Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Annihilation of Marriage-Part One

Yesterday Iowa became the third state in the Union where individuals can receive a legal document purporting to confer on two people of the same sex the legal status of a married couple. A combination of judicial fiat and executive imposition has produced a result that strikes at the heart of the moral understanding that supports the existence of civil and political society not only in Iowa, but everywhere in the United States. A new law has been enacted in Iowa without the consent of the people.

As elsewhere, a combination of factors has produced this tyrannical act. However, I think the main contributing factor is a profound, and in some cases willful, misunderstanding of the nature of the issue involved. The judges promoting homosexual marriage pretend that their opinions are justified by the equal rights argument used to attack the regime of racial discrimination in the United States. But the equal rights argument only applies where the criterion for discrimination has no objective validity. When a minor league baseball team holds tryouts for a new pitcher, someone with a bad arm cannot claim an equal right to be made part of the bull pen. The assertion of right arises from a standard or rule that reflects the substantive requirements of the activity in question.

Every assertion of fundamental right similarly involves the invocation of a standard or rule that governs the human activity with respect to which the assertion is made. The standard or rule establishes the rightness of the activity. The nature and extent of the asserted right depends in turn on the nature and extent of the authority that governs its rightness. Under our constitutional system the ultimate authority for positive law is the will of the people, as expressed in laws enacted by legislatures composed of their constitutionally elected representatives. Judges have no authority to enact new laws. They may only apply laws properly enacted by the appropriate legislative body.

How then do the Iowa judges purport to establish as law a practice that contradicts and overturns existing legislation? They may do so only if and when existing legislation contradicts a higher law. The highest form of human positive law in Iowa (the State constitution) provides no explicit basis for overturning existing Iowa's existing marriage legislation. But using a specious application of the equal rights argument, the Iowa judges appeal to the still higher legal authority from which the people themselves derive their right to representative self-government, i.e., government based upon the consent of the governed. This is the authority of substantive rightness, which is the basis for the concept of unalienable right that underlies both the people's right of self-government and every individual's claim to equal treatment under the law. But unalienable right arises (as the term suggests) with respect to actions or activities that are inseparable from the human existence and identity of the individual. It is not only about what individuals are free to do. It is about what they are substantively required to do in order to preserve their human existence and identity. Unalienable right is therefore grounded in the obligations connected with human self-preservation. Since it is right to fulfill these obligations, every individual has the right to do so. Respect for moral obligation thus constitutes the rightness of the right.

Every assertion of right therefore assumes some such ground of rightness. The ultimate and most general assertion of rightness arises in the context of the standard or rule that constitutes the human existence and identity of each individual. The American Declaration of Independence alludes to this standard when it asserts that "all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." On account of this standard, government must be based upon the consent of the governed. As they exercise the sovereign authority they acquire on account of this requirement of justice, the people cannot violate it, not without destroying their claim of sovereignty and vitiating the lawful authority of what they do. Where it can be shown that marriage legislation involves such a violation, the Courts may rightly reject it, on the grounds that the people are obliged to respect the exercise of unalienable right (that is the fulfillment of the obligation to act rightly) by individuals seeking the legal status of a married couple.

Obviously this means that before a right to marry can be understood and asserted we must understand the rightness of marriage, which is to say the connection between the activity the institution of marriage regulates and the human obligation it fulfills. The individuals forming the marriage bond formalize an existing or prospective relationship. But so do individuals who join a club, or form a business partnership or a political association. However a special purpose or intention distinguishes the bond of marriage from other contractual private associations, one that is special in the precise sense that it relates not only to the preservation of the individuals, but also of the species as a whole on which their identity as individuals partially depends.

In the debate over homosexual marriage, much is made of the emotional bond established by mutual consent. But all human friendship involves such a bond. No institution is required to regulate emotionally formed human friendships. Indeed the element of coercion involved in institutionalizing an emotional relationship in some degree contradicts the freedom of choice and action that makes real friendship such a cherished (and rare?) experience.

The institution of marriage necessarily involves an element of obligation. The individuals involved must agree to be constrained in their relationship by rules and expectations that at every moment contradict, or at the very least cast doubt on the notion that their actions are freely performed on account of the emotional tie between them. This ever present whiff of constraint is what leads some couples to shy away from marriage. They sense that it involves something inconsistent with the precious reality of the freely formed and sustained friendship that they cherish toward one another.

Yet we recognize this element of obligation and constraint as an essential feature of the marriage institution. Marriage is established in the first instance by a binding promise or vow. Though at first freely made it is thereafter supposed to constrain and command the behavior of the marriage partners. Unlike other vows of intimate, private friendship however, this one is a public commitment which places at the disposal of the marriage partners an apparatus of law and enforcement that signifies a public interest in what is up to that point a private and personal relationship. What explains this public interest? What explains the implication of legal coercion otherwise so alien to the very idea of a friendship sustained by love, freely given and received?

The answer of course is simple and has been obvious to common sense throughout human history. As a legal and public institution marriage has nothing to do with satisfying the emotional needs of the parties involved, except insofar as those needs arise from and relate to the activity of procreation. The coercive elements of marriage reflect the existence and fulfillment of obligations that naturally arise from the activity of procreation- the business of conceiving, bearing and rearing human offspring. Apart from this activity, marriage can have no justification as a legal institution distinct from other contractual human associations and activities ( such a business partnerships, professional firms and other such private enterprises.) But the public interest in this activity does not arise solely from the need to regulate consequences of procreation. It arises from the obligation of each individual, and the society as a whole, to the preservation of the human whole (the species) which any given individual or society partially represents.

Ironically, this fact explains a misunderstanding that continually bedevils the debate over homosexual marriage. It has to do with the relationship between what we imprecisely refer to as sexual activity and the marriage institution. The contemporary concept of sexual activity simply refers to physical relations that involve the pleasurable stimulation of the physical organs and senses otherwise involved in the act of procreation. Obviously once the term is applied to homosexual behavior, the actual connection with procreation is gone, and even the reference to sex becomes equivocal. (It once signified the particular syndrome of responses associated with the moments of life that most acutely and especially aroused the sensual awareness of the sexual difference. This awareness is precisely and necessarily absent from homosexual relations.)

The conceptual connection between procreation and the institution of marriage gave rise to a customary association between marriage and sexual activity. Those who intended to procreate were expected to marry. As a public institution, marriage necessarily acquired the respectability associated with institutions subject to public approbation and support. Sexual activity not connected with procreation, and therefore not conceptually connected with marriage, enjoyed no such respectability. For those who valued public respect, the conventional rule arose that sexual activity outside of marriage was not respectable. Respectable people who wanted to have sex therefore felt obliged to get married.

As is often the case with conventional wisdom, this maxim represented a misplaced kernel of truth. It preserved the element of coercion necessarily connected with the concept of marriage, but lost sight of the logical rationale for it. The necessary logical connection is not between sex and marriage, but between marriage and procreation.

Insofar as the push for homosexual marriage is part of the homosexuals' quest for public acceptance and respectability, this misunderstanding accounts for it. But because it is a misunderstanding of the marriage institution it results in what is presumably (for those sincerely seeking public respect) an unintended consequence- the conceptual annihilation of the marriage institution. This conceptual consequence will inevitably lead to calls for the abolition of legal marriage, since without the conceptual connection with procreation there is no public interest justification for its existence. By the same token, however, it destroys the rational basis for asserting that there exists an unalienable right to marry that trumps the sovereign will of the people when it comes to legislation on the subject. In my next posting we will take a more extended look at this self-contradictory result. In the process we will more fully explore the transcendent moral obligation of society as a whole that the institution of marriage is intended to fulfill. We will see how the present push for homosexual marriage denies this obligation in a way that threatens the very idea of the unalienable individual rights legitimate government exists to secure. Even more ominously, it involves disavowing the compact or covenant that is the basis for civil society as such, and so portends its moral and material dissolution.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Prayer for the Faithful

Like Washington's army at Valley Forge, the political forces seeking to reestablish the constitutional republic in America today suffer greatly from the lack of material resources. This is partly the consequence of the current economic squeeze being used to pressure the nation into relinquishing its liberty. But another contributing factor touches on one of the sorest points of the current situation- the fact that many well intentioned people around the country continue to give their "widow's mite" to organizations that have routinely sacrificed the moral and political causes they profess to serve.

