Let’s face it. The only way Republicans can win is to cheat. That is what is behind the voting rights restrictions which affect mostly people of color who are most like to vote Democratic. The Republicans simply don’t have the numbers to win so they suppress the vote in order to improve their chances. We can’t let this happen. The Republicans want to hold onto power and rule by minority. They don’t care how they do it or how many lies they have to tell in the process. The image of a group of all white men signing a bill into law in Georgia restricting the right to vote with a picture in the background of a slave plantation while a black female senator is being arrested and put in handcuffs just outside the door who is demanding transparency, tells you all you need to know about the racist white supremacist ideology that these Republican swine are vomiting onto the body politic. Any person of conscience will reject these acts and if they are a Republican, they will immediately resign from the party which is now more than ever completely morally bankrupt. Furthermore, I urge all people who care about the right to vote to boycott products and service that emanate out of Georgia.
According to Karl Popper, writing in his The Open Society and its Enemies, The Myth of Blood and Soil was originated by Plato and detailed in The Republic. Plato freely admits that the myth is a lie. It was a propaganda ploy used to bolster his idea of the ideal state which is totalitarian in nature ruled by a philosopher king and a racially pure elite.
The Myth of Blood and Soil is based on two ideas: 1. In order to strengthen the defense of the mother country men are born of the earth of their country which is their mother. 2. Racialism: “God has put gold into those who are capable of ruling, silver into the auxiliaries, and iron and copper into the peasants and other producer classes.” These metals are racial characteristics. Any admixture of one of these base metals must be excluded from the higher classes. In other words, only those with racial purity may rule. Plato goes on to say that any mixing of the metals will lead to the fall of man. “Iron will mingle with silver and bronze with gold, and from this admixture variation will be born and absurd irregularity; and whenever these are born they will they will beget struggle and hostility; the city (state) must perish when guarded by iron and copper” and lead to the degradation and the fall of man. Remember, Plato admits that the Myth of Blood and Soil is a propaganda lie useful in persuading his rulers to follow his racial policies.
Fast forward to Germany in the late 19th century where the phrase Blood and Soil was appropriated by the Germans to signify and glorify racialism and nationalism. The German translation reads: “Blut und Boden.” Rural life was idealized and combined with the ideas of racism and anti-Semitism. “Blood and Soil” became a key phrase of Nazi ideology.
This phrase has been taken up and by neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups here in the United States as a rallying cry. Nazis could be heard chanting the phrase, “Blood and Soil” on the streets of Charlottesville as they marched carrying their torches.
Lexicon for Anarchists
We live in the postmodern era and as Bob Dylan once said, a political world. As I look around, I observe that there seems to be a whole new vocabulary that has sprung up around events and the way we are. I thought it would be useful if we could define our terms for a better understanding of our Brave New World. First of all, what is postmodernism?
The Oxford Languages Dictionary defines postmodernism as a late-20th-century style and concept in the arts, architecture, and criticism that represents a departure from modernism and has at its heart a general distrust of grand theories and ideologies as well as a problematical relationship with any notion of “art.”
Britannica goes on to say: “Postmodernism, in western philosophy, is a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.”
In the 1980s and ’90s, academic advocates on behalf of various ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious groups embraced postmodern critique of contemporary Western society, and postmodernism became the unofficial philosophy of the new movement of “Identity politics.”
“Identity politics,” also commonly referred to as the politics of identity or identity-based politics, is a phrase that is widely used in the social sciences and humanities to describe the deployment of the category of identity as a tool to frame political claims, promote political ideologies, or stimulate and orientate social and political action, usually in a larger context of inequality or injustice and with the aim of asserting group distinctiveness and belonging and gaining power and recognition. Additionally, identity politics refers to tensions and struggles over the right to map and define the contours and fixed “essence” of specific groups. The phrase has become increasingly common in political anthropology since the second half of the 20th century with the emergence of a wide diversity of social movements, including the women’s movement, the African American civil rights movement, and the gay and lesbian movement, as well as nationalist and postcolonial movements. Central to the practice of identity politics are the notions of sameness and difference, and thus the anthropological study of identity politics involves the study of the politics of difference (Oxford Bibliographies).
