10 October 2007: Moral Treason

Silencing Criticism is “Moral Treason”

Article III, Section 3 of our Constitution reads, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” In the September 19th edition of the Courant, Clear Creek Republican Chair Steve Schultz wrote, “the leadership of the Democratic Party and the news media are…guilty of willfully providing aid and comfort to our enemies.”

In that statement, Chairman Schultz accused thousands of patriotic Americans of treason for “smearing the Bush Administration,” which is curious given that a much more famous Republican, President Theodore Roosevelt, once said, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” So, if anyone is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, it is not the leadership of the opposition or journalists fulfilling their First Amendment obligations.

In the September 26th edition, our local economic libertarian Steven Graeber wrote, “as you watch your food prices increase you can blame those same folks (politicians and radical environmentalists) who have been supporting ethanol, which has pushed up the price of corn to to almost its highest price ever.”

That factoid would assuredly mean a can of Del Monte corn has soared relative to, say, a can of green beans, but on my last rip to Safeway, I paid 69 cents per each. As Mr. Graeber might comment, “Hum.”

As the “local liberal/left-wing nut,” I am happily not a denizen of the Alice-in-Wonderland world in which the aforementioned reside. (By the way, if the results of the last few elections are indicators, I am far from alone on the “loony left” here in Clear Creek.) Indeed Master Jack, it’s a strange world in which they live, one of delusion, sycophancy to corporate hegemony, obesience to unabashed militarism, and the desire to fashion a society in which the richest and most powerful can only get more rich and more powerful. We might call it “Steves’ World,” in honor of our “local Steves.”

Mr. Graeber, a native Iowan, while losing sleep over the fact his friends and family back home might be finally making a decent living due to corn prices “artificially rising,” seems to sleep quite well when Big Oil manipulates the cost of your gallon of gas. That’s the genius of the market at work. Hum.

Mr. Graeber seems not to like Democrats. But then, he also disdains environmentalits, oops, “radical environmentalists” as there can be no run-of-the-mill environmental advocates; politicians as whole, but not politicians such as President Bush who are permitted to run up very unlibertarian deficits and fight undeclared wars; workers who dare join a labor union; and taxes not directly approved by the voters, which undoubtedly means, one concludes, he’ll not only support former Marine Rep. John Murtha’s (D-PA) Iraq Tax.proposal, but also insist that we have a national plebiscite on it before throwing another buck at the occupation of and blood-letting in Iraq..

Mr. Schultz decries the treatment MoveOn.org gave to General Petraeus with its NY Times ad calling him “General Betray Us.” On that we agree. But then Schultz immediately smears Democratic Party leaders, including his local Dem Party counterparts, veterans Senators John Kerry (MA), Jack Reid (RI), and Jim Webb (VA) whose son is serving in Iraq, by accusing them of treason. His hero is, in fact, a non-hero: George W. Bush, a phony soldier and no show, who, when it came his turn, never put “his boots on the ground”—only on the flight deck under the banner proclaiming Mission Accomplished.

Mr. Schultz trods into the area of moral relativism, justifying Bush’s faux pas relative to President Bill Clinton. In this case, it’s quite OK for Bush to allow bin Laden to escape because “it was her (Hillary Clinton’s) husband who was offered bin Laden’s head several times and declined to follow up.” The sad truth is that urban legend is just that, a myth created by the rightwing media mouths such as “phony-soldiers” Rush Limbaugh. It is a version of the Big Lie: repeat it over and over and non-thinking, non-inquisitve progeny of those who made P.T. Barnum rich will swallow it whole.

At the Nuremberg Trials, Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich Marshall, said “Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”

Martin Bormann, Goering’s partner in one of the most heinous of crimes against humanity, once commented, “Every educated person is a future enemy.” History shows it is so. Journalists, teachers, and other educated free thinkers are the first to be attacked, marginalized, or executed by revolutionary guards in any revolution, right or left.

The Rabbit Hole can be an exciting place into which to drop when it comes to esoteric matters. However, in matters of war and peace, earning a live-able wage, putting food on the table, paying a mortgage, and having access to affordable health care, boots on the ground planted in reality is what is needed, not ideological nostrums, prescriptions, or Republican National Committee talking points, especially those that demonize patriotic Americans.

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