During the 2009 election cycle these supposed champions of moral conservatism ( i.e., pro-life and supportive of the God ordained natural family, upholding the Godly principles of the American Declaration of Independence, beginning with the respect for the existence and authority of the Creator God) and Constitutional liberty (upholding the sovereignty of the American people, border security, limited government, based on representation, federalism and the separation of powers, and the private enterprise economy) betrayed the good faith of their supporters by backing for President candidates they knew to be false to these causes. Many of them have also taken positions on key issues like the judicial promotion of homosexual marriage that abandon Constitutional liberty and allow duplicitous public officials to connive at the destruction of the marriage based family using the specious argument that their actions are constrained by the force of law. (In this fashion, for example, Mitt Romney pretended to support the God ordained family while single handedly forcing the issuance of illegal marriage licenses to homosexual couples in Massachusetts. He pretended to act under compulsion from the Massachusetts high court, even though in its opinion on the matter the Court itself acknowledged that no lawful action could be taken until and unless a new law was passed by the state legislature. Thus Romney's action struck a critically damaging blow against the institution of marriage, and openly promoted the false understanding of judicial power that effectively destroys the separation of powers. Yet organizations like the Family Research Council continue to feature him as a legitimate moral and Constitutional conservative.)

After employing underhand tactics to prevent people from hearing a consistent and comprehensive conservative message during the Republican primary season, these organizations and individuals actively promoted moral relativism during the general election, relying on a lesser of evils approach to herd well intentioned conservative voters toward a candidate (John McCain) they knew to have broken faith on all the key conservative issues. Not surprisingly, their chosen champion then backed the G. W. Bush administration's bailout proposals, known then and now to be the lead leg of the leap into socialism the Obama faction now seeks rapidly to consolidate.

From my first hand experience at Tea Party events, as well as the many reports from other events around the country, I know that many good hearted Americans feel the same deep loyalty to liberty and its moral basis that I do. They are seeking a rallying point round which to unify like-minded citizens in a consistent, effective effort to pull our nation back from the abyss of unconstrained government dictatorship. There are individuals and organizations that have not bent the knee to Baal; that never surrendered to expedient moral relativism; that never sold out, for ambition or material support, their allegiance to the cause of morally principled liberty. Yet I know from firsthand experience that many of the individuals and organizations that have steadfastly supported consistent, comprehensive conservative views are languishing now on the brink of collapse.

The forces that seek to establish socialist dictatorship are shamelessly raiding the public coffers, and through intimidating displays (like the firing of the GM CEO) they are adding corporate wealth to their political reserves. Meanwhile, the economic squeeze used as the excuse for their power grab saddles the defenders of liberty and private enterprise with a shrinking base of material support. When resources are scarce, it is all the more important that people allocate them with care. Yet all too many are still willing to give what little they have to those who have and are still betraying the causes they profess to serve. Sadly, though they give until it hurts, their sacrifice will do nothing to advance their hopes.

Every day I offer my prayers to God for the good men and women I see working without fanfare or reward in the true cause of liberty. Every now and again, when the material pressures reach the point of deep crisis, one or another of them alludes somehow to that reality, but it is rare. Like heroes silently enduring torture at the hands of their enemies, they grimly soldier on. Meanwhile there rings in their ears the taunt like that which Christ heard from His tormentors: "He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver him: Let Him deliver him, seeing he delighted in Him." (Psalm 22:8, cp Matthew 27:43) It's the fate, I guess of those who will not sell out that their roofs sometimes fall in. And so, proving their faithfulness, the trustworthy languish. Meanwhile people who sigh for standard bearers they can trust continue to devote their increasingly scarce reserves to those they should know by now that they cannot. And they shake their heads, wondering why so few stand firm. Go figure.

"Who provides for the raven his food, When his young ones cry unto God, And wander about for lack of food." (Job 38:41)

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Parties of A Different Kind

Yesterday I returned home at the end of a week of travel and speechifying that took me to several Tea Party events, starting with the April 11th gathering in Pittsburgh posted previously, and continuing on to Washington, D.C.(April 15), across from the Treasury Building and the White House. I also spoke at events in Hazleton, Pennsylvania (April 15) and Fort Wayne, Indiana (April 18). Contrary to the hate filled slanders being perpetrated by the character assassins in Obama's servile media claque, the people I met were not racists or greed driven rich people; nor were they phony throngs fabricated by Republican media hacks. What impressed me most about them, in fact, was that they are not mainly driven by selfish fears and desires, clamoring against some real or imagined harm being done to themselves alone. The present economic situation of the country, and the orgy of debt financed spending in Washington certainly precipitated their involvement in the rallies, but the predominant reaction was one of angry and indignant shame over the oppressive burden it implies for their children and grandchildren, future generations whose representatives were plentiful in all the crowds.

At the rallies I addressed, the attendees responded with cheers and applause to denunciations of the greedy bankers and self-serving politicians whose dereliction helped produce the financial crisis that provides the excuse for abusively squandering the faith and credit of the American people. But they also gave sober and heartfelt affirmation to words that laid a fair share of the blame at their own feet- as members of what is supposed to be the sovereign body of the people of the United States. In their response to such clearly reproachful words, and in many of the comments they made to me afterward, people shared their feeling of shame that somehow, through their inaction, indifference or preoccupation they had failed to understand and act against what has been happening to our country, with all the misery it implies for their posterity.

Though the economic implications of the skyrocketing national debt helped to trigger this shame, at bottom it seemed to reflect a sense that moral decay is killing America's liberty and prosperity. Though many media figures and self-serving political types have articulated mainly money focused outrage, the people I spoke to, and the homemade signs many of them carried to the rallies, focused on the threats to our constitution and form of government. They pointed to the need for the restoration of moral standards and self-discipline. They fervently expressed the truth that the strength of America comes from our faith in God, not in government or even in ourselves alone.

I doubt that the rallies, or the state of mind clear in the people who organized and attended them, gave unequivocal encouragement to partisan hacks, seeking to exploit the situation for narrow political ends.

My speeches reflected the thoughts I have shared on this site in recent weeks. I pointed to the role that both "major" parties played in the leap into socialism. I pointed to the phony show of opposition that I have likened to two heads on the same body, vociferously engaged in mock combat while its feet move steadily, consistently toward socialism and the surrender of America's sovereign liberty. It was clear that I simply gave voice to thoughts and feelings that were deeply a part of the indignation, anger and grief for America that impelled many of the participants to join in the rallies. They feel threatened and betrayed, not just by Obama, but by all their supposed leaders, especially those who have taken their votes and then betrayed them by leading or joining the move to surrender the liberty and independence of their country.

I was surely not alone, therefore, when I raised the hue and cry against incumbents implied in the famous phrase "Throw Da bums out." Of course, people aren't so thoughtless as to neglect the obvious fact that you can't fight something (even something bad) with nothing. They know the present party system has not only failed them, it has failed the Constitution and our very existence as a free people. But the causes and methods of its failure have produced, among the people themselves, a sense of helplessness when it comes to thinking about any alternative. They are like families after several generations have come up within the welfare system, in which children grow up so accustomed to waiting on the government that they can't imagine doing anything on their own. Many Americans have a concept of political action that depends on leaders served up on some Party platter. They have accepted the essentially passive and slavish role assigned to "the people" by a party system that offers leaders the way a restaurant offer items for lunch and dinner. They have forgotten how to cook, how to shop for food, and certainly how to hunt for, gather or grow their own. People have actually come to accept the notion that their role is to choose among leadership grown, bought or prepared by others. They no longer remember that any leadership they do not have the whip hand in cooking up cannot truly represent who they are. Couch potato, consumer politics destroys representative government. (Potatoes are, after all, really meant to be consumed not consumers. Think about that.)

In a republic such as ours the people must be both the matter and the maker of government. Isn't this the clear implication of Lincoln's famous description of the American republic as "government of the people, by the people, and for the people?" I am praying earnestly that the Tea Party Events will be the beginning of a return to the activist understanding of politics without which there can be no hope of restoring the sovereignty of the American people, and the republican form of constitutional self-government that establishes and sustains it. As part of that prayer, I will continue to use this blog to flesh out the possibilities of citizen activism, so that people will understand and follow through on the necessary implication of the move to "Throw Da Bums out." Like the wise general of a victorious army, we must realize that it will not be enough to drive from the field those who have plotted and connived at the overthrow of the constitutional republic. We the people must occupy anew the ground they thus sweep clean. If you're willing to be part of that effort, you'll find some good principles, tools and ideas at http://aipnews.com. Go there and check things out. Then come back here to help me think them through.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Time to Throw Da Bums Out!