The Oxford Dictionary defines Identity politics as political positions that are based on the social groups that people see themselves as belonging to, for example based on religion, race or social background, rather than on traditional political parties.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Identity politics as politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group. This last definition seems to be the clearest and on the mark for purposes of this discussion. The key point I think is that these groups promote their own interests without regard to the interests of others and seek power for themselves.
Multiculturalism is closely associated with identity politics or political and social movements that have group identity as the basis of their formation and the focus of their political action. Multiculturalism is the view that cultures, races, and ethnicities, particularly those of minority groups, deserve special acknowledgment of their differences within a dominant political culture (Britannica).
Intersectionality is the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage (Oxford Languages).
Merriam-Webster defines intersectionality as the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect, especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups. As an example, a black woman may face discrimination on the basis of sex and color.
Political Correctness is the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against (Oxford Languages).
According to Dictionary.com, Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support (canceling) for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. It’s generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.
The Urban Dictionary defines canceling as “to dismiss something or somebody” and “to reject an individual or idea.” And when people use the term unironically, it reveals a big problem with our culture. Cancel culture as it currently exists doesn’t give people a chance to learn from or apologize for their wrongdoings.
Critical theory is a Marxist-inspired movement in social and political philosophy associated with the work of the Frankfurt School and based on the thought of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Critical theorists maintain that a primary goal of philosophy is to understand and to help overcome the social structures through which people are dominated and oppressed. Believing that science, like other forms of knowledge, has been used as an instrument of oppression, they caution against a blind faith in scientific progress, arguing that scientific knowledge must not be pursued as an end in itself without reference to the goal of human emancipation. Since the 1970s, critical theory has been immensely influential in the study of history, law, literature, and the social sciences (Britannica). The central argument of critical theory is that all knowledge, even the most scientific or “commonsensical,” is historical and broadly political in nature. Critical theorists argue that knowledge is shaped by human interests of different kinds, rather than standing “objectively” independent from these interests. According to the Frankfurt theorists, a “critical” theory may be distinguished from a “traditional” theory according to a specific practical purpose: a theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human “emancipation from slavery”, acts as a “liberating influence”, and works “to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers” of human beings (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
Critical race theory is the view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color. According to critical race theory, racial inequality emerges from the social, economic, and legal differences that white people create between “races” to maintain elite white interests in labor markets and politics, giving rise to poverty and criminality in many minority communities. The critical race theory movement officially organized itself in 1989, at the first annual Workshop on Critical Race Theory, though its intellectual origins go back much further, to the 1960s and ’70s (Britannica).
Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs. Noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform. Of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism the freedom of the individual and governmental guarantees of individual rights and liberties. Favorable to concepts of the maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties. Favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers. Of or relating to representational forms of government; free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners. Open-minded or tolerant, especially free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas or values (Dictionary.com).
Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law. … Liberals also ended mercantilist policies, royal monopolies and other barriers to trade, instead promoting free trade and free markets.
Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism that advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom (Wikipedia).
Looking back in history the ambitions of national rulers and the requirements of expanding industry and commerce led gradually to the adoption of economic policies based on mercantilism, a school of thought that advocated government intervention in a country’s economy to increase state wealth and power. However, as such intervention increasingly served established interests and inhibited enterprise, it was challenged by members of the newly emerging middle class. This challenge was a significant factor in the great revolutions that rocked England and France in the 17th and 18th centuries, most notably the English Civil wars (1642–51), the Glorious Revolution (1688), the American Revolution (1775–83), and the French Revolution (1789). Classical liberalism is a result of those great collisions (Britannica).
Not surprisingly, illiberal is pretty much the opposite of liberal: Opposed to liberal principles; restricting freedom of thought or behavior.
Neoliberalism, is an ideology that emphasizes the free market, it is most commonly associated with laissez-faire economics. Neoliberals believes sustained economic growth is the means to achieve human progress, and believe confidence in free markets is the most-efficient allocation of resources. Neoliberalism places emphasis on minimal state intervention in economic and social affairs, and its commitment to the freedom of trade and capital. By the 1970s economic stagnation and increasing public debt prompted some economists to advocate a return to classical liberalism, which in its revived form came to be known as neoliberalism (Britannica).
