March 5, 2000 – Billy Cox - FLORIDA TODAY
NO CRUELER TYRANNY
Last December, on the day President Clinton swung into Orlando for a fund-raiser, a man convicted of threatening to gun him down was getting a more dubious red-carpet treatment.
Escorted by four federal suits, 52 year old Ronald Barbour spent an all expense paid evening in a downtown Holiday Inn, with supper and breakfast billed to Uncle Sam. Talk about VIP privacy – Barbour's hosts blocked off the entire fifth floor, just for him.
But there were a few nonnegotiable strings attached. Barbour couldn't go anywhere. He couldn't make long distance phone calls. He was required to sleep with his bedroom door open. Furthermore, the Army veteran had to watch his mouth about the man he loathes.
"What did I say?" repeats Barbour, when asked to retrieve the exact words that put him in prison for four years. "Well, after all these years I can't recall my exact words concerning Clinton, but they were to the effect that he was a draft dodger and whoremonger. I would note that I was merely repeating what was said about Clinton by a high-ranking military officer who was forced out of the service for saying them."
Barbour's words coupled with a trip to Washington, D.C. in 1994 with an allegedly loaded gun have earned him an active file in the Secret Service's list of potential assassins. As a consequence, the former retired Army career soldier and right wing political activist is being watched by the Treasury Department's crypto-agency, which knows virtually every move he makes.
The Secret Service won't say how many people like Barbour it tracks: This much is certain: If all the world is a stage, the former Army Intelligence officer has the role of a lifetime. "In terms of Shakespeare, I feel like Hamlet, being stalked by the King and his men."
Now living in Orlando, about two years into a three-year probation, Ronald Gene Barbour's rendezvous with infamy has a number of potential origins. Maybe it started when he was a kid, growing up in Huntington, W..Va., reading books such as THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, THE FIRST CIRCLE, FAHRENHEIT 451 and NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR. Maybe it started with his Cold War under cover intelligence duties in Berlin.
So far as the government cares, it started on January 29, 1994, when a neighbor secretly and illegally tape recorded a conversation Barbour and his brother was having over beers. The neighbor, Stacy Harris, said he did it after hearing Barbour allegedly talking about an attempt to assassinate President Clinton.
Harris was later given a $100,000 reward by the Federal Government for his tape recording. In May 1994, a federal jury in Orlando heard excerpts from the tape. Barbour later challenged the admissibly of this recording on the fact that it lacked a chain of custody (The recording was made on January 29, 1994 - Yet it was not turned over to the Secret Service until a week later) and that it had been edited. Barbour notes that anyone can be made to say anything after a tape recording has been modified.
Hence, the jury heard Barbour's alleged graphic antipathy toward Bill and Hillary Clinton: "And Hillary," the tape has Barbour saying, "You know, I never thought about beating a woman before, but I had this vision, of just stomping her to death. I'd go for her throat and try to break her neck real quick because she's a little thing, and then finish the job by stomping her body with hobnail boots." A few moments later, Barbour allegedly told Harris to get his autograph, because "I'll be the guy who shot Clinton."
Barbour thinks that this portion of the nearly three hours taping by Harris (Only several minutes were turned over to the Secret Service) related to a joke to his brother concerning the punishment of his pet dog (a female) who had a problem with making messes in the house. In regards to the alleged threat about Clinton was a "cut and paste" job done by the Secret Service, because in the original recording transcript no threat against President Clinton is recorded.
Secret Service agents who interrogated Barbour without reading him the Miranda Warning said that Barbour was allegedly drinking heavily and depressed in the winter of 1994. At that point, feeling that life was slipping away and that he had nothing to lose and that he had a political score to settle, Barbour drove north to Alexandria, Virginia from Orlando, Florida and checked into a motel. The Secret Service agents said that Barbour was armed with a Colt .45 caliber automatic pistol and more than 100 rounds of hollow point ammunition. While at the motel for a week, the Secret Service thinks that Barbour made at least six trips into Washington, D.C. looking for President Clinton's jogging routes, so that he could set up an ambush. After learning that the president was in Russia, Barbour returned to Florida without the accomplishment of his "mission."
Barbour relates a different account of his January 1994 trip to Washington, D.C. "Bill Clinton was the last thing on my mind. At that time I was a limo driver for Mears Transportation. I took a week's vacation to visit Washington, D.C. to check out the job opportunities for a person in my line of work. I also wanted to visit the memorial to those who died in service of their country during the Vietnam War. I have a few friends named on that memorial. Yes, I did have a weapon with me for personal protection, but it remained locked in the trunk of my car and unloaded. In regards to me not knowing that Clinton was in Russia during the week I spent in the Washington, D.C. area, all I can say is that I'm a news hound – Of course, I knew he was in Russia! However, as I've said before, I was not interested in harming the president."
Despite the obvious weaknesses in the Government's case against Barbour, a federal jury in May 1994 convicted him of 18 U.S.C. 871, formally known as "Threatening the Life of the President of the United States," a felony that carries a five-year sentence with a possible $250,000 fine, although rejecting 18 USC 1751 known as "The Attempted Assassination of the President" which would have carried life.
Barbour points out that the Government committed major constitutional violations in his case: Perjury, suborning perjury, deception, falsification of official documents, unlawful modification of an audio tape used as evidence in court, intimidation of witnesses by federal agents, obstruction of justice, violation of Writ of Habeas Corpus and other criminal violations. Also, no witnesses observed him on the Mall or near the White House.
When asked in reason for the jury's decision against him Barbour thinks that it was based on emotion, "The U.S. Attorney's attitude, and one that he was successful in selling to the jury, was so what if the case against Barbour was far from perfect, he was going to assassinate the President. In other words, he couldn't prove it, he just said it and that was good enough for the jury."
Barbour spent four years and three months in various federal prisons. He walked out on June 26, 1998, unchastened and insisting that his conviction was politically motivated. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed and denied his appeal in 1995.
STAR CHAMBER JUSTICE
"Our system of justice has many ominous parallels with the star chamber of yesteryear: Decisions are made behind closed doors and the average citizen isn't entitled to know anything about the process," Barbour charges, "For instance, after numerous Freedom of Information requests I cannot find out anything on how the Secret Service determines who constitutes a threat against the presidency. If you're able to discover anything will you let me know? I've been trying to find out for years."
