Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
Our freedom is derived from God and nature, not government. It’s a big applause line for V.P. hopeful Paul Ryan on the stump, and it got a huge whoop at the GOP Convention last night. It’s the pea under the walnut shell in the con game of Mr. Ryan’s false Libertarianism. Here’s why.
Our lives are the byproduct of a greater power and the nature that it creates. It’s the easy green pea you can get your head around before the walnut shells start spinning in his speeches.
What’s in the empty shells? When Mr. Ryan and other Tea Party John Bircher Libertarians try to first call that greater power “God,” they then conflate that “God” into religion of their particular stripe, and aren’t telling you that what they are selling to an increasingly atheistic country is the dogma of their religion that they want to form the backbone of a United States without a state religion.
In effect, they are no different than the Mullahs of Iran or the Islamic Jihad. They propose to turn America into the Righteous Christian state that it has never been.
It is Mr. Ryan’s religious beliefs, and those of the extreme Right that have shaped the GOP Party platform again in 2012, that cause one of the well-documented hypocrisies of Republican politics: Get the government off my back, unless of course you are someone who is at odds with my religious dogma. Then, if you’re a woman, or gay, then Mr. Ryan and his pals will use the Big G. government to put the government squarely on your back, or up your vagina.
Mr. Ryan likewise has not come to terms with the racism of his John Birch Society (JBS) Libertarian handlers like the Kochs, who saw and continue to see American blacks and other minorities as inferiors.
“The JBS simultaneously discouraged overt displays of racism, while it promoted policies that had the effect of racist oppression by its opposition to the Civil Rights movement. The degree of political racism expressed by the JBS was not “extremist” but similar to that of many mainstream Republican and Democratic elected officials at the time. This level of mainstream racism should not be dismissed lightly, as it was often crude and sometimes violent, treating Black people in particular as second-class citizens, most of whom had limited intelligence and little ambition. In Alan Stang’s book published by the JBS, It’s Very Simple: The True Story of Civil Rights, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is portrayed as an agent of a massive communist conspiracy to agitate among otherwise happy Negroes to foment revolution, or at least promote demands for more collectivist federal government intrusion.”
This would be why “God” seems to have no problem with the Republican campaigns of voter suppression squarely aimed at minorities but in particular black Americans. It is why the racist code has been not only tolerated but actively encouraged in Republican politics.
Mr. Ryan’s flavor of Libertarian and Mr. Romney’s Neocon silver-spoonerist thinking still is very much vested in Social Darwinism, the idea that their big white male G. God gives them some divine right and dominion over women and minorities.
Here is how to pick the pea of truth out from the GOP shell game. Ryan’s Republicans confuse their God-church with the power that it represents, and try to put their church in place of a government that currently respects all churches, and even those who don’t believe in them.
Let’s accept Paul Ryan’s premise, for the moment, that a greater power shaped “nature” from the firmament. Even so, the Almighty seems to have made a few mistakes, including free will. Apparently the Big Fella didn’t make one Big “C” Church.
In fact, God didn’t make churches at all. Men did, and do.
That’s why there are a lot of them, and they have spent, over the millennia, an inordinate waste of millions of human lives killing each other and oppressing others to prove that their one of the 331 flavors of Big G “God” is better than the guy over the hill’s.
Even if whatever you choose to call that greater power created EVERYTHING, it does not ordain Mr. Ryan and his Teahadi thugs to conduct a jihad on a government clearly founded to respect religious tolerance, which took until the 1960’s to respect the civil rights of all of its citizens, and took until the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) at a federal level to respect even in part the social and sexual liberties of its citizens.
It’s not something most people remember, and you won’t get a refresher watching Ghost Hunters or Jersey Shore, but this country was founded by colonies of those largely escaping the religious persecution of the Church of England. This was a country founded in a muddle of diverse religious sects. So much so that the Founding Fathers did not throw around terms like “Under God” because those religious tribes feared that a larger colony, like New York or Virginia, might impose their vision of the Big G. God and oppress the others.
So here is the big lie in Paul Ryan’s applause line: Our American government IS freedom. It’s the watchdog that allows the Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Anabaptists, Methodists, Pentecostalists, Congregationalists, Unitarians, Shakers, Quakers, Amish, Piests, Irvingites, Southcottites, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Bahais, Wiccans, Pagans, Druids, Native Americans, Scientologists, Shintoists, Taoists, Mung, Satanists, Voodooists, Jews for Jesus, Moonies, Agnostics, and Atheists to all live together in one country without warfare and bloodshed, under a common set of laws, side-by-side, neighbor to neighbor.
The government is GOOD, not bad, flaws and all, because the government is US. Its power does not emanate from some bogeyman magic force. It emanates from YOU. From your vote. They want you to forget that, because your vote at the polls is a power they want to channel.
We the people allow ourselves these freedoms via our government. The freedom for you to be you happens, because you, me, and our neighbors of 322 million other flavors of living invest in it by voting, and paying our taxes to keep the government working. We make it the keeper of the social contract that we all have with each other. Does the government overreach? Yes. It’s not perfect. That’s why we engage in the constant process to reshape it and make it fit the lives and will of the people in the age in which we live.
Mr. Ryan is trying to bend that will to a small and ancient minority of wealthy elites out of step with an America that passed their family dynasties by in the 19th century. The only reason you hear GOVERNMENT BAD is because our friends the Kochs and the other 1% of the 1%, and their lap dogs like Mr. Ryan have spent hundreds of millions of dollars preaching that.
Ask yourself: Is America freer now than it was 100 years ago? The mark of a great nation is how it treats not its majority, but its inclusiveness of its minorities. It has been less than 50 years since the end of “Whites Only” drinking fountains. It has been less than 40 years since women have been able to achieve the level of equality in the workplace that they have.
Our government preserves the freedom created by nature and whatever level of greater power you believe in because it also protects you and me from people like Mr. Ryan, and his handlers who want to dismantle government to achieve their narrow economic and religious aims.
The Almighty Dollar is the real big G. God of the Kochs, Mr. Ryan, and Mr. Romney. No taxes. No regulations. No unions. Yet they will use the government to put the poor, and minorities back in their place. The LGBT back in their closet. The elderly in the back room of their kids house, or the chicken coop.
You see, it’s not hard to find the pea in Mr. Ryan’s shell game.
My shiny two.