers” and their fates are held up as the ultimate feminine ideal. Think of that, a woman’s worth is defined by her ability to die for a baby that she may not even have wanted! What does that mean for the women whose pregnancies end in a miscarriage? Has she “failed” as a women then? Sadly, this is inevitably the case: if your only worth as a human being is as a living breathing nest for the holy fetus, then what else do you have to live for? Life itself becomes meaningless, only an end, and for a woman life only has meaning as far as the paternal authorities define and allow for. And invariably, they will define that life as subordinate to the male concern of “being fruitful” and filling the Earth with more and more and more and more life. God’s will be done, I suppose.

This, I believe, is legitimate insanity.

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2012 Election, abortion, Bigotry, Conservatism, Conservatives, GOP, Politics, racism, Religion, Republicans, right wing, Rights, Romney, Satire, Socialism, Women

Right Wing Delusion Glossary

I have been around the political block a few times in my short time in this planet. I am only in my late 20’s and I have still heard the same right wing tropes and theories over and over again. But sometimes the right wingers get embarrassed at their own ignorance and hate, ans they attempt to disguise their true feelings and beliefs with coded language. I am here to let you in on the biggest open secrets in the political world. No need to thank me, just be sure to call your conservative friends and family members on their BS when you hear it spewed.

“Welfare Queen”: An African American woman who has the audacity to collect legal and needed welfare services. In the mind of a conservative this means that she has 18 children by 18 different fathers, and owns a big screen tv and a Cadillac. Why is it always these two things? Can’t they update their racist stereotypes to include LCD screens and maybe a Chevy Volt?

“Socialist”: Synonymous with “Nazi”, “communist” or “statist”. A socialist is anyone who thinks that the country in any way needs an overhaul in the way it handles the economy or welfare services i.e. regulating the market or making life easier for the working poor. Can also mean this person advocates “reeducation camps”, “Sharia law” and “government tyranny”.

“Tyranny”: The act of doing anything that offends conservative sensibilities. This can be anything from taxing businesses and individuals to mandating a waiting period for the assault rifle you want to buy. Also, whatever President Obama does in his capacity as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief.

“Multiculturalism”: Any attempt by anyone to make sure that cultures other than white, christian, conservative, straight male points of view are discussed or celebrated or respected in public. Example: “Damn multiculturalism teaching my kids that A-rabs invented algebra! Next they’ll say that pasta is Chinese!”

“Race Hustler”: An African American (usual a man) who has the audacity to point out the inequality inherent to American society, and the white privilege that permeates our culture, economy, and government. Also, anyone who attempts to appeal to the African American community as a political interest group. Also, any African American man who has succeeded in politics or government who has not explicitly condemned other African Americans for…something?

“Terrorism”: A violent incident, always perpetrated by Muslims, that leads to the death of mostly white people. . Example: A Neo-Nazi shooting up a Sikh Temple and killing 6 is not terrorism…One man being shot in the arm at the Family Research Council HQ, damn that is the next 9/11! Also, any action taken by a liberal group or person to protest a conservative idea or group.

“Liberty”: The right of a white male to do what he pleases, when he pleases, without reference or concern for anyone else. Example: “Damn government is attacking my liberty to charge my employees for parking in our lot when they come to work! Dang socialists!”

“Freedom”: A much more nebulous term. Can mean anything from waving an American flag to buying a gas-guzzling car. That vague feeling conservatives have when they see American soldiers in a desert nation or see B2 bombers flying overhead at an overpriced sporting event. Also, anything relating to the response to, and aftermath of, the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Sharia Law”: Muslim Americans wanting to be able to build a mosque in their community or otherwise freely worship as do Christians and Jews. The nebulous concern that somehow in a nation that bans crosses on public land we will somehow have to answer to non-existent Iranian style Islamic courts. Also, strangely, any ruling in a US court that favors religious freedom, especially for Muslims or atheists for some reason.

“Real Americans”: White, Christian, straight male American citizens who vote for the Republican party and live in states not on either the west coast or the North Eastern coast. Can be extended to include stay at home mothers, conservatives christian women, conservative christian African Americans (provided they have NEVER used welfare or any other government service) and and some single women (provided they do not have a child out of wedlock and has NEVER used welfare or any other government service).

“Reverse Racism”: Any instance when a white, usually male, Christian American Citizen does not get what he wants, has to respect the rights of minorities, or believes in his mind that some opportunity was taken from him by a “minority” i.e. “Affirmative Action”. Example: “Damn government with their hate crime laws! There ain’t no hate crime laws for white people!” OR “Damn affirmative action, made it so that black guy got the job I wanted!” Also, anytime when a member of a racial or other minority group dares to complain about racism in American society or government. Also, the fact that it is now frowned upon to use racial slurs or tell racially tinged jokes.

“Homosexual Agenda”: Any school or government agency/service that dares to acknowledge or celebrate LGBTQ people, accomplishments, ideas, or rights. Also, any open display of affection between two men, or less often, two women. Also, the fear of closeted gay conservative christian men that they will be outed and have their masculinity doubted.

“The Civil War Was Not About Slavery”: African Americans need to stop complaining about the 400 years of inhumane treatment and depraved genocidal acts committed against them by whites and the American government.

“America Is a Christian Nation”: Someone who has never read an American history book, any of the founding documents, or any of the Supreme Court rulings of the past century and a half. Also, the need for an white male christian American to have his own personal morality enshrined in national laws.

“Chicago Style Politics/Politician: The belief that any government that has a large number or majority of African American and/or liberal and/or union member participants is inherently corrupt. The belief that the way politics were conducted in the uber-corrupt 1920’s and 1930’s is how politics is done today everywhere in Chicago and in the state of Illinois. A politician who stands up for minorities and the working poor, or who wins in a close election or uses tactics that conservatives often use to get elected.  Also, President Barack Obama.

“Pro-Life”: The belief that women who want to control their reproductive system are sluts, whores, and/or evil. The belief that a bundle of cells or a zygote is the legal and moral equivalent of a American citizen, or in the case of a pregnant woman, the legal and moral superior. Also, the worship of a fetus as an icon of purity and inherent goodness.

“Feminazi”: A woman who does not believe that men are inherently superior. A woman who dares to stand up to a man or a patriarchal institution. A woman who acknowledges that women in general are accorded the same rights and opportunities, or given the same respect, as men in American Society, economy, and government. A liberal woman. A single woman who enjoys sex. A single woman who wants to be able to use birth control. A woman who believes that equal rights and opportunity should be enshrined in law. A woman who disagrees with Rush Limbaugh.

“Liberal”: All that is evil, perverted, corrupt, indecent, wicked, or otherwise wrong with the world.

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That’s it for now folks, but I do believe I will be returning to this subject later: the coded language of the conservative movement is always expanding and updating! I’ll keep you posted.

p.s. Thanks to “Vicki” for the typo wrangling!

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