Replies Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin in Washington: "That not something we share. We don't talk a lot about protective intelligence."
But on February 9, 1994, an inadvertent glimpse of insight came from agency psychologist Margaret Coggins.
Lecturing at the University of South Florida's Mental Health Institute, Coggins told listeners the Secret Service had three classifications for threat assessment. Those in Class I, she said, are discarded as no threat. Class II involved suspects who were investigated and determined not to pose a threat. Class III types, Coggins said, are considered legitimately dangerous.
At that time, there were 120 Class III suspects in America. Ronald Barbour was not one of them. Coggins didn't mention Barbour's name in her lecture, but she spoke of a Florida man who had been questioned by Secret Service agents on February 3, 1994 — the same day that Barbour was contacted by the authorities.
"The subject went to the Mall every day for six days waiting to shoot the president," Coggins told the audience. "He hoped that if he shot the president, he would be shot dead himself. Fortunately, the president was overseas at the time."
Coggins, whose remarks were printed in the St. Petersburg Times, informed listeners the suspect had been interviewed and eliminated from Class III consideration. So, what happened between then and February 17, 1994, when Barbour was indicted on federal charges by a Grand Jury?
Mackin said Coggins wouldn't be available for comment, "We're, uh, well aware of that article," he says, "I'm not sure she knew members of the news media were at the Conference."
Furthermore, threat assessment evaluations are privileged information. "It goes to our methods and means," he says. "We receive cases involving threats on a rather consistent basis, and we investigate them all to the fullest. If a defendant knows how it's done, they might be able to manipulate the process."
Barbour thinks that President Clinton got directly involved with his case. He cites a reference in the Government's Sentencing Memorandum to a meeting Clinton had prior to the indictment with then Secret Service Director Ron Noble.
"Well, what else could it be but political?" says Barbour who has requested the minutes of that meeting under the Freedom of Information Act, so far, to no avail. "The State of Maryland prosecutes Linda Tripp for illegally taping Monica Lewinsky, but the guy who does the same thing to me gets off scot-free. Come on – give me a break."
Clarence Counts, who represented Barbour at the District court trial and Appeals to the Federal District Court and the United States Supreme Court, states that Stacy Harris' taping was a felony under the Florida Statutes, which mandate a five-year prison sentence for a violation.
The prosecutor of Barbour, former U.S. Attorney James Glazebrook, appointed by President Clinton to the office of U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Middle District Court in Orlando recalls prosecuting Barbour and doesn't dispute Count's point concerning the Harris tape. "It was a very interesting case," he says.
"I remember, at that time, feeling 100 percent confident that no state attorney would think of prosecuting Harris for turning over a tape that might have saved the life of President Clinton," Glazebrook says. "The court completely and properly rejected the defense arguments, because Harris was a Patriot."
Barbour thinks that both Harris and Glazebrook are about as patriotic as Benedict Arnold.
Barbour says that the Secret Service investigators were unable to produce eyewitness accounts to build a case of presidential stalking. Therefore, they tricked him into incriminating himself, in an interview done without benefit of the Miranda Warning, by walking him through a series of hypothetical questions like, "What advice could you give the Secret Service to enable it to better protect the president?" He says that never in the course of the five-hour interrogation did he tell investigators that he planned to assassinate President Clinton.
Without knowing the particulars of the case, ACLU executive director Greg Nojeim in Washington, D.C. says that it's difficult to know where Barbour crossed the line from First Amendment rights to a deadly threat.
As for the Secret Service's classification procedures, Nojeim says: "Good luck. Your only hope of finding out how he went from Class II to Class III is to file under the Freedom of Information Act and wait a few years and hope you're satisfied with the results, because they're usually not satisfying."
With the Linda Tripp analogy in mind, Tim Lynch, spokesman for the Cato Institute, a Libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. says, "Prosecutors have an extraordinary amount of discretion. You can take any two cases in the country and say, ‘Why this and not that?' And because there is so much discretion, cases like these do raise legitimate questions of oversight involving the legislative branch over the executive."
Having exhausted all legal recourse, those discussions are a moot point for Barbour, now, but given his background in military intelligence, Barbour wonders whether he'll be on the government's "Watch List" for the rest of his life, "Can you believe it? The Secret Service considers my military career a negative factor in my case."
The adopted son of a World War II veteran who landed in France at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, Barbour joined the Army after high school in 1966. He served tours of duty in Europe, Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia and Alaska before being assigned covert "spy duty" in West Berlin working a cover electronic surveillance mission against Russian forces in East Germany from a radio tower.
In the late 1970s, Barbour was assigned to the very secret National Security Agency at Ft. Meade, Maryland where he worked the ELINT mission, which was the intercept and analysis of Russian and Chinese telemetry and radar systems. In the early 1980s, Barbour was assigned to the Canal Zone in Panama to monitor Cuban and Russian signal traffic to and from Central America. Barbour retired from the Army in 1986, after his last assignment at Patrick USAF Base, Florida.
THE FEDERAL PRISON SYSTEM
Barbour says he pulled time at four federal prisons. The most memorable was a year spent at Butner, North Carolina, in 1994 where he meet Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel and Keith Idema, convicted of fraud and a self styled "Soldier of Fortune" who alleged that his conviction was a frame up by the federal government who wanted his information concerning portable nuclear weapons. Barbour's impression of Pollard was that he was an honest man sorry for his offense against national security. In contrast, Barbour thought Idema was a liar and phony who had puffed up his resume in Special Forces and lied about his experiences in the former Soviet Union. Barbour notes that Idema spent most of his time at Butner in Segregation because of his many problems interacting with guards and fellow inmates.
Barbour says that he was assaulted twice by fellow inmates while incarcerated, but says that his injuries weren't serious. Barbour also states that he was closely monitored by prison authorities, subjected to endless interrogations by Secret Service agents, and that prison authorities encouraged fellow inmates to spy on him.
When freed in 1998, Barbour says that, "I had always been a free man in my mind, so a readjustment to life outside prison was extremely easy for me."