On Saturday I gave the keynote speech at the Pittsburgh Tea Party Event where several thousand people gathered to protest the spending frenzy in Washington, the leap into socialism and the destruction of our constitutional liberty. Ted Voron was good enough to post video of the speech on YouTube, embedded here below, in four parts.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Revealing Hang-ups

Among people who think of themselves as conservatives there are few names better known than Ann Coulter's. Through her successful books and frequent media appearances she has built a solid reputation for mercilessly exposing the illogic, inconsistencies and dangerous foolishness characteristic of liberal policies and personalities. Like many of the pundits in what I think of as the "Rupert Murdoch School" of media conservatives, her conservative credentials have more to do with her highly visible assaults against the opposition than with any renown for articulating conservative principles, or using them to develop and justify public policy. However, during the Republican primaries before the 2008 general election, her endorsement of Mitt Romney invited people to look beyond her proficient jabs at those she stands against, in order to consider who she stands for.

People who followed my participation in the 2008 Republican primaries already know that I emphatically critiqued the conservative claims of all of the so called "first tier" candidates touted by the media propagandists.

With his unabashed advocacy of the "right" to abortion, Giuliani proved his disdain for the moral principles of conservatism.

Mike Huckabees pro-life record offered hope as far as conservative moral principles are concerned. But inconsistently with those principles, he neglected the fundamentally moral nature of the educational task in a republic such as ours; in both education and economics he was content with government dominated approaches; and when it came to immigration and border security, he stood with those, like John McCain who abandon the strong defense of American sovereignty. They also neglect our responsibility to preserve the liberty, prosperity and decent order that draws immigrants to America in the first place.

John McCain offered better chances than any Democrat for national security policies that maintained an aggressive stance against fanatical Islamic terrorists, but in every other respect he has long since abandoned the conservative cause, in principle and practice.

I might have seen some hope in Mitt Romney, especially when I saw reputedly conservative organizations like the Family Research Council give him so much play, or when icons like Paul Weyrich and Ann Coulter endorsed his bid. However, I have worked with beleaguered, pro-life moral conservatives in Massachusetts such as those who alerted parents to the promotion of the "gay" agenda in Massachusetts schools and who mounted determined opposition to the push for "gay" marriage in the state. I had reasons, based on my own experience, to doubt the politically convenient "conversion" on the moral issues that ostensibly permitted some conservatives of large reputation to ignore Romney's otherwise clear and oft stated adherence to the other side. I told audiences that I thought the choice between Giuliani and Romney was a choice between evil with its mask on and evil with its mask in place, using the first to drive well intentioned people into the camp of the second.

During the primary season people I know well worked tirelessly to communicate the facts about Romney's record of promoting abortion and the "gay" agenda (even after his supposed conversion on the moral issues) and his direct responsibility for the unconstitutional issuance of Massachusetts marriage licenses to "gay" couples. Their work eventually led the late Paul Weyrich to repent of his endorsement for Romney. Ann Coulter, however, continues to this day staunchly to defend her action.

She may reflect the ongoing effort to remake the Republican Party in the image of Romney's "false face" conservatism, in the hope that with his money leveraging the effort, the Party can do with Romney in 2012 what it failed to do with McCain: gull moral conservatives to go to the polls in sufficient numbers to beat the Democrats in the race for the White House. Of course, given his willingness to disregard republican constitutional principles, and his penchant for government centered policy solutions, a Romney victory would produce this result without altering the post-Constitutional socialist destiny that the elitist forces manipulating both Parties have mapped out for the future.

Whatever her reasons, Ann Coulter's failure to follow Paul Weyrich's courageous example has left her to confront continued criticism from people who firmly believe that truth must trump political convenience if we are to have any hope of restoring the American republic to its true foundations.

The video below is a compilation of several such confrontations. It must cause severe discomfort to people like me, who have been both encouraged and entertained by Ann Coulter's sturdy forays deep into the discomfiting rear echelons of liberal posturing and delusion. I don't agree with every point made by her questioners in this video. But I'm sure that their questions need to be answered with more than evasion and name calling.

More than ever before it's clear that America's liberty will not be restored until its advocates realize that what we fight for is ultimately more important than who we fight against. Leaders like Romney, who treat the moral substance of conservatism as convenient fodder for their ambition, cannot and will not persuasively reassert America's founding principles. As it did in 2008, in 2012 the well acted offer of (false) hope and (destructive) change that Obama uses to mask his power grab will triumph over false posturing like Romney's. We need leaders who will, like the bulk of the American founders, hold with true conviction to the truths that make us free. Unless we seek out and back such leaders, America will be in for a much harder time than Ann Coulter has in these encounters. I am indebted to my friends at American Right to Life for making this video available.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fifth Column Conservatives

Webster's online dictionary defines the phrase "fifth column" as "a group of secret sympathizers of an enemy that engage in espionage or sabotage within defense lines or in national borders."

This phrase has been much on my mind of late as I consider the bloodless coup d'état that is currently underway in the United States. In speech and deed the Obama faction has displayed its intention to overthrow the Constitution of the United States. The faction's claim to presidential power rests on an overt act of contempt for the authority of the U.S. Constitution (Obama's refusal to submit for scrutiny (as John McCain did) proper evidence that he satisfies the Constitution's eligibility requirements for the Presidency.) The destruction of the private sector economy is well under way; along with denial of the effective basis for anything like private property (the term means nothing if the government can at will and without due process of law dictate its disposition. No due process, as required by the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, will be involved in the exercise of the Treasury Secretary's discretionary authority to hire, fire, set salaries, etc. in any business enterprise with a government funded credit line.) The Obama faction's majority in the Congress has asserted a patently unconstitutional power to dole out voting privileges in the legislative branch of the U.S. government without regard to the Constitution's language restricting such voting privileges to states, or voting districts within them. They aim to take steps that infringe the right to keep and bear arms explicitly protected by the Constitution's second amendment and that implicitly removes the freedom from governmental coercion in matters of religious conscience explicitly protected by the first amendment (for instance, by forcing medical workers to participate in the pagan practice of child sacrifice disguised as a medical procedure). Obama apparently has no problem with legal appointees who advocate the absurd view that Islamic sharia law can be implemented in the United States despite its grotesque inconsistency with Constitutional provisions that forbid cruel and unusual punishment and that demand equal protection of the law for all persons (without, for example, the discrimination against females routinely found and practiced under sharia law.)

Faced with all this evidence that regime change is the goal of the Obama faction, conservatives whose understanding of the term includes support for our constitutional republic have been bucking the tide of slack-jawed adulation promoted by the Obama faction's media claque. We have been hard at work trying to awaken people to the fact that there's nothing "business as usual" about the Obama faction's challenge to American freedom. It is nothing short of a politically implemented insurgency. Here and there it's meeting pockets of resistance on particular issues, with words and arguments mostly oblivious to its general significance. Not much further down the road (after the Census has been rigged and enough illegals added to the voters' rolls to swing any election), the political liberty for which so many Americans risked and gave their lives will be gone. I live in hope that as the true nature of their goal becomes obvious to more and more people, even some of those gulled by phony charisma and false claims of historic significance will realize that the loss of their participation in America's historically unique exercise of democratic, republican self-government is too much of a price to pay for guilt about racism. I live in hope that they didn't mean for their votes to end government of, by and for the people.

As it turns out the greatest threat to the effort to dispel complacency before it's too late doesn't come from the Obama faction. They have moved with alacrity to implement their agenda. Like a brake impaired double truck trailer hurtling down a steep incline, their excessive speed stirs up a gust hefty enough to shake the unwary from their stupor, provided no one explains it away as a harmless passing breeze. But some folks stamped with a phony imprimatur of "conservatism" are doing just that. At first people like this resisted the idea that we should call Obama a socialist, as I did during my campaign against him in Illinois in 2004. Now they themselves admit his socialism, but claim that it's a benign variety, well known in Western Europe to have caused no more than a mild epidemic of productivity-stifling bureaucracy, with no jackboots in sight. The smug epithets and ridicule once reserved for anyone who wouldn't call a socialist a "liberal" is now heaped upon anyone who calls Obamacytes by their right names. They are advocates of cult-of-personality fueled submission to pervasive government control (complete with Hitler Jugend style reeducation of the young as uniformed "mandatory volunteers" programmed for loyal subservience to "the leaders" will). But the Devil take anyone who identifies them by the labels historically associated with the strikingly similar Nazi, Fascist, Stalin- and Maoist models of totalitarian socialism that wrecked havoc in the twentieth century. Obamacytes could sing the praises of Che Guevara to the tune of the Internationale, waving Mao's little Red Book in the air in time to the music and these so-called conservatives would chide the 'hotheads, birthers and fringe loonies' who dared to notice the obvious. I suppose we must wait until they have consolidated their power and are emboldened to eliminate their opposition before we act on the hard lessons of all too recent history.

