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L. Neil Smith's
Number 704, January 6, 2013

"It is perhaps a bit late, but individuals
who value civilization are beginning to act."

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Does The Left Have An Agenda? Oh Yeah, You Betcha!
by C. Jeffery Small

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Throughout my life I have listened to the musings of people speculating on the actual intentions of those who align themselves with the philosophy of the progressive left. Many good-hearted people who always search to find only the best in others would look at the disastrous results being achieved by various wealth redistribution schemes, corporate bailouts, regulatory boondoggles, failed educational initiatives and programs based upon moral relativism, egalitarianism and altruism, and offer one excuse after another in an attempt to justify that, in spite of all the harmful consequences, the aim of these people was nevertheless still noble and well-meant. But was it?

After four years of Obama's incessantly divisive rhetoric, capped off by his historic reelection last November, there appears to no longer be any need to attempt to conceal the true intentions of these folk. The time for polite conversation and gentle persuasion has drawn to a close, and more direct and decisive action is now being demanded. Take for example what Louis Michael Seidman—who, just like Barack Obama, was an instructor of constitutional law—suggests in his December 30, 2012 New York Times-sponsored piece entitled, Let's Give Up on the Constitution:

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse.
[Emphasis Added]

That's right. Our reliance upon constitutional principles is a neurotic obsession, and those principles are not just according to this constitutional scholar—but are morally corrupt and therefore evil! Well, let's give Mr. Seidman credit for finally coming out and explicitly stating this belief that so many have struggled to conceal for so long.

Seidman is the left's answer to John Galt. He stands up on the pages of the New York Times and proudly proclaims, "Get Out Of My Way!"—not to the looters and moochers—but to the last remnant of protection that this country has to offer in service of the rights of individuals wishing to exist on their own terms and live for their own sake. Who is he gunning for? Me ... and for you!

If an objective guideline such as the Constitution is to be abandoned as a constraint upon unlimited government power, and the concept of inherent unalienable rights is to be abolished, then what will replace them?

This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.

Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president's term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor.

There is even said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.

What would change is not the existence of these institutions, but the basis on which they claim legitimacy.
[Emphasis Added]

Seidman is privy to the answers, which appear to be nothing more than a grab-bag of personal wish, whim and mystical revelation. For some unstated reason we should have respect for certain amendments (I guess he'll know them when he sees them) while abandoning others that are self-evidently undeserving. Some aspects of the Constitution represent great tradition or are too much a bother to change, while the remainder should be tossed out with the baby and the bath water. Seidman will let us know which is which. And then there's "something to be said" (of course, the actual reasoning is better left unsaid) for maintaining an unrestrained totalitarian body with the power to impose it's arbitrary will upon the remainder of us.

Who could argue with any of this? I mean, where exactly would you start?

What makes it possible for muddled linguistic regurgitations like these to pass for "thought," which then gets prominently displayed upon the pages of the New York Times? The answer is our postmodern educational system that has stunted the minds of the preceding and current generations, rendering so many incapable of any sort of rational analysis. As an example, consider this little gem:

If we acknowledged what should be obvious—that much constitutional language is broad enough to encompass an almost infinitely wide range of positions—we might have a very different attitude about the obligation to obey. It would become apparent that people who disagree with us about the Constitution are not violating a sacred text or our core commitments. Instead, we are all invoking a common vocabulary to express aspirations that, at the broadest level, everyone can embrace. Of course, that does not mean that people agree at the ground level. If we are not to abandon constitutionalism entirely, then we might at least understand it as a place for discussion, a demand that we make a good-faith effort to understand the views of others, rather than as a tool to force others to give up their moral and political judgments.

Why is constitutional language so broad? Because in the postmodern world, words are no longer concepts with definitions and meaning, but merely "sounds" hinting at underlying platonic "feelings" which are all equally valid and must therefore be "embraced" through "good-faith" efforts.

And what's wrong with rigid, objective principles as embodied in our Constitution? For the postmodernist, these are the "tools" of oppression which force one to abandon their subjective "moral and political judgements." In this context, "judgements" means arbitrary assertions requiring no more justification than someone screaming, "this is what I want and demand!"

For additional information on how postmodern philosophy is infecting our educational system, I highly recommend a wonderful series of videos presentations by Professor Stephen Hicks, which form a part of his Philosophy of Education course.

Seidman concludes:

If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by "We the people" is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.

So the entire history of Enlightenment thought which developed throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries, and its impact that upon Western civilization, leading to the recognition of the concept of individual rights, limited government, the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, and the creation of the U.S. Constitution, is nowhere to be found. This history is reduced to a floundering heritage of "mature and tolerant debate" (whatever that is?) held in "bondage" by rigid constitutional ... what? Principle? No, nothing so grand—just archaic and idiosyncratic utterances.

The "freedom" that Mr. Seidman seeks, isn't the political freedom for which our forefathers fought. No, what he strives for is the unobtainable freedom from reality that, time and again, history has shown leaves only a trail of human death and destruction in its failed wake.

Here we find a classic case of our opening thesis. Do we make excuses and allowances for Louis Michael Seidman's apparent lack of knowledge regarding western history and the meaning and purpose of the Constitution which he has been teaching for nearly 40 years, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't actually understand the meaning of what he preaches—or do we hold him fully accountable for his ideas and the consequences that they portend? We'll come back to that.

Just one day earlier, on December 29th, Donald Kaul, was compelled by current events to come out of retirement and pen a column for his old newspaper, the Des Moines Register, titled, Nation Needs a New Agenda On Guns. [Note: This link is to a Fox News story, as the Des Moines Register is not a visitor-friendly site. The original column may be able to be accessed here.]

Like Seidman above, Mr. Kaul is no friend of our Constitution. In his article concerning the Sandy Hook shooting, he declares that, "The thing missing from the debate so far is anger." Well, anger is certainly something that Kaul has in ample supply!

In just a few short paragraphs, he calls for:

Repeal the Second Amendment. Owning a gun should be a privilege, not a right.

Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. I would also raze the organization's headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that's optional. Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that "prying the guns from their cold, dead hands" thing works for me.

Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.

And if that didn't work, I'd adopt radical measures.

When it comes to feelings of anger, it is always time for the Constitution to be sweep aside, allowing those emotions to flower into the bloodlust that is the hallmark of the progressive left. And after all, there's simply nothing quite as eloquent as a good lynching to firmly make your point.

Just like the New York Times, the Des Moines Register considered this suitable material to promote as part of the national discussion on violence. However, considering the rhetoric above, it gives one pause to wonder if the elimination of violence is actually a goal of the left after all?

So just what is the left's agenda? As these examples demonstrate, it is nothing less than a concerted attack upon the principles articulated in the Constitution that provide a framework for autonomy and independence in thought and action. So long as individual rights are recognized and honored, even to a limited extent, it means that people remain somewhat free from the rule of other men. This sort of freedom cannot be tolerated by the tinpot dictator-wannabes like Seidman and Kaul, not to mention the staff at many of our news publications who promote these views while propping up the elected officials—the Reids, Pelosis, McConnells, Boehners, and their ilk—who share in this desire to control.

The agenda is simple, and it explains every position taken by the progressives: That which which promotes individual initiative and personal choice is the bad which must be destroyed, while that which constrains individuals in any manner is the good. As always, it's the age old battle between individualism and collectivism, and it does no good to make allowances and excuses for those out to chain and control us. They know exactly what they are doing. Let's not allow them to hide from the consequences of their own sorry truth one moment longer.

Reprinted from the "Small Thoughts Blog" See Also his John Galt Pledge Site

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