The Age of Entitlement

Rod Dreher posted a piece reviewing The Age of Entitlement, by Christopher Caldwell.  He recommends the book and the dark, foreboding passages he quotes relative to what all this means to the future are things I agree with and write about here. It is a book I plan to soon read.

Dreher argues, “This is why, absent strong political and judicial action to protect individual rights, totalitarian mechanisms — government and private — for demolishing resistance to “civil rights,” as defined by progressives, are inevitable.”

Those words, “absent strong political and judicial action”. Are the words of the entire ‘conservative’ movement in my lifetime.  They are hollow, empty and feckless words in my observation.  They begin from a flawed premise and stand on a weak foundation. The Republic went wrong long before the 1960s and more laws nor court decisions - short of repealing a very large swath of cases - will fix things.

Joe Biden, as Dreher points out, the most moderate of all the Democratic candidates recently had this to say.

Biden

By implication, Biden means to use the full power of the Federal Republic, and the legal positivism it has come to embrace to see this through; your counter-worldview be damned, you be damned if you stand in opposition.

So, what of these strong political and judicial actions that Dreher suggests?  What can stand against the growing zeitgeist of absurdity - ideologies, and theories that deny the individual, deny truth, deny reality and in the end, rely only upon emotion and passion? When the very nature of metaphysical reality that was key to the development of Western Civilization, a Permanent Thing, is not only under attack but more alarmingly not even understood by many, how can politics or law change the direction?

More to the point, for there are many that would argue that legislation and the courts can save the culture.  There is something more fundamental.  How did we come to this?  Did it all really begin with poor implementation of good ideas in the 1960s?  Is the answer just to get back to the real intention of the Civil Rights laws?  Is it just that simple?

“First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing, ask what is it in itself? What is its nature?” 

Perhaps to understand this we need to look beyond just the 1960s

The argument for and against right-reason began again in earnest in the West almost as soon as the Enlightenment began. Following a path from Immanuel Kant all the way down to the German School and eventually Postmodernism of the French School we can trace how good ideas were tainted and bad ideas were born.  Even Locke and Jefferson were polluted in portions of their writing and thought by bad ideas deriving from idealism and the German School. (The Rise of Absurdity in Western Philosophical and Political Views)

The Federalist borrowed some from Locke and much from Hobbes and leaned toward a Neoplatonic worldview in their vision of the American Republic. Thus, by the late 1780s, the seeds of the destruction of the Republic were already sewn. Those are polemic and dangerous words, not something spoken carelessly. It is also something simply not taken seriously by many, it confounds the entire American narrative.  Those objections, however, do not make it less true.

Of course, Federalism decisively won on the battlefield in the 1860s and the pragmatic reality is what we have in terms of government.  Legal positivism paved the way for progressive policies and laws to be implemented. Progressivism built momentum for a sort of community view of society.  This, combined with the emergence of Postmodern theory and philosophy created the era we now live in.

The ‘community’, or community of communities to take the Peter Drucker term for what has become identity politics, feels things about justice.  These feelings are easily implemented into policy, once the community has political power because we already set the stage for totalitarianism in 1861-1877 and followed it up by separating civil law from real justice through legal positivism.

The system, the one that we might call upon for strong political and judicial action was broken asunder long ago.  Taking power, enacting legislation or winning court cases in such a broken system would be flawed from the start - a totalitarianism of its own sort if one accepts that two vastly different worldviews now coexist alongside each other.

Lincoln, to some a conservative hero, set the standard that it is perfectly ok to suspend laws, make war against Americans and subjugate them over differences of opinion.  The Federalist Republic in the 1960s raised the stakes.  He essentially killed an entire opposing view of original intent and our founding. Our entire legal profession accepts, as fact, legal positivism and notions such as the incorporation doctrine.  The die is cast.

The very tools of totalitarianism are built right into the system, they have been growing since the early debates of the 1780s. At the root of it all is flawed ideology stemming from flawed philosophy. Once those that hold to the notion that there is no truth other than what the ‘community’ feels is fair they can implement totalitarianism under the rule of law Americans have allowed to become fact.