Woke: alert to injustice in society, especially racism. Woke is a slang term that is easing into the mainstream from African American Vernacular English. In AAVE, awake is often rendered as woke, as in, “I was sleeping, but now I’m woke.”
White privilege isdefined by Oxford Languages Dictionary asinherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.White privilege is described in Peggy McIntosh’s 1988 essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” The essay helps readers recognize white privilege by making its effects personal and tangible. For many, white privilege was an invisible force that white people needed to recognize. It was being able to walk into a store and find that the main displays of shampoo and panty hose were catered toward your hair type and skin tone. It was being able to turn on the television and see people of your race widely represented. It was being able to move through life without being racially profiled or unfairly stereotyped.
Racism is defined by Matthew Clair and Jeffrey S. Denis as “individual- and group-level processes and structures that are implicated in the reproduction of racial inequality.” Systemic racism happens when these structures or processes are carried out by groups with power, such as governments, businesses or schools.
Safe space is a place (as on a college campus) that is intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations.
Victimization/victimhood/ Culture of victimhood
Certain social conditions have led to large-scale moral changes in the culture such as the emergence of a victimhood culture that is distinct from the honor cultures and dignity cultures of the past. Sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning have produced the first systematic theoretical analysis of the moral culture of “victimhood” emerging on university campuses. Central to their investigation is the claim that moral cultures tend to take one of three forms: honor cultures, dignity cultures and victim cultures.
Honor cultures emerge when a centralized state authority is not present or not legitimate and when people are extremely materially vulnerable. Under these conditions, individuals will take offense very easily, grow quickly fearful, and engage in higher rates of defensive, preemptive aggression as well as vigilante justice, in order to settle their disputes. This preemptive aggression can develop into bloody feuds enveloping whole families, gangs, or lineages. Physical bravery, deferential respect to the powerful, and an unwillingness to appear weak and vulnerable become the overriding values.
Campbell and Manning suggest that slowly over the last 500 years, state authority (police, courts and jails) has come to supplant vigilante justice as a powerful and reasonably fair system of adjudicating disputes regardless of their severity. Over the last 500 years societies have not only become more reliant on state authority to resolve disputes, but also materially wealthier due to machine technology and market economies, relatively more equitable in terms of the distribution of resources, power and prestige, as well as more diverse due to the formal legal rights and benefits extended to women and minorities.
In a dignity culture, a more modern form of society, individuals resort to legal authority when disputes and wrongdoings are sufficiently severe, but for minor offenses they make an effort to resolve the dispute privately in a nonviolent manner. All citizens are assumed to have a sense of dignity and self-restraint, and everyone is expected to, at least at first, give the benefit of the doubt to a disputant to see if a conflict can be resolved peacefully. However, Campbell and Manning contend that when state authority begins to exert monopolizing control over a population of increasingly diverse, legally “equal” people, a victim culture may emerge.
Victim cultures share a sensitivity to slights or insults with honor cultures. While those in an honor culture might try to retaliate (physically or otherwise), individuals in a victim culture instead appeal to a powerful, omnipresent state/legal authority. Classic examples are Mao’s China and Stalin’s Russia. In contrast to honor cultures that expect victims to be strong and stern enough to defend themselves, and dignity cultures that expect victims to be calm and charitable when in a dispute or disagreement, victim cultures emphasize how complainants are emotionally or physically fragile, vulnerable, and weak. In order to have high status in a victim culture, one must perfect and dramatize a personal “narrative of suffering.” Proclaiming one’s own weakness, frailty, and suffering might seem dishonorable or shameful from an honor culture perspective, or gratuitous and self-absorbed from a dignity culture perspective.
Campbell and Manning find such a victim culture emerging again in Western society, particularly on university campuses and especially in elite ivy-league schools. Institutions like these contain all of the components necessary for a victim culture to arise: (1) campuses tend to be racially/ethnically diverse, (2) an ethic of equal treatment under a shared identity (student) is emphasized, (3) students tend to come from relatively comfortable middle-class backgrounds, and (4) universities are largely run by powerful administrative bureaucracies given to extending their authority (in Title IX offices, student conduct offices, or multicultural/diversity offices). Let me be clear, this emergence of a victim culture is primarily to be found on college campuses and as stated above, especially league schools, but it is my belief that it is spreading into the general culture as well.
