Friday, July 20, 2007

The Reich Wing: Bush-Era Conservatism as Reductio Ad Absurdum

As the Iraq war ripens into the largest strategic catastrophe in our nation's history, dead-enders among the Bu'ushist faithful confront a sobering question. No, that question is not how to extricate our nation from the Mesopotamian morass, but rather how to deal with internal dissent.

It's really quite simple, sighed 35-year-old Hillary-Ann, a professional woman from California with sufficient disposable income to drop at least $1,200 to spend a week confined on a cruise ship with the editorial staff of National Review.

"Of course, we need to execute some of these people ... [a] few of these prominent people who are trying to demoralize the country," she commented with languid indifference as she waded waist-deep in the Pacific. "Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that's what you'll get. Then things'll change."

There's nothing novel about the kind of "change" desired by this fully indoctrinated member of the Reich Wing: For devotees of a certain variant of statist conservatism, seizing dissenters and shipping them off to gas chambers is old hat. What makes this off-hand expression of an authentically fascist sentiment so remarkable is the fact that it was typical conversational chatter among the 500 or so National Review groupies who took part in the cruise, according to British journalist Johann Hari, who tagged along incognito.

I would be inclined to dismiss Hari's account as a the dishonest fantasy of a Euro-Trash bien-pensant were it not for the fact that such sentiments are readily on display practically everywhere Bush-aligned conservatives feel comfortable to give expression to their deepest sentiments.

It is difficult to predict what will be the most significant "legacy" left by George W. Bush, assuming that word can be properly applied to the accumulated residue of lawless violence and official corruption that have typified his reign. Will it be metastasizing foreign hostility, and proliferating foreign conflicts? Will it be the collapse of the economy beneath the weight of profligate spending? Will it be the official adoption of such malapropisms as "terrists" and "nukular" as part of our long-suffering language?

My suspicion is that Bush's most important and lasting contribution has been the creation of a purely limbic form of conservatism, in which the amygdala (that portion of the brain focusing on fear and related base emotions) plays the defining role in interpreting reality.

The movement has succeeded in validating the worst caricatures concocted by the likes of Theodor Adorno and Daniel Bell by reducing itself into an authoritarian cult. Obsessive fear and reflexive, tribal loyalty to the Leader/Protector are the defining impulses of contemporary conservatism. And until -- perhaps I should say "unless" -- President Bush and Crypto-President Cheney leave office in 2009, things will grow progressively worse as the regime over which they preside makes increasingly extravagant claims of extra-constitutional power.

Yesterday (July 19), the Bush-Cheney regime informed Congress that "A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case." What this means is that Bush will forbid the Justice Department to pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges against four current or former White House officials who defied congressional subpoenas, as Bush instructed them. Neither Richard Nixon nor Bill Clinton -- nor King George III, for that matter -- ever ventured such a claim to complete immunity from legislative oversight, although Saddam Hussein probably did.

More frightening still is an executive order issued three days ago (July 17) in which Bush claimed the power to confiscate the property of political dissidents. No, that is not how the order's provisions were described, but the powers adumbrated in that decree would permit such whole-scale expropriations.

Entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq," the order asserts that the president can seize control of financial assets and other property belonging to "any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense ... to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose and effect of ... threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or ... undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq ... [or] to have materially assisted ... such an act or acts of violence...."

Let's leave aside, for now, the Soviet-style cant about "peace [and] stability" in occupied Iraq, a land where neither can be found.

"We can't send you to the gas chamber yet, but we'll soon be able to seize your home and bank account, you despicable DEFEATIST!"

What this executive order means, in principle, is that the property of anyone who materially "undermines" the war and occupation can be seized, without a trial or due process of any kind, on presidential order with the approval of three cabinet officials.

Yes, the order supposedly applies to those who would be providing direct material or financial aid to guerrilla fighters in Iraq, whether they are partisan patriots fighting to expel foreign invaders, sectarian fanatics, or opportunistic foreign terrorists.

But pay careful attention to the phrase applying those sanctions to those found guilty -- once again, by presidential decree -- of "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq...." Wouldn't this apply to people who participate in organized efforts to end the occupation?

Yes, expropriating anti-war activists wouldn't provide the same visceral thrill that would result from the spectacle of a few of them led away in chains to the gas chamber. But the Reich Wing can console itself in the knowledge that those whom the State would annihilate, it first expropriates.

Incidentally --

Dick Cheney will briefly be president ex officio tomorrow while a team of crack physicians (as it were) conducts a desperate search for George W. Bush's head.

Video Extra:

The incomparable Keith Olbermann opens up a family-size can of Whoop-Cheney on Bush and Company for their brazen effort to vilify those of us who didn't clap for Tinkerbell. He's wrong to depict Madame Hillary as a principled opponent of the Iraq War, and his treatment of the War Between the States is a bit dodgy, but his commentary is pretty good otherwise:

Please be sure to check in at The Right Source -- and the Liberty Minute archive.