The best way to handle the threat from such totalitarians is to make sure they never reach that point. But the 5th column conservatives seem bent on making sure no one is moved to united political action to thwart the coup before it's too late. What's their motive? Well, the definition of a 5th columnist assumes they nurture a secret allegiance to the enemy's objectives. I believe that the most reliable outward sign of that allegiance appears in relation to the controversies that strike at the moral foundations of liberty, where these false flag conservatives can pretend to question the political relevance of the issues involved. Of course, as such military theorists as Sun Tzu and Clausewitz understood, the ultimate aim of all action in war is to destroy the moral cohesion of the enemy. In violent warfare, that usually comes as an after effect of the successful application of physical force. In politics, it comes first.

What do you think are the most reliable markers of 5th column conservatives? I've asked fellow users of Twitter to share their flashes of insight on this. Why don't you join us? While you're at it, leave a bit of your wisdom in the comments section here. One way or another it may help to open some eyes.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Iowa Supreme Court Joins Judicial Insurrection

This week the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion declaring its view that a state law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. News articles reporting the opinion state that "the ruling becomes effective April 24." Many news services and publications reporting the story use language that suggests that this opinion makes same-sex marriages legal in Iowa.

The Iowa Court's opinion, like all such rulings, constitutes a judicial insurrection that assaults unalienable right in a fashion that threatens the existence of democratic self- government in the United States. (I have elsewhere made the arguments, based on American principles of justice, that support this conviction.) More immediately insurrectionary than the Court's opinion, however, is the notion that in and of itself it somehow establishes what is lawful in Iowa. This notion overturns the republican form of government required by the Constitution of the United States, substituting in its place a form of tyranny all the more dangerous because it is imposed by abusing the forms of legality.

From the beginning of the United States it has been universally acknowledged that the republican form of government mandated by the U.S. Constitution requires "a division of the government into distinct and separate departments. In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments." This language in Madison's famous article number 51 of the Federalist describes the twin safeguards of liberty we call "Federalism" and the "separation of powers." The sovereign power of the people is divided through a specified delegation of limited powers to the United States government. But in both the State and U.S. governments it is also divided among three separate branches, the legislative, Executive and the Judicial. Of these, only the legislative branch, composed of elected representatives of the people, has the power to make laws. Only the Executive branch has the power to carry out the laws. Only the Judicial branch has the power to render judgment on specific cases arising under the laws. As Hamilton writes in Federalist 78 "The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments."

Obviously, the separation of powers requires that, with respect to the power allotted to it, each branch has an independent obligation to the constitution from which its authority is derived. Thus those elected or appointed to participate in exercising one of the powers swear an oath to uphold and preserve that constitution, and consistently with this oath they may do nothing that violates its terms. The Executive is therefore required to obey laws constitutionally enacted by the legislature, and to carry out judgments constitutionally rendered by the judiciary, and so on. However, none of the branches can have the power by itself to decide for the others what the constitution requires. To presume such a power in the hands of any one of the branches would be to acknowledge that branch as the Supreme Arbiter of the whole power of government. It would thereby hold despotic sway over the other branches and the people themselves. This would defeat the main purpose of constitutional government, which is to prevent such unchecked tyranny.

Instead of this irrational presumption, the American republics reflect the essential unity of sovereign power by explicitly acknowledging the inherent power of each branch to check (that is hinder and oppose) and neutralize any unconstitutional action (that is, any action it considers unconstitutional) taken by one of the others. Such generally recognized inherent powers include the veto power of the executive (refusal to execute unconstitutional laws and judgments); the impeachment power of the legislature (action to override the Executive veto, and to remove officials of either of the other branches when a sufficient majority of the legislature believe they have acted contrary to the laws or the constitution); and the Judiciary's power to adjudicate specific cases arising under the laws or the constitution. No such inherent power operates automatically, however. In no case can one branch be required reflexively to accept the constitutional opinion of another. Indeed they stand apart and are separate from one another only to the degree that they each have the inherent potential to refuse what they conclude are unconstitutional demands.

Of course, it's not hard to imagine situations in which the three branches arrive at a stalemate. For example. the Judiciary issues a constitutional or other judgment which the Executive, on constitutional grounds, refuses to implement. Members of the legislature may be inclined to side with one or the other, but are so divided as to prevent effective action (impeachment for example) against either. In such cases, the issue must be decided by the people (they can elect a legislative majority sufficient to act against either the Executive or the offending Judges; they can elect an Executive that agrees with the Court, etc.) Though it may temporarily or even permanently affect the government's ability to act in a given area, such inaction precisely corresponds to the overall intention of constitutional government, which is to prevent the consolidation of effective, arbitrary (that is, governed by no will but their own) power in the hands of any individual or group of individuals. On the issues most essential to the maintenance of liberty, this includes anything short of a constitutionally overwhelming majority of the people themselves. Ordinarily, however, it simply guarantees that elite groups are restrained from acting in the people's name while really disregarding their views.

Of course, this latter result is exactly what the promoters of gay marriage seek to achieve. Time and again the people have expressed their opposition to the implementation of a concept of marriage that in principle disregards its connection with procreation and the attendant natural rights of parents. Now the elites seek to force the issue, making use of arrogant judges willing to reach for tyrannical power. People who read my last post on this blog, and understand its implications, will realize that this elite assault against the crucial pillar of the people's moral sufficiency (the natural family) is no accident. Neither is it merely a coincidence that the chosen weapon for the assault involves overturning the constitutional mechanism that prevents elites from wielding power without formally consulting the wishes of the people.

The wisdom reflected in the constitution of the American Republics goes beyond some merely mechanical arrangement of government institutions. It reflects the insight the American founders would have derived from reading Machiavellian philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, whose work on citizenship is introduced by a letter in which he writes: "It was the speech of the Roman people (to whom the name of king had been rendered odious, as well by the tyranny of the Tarquins, as by the genius and decretals of that city)…that all kings are to be reckoned amongst ravenous beasts. But what a beast of prey was the Roman people…so that…Pontius Telesimus…cried out, that Rome herself…was to be razed; for that there would always be wolves and depradators of their liberty, unless the forest that lodged them were grubbed up by the roots. To speak impartially, both sayings are very true; that man to man is a kind of God; and that man to man is an arrant wolf." (Hobbes, De Cive, The Epistle Dedicatory) By preventing the consolidation of sovereign power, except under the most extreme provocations, the separation of powers assures that the wolves (elites inclined to act without regard to right) keep one another at bay unless and until one pack (branch) or another of them convinces the people that their action accords with the natural disposition to do right that aligns human action with God's will.

Of course, it is the constant effort of the ambitious elites to distract people from this overriding purpose of constitutional government, until eventually the people forgets it altogether. Demagogues, like Obama, use plausible rhetoric to convince people that the most important thing is to get things done. Therefore we must make sure government has the power to act immediately, even though this means acting without respect for the constitutional structures that ultimately call for the mediation of the people themselves. Because it effectively camouflages tyranny with the outward appearance of lawful process, the judiciary is the perfect implement for this elite effort. Pretending that acceptance of gay marriage can be imposed by judicial dictation adds the force of passion to the intended distraction, by dangling before minds weakened by corrupted appetites the titillating prospect of officially licensed sexual indulgence, unburdened by respect for its natural consequences, which include the responsibilities of procreation. (The movement for gay marriage pretends to be about homosexuality, when in fact it's main objective is to remove the last trace of guilt or shame from heterosexual selfishness so as to destroy the moral prerequisites of the natural family. Thus, on the specious grounds that it somehow demeans homosexuals, the forces of political correctness seek to eliminate the very idea that the family takes a form that reflects natural, and therefore unalienable, right.)

