Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sobering Reality of Trump – Reformed Libertarian

Justin Raimondo has a great piece, entitled “Trump: America’s Funhouse Mirror,” subtitled “He’s not saying anything that hasn’t been proposed before.”  To summarize: Trump may be over-the-top in how he says things, but he is saying nothing more than what has been said by others before.  Trump’s difference is one of style, not substance (a shocking insight, I know).

It is a sobering read, only because it is so true.  Like Trump, Raimondo’s piece puts it right in your face.  What is the “it”?  Trump is America – more specifically, Trump represents what many Americans want, believe, think.  Trump is merely a manifestation of this desire.  Trump’s words are no different than what other politicians believe and say and do; other politicians just find flowery (or deceptive) ways to say it.

It is a sobering read because Raimondo puts in your face the picture of your neighbors, friends, relatives – many of the people you know, and many of the people you don’t know.
The latest outburst of self-righteous indignation directed at Donald Trump underscores what hypocrites Americans are, as well as illustrating their seemingly endless capacity for self-delusion. This latest eruption of moralizing is occasioned by Trump’s proposal that all travel by Muslims into this country must be ended – “until we find out what the heck is going on.”

Raimondo goes on to point out that this call by Trump is just another plank in a building long ago constructed – for example:
Yet Congress is set to approve a bill with broad bipartisan backing that would deny visa-free travel to anyone who has been in Iraq or Syria in the past five years.

Raimondo offers other examples of supposedly outrageous Trumpisms that are outdone by the actions of politicians and various security agencies every day – today.
And not just today.  Trump points out that it wasn’t just the Japanese that were abused by Roosevelt during WWII.

“Take a look at Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2527, having to do with alien German, alien Italian, alien Japanese. They stripped them of their naturalization proceedings. They went through a whole list of things; they couldn’t go five miles from their homes. They weren’t allowed to use radios, flashlights. I mean, you know, take a look at what FDR did many years ago and he’s one of the most highly respected presidents.”

As Raimondo ends the post:
The fear-mongering and war hysteria that has dominated the American political landscape since 9/11 has come back to haunt our Establishment – and they don’t like it one bit. This is “blowback” with a vengeance, and it conjures in my memory this quote from a trenchant observer of the march of human folly, Henry Louis Mencken:
“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

I am not so sure that the “Establishment” doesn’t like it.  Anyone with half a brain knew that the road being travelled could lead to this.  (NB: there was a time it seemed Trump was less warmongerish than the others; I am no longer so sure about this.)

In any case, for me a couple of other quotes come to mind.  First, from Étienne de La Boétie:
Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives.

All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you.

Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves?

You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows — to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check.

If that was too long, I offer a summary from Senator Padmé Amidala in Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005):
“So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.”

How weak this so-called liberty.  Since 911, there have been a total of 45 people killed by so-called jihadist attacks in the US (including San Bernardino).

Or about one typical month in Chicago.