Taylor Conant said...


Your observation concerning Olberman's insistence that HilDog is a righteous alternative to Bush and Family is, I think, the root cause of why the average person has allowed the system to get as out of hand as it is... the insistence that it isn't all politicians and bureacrats who are evil, but only Bush, or this one or that one. The idea that it just takes the "right person" to do the job is naive, and ironically, smacks of historical atrocities long since forgotten (for instance, and I hate to have to turn to Hitler or Stalin for examples, but weren't there attempts to get rid of Jews and class enemies an attempt to make sure their respective countries were populated with the "right people"?).

The problem is the system itself, and the "morality" underlying it. Until the system is abolished -- it can't be reformed or altered because the system propagates the conditions necessary for its own corruption and eventual collapse -- and people by and large assume a new moral and philosophical understanding of themselves and the world and their place within it, and get back in touch with their liberty-roots, the menace that is the current political system ruling over you and I can not reasonably be expected to become less tyrannical but only inevitably more so.

It's depressing, and it'll be a challenge, but it's not necessarily one that is impossible (changing hearts and minds, that is) and it's thanks to good people such as yourself, Will, that as much progress as has been made has been made.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

"Of course, we need to execute some of these people ... [a] few of these prominent people who are trying to demoralize the country," she commented with languid indifference as she waded waist-deep in the Pacific. "Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that's what you'll get. Then things'll change."

Please tell me that this woman was drunk on martini's!

dixiedog said...

What taylor said, as I've said similar in previous threads, with the exception that, IMHO, there'll be no righteous change in the populace and, thereby, the politicians in government as well. The two have a symbiotic relationship that feeds and nourishes itself and gains strength and cohesion over time.

The populace itself, in the aggregate, is morbidly corrupt; even though some of the self-aggrandizing "holy-rollers" (not Christian, simply abstract) of either faction claim they are the REAL deal promoting true genuine "liberty" and "freedom" principles in whatever endeavor is being waged at the moment, it like clockwork always turns out to be damned, unadulterated lies. In the current case, of course, it's the "war on turra" as the "holy" endeavor being waged. Why does this cycle continue unabated? It's the culture stupid!

Many factors are the cause of the populace's general ignorance, laziness, and immorality, but can be distilled down to a critical few in essence:

1). The dependency disease. It is too widespread and generationally entrenched these days for the populace to contemplate even a mere Crockett mindset on the matter. So that even if one can see certain realities somewhat clearly, they can't make waves, are paralyzed and silenced by the fear of losing one cent of that largess.

2). Immorality. It is rampant and a way of life these days for many folk and much of it is seeded by the dependency disease as well as the obsession with onscreen "heroines" and "heros" who are in real life merely Hussywood skanks and thugs (simply peruse Drudge/Fox/CNN/et al headlines for a quick cultural snapshot of Amerika...sigh).

3.) Apathy. When you're having too much fun in the sun, drinkin', carousin', etc., etc. with your "free" money in addition to whatever income, if any, you REALLY earn, you'll care less and less about the machinations in Washington, or even the state capitals and local council meetings for that matter, as long as the bread is being delivered on time everytime. Ergo, the attendant "circuses" can't be far behind now can they? Again, this condition is yet another side-effect of dependency overall. You become increasingly lazy and slouchy about anything other than your own pleasure, comfort, and material possessions, especially if it's all obtained and maintained by somebody else's labor.

If/when the other faction reaches the POWER House, they'll be intoxicated with POWER as well. We'll see more of the same, increasingly corrupt antics coming thence. If Bushler had come on the scene in 1992, he would've been Reich-wing's Bill Clinton equivalent. Likewise, if Bill Clintlin had come on the scene in Jan. 2001, we would've witnessed the Leninist-wing's comparable equivalent of Bush.

Perhaps, even a "bipartisan" pact would've been a reality between the factions? Oh yeah, my bad, that already has been a clear reality for decades to the keen and sober-minded. No "pact" required. Indeed, the satirical ammo available to hammer our entire political apparatchik is nearly infinite, unfortunately. The ugly irony now is that many of the satire salvos hurled these days no longer constitute merely satire, but the reality :(.

And I must reiterate one more thing about dependency that I mentioned in a previous thread. "Welfare" isn't any longer a convenient scapegoat to heap solely upon the po', dammit. Many folk from all areas of the socio-economic scale, from the wretched to the enriched, are on some form of welfare. Yet, we only hear the tired laments preached to the po' or to the rest of us about the po' being under the scourge of dependency.

