Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Dancing on Pinheads

Dancing on the Pinheads
© 2010 Ross Williams

Twenty years ago, when I was being re-investigated for one of my many security clearance extensions, I had to sit down in front of a DIS investigator and answer “No” to a whole passel of questions. Was I a member of the communist party. No. Was I a member of a church. No. Did I go to church. No. Was I a registered Democrat. No. ... Republican. No. Did I have a library card. No.

After a few hundred of these, the guy stopped reading from his script and asked in genuine bewilderment if I was involved in anything. Yes, I’m in Mensa. Did I go to any meetings. No. [I have since stopped paying dues, so I’m no longer in Mensa].

He classified me as a “non-joiner”.

There’s a reason for that: almost nothing is worth joining; everything joinable becomes a pigeon hole of mindless compulsory conformities and boring ritual sooner or later – usually sooner. Possibly the organization closest to worthiness, I thought, is the Libertarians. Libertarians, I’d learned, support the Constitution and the rights citizens have under it, and the limitations on the government imposed by it. Philosophically, that echoes my political sensibilities with crystal clarity. So, okay, I’m a Libertarian. Yet I won’t officially join.

Still, I considered myself a Libertarian for decades despite the Libertarian energy directed at guns, which is a topic that bores me to tears. Apart from shooting bottles with a neighbor’s BB gun [blue depression glass worth a fortune to an antiquer today] found in an old fallen-down house a half mile from my home when I was ten or twelve, and getting my marksmanship ribbon in the Air Farce when I was twenty, my involvement with guns has been thankfully scant.

I recognize, though, that guns are an abiding interest to many, and that a 2nd Amendment Libertarianism is as valid an opening for liberty as mine. I personally wish to be left the fuck alone and resent it when I have to justify my existence to some nosy prick or other; I am, for all practical purposes, a 4th Amendment Libertarian. So, 2nd Amendment Libertarian? ...okay. Whatever.

About ten years ago I finally looked up what the Libertarian Platform actually contained. I immediately stopped calling myself a Libertarian. Libertarians are “libertarian” in the same sense that “Liberals” are liberal. I.e., by coincidence. Rare coincidence, mostly. Most Liberals today cite and recite the political memes of a generation or more ago, usually Johnsonian or Rooseveltian idealisms long since disproven or having run their course ... which makes Liberals the quintessence of status quo conservatism. They even insist on defining today’s political issues in terms that are at least one, usually two, and sometimes three or more generations out of date.

Abortion? to a Liberal, it’s still back-alley coat-hangers and girls terrorized by a family mortified at teen pregnancy.

Race relations? institutional white supremacy and lynchings.

No; Liberals are so conservative as to be arguably reactionary, pining for the same fifties’ nostalgia they accuse everyone around them of living in. Go to your local Hallmark store, guys, buy yourself a current calendar and figure out how to use it. This “Billy Liberal came unstuck in time” thing works in surrealist post-modern literature, but as a political philosophy it is inherently dishonest.

So I started calling myself a lower-case-l libertarian around the turn of the millennium. Which is to say, I am a true libertarian and not a hidebound dogmatic pinhead.

About five years ago, out of curiosity, I read the membership requirements for becoming a Libertarian, and I was appalled and disgusted. They weren’t worthy after all. I, of course, had read various entrenched and traditional ideologues describing Libertarianism, and had heard all the cutesy put-downs. To Democrats, Libertarians are nothing more than Republicans who don’t believe in god; to Republicans, Democrats who don’t like taxes. Clever, particularly coming from the faux-dichotomist tyrants-in-training whose eyesight only seems to see black and white.

Wm F Buckley once described Libertarians as anarchists. Being one to pay no attention to Wm F, I thought little of his description. ...originally.

