Don’t Fear the Right

They Are Potential Class Allies

Wars and occupations keep coming. The police state expands without pause. Big capital takes all our money and destroys huge chunks of our environment. So why are liberal and progressive leaders telling us to fear grassroots conservatives? Wouldn’t it be better to fight the corporate police state that is doing these things to us?

We regularly hear warnings about militias and tea parties, but for the most part, these people are not the enemy. Although Tea Party leadership has been largely taken over by Republicans of the Sarah Palin school, many of the rank-and-file are potential class allies. Even some of the local leaders are libertarians who oppose war and defend civil liberties.

Militia members may be even more likely to have things in common with honest leftists and greens. The ideology is different, but the class interests are similar. And don’t forget; the government and their mercenaries have plenty of guns, and they’re not reluctant to use them. If the people are to resist, we may need to ally with people who have some, too.

According to Jesse Walker, managing editor of Reason magazine, corporate media and government are conducting a “Brown Scare” against the Right [“Brown” as in Hitler’s brownshirts]. A Brown Scare is similar to a Red Scare and is used for the same reasons, to discredit and divide those opposed to the system, and pave the way to attack them.

“With Brown Scare tactics, serious critiques are delegitimized by being associated with fanatics,” says Walker, while civil liberties are curtailed for everyone.

Leftists should fight government attempts to marginalize the grassroots right. “Brown scares build on red scares and vice versa,” says Walker. “Out of fear of the far Right in the 30s and 40s, lots of people on the left became amenable to civil liberties restrictions they had rejected before, which were then used against them in the McCarthy era. The Tea Parties are now falling under the microscope they supported when it was used against others.”

The rulers use similar violence against Left and Right. For example, the FBI told similar scare stories about the Black Panthers and about the white militias. The Branch Davidians killed at Waco were portrayed as white supremacists, but one third of them were Black and some were Asian. “The Waco massacre parallels the MOVE case [where 11 African-American people were burned to death in a police attack in 1985] in Philadelphia,” says Walker.

Guarding the Guardians

One group that has been singled out for demonization is the Oath Keepers. Founded two years ago by Stewart Rhodes, a lawyer and former US Army paratrooper, Oath Keepers (OK) organizes former and current military and police to resist unconstitutional orders. As a result, they have been attacked by everyone from Bill O’Reilly (who called them “anarchists”) to Bill Clinton (who linked them with “terrorists”). Mother Jones magazine accused them of “treason.”

The “Oath” in Oath Keepers refers to the oath service people and police take to defend the constitution. Rhodes founded OK to help “defend the constitution from its enemies,” most of whom, he believes are in or around government. (Think Goldman Sachs; think Department of Homeland Security.)

Rhodes thinks neither liberals nor conservatives recognize the need to limit government to Constitutional bounds. “Picture a Venn diagram with 2 overlapping circles” he says. “People in each circle only object to what’s going on when they are not in power. But there is a third section that, no matter who’s in power, they care about the constitution and distrust those in power. My goal is to grow that third part of the population.” Among the “consistent Americans,” Rhodes includes feminist author Naomi Wolf, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and Ron Paul.

Oath Keepers’ home page features ten Orders We Will Not Obey. These include: “We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people, conduct warrantless searches, detain American citizens as ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ or to subject them to military tribunal, impose martial law or a ‘state of emergency’ on a state, or invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.”

Oath Keepers will also refuse to: “blockade American cities; force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext; confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies; or do anything that would infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.”

Note that many of the things OK members refuse to do are already being done by the military and police, for example after hurricane Katrina, at political protests, and during the drug wars. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have those guys in my neighborhood than a gang of armed men who will follow orders mindlessly. Better Oath Keepers than Blackwater or the local SWAT team!

Jesse Walker says, “They’re talking about critical thinking. That’s what you want from the police. When victims of hurricane Katrina attempted to flee across the Crescent City Connection Bridge to Jefferson Parish, they were forced back by armed agents of the Gretna, Louisiana police. If there had been some Oath Keepers on the force that day, those refugees might have escaped the devastation.”

It would be even better if soldiers refused orders to do unconstitutional things to non-Americans, and many posters on OK’s web site say so. Refusal to serve in unconstitutional wars might make the Empire’s job much harder. So far, though, Rhodes is not stressing war resistance, saying he wants all service members who support the Constitution to feel welcome, whatever their war views.