There is little left to stand in opposition to this.  Major protestant denominations are falling daily for elements of postmodern thought. The megachurch movement, built upon the notion of giving the community what it wants, will quickly turn to support this totalitarianism. That entire movement is built upon communitarianism, once those churches begin to fall, they will take the rest of authentic, organized Christianity with them.

Essentially this, the culture is lost, and the system of government was corrupted and tuned for future totalitarianism a long time ago.  All the keys and tools are right there for the taking.  There is little that can be done politically to turn the tide and only a few things that might slow it down.

Northam’s High-Value Target List Team

Virginia’s Governor Northam, perhaps in response to so many Virginia counties passing a resolution stating country police forces and sheriff departments will not enforce any laws related to unconstitutional gun confiscation has taken a lesson from the War on Terror and brought it home.

He is asking for the formation of an 18 man team, and $4.8 million dollars (see page 23 for the funding of the team) to equip and fund said team for the purpose of enforcing state laws related to gun confiscation. (Washington Examiner)

Let me explain why this is a problem. Regular folks assume that there are some good people in law enforcement, and based upon the number of sheriffs across Virginia and other states that have publically stood up lately to say they would not violate the constitution, this seems true. Most Americans believe the National Guard would not be a good option to enforce gun confiscation, many Soldiers and leaders would resist, and this is probably also true.

To get this done, Northam would need people he could trust to do it, ‘special’ people that are treated special, given special equipment, special perks, allowed to grow facial hair, all that – getting an idea of what I am talking about yet? He wants to build a small special operations force, essentially soldiers instead of law enforcement officers, that will do his will without concern for morality or legality.

You say an 18 person team could never confiscate all the weapons Northam wants to ban. Sure, not all at once. They do not need to. All of the ‘offenders’ would be placed on a ‘target list’, intelligence packets created, hasty planning conducted on the evening’s targets and after say midnight or so the team would launch in a geographic area, hitting perhaps six homes a night. It would be all very efficient, fast, and as violent as the team thought they needed to make it in order to quickly hit all the targets on the list before dawn. This would go on night after night…

Most ordinary people would get the message pretty quickly – you cannot stop these guys from entering your home, shooting your dogs, pushing around your wife and trashing your house – try and they will shoot you and move on. I do not care who you are, one guy or four guys cannot stop a well-trained and efficient team practiced in forced entry and clearance procedures. They pick the time, they have the tactical advantage and they have the numbers and firepower. Try and stop them and you die.

The target list would organically shrink pretty quickly. Ordinary people would get the picture and reevaluate their life choices and give up the banned guns. Those few that decided to hold out would remain on the list until their time in the lottery came up one evening. When I was around guys that did this sort of work we called those sorts “deadenders”. Get it? The target was basically dead before the door was breached.

Look, this is dangerous for a bunch of reasons. Recruiting young fellows that want to be ‘heroic’ and are willing to do nasty and unconstitutional things in order to be special is flawed from the beginning. Once teams like this get rolling, night after night of kicking in doors, they begin to believe they are special, and their targets, become just that “targets”- not humans, with families, lives and rights.

There are just too many wolves out there pretending to be sheepdogs, guys that would jump at the chance to join Northam’s new kill squad if it meant they got to be special, wear tacticool stuff and call themselves an elite ‘operator’. Throw enough money and perks at trash and the trash will form a long line to join up.

Here is the thing, the people that advised Northam on this brilliant plan already know what I just said above. They learned this in a warzone, and they know the implications, yet, it is on the table for use in the US. There is no mistake or oversight here, this is intentional and it shows intent. Northam is literally willing to form a small army and invade and quarter them in Virginian’s homes to achieve his desires. Yes quarter, this squad of soldiers will occupy a home as long as they see fit to find justification for being there.

If this is the way he and those around him think I worry about what might occur come Monday.

Nobody anywhere is really “anti-gun”. Anyone that claims they do really means they believe that guns should only be held by the nice, trustable, and moral government. After all, the government would need those guns to actually take everyone else’s guns and to keep everyone in line. Elites and powerful people would ‘need’ those guns for their protective staff to keep the rabble away. When a person says they are anti-gun or for gun control they are saying they think the government is moral, ethical and trustable and everyone else is not to be trusted.