I still do think little of his description, not because he was essentially incorrect but because he didn’t go far enough in his unflattering depiction. Libertarianism – the Capital-L version – is not merely anarchism, but possibly the worst variety of anarchism there is: the vacuous utopian anarchism of political faeries and pixie-dust, puppy dog kisses and magical unicorns dancing around rainbows’ ends, universal peace and understanding and moon in the seventh house Aquarianism. “People” only want to be free, they opine, thus confirming they have little to no real experience dealing with the selfish asshats that comprise 102% of the world’s people; it is only governments who wish to enslave others.

They talk of “absolute liberties” that exist independent of a definition, that are absent any enforcement mechanisms, and that don’t diminish when borders are crossed – because borders represent a corrupting limitation of rights and freedoms which [they believe] are and can only be limited by one’s imagination to dream up for themselves. They talk of “theoretical” crime: actions by others which limit one’s own rightful authority to act as desired and they completely ignore the paradox that the “criminal” is simply doing the same. Government itself is the biggest criminal of all and is completely unnecessary to defend anyone’s rights and freedoms.

Capital-L Libertarianism is a mainstreamer’s version of Haight-Ashbury psychedelia.

Libertarianism – the Capital-L version – is pacifist. They require new members to take and sign some “non-aggression principle” to the effect that their future political discussion never, ever, ever sanctions the primary use of force in any endeavor by anyone. Oh, sure, they accept the concept of “defensive wars”, but they have refined the notion of what outside aggression consists to such a useless abstract that almost nothing short of Space Invaders rises to the level of aggression worthy of a Libertarian’s call to defensive arms.

Libertarianism – the Capital-L version – is also effectively isolationist. They insist they are not, yet they refuse to accept the concept of dealing with the outside world as it is, and instead demand that we – the US – impose an insupportable foreign policy on the nations of the world ... by refusing to engage those actual nations, as they are corrupt and criminal themselves. Instead we must deal directly with the people of those nations ...who are magically [like any unicorn prancing around the end of a convenient rainbow] free to act as they choose despite cultural, societal or legal constraints placed upon them by their own government. ...whom we must circumvent.

All this while decrying US foreign policy which “meddles in other nations’ internal affairs”. As if sidestepping other nations’ governments won’t be viewed as identically meddlesome itself.

Capital-L Libertarianism is, in short, reality-free political ontology; reduced-fact solipsism; self-involved navel-gazing counting the Political Rights dancing on the head of a pin. And with just as much practical application as the medieval monks’ version of the same pointless exercise. They spout facile political theory. And a thoroughly hypothetical version of theory, at that. It is useless in the real world and to real people.

I am a realist, a pragmatist, a cynic – who simply wishes to live in the political system I was promised. I know that in order to be useful, a political philosophy must be grounded in reality, even [and especially] when that philosophy is inherently idealistic. The first rule of True Libertarianism for those who would be my philosophical sibling is: in every encounter between theory and reality, theory loses every fucking time without exception.

It doesn’t matter what rights you can dream up for yourself, it only matters what rights you can define ... as long as you also simultaneously create a political superstructure which accepts those rights as defined, supports those rights as defined, and defends those rights as defined from encroachment by, among others, itself. In the real world such a political superstructure is called “government”.

There is a valid and valuable point to be made that where rights are defined but the government is either uninterested in defending them, or more interested in redefining them out of existence, the same result is seen: no rights exist [see the many Warrantless Search essays I’ve written].

And there is another valid and valuable point to be made that any right’s first defender is he who wishes to avail himself of it. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean anything when the speaker self-censors in the face of opposition or shuts up at the first demand for silence. But any rights which would be used must first be defined to exist under a government willing to use its power to enforce them.

Government is, at the same time, both the worst enemy of freedom and the primary defender of it. You must have a strong and effective government if you wish to have political rights. That is not rationally debatable.

The second rule of True Libertarianism is that rights exist only for those for whom they were made. Creating rights and then spreading them around willy-nilly is indistinguishable from creating tyranny and spreading it around willy-nilly. Not everyone believes that gender equality is freedom – I know, go figure. Some people consider it a form of slavery. Not everyone believes that saying what you want is a good thing … usually those in power who don’t like being criticized and those peasants who like the ones in power.