Oath Keepers have been vilified as racist militias by the Southern Poverty Law Center, who called them “a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival.” I don’t see much evidence for that. Their meeting in San Francisco recently was about 20% people of color, including one of the main speakers. At this point, however, their membership is swelling with an “an influx of Bush supporters,” as Rhodes says. “I have a narrow window of opportunity to deprogram them from the neo-con nonsense they learned and get them thinking about the Constitution.”

Men with Guns

Oath Keepers aren’t a militia, but the actual militia movement is another force the Left should see as potential allies, not enemies. There are some far-right and racist militias, but most are not. As Jesse Walker says, they range from “relatively moderate civic action Republicans, calling for decentralized local government, gun ownership, and civil liberties. At the extreme end you get conspiracy theories, doomsayers. You also have had people on the Left trying to forge links with the militia movements.”

In rural Maine, author Carolyn Chute leads the 2nd Maine Militia, which has a clearly anti-corporate and pro-working class agenda. This includes gun rights. “People around here have guns, both for hunting and to protect themselves,” Chute told Salon.com. “And frankly, we don’t want the government to have guns and not us.” 2nd Maine presents itself as beyond Left and Right, saying we need to focus on the real divide between Up and Down.

We should not be afraid of people on the grassroots right. If leftists don’t reach out, the white working class in this country will have nowhere else to turn. The only points of unity may be non-interventionism, civil liberties, corporate bailouts and the constitution, but considering how extreme the corporate state has become, those things may be revolutionary. Just enforcing the Bill of Rights, respecting international treaties and restoring Congress’ war powers would be huge changes.

Author Chris Hedges thinks the American Left’s terrible move was from looking at government as part of the class enemy, to seeing it as something we could employ to make things better. Marx and Lenin both warned against this. They wrote that the state was organized by one class to suppress other classes and couldn’t be reformed. But the American Left abandoned the class struggle (to be fair, most American workers did, too). As Hedges says, “The Left became identity-based, culture-based and lost our grounding in class struggle. We lost our voice and became part of the corporate structure we should have been dismantling.”

We need to find ways to ally with the grassroots right, whether in tea parties, militias, or elsewhere. As Hedges says, “Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism will come with the return of the language of class conflict.” Yes, there are some uglies out there in the white working class. There are some racists, but racism been the issue for the working class in America since the beginning.

Former congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney told Hedges, “I am a child of the South. [Head of DHS] Janet Napolitano tells me I need to be afraid of people who are labeled white supremacists, but I was raised around white supremacists. I am not afraid of white supremacists. I am concerned about my own government. The Patriot Act did not come from white supremacists, it came from the White House and Congress. The Citizens United decision [granting corporations full political personhood] did not come from white supremacists; it came from the Supreme Court. I am willing to reach across traditional barriers that have been skillfully constructed by people who benefit from the way the system is organized.”

Most militias, oath keepers, and tea partiers are not white supremacists. If McKinney can work with the far right, we can work with our class brothers and sisters who oppose what are our rulers are doing. Walker suggests the Left forming its own Tea Party chapters. That may not be the best tactic, but it may well point in the right direction.

David Spero RN writes books, columns, and blogs about the social dimensions of health. He edited the paper Green Consensus for the California Greens. He can be reached at: david@www.art-of-getting-well.com. Read other articles by David, or visit David's website.

29 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. VPK9 said on July 15th, 2010 at 1:10pm #

    You are right in saying that the left has many things in common with Libertarians. Both groups grew out of the old Classic Liberals, emphasizing individual liberty. However, most Tea Partiers are not Libertarians. They are not opposed to government. They didn’t oppose Bush’s government. Surveys have demonstrated that the Tea Party is a highly educated, highly wealthy movement, a significant portion of which believe that white people are discriminated against, passing itself off as a populist movement. If they are returned to power, we’ll get a repeat of Bush. They are the upper class enemy of the left, and we need to use that to organize those libertarians and the working classes in America against them.

  2. caperash said on July 15th, 2010 at 2:09pm #

    I have been feeling for some time now that the freedom-loving wings of both ‘left’ and ‘right’ should come together. For example, Kucinich and Paul, who in theory are extremely far apart, are almost identical on many issues, principally amongst them the systemic corruption of the current status quo especially viz. corporatism, usurpation of powers and so on.

