Posts Tagged ‘ IOZ

The Bikecast Episode #15: Rand Paul, Racism and Moral Priorities

I’ll keep the background notes short for this one. If you didn’t see Rand Paul make an ass of himself on the Rachel Maddow show (I didn’t either), here are the clips: Part 1, Part 2 . I still haven’t watched them, but I read about the aftermath in ye olde blog-o-sphere the next day. I have a pretty good idea what happened: a right-wing candidate opened himself to a charge of racism and the left, having psychologically suppressed the conscious recognition that “their” party is in complete control of the most racist institution on the planet, exploded in a cathartic release on said politician.

Download this episode of the bikecast

It’s a challenging task to be progressive in the united states today–I guess it always has been. The racist war on drugs and a racist war on terror haved destroyed millions of lives based on the accidental attributes of birth. That the drug war is racist almost goes without saying, but it’s said so well here that it bears repeating:

Except, obviously these policies are designed to cause immense suffering, to be hugely and disproportiately punitive, and to be monstrously racially unjust so as to maintain a persistent, racially segregated, socially inferior underclass. You think it’s a coincidence that the creation of the DEA and the passage of the Rockefeller drug regime and its imitators came right on the heels of the Civil Rights era, you fatuous stooge?

As to war, black and latino americans are intentionally mandated to attend the worst schools on the planet. Military recruiters feed on the broken results of a racist school system and the victims are sent off to fight other non-whites 10,000 miles away from home.

The left cannot acknowledge these blindingly obvious truths. The people they spent unfathomable time and energy pushing into power could stop both these and a whole host of other evils with a few pen strokes. They won’t because they don’t oppose racism, they oppose not being in power–i.e. the benefactor of wealth and privilege that benefits from racism. 

Asking their elected officials to actually combat racist policies would quickly lead to the realization that their elected officials don’t give a shit about righting racial injustice. Since this course cannot be pursued, the problems must be ignored at all costs. As a result, the political left must project the actual instantiated evil perpetuated by a democrat controlled executive and legislative branch onto whatever acceptable target makes itself available.

Besides being a target of projection for the evil progressives detect in their political heroes, the attack on Rand Paul serves a second purpose. Three truths cannot be brought under rational examination if the state is to maintain its control:

State capitalism is an inefficient, unjust, and anti-human way for an economy to be structured.
War is everywhere and always evil.
Violence, and therefore government cannot sustainably resolve social problems.

Anybody speaking these truths must be ridiculed to the greatest degree possible. Supporting #1 will bring charges of communism or stalinism. Supporters of #2 will be shouted down as naive accommodationists (what about the Nazis?) or racists (what about the the Civil War?) and those supporting #3 will be called, among other things, racists. In many cases, of course, they are! That doesn’t affect the truth value of the statement.

Rand Paul may not have supported the Civil Rights Act had he been in the legislature in 1964–maybe because he’s a racist. Barack Obama is actually enforcing racist laws, presiding over one million plus non-white prisoners and murdering thousands of non-white humans because on their race. Which of these two deserves to be the focus of our scorn, moral outrage, and condemnation?

Rand Paul may be a tool, but he’s not a war criminal (at least not yet).

Good further reading:
The IOZ trifecta:

This article is OK
but this comment is especially worth reading:

The Bikecast Episode #4: Oklahoma City and Moral Equivalence

Sound quality in this episode is the best yet. I spliced together both directions of my commute–it’s fairly seamless, though a word or two got dropped by my silence truncation filter (one of the words is ‘it,’ let me know if you notice). This podcast, touches on Episode #3. Here’s the NPR story that got me thinking about it.

Download this episode of the bikecast

Show Notes:
Another wandercast about state and “anti-state” violence. The quotes result from a thought I was having towards the middle of the trip that there is no anti-state violence. Successful anti-state violence is termed a “revolution” and results in a new gang of thugs, bankers, and aristocrats declaring themselves to be the state. In this sense, no violence is anti-state. Rather it’s a would-be ruling class competing for the monopoly of violence with the existing regime. IOZ expresses a similar sentiment: “terrorist” as trustbuster.

All that is around 3 minutes in. Our verbal journey begins with the Oklahoma City bombing–yesterday, 4/19, was the 15th anniversary. Today, 4/20 is the 5000+ year anniversary of people getting high on 4/20, but that’s neither here nor there. The OK city attack was carried out by a U.S. trained, gulf war veteran who claimed to be retaliating for the murder of the branch davidians in Waco the year before.

Blowback isn’t just for Muslim jihadists, it’s a general human condition. On the margins of mental health are people who will, when fucked with, feel justified turning around and fucking up somebody else’s shit–often by blowing them up. Of course, violence doesn’t solve any social problems, but that’s equally true for the thugs that gassed, assaulted and torched the people in Waco.