The people of Iowa, and of any other state where the Judicial branch is used for this maneuver need to know that it is simply an abuse of power. Courts cannot fabricate and then impose new law, nor can they unilaterally decide what is constitutional. The elected representatives of the people in the Executive and legislative branches have the power to object, and to oppose or nullify such court opinions. They therefore have the responsibility to use this power to defend the conscience of the people they are supposed to represent. They are not bound to respect or obey court judgments they believe to be unconstitutional abuses of power. They are in fact oath bound to resist them by all the constitutional means at their disposal.

People who say this somehow overturns the rule of law are actually themselves cooperating in the overthrow of constitutional self-government. In Iowa this means that Iowans who oppose the Iowa Supreme Court's abusive judgment have the right and duty to bring maximum pressure to bear on their Governor and legislators to do what their oaths require in order to defend the laws and constitution of Iowa from this attack upon the people's right of self-government. They should demand that the Governor and all state and local officials refuse to implement the decision. They should demand that the legislature threaten and then act to impeach the usurping Judges. If their representatives fail to act accordingly, at the next opportunity they should be voted out of office. The people must speak and act until they get the attention of their representatives. If they fail to do so their inaction must be construed as acquiescence. Like their representatives, citizens of Iowa who support the natural family have a duty to perform. For the sake of right and liberty, all who are loyal to liberty should pray they will not fail in it.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Real Change-Rejecting the Politics of Submission

[This is a further installment of the series Real Change. For the previous post in the series visit Real Change-Replacing the Federal Reserve. To read the whole series from the beginning click on "Real Change" under Topics in the sidebar.]

Though for the time being we still maintain the institutional semblance of constitutional self-government, the United States no longer has a political process consistent with its survival. This isn't a matter of structural features (two-party vs. multiparty, proportional vs. winner-take-all representation, regional vs. group representation and so forth.) Rather it has to do with what we understand to be the purpose of politics; the nature of citizenship in light of that purpose; and the means and methods most likely to produce actions consonant with good citizenship.

As things stand today, the only purpose of politics is to get elected. In order to get elected, you must get more votes than your opponents. The most efficient way to achieve this result is to find out what people want to see and hear, then fabricate and project an image that corresponds to their desire. The electoral process has become an information exchange between self-centered hedonists and self-promoting liars: people willing to expose their selfish desires choose from a menu of fictional satisfactions offered by candidates pursuing their own selfish ambitions. On Election Day the electorate selects the candidate whose fabricated image most effectively seduced their self-serving judgment.

Prior to Election Day the focus of the political process is on the candidates. The term politics is therefore used to refer mainly to the activities undertaken by and on behalf of those competing for political office. Besides the candidates themselves, the people involved in politics, are the pollsters and analysts of opinion who figure out what the people want to see and hear; the media consultants whose work is to produce and project an image of the candidate that corresponds to their preferences; and the money people who gather from every possible source the funds needed to pay and equip the rest. But there are obviously two other groups of people who actively participate in the process: those who control access to the media, and those who control access to the money. They have become the only electorate that really matters, the praetorian guard, as it were, whose choice ultimately determines which candidates shall be lifted up for the adulation or opprobrium of the selfish rabble. I say they are the only electorate because the people who determine the choices actually determine the choice. This paradigm of politics therefore effectively abandons the idea of government of by and for the people. Instead we have government over the people, manipulated by the media, who are owned by money powers that therefore control both the process and its results.

For our present purposes two things are especially noteworthy in this political paradigm. The first is the essentially passive, and ultimately superfluous, role of the people as a whole; the second is the concentration of political activity in the hands of a relatively small group of elite participants who in effect become the only real citizens. This paradigm represents the end of the democratic era in human affairs, and a return to the oligarchic rule (using those words to refer to government by the few, but with the usual implication of power in the hands of the wealthy) characteristic of societies before the institution of the American republic. As long as this oligarchic paradigm predominates, the American experiment is suspended. Once the paradigm has been consolidated, it will be over and done.

If this analysis of our present political process is accurate it means that as far as truly representative government is concerned American politics has become an imaginary exercise. Candidates for office have essentially been degraded into mere images. The final choice made by the people is also imaginary, since they select from alternatives predetermined by an exclusively elite process in which they play no active role. The aim of the imaginary process is to determine which representatives of the elite powers project an image more likely to mollify people, and make them less resistant to the will of those who in fact now exercise sovereign control. Though imaginary in its outward form and content, the process therefore aims at a very real advantage. It is less expensive (both in material and emotional terms) to control a people induced to vent its frustrations and ambitions in what amounts to a virtual reality. Such virtual politics adds the finishing touch to the welter of preoccupations and distractions offered by technological toys and sexual hedonism (keeping in mind, of course, that much of that is also virtually enacted, through internet pornography, and such vicarious satisfactions as following the antics of "stars" in the entertainment and information media.)

At the moment, this imaginary political process appears to serve the goal of establishing a system of global governance that will ultimately eliminate the need for the charade of representative institutions (or at least make it entirely optional.) From the oligarchic point of view, the advantage of such a global system lies in the concentration of sufficient power in the hands of a global elite to deter, co-opt or suppress opposition. This requires that a background network of globally minded elites becomes, in effect, the last remaining superpower, with no lesser power capable of standing alone against it. The American union has the wherewithal to be a lasting superpower, but on a national basis incompatible with the globalist principle of the New World Order. Therefore, the continued existence of the United States is an obstacle which must be removed by reducing the power and destroying the unity of the nation.

Whatever his rhetoric, the policies being pursued by Barack Obama are intended to achieve this deflation of the relative power and cohesion of the United States.

His critics have been quick to see the destructive implications of his agenda, especially in the economic realm. But few if any have seen, or at any rate been willing to articulate, the purposeful intention behind it. The two party system effectually dampens any inclination toward such candor, since it represents an imaginary (or virtual) opposition of elements with no more real difference between them than two heads on the same body, or two eyes in the same head. However different they look, they move together and in the same direction. Though Democrats pretend to care deeply about the welfare of the people, Democrat policies increase the power of controlling elites with little net benefit for the people at large. Though Republicans pretend to care deeply about the liberty and opportunity available to individuals, their policies tend to increase the freedom of controlling elites, with little net benefit for individual liberty on the whole. The telltale sign of the agenda common to both parties is their actual indifference or hostility to the effects of programs and policies on the characteristics that are the essential bases of the people's ability to think and act for themselves: self-discipline, self-sufficiency and self-government.

Self-discipline clearly depends on the formation and encouragement of certain moral characteristics. Self-sufficiency requires economic approaches that preserve and enhance opportunities for individual income and wealth creation. Self-government demands political processes that depend on, and respond to individual initiative in the development and mobilization of representative political networks. Clearly these three components of self-government are interdependent. Unless they control material resources that exceed the bare necessities of life, individuals are unlikely to show much political enterprise. Without a sense of their own worth, and the significance of their own abilities and actions, people are unlikely to see or take advantage of economic opportunity. Even when they do, without a sense of responsibility for the management of their impulses and passions, they are unlikely to focus on and sustain effective action long enough to produce results. Finally, without the self-confidence and courage that arises from the sense of personal responsibility, individuals become the passive subjects of the actions and intentions of others, incapable of the initiatives required 0f true citizens.

In their different ways, both the Democrat and Republican parties advance policies that promote mentalities and ways of life that directly attack or persistently erode one or another of these components of republican citizenship. The Democrats consistently champion undisciplined sexual lust. The Republicans routinely cater to the lust for money and material goods. Both alike agree to serve as masks for the unbridled lust for power. In the more general sense of the term, therefore, lust is the whole purpose of the political system they comprise. It represents the implementation of an Hobbesian vision of human nature as an endless effort to satisfy unquenchable desire, a tyranny of domineering passions, in which the appearance of choice simply registers the prevalent passion of the moment. But Thomas Hobbes reasoned logically to the conclusion that absolute despotism is the political system that corresponds to this vision. He would not be at all surprised to see that both major Parties to the politics of lust tacitly agree on a path that leads humanity under the yoke of global tyranny.