    Most of the extreme caricatures of ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ should be ignored when analysing libertarian and similar ‘right wing’ initiatives. They need to reach out to (truly) open-minded ‘lefties’ and I think that as this article highlights, the key is to stress a return to bedrock constitutional principles, values and practices which all boil down to individual and state sovereignty trumping any federal /national sovereignty. When you think about things in terms of freedom, liberty, fairness, sanity and so forth, there is much that left and right can agree on, especially when coming from the pov that the current situation is essentially criminal at this point.

    People have to stop listening to caricature left-right descriptions which are promulgated to create false dichotomies and false choices in a false democracy and figure out how to come together in order to peacefully and effectively overthrow the currently entrenched kleptocracies.

    Step One: left and right come together to abolish the Fed.
    Step Two: join a general movement nation-wide to have most States re-affirm sovereignty and begin to dismantle most large federal agencies and legislative over-reach and do this mainly by changing the tax code to give 90% to States and only 10% to the Feds along with closing down the IRS.

    Simple.

  3. lichen said on July 15th, 2010 at 4:15pm #

    No, the right wing scum are not “potential allies.” And all of the pathetic conspiracy theories about the government coming out to round up people into camps are really pathetic. The right wing U.S. working class deserves what they get.

  4. PatrickSMcNally said on July 15th, 2010 at 5:38pm #

    I don’t have the stuff right in front of me at this moment, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read that the teabaggers are not working class in general. Teabaggers seemed to come from rather well-to-do social positions. There may be some danger of working class whites getting drawn into them, but I don’t think that the teabaggers as a movement have gotten there yet. The bulk of your commentary seemd to be on the Oath Keepers. So why bring up teabaggers at all?

  5. Deadbeat said on July 15th, 2010 at 10:35pm #

    The article is wishful thinking and such a suggestion is conceivable because it reflects the pathetic state of the Left for failing to organize around working class interests.

  6. John Andrews said on July 16th, 2010 at 4:43am #

    This article has some good points and some bad points.

    I agree that there’s no future in continuing with that tired old left v right debate – which is basically all about wealth distribution. The only thing that matters, that we don’t have and have never had, is justice. Who really cares how much money someone has so long as the whole of society has truly equal rights, and equal opportunities? This shouldn’t be a function of wealth (the way it is), but a duty of government.

    And do lets move on from that pathetic rubbish about the ‘right to bear arms’. How stupid is that? No one needs to own a gun. No one needs to go huntin, shootin n fishin to feed themselves. I was brought up with guns and know all about it. WE DON’T NEED THEM! And spare me all that caveman stuff about knowing how to survive in the wild. If somene really wants to impress with their caveman ‘survivalist’ skills let’s see them do it with caveman tools and weapons, not sophisticated piece of technology that could atomise a fly from two miles away. Any fool could do that.

    You should see a bushman tracking his dinner for two or three days in order to get close enough to kill it with a bow and arrow that’s only effective over about thirty yards. Now that’s impressive.

  7. Don Hawkins said on July 16th, 2010 at 5:06am #

    Let’s see the climate bill a joke on the human race maybe it will pass and the elections in November and how does Newt look in 2012 or someone of like mind. Here’s an interesting person.

    http://www.rankopedia.com/CandidatePix/28610.gif

    Now personally am thinking Southern Hemisphere as it does appear the greatest nation on Earth is getting a tad bit strange or always’ has been I just didn’t notice. I think they won what they won I have no idea.

  8. Don Hawkins said on July 16th, 2010 at 5:27am #

    Oh if some of you decide to head South like Mulga has talked about a few times if you can find a better life a more simple life leave the thinking from whence you came from whence you came. The climate bill as we know is a joke on the human race and will that change probably not why fight be smart.

  9. Don Hawkins said on July 16th, 2010 at 5:31am #

    Hay I clicked on the web site I just posted and something must have happen with the zero’s and one’s the picture I posted was of Agent Smith from the movie the Matrix.

  10. Don Hawkins said on July 16th, 2010 at 6:01am #

    Just think if enough people did go South you know the people who know and in my thinking the best minds so who would stay in the greatest nation on Earth? The brainwashed tweeting and texting as fast as they can to find meaning in the madness and the so called rules that’s who. To me an interesting part is the so called rules are the most brainwashed of all of course they don’t know this and don’t tell them it just gives us more time to get the hell out of here.