How can sane people applaud one and abhor the other? What about burning a persons flesh with hot tar? What about napalming hundreds of villages in of south-east asia?

With four events–the siege at Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, the American Revolution, and the genocide in Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia–it would be fairly easy to find defenders of violence in all four, any three, any two, or any one of them. People have extraordinarily convoluted logic to defend their positions in such matters, all backed by rank bigotry and in a disturbing number of cases, religion.

I have high hopes for the future. I believe it’s inevitable that a critical mass of people will reach a level of consciousness that makes state sponsored murder impossible. Preceding this will be an exponential decay in the size and power of religious institutions and an increasing skepticism to claims that flagrant violations of human decency carried out by the ruling class is somehow essential for the cohesion of society. Granted this shit is taking a long damn time.

Updates: James Bovard weighs in mightily:
Reviewed by Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque and incorporated into (another) must-read Arthur Silber article.

Death and Taxes

Happy tax day to you. As is frighteningly often the case, IOZ nails my sentiment exactly.

Governments by their nature aren’t non-violent, obviously, and taxes being one of Franklin’s two lifetime certainties, and the coming homosexual anarchomutualist utopia being somewhere other than in the offing, my prescription come tax time is defeat and crass accomodationism. Take as many cheap deductions as you can and try desperately to fly under the radar so that you can get on to more important things, like fucking, good novels, smoking weed.

It’s not that I am threatened with prison if I don’t turn in my scraps of paper verifying that I’ve had the appropriate amount of my labor confiscated by the ruling class. That’s annoying, but I can imagine a world in which I wouldn’t much mind to contribute. That world would have some tens of millions of extra people living in it, a few million less prisoners, and no security or intelligence apparatus.

It bothers me that every cent stolen from me is used to murder people and stuff the pockets of the corrupt financier class. Any other expenses must be covered by the promise to steal from the unborn once they start working. That and cranking out untold amounts of new currency, devaluing that which exists and driving the already poor deeper into poverty.

Here’s hoping you have a fine time whilst lying low and awaiting the coming homosexual anarchomutualist utopia.

Revisionist History, aka Reality Based History

I like the thought-exercise of viewing historical events as if one were a disinterested Martian. When stripped of the rhetoric, oratory and emotional appeals to the psychological hooks by which we’re so easily manipulated, what does an event look like?

The resulting narrative–in this case, of the creation of the american revolution and creation of the constitution–looks alot like this post by IOZ.

A gang of propertied tax yahoos who’d read a bit too much Cicero did what any patriotic Roman might’ve done in days of yore. They raised a private army and made civil war on a tyrant. They won! And in the decade the followed, they crafted a Roman-style aristocratic Republic, from slaveholding through general manhood citizenship through a vaguely consular system of government. That’s not some anachronistic metaphor. That was their self-conscious project. How many fasciae, how much cognomenizing of Washington as Cincinnatus does it take, huh? Anyway, after a few hundred years, that Republic, which was a little less glimmering than nostalgia recalls, is now deformed beyond recognition or repair. It has inevitably acquired an imperial identity, as you’d expect given its past economic and military success, and its consular-dictatorial office has acquired the trappings of a monarchy. . .

Alright, so maybe IOZ does express a point of view greater in strength than the Martian description. I may be inclined to forgive a bit of non-objective sarcasm and derision since the next-most-mainstream position already incorporates the honorary, “Founding Fathers.” You’ve got to travel a long way past the last outpost of Serious politics to find the position that the constitution is: “neat historical document, like the Twelve Tables, or Leviticus, or Hammurabi’s code, but it is the law of the United States in the same sense that we are guided by, say, the Ten Commandments.”

I’ve still got Howard Zinn on my mind and so I hunted down his take on the American Revolution:

In the year before those famous shots were fired, farmers in Western Massachusetts had driven the British government out without firing a single shot. They had assembled by the thousands and thousands around courthouses and colonial offices and they had just taken over and they said goodbye to the British officials. It was a nonviolent revolution that took place. But then came Lexington and Concord, and the revolution became violent, and it was run not by the farmers but by the Founding Fathers. The farmers were rather poor; the Founding Fathers were rather rich.

Zinn sticks more to my ideal of Martian detachment–he’s even generous enough to use “Founding Fathers” instead of “gang of propertied tax yahoos,” though I favor the latter description myself.

What is presented in both pieces are perspectives stripped of the propaganda accepted as truth, or a close approximation thereof, by virtually everyone. It’s no small part of the pain and suffering in the world that these clear-eyed perspectives on the history of nations and peoples is considered “radical” rather than “reality.”