An outstanding sitrep, reprinted in full from today's War on Guns blog, with permission of the author:
A Guest Editorial
by Mike Vanderboegh
"Still, let us not be complacent. Should private interest fail today and public purpose thereafter, what rough beast, its hour come round at last, may be slouching toward Washington to be born?" -- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., paraphrasing Yeat's "The Second Coming" in The Cycles of American History, 1986.
"The falcon cannot hear the falconer": The Politics of 2008
Small "r" republicans -- folks who believe in the original intent of the Founders as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, the rule of law, free markets, private property rights and the right to keep and bear arms -- are not going to be represented in this presidential election. There is nothing new about that. What is new is that the GOP candidate will likely feel he owes absolutely nothing to the conservative base of his own party. Of course, the antipathy is mutual and many of us will not vote for him in either the primaries or the general election.
Not that McCain and the party elite think we have any choice. The Candidate's mother was doing some "straight talk" of her own a few days ago during this exchange with C-SPAN's Steve Scully.
Scully: "How much support do you think he has among the base of the Republican Party?
Roberta McCain: "I don't think he has any. I don't know what the base of . . . maybe I don't know enough about it, but I've not seen any help whatsoever."
Scully: "So can he then go on and become the nominee of this party?"
Roberta McCain: "Yes, I think holding their nose they're going to have to take him."
Well, I don't know about y'all but I ain't holding my nose while voting for GOP sellouts ever again. As Hugh Hewitt told the Associated Press, "Senator McCain is a great American, a lousy senator and a terrible Republican. He has a legislative record that is not conservative. In fact, it is anti-conservative." Dubya at least went through the motions and pretended to be one of us. McCain glories in spitting in our face and expects us to like it.
American Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene said there's little possibility of reconciliation. "The overt hostility he has demonstrated toward conservatives as a movement and toward their leaders is one impediment," he said. Mr. Keene said that on a "half dozen issues, from taxes to the Second Amendment to the Constitution, McCain has yet to clear up his flip-flops. He claims to be a conservative, but thinks that the federal government should be used to achieve whatever is his goal of the day, even to restricting boxing. He claims he isn't, but operationally, he's a statist."
New Jersey Republican National Committeeman David Norcross, who ran the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, said Mr. McCain's nomination will hurt the Republican Party. "Basically, he has no use for it and has no sense of what it is all about," he said. "John McCain thinks politics is all about the individual." (Source, Washington Times, Jan 31, 2008, "McCain Savors Momentum" by Stephen Dinan)
And one other thing about John McCain that bears mentioning. He is one vindictive SOB. Arizonans who know him best say that if you cross him, he will stick it to you, even if he has to wait years to sharpen the knife. So we are expected to hand the keys to the Oval Office to this guy who despises us, who sneers at our principles, at a time when the Democrats, not the GOP, will control the House and Senate? On the altar of the false god "bipartisanship," McCain will no doubt find that there is little of our money and few of our rights that cannot be sacrificed for "the greater good."
Now some folks believe in the quixotic campaign of Ron Paul. Paul will likely end up as the best funded Libertarian candidate ever, after he finishes raising all the money he can during the GOP primary season. What this will accomplish, beyond allowing him to pitch his political points to a larger but still largely tone-deaf voting public, is beyond me. He will certainly split some of the vote with the GOP, even though many of us small "r" republicans will not vote for McCain anyway as we have had it up to here with the continual lies and sellouts over the past 14 years by the woefully misnamed "Republican" party.
The inevitable Democrat winner of the general election will see in us nothing but "domestic enemies" of their regime, and they will have the advantage of all the freedom-destroying, tyranny-enabling legislation and precedent of the Bush Administration to turn upon us. Which "terrorists" do you think Hillary will use the PATRIOT Act against?
Politically, come Inauguration Day 2009, we are going to be very, very lonely republicans.
"Things fall apart": The Economics of 2009
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."
-- Robert Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, 1966
Randall Forsyth, writing in Barrons on 22 January 2008, says "WELCOME TO THE CRASH OF 2008". Whether future historians write of a crash or not, the American recession coming down the road at us is likely to be more severe than anything we've seen in modern memory since the Great Depression. The subprime fiasco and the bursting of the credit bubble have yet to shake completely out. "Stimulus packages" and Fed rate cuts do little or nothing to address the systemic infections.
Indeed, a blogger writing at bigpicture.typepad.com calls the Fed interest rate cut of 75 basis points "a shot of penicillin to a cancer patient" demonstrating "a none-too-faint whiff of panic" by Bernanke and Co. which he believes will merely aggravate the problem in the credit markets, not settle it. We will see, say many analysts, the proof of the old dictum, first enunciated by Army General and economist Leonard P. Ayres in 1946 and more famously popularized by Robert Heinlein twenty years later in his novel The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress: "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" which is often reduced to the acronym "TANSTAAFL":
"3) TANSTAAFL: The free lunch crowd (a/k/a Long & Wrong) has been chanting for Fed cuts. However, these are not without consequences, as Inflation remains a pernicious threat. Here's a question: What goes to $5 a gallon first - Milk or Gasoline? How about $6?"
So what will we face economically on that inauguration day of 2009? Millions are expected to be evicted from their homes by then. Foreclosures in California are reported as of the last quarter of 2007 to be up over 500% over the same period in 2006. It may be ten times that by January 2009. If the recession is a deep and a long one as seems likely, we will soon see strikes of union members broken by employers using illegals as strike-breakers. What will the Democrat pols who will be in control do then? Which of their constituencies will they side with? Both? None? And who will the unemployed and dispossessed middle class blame for their misery? How will our society, riven by competing economic interests, racial identity politics and old grievances previously papered over by affluence, how will it react to sudden impoverishment? Not well. Not well at all.
