Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ron Paul, a Lone Star Shines in Texas

by Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network, 7/20/06

In case you missed it, it was a remarkable event. Ron Paul, representative from Texas and a regular voice on these pages, speaking eloquently in Congress and broadcast on C Span, a singular voice of reason, courage and integrity, a lone star, rising from Texas. Paul was speaking in opposition to the ongoing actions in the Middle East, involving on the one hand, the United States, and on the other, Israel. You recall that the Texas Ranger rose from the dead to a heroic life, in the great American epic of the Masked Man. That was the picture I had of Paul.

The other voices were disheartening. The constant waves of rhetoric by skilled and effective propagandists, wave after wave of the same we have heard for decades now, supporting America’s role in propping up the state of Israel.

I have never seen President Bush look so happy. This is it, just like we heard it coming for ten years on the folkloric short-range radio stations in the hills of North Carolina and Virginia. Armageddon. Jump starting the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ.

No exaggeration. At the beginning of the war on Iraq I had the pleasure of informing some of our allies in the House of Commons of the regular programming in the mountains of North Carolina and running throughout the Appalachians, calling for war against Islam to the end of the world. They were in disbelief, or maybe it was denial. The Left Behind books clearly state the premise. They have sold over 100 million copies.

At the beginning of the war on Iraq there was some concern by rabbis in New York City as the neocon plan to help the Christian Zionists jump start Armageddon was so explicitly outlined in the Left Behind books. But, asked the rabbis, doesn’t this theme go that in the end the Jews will be destroyed? Have you all thought this through?

Something else: Anyone who lived in New York City in the 1970s will have noticed an ad placed on page two of The New York Times every morning, right next to the Brooks Brothers ad. The ad was placed by Hasidim Jews fairly recently over from Russia to Brooklyn neighbors adjacent to mine. The Russian Jews warned non-orthodox and secular Jews against Israel. In the wise tradition of Kabala, there are always two paths; one leading to grace, one to disaster.

Today, as we watch the disaster unfold in the Holy Land, New York speaks with one voice apparently, and that is the voice of that Midwestern Methodist Bible Thumper, Senator Clinton. As she told The New York Times yesterday, she supported “whatever steps are necessary” to defend Israel against Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria. America must show “solidarity and support” for Israel in the face of the “unwarranted, unprovoked” seizure of three Israeli soldiers by members of Hamas and Hezbollah, which she described as among “the new totalitarians of the 21st century.”

“We will stand with Israel because Israel is standing for American values as well as Israeli ones,”

CNN’s Lou Dobbs, who’s voice is becoming that of a new man of the people, was more reticent.

Yesterday he said: “As our airwaves fill with images and sounds of exploding Hezbollah rockets and Israeli bombs, this seven-day conflict has completely displaced from our view another war in which 10 Americans and more than 300 Iraqis have died during the same week. And it is a conflict now of more than three years duration that has claimed almost 15,000 lives so far this year alone.”

A good thought. But it’s not two wars. Its one war now.

The neocon strategy depends not so much on Israeli lobbying cash to the cowardly herds in the Senate and the House as to the passivity and denial of ordinary Americans. They have now a fait accompli. Even the passive advocates of the invasion of Iraq like The Times’ Thomas Friedman, said it early on: there will never be peace in the Middle East without the presence of American soldiers. (Like the appeasers in the Senate, Kerry and Edwards, he changed his mind after the tide turned, and called it a mistake.)

We hear only occasionally of four permanent bases being built by Americans in Iraq, so better to protect our Israeli ally. Yet the important blogs, which should be speaking up, are strangely silent on the invasion of Lebanon. Content to chase mice instead. If silent now, hold your peace thereafter.

The best public article in the public venue I have seen on the Israeli invasion came from Harold Meyerson of The Washington Post.

“I wonder if this is how the summer of 1914 felt,” he asks, reviewing the history of Europe’s decent into a century of total war, “ . . . how the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers (and the killing of eight other in the Hezbollah raid) has escalated in less than a week to what may be the brink of a cataclysmic regional war with ghastly global implication.”

Meyerson ends with a call for a “genuine international army . . . and more assertive than the Boy Scout troops that the United Nations periodically deploys . . . is needed to restore the peace.”

It is the neocon’s dream come true, but it is not a bad idea, because there are so few other options now in these last few days. For decades we have passively followed their cues like bread crumbs leading us into the forest. Now there is no way out.

We have to again face the same primary question we faced at 9/11; at the failed governmental response to Katrina and time and again as the invasion of Iraq was planned and executed.

Has federalism as Alexander Hamilton conceived it failed as a business model? It was perhaps the perfect model 180 years ago when almost all Americans were either factory workers or field hands. But the evidence grows daily that as a business model, One-Size-Fits-All Federalism no longer delivers the goods of conferring citizenship or of enhancing the productivity or the spiritual and cultural growth of Americans.

If so, the Democrats have no solution, nor do the Republicans. Libertarians have solutions. Indeed, the few Libertarian “free staters” who moved up here to New Hampshire last year might be consulted.

Every state should be a free state, and if we 300 million of us can be herded off a cliff by so very, very few influential lobbyists and propagandists with sacks of cash in hand, then we are not a free people. Perhaps we have come to act as hordes rather than citizens because under the Hamiltonian vision, people have no sense of place. People today no longer identify with a particular place and its holistic culture, but are drawn instead to the vaguest of secular themes and seek identity in the most ephemeral vagaries of popular culture. Under Jefferson’s vision identity is linked not with a idea, but with an actual place.

This distinction is at the core of our identity on the North American continent. Nothing has shaped us more than the conflict between these two views. From Jay’s Treaty to today we have followed the Hamilton view which strengthens the massive singular force. Jefferson’s view strengthens the region and the family. It was sent into remission in 1865. We should look at it again.

I don’t think that at the moment we are on the verge of a third World War. But clearly, as Meyerson outlines the passage of events that quickly tumbled out of control in 1914, it is troubling. The question is now, do we have the courage to shape alternatives?

Perhaps we don’t. The great ambassador George Kennan considered when he had neared death that the United States was too vast a country to be a real democracy; that the Hamiltonian direction made us subservient instead, and he cited the 75% of Americans who fully supported the invasion of Iraq. He endorsed the idea of the development of regional circles of autonomy as Jefferson’s vision proposed, the same idea which was quashed in 1865.

If we have become a nation of hordes a new vision of federalism should be considered. Rather than go again to 1914 we should go again to 1775 and hold a new Constitution Convention. Jefferson should be considered. Regional circles of influence devolving influence to regions which have matured in the last 200 years should be considered. The UN and all of the post-war alliances should be ditched (after the neocons and the Bush administration are held to their war crimes) if they have become simply vehicles for the New Templars pressing influence in the Middle East.

On one blog yesterday I did see an interesting headline from New York City not in lockstep with Hillary: It read, “The Sovereign State of New York.”

A free state does not follow blindly to warfare engendered by a handful of sociopaths and radicals who manage to find their way into the state department. It is not in New England’s long tradition either to follow such crumbs into the forest, although we have been doing so since 1865.

But maybe we won’t this time; indeed, let’s consider, never again.