  11. Don Hawkins said on July 16th, 2010 at 6:28am #

    Remember Bush, junior probably a good idea to stay away from that country where he aquired that land with the rather large water source. Yes not my first choice a bit further South. As simple is probably not the thinking with that human and a few close friends.

  12. Don Hawkins said on July 16th, 2010 at 6:39am #

    Ok last comment until after the climate bill nonsense then I will write one more comment with the words Adios, adieu; sayonara; goodbye; goodby; good-bye; good-by; cheerio; bye-bye; auf wiedersehen; au revoir; arrivederci; so long; bye.

  13. teafoe2 said on July 16th, 2010 at 1:58pm #

    adios pues, john hawkins, you seemed like a well-intentioned guy but jesus you never could stay on point. Like this thread about the left should lie down with the TPers; the debate was raging and here you come with a string of posts about, well whatever they were about, it wasn’t what the article or the other comments were focussed on. Just a big distraction. Well best of luck, & as they say in Hrvatska, Bok!

  14. bjfolz said on July 16th, 2010 at 2:00pm #

    This is an interesting article that makes good points. However, the Oath Keepers, a group I know little about, seem quite different from Tea Party people. The Tea Party people appear to be unprincipled. They are angry that “a liberal” (not!) has taken over the government, a black man with a Muslim-sounding name at that. That’s what it boils down to. As someone pointed out above, where were these people during Bush Reign? They were all too happy to have domestic surveillance against “other people,” aggressive wars, Guantnanamo, and even to see U.S. citizens rounded up. Not a peep from these people then. They are Christofascists, to use a term from Chris Hedges. They might as well be supporting Obama as his presidency looks like a third term for Bush on almost all the important issues (the fact they don’t seems to me to support the idea that their opposition is that he is labeled a liberal and, more importantly, not white.). I think the Tea Partiers will be the ones serving as guards in the prison camps when the right wing Christofascists finally take over — and they will be happily beating my “liberal a**” and making me read from The Bible when I am rounded up and imprisoned in said camp.
    So, the Tea Party must be defeated. Oath Keepers *might* be people we can work with.

  15. teafoe2 said on July 16th, 2010 at 2:16pm #

    John Andrews, you blow my mind:) Do you really believe that “equal justice” can coexist with a grossly unequal distribution of wealth? Uh, maybe you could take a minute and rethink that proposition?

    re the Guns nonissue: the rich and other assorted badguys will always have plenty of guns, nightvision goggles, tevlar sweatshirts & similar goodies, so far as I’m concerned the more other people that have that stuff too the better. Nobody is going to disarm the NRA. This whole 2nd Amendment thing is a distraction from the real issues, so please stop bringing it up.

  16. teafoe2 said on July 16th, 2010 at 3:37pm #

    Now back to D Spero and his plea that we should stop calling these Tea Partiers racist.

    Now he manages to portray the Oathkeepers outfit in a fairly appealing light. I’d guess there are some OK members who are potentially OK. I remember there were a lot of Active Duty GI’s in the Vietnam era who did a lot to end the US role in that fiasco. So I’m all for outreaching to Active Duty enlisted personnel. But there has to be a limit to the concessions we are willing to make to the currently hegemonic militarist ideology, aka WarThink.

    And to the other myths Spero and his OK pals seem to be embracing. Yes it is true that capitalism as a system cannot be reformed, but it is also true that a lot of less-than-affluent members of the US public derive benefit from the Social Security Act, Medicare/Medicaid, Section 8 housing subsidies, which if turned over to “The States” as these “decentralizers” advocate, would be gone in a flash, poof like yesterday’s soap bubble.
    History tells us that in the US, “decentralized justice” usually means Lynch Law. Remember Little Rock & Central Hi School?

    So what is it that Spero wants “us” to do? Stop “brownshirting” the Teapartiers? He seems to think the fact that there may be an element on the bottom level of the TP activity that hasn’t totally internalized what the leaders are pushing, should cause us to throw caution to the winds. I myself don’t see much to be gained by uncritically buddying up to the kind of people who willingly follow the kind of people who occupy the leading spots in the TP movement.