That sort of thinking did not work in the Soviet Union, Germany, Venezuala or the Ameican Plains.

Northam is not anti-gun. He needs the guns and his special HVT ‘kill squad’ to enforce policy. He simply expects everyone to trust him and government. This looks like a test run, for the color revolution these people will run on us this year. maybe they want to force the traditionalist to act first…

See also: Second Amendment and From Progressivism to Authoritarianism

It Only Takes One

I just returned from Washington, DC. This is the first time I have visited the city as a tourist. There is still much to process. On the ride back I pondered current events, the culture and the way ahead and I was left with thoughts similar to Benedict Carter below.

Nothing makes sense, yet it all makes sense. Everything that is so disordered makes perfect sense if you accept that there is a worldview out there, running things, influencing others and attacking things it has not yet dominated, a worldview so different and opposed to all I have come to know and believe that I sometimes fail to see it at the root of things. It is so alien.

For example, driving through Virginia I could not help but wonder what has become of the home of Washington, Jefferson, Henry, and Lee. How could Virginia in one week revive the dead ERA, an amendment that is, on one hand, innocuous and unnecessary and on the other complex and dangerous in its potential interpretation and at the same time contrive an assault on basic property rights and liberty?

Let us leave aside the ERA for now and focus on this entire anti-gun situation that has been building over the last couple of months. I posted back in December that these events were just a peek at the authoritarianism and totalitarianism to come. Governor Northam’s declaration of a State of Emergency yesterday and the banning of guns is yet another step is ratcheting up the stakes.

Some will argue that the arrest of three folks that reportedly had ties to neo-Nazi groups and also reportedly had plans to go to Virginia to perform violence vindicates Northam. I say that is bunk. There is not a “right-wing” extremist group in the US that is not infiltrated in some way by an FBI asset. The FBI knew all along about these three, if the stories are correct, they were never a valid threat. What becomes of that story and those three was not and is not at issue, it is not the point.

Northam has twisted his executive power to ban guns at emergency shelters into banning them from the public square. Open-carry and concealed carry are legal in Virginia. Upping the rhetoric, striking first, and shoving his fist in the face of ordinary Americans that value property rights and liberty will only make the situation worse.

Next Monday thousands of patriotic, liberty-minded Virginians plan to assemble peacefully at the State’s capital to send a message to their government. Under their rights and the law they plan on being armed. This is certainly not the first time liberty-minded Americans have exercised their first amendment rights by shouldering their second amendment tools. For instance in 1967 armed members of the Black Panthers protested inside the California statehouse in Sacramento, not to perform violence, but to demonstrate resolve. If Americans cannot protest peacefully, and demonstrate their seriousness by carrying their arms, this leaves few options if their protests are unheard. For some, it will lead to violence out of frustration and apathy.

Maninstream media and the radical left have already captured the narrative of this event. They have equated it with white nationalism and Charlottesville. They long ago painted the narrative of Charlottesville through one lens, one act, and one perspective, leaving the likes of Antifa innocent in their eyes. So too with the planned event of next Monday.

It only takes one. disenchanted, confused lone wolf to turn this into something it never had to be.

If by violating the law, his powers and all common-sense Northam succeeds in disarming the protestors and then proceeds to ignore their protests it is not inconceivable that some lone actor will act. In that case, it will rest upon Northam, his soul shall bear the cost.

This is all avoidable. If Northam comes to his senses (doubtful), if law enforcement refuses to carry out his orders (they will not refuse), if Antifa stays away and does not incite violence (they will not), if the MSM would simple tell this story as it is as opposed to through a radical prism. This might be resolved.

Virginia right now is a big deal.

A Peak at the Authoritarianism to Come

Virginia is poised to be a test case of sorts, a formerly ‘red’ state with historic roots of respect for natural rights to life liberty and property and a large gun-owning population now under the control of radical progressives. The incoming legislature, buttressed by a progressive liberal governor is foaming at the mouth to test the limits of its power. Virginia Senate Bill SB 16   “It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, purchase, possess or transport an assault firearm” and makes such actions a Class 6 felony. (The American Spectator) The definition of “assault weapons” is pretty broad meaning that many Virginia citizens, law-abiding citizens might find themselves faced with surrendering their property or losing their liberty, both violations of natural rights protected under the Constitutions of Virginia and the US.