The American republic was not founded upon a simply Hobbesian concept of human nature. The American founders acted on an understanding (profoundly influenced by Christian and Biblical precepts) that saw natural right, rather than passion, as the ruler or measuring rod of choice. This different conception of nature leads to a different conception of choice. Rather than arising from the welter of competing passions, it reflects the possibility of deliberation, the process whereby one consciously chooses which passions shall be constrained, and to what degree. But such deliberation assumes a standpoint not subject to passionate forces, an eye in the storm of passion, free in some sense from its prevailing winds because it represents the point of origin from which passion itself derives substance, force and meaning. In the understanding articulated in the American Declaration of Independence, this is the standpoint of the Creator. The concept of right arising from the authority of the Creator assumes that this original position represents more than the sheer force of real existence. It represents an intention, an inwardly formed purpose that foresees, and at every moment constitutes, the destination of existing things. The assertion of right represents the presence of this intention in action, along with just the force needed to carry it out. From this juxtaposition of intention and forcefulness arises a concept of justice that supplies the reason for constraining and ordering the passions, a reason that looks beyond the prevalent disposition of passion itself.

It may accurately be said that the people most responsible for the American founding were obsessed with justice. They saw it as the overriding purpose of political life, to which the freeways of passion would ultimately be forced to submit. But if, by deliberation, people recognize and submit to its requirements, their freedom of choice becomes the basis for government, rather than forced submission. The extent and degree of their self-determination with respect to the requirements of justice establishes the extent of individual freedom in their society. In this respect, the more good individuals are willing to do of their own volition, the less the force of government will be called upon to do for them. Conversely, the less justice they reflect in their individual choices, the more the force of government will be called upon to dictate and impose upon their actions. Freedom depends on individual responsibility.

The politics of lust (using the term in its general sense, as we have in this essay) represents the complete abandonment of this responsibility. Because we have accepted it, our freedom is being overthrown. If we wish to save and restore our freedom, we must become, like America's founders, partisans of justice; people willing to answer in word and deed for the right use of freedom in our own lives and the life of our nation. But we cannot restore the concern for right if we abandon the standpoint from which the concept of right arises: the standpoint of the Creator and of respect for the authority implied by His intention for our lives. This is the true fault line along which shall be determined the fate of American liberty. On one side move the forces that reject the premise of the Creator's will. On the other those firmly committed to its defense. And in between, so many who shift to and fro between the false promises of unbridled passion and the common sense of justice that inclines them toward the path of responsibility and true liberty. Though the partisans of justice cannot pander to the falsehoods, we can do our best to make clear the solid happiness that can only be achieved through liberty. This is the practical challenge that our derelict elites have brushed aside, but which those who are loyal to liberty must be ready to address. To see their work in progress, visit AIPnews.com. Then look for my further description of the real change they are working for in the next installment of this series, Real Change- Restoring the Politics of Justice.

Worth considering? Then don't forget to DIGG IT!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Obama’s Bow- Protocol nod or wink of appeasement?

An article on the games of the ninth Olympiad in the Encyclopedia of the modern Olympic Games takes note of the following: "The American team was also watched closely for their etiquette as they marched passed the reviewing stand. Led by AOC head MacArthur, the Yankee squad continued the American custom of refusing to bow to or salute any foreign monarch…"

Since he is no Olympian, when Barack Obama met with the King of Saudi Arabia recently he proffered what might be interpreted as a deep and unmistakeable bow. Whatever the eventual excuse given for this apparent obeisance, I doubt it will accompany the photo as it is reproduced in publications throughout the Islamic world.

Some people ascribe this alleged faux pas to Obama's ignorance of the proper protocol between Heads of State. Yet when he met with the Queen of England, he shook hands and nodded slightly, a correct and inoffensive greeting under the circumstances. (See the Youtube videos now playing under the heading "Did you Catch that?" to the left.) It appears that the State Department's Acting Chief of Protocol may have briefed him after all.

The difference suggests not ignorance, but an intentional application of Obama's special knowledge.

Thanks to his years of Muslim schooling as a child in Indonesia (from 1967-1971 he lived there with his mother and Indonesian step father, who was like his Kenyan sire, of the Islamic faith), Obama is certainly aware of and sensitive to the special religious status and legitimacy claimed by the Saudi Monarch "as guardian of Mecca and Medina, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and of the Islamic faith." While we citizens of the American republic mull over the possible insult to the sovereignty and republican mores of the people Obama is supposed to represent, his gesture of religious fealty sends an unmistakable message to Muslim millions around the world. Could it be the proverbial wink that a con artist uses to communicate his real identity to those who are in on the sting?

Just another episode that, taken by itself, may mean nothing. But in the context of all we know, and ominously don't know, about the background and policies of the present occupant of the White House, it is as Arsenio Hall used to say, one of those "things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm."

Worth considering? Then don't forget to DIGG IT!!!!

My Speech on Southern Africa, 1986

[In my last post I made reference to a speech I gave to the annual conference of the National Urban League in 1986. As some readers have expressed an interest in it, I post it here in its entirety. I believe the ideas it contains clearly have a relevance that goes beyond the situation in South Africa at the time. I will address this further soon. For now, some historical food for thought:]

Does South Africa

Have a Future?

Policy No. 857 United States Department of State

Bureau of Public Affairs

Washington, D.C.

Following is an address by Ambassador Alan L. Keyes, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, before the National Urban League's annual conference San Francisco, July 21, 1986.

Thank you very much. I especially would like to thank all of you and my hosts of the National Urban League for the opportunity to speak with you this evening about a topic which I think is one of the most important and pressing on the agenda of the United States today and the topic on which it has always been important and becomes increasingly important that there should be extensive public dialogue, discussion, and understanding as we try to work in common amongst ourselves an approach that will assure that the United States makes the best possible contribution to the struggle against injustice in South Africa and to the efforts to build in its place a truly just

I guess the motto of my thinking about this subject has always been twofold. The first is to remind myself of the quote from The Federalist Papers: James Madison, when he said that "justice is the end of government, it is the end of civil society, it will be pursued either until it be obtained or until liberty be lost in the pursuit." You know Madison and how much he was attached to liberty: you know he was saying something very profound there. He's saying that justice in politics is the single most important motivating factor. It is one thing that can never be neglected or forgotten because if you neglect it or forget it, you will lose the most precious political thing.

The other is a sentiment that Martin Luther King was fond of: "True peace is not merely the absence of some negative force, tension or war; it is the presence of some positive force, justice,
good will, brotherhood."

And the two things together mean that justice
is of overriding importance but that it must also be conceived of as a positive good.

An Escalating Cycle of Violence

In the past few months, Americans have become more intensely aware of the violent and tragic situation in South Africa. We have witnessed an escalating cycle of violence and repression accompanied by mounting international pressure for effective action against the apartheid regime. Calls for severe economic sanctions against South Africa, once confined to the halls of the UN General Assembly, are being sounded from platforms around the country and world. After an abortive effort to mediate among the opposing factions the Commonwealth's Eminent Persons Group joined the rising crescendo. Some weeks ago, in response to these pressures, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would impose severe economic sanctions against South Africa.

People everywhere are outraged by the reprehensible abuses inherent in the South Africa Government's efforts to maintain the unjust apartheid system. Many regard punitive sanctions as the only way to express this outrage, despite persistent doubts about whether they will. In fact, help to achieve the desired goal of justice
in South Africa. Because the injustice is so great, because the anger and frustration in the face of repression is so strong, it seems almost a travesty to employ deliberate, patient, careful analysis to devise an effective strategy for promoting justice in South Africa. The heart cries out for action, impatient with the trammels of thought. The heart says that repression must end, no matter how. The heart says that injustice must cease, no matter how. The heart says that apartheid must go-not in a year, a decade, or a generation, but now.

The heart cries out, the heart speaks, the heart demands-but cries are not enough, speech is not enough, demands are not enough; defiant outrage, anger, and condemnation are not enough without an effective strategy for action. The world today is burdened with the tragic consequences of righteous passion undisciplined by careful thought. Not every crusade against evil and injustice leads to the Promised Land. Many instead are lost in a wilderness of violence, a violence circle of repression, retribution, and revenge. Will this be the fate of South Africa? Will the just demands and hopes of a people long oppressed end in a quagmire of civil war--black against white, black against black, white against black , White against white--until equality in suffering and atrocity grimly refutes the hateful premises of racism?