    And I’m not encouraged because some of them speak well of Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich is a Judas Goat, whose radical rhetoric is tolerated by the Dumbokrat Pty bigwigs as a gimmick to keep the left fringe element in the Party fold. I’ve checked out the Kucinich trip: waste of time. Psychedelic Reader’s Digest, bunch of tiedyed hippie re-enactors led by the nose by the DSL/PDA puppeteers. Cherchez Duane Campbell:)

    No, I don’t mean to close the door entirely on these voices from the right suggesting an alliance. I’m willing to listen, well, read what they have to say. But so far I haven’t read anything that really grabs me, if you know what I mean?
    I know the Green Party includes a large strain of White-centered folks, many of whom say racist things and take racist positions. But I’m still registered GP, mostly because of McKinney, and because of what Bruce Dixon has outlined in last week’s BAR. If enough really radical-minded people move into the GP, it could be possible to change it into a really viable vehicle for a really radical politics, at least for the next stage, next decade or two.
    Cynthia McKinney has been leaning over sideways being nice to these “grassroots conservative” elements, so if they are sincere, I want to see them come out in support of her as THE national candidate in the electoral arena.

    In particular I want to see Ron Paul and D Kucinich stop being forces for division and confusion. The one thing we don’t need in the 2012 Presidential contest is a repeat of 2008, where the antiwar-anticorporate vote was splintered among several candidates. This applies also to Nader.

  17. MvGuy said on July 17th, 2010 at 9:41am #

    I basically agree with the spirit and reas0n9ng in the excellent article by Mr. Spero. All of you out there who oppose the Fed, will the tea party oppose it too..?? Or as my sister says, maybe it’s better if we don’t know how it werks.. The guns thing makes sense too. Something is going to happen here and when it does we will all want to have friends to help (us) and not enemies to harm us. The MIC has become too arrogant and thinks it can solve every problem.. WORLDWIDE!!
    and they want YOU to pay for it…. With the computer wonder, no more need to actually print money. They can just add zeros onto the accounts and amounts… It’s all necessary THEY believe to preserve their place in the world.. American policy is no longer run for the benefit of her citizens, if it ever was.. The FED is bad guy No.1 on the economic side.. Making the books honest again could go a long way in restoring some small modicum of economic sanity to the elected.. Audit the Fed..!! I voted for pres. “O” but he is becoming pres “0” more and more every day… I might have to vote [UUGH] Republican…!! Before I go I want to spread a little conspiracy around…

    http://911studies.com/911photostudies1.htm Here are the photos.. http://911studies.com/911photostudies44.htm

  18. David Spero said on July 17th, 2010 at 9:59am #

    Hi Teafoe and others,
    I can’t really disagree with what you write. The Tea Party started off with libertarians who were sincerely antiwar and anti-bankster. But is has 90% been taken over by the corporate Right. I do meet some good people at their events, but many are not at all open to hearing other views. However, that doesn’t mean they are the big enemy here. The brown scare tactics are taking people’s eyes off the real problem.

    Oath Keepers, unfortunately, are having the same problem, as Stewart Rhodes recognizes in the article. The Bush-cons have started joining in droves. To me, that doesn’t change the value of reaching out to active duty military and even active duty police. They have the guns. Reach the ones you can reach. Get some guns of your own.

  19. cruxpuppy said on July 17th, 2010 at 6:24pm #

    Informative article. Carolyn Chute heads a militia? Thanks for that, David Spero!

    The American Revolution is unique in history for one reason: the recognition and proclamation of individual liberty and the unalienable rights of the free individual. This is principle #1, the foundation of the novus ordo seclorum. This is the light that America let into the world. This is the basis for the great influence America has had….until it devolved into an imperium and instituted secret police and policies of torture.

    Do leftists rally around the Declaration? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard Naomi Klein sing the praises of the Declaration.

    Most on the left are closet state socialists and don’t know it. It would do them good to sit down and parley with the Tea Party people.

    A very good article, Mr Spero. Good job!

  20. Krendall Mist said on July 17th, 2010 at 6:48pm #

    Wordy exposition on “the enemy of my enemy….”

    Everybody has fallen into this bad habit of referring to “the” Tea Party. In the past year, we have seen a mass of individual and free-flaoting angers and fears among portions of the population became a self-referential group with no idealogy or discipline united solely because of mass media use of the definite article.