THE BARBOUR CASE: IMPORTANT QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERED
"In the present case, Barbour "was not just making idle threats." Hines, 26 F.3d at 1474. Less than two weeks prior to his threats, Barbour was in Washington, D.C., with one hundred rounds of ammunition, waiting to assassinate the President. He failed to carry out his plan only because the President never arrived where Barbour was waiting, and he returned home only after discovering the President was out of the country. Barbour never deviated from his plan to kill the President; he was just denied the opportunity. Thus, when Barbour made his threats after returning home, there was every reason to conclude that he intended to act on those threats and that he was likely to do so. Because the record supports the district court's determination that Barbour had evidenced an intent to carry out his threat, the six- level enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2A6.1(b)(1) was properly applied." - Federal Curcuit Court Judge Kravitch.
This reporter would like to ask the following questions to Judge Kravitch after careful examination of more than 1,000 pages of pictures, tapes and court records relating to this case:
1. If indeed this account is true then why was Barbour not tried in Washington, D.C., the site of the alleged assassination plot?
2. Why the Government could produce no witnesses or pictures to place Barbour anywhere near Clinton's jogging routes where the alleged assassination was to take place?
3. Why does Judge cite "100 rounds" of ammunition and gun ownership come from when it was proven in court that Barbour owned no guns or ammunition at the time of his arrest?
4. Finally, Clinton was not in Washington, D.C. and on a tour of Russia during the alleged assassination attempt, so how could have he been harmed by Barbour in Washington, D.C.?
NO CRUELER TYRANNY: THE INJUSTICE OF THE BARBOUR CASE
This reporter thinks that a great injustice was done to Barbour. Please consider the facts of the case that were exposed in court:
1. The information that Barbour had attempted to assassinate came from a confidential informant not trusted by law enforcement agencies because the information he provided to authorities was not reliable and used to settle personal disputes with others.
2. The agents discovered in the course of their investigation that Harris had produced a recording that was clearly illegal under federal and state statutes and should not have been admitted in court, because it lacked a chain of custody, but was allowed by the District Court based only on the testimony of Harris of its accuracy.
3. President Clinton was briefed by Ronald Noble, the current Director of the Secret Service, on or about February 4, 1994 concerning the arrest of Barbour for an assassination attempt. The repeated attempts made by Barbour to secure the minutes of his meeting between Clinton and Noble from the White House have been denied the citing National Security.
4. Barbour was denied his right to WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS for a period of two weeks --February 3, 1994 to February 17, 1994-- despite several attempts by Barbour to secure the attention of the federal judiciary.
5. The District Court ignored perjury on the part of Secret Service agent John McKenna who first interviewed Barbour at the VA Clinic in Orlando. Barbour has testified that he was not read his Miranda right to remain silent, and Barbour’s testimony is supported by the Director of the VA Clinic in Orlando who overheard the conversation from another room. The agents also failed to record Barbour's alleged permission to answer questions or to obtain his signature on a waiver; yet both agents testified that they had these items available in their government vehicle.
6. The decision of the District Court should have been reversed by the majority Circuit Court of Appeals on any of these grounds, which are gross violations by the government of a citizen's rights under the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments, violation of Writ of Habeas Corpus, and indications of a conspiracy to convict an innocent man that may reach into the highest office in the land.This reporter can only conclude from his study of the facts of the case that the federal justice system underwent a meltdown in the Barbour case. In the words of Montesquieu, "There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice." It is chilling that some of those individuals responsible for this injustice still occupy positions of authority in the federal criminal justice system.
A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT
"I was there at the party where Ron was taped by that Stacy Harris character and I heard the tape in court, and I can tell you my brother never said those things about killing Clinton and an assassination attempt," says Jack Barbour. "And I told that to the court. My brother got screwed big time by Bill Clinton. Everyone knows he uses the courts to get people who don’t like him! Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives back in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice. There is not a doubt in my mind that either Bill Clinton or one of the lackeys got my brother sent up the river. Did Ron tell you he lost everything: his military pension, his apartment, his car, his bank account...EVERYTHING? And for what? Telling the truth about that degenerate and traitor, Bill Clinton. I detest Bill Clinton. I hate Hillary Clinton. I think the Democrats are filthy lying leftist elitist scum and the main enemies of the Republic. So send me to prison for four years too!”
"Ron is not a physical threat to anyone, says Scott Ellis, Brevard County Commissioner, I’ve known Ron Barbour for years. He helped out in my Congressional campaign in 1986. Barbour is politically astute enough to know that shooting the president doesn't effect political change. I think this injustice shows how a corrupt president can bend the federal court system and the Secret Service to do his will. Did a conspiracy exist between Ron Noble, the Director of the Secret Service and Senior Special Agent John McKenna to put Ron Barbour in prison at the orders of President Clinton? I understand that while Clinton was Governor of Arkansas his enemies were sometimes hauled into court on bogus charges. I well recall that in 1995 or 1996 that Rush Limbaugh’s radio studio was raided by the Secret Service because Limbaugh was alleged to have threatened Clinton and they were looking for an audiotape to prove it. The Secret Service found nothing and Limbaugh was not charged.”
“I was a juror in Barbour’s trial at the Federal Courthouse in Orlando in late May 1994,” said Shelly Jackson of Altamonte Springs, “There were two counts on his indictment: The first was U.S.C. 1751 – the attempted assassination of the president; the second was U.S.C. 851 – threat against the president. We found Barbour guilty of the second charge, which carried a five-year sentence. This happened because one juror – the Foreman – wanted to find Barbour guilty of both counts and the rest of us thought he was innocent, so this was a compromise. The deliberations went on for nearly three days and the best reason the Foreman who thought Barbour was guilty could come up with was that Barbour would not have been charged by the government with this crime if he was not guilty. At least Barbour was spared the worst fate in our verdict because conviction on U.S.C. 1751 would have carried life in prison.”
“I was Ron Barbour’s attorney in the trial and wrote both his appeals,”says Clarence Counts,” I have been an attorney for more than 20 years and handled dozens of clients and have forgotten most of them; however, the USA v. Barbour is one case I’ll never forget because of arrogant abuse of power and obstruction of justice on the part of the U.S. Secret Service which resulted in sending an innocent man and honorable decorated professional soldier to prison for more than four years. I remember thinking several times during the trial of Barbour that what was happening to him had an ominous parallel with the oppression of political opponents of the Communist regime in Soviet Russia like Nobel Prize winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Did Ron Barbour attempt to assassinate President Clinton? The facts of the case indicate he did not; therefore, the Circuit Court majority opinion by the very liberal and Democratic appointed Judge Kravitch in the denial of Barbour’s Appeal is a tale told by an idiot.”