Hypocrites, all. Folk should just STFU preaching about ANYTHING unless they've looked in the damn mirror lately. I'm gettin' damn fed up with "holier than thou" commentarians of every stripe preaching when their own closets contain whole cemetaries, nevermind a skeleton or two.

I agree with you Will about the Reich-wing and "conservatism" in general, but perhaps unlike you, even when I focus intently and attempt to I can't distinguish where the REAL differences are between the myriad elements of the Reich-wing and the myriad elements of ANY damn wing in the halls of POWER.

Unknown said...

I had almost allowed myself to forget that the Busheviks actually believed and said things like that. I would like to forget their very existance (et cum iustice non scribantur), however even with an ocean in the way Shrub Niggurath has found a way to make my life irritating. I had almost, however, pleasantly allowed myself to forget that these people are sociopathic monsters as opposed to simply bureaucratic dimwits.

Their universal insistance that Bush will attack Iran is particularly telling. Plenty of these folks are kingmakers and policy-setters, or have the ears thereof. Either they're giving orders we don't know about, or they're getting news we don't know about. I'm often asked, both by my acquaintances here in Prague and by the occaisional bombastic Bushevik on the Internets, why I left the US. I have only to point to my status as a draft-age male and then to people such as the article descrbes in order to explain.*

I must also admit that the insane levels of anti-Islamic paranoia expressed by these people are especially troubling. This is the kind of thinking that lets people delude themselves into forgetting that Iranians/Iraqis/Afghans have wives, husbands, smiling children. It's sickening the degree to which these people are willing to engage in genocide and mass murder, the very things for which Saddam was ostensibly hanged. I also find myself pitying such people ever-so-slightly: it must be truly dreadful to be so afraid, so constantly, for so long.

Every time I travel to a large city in the US, all I can think of is the prophetic words of Henry Jones, Sr.

"My boy, we are pilgrims in an unholy land."

I'm visiting the States to see my folks in November. I've been away for a little less than a year. I keep wondering what it'll feel like to go back...and if I should buy an open-ended ticket out of Toronto, in case the madness starts while I'm there.

*To the Czechs, at least. Likewise the Frenchmen, the Brits, the Germans, the Russian guy who sells vegetables up the street, and the old hobble-footed Gypsy who practices the English he learned in London by collaring me at breakfast on occaision. The Busheviks simply look puzzled, seeming unable to comprehend why any red-blooded Amerikkan -wouldn't- want to go kill Persians or potentially be killed by them.

OLD YELLER said...

Nonconformist outspoken loud mouth people have been shut up before so its nothing new take a look at some American History showing it was done. Bush is just the one that will use it this time and soon, I would guess.

A good site on some American history that doesn't get mentioned much. It may have started in this state but the government loved it.

Imagine going down to your local brewpub or coffee shop. You meet some friends. The talk turns to the war. You criticize the President and his wealthy supporters. Next thing you know, a couple of husky fellows at the next table grab you, hustle you out the door and down to the local police station. You are arrested on a charge of sedition. Within months you are indicted, tried and convicted. The judge sentences you to 5-10 years in prison — and off you go! Think this could never happen? Well, it happened not that long ago — during World War I — to scores of ordinary people in Montana. They discovered very painfully that their free speech rights had been stripped away by the state legislature.

Incidentally --

The head was located but has enlarged to the point that it could not be extracted. The good news is he will return to work Monday perfectly normal.

"Incidentally --

Dick Cheney will briefly be president ex officio tomorrow while a team of crack physicians (as it were) conducts a desperate search for George W. Bush's head.

Bush to undergo colon exam on Saturday"

Anonymous said...

When "others" are reduced to abstract concepts, separated by thousands of years/miles, and dispassionate death sentences proclaimed with poisonous comments like "nuke 'em" by American Booboisie, then is it any wonder that history, though it doesn't repeat, does rhyme? (Thanks Mark Twain)

I'm beginning to think that my wife and I are slowly being marginalized by "true believers" of this crypto-fascist mentality. Either they simply don't care to hang with us (and I think its really ME and not the wife) or they're ever so politely "shunning".

In either case I've learned quite some time ago that by not shouting out "amen and hallelujah" to every burbled bit o' baloney from the decider-guy, and pointing out the sheer illogic of it all, has classified me as a non-conformist in their wee pigeon-holing mentality. Thats rather pathetic wouldn't you say?

What we have here is a nation too big and out of touch with reality to function on any reasonable level. Small is beautiful because you can relate with thousands, maybe tens of thousands. But hundreds of millions? That, like Stalins famous line, is just a statistic. And you can't warm up or care about mere numbers.

Unknown said...

A very interesting certainly holds with my experiances. Small nations which are content to remain small tend to be much more civilized places to live than large nations, which always seem to be trying to get bigger. Nations which are small and contentedly so also seem to have far fewer buildings and people exploding; interesting, that.

dixiedog said...