    “Tea Party” identifiers may not all be racists, but racism surely lay right under the skin.

    This is a useful article, nevertheless. Because it illustrates a truth about nation states in rapid cultural decline. The trivial little resentments and hatreds begin to dominate the outlook of those who sense significant loss of control over their economic destinies. The content of those hatreds are not important. It is just the convenient object for the raging resentment. The left can hate the right, the right the left. But those animosities are transitory, insubstantial. Both sides share the same corrosive anxieties and sense of need to act. Eventually, manipulated by artful demagoguery, the political system itself, and those who have controlled it, become strongly identified with the causes of the masses’ angst; invariably, there is some minority racial or ethnic association with the ruling classes, real or fabricated, which the demagagues use to harness and direct the mass fear and need to act.

  21. Hue Longer said on July 17th, 2010 at 7:36pm #

    Hello cruxpuppy,

    Even those duped or forced to accept their fate in fighting “The War For Independence” didn’t largely benefit from it and even if you don’t consider the slaves and aboriginals “Americans”, this holds true for the vast majority of people then. A bunch wealthy landowners with “noble blood” got together to save the stealing for themselves. No credit to him for being right about the constitution but Bush was.

    Cheers

  22. Barry said on July 18th, 2010 at 6:08am #

    I joined the New Jersey militia movement almost 20 years ago. We printed a newsletter as our foremost mission was education. Lots of good people however its time ended with the false flag Murrah bombing. After absorbing commentary on progressive websites I realized long ago that most of the left shall never give up the dialectic and work with the right. Even in chains they will lash out at some ephemeral rightwing ghost that never really existed. Sad, but that’s just the way it is.

  23. cruxpuppy said on July 18th, 2010 at 7:39am #

    True enough as far as it goes, Hue Longer, the ringing irony of wealthy slaveholders proclaiming the rights of the individual as they dispossessed the native population of their lands and culture.

    But look around you and take note of the fact that individuals of all races have defined themselves under the terms of the US Declaration. Notice the black man in the White House.

    Notice the universal declaration of human rights. Respect for the individual is the foundation on which social justice is built. You can belly ache about the past if you like but if you don’t champion the cause of individual freedom you do not deserve what social justice you may currently enjoy.

    Whatever one may say about the flaws of this so-called Tea Party constituency, it nonetheless embraces the principle of individual liberty and this is a principle we all share, unless, of course, you are far far left, and believe social justice is prior and that individual liberty is a gift of the benevolent state.

  24. Max Shields said on July 18th, 2010 at 8:10am #

    cruxpuppy

    First what is the Tea Party? The usual answer is it’s everywhere and nowhere, it’s anger personified, it is against the Wall Street bailout, and the lack of jobs (something to keep them busy in meaningless endeavors, collecting a paycheck and waiting for a vacation). That is about a socially and culturally (and politically) nutrious as cotton candy.

    Individualism is certainly the American Apple Pie. I think it’s our problem. Certainly individual rights are important, BUT within a context of community. But I don’t know that this is a Tea Party pledge – it like Obama is a blank slate. Color it what you will. Makes for a very bad basis for coalition building or partnerships.

    An important organizing principle needs to flow from a value proposition, an attractor. Since when has this Tea Party provide a clear set of value statements, let alone one of the most pressing issues of America – perpetual war? Certainly corporate preditory capitalism is a major part of this problem; but other than a sense of “why did you give these billions to Wall Street instead of ME…” I don’t sense any real understanding of how the corporate world works and controls the American polity in its pocket.

  25. WarriorBeast said on July 18th, 2010 at 8:18am #

    As I said last time I read this piece here. It always comes down to the same problem, Tribalism, e.g. “The Lesser of Two Evils”. This is raw, primal, reptile brained stuff I’m talking about here, real emotional sleaze to get people to act irrationally and work against their own interests.

    That is what you are up against, manipulating affective response, the power lies in between a word and how it is perceived. It is all the establishment has and it’s the only thing it’s half-good at, e.g. Luntz. Good luck with that. Race, Abortion, Guns, Ayn Rand, ffs even the National Forest Service and “public roads” are “fair game”, whatever gets those hot juices flowing. Just pick an emotionally charged wedge and run with it. Divide and Conquer is the name of the game. Power is the goal.