That's an interesting article Ron. Your case is a very troubling example of prosecutorial over-reach. I can't believe they found you guilty and you had to go to jail. Shit, you didn't do anything. Somebody simply thought you 'might' do something and wham, with the help of an agressive prosecutor and a careless judge you're in the clink. Wow.
You've put up with a lot of shit and yet you still love this country. You a big man to be able to move on, a helluva lot bigger than those who prosecuted you.
January 07, 2006 12:53 AM
Ronald Barbour said...
Thanks for the kind words!
Like Nietzsche said, "That which does not destroy us makes us stronger."
February 19, 2006 7:21 PM
That was pretty supportive of Ronbo. A few CYA moments, but pretty supportive overall. Having been in law enforcement, it isn't a stretch to understand how the SS feels that Ronbo is the mother of all bad guys (after all, they couldn't be wrong, right?), and it makes sense that some in the SS will choose to make bagging Ronbo again their life goal.
I find it to be abusive at best though, when someone has "paid" the full penalty for a conviction, and still has to live with a government microscope up his ass years later.
I like Ronbo. I buy his side of the story. Even if he shot his mouth off in the wrong place, at the wrong time, I can't picture him as a presidential assassin. There are a couple of reasons.
First, his track record over the years is extreme (as fits the forum), but he supports rule of law. Shooting a president is plain wrong, as even in the case of Clinton, he was elected by the people, and if you happened to be on the losing side, you bear with it until times change. Murder isn't an acceptable response to losing an election. Politics is what it is, but it isn't a capital offense to have more people support you than the other guy, even if many of the people who support you are pretty much a sackfull of ignorant morons, as was the case with Clinton . Murdering a president of any party is to deny the basic foundation of the rule of law in the US, and there is no way to justify such an act as a 'positive' event in our history.
My second thought is that any attempt on the life of a US president would end up offering the party of the president a great boost at the expense of the minority party. Clinton is a lot of things, but he isn't the whackiest member of the US communist party. Most of the real whacky members of that party are in the Senate. They would have filled the void, and used the murder to gain public support for years to come. In that case, the US would be busy picking up where the CCCP left off, even faster than it is today.
Unless Ronbo suffered from a bout of insanity at the time, I think his political acumen is such that he would never go through with such a fucked up plan.
March 15, 2006 11:11 PM
Nice write up Ronbo!
I keep getting asked by other bloggers why I don't start my own blog and occasionally I think about it but having to write about something semi-deep and relevant while being entertaining and sometimes funny all at the same time just seems like something too close to work to me.
Besides, I would much rather read what everyone else here has to say.
To me that is far more interesting.
Also, what puts the hand cuffs of social correctness on some of these other bloggers is there very own success that they seek. Then their blog takes off and becomes profitable then they start worrying how they appear to others on their next MSNBC interview, or if their advertisers will freak and stop advertising and so they worry more and remove all of their links to places like this that are not that different from when they started out.
By now I understand and I find it funnier than it hurts me, but now I understand.
It like their blog is growing up and they are leaving home in a way; it's a sign of success and that is something I ultimately wish for everybody.
March 15, 2006 11:18 PM
To put it in Monty Python terms: Barbour is a loony.
March 15, 2006 11:28 PM
Ronald Barbour said...
This is hard one to disprove -- after all, how do you define "sanity?" Certainly many people have said Bill Clinton is totally insane, yet he was twice elected president. Many believed Ted Kennedy was totally loony when he killed that woman back in 1969. What about Howard "Rant" Dean? If indeed I am insane I'm certainly very clever because I fooled the U.S. Army Security Agency into giving me a security clearance well above Top Secret for a number of years. I also fooled everyone in my chain of command in the Army for many years into giving me promotions, letters of achievement and decorations. Ditto four years in prison. Ditto eight years outside prison.
The truth is that I'm about as insane as HAMLET. A classic story that has many parallels with events in my life.
In my case from the very beginning in early 1994 it was the goal of the Secret Service to have me judged insane -- but even the BOP doctors at FCI Butner could find nothing wrong with me other than mood swings -- someetimes I'm happy and sometimes I'm sad. Very strange indeed.
After my release from prison I talked the VA into another mental analysis and the results were the same: I am sane. This was the same result of the analysis by a court appointed doctor before my trial.
Therefore, I was sane before the trial, sane during my prison experience and sane today.
It is interesting that the U.S. Secret Service treated me the same as political prisoners were treated by the KGB during the glory days of the Soviet Union. It must be admitted this is a very effective tactic in the area of public relations, because the MSM immediately jumped on the bandwagon and used this canard as an effective way to destroy a conservative.
I would compare my case to the Dreyfus Affair in France.
In case you're wondering the Secret Service considers me still a "Class III" suspect and I have a Case Officer who follows me all over the Internet reading what I post.
I understand the S.S. worries that a veterans' group, conservative group, or conservative publication/personality will take up my cause and force this injustice back into court.
My most recent encounter with the S.S.
So in conclusion fellow citizens, soldiers, patriots and veterans: After reading the articles pro and con about Barbour: vote on it!
1."Barbour insane?" Yes or No.
2. "Barbour guilty of the attempted assassination of President Clinton?" Yes or No.
3. "Barbour should get a DE NOVO review of his case?" Yes or no.
4. "The Government should release all documents regarding Barbour's case?" Yes or no.
March 15, 2006 11:41 PM
Saying your going to do something is not the same as doing it. If you did't do it, your not guilty.
Basically, this man, suffering from severe stress, made threats to stop what he supposed was the leader of a degenerate population of people who ruined his country.
The corrupt system wanted to prove to itself that it controls everything and everyone, to allow itself to feel secure despite its burden of guilt and the intense hatred it knows it deserves from the non-system population.
Therefore, despite the man having mental problems, it seems he was not placed in an institution for the insane, but PRISON, because the system felt that despite his insanity his intended actions were in effect perfectly sane and to be expected. Thus the system is aware of its guilt, but is itself sociopathic and only considers itself clever for continuing its criminal (and un-Constitutional) actions unchecked. That's a fair definition of evil.
He may be crazy, but at least he has some patriotic thoughts about saving his country, unlike these SF mercenaries who get paid to play the tough guy, going to foreign lands to kill untrained civilians for money and glory.
