Taking advantage of crises, created or real is the mother’s milk of transformational politics – so much is this the case that it can be used as a metric to sort between classical liberals and those of a totalitarian mindset.
According to the California Globe, during a Sacramento press gaggle a few days ago, when California’s pretty-boy governor Newsom was asked by a Bloomberg reporter about the “opportunity” that the Wuhan hysteria might provide, he replied, “There is opportunity for reimagining a [more] progressive era as it [relates] to capitalism,’ Gov. Newsom said. ‘So yes, absolutely we see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern.’”
The honesty with which Newsom replied is indicative of how thoroughly ingrained hard-left politics has become among California’s political class, itself a monoculture.
Under more normal circumstances it might difficult to imagine how much more thoroughly the once great state can become a slave to seditious ideologies, but Wuhan is providing a window into that very dark soul and examples are anything but hard to find.
“First LA Mayor Eric Garcetti released 1,700 inmates . Then the LA Sheriff tried to shut down all gun stores . Next, Garcetti appointed neighborhood monitors and threatened to shut down electricity and water services to non-compliant citizens. In his most recent action, the mayor admits to using Big Tech to monitor the location of residents and track their coronavirus compliance.” [props, Conservative Treehouse]
Is it madness? Most certainly, but deprived of context, moral necessity for many is devoid of meaning. In this state, the total dominance by practitioners of Marxism-lite have so successfully silenced any form of opposition that there appear to be no contrary opinions at all.
Conservative talk radio is Kryptonite as far as the lefts is concerned. But those of us who listen don’t count really because it is still largely an underground or at least private movement [there being no Rush, Hannity or Levin political parties and hence no center around which to coalesce]. Instead we clandestinely self-identify like the early Christians under Roman Emperor Diocletian’s horrific persecution, huddling together and tracing crude outlines of fish in the dust beneath one another’s feet.
And so in California we have an entire population under house arrest, with fewer rights than genuine felons under similar circumstances. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision the ACLU successfully petitioning the Ninth Circuit to disallow phone tracking of illegal aliens out on federal immigration bail.
During this created crisis, the people are caught in a rip-tide; the Fed says do “x” while some states say do “y” or “x+y” but no one has a clue as to what metrics these differing, but mandated behavioral modes are based upon. The experts don’t know either, but since they are public health types a zero-tolerance mentality now prevails. This writer has been told by local health department officials that “one death is too much,” which of course is anti-science.
People die every day, 36,000 in 2018 died in automobile accidents, nearly 45,000 desperate souls committed suicide in 2016 and 49,000 died of pneumonia, placing it in the top 10 leading causes of death. “Officials” trot out the zero-tolerance trope at every turn, and they set in motion this death-spiral with a straight-face. In some ways this reminds one of Stalin’s capo Beria, who famously said, “show me the man, I will find you the crime,” any justification will be used to facilitate the dark hand of the Deep State which is currently flexing its muscles in an unprecedented way.
Consequently confusion reigns as the behavioral dictates at every level of government are in conflict so it might be time to revisit how things were envisioned by our Founders of this republic.
There is a principle at work here, America’s political class is getting very close to forcing outcomes to bring the world closer to their ideal. Post the Soviet Unions civil-war Lenin preached a doctrine called “socialist realism.” The short definition of this is the central authority using extended [read dictatorial] powers to engineer an idealized social order. The degree to which Lenin and his successor, FDR’s pal, Joseph Stalin followed this plan is remarkable. For example, posters and huge murals depicting and stoking revolutionary ardor and military strength appeared overnight. Likewise a writers conference was organized so that the printed word [newspapers, novels, theatrical scripts, etc.] fell into line with the heraldic artwork. What took place was Stalin using every power available to the state to create the reality consistent with his ultimate purpose, which of course was military conquest and subjugation.
When all that one reads, sees or hears reflects the same message, a society’s culture cannot help but change and the longer and more intense the disinformation campaign is in effect, the more rapid and thorough the “fundamental change.”
This is a clear conflict between the objective reality of what actually is, as contrasted against that which can [or should] be.
At roughly the same time there were actors in the free world undertaking their own transformation. A particularly aggressive art movement, Surrealism, was trying to change the consciousness of Europe. In a move that was unprecedented the Surrealists actually printed manifestos condemning traditional art forms and advancing their new technique. Considering that these artists tended to be Bohemian in nature and accepting of socialism it could only be expected that even this seemingly minor move pushed society a bit off course.