In a world beset by so many ills and host to so many deadly and intractable conflicts, it is awfully hard to see through the ugly realities of present-day South Africa to a better day. Why should South Africa fare better than Lebanon, North Ireland, Cyprus, Chad, Ethiopia, Angola, Iran, and Iraq? What will keep it from this tragic roll of countries burnt out with conflicts no one in the world knows how to end? The South African situation has all the qualifications for inclusion. On the one hand, people determined by any means to throw off the yoke of physical oppression and indignity imposed upon them by the heinous apartheid system. On the other, people too crudely arrogant or terrified to share power or to use it well. Bound together now by the iron bands of a long and bitter history; they must live and let live or kill and be killed together. On the one side, the advantages of just, angry, and unquenchable determination to be free; On the other, the advantages of technology, organization, and the residue of a stubborn and bigoted national spirit, crystallized in bitterness after the Afrikaners suffered defeat at the hands of what was then the world's most powerful empire. The one side will never give up, for suffering only sharpens the thirst for justice. The other will not easily yield, since fear and misbegotten pride are often willing partners in self-destruction.

As these antagonists come to grips, not only South Africa but the whole southern African region will be embroiled in conflict. The states around South Africa surely will not sit passively by. The South African Government has repeatedly demonstrated that respect for boundaries and the rule of law will not constrain the death throes of apartheid. The defenders of the present regime will lash out at the surrounding states, making them choose between insatiable war and ignominious passivity. In each neighboring states, they will fan the flames of internal conflicts, vindictively determined that if their power is to be broken then the hopes of all southern Africa will be reduced to ashes.

Now there are some who contemplate this prospect with grim resignation. I think they feel that if this is the price that must be paid to end the long nightmare of apartheid, then so be it. Yet no one can guarantee that the nightmare of war and mutual atrocity has established itself as a permanent reality. No one can say that the whirlwind of violence will not give birth to a tyranny of violence, rejecting racism only so that it may oppress all equally. Is this justice for whose sake apartheid is condemned? Is this the future for which they oppressed victims of apartheid have suffered and struggled and died and are dying today?

Apartheid and the Struggle for Justice

Apartheid is the evil against which we fight, but we do not fight against evil for the sake of evil. We fight against evil for the sake of present and future good. Without the sense of a positive good to be preserved and realized, the struggle against evil is determined and defined by evil itself. The oppressed see themselves only with the eyes of the oppressor. They fear as he would have them fear; they hate as he would have them hate; they kill as he would have them kill. They react according to a logic determined not by their own good but by the violence, fear, and hatred at the heart of the evil they seek to undo.

Such logic can be the basis of struggle but not a victory, for true victory is achieved not when the present enemy is vanquished but when a better destiny is won. To achieve that destiny, it is not enough to know what evil we fight, we must know the good we seek to achieve. It is not enough that we seek to destroy apartheid unless, in the process, we see and help to build the foundations for a South Africa that is just, democratic and free. Yet how is it possible to see the ingredients for such a future in the present welter of stubborn discrimination, injustice, physical brutality, and oppression.

Clearly, it is impossible if we allow the reality of apartheid to blind us to the complex reality that is South Africa itself. It is unfortunate that among the chief victims of apartheid is the ability to see beyond the premises of racism that apartheid represents, to see without racial blinders the problem of governance and nation building that confronts the whole South African people. Apartheid is not unjust only because it is racist; it is unjust because it manipulates racism in order to achieve the arbitrary domination of the whole society by one group of faction within it.

Historically, I think apartheid had the twin purposes of neutralizing the power of the English-speaking whites in South Africa while guaranteeing the political supremacy of the Afrikaners. It achieves these purposes by isolating whites within the false solidarity of racist enclaves. Within this all-white enclave, the political power of the more numerous Afrikaners counterbalances the economic power of the more wealthy English-speaking community. At the same time, the resentment engendered by racist practices prevents cooperation, and has prevented it, between the English and the nonwhites to challenge Afrikaners domination.

In South Africa, therefore, the injustice is not simply racism; it is the arbitrary domination of one faction of society, skillfully manipulating and employing racism to keep all its other elements in check. But if the injustice lies in factional domination, justice cannot be achieved simply by substituting the tyranny of one faction for that of another, even if the new faction is a majority of the population. Justice, therefore, I believe, is not simply majority rule. As an American, but especially as a black American, nothing is more evident to me than this oft-neglected truth. I often think about it- if simple majority rule had prevailed in the United States, I certainly would not be sitting up here today as an official of the U.S. Government. In history of the United States, simple majority rule meant slavery. Simple majority rule meant Jim Crow. Simple majority rule meant the unjust repression of a vulnerable minority.

Fortunately, the basic principles of American Constitution did not sanction unlimited majority rule. They demanded respect for individual rights whether the individuals composed a majority or a minority of the population. What we often forget, however, is that guarantees for individual rights were not originally intended to protect the welfare of poor, vulnerable minorities. They were intended to prevent the personal and property rights of the wealthy few from being invaded and expropriated by the more numerous majority. They were part of the overall system of checks and balances through which a political system based upon the authority of the people avoids tyranny, demagoguery, and endless factional strife. As it turned out, the same principles that protected the wealthy few from the arbitrary abuse of government power could later be invoked to protect a poor, black minority.

The American experience suggests therefore, that when rightly conceived the constitutional protections afforded a privileged minority can become bulwarks for all against arbitrary and tyrannical uses of government power. What seemed at first to be limits on democratic freedom were revealed instead as guarantees of that freedom. Justice, therefore, is not the simple assertion of the political power of a majority. In a just society, whether a small minority or a large majority, no one is allowed arbitrarily to dominate the whole. The power of each must be balanced and limited by protections for the power of the other.

Toward a Democratic Future

Now I hope you all excuse me for that slight digression into political theory, but I thought it was necessary because we talk a lot about justice, but we don't think about it in great detail, despite the fact that it is a very difficult thing to achieve and understand sometimes. Injustice, not so; we all know what injustice is. We just have to watch out TV sets to know what injustice is, to know what brutality is—the oppression, the jailings of the black leadership in South Africa—just watch that, and you know what injustice is.

But justice requires some further thought; but as you can see when you think about it, it is not impossible to conceive of. It shouldn't be impossible for the whites in South Africa to conceive of either because, on the basis of concept of democratic justice I have just outlined, it is quite possible to envisage a democratic future for South Africa need not be afraid of. It is a future in which all have an equal vote but in which the power of the majority is limited and constrained by law s and practices which protect the persons and property of minorities. It is a future in which the archaic or artificial division of race and tribe are gradually replaced by the more productive and useful divisions of economic, professional, and social interests. It is a future in which whites and blacks understand that human beings may have more in common than language or race or even the shared experience of oppression and the struggle to overcome it. It is a future in which the long-repressed but undying spirit of black Africa joins with the stubborn pride and careful industry of white Africa in the crucible of a new national identity-one that could point the way toward the brighter future of the entire continent.

Strange as it may seem, in that future, South Africa-the very community that today maintains a system to repress freedom in South Africa-could be the anchor and shield against repression. In the new South Africa, the white community would retain the advantages of economic power, of technical and managerial expertise, of skills invaluable to the maintenance and progress of society. Too few to dominate, they would nonetheless, be too powerful to be oppressed. Individuals and groups that would otherwise be exposed to the arbitrary abuse of power could, by forging alliances with whites, successfully thwart efforts to rule by fear or brute force. The pattern of arbitrary rule by one man or a race or a party that prevails in so many other parts of Africa and the world could be successfully brought to and end if the whites could be brought to play a constructive role ion the political system.

I believe that a just constitution for South Africa will protect property but accord no privileges to race. It will allow a certain influence to economic interests, but without recognizing such interests as the privileged possession of any race or ethnic group. By respecting the balance of public and private forces within the society it will guarantee that all have the instruments with which to protect their interests while none has the power to destroy or dominate the interests of the rest. Taking advantage of geographic as well as economic divisions, it will aim to prevent tyranny and to compel shifting patterns of cooperation along non-racial, non-tribal lines. It will aim to preserve the existence of a thriving private sector in South Africa. This sector will serve both as a refuge and a base for Afrikaners no longer able to enjoy the privileges of the present racially exclusive welfare state, It will also avoid reliance upon government power as the exclusive engine of progressive social and economic change.