US rights are defined as applying only to Americans – with very limited exceptions. “We the people of the United States of America”, not “We the itinerants who may happen to wander through as we please.” You start handing rights to everyone who can get here what you do is encourage everyone to get here. And while most people are fine enough, some are not and will only exploit our kindness for their own benefit. I don’t think this needs to be explained any further; if you think it does it only demonstrates you haven’t been paying attention recently. A visitor doesn’t get our rights simply because he’s here and we like him or feel sorry for him. That is anarchy.

Furthermore, when we find ourselves out and among the rest of the world, it is common to assume we take our rights with us. This is not merely more anarchy, but it is a self-righteous imposition on other sovereign nations; it is meddling in their internal affairs. US rights exist only in the US.

See Midnight Run if you doubt me.

The third rule of True Libertarianism is that the government tasked with defending our rights must also be granted certain other authorities to ensure it will continue to exist for the purpose of defending its citizens’ rights, and that its citizens will also exist to have those rights to defend. In other words, and in terms of standard PoliSci, the US government must have the latitude to operate among the world’s nations in ways that will promote US longevity and sovereignty.

In practical terms, our nation is only required to be polite to its own people; to other countries and to other countries’ people, it can be a Grade-A shit heel if it needs to be. When we invade another nation, we can be as rude and impolite, as bombastic and despotic as we wish to be. Our Constitution – the document which defines what our rights are and who they apply to – says nothing about compulsory niceness to our enemies. Or to our friends either, for that matter, though quid pro quo would suggest we cut some slack to those who are here with permission and behaving themselves.

This also means that we are free to hold anyone as an enemy we choose to. That same Constitution is silent about matters of extra-national belligerence. Sissy “non-aggression” nonsense isn’t supported by the document that defines the liberty that libertarianism would and should promote. The only thing True Libertarianism would suggest is that if the Will of The People wished to wage war on another country – whether offensively or not – that those same The People cough up the cash to pay for it and not put it on the credit card.

That’s all. There are only three principles of True Libertarianism. Again:

One: The only rights that exist are the ones that are defined to the government charged with enforcing them – and to the degree that the government fulfills its obligation faithfully.

Two: Our rights belong only to us, and only by citizenship, and only at home, and are not transferable to other people or jurisdictions by circumstance of residence or interaction.

Three: The rest of the world is often a cesspool of people, nations and cultural mindsets that see you, me, us ... and our rights ... as nothing but speed bumps on their road to whatever self-important tyranny they have set for themselves; the government built to defend our rights must be allowed to treat the rest of the world as the assholes they are when they act like assholes – which is pretty much of the time. And we need to let them do it.

The only ones the rules require the government to treat as free citizens is us. And about the only thing the Libertarian Party is correct about is that our government should really start treating us as free citizens soon. We’ve been waiting for quite a while.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

One Man's Junk

One Man’s Junk
© 2010 Ross Williams

Janet Napolitano wants us all to “play” our “important part” of a “layered defense” against a “determined enemy”. I couldn’t agree more.

I would merely disagree with her about who that enemy is.

Janet Napolitano, ex-democrat governor of Arizona and part of the idiot-cabal who wept huge tears and emptied multiple bladders full of wee-wee in public over the tactics of the prior Bush Administration, is now the Secretary of the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security under Barama’s democrat administration. She would seem to have forgotten what her party ever believed – as I knew would happen. It’s amazing how consistently the party out of power forgets the reasons they criticized the party in power once they themselves get in power and have their own fingers on the levers of authority.

But that’s an old argument: the hypocrisy of political adherents. Warrantless phone data-mining is abhorrent until “we” get into power, and then not only is warrantless data-mining fine but warrantless sexual molestation of the general public is perfectly reasonable as well.