We are at such a point in history where the traditional political roles of the various states and those of the central government are in such conflict that it would be very surprising if after the current crisis ends, that the federal government does not emerge with even more power. Instead of super-nationalist propaganda, the agent of change today is the political response to the Wuhan flu. As we have seen throughout the history of the United States, the federal government assumes a more powerful role during and following major conflicts. It was just as true after the Civil War as it was after World War II; the proof of this principle is rather easy, simply look at the size of the federal budget before and after these conflicts. In the case of World War II the federal budget grew by a factor of 10, which works out to 1,000%!
These things matter; the United States is a Constitutional democracy with specific roles set forth in our founding document delineating how power would be shared between Washington DC and far flung localities – Americans have been raised with the desire to be left alone and enjoy the fruits of their labor without someone constantly looking over their shoulders.
Since 1787, the Constitution has been the supreme law of the land and it has among its unique features, a doctrine called Federalism which means that – theoretically – the state and national governments have very different mandates. The Federal Government is bound under Article 1, Section 8, clause 1-18 by a concept called enumerated, declared or implied powers, “The Congress shall have Power To…” lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts, provide for the common defense, to raise and support armies and navies, coin money, establish post offices, establish a system of patents and copyrights, facilitate interstate commerce and the like.
Under this theory, those powers not enumerated as being within the purview of the central government devolve or revert under the 10th Amendment [part of the Bill of Rights] to be exercise by the individual states under the concept of “states’ rights.”
But over the more than two centuries since the drafting of the Constitution many of the powers originally thought to be the sole purview of the states have been taken over by the federal government. The best and most recent example of this is in President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, within which are a blinding number of usurpations of what had been states’ rights, for example the act delegates near dictatorial powers to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Actually the Act obliterates the last vestiges of the 10th Amendment.
As Phillip Klein noted in the American Spectator, as later cited in Forbes:
“There are more than 2,500 references to the secretary of HHS in the health care law (in most cases she’s simply mentioned as “the Secretary”). A further breakdown finds that there are more than 700 instances in which the Secretary is instructed that she “shall” do something, and more than 200 cases in which she “may” take some form of regulatory action if she chooses. On 139 occasions, the law mentions decisions that the “Secretary determines.” At times, the frequency of these mentions reaches comic heights. For instance, one section of the law reads: “Each person to whom the Secretary provided information under subsection (d) shall report to the Secretary in such manner as the Secretary determines appropriate.”
This highlights a contradiction.
Yes, the Feds have greatly curtailed the power of the states, not to mention the rights of citizens, but generally this has only happened on issues important to the left. In plain language it has been the Marxists and their Deep/Administrative State allies who have used its overwhelming force to steamroll and remake the states into their own “image and likeness.”
The assault has taken many forms. The Feds can link aid to states with a certain kind of behavior, for example it may withhold tuition aid to colleges if they don’t spend the same amount of money on men’s and women’s sports programs. For our purposes though an especially effective one is using the US Justice Department as a hammer to sue entities or individuals for being in violation of regulations created from whole cloth by faceless, uncaring often malign bureaucrats in cabinet level departments who can force compliance.
The EPA can sneeze and some unfortunate company might be fined tens-of-thousands of dollars a day for encroaching upon the environment of a tiny fish or land that had arbitrarily been declared protected wetland.
Such regulations have the force of law, all that need be done is for the new rule to be published in the Federal Register and after a short period of comment, usually for a maximum of 90 days, if there is no hue-and-cry, it becomes law, as if it had originated and been passed by congress and then signed by the president.
This is the dirty little secret about the administrative state Congress over a very long time, generations, has ceded more and more authority to the bureaucracy which sets the stage for rule-making replacing legislation [please refer to Marini and Masugi’s, The Unmasking of the Administrative State] With increasing frequency all Congress does is direct an entity to do something and leaves the details to the bureaucrats who are almost uniformly Democrats.
When the power of the Civil Right Division of the DOJ is set loose, you tend to take notice since we are talking literally hundreds of attorneys who are already drawing salary and as a result are eager to engage.
Oh, and DOJ’s US attorneys are not noted for playing fair, they want their pound of flesh and will invent or fabricate evidence, “loose” important documents that should be handed over during discovery, forge the handwritten notes of interviews [302s] if need be. Consider the actions of such DOJ gems as Kathryn Ruemmler, Matthew Friedrich and Andrew Weissman [yes THAT Andrew Weissman] – Sydney Powell, License to Lie.
So absolutely, we have a dual system of justice, the swells always land on their feet, the rest of us however end up trampled.
In the following example we will explore in detail how the DOJ bludgeons municipalities in an attempt to reengineer the ethnic distribution in cities and towns that are ALREADY in compliance with relevant Federal codes.
It’s called the principle of disparate impact, social meddling on a vast scale. The bottom line here is that the Fed believes it has the right to tell citizens exactly where they will be permitted to live dictates, it’s the Mother of all Quota schemes.
