February 26, 2007


(For the sake of greater clarity, I made a number of revisions to this essay about seven hours after I posted it. While the language is now a bit more precise, the underlying conclusions remain unchanged. My heartfelt thanks to Barbara M., Mike B., Gretchen, Barb G., Traci K. and Barbara B. for the conversations, online and in person, that led to the insights here expressed.)

JUST AS MOST REPUBLICAN leaders instinctively seek to criminalize those of us who oppose capitalism, fascism, theocracy or the now-ever-more-apparent triumvirate of tyranny that combines all three, so do most Democratic leaders reflexively scheme to impose forcible disarmament and thereby abolish the right to self defense and the right to keep and bear arms -- even unto outlawing, as New York City and New Jersey have already done, the civilian ownership of certain kinds of archery equipment. In either case, Republican or Democrat, the long-term intent is to reduce the United States citizenry to absolute powerlessness, the ultimate purpose of which is creation of a 21st Century equivalent of serfdom: a commonality of victimhood that mandates slavish dependence on the good will of an elite and thus unquestioning obedience to its every whim: reduction to the same degradation of subjugation no matter whether one must bow to the corporate fat-cats themselves or to the bureaucratic factotums who, under capitalism, are so often enforcers of the bosses' zero-tolerance demands.

Nevertheless, the Democratic and Republican positions on these matters are not equivalent demonstrations of some dark imperative to class warfare that -- just as a few of the more conspiracy-minded critics are now claiming -- link the two ends of the established domestic political spectrum in a collaboration for oppression that is allegedly as old as the Republic itself. Instead the Democratic and Republican positions each arise from separate sets of conditions that are related only distantly -- though there is no doubt they all fuel the ongoing subversion of the Constitution and thus lead inevitably to despotism.

The Republicans who seek to combine the tyrannies of corporation and church into a unitary patriarchal state are merely being true to their party’s ultimate function as the U.S. vessel of fascism, the counterpart of the fascist parties of Italy, Germany and Spain, a traditional Republican role at least since the Herbert Hoover years. That this is a role unbeknownst to most of us is merely another tragic example of how our public schools -- ever the obedient servants of the board-room barony -- have robbed us of the knowledge of history prerequisite to even the most minimal political understanding. But once we uncover these long-suppressed facts, it is slap-ourselves-on-the-forehead obvious the Republicans could hardly be expected to pursue any other course, especially since the death of the Soviet Union has relieved capitalism of its former competitive necessity to conceal its implacably tyrannosauric core. Indeed, the Republican intent is now demonstrated beyond a scintilla of doubt, not only by Enron and Iraq, but by the genocidal threat equally apparent in post-Katrina New Orleans, at Walter Reed Army Hospital and in the Medicare Prescription Drug Lord Benefit: the conversion of the United States into a kind of rat-maze Fourth Reich -- succeed or die -- with each and every one of us who suffers even the slightest degree of poverty damned as pariahs of failure, implicitly blamed for all the troubles of the nation and, like the Jews under Hitler, increasingly in jeopardy of being lethally scapegoated.

Even the Republicans’ apparent support for the right to keep and bear arms is tacitly in keeping with the fascist agenda of gradually restricting firearms ownership to an-ever-more-limited aristocracy. RKBA is a Grand Old Party shibboleth that -- though only after the Democrats repudiated the New Deal -- has recently seduced innumerable votes from those of us dismayed by the Democrats anti-gunowner hysteria, especially its periodic frenzies of spit-in-our-faces hatefulness. Why not? The parties are otherwise indistinguishable. But the fact remains that while the Republicans dependably go through the motions of battling new firearms legislation, in the end they almost invariably surrender to the advocates of forcible disarmament. Note for example how Republican collaboration enabled enactment of the Brady Laws during the 1990s. Note too the much more obscure fact the Republicans have never (at least to my knowledge) sought to repeal any existing firearms laws, no matter how much power they had or how hurtfully restrictive the laws themselves.

Thus, especially in the forcibly disarmed corporate-headquarters domains like New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York City (where we see today the inevitable gun laws of tomorrow), RKBA has already been abolished as a right and redefined as a privilege -- an increasingly exclusive one at that -- a privilege ultimately determined by whether one is rich enough to hire lawyers and bribe officials. Thus too these circumstances provide an instructive example of how the anti-gunowner fanaticism of the Democrats actually serves longer-range Republican causes. It reinforces the two-class system that capitalism inevitably spawns -- infinitely wealthy, absolutely powerful bosses lording it over desperately impoverished, utterly powerless workers -- and (just as I already noted) it generates huge defections from the Democratic rank-and-file. Even Bill Clinton admits the Democrats’ anti-gunowner crusade not only cost the party congressional power for an entire decade but afflicted us with George W. Bush, the worst and most tyrannical president in U.S. history.