And if you really believed he was insane, why would you be so defensive about it, reaffirming how elite you are on a messageboard while discrediting him?
I'd guess you don't believe he is insane, just made threats to a system that calls you elite and glorifies you, and that really seems to piss you off.
Kinda like cops who seize guns from citizens so they can feel needed, when they are really the enablers of the legions of petty and serious criminals that stalk our cities.
If you do believe he's insane, then you must also be insane to feel threatened by his remarks. If you become an accomplished person outside of institutions like the military, you will realize an inner worth that needs no artificial support structure provided by a berets, uniforms, lingo, credos, tats, and medals.
With such confidence, you will not feel threatened by people who cannot control their emotional extremes, and you will become empowered to control yours.
March 15, 2006 11:50 PM
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The concept of Leaderless Resistance was proposed by Col. Ulius Louis Amoss, who was the founder of International Service of Information Incorporated, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Col. Amoss died more than fifteen years ago, but during his life was a tireless opponent of communism, as well as a skilled Intelligence Officer. Col. Amoss first wrote of Leaderless Resistance on April 17, 1962. His theories of organization were primarily directed against the threat of eventual Communist take-over in the United States. The present writer, with the benefit of having lived many years beyond Col. Amoss, has taken his theories and expounded upon them. Col. Amos feared the Communists. This author fears the federal government. Communism now represents a threat to no one in the United States, while federal tyranny represents a threat to everyone .The writer has joyfully lived long enough to see the dying breaths of communism, but may, unhappily, remain long enough to see the last grasps of freedom in America.
In the hope that, somehow, America can still produce the brave sons and daughters necessary to fight off ever increasing persecution and oppression, this essay is offered. Frankly, it is too close to call at this point. Those who love liberty, and believe in freedom enough to fight for it are rare today, but within the bosom of every once great nation, there remains secreted, the pearls of former greatness. They are there. I have looked into their sparking eyes; sharing a brief moment in time with them as I passed through this life. Relished their friendship, endured their pain, and they mine. We are a band of brothers, native to the soil gaining strength one from another awe have rushed head long into a battle that all the weaker, timid men, say we cannot win. Perhaps...but then again, perhaps wean. It's not over till the last freedom fighter is buried or imprisoned, or the same happens to those who would destroy their freedom.
Barring any cataclysmic events, the struggle will yet go on for years. The passage of time will make it clear to even the slower among us that the government is the foremost threat to the life, and liberty of the folk. The government will no doubt make today's oppressiveness look like grade school work compared to what they have planned in the future. Meanwhile, there are those of us who continue to hope that somehow the few can do what the many have not. We are cognizant that before things get better they will certainly get worse as government shows a willingness to use ever more severe police state measures against dissidents. This changing situation makes it clear that those who oppose state repression must be prepared to alter, adapt, and modify their behavior, strategy, and tactics as circumstances warrant. Failure to consider new methods and implement them as necessary will make the government's efforts at suppression uncomplicated. It is the duty of every patriot to make the tyrant's life miserable. When one fails to do so he not only fails himself, but his people.
With this in mind, current methods of resistance to tyranny employed by those who love our race, culture, and heritage must pass a litmus test of soundness. Methods must be objectively measured as to their effectiveness, as well as to whether they make the government's intention of repression more possible or more difficult. Those not working to aid our objectives must be discarded or the government benefits from our failure to do so.
As honest men who have banded together into groups or associations of a political or religious nature are falsely labeled "domestic terrorists" or "cultists “and suppressed, it will become necessary to consider other methods of organization--or as the case may very well call forenoon-organization. One should keep in mind that it is not in the government’s interest to eliminate all groups. Some few must remain in order to perpetuate the smoke and mirrors vision forth masses that America is a "free democratic country “where dissent is allowed. Most organizations, however, that possess the potential for effective resistance will not be allowed to continue. Anyone who is so naive as to believe the most powerful government on earth will not crush any who pose a real threat to that power, should not be active, but rather, at home studying political history.
The question as to who is to be left alone and who is not, will be answered by how groups and individuals deal with several factors such as: avoidance of conspiracy plots, rejection of feeble minded malcontents, insistence upon quality of the participants, avoidance of all contact with the front men for the federals--the news media--and, finally, camouflage (which can be defined as the ability to blend in the public's eye the more committed groups of resistance with mainstream "kosher “associations that are generally seen as harmless.) Primarily though, whether any organization is allowed to continue in the future will be a matter of how big a threat a group represents. Not a threat in terms of armed might or political ability, for there is none of either for the present, but rather, threat inters of potentiality. It is potential the federals fear most. Whether that potential exists in an individual or group is incidental. The federals measure potential threat in terms of what might happen given a situation conducive to action on the part of a restive organization or individual. Accurate intelligence gathering allows them to assess the potential. Showing one's hand before the bets are made, is a sure way to lose.
The movement for freedom is rapidly approaching the point where for many people; the option of belonging to a group will be nonexistent. For others, group membership will be a viable option for only the immediate future. Eventually, and perhaps much sooner than most believe possible, the price paid for membership will exceed any perceived benefit. But for now, some of the groups that do exist often serve a useful purpose either for the newcomer who can be indoctrinated into the ideology of the struggle, or for generating positive propaganda to reach potential freedom fighters. It is sure that, for the most part, this struggle is rapidly becoming a matter of individual action, each of its participants making a private decision in the quietness of his heart to resist: to resist by any means necessary. It is hard to know what others will do, for no man truly knows another man's heart. It is enough to know what one will do. A great teacher once said "know thyself." Few men really do, but let each of us, promise ourselves, not to go quietly to the fate our would-be masters have planned.
The concept of Leaderless Resistance is nothing less than a fundamental departure in theories of organization. The orthodox scheme of organization is diagrammatically represented by the pyramid, with the mass at the bottom and the leader at the top. This fundamental of organization is to be seen not only in armies, which are of course, the best illustration of the pyramid structure, with themes of soldiery, the privates, at the bottom responsible to corporals who are in turn responsible to sergeants, and so on up the entire chain of command to the generals at the top. But the same structure is seen in corporations, ladies' garden clubs and in our political system itself. This orthodox "pyramid “scheme of organization is to be seen basically in all existing political, social and religious structures in the world today from the Federal government to the Roman Catholic Church. The Constitution of the United States, in the wisdom of the Founders, tried to sublimate the essential dictatorial nature of pyramidal organization by dividing authority into three: executive, legislative and judicial. But the pyramid remains essentially untouched.
