The mailbox is empty, and that means I'm pulling up political and philosophical stuff from deep on my hard drive. This article "Caesarization Part II," is even less funny than last week's. That is what you get for not writing me letters. But it is a little bit misleading to call it Part II. I actually drafted this article over six months ago. It confirms my schtick that I have a very high opinion of my opinions, but if you want something more interesting, you have to do your part. And when you write, don't just ask my opinions about football quarterbacks either, for crying out loud. Write me and ask me how I can fix your life!
Put Me On Your List
An Open Letter from Dear Jon
This is not an open letter to present, future, or past political office-holders. This is an open letter to their staffers; especially, the ones in charge of brainstorming for contingencies.
I mean the sort of contingencies that empowered a staffer named Oliver North a little over 20 years ago to work out the Reagan regime's contempt for Congress; the sort of contingencies with which Vincent Foster quite literally could not co-exist during the early 1990's; the sort of contingencies in a War on Terror administration that can be summed up as "Gitmo," "Abu Ghraib," "water-boarding," and a memo from Luis Gonzalez, written while still a staffer before becoming Attorney General, on legal loop-holes that permit torture and the disposal of Senate-ratified Geneva Conventions.
You are the staffers who inherit the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, whose aides dreamed up the necessity of resettling American citizens of Japanese descent into concentration camps. You are the staffers who inherit the legacy of G. Gordon Liddy and Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President.
To you staffers--from either party-- this is an alert. You need to put me on your list of "undesirables." As you continue to draft your contingency policies which will further usurp free speech and free assembly, as you continue to research constitutional loop-holes so that your top-dog can seize more power and consolidate immunity above the law, I will become increasingly obnoxious and out-spoken. Perhaps you should just deal with me now and get it over with.
I might as well lay my cards on the table, so that you know exactly where it is I oppose you and those of the other party who are of like ambition with yourselves.
1. Because of the laws you are drafting right now, laws which you are modeling on Canadian and European statutes, I expect to one day serve time in federal prison because, even in my humorous, satirical, or back-handed way, I will continue to advocate traditional sexual morality and family values in my Dear Jon columns. Millions of Americans, including many readers on the PO at this moment, will approve of those laws that will send me to prison.
2. Some of you staffers, and many PO readers at this moment, are assuming that my assertion of a First Amendment right to anchor my advice within a value system, puts me on side or other of our society's arbitrary partisan fences. Hardly. I do not advocate Totalitarian Sexual Fascism either. It is not my goal to enforce morality as a matter of state. My issue is that the Constitution of the United States guarantees to me certain rights and freedoms, which include, the right to engage through my speech and writing matters of faith and conscience where the government has no business dabbling.
3. You staffers and I are separated by a common language. When you say "Freedom" you mean "Freedom from DANGER" and/or, depending on your partisan philosophy, "Freedom from WANT." For you, living in perfect safety and/or entitlement is synonymous with "Freedom." I hold that the goals and promises of perfect safety and entitlement are synonymous with Fascism. Guaranteed safety and paternalist entitlements together constitute the Faustian Bargain of totalitarian government.
4. To me, freedom means freedom of agency -- the personal responsibility of self-direction. I believe that the freedom which I am describing is a truer freedom than what you intend to inaugurate through your paternal governance and executive force.
5. This makes me a "throw-back" to some of you:
Progressives will call me a "reactionary." But reactionaries would want to roll back the gains of civil rights. Not me. When I recite the Pledge of Allegiance I actually believe that part about "liberty and justice FOR ALL," which is inclusive and equalitarian, not exclusive and elitist.
Neoconservatives will call me treasonous in a "post 9/11 world." Here again we are separated by common language. I would have thought that exposing a CIA agent's cover is "treason," a capital offense punishable by execution and worthy of impeachment for all involved elected officials. Please explain to me "treason" in the Neoconservative view? Whatever that is, I probably am guilty of it, if "Scooter" is not, and if black is white, night is day, and the ongoing Gitmo operation is the right thing to do.
The true Liberals and the thoughtful Conservatives will find my positions resonant and unsettling to their own consciences. For example, the true Liberal might quail at my unswerving traditionalism when it comes to human sexuality; however, the true Liberal will understand that such an issue can and ought to be discoursed in the public forum of Free Speech, which includes with it the freedom to rebut, rather than become the subject of prosecution. The thoughtful Conservative will be challenged to a form of activism which is normally anathema to the Conservative spirit; an activism that calls the nation to account for its roughshod departure from the foundational values of constitutional government.
It is because you staffers must keep up the rhetorical smoke-screen by which you persuade true Liberals and thoughtful Conservatives to "vote for the lesser of evils" that you staffers will one day have to deal with Dear Jon.
6. I know that I'm just small fry. I am completely anonymous to your boss and not worth mentioning in the staff meeting. As you pore through the blogs and posts and op.eds I will be amazed if you have read this far, at so early a date in the process of our "Caesarization" (see Sort 361).
7. You have the momentum of public conversation and the support of millions of Americans who agree with you rather than our Constitution. I don't expect to "win" this struggle, at least in the way that you and your boss measure winning. That's part of my faith. I believe in "pie in the sky bye-and-bye" and that's why I'm not afraid of you and that's why I'm not going to compromise these principles.
8. My ambition is eternal life. Your ambition is to be a lackey in an imperial presidency. The confusion between eternal life and historical immortality is sad indeed. Here is a history lesson: Rome was not built in a day; it did not collapse in a day either. But it did collapse. The Church is still around. Hmm.
9. You staffers may be scratching your head, wondering how it is possible that a traditional moralist can also oppose the War on Liberties that has coincided with the War on Terror. I represent the kind of unsettling anomaly to your partisan world-views that makes me a real danger to your public platforms and legislative agendas and executive "contingencies." I am thoughtful, intellectual, and an articulate critic of the boastings of government. In the worlds of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, that would have made me a marked person. Does that make me a marked person in your world, too?
10. If so, please, please mark me. If you have such a list, I WANT to be on it. I want to be a martyr for freedom against the paternal governance and executive immunity toward which you, and your counterparts in the other party, are coaxing the United States.