I really don't desire to burst your bubble of joy, elijah, but the Czech Republic is one of the 27 member states of the gargantuan European Union and its attendant Leviathan in Brussels.

I guess they abhorred and weren't so contented with being a completely sovereign and independent small nation, after all.

Nowadays and more so into the future, a rogue government won't find it so difficult to track and surgically "remove" renegades and problem "misfits" for the regime anymore, with technology advancing at a rapid pace. Actually, it will be quite trivial I think to know key details (states already do have these kinds of records) about folks and to track folks' every move (this is becoming a reality). The Decider, in question, won't even need a Geheime Staatspolizei to assist in that endeavor.

If you're picked out for whatever reason, the highly-paid techno-geeks watching screens and monitoring sophisticated equipment will easily pinpoint your location (via your cell phone GPS, your vehicle GPS, laptop, desktop computer, etc., etc.) and can surgically drop a small pack of goons quietly right on top of your location, whisk you away in the night, done. You'll never know it was even coming. Or just simply silently kill you from the air.

I can't help but see, with everyone embracing all the new "convenient" technologies in just about every arena, and the talk of connectivity between all these devices, surveilance will naturally become ever more trivial on the hapless and blissful commoners.

Something to think about in any event.

dixiedog said...

BTW, Will, you never acknowledged, much less answered, the question I asked a few thread moons ago about your upcoming book, From Republic to Reich: How the Imperial Executive Devoured the Bill of Rights.

I know with your wife being gravely ill and such I can certainly understand your priorities would be elsewhere, of course. I and I'm certain many others who read your blog are still praying for your wife's recovery. And, as DrFix mentioned a few threads ago, it be nice to know specifically what to pray and ask the Lord for in this matter. However, if you consider that a personal family matter and do not wish to share that publicly, I'm sure everyone certainly understands that as well.

That said, I hope you don't mind me asking if the manuscript is about to be published, has been already, or what the status is at this point in time.

Seriously, I'm ready to buy it. Please let us know something soon. Thanks in advance, Will.

Unknown said...

True, the CR is a member of the EU. The attitude here towards it, however, is quite a different thing from American's attitudes toward Washington. Euroskepticism runs very high here, and the EU is largely viewed as a gallumphing, destructive annoyance best kept at a distance. Czechs find the EU and NATO to be useful in keeping the Russians somewhat further away, but that's all the use most folks here see for the thing.

The thing is that Czech folks are much more likely to simply ignore inconveniant or immoral laws than raise a stink in public, and the Police are inclined to let them. Ossifer Jiri makes more money off a free person than on who's locked up, after all. Tax avoision is almost a sport over here; the dodging of sales-taxes has gotten so rampant that the Gov't has tried mandating closed-circuit recording of all cash registers. Czech response? "Oh, sorry Ossifer musta malfuncioned." "What? No picture? Friggin' cheap foreign electronics..." "Sorry Inspector, but we had a power-surge in that storm last week, and it wiped out hard-drives. All I've got is the tapes from the last two days..."

Government, at whatever level, exists very much at the sufferance of its' constituency here, and the Pols know it. President Klaus' galloping unpopularity stems in part from numerous statements in the press that "Politics should be left to politicians," a polite way of saying "Siddown shuddup, and do as you're told." Between that and the radar station, he's probably going to lose his job in the next election (if not before; if the Gov't collapses again*, he'll probably be oustd by his own party). When one minister threatened to reinstate Conscription if the radar station wasn't accepted, there was a near-riot outside Prague Castle.

Also, I harbour no illusions that if the Bushling or his minions wanted me, they could get me. However, working in the CR allows me to control my own money somewhat; the $85,000 foreign-earned income exemption means that not one cent of my money is supporting Bush's wars, a fact for which I rejoice every day. It's also been a crash-course in "outlaw" living; a habit from the Communist** years that is very much persistant here. I don't want to take up all of Will's space with descriptions, but suffice it to say that the image Pres. Klaus tries to convey to those bureaucrats in Brussels and Paris and London is -not- the reality of the CR or the attitudes of its' people. Politicians here watch their careers very carefully; ask Jiri Paroubek what happens when you don't.

*Which would be the fifth time in three years. Gotta love gridlock.
**You wanna hear cursing, get someone over the age of 25-ish talking about the Commies. Conscription, income-taxation, etc. are widely regarded as "Communist [i]hovno[/i]" to be avoided, dodged, and prevented whenever and however possible.

Unknown said...

PS: Will, I hope Korrin recovers soon. Love and prayers y'all's way.

Anonymous said...

Hillary-Ann sounds like the kind of "Conservababe" I'd like to date! Hahaha. NOT!