This scheme of organization, the pyramid, is however, not only useless, but extremely dangerous for the participants when it is utilized in a resistance movement against state tyranny. Especially is this so in technologically advanced societies where electronic surveillance can often penetrate the structure revealing its chain of command. Experience has revealed over Andover again that anti-state, political organizations utilizing this method of command and control are easy prey for government infiltration, entrapment, and destruction of the personnel involved. This has been seen repeatedly in the United States where pro-government infiltrators or agent provocateurs weasel their way into patriotic groups and destroy them from within.
In the pyramid type of organization, an infiltrator can destroy anything which is beneath his level of infiltration and often those above him as well. If the traitor has infiltrated at the top, then the entire organization from the top down is compromised and may be traduced at will.
An alternative to the pyramid type of organization is the cell system. In the past, many political groups (both right and left)have used the cell system to further their objectives. Two examples will suffice. During the American Revolution “committees of correspondence" were formed throughout the thirteen colonies.
Their purpose was to subvert the government and thereby aid the cause of independence. The "Sons of Liberty", who made a name for themselves dumping government taxed tea into the harbor at Boston, were the action arm of the committees of correspondence. Each committee was a secret cell that operated totally independently of the other cells. Information on the government was passed from committee to committee, from colony to colony, and then acted upon on a local basis. Yet even in these bygone days of poor communication, of weeks to months for alerter to be delivered, the committees without any central direction whatsoever, were remarkable similar in tactics employed to resist government tyranny. It was, as the first American patriots knew, totally unnecessary for anyone to give an order for anything. Information was made available to each committee, and each committee acted as it saw fit. A recent example of the cell system taken from the left wing of politics are the Communists. The Communist, in order to get around the obvious problems involved in pyramidal organization, developed to an art the cell system. They had numerous independent cells which operated completely isolated from one another and particularly with no knowledge of each other, but were orchestrated together by a central headquarters. For instance, during World War II, in Washington, it is known that there were at least six secret Communist cells operating at high levels in the United States government (plus all the open Communists who were protected and promoted by President Roosevelt), however, only one of the cells was rooted out and destroyed.
How many more actually were operating no one can say for sure.
The Communist cells which operated in the U.S until late 1991 under Soviet control could have at their command a leader, who held a social position which appeared to be very slowly. He could be, for example, a busboy in a restaurant, but in reality colonel or a general in the Soviet Secret Service, the KGB. Under him could be a number of cells and a person active in one cell would almost never have knowledge of individuals who are active in another cell. The value of this is that while any one cell cane infiltrated, exposed or destroyed, such action will have no effect on the other cells; in fact, the members of the other cells will be supporting that cell which is under attack and ordinarily would lend very strong support to it in many ways. This is at least part of the reason, no doubt, that whenever in the past Communists were attacked in this country, support for them sprang up in many unexpected places.
The efficient and effective operation of a cell system after the Communist model, is of course, dependent upon central direction, which means impressive organization, funding from the top, and outside support, all of which the Communists had. Obviously, American patriots have none of these things at the toper anywhere else, and so an effective cell organization based upon the Soviet system of operation is impossible.
Two things become clear from the above discussion. First, that the pyramid type of organization can be penetrated quite easily and it thus is not a sound method of organization in situations where the government has the resources and desire to penetrate the structure; which is the situation in this country. Secondly, that the normal qualifications for the cell structure based upon the Red model does not exist in the U.S. for patriots. This understood, the question arises "What method is left for those resisting state tyranny?" The answer comes from Col. Amoss who proposed the "Phantom Cell" mode of organization. ,which he described as Leaderless Resistance. A system of organization that is based upon the cell organization, but does not have any central control or direction, that is in fact almost identical to the methods used by the Committees of Correspondence during the American Revolution. Utilizing the Leaderless Resistance concept, all individuals and groups operate independently of each other, and never report to a central headquarters or single leader for direction or instruction, as would those who belong to a typical pyramid organization.
At first glance, such a type of organization seems unrealistic, primarily because there appears to be no organization. The natural question thus arises as to how are the “Phantom cells" and individuals to cooperate with each other when there is no intercommunication or central direction? The answer to this question is that participants in a program of Leaderless Resistance through phantom cell or individual action must know exactly what they are doing, and how to do it. It becomes the responsibility of the individual to acquire the necessary skills and information as to what is to be done. Thesis by no means as impractical as it appears, because it is certainly true that in any movement, all persons involved have the same general outlook, are acquainted with the same philosophy, and generally react to given situations in similar ways. The pervious history of the committees of correspondence during the American Revolution show this to be true.
Since the entire purpose of Leaderless Resistance is to defeat state tyranny (at least insofar as this essay is concerned), all members of phantom cells or individuals will tend to react to objective events in the same way through usual tactics of resistance. Organs of information distribution such as newspapers, leaflets, computers, etc., which are widely available to all, keep each person informed of events, allowing for a planned response that will take many variations. No one need issue an order to anyone. Those idealist truly committed to the cause of freedom will act when they feel the time is ripe, or will take their cue from others who precede them. While it is true that much could be said against this type of structure as a method of resistance, it must be kept in mind that Leaderless Resistance is a child of necessity. The alternatives to it have been show to be unworkable or impractical. Leaderless Resistance has worked before in the American Revolution, and if the truly committed put it to use for themselves, it will work now.
Leaderless Resistance leads to very small or even one man cells of resistance. Those who join organizations to play "let’s pretend" or who are "groupies" will quickly be weeded out. While for those who are serious about their opposition to federal despotism, this is exactly what is desired.
From the point of view of tyrants and would be potentates in the federal bureaucracy and police agencies, nothing is more desirable than that those who oppose them be UNIFIED in their command structure, and that every person who opposes them belong to a pyramid type group. Such groups and organizations are an easy kill. Especially in light of the fact that the Justice (sic) Department promised in 1987 that there would never be another group that opposed them that they did not have at least one informer in. These federal "friends of government" are intelligence agents. They gather information that can be used at the whim of a federal D.A. to prosecute. The line of battle has been drawn. Patriots are required therefore, to make a conscious decision to either aid the government in its illegal spying, by continuing with old methods of organization and resistance, or to make the enemies’ job more difficult by implementing effective countermeasures.