"The center cannot hold": The Rule of Law in 2010
And what scapegoats will be found to harness the natural resentments of the economically distressed? What political diversions will be deemed expedient to prevent blame from being assigned to the political mandarins? Is there a Reichstag Fire or another Oklahoma City bombing in our near future? For the rule of law, having been tattered by unpunished government misdeeds such as Waco and Ruby Ridge in the last decade of the 20th Century and shredded by the elites looking the other way on illegal immigration in this first decade of the 21st Century, is just about discredited. And there will be even more forces pulling at the essential glue of the republic around the next turn in the road.
By July, we should have a Supreme Court decision in the Heller DC gun ban case. This will tell us if the Black Robes consider us as citizens with the inalienable right to arms or as serfs who may be disarmed at will. The Bush administration, pusillanimous on the 2nd Amendment from the beginning, has now given us a brief in that case which manages to take both sides at the same time. In addition, we have agencies like the ATF who have long had a habit of ignoring law and precedent, soaring to even greater heights of bureaucratic misdeeds, framing law-abiding gun owners whose weapons accidentally malfunction on charges of making and transferring illegal machine guns. (See my essay "Who Shall Guard the Guards" regarding the shocking case of US v. Olofson.)
And when the majority of the population comes to the conclusion that we no longer are governed by the rule of law, but by the whims of men; when we begin to believe that we can no longer expect a fair trail and that the law no longer protects the innocent; then some of us are going to conclude that the law no longer protects our oppressors (who act under color of law) either. We will be, as Yeats put it:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
--W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming
Who then can we count on? Ourselves Alone.
Too long our Irish hearts we schooled
In patient hopes to bide,
By dreams of English justice fooled
And English tongues that lied.
That hour of weak delusion's past-
The empty dream has flown :
Our hope and strength, we find at last,
Is in OURSELVES ALONE.
-- "Sinn Féin" (Ourselves Alone) by "Sliabh Cuilinn" (John O'Hagan), 1845
Sinn Féin is an Irish-language phrase whose literal translation is "ourselves" or "we ourselves," but is most often rendered in English as "Ourselves alone." A political slogan used by Irish nationalists in the late 19th and early 20th century, it advocated Irish national self-reliance, expressed the yearning for an independent Irish republic and even included the revival of the Irish language. Its earliest use was to describe individual political radicals unconnected with any party but who shared the dream of Irish independence and republicanism.
Does that not now describe us small "r" republicans of the present-day American republic? We find ourselves at the end of this first decade of the 21st Century faced with the uncomfortable reality of becoming a despised and oppressed minority in our own country, unrepresented by any party. We are thus bereft because we (and our principles) have been sold out by both major parties. We didn't leave them, they left us. And in the process, they also turned their backs on the oaths they took to uphold and defend the Constitution. They did. We didn't. And where does that leave us? On whom may we rely for our future liberty and safety? Why on ourselves, alone.
We should not, at this juncture, worry about forming a political party of our own. Whatever effort we expend in that direction (and I know this will be instantly rejected by the Libertarian and Constitution party loyalists as well as the Paul supporters of all stripes) will be ineffective, swamped by the tidal wave of history which is about to engulf us. Our enemies (that is to say the enemies of the Founders' republic) will have the whip hand at national politics for the foreseeable future. What we have to do is to make arrangements ahead of time to give them pause and make them find reasons to stay that whip hand, lest they lose it.
The first imperative for all of us, ourselves alone, is to recognize that each of us has a piece of the overall picture and to begin making practical alliances that strengthen and protect us all. Entrepreneurs, home schoolers, gun rights advocates, tax reformers, Internet free speechers, Minutemen, libertarians, Christians, fully informed jury and common law advocates -- all have allowed themselves to be divided by little things when it is the big things that threaten us all. For example, most Libertarians differ with Christians on the sanctity of life, but they can certainly agree that the Bill of Rights guarantees the rights of all to speak without being strangled by leftist "hate speech" codes.
In a period of economic hardship, societal breakdown and political repression, we can overcome our individual weaknesses and mold our individual strengths into common bonds that protect us -- bartering skill for skill, farm produce for community security, and above all, realizing a common determination that protecting the rights of individuals is the best guarantor of the rights of all. Collectivists, including government bureaucrats and street gang leaders, are individual cowards when confronted by free people who refuse to be victims and who are numerous enough, organized enough and well armed enough at the point of contact to make the bureaucrat (or the street gang leader) doubt that they can accomplish their depredation without cost to themselves.
We have more power on the local and state levels than we know. Certainly our enemies fear us or they would not have been seeking to disarm us these past 40 years. Once we are able to stand up, ourselves alone, and survive the coming challenges to our liberty and property, we may be ready for a political party to consolidate our demands for a revived American republic and a restored Constitutional rule of law. Until then, we should abandon national politics that we are fated by events to lose and put all our efforts into standing together on a local and state level, counting only on ourselves alone to maintain our liberty and property. The GOP can go the way of the Whigs, or to the Devil, whichever suits them. To paraphrase the Mexican bandit leader in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, "We don't need no stinking national party buttons."
It will not be easy or pretty, but with faith in God and the help of our fellow American citizens, we can prevail. We have only to look to ourselves alone for our security and not to the false promises of the rigged game of national politics.
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