What shall we do with all this information? Now we ae equipped to discuss some of the ills of society. We can see both sides of the issues and we can make better arguments for and against.
What will you say the next time someone says to you Black Lives matter? Will you say, all lives matter, or will you make an argument for the movement?
Is Identity Politics tearing society apart? Why or why not?
I am interested to know what your ideas are.
Let the discussion begin!
Representative Alexandria Occasion-Cortez, of New York, recently called the U.S. detention camps for migrants “concentration camps.” She caused quite a stir by so saying. I have been saying the same thing for months. I feel that it is a complete moral outrage for the American government to detain these men, women, and children in these camps.
Now we are arguing over the terminology. In my view a thing ought to be called what it is. And these camps are clearly concentration camps. The meet the technical definition. Historian Andrea Pitzer has made the same assertion in her piece in Esquire magazine: “The United States has created a concentration system.” She argues that mass detention of civilians without a trail was what made these concentration camps. The full text of AOC’s tweet reads as follows: “This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States, for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis.”
Strange bedfellows Liz Cheney and Bill Maher condemned the remarks as being emotionally laden with memories and connotations of the holocaust. Masha Gessen, writing in the New Yorker, says this is a failure of imagination. We don’t’ want or cannot imagine a world where we as a people would be evil enough to place human beings in the same predicament as the Nazis did in WWII. Well, I agree with Green and I disagree with Bill Maher. Maher every once in a while, strikes a sour note and sings out of tune. It is surprising coming from a fellow who wears his political incorrectness on his sleeve like a red badge of courage.
These camps meet the technical definition of concentration camps, and so what if it brings up images and memories of the holocaust? It doesn’t devalue it. Rather, it shrieks out a warning, do not go there! It should be a warning that this is what we are capable of, the same thing the Nazis did in WWII. This what Hannah Arendt describes as the banality of evil.
We have to have the moral imagination to realize what we are doing is wrong and can lead to greater evil. We need to make a course correction now!
Recently a couple of my Facebook friends have used Prager University to support their political points. Once in reference to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and once in reference to the electoral college. In response I would make the three following points:
- Prager University is not a University but rather a right-wing propaganda mill. As such it has no credibility in academic discourse.
- The United States is a federal republic and a constitutional representative democracy. To say it is one and not the other is simply wrong.
- The electoral college was driven in part by slavery. The 3/5’s compromise was enacted to count slaves as 3/5’s of a person in order to give slaveholding states more power based on population, although these slaves couldn’t vote. The Three-Fifths Compromise is found in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution which reads: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
The electoral college is a shameful holdover from these times. It is said to protect minorities, but in modern times this means protecting whites from being ruled by people of color. Either way it is based on a racist outlook, is morally reprehensible, and must be abolished in order to provide free and fair elections by the majority of the people. One has to go no further than former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, who said that white people would be hurt if Maine joins other states in an effort to reduce the impact of the Electoral College. “Actually, what would happen if they do what they say they’re going do is white people will not have anything to say,” LePage said during an interview with WVOM radio. “It’s only going to be the minorities that would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida.”
Five times a candidate has won the popular vote and lost the election. Andrew Jackson in 1824 (to John Quincy Adams); Samuel Tilden in 1876 (to Rutherford B. Hayes); Grover Cleveland in 1888 (to Benjamin Harrison); Al Gore in 2000 (to George W. Bush); Hillary Clinton in 2016 (to Donald J. Trump).
Well, we are in a new presidential election cycle. It seems only yesterday that the monster Donald Trump was foisted upon us. There is literally nothing more important than removing him from office, either through the ballot box or otherwise. We have a rather large field of Democratic candidates. Should be an interesting primary season.
My favorites include Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke,and Julian Castro. Any combination of these candidates would work for me. Of course, the most important consideration, in my view, would be electability and the ability to defeat Trump. Although I do think it might be questionable if Trump lasts long enough to run. If he does, we are all in danger.
I believe the electorate needs and wants a female candidate and a person of color on the ticket. I think it is high time we have a woman president or vice president. There is no question that Hillary Clinton was robbed last go round.