Without the racist blinders of apartheid, such a future for South Africa is easy to imagine. Given the ugly realities of apartheid, it will be difficult to achieve. Yet the effort to conceive of it can help us to discern better and worse ways of working for justice and against the apartheid regime, Once we conceive a positive future for the country, we realize that our efforts now must help top build the new, more just society even as we support those forces working to dismantle the present unjust regime. Justice in South Africa cannot wait until the campaign against apartheid is over. Laying its foundation must be an integral part of that campaign. In a campaign of destruction, bombs and bullets and negative pressures might suffice, but in the effort to construct a just society we must seek to transform the pillars and walls of oppression into the bricks and mortars of a new mansion of freedom.

If we wish to foster such a process of transformation, the first step is to realize that it is a process that must involve all the people of South Africa. The common error that is made on all sides in the current discussion of the South African tragedy is the assumption that the white government and the white community are the arbiters of the country's future. Whether the goal is pressure or engagement, the primary object of every existing approach is to influence a change of heart among South Africa's whites. The nonwhite population id often perceived either as victim of threat, the target of repression or the source of angry violence.

The tragic irony of apartheid lies precisely in this insidious triumph of its racist presumptions. When shall we come to see in the angry faces of striking students not only the desperate hatred of oppression but the desperate passion for learning and truth? When shall we come to know in the grim determination of striking workers not just the burning reaction to repression but the deep will to labor with dignity, rise with merit, and pass on to a future generation a legacy of achievement? When shall we be able to see beyond the "necklaces" and battling shantytown gangs to perceive the unquenchable spirit that can light a hearth fire in the deepest poverty, maintain the bonds of family through long years of separation keep home and even hope alive, despite every brutal blow of degradation? When shall we see beyond the categories of victimization to the strong, resilient human beings whose passion, will, and spirit are the constructive flame in which the better future of South Africa can be forged and tempered?

Despite every effort of the apartheid system, these people have already been the makers of a profound revolution in South Africa's life. We speak glibly of South Africa's mineral wealth, of its agricultural plenty, of its developed industrial economy. But whether; on the land, or in the mines or in the factories, the hands and sinews that have made such progress possible have been drawn primarily from South Africa's black community. Blacks comprise over 75% of South Africa's labor force, and without them hardly a crop would grow, hardly a drill or screw would turn. They are the indispensable builders of present-day South Africa, the positive power of its economic life. If they have been weak, it is only because until now, they have not been fully conscious of this power or fully capable, through organization, of transforming it into an instrument of change.

More than anything else, the growth and expansion of the South Africa's modern economy have impelled the development of this consciousness. The very economic arena in which blacks were unjustly deprived of their arable land, discriminated against in wages, unjustly denied promotion for their skill and merit nevertheless provided the framework for developing the most potent form of power in the hands of South Africa's blacks today. It is not their power to destroy that offers the most potent threat to the apartheid system. It is the indispensable necessity to South Africa's existence of their power to labor and to build. And what people should realize, I think, is that blacks do not have this power because the South African Government permits them to enjoy it; they have it because neither the government nor the country could long survive without it. Those who talk of power sharing in South Africa as if it were only a future goal have been duped into forgetting that, despite every effort of repression, black South Africans have begun to make it a present reality. The question is not whether whites and blacks will share power but, rather, how blacks effectively using the power they have, can work toward the justice they have been denied.

U.S. Influence in Promoting Positive Change

Seen in this light, the question for Americans and for others in the international community is not with what well intentioned gestures we can show our hatred of apartheid and our sympathy with the suffering of its black victims but rather how, with concrete acts, we can support the expansion and used of their power. Will we serve the latter through a campaign which, in order to bring pressure to bear on the white South African Government, sacrifices the modern arena in which this black power is today emerging in full force? Will we serve that purpose by withdrawing our effective presence from South Africa, leaving a weakened black community alone with an armed oppressor, facing the desperate choice of combat or surrender? The proponents of punitive economic sanction claim that such sanctions are the last means of avoiding an all-out civil war. I believe that, on the contrary, by depriving South African blacks of their most potent nonviolent tool for change, there sanctions will, in fact, make such a war inevitable. Given the future for which we hope, given the positive goal of justice for which we strive, we should oppose such sanctions-not because they will hurt South Africa's blacks but because they are not the most effective way to help them.

Our goal should be to help South African blacks transform the economic revolution that could not have occurred without them into the political revolution that is their moral right. To achieve this goal, we must not dismantle or withdraw from our role in South Africa's economy. We must seek broadly and effectively to develop and use that role in ways that explicitly enhance the actual power of South Africa's unjustly oppressed black majority. Our efforts should not be undertaken in the token spirit of reformers but in the spirit of peaceful revolutionaries. Even Marx acknowledged that man has never invented a more potent tool of revolutionary historical change than the capitalist economic system. Its insistence upon profit and efficiency has little tolerance for the archaic categories of feudal tradition or the invented classifications of racist delusion. It is no accident that the South African business sector has gradually come to be among the most outspoken opponents of apartheid repression. It is no accident that South Africa's modern economic sector has yielded an ever-stronger antiapartheid labor union movement, which continues to grow, despite repeated efforts at repression and destruction of its leadership by the South African Government.

Now this does not mean, and I am not arguing, that on their own, economic forces will bring an end to apartheid. Even if this were true, it might take several generations, and we don't have several generations. What is needed is conscious efforts to harness and accelerate the effects of the financial and organizational forces of the modern private sector. We must continue and intensify the sharing and use of power in the economic sphere as a base and instrument for change in the political arena.

Now I think this could be addressed in three broad areas:

  • Within the modern corporations and enterprises themselves and in their relations with the black community, and I think, for those of you who are from the private sector out there, what you should understand is that what I am talking about here is actually harder than what the proponents of sanctions are asking you to do. They are asking you to withdraw your power. In fact, I am asking you to share it now in effective ways with the black people of South Africa, to share it now by means that will involve black people in the decision making structures that are in the hands and within the power of corporate structures that can be influenced today by people in the American community and other parts of the international community.

  • In addition to this kind of action, there should be massive support for the increasingly effective South African labor movement.

  • I would see, as well, a novel suggestion but one that bears thinking on-- a program of Expanded Capital Ownership by black South African workers of shares in firms doing business in South Africa so that they will directly derive benefit from the operation of those corporations, directly see their financial and organizational power base increased by the activities of those corporations.

In line with the spirit of quiet revolution, efforts in these areas must go beyond reformist schemes to improve the conditions of life for blacks. The aim should be effectively to incorporate the black community within the power structure of the economic sector and to use some portion of the resources of that sector to support black efforts to build and sustain effective bases of economic social and political organization. Corporations should consciously seek to become the wellsprings of expanding oases of transformation in South Africa—the focus of peacefully revolutionary communities in which the new South Africa ceases to be a dream and becomes a powerful, incorporate reality competing with the allegiance of South Africans, white and black, who dare to believe in the better destiny of their country.

The American corporations in South Africa, as well as those of other foreign states, should be the best available positive leverage the international community has in that situation. If we throw this leverage away in order to create pressure, we will deprive ourselves of the ability to create change ad to make the future happen now. This is not to say that these corporations or the private economic sector are the only instruments of change in South Africa, but they are the ones over which we, as outsiders, can have the greatest influence and through which we could hope to achieve the most immediate and direct effects. In a world prone to facile gestures and easily disposable moralism, it may seem better to use these instruments once and throw them away. But I believe that such a course would be cheap, self satisfying, and morally wrong.

I do not mean to suggest, either, that using America's position in South Africa in the way I have outlined will bring about immediate political change in South Africa, but then again, what will? I do believe it is the best way to make maximum positive use of America's important influence in bringing about the conditions for change. Because we all know the final analysis: it's not going to be outsiders who decide the future of South Africa. That future will come about only as the result of negotiations among all South Africans of good will—black and white.

It's also clear that such negotiations are unlikely to occur, and even more unlikely to occur, and even more unlikely to bear good fruit, in acclimate of violent state repression, with the most important leaders of the nonwhite community jailed and the leaders of the South African government barring the gates against peaceful agitation for change. Free from the racist assumptions and effects of the apartheid system, we can see the way clear to a future==a secure future for all South Africans.

But between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act, there falls the shadow of violence--violence to preserve evil, violence to destroy evil, violence feeding upon itself to block out the vision of a better day. Violent repression and the violence it foments are the chief enemies of South Africa's present and future hopes. If international pressure serves a useful purpose in this situation, then it should be as a means of discouraging such violence on all sides, beginning with the repressive violence of the South African state. This, not the destruction of the economic engines of change, should be America's immediate aim and the aim of all people of good will in the world at large.