Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not Yet Charged, But Guilty

Well, it's now official, and I, for one, am relieved. Yes, relieved... because now that I have been “outed” by the Department of Homeland Security, there is no need for me to continue to cover, conceal, dissemble, and use subtlety and metaphor in my discussions of current events. I can now stand up, tall and proud, and say to the world, “Yes, I believe in limited government, local rule, and low taxes. In fact, I could almost be described as [slightly shaking, hysterical edge to voice at this point] a pro-Constitution federalist!” Gee, I feel better already – not because saying that makes me a potential terrorist of the right-wing, white-supremacist stripe, but because DHS _says_ that it does... and since DHS has an unbroken record of being wrong about just about everything, I can rest assured that I am not one of those slavering, skinheaded, neo-Nazi beasts -- sporting a tattered leather vest and a bevy of jailhouse tattoos -- that has the Establishment so up in arms. But that may not be good enough. The Regime knows which political party I belong to, which means that it has a pretty good idea who I voted for this last time. It also has agents scurrying around who do nothing but read bumper stickers and keep track of what church one attends. And surely they've photographed me at the annual March for Life, and picketing local abortion clinics. And for all I know, they take time out every few days to catch up on this blog! So they have me dead to rights, and I might just as well start training pit bulls right now and avoid the rush. That, and put in a 10-year supply of moonshine, Slim Jims and Mountain Dew. I admit that I'm a bit skitterish around guns, but a stash of Bowie knives and some throwing stars ought to do the trick. And of course, I mustn't forget to erect a makeshift altar to Tim McVeigh in my sub-basement – you know, right next to the cordite and blasting caps.

But seriously, folks – this drastic expansion of the definition of “potential terrorist” is... well, for one thing, I saw it coming. But it's a perfect example of not only the “paranoid style” that seems to infect liberals much more virulently than conservatives, but also of the sort of collectivist dogmatism that sees any level of dissent – no matter how minuscule – as an “existential threat” that must be annihilated immediately. It's also an example of how the liberal establishment, and their media mouthpieces, continue to despise the military, even as they continue to exploit it in order to implement their internationalist Utopian schemes. They also, of course, fear and despise real, genuine lower-class and/or rural white people (as opposed to “farmers”, “the working man”, or “the people”, whom they profess to love). And don't even get me started on what they think of believing Christians, especially those of the Catholic variety! I suppose any discussion, in public, of distributism or Catholic social teaching would be considered a “terroristic threat” by today's standards.

But here's the real difference – the one I saw coming. I've already stated, just the other day, that the primary thing motivating the American middle class is fear – not just physical fear, e.g. of riot, insurrection, war, crime, pestilence, etc., and not just economic fear – although there is plenty of that going around, and it is amply justified. No, what makes the middle class unique, in any society – but particularly in ours – is its morbid fear of trouble, of “getting involved”, of being conspicuous, standing out, winding up on some “list” or “record”. Unlike the traditional fear of the “knock on the door in the middle of the night”, this fear is much less tangible and much less traceable to any given action, fault, or false move – hence it is all the more powerful, and more easily used as a motivator and basis for manipulation and exploitation. If you accept that premise, then juxtapose it with the content of the DHS paper, you see something very striking. Up until now, most of these cautionary documents issued by the government described behavior and attitudes that most reasonable people would consider genuinely radical – genuinely “fringe” if not actually “lunatic”. The polite middle class in America has always kept its safe distance from raw, blatant anti-Semitism, for example... and, in recent decades, from racism as well, with “homophobia” gaining fast and "sexism" definitely on the ropes (the worst offenders on all of these counts being, as always, the lower classes). Religious bigotry – at least of the anti-Catholic kind – has always been one of the dirty little secrets of our Republic, but even that has eroded considerably since the days of the Know-Nothings. So whenever the government warns itself – i.e. those who work for it – about certain attitudes being likely to lead to certain actions, the attitudes in question are safely confined to things only an extremely lowbrow, ignorant person would ever hold or express. Thus the middle class has traditionally insulated itself against accusations of being anti-Establishment -- in fact, they foolishly and naively consider _themselves_ the Establishment. This is not to say the middle class has ever been totally “off the hook” for its traditionalist/conservative attitudes; authors and social commentators ever since the days of Mark Twain have been sticking pins in a wide variety of bourgeois voodoo dolls. But the main line of social and political dialogue, supposedly representing the Establishment, has always appeared, at least, to be on the side of the middle class, and vice versa.

This all began to change, as we know, with Roe v. Wade, a decision, which, among other things, split the American middle class in a more profound way, perhaps, than any differences in religious creed ever had. Suddenly we had, as someone once put it, “two Americas” -- the “pro-choice” America and the “pro-life” America... and what followed, and continues to this day, is a sort of civil war – mostly, but not entirely, non-violent – between the two. (I say “mostly non-violent” fully recognizing that the act of abortion itself is the epitome of violence.) But even at that, it would have seemed far-fetched for any government agency to come right out and say, in an official document, that pro-life people were high on the list of potential terrorists. However, in lieu of that we did have extensive prosecutions (persecutions) of pro-life people under the aegis of RICO... and the situation was not helped by the fact that there were, on occasion, violent acts committed against the lives and property of abortion providers. But even so, most middle class people – even of the pro-life persuasion – could distance themselves from the radicals and from the consequences of their (the radicals') actions. They could remain safe – warm and dry – and mainly not fear being called out, put on trial, made an example of.

But now we have a new regime (small “r”, note) in Washington that knows nothing of moderation when it comes to identifying The Enemy... and suddenly, almost literally overnight, the definition of who, and what, constitutes The Enemy has been drastically expanded to include – guess who – a whole lot of formerly-non-radical, formerly-non-potential-terrorist, middle class people. Fear is at the door! The Gestapo, or Thought Police, have just pulled up with that blaring siren – you know, the one that goes “EE-AA-EE-AA-EE-AA” like in the Holocaust movies. The comfortable middle class is now – as to its relationship with the Regime, and before long with the law – part of the lower class. They are about to become more familiar with "trouble" than they ever imagined they would.

A number of years ago a survey came out purporting to demonstrate how much tougher, and more hardscrabble, life was for black Americans then for white Americans. One data point was “the number of people I know who are in jail” -- and the answer for blacks (whether urban or rural – or even middle class) was something like 8 or 10 on average, whereas the answer for whites was typically zero (accompanied by great huffs of indignation -- “Well, not only that, but I've _never_ known anyone in jail, and don't intend to.”). When middle class (and almost invariably white) people started getting arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed for things like embezzlement, a new term had to be invented -- “white-collar crime” -- but it might as well have been “white middle class crime”, because it was so highly correlated with that group, and so novel. But again, if you did your job and didn't take a dip in the till from time to time, you were OK – no one was going to get on your case, even if you did occasionally express a belief in “family values”. And back then, it was still not fully appreciated how dangerous literal belief in the Constitution was. But all that has changed, and not in a subtle way, either – it is now official doctrine, courtesy of DHS – and one wonders, how long is it going to be before there is no one left whose homeland DHS is charged with securing? If the middle class is now to be considered a criminal class, simply by virtue of their attitudes about some things, at what point does the label become the accusation, arrest, etc.? We may wind up with a society in which, for most people, their “homeland” is a jail cell... or concentration camp bunk. Welcome to North Korea! But hey, they will have brought it on themselves... by believing in something other than the servile state.

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