It is that word – reasonable – which is at the heart, or possibly crotch, of this matter:
Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution specifically ties “reasonable search” to the existence of a warrant built from probable cause. That cannot be rationally quibbled. ...which means many loyyers will line up to do that very thing.

Yet the Constitution says what it means and it means what it says; i.e., 2+2=4. So when you go to the airport you cannot be searched – electronically, chemically, radiationally, or physically – without a warrant. The warrant cannot be issued without having probable cause. It’s not a difficult concept.

It’s simply difficult to accomplish. It’s inconvenient. And the certain loyyers I mentioned above have argued from the inception of our Constitution for cracks and crevices within the wording of various parts of the Constitution which grant authority to violate the rules if the government has a “really good reason” for doing so. The really good reason usually devolves upon governmental expedience.

...and when I say “usually” I mean “universally”.

Among the first of the really good reasons for violating the Fourth Amendment was for non-criminal emergencies. “We aren’t here to search your property for illegal activity; we are simply following the tracks of a lost child...”. That’s a really good reason if I ever heard of one, and the courts bought it.

Yet, it does violate the Fourth Amendment. Hmmmm.

The Fourth Amendment says 2+2=4 and the courts have replied, “No, 2+2=4.01”. That’s close enough for government work, isn’t it?

Also among the first of the really good reasons for violating the Fourth Amendment is searching and seizing during an arrest. A bank robber holds up a bank and is caught leaving the front door. Cops immediately detain him, search his pockets for weapons and money. Another really good reason.

Yet, this also violates the Fourth Amendment. The Constitution still says 2+2=4, but the courts are now saying 2+2=4.03. Incremental dilution of rights.

In no particular order, courts have given the government these various exemptions to the dictates of the Constitution – plus many, many more:

Plain view – if an item of contraband is clearly visible to cops while in a person’s effects, they don’t need a warrant to search that effect. 2+2=4.07
Open fields – the “plain view” of your property that requires trespassing to discover. 2+2=4.12
Border – the Constitution does not apply to citizens reentering the country. 2+2=4.18
Schools – the Constitution does not apply to citizens in schools. 2+2=4.25
Government workers – and contractors. 2+2=4.33
Automobiles – drivers and passengers, both. 2+2=4.42
Ignorance – anyone who doesn’t know they can refuse being searched can be warrantlessly searched. 2+2=4.51

And you know what happens when you cross that magical threshold of 4.5, doncha...? We can round up!

That is, in fact, what happened. The federal government has spent so long dreaming up exclusions and exceptions and exemptions to the “reasonable search means having a warrant citing probable cause” thing that they’ve rounded up to a warrant being effectively a meaningless formality in all but the most egregious criminal circumstances. A reasonable search is now what the government says is reasonable and because the government said so. Constitution be damned.

Of course, in order to rationalize their newly interpreted 2+2=5, they have to backfill with a lot of anti-Constitutional and dishonest gimcrackery. They explain the corrupt notion that automobiles, and the people in them, are exempt from unreasonable search while in vehicles by declaring that “driving is not a right”. So what is it instead? A “privilege”. It is something the government allows you to do. …like staying up past your bedtime.

Aww. Isn’t that swell of the government? This nonsense has been repeated so often that people actually believe it. “Driving” isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, so therefore the right to do it isn’t there.

Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Just because those who wrote the Constitution couldn’t think of everything doesn’t mean that what they couldn’t think of doesn’t count or doesn’t exist. We The People have more rights than were written down.

But the federal government has only those authorities that were originally outlined:
Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Unless the Constitution specifically gives the federal government the authority to do something the authority does not rest with the federal government, but is given to the states to do, or the people to do if the states don’t want to do it. Somehow I don’t recall reading any authority to regulate traffic, or regulate access to same in the Constitution. The claim that “driving is not a right” is formed out of fresh bullshit.

The States have the authority to regulate driving, and to regulate the vehicles that are driven, but that doesn’t imply that the right to drive doesn’t exist. The state has the authority to regulate business ownership and business operation the same as they do automobile ownership and operation. Yet, the right to own and operate a business isn’t under serious threat of federal denial; there’s too much tax money to be lost.