  26. WarriorBeast said on July 18th, 2010 at 8:53am #

    I’ve seen so many discussions of non-interventionist foreign policy derailed by everything from Abortion zealots to Humanitarian Chickenhawks who screech about how nonintervention is equivalent to “neglect”, “You don’t want to help Afghan women just like you don’t want to send Federal Aid to Haiti.”

    That is what we are talking about here, opposing coercion, policies that promote nonintervention. There can be NO left-right alliance wrt foreign policy without a grounding in nonintervention, period. So if anyone on the left wants to know who is making BM in the “progressive” bed every night and driving the wedge between “Libertarians” and those and the left, look no further than those “Progressives” with a savior complex.

    The reactionary next door, it is easy to see the warmonger in it, but not so with the “Humanitarian Interventionist”, hawkish liberals and “progressives” that cloak their war rhetoric in humanitarian jargon and international law voodoo rituals. Sure, they may passionately oppose torture and preach about “civil liberties”, but they are interventionists first and authoritarian to the core. They are who you have to really look out for because they exist and they know exactly what they are doing. Mention Ron Paul and they explode into a rage about John Birch Society Libertarian Conspiracy Theories and neglect.

  27. Max Shields said on July 18th, 2010 at 9:09am #

    WarriorBeast agreed. noninterventionism is a fundamental principle upon which to build a coalition; and tear downt the wall of left/right.

    But it needs to go even deeper than that if humans are to make peace with the planet itself. As long as business as usual continues, minus the notion of interventionist foreign policies (regardless left/right) we will not have achieved a full acknowledgement of our interdependence.

    The human struggle is with what emerged centuries ago as the predominant narrative of the super-man; the overlord of the planet. That narrative must be challenged if we are to truly end interventionism at all levels.

  28. cruxpuppy said on July 19th, 2010 at 8:42pm #

    Of course you’re correct, Max Shields. The problem with the right is the emphasis on individualism and the disparagement of community. Obama was sneered at for being a “community organizer”. There is an hysterical fear of “collectivism” ( synonym for communism ) on the right. That looney Glenn Beck on TV expresses it.

    Collectivism is a legitimate concern, however, and it does rule the thinking of the far left with it utopian notions of benevolent authority to which the impotent and disruptive individual must submit.

    The Tea Party is largely a media creation that very imperfectly reflects a deeply ingrained traditional individualism inherent in the Bill of Rights. There is an American identity built around the idea of free association among free individuals. It is an ideal, like democracy. Racism, religious fanaticism, political ideology ( what Madison called factionalism ) and other evils distract from the ideal, but the ideal persists. It is uniquely, repeat, uniquely historically American. We gave this to the world with our Revolution.

    And now big changes are underway. We can begin to understand it now, as we didn’t with Chernobyl or Bhopal. The disaster in the Gulf is a rallying point for left and right. Maybe the libertarians will understand the need for community and maybe the collectivists will see that throwing out the baby with the bathwater won’t work as the catastrophe is met with solutions that can only come from the creative individual.

    Weak individuals view community as a threat. Communitarians view individualism as a nuisance in a well ordered society. Maybe we are smart enough to find the golden mean. Maybe we aren’t. But we should try.

  29. alicelillie said on July 23rd, 2010 at 4:59pm #

    This article was right on. See the “Diamond Chart” that shows how obsolete the right-left spectrum of today is.

    Realistically, at one extreme government running the whole show is desireable. At the opposit extreme, government does nothing much (if at all) other than to protect the rights of individuals.

    Our founders were of the latter. They wanted to be left alone and that is why they, along with thousands of regular people, fought the Revolutionary War.

    See Murray Rothbard’s _Conceived in Liberty_ series. What is outstanding is that at that time individuals were more independent and could think; they did not wait to be told what to do and did not think the world owed them a living. Rather, they got out there and fought. Victory was the result, and a couple of things stood out in my mind: 1. People were armed. and 2. When they fought victory was the result of guerrilla warfare, rather than top-down command.

    I reviewed the series on my blog. Please see http://www.alicelillieandher.blogspot.com.

    If you think it is worth while, and if you are printing fliers for any sort of political gathering, I’ll help you pay for them if you include my blog information. I am trying to get the word around, also plan to set up an offshore mirror blog.

    E-mail moc.loanull@zerpecila.