Joe Biden has the most experience, has the most gravitas, and is the most presidential. He would restore much needed decorum to the office and the land. However, he has some drawbacks. He has some things in his past which will bear scrutiny when his record is examined. Also, his age and gender might work against him. Do we really need another old white guy in the Oval Office? But, if he agreed to one term and chose a younger running mate, it might work.
I like Kamala Harris. She impressed me by her intelligent questioning in some of the congressional hearings that she has taken part in. She has an impressive record and background and I agree with her on many policy issues. Also, of all the candidates, she has got social media down to a science. A necessary ingredient in today’s world.
Cory Booker appeared on my radar while I was living in New Jersey and he was mayor of Newark. Quite an impressive fellow and a man to watch. Elizabeth Warren has the best record on consumer rights of any candidate and of any congressperson ever. This is a subject close to my heart she gets extra point for this.
Beto O’Rourke reminds me of a young Bobby Kennedy and he brought democrats together in Texas. He could turn the state Blue and would be a valuable asset on a ticket.
We will just have to see how all this shakes out. Can’t wait for the debates. Let the games begin!
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Right Commission. I thought these issues had already been decided but I guess I was wrong. The case centers on an anti-gay baker in Colorado who claims a First Amendment right to ignore state law and refuse service to same-sex couples. A key issue in Masterpiece is just how far the court’s conservative justices are willing to go in subverting civil rights law to protect the freedom to discriminate. Here is my opinion on the matter:
Restaurants are considered places of public accommodation. The primary purpose of a restaurant is to sell food to the general public, which necessarily requires them to follow equal protection laws. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits states from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law. The laws of a state must treat an individual in the same manner as other people in similar conditions and circumstances. A violation would occur, for example, if a state prohibited an individual from entering into an employment contract because he or she was a member of a particular race. Furthermore there would be a violation if a restaurant owner refused service to a person because of their race.
These rights are spelled out in the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination by privately owned places of public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. Places of “public accommodation” include hotels, restaurants, theaters, banks, health clubs and stores. Nonprofit organizations such as churches are generally exempt from the law. The federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, so gays are not a protected group under the federal law. However, about 20 states, including New York and California, have enacted laws that prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation. Colorado also happens to be one of those states.
Colorado law prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation based on marital status or actual or perceived sexual orientation. According to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, “sexual orientation” means heterosexuality, homosexuality (lesbian or gay), bisexuality, and transgender status. Transgender status means a gender identity or gender expression that differs from societal expectations based on gender assigned at birth.
Therefore, the Colorado baker has clearly violated the civil rights of the gay couple and is violation of Colorado law. At issue before the Supreme Court is whether the baker’s right to free speech is being violated. Enter Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Gorsuch queried the Colorado Solicitor General Frederick Yager regarding the remedy imposed on Jack Phillips, the baker. His concern was that Phillips was to provide comprehensive training to his employees. Gorsuch viewed this as compelled speech which might possibly violate Phillips’ free speech. Yager responded by saying training is a common remedy in civil rights cases.
Gorsuch continued his questioning, “But this isn’t attending your training. The order was ordering him to provide training and presumably compelling him to speak, therefore, and to speak in a way that maybe offend his religion and certainly compel him to speak.”
This theory could seriously undermine civil rights law and have far reaching effects.
It is not unusual to have conflicts with respect to civil rights between parties. That’s why we have judges and trials to help sort these things out. My own view is that if you are in business to serve the public you must do so without discrimination. If you can’t or won’t, even for religious reasons, you have no right to be in business and you should close up shop and go home.
We are a secular country here in America with a clear separation of church and state. When you operate a commercial enterprise in the public sphere you must leave your religion at home if it causes you to discriminate against the public. When you are in business to serve the public you must serve all the public.
According to news accounts (Reuters, April 4, 2017), a suspected Syrian government chemical attack killed scores of people, including children, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun located in the northwestern province of Idlib. The U.S. government believes the chemical agent sarin was used in the attack.
This incident would be the deadliest chemical attack in Syria since August 21, 2013, when a sarin gas attack killed more than 1000 people in Ghouta near Damascus, many of them again, were children.
The use of chemical weapons is a particularly odious form of warfare, banned for good reason by the Chemical Weapons Convention, signed and agreed to by 165 of 189 countries in 1993, and administered by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons (OPCW) in the Hague.