If the cops believe you are running a front for organized crime out of your pizza parlor, they have to get a warrant to search it. “Running a business isn’t a right; it’s a privilege” would be laughed out of every court in the land the first time the FBI tried to use it on a mob boss.

Further compounding their corrupt notion is the belief that one’s automobile [or one’s ‘open field’] is not part of a citizens’ “effects”. “Effects” are – legally – that which belongs to a person, whether it can fit in a pocket or not. Despite pretzeled court rulings, this includes real estate and automobiles; courts have ruled that the intangible item of telephone conversations made from public phone booths are included in “effects”. The back yard and the back seat, if legal consistency has any meaning, have to be as well.

Now, this, of course, is all predicated upon the political philosophy that the Constitution means what it says and it says what it means. There’s a group of people, incremental tyrants mainly, who call the Constitution a “living document” and suggest that its intention was to not remain static but to change with the new needs of an ever-changing nation. And there is nothing wrong with that notion at all. Just in the manner by which these ninnies believe the Constitution is alive.

The Constitution itself creates the mechanisms by which it is allowed to change to meet the new needs of the We The People it serves. The first mechanism is by amendment, when We The People identify an item we feel should be included. The second is by Constitutional Convention, when We The People become tired of the whole thing and want to start from scratch.

If you believe that the Fourth Amendment protection from “unreasonable” search [i.e., a search conducted without a probable cause warrant] no longer serves our needs, why, then, just breathe some life into the document by getting a supermajority to agree with you and change the thing to say that warrantless searches and seizures are permissible when national security or drunk driving is at issue. That is all the “living” the Constitution is allowed to do.

...according to the Constitution.

Instead, the “living document” numbskulls believe that the words in the Constitution are fluid and can change meaning in midstream. What’s worse, they also believe that a “living document” must be fairly mobile – “Run, run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Constitu-tian!” ...loyyers the nation over, and for decades, have argued that the fairly simple and straightforward Fourth Amendment contains myriad clauses and codicils, written in invisible ink which only they can see, and that allows increasingly relaxed adherence to the right of the people to be free from a nosy and intrusive government.

Among the most offensive of these exemptions to warrantless search prohibition is for “administrative” searches. These are the routine searches that everyone must submit to or else be prohibited from taking part in an activity you otherwise have a right to do. Such as driving. Or flying. Or entering a courthouse.

Part of the quote reasoning endquote for this brain-dead rationalization is that the Fourth Amendment is only a criminal rights amendment. A non-criminal citizen has nothing to fear from his government, therefore he has no “reasonable” expectation of privacy being granted by that government. ...a remarkably similar sentiment to the one offered up by King George in the 1770s.

This means – according to the Living Document Despots – that criminal suspects are entitled to better treatment under our Constitution than normal, everyday citizens simply trying to get through their day. Criminal suspects are entitled to protection from governmental overreach; we aren’t. And if it takes more than two nanoseconds for you to identify the legal and moral indefensibility of that position then you are a budding tyrant and not well suited to living in, let alone governing, the United States.

You are particularly unsuited for governing.

Which brings us back to Janet Napolitano and her Slavery is Freedom blue-shirted brownshirts. Like all good nazis, they’re “just doing their job” – which still netted the conscript Treblinka guards the same hanging for watching over the Final Solution as their officers got in implementing it. Maybe the memories are not as fresh any longer, but it’s disturbing to me how many people are willing to rationalize doing stupid, offensive, insupportable, illegal or immoral things because they get paid to do it. As if money rights the wrongness.

If news reports are to be believed, the trained apes of TSA don’t like being called perverts, child molesters, pornographers, Gate Rapists, ... trained apes.... Poor them. After all, they’re just doing their jobs. They want us safe. Ain’t that sweet. The segregationists wanted us all equal, as well, and we let them know we didn’t appreciate how they did it.