But despite the claims of the conspiracy theorists, I doubt the Democrats’ forcible-disarmament schemes grew out of any conscious intent -- even in the clandestine sense -- to collaborate with the Republicans and the boardroom despots who finance and control them. Instead, the advent of the Democratic Party as the executive-action arm of the anti-gunowner cult was among the major expressions of the party’s transmogrification from its New Deal persona to its present-day incarnation as the voice of the mostly white and infinitely self-obsessed urban and suburban bourgeoisie.

The Democratic Party of the New Deal -- of which I was a proud and presumably lifelong member -- was not just the might of working America but an ongoing effort to guarantee the common good by acknowledging the murderous reality of the capitalist tyrannosaur and ensuring that it remained caged. Not only was the New Deal party implicitly pro-RKBA; one of the most vocal proponents of an armed citizenry was Eleanor Roosevelt herself, our nation’s finest First Lady and thus the proper companion to Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, our nation’s finest President. But the cumulative aftermath of the McCarthy era, the political murders of the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson’s fiasco in Vietnam and Richard Nixon’s criminal conspiracies all increasingly subverted the New Deal’s ideological self-confidence even as the unprecedentedly selfish and self-centered Baby Boom generation rejected any and all pretense of socioeconomic concern. As a consequence the Democratic Party increasingly abandoned its implicitly socialist and humanitarian values and became instead an ideological vacuum.

It was a vacuum that (as invariably happens, whether in politics or elsewhere in nature) was quickly filled by whatever was available: in this case diverse fanaticisms -- one of which was the anti-gunowner cult: in the main a coalition of aggressively militant pacifists left over from the Anti-Vietnam War Movement and a growing faction of radical feminists who viewed firearms (and weapons in general) as extensions of the hated penis. Thus when the Democratic Party became the party of feminism, it also became the party of forcible disarmament and mandatory pacifism. The party’s leadership had decided that pandering to fanatics was the new key to electoral success and -- surprise of surprises -- the corporations opened their checkbooks: the bosses were quick to recognize that self-centeredness and fanaticism combined into an ultimate psychological tool for union busting and the destruction of workplace solidarity in general. Not surprisingly -- and absolutely indicative of the emerging nature of the post-New Deal party -- one of Jimmy Carter’s first official acts was to reveal his hitherto-hidden malice toward the poor by imposing savage welfare cuts including a total ban on federally funded abortions.

In this context, the Democratic opposition to RKBA is merely another example of the party’s post-New Deal opportunism and hypocrisy: the conditions that make the party’s weakness painfully obvious and demonstrate precisely how it has been reduced to permanent uselessness as a platform from which to mobilize a before-it-is-too-late defense of political and economic liberty -- the cause that should be every working American’s central concern.

To bring the Democrats’ hypocrisy into sharper focus, witness how they repeatedly proclaim their support for working families and Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms even as these same Democrats erect impossibly contorted ideological constructions to rationalize their shameless collaboration with their own ever-more-generous corporate benefactors (and thus too make common cause with the Republicans) in undermining the entire Bill of Rights: not just the Second Amendment, but the suppression of First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights as well, whether in the name of forcible disarmament and the carefully undeclared wars against firearms owners and the poor (especially the homeless); the only slightly less-euphemistical war against illegal drug users; the allegedly necessary (and thus more forthrightly declared) wars against spouse-beaters and sex criminals; and the undeniably vital (but unspeakably mismanaged) war against terrorists.

Also in this context -- that is, as an idiot-light on the instrument-panel of the mind, a red warning that that glares whenever hypocrisy afflicts the engine of the body politic -- the right to keep and bear arms is almost without peer. Like First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment freedoms, it is equivalent to the canary in the coal mine whose sudden death reveals the presence of toxic gas. When we hear a politician claim faithfulness to the Four Freedoms -- freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear -- but then seek to forbid us not only the right of self-defense but prohibit the very tools that enable us to defend ourselves and thus live free of fear (prohibitions the entire Democratic leadership and virtually all of our nation’s self-proclaimed “Left” demand in their attempts to impose forcible disarmament and mandatory pacifism), then we know we are either dealing with hypocrites or morons.