During the last term of the Obama Administration a particularly noxious decision by Supreme Court [5-4] provided evidence of how the abusive the Federal Government can actually be.
When government alleges “discrimination” and other supposed offenses where they don’t exist, it limits the right of citizens to defend the culture they in part create when doing something as simple as choosing where to live.
The problem as the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] and the rest of the federal government sees it, is that the real-world demographic distribution of various “protected classes” throughout the United States is unacceptable because the composition of every community isn’t identical to that of the bureaucrat’s idealized diversity model.
The 2015 decision, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., et al, deals with the idea of how to address [as if it were necessary] a “problem” called “disparate impact” which really means being held responsible for breaking a law that one has not broken.
The case stems from a regulation adopted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development calling it, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” [the link takes you to a slightly rule innocuously appeared again in the Federal Register on January 14 of this year. But, surprise, surprise, HUD only allowed 60 days for comment, meaning it expired on March 14, 2020 and to this writer’s knowledge no other news source has published anything about this matter, which is troubling from the perspective of preserving the current “cultural hegemony,” the term doctrinaire Marxists would employ.
At trial HUD alleged, and the court agreed, by a single vote, that it has the authority to socially re-engineer every American housing community by forcibly adjusting its ethnic composition, regardless of the fact that such “unequal” numerical distributions are:
“not designed, intended, or used to discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” [see decision, dissent by Justice Thomas, p. 34]
If you think this might be a 21st century resurrection of the 1970s and 80s incredibly divisive issue of forced school busing to achieve [and utterly fail] at enforcing an ephemeral policy establishing “racial neutrality” you would be correct. If not actively challenged, as was the forced busing scheme, the “Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs” case will allow the federal government to essentially mandate where one might live and who one’s neighbors might be – pity the communities in which the Fed deems in effect there aren’t enough violent drug dealers or Islamic fanatics in your neighborhood.
This decision allows the HUD/EEOC/FHA etc. to specifically target predominantly white suburban communities which naturally formed outside of the confines and as a response against high-crime violent inner cities inhabited primarily by people of color.
As Justice Alito stated in his dissent, especially regarding the statutory language of the Fair Housing Act:
“The FHA is not ambiguous. The FHA prohibits only disparate treatment, not disparate impact. It is a bedrock rule that an agency can never ‘rewrite clear statutory terms to suit its own sense of how the statute should operate.’ This rule makes even more sense where the agency’s view would open up a deeply disruptive avenue of liability that Congress never contemplated. Not only does disparate- impact liability run headlong into the text of the FHA, it also is irreconcilable with our precedents.” [see decision, dissent by Justice Alito, joined by the Chief Justice, Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas, p. 60-61
Additionally, Justice Thomas assailed what he views as an overbroad application of a previous case, Griggs v. Duke Power Co.:
“Griggs’ disparate-impact doctrine defies not only the statutory text, but reality itself. In their quest to eradicate what they view as institutionalized discrimination, disparate-impact proponents doggedly assume that a given racial disparity at an institution is a product of that institution rather than a reflection of disparities that exist outside of it.” [see dissent, Justice Thomas, p. 36]
Despite a total lack of evidence that there was any intent to discriminate against protected classes [because it didn’t exist] the very fact that there is a statistical skew in HUD’s metric is in itself actionable. Shockingly, according to the ruling the plaintiff only has the responsibility of establishing a prima facie case of “disparate impact” upon which the defendant is then essentially found guilty unless it can be proven that some overriding, exculpatory mitigating purpose can be established.
The larger question contrasts equality of opportunity – one of the bed rock principals of the nation – against equality of outcome, which is only possible in a totalitarian system. This is true because people have a limit to how much of their property they will allow the central government to expropriate without rising in direct, possibly violent, opposition.
We are into this pretty deep, the Fed continues to encroach on the prerogatives of the state where its operation conflicts with ideology of the collectivists, BUT at the same time allows states a ridiculous amount of leeway even when the issue at hand is a right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
From this vantage point there are a number of developments we have allowed to take root under what was the Tree of Liberty. The first of these is obvious, the Federal Government has become such a behemoth that it cannot but help step on our basic rights. Since the only way one can get at this is to make the Fed weaker, this means materially reducing the size of “our” central government, eliminating entire departments as not within the charter of a republican democracy. The second, seeming contradictory is to use what would still be the crushing power of the Department of Justice to force states to comply with the written word of the Constitution.
Here one envisions DOJ suing the State of California over its requirement of background checks for the purchase of ammunition.
Both of these hinge on a single factor, right-minded people putting similarly oriented into positions of authority; this can only be done in our system through the electoral process.
(For more from the author of “Socialist Realism – Engineering How Things Should Be” please click HERE)
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