This is no small matter.

Already there is posturing in Virginia and in Washington with bellicose words and subtle threats. 75 counties in Virginia have passed ordinances or resolutions stating county police and sheriff departments will not enforce laws that violate the right to bear arms. This is a direct plea to the common law principle of the sheriff acting as an intermediary between the people and other powers. Under common law, the sheriff had a duty not only to enforce the law but to protect the people from external oppression and tyranny. Many that hold to the concept of natural rights protected under the Constitution have theorized for years that a fight such as this might come down to good sheriffs performing their higher duty.

This inconvenient historical fact has not escaped the radicals either in Richmond nor Washington. Some are suggesting that the governor use the National Guard to carry out confiscations, others have advocated defunding sheriffs departments that do not toe the line. The governor mentioned recently curring off the power and water to those that do not comply.

Of course, all of this is premature. If SB16 passes, which it probably will, it will be tied up in court for months or years. That is really not the point of all this. The radicals know they will not be grabbing any guns come March or April of next year. This is really a show of force. They are forcing the issue in a state where such talk was once unimaginable. They are forcing real Americans to react, to become afraid and to show their hands. Talk of empowering sheriffs departments to resist bad laws is important and necessary but it brings the topic to the surface and allows the radicals to attack the notion long before the court cases are settled. They now know exactly which counties and which sheriffs might actually stand up, they have a target list.

In Retrenchment, I discuss Saul Alinsky who essentially wrote the rule book for the radical progressive movement in Rules for Radicals.  There can be no reprieve to the traditional viewpoint he advised.  Radicals must press the issue deep, ridicule, isolate and ostracized opposing views until the revolution is complete and the opposition silenced. He pointed out that Lenin was happy to use the ballot box as long as the other side had the guns but that Lenin was pleased to consider bullets once his side had the guns.

Alinsky also preached polarization, isolation, and ridicule as methods the left should use. Now that county boards and sheriffs have stood up to identify themselves the radicals know who to individually target. It is all an almost perfectly applied strategy out of Rules for Radicals.

Another point that Alinsky made was that the leaders of the progressive revolution must always find new targets to assault so that the mobs and supporters do not get bored. Alinsky did not have a lot of confidence in the base supporters of radicalism to really understand the issues, he thought leaders needed to help them. One method to help was to always present new issues and new fights and to focus on wins.

Gun control, a historically hotly contested issue, is an easy win for the radicals at this point. They have already won as much of the culture war as is possible at the moment, it is too soon for the next stages of that fight. But gun control, that is something they can push with a vengeance.

Even if SB16 ultimately fails in court, this test case will move the ball forward. They are frontally assaulting a former red state and hundreds of thousands of real Americans living there that cherish their rights. It is bold, audacious and just the beginning.

What we should find most disturbing in all of this are the words the radicals are using. They carelessly toss about the notion of using the National Guard, which is not the militia but is really just the part-time Army at this point. And using this army to go to the homes of citizens to enforce the law and take property. Let that sink in for a moment. These people are saying this out loud and without shame. They are willing to send an army to private citizens’ homes, potentially to do violence. We fought a revolution over that issue among others, now the radicals have come to see the power of the Government and of violence as a positive good. A tool they may use to complete their revolution.

If they so callously believe this is ok in this case do you believe for a moment they will not apply the same logic to future brilliant ideas they codify into law? Religious liberty, free speech, freedom of association? Do you honestly believe any of those notions are sacred and sacrosanct in light of these developments?

We are on a perilous road toward authoritarianism. The loss of the Cultural war by traditional America was never about marriage or monuments, it was about principles. It was a fight against one side saying that good ideas and intentions ought to outweigh natural rights and common-sense. It was a fight against one side telling everyone else what to think and believe. Now they show their full hand and their willingness to do violence against those that oppose them.