Now there will, no doubt, be mentally handicapped people out there who, while standing at a podium with an American flag draped in the background, and a lone eagle soaring in the sky above, will state emphatically in their best sounding red, white, and blue voice, "So what if the government is spying? We are not violating any laws." Such crippled thinking by any serious person is the best example that there is a need for special education classes. The person making such a statements totally out of contact with political reality in this country, and unfit for leadership of anything more than a dog sleigh in the Alaskan wilderness. The old "Born on the fourth of July" mentality that has influenced so much of the American patriot’s thinking in the past will not save him from the government in the future. "Reeducation" forenoon-thinkers of this type will take place in the federal prison system where there are no flags or eagles, but abundance of men who were "not violating any law."
Most groups who "unify" their disparate associates into a single structure have short political lives. Therefore, those movement leaders constantly calling for unity of organization rather than the desirable unity of purpose, usually fall into one of three categories.
They may not be sound political tacticians, but rather, just committed men who feel unity would help their cause, while not realizing that the government would greatly benefit from such efforts. The Federal objective, to imprison or destroy all who oppose them, is made easier in pyramid organizations. Or perhaps, they do not fully understand the struggle they are involved inland that the government they oppose has declared a state of war against those fighting for faith, folk, freedom and constitutional liberty. Those in power will use any means to rid themselves of opposition. The third class calling for unity and let us hope this is the minority of the three, are men more desirous of the supposed power that a large organization would bestow, than of actually achieving their stated purpose.
Conversely, the last thing Federal snoops would have, if they had any choice in the matter, is a thousand different small phantom cells opposing them. It is easy to see why. Such situation is an intelligence nightmare for a government intent upon knowing everything they possibly can about those who oppose them. The Federals, able to amass overwhelming strength of numbers, manpower, resources, intelligence gathering, and capability at any given time, need only a focal point to direct their anger. A single penetration of a pyramid type of organization can lead to the destruction of the whole. Whereas, Leaderless Resistance presents no single opportunity for the Federals to destroy a significant portion of the Resistance.
With the announcement by the Department of Justice (sic) that300 FBI agents formerly assigned to watching Soviet spies in the US (domestic counter intelligence) are now to be used to “combat crime", the federal government is preparing the way for a major assault upon those persons opposed to their policies. Many anti-government groups dedicated to the preservation of the America of our forefathers can expect shortly to feel the brunt of a new federal assault upon liberty.
It is clear, therefore, that it is time to rethink traditional strategy and tactics when it comes to opposing a modern police state. America is quickly moving into a long dark night of police state tyranny, where the rights now accepted by most as being inalienable will disappear. Let the coming night be filled with thousand points of resistance. Like the fog which forms when conditions are right and disappears when they are not, so must the resistance to tyranny be.
"If every person has the right to defend--even by force--his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support common force to protect these rights constantly." ---TheLaw. Frederick Bastiat
Friday, January 25, 2008
"The Study of Revenge" blog has been deleted and I'm wondering if the Islamists had a hand in it. I know they did get Google to label it a "hate" website.
THE BEST IMAGES:
THE BEST IMAGES:
Friday, January 11, 2008
It is a race with no incumbents, no heirs apparent, and (to the Clinton campaign's surprise) no "inevitable" candidates. Walking political almanac Michael Barone captures the flavor of it when he observes "I wrote a few days ago that there were 60 scenarios for the Republican nomination"—but after the New Hampshire result, "I think we’re down to about 52."
There are a number of reasons for this bewildering flux. Eight years ago, George Bush's decision to choose as his running mate Dick Cheney—a man with no future ambitions for the nation's highest office—deprived the Republican Party of any prospect for a clear political succession. Meanwhile, the steady compression of the primary schedule, as more and more states have moved to earlier dates—requires voters across the nation to choose among a crowded field all at once on Super-Duper Tuesday, with little chance for candidates to build momentum or knock rivals out of the race prior to these votes.
(That, incidentally, is why poorly performing candidates such as Fred Thompson and John Edwards are stubbornly staying in the race. They're all willing to bet on the wild card of Super-Duper Tuesday.)
But the main reason for the unexpectedly protracted primary struggle we are likely to witness is the indecision of parties themselves. Each of the major political parties is deeply divided in a battle over its soul.
Let us start with the Democrats.
Iowa shattered the idea of Hillary Clinton's "inevitability," but New Hampshire (where Clinton did much better than expected, managing to win by a few percentage points) ended the prospect of a swift collapse of the Clinton campaign. Barack Obama, who did about as well in New Hampshire as the polls predicted—which is much better than he had been doing before his Iowa win—is certainly not out of the race, and he has just secured a crucial union endorsement for the next Democratic primary, in Nevada.
Horse-race types are now speculating that Clinton and Obama could trade victories in upcoming primaries, emerging from Super-Duper Tuesday still evenly matched, with no clear decision until later primaries tip the balance.
This is not what was supposed to happen. The primaries were supposed to be a Bambi versus Godzilla conflict.
Obama was considered inexperienced and naïve—he's been dubbed "Obambi" by his detractors—and with some justification. He is a "hothouse liberal," nurtured in the protective environment of local Chicago politics, which is dominated by the left, so that he has never faced a serious ideological challenger. (He practically walked into his Senate seat when the Illinois Republican Party sabotaged its candidate, then replaced him at the last minute with the marginally sane Alan Keyes.)
In this scenario, the Godzilla expected to crush him was the allegedly fearsome Clinton political machine, run by two seasoned political operatives with a large staff of political professionals schooled in the use of dirty tricks and backed up by a vast network of Democratic Party insiders and cronies.
But something odd is happening. Obambi is arguably beating Clintzilla.
The reason is not hard to discern: it is Obama's fresh, earnest idealism. The root of his appeal is that the damned fool actually means it: he puts forth every liberal bromide as if it were still 1960. He has inspired many comparison to JFK, with some dubbing his campaign "Obamalot," after the conventional view of the first years of the Kennedy administration as an idealized "Camelot." As I put it earlier this year, when Obama first emerged as a major candidate: "The left has always longed for a young, charismatic leader who will present the illusion of the left as a realm of bright-eyed, progressive idealists—an illusion that hides the tired, corrupt old ideas at the movement's core. They want JFK as they remember him—not the portrait of Dorian Gray represented by his brother Teddy. Obama restores that illusion for them."