Not that the Democrats’ (now-temporarily hidden) agenda of forcible disarmament and abolition of the right to self-defense is the party’s only jarring example of hypocrisy. There is also the Democrats’ breathtaking hostility to the First Amendment, chiefly in the name of “pornography” suppression (a cause in which feminists and Republicans -- especially Christian theocrats -- invariably unite); and the equally frenzied Democratic opposition to the Fourth and Fifth amendments, typically rationalized by an alleged need to deny judicial protections to men accused of sex crimes or wife-beating, a demand argued so convincingly by feminists that the suspects in such cases are now effectively guilty until proven innocent (and even if acquitted at trial suffer the irreparable destruction of their lives). Indeed these arguments, labeled “feminist jurisprudence” but based ultimately on the Marxist principle that “oppressors have no rights,” became the foundation for the much more devastating abrogation of Constitutional rights characteristic of all the other wars: the puritanical hysteria under which children suffer lifelong condemnation as “sex criminals” merely for studies of comparative anatomy that were hitherto considered a normal part of childhood, the presumption of guilt under which the authorities enrich themselves by confiscating personal property in drug cases, or the denial of habeas corpus under which virtually anyone can now be imprisoned for life and without trial as an “enemy combatant.”

An even more glaring example of Democratic hypocrisy is the party’s claim it defends reproductive rights despite its simultaneous support of economic policies that inflict wholesale prohibitions on reproductive freedom. This hypocrisy is facilitated by a condition unique to the United States: the fact the U.S. is the only industrial nation in the world in which health care is a privilege earned only by wealth rather than an inherent civil right guaranteed everyone. Thus access to reproductive choice in the U.S. is determined exclusively by one’s income. Which means the Democrats who voted for the permanent impoverishment inflicted on us all by job-theft via NAFTA, CAFTA and GATT were in effect voting against reproductive freedom. Yet these politicians -- a group that includes my own Washington state senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell -- brazenly continue to trumpet the Big Lie they are advocates of women’s rights, never mind the fact their votes for the Global Wage-Slave Economy are as demonstrably anti-choice as the doctrinal pronouncements of the Pope himself.

The Democrats’ anti-abortion policy -- and however it may be disguised, a policy it clearly is -- began with Carter’s decision to forbid abortions for the poor. While this was utterly predictable in light of Carter’s avowed (and implicitly theocratic) Christianity, the Democrats were even then in total denial about the core tyrannies of Abrahamic theology. Carter’s decision was therefore a stunning betrayal not only of the poor but of all his secular supporters, especially the feminists -- a betrayal all the more outrageous given his smugly self-righteous rationalization that “life isn’t fair”: the first modern expression of the “let-them-eat-cake” hostility to the poor that has since become the defining characteristic of all U.S. politics whether Democratic or Republican.

I remain astounded that the women’s movement refuses to utter so much as a peep of protest against such policies. Apparently the feminists are frozen, as if they were the broken-souled, mutilated wives of some Abrahamic patriarch, in perpetually silent subservience to the Democratic Party -- the party by which rural and blue-collar women, like organized labor and the nation’s socioeconomically disadvantaged minorities, have all been so shamelessly co-opted and betrayed. Worse, it is increasingly obvious the feminists’ subservience is by choice and choice alone: where once I assumed it was hold-the-noses pragmatism, I am now convinced the silence is not only voluntary but pro-active, another expression of the fact the ruling circle of the U.S. feminist movement is not radical at all but is merely another (overwhelmingly white) expression of the implicitly capitalistic yuppoid ethos: "I can have it all -- and to hell with those who fall by the wayside." Thus feminism's response to the denial of reproductive choice that is increasingly part of U.S. economic reality is accurately reflected in the repeat votes for Cantwell, Murray and all their Global Sweatshop Economy ilk: the ballot-box equivalent of chanting Barbara Bush’s “why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that”-- the ultimate (and implicitly fascist) slogan of too many present-day Americans whatever politics they claim.

Even so, man or woman alike we should never forget that the legal process by which our Constitution has been subverted -- probably forever -- began with the Democrats’ imposition of the Gun Control Act of 1968, in which for the first time in U.S. history, the government presumed a group of citizens guilty of various specified and unspecified crimes and thus required us to declare our innocence (and sometimes to prove it judicially) before granting us permission to purchase a firearm. This is the ultimate significance of the RKBA fight: the fact all such laws assume us to be guilty subjects rather than innocent citizens. And the fight over reproductive rights is an absolutely equivalent question: whether a woman is assumed to be a subject who is somehow invariably “guilty” of sexuality (and is thus denied control of her own body) or a citizen with all rights of sexual expression protected in presumption of her ultimate innocence. Recognition of the underlying principle of human dignity common to both causes would be a great stride forward in the building of a new political party that genuinely represents all of us who are not part of the plutocracy.

As for me, I will dwell neither in a place where law-abiding citizens are denied the right to keep and bear arms, nor in a place where women are denied the right of reproductive choice.

Posted by Loren at February 26, 2007 05:52 AM | TrackBack