The same thing needs to happen now. Opt for the groping and keep it public; the ape rapist is going to humiliate you, you may as well return the favor. To do that you’ll need an audience. Don’t forget the crude terminology. The following suggestions might be construed as humorous and you may only succeed in making your extra special agent laugh, so pepper what you say with terms like fag, queer, homo, and whatever else you can think of. Keep in mind, we’re not out to humiliate the real queers, just those who are told to behave like their worst stereotype in order to get a government paycheck.

So guys, here’s some before-the-grope suggestions for you:

Put on your best flaming queer voice, point to one male rapist and say, “I want him; he’s divine!” Request a smooth, disease-free, drug-free pervert. Tell your rapist to skip the sweet-talk and get right to the hand-job. Tell him that you’d have brought the lube but you couldn’t find any in less than 3oz tubes. Inform him that you paid for a happy ending and you’ll speak to his supervisor if you don’t get one. Ask if you can request show tunes while he’s going at you. Inform him you went commando for just this moment. “Is that a pencil in your pocket? or are you happy to see me?

Mid-grope notions: Emit audible gasps, and oohs, and ahs when he gets to the junk. Ask him to please regrope the junk. And again... and again. Tell him you know he’s not used to handling such a large tool, so please go over it very, very carefully. “So are you usually a bottom...?” Tell him you aren’t really gay, but he makes it so-o-o tempting. “Are you getting a chubby from this? " Turn your head and cough. ...or don’t turn your head, your choice. Ask him to check your prostate while he’s there. Don’t forget the dirty-talk – “Stroke me, stroke me, oh! cup those balls!

Post-rape comments to try: Tell him you developed a sudden need for a tissue. Request his phone number so you can reciprocate. “I just can’t quit you.” Ask for a cigarette. Inform him that next time you expect dinner and a movie. Ask if this job works like Viagra. Blow him a kiss.

Ladies, your turn to be pawed. Same advice as the guys: you’re going to be humiliated so dish it back. Make your rapist as uncomfortable as you. Terms like butch, dyke, lesbo and all the rest are an indispensible tool. We’re not being offensive to homosexuals here, but to government-sponsored same-sex assaulters. I believe GLAAD will understand.

Before your assault: Request a feminine lesbian, bull dykes don’t turn you on. Tell her you need a lot of foreplay, but it’ll be worth it. Remind her which side is exit only. “Is that a fish in your pocket? or are you just looking forward to this?

During your rape: comment that you’re surprised she isn’t wearing a flannel shirt. “Hey! I don’t have a prostate!” Re-enact Meg Ryan’s part of the diner scene from When Harry Met Sally. Ask if she’s supplying the strap-on. “Hmmm. Your gloves smell like fish. Is that from you? or from your previous victims...?” Ask if doing this makes her wet. ...or nipply. And, as with the guys, don’t forget the dirty-talk.

When she’s done, blow her a kiss. Feel free to ad-lib as well.

Chances are pretty good that someone in line with you will try to get instant YouTube fame by catching your rape on camera with full sound. Revel in it. If you play it right, you won’t be half as humiliated as the clown with the hands in your crotch. And the event may just bring home the realities of overreaching government impositions to the craven sheep in line behind you who see nothing wrong with forcible sexual assault in the name of safety. Some of us are innately aware that this amounts to sexual exploitation; others need to be shown again and again before it enters their little rock skulls.

Like other social movements of the past, most of those who willingly comply do so out of reflex and without thinking about what they do; they convince themselves that a pre-flight finger fuck is essential to safety and security just like their predecessors 50 years ago convinced themselves that pushing blacks to a separate fountain was necessary for equal treatment under the law.

Consider this grotesque, deliberate sexualization of the government’s mass sexual assault the lunch counter sit-in of the new generation. The Fourth Amendment still matters. Play your important part. The enemy is determined to eradicate your rights before the terrorists do.