I roundly condemn this reprehensible act of unspeakable cruelty, as all civilized men would do. Trump has condemned it as well, which is to his credit, but he makes a mistake when he blames Obama. Yes, Obama drew a line in the sand. He said he would act, but he put his resolution for action up for a vote before congress and congress would not approve of his action. In my view, congress is at least partly at fault for failure to take action against the Assad regime.
What did happen was there was a negotiated weapons deal brokered by the United States and Russia. OPCW inspectors, working with the United Nations, were in Syria in 2013 when the attack occurred. They returned in October as part of the deal. They located and destroyed 1000 tons of chemical weapons. Not a shot was fired and a significant result was achieved. Fast forward four years until today. Where did Assad get his chemical weapons? The options are that either he held back some of the weapons he was supposed to surrender, or he acquired new weapons, or he produced new weapons. In any case, the Russians bear some responsibility for not doing a better job controlling the chemical weapons. The ultimate responsibility, however, lies with Assad and his use of these weapons and he must be held to account.
What is to be done? According the New York Times and other news sources, the Pentagon is preparing military options for a strike against Assad inside Syria. In the final analysis, in my view, Assad must be removed from power and tried as a war criminal.
All war is evil, but sometimes it is necessary to choose the lesser of two evils. For the United States not to act in the face of such evil perpetrated against the civilian population by the Syrian government would be, in my view, both unethical and immoral. If we do nothing, we are sending a signal to Assad and others who would violate international norms that it is OK to use these weapons with impunity. That is a danger to our national security interests. This does nothing but encourage their use and nothing to discourage their use. A price must be paid and Assad must be held accountable.
Donald Trump recently tweeted the above loathsome comment in his ongoing battle with the press. White nationalist, chief strategist, and senior presidential adviser, Steve Bannon, has said the press is the opposition party. Senator John McCain has described these words as the words of a dictator.
Freedom of the press is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the sudden degradation of our liberty under the tyranny of would be dictator Donald Trump. With freedom of the press we cannot be sure of moving towards justice but without it we can be sure we are not going there. Justice is done when the rights of the people are recognized and there is no right without freedom of expression.
We must be vigilant regarding this principle of freedom of the press which is enshrined in our constitution and is the first right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
Whoever does violence to the truth or to its expression eventually mutilates justice. Censorship and oppression prove that the word is enough to make tyrants tremble. Every lowly person, when he rises up from oppression, reaffirms by so acting the solidarity of all men. Only he who is uncompromising as to his rights maintains this sense of duty. The great citizens of a country are not those who genuflect before authority, but rather those who rise up against authority, if need be, and are adamant to the honor and freedom of our great country.
You see the protest in the streets. What is beginning is a period of indomitable men and women devoted to the unconditional defense of liberty. Those who, like me, have broken with friends and family by the rejection of any complicity with parties, whether on the right or left, that justify the suppression of a single one of our liberties.
In Defense of Intelligence, based on the writings of Albert Camus
What always stands in the way of friendship is falsehood and hatred. We shall not accomplish anything for friendship if we cannot get rid of falsehood and hatred. For months now, we in America have been subjected to an unparalleled outbreak of hatred. Our poisoned hearts must be cured. The most difficult battle must be fought within ourselves. With exceptional effort we must transform our appetite for hatred into a desire for justice. Not giving in to hatred. Not making concessions to violence, not allowing our passions to become blind. There are things we can do for friendship and against Trump. It is essential that we never let criticism descend to insult. We must save intelligence. Years ago when the Nazis seized power in Germany, Goering declared, “When anyone talks to me of intelligence, I take out my revolver.” That philosophy was not limited to Nazi Germany. We see it on the rise today. Donald Trump, during his campaign, declared, “I like the uneducated.” He also said, “I could pull a gun out on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and no one would care.”
The only way to defeat Donald Trump, and defeat him we must, is through intelligence. When intelligence is snuffed out, the dark night of dictatorship begins. Friendship is a knowledge acquired by free men. There is no freedom without intelligence or without mutual understanding. Resist the idea that intelligence is unwelcome or that it is permissible to lie to succeed. Do not give in to guile or violence or inertia. Then perhaps friendship may be possible.