But the problem of Obama's naiveté isn't just a smear thrown out by the Clinton machine; it is real and substantial. He demonstrated that when, in the early Democratic debates, he promised to solve the world's problems by inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez for tea at the White House—and then, in a hasty bid to make himself look like he could still be a tough guy—clumsily followed up with a proposal to unilaterally invade the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan. It was a policy that was incoherent at best.
Last fall, he proposed to solve the sub-prime mortgage crisis with a massive bail-out of over-extended mortgage holders, paid for by massive fines on the lenders—a proposal perfectly calculated to reward foolish behavior by the "little guy," while increasing the panic in the financial markets, discouraging lenders from ever extending another mortgage loan.
These proposals demonstrate an utter ignorance of both economics and foreign affairs. Voters could justifiably conclude that a President Obama would get taken for a ride by America's enemies abroad, while he carelessly mucked about with the economy at home.
Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is more sophisticated and hence more cautious and prudent. In responding to Obama's promise to meet with Ahmadinejad, for example, she was entirely correct to warn about the danger of granting free propaganda to anti-America rabble-rousers. Or consider her statements at a recent Democratic debate about an American withdrawal from Iraq.
I think we're in vigorous agreement about getting our troops home as quickly and responsibly as we possibly can, serving notice on the Maliki government that the blank check they've had from George Bush is no longer valid. We're going to have to have intensive diplomatic efforts in the region. I don't think anyone can predict what the consequences will be. And I think we have to be ready for whatever they might be.
We have to figure out what we're going to do with the 100,000- plus American civilians who are there working at the embassy, working for not-for-profits or American businesses. We have to figure out what we're going to do about all the Iraqis who sided with us, you know, like the translators who helped the Marines in Fallujah whom I met, who said they wouldn't have survived without them. Are we going to leave them?
You know, this is a complicated enterprise, so it has to be done right.
Translation: "We'll withdraw from Iraq, except that our responsibility to protect Western civilians and friendly Iraqis will require us to keep all of our troops there."
This, alas, is the style of Senator Clinton's superior sophistication: the art of embracing two opposite policies at once. She is, of course, either lying to the far left when she tells them that she intends to withdraw from Iraq—or she's lying to the center when she assures them that she will be responsible about protecting America's assets and allies there. Or she's lying to both.
It is no surprise that many Democrats—particularly younger ones—have chosen the plain-spoken idealist over the calculating, triangulating pragmatist. But Obama's naivete and his idealism are inseparably intertwined—as is Clinton's experience and cynicism. They are flip sides of the basic dilemma of the contemporary Democratic Party.
Jack Wakeland hit the essential issue in 2004 when he commented on the eve of Barack Obama's speech Democratic convention, the moment that launched Obama as a nation figure:
"He speaks without a shadow a moral doubt, as if the moral ideal of socialism had never been put on trial, found guilty, and destroyed as the system of government for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He speaks as if the socialist ideal were a new and untested plan that promises a bright future for the world."
Yet it has been tested, and more than four decades of experience have discredited the left's ideals. Collectivist central planning was discredited by the failure and collapse of the Soviet Union. The welfare state was discredited by the nightmare of the public housing projects, as the names of progressive idealists like Mother Cabrini and Robert Taylor became indelibly associated with the squalid, crime-ridden government-run ghettoes named after them. Even voluntary forms of egalitarian socialism have largely been discarded, as witnessed by the decline of the Israeli kibbutz, whose dead-end lifestyle has attracted fewer and fewer young recruits despite enjoying the dutiful admiration of a whole nation.
A foreign policy of negotiations and détente was discredited by Jimmy Carter, who presided over the final great expansion of the Soviets' tyrannical empire—and by Ronald Reagan, whose dose of hawkishness precipitated that empire's collapse. And the idea of the criminal as a hapless "victim of society" who deserves our sympathy was put to rest with finality by—well, by Rudy Giuliani.
In the face of this history—all of which he has lived through—Barack Obama's idealism has to be maintained through a naiveté that is carefully cultivated and zealously guarded.
Bill and Hillary Clinton, by contrast, have learned from experience—in their own way. Bill Clinton first came to prominence as a champion of the "New Democrats," who promised to moderate traditional liberalism (embracing welfare reform, for example) in light of the disastrous experiences of the previous decades.
But what the Clintons learned was not to reject liberal ideals, but to dissemble about them. They learned to promise the right that "the era of big government is over," while ceaselessly plotting to enlarge government—and to promise the left that America will withdraw from Iraq, while acknowledging that it would be irresponsible to do so. The Clintons call it "triangulation"; most of us would just call it "hypocrisy."
Hence the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. It is a choice between the only options available to a movement based on discredited ideals: naïve, stubbornly blinkered "idealism," and cynical, calculating, hypocritical "realism."
Take your pick as to which is worse.
But notice that the battle among the Democrats is less over the substance of the party's soul than over its style. Some critics have faulted Barack Obama for clinging to woozy generalities in his speeches rather than taking clear stands on the issues. But what would be the point of that? Obama has little to say on the substance of his policies that would actually differentiate him from Senator Clinton. What they differ on is not so much the content of what they say, but the freshness and sincerity with which they believe it.
This is not the case for the Republicans. The battle for the Republican soul is on much more substantive, profound, and irreconcilable issues. The Republicans are not battling over style, but over the party's basic beliefs and priorities.
The battle among the Democrats is less over the substance of the party's soul than over its style. This is not the case for the Republicans. The battle for the Republican soul is on much more substantive, profound, and irreconcilable issues. The Republicans are not battling over style, but over the party's basic beliefs and priorities.
The essence of the dilemma on the Republican side is that "fusionism" is coming un-fused.
Historically, the modern conservative movement was created by forging an alliance between religious traditionalists, pro-free-marketers, and foreign policy hawks. The idea that held this coalition together was the theory of "fusionism," championed by National Review. Fusionism was the idea that these three wings of conservatism could not only find common cause but could cobble themselves together into a semi-integrated ideology. The theory was that the religionists would defend traditional American culture, which would provide the cultural support for the ideals of limited government and American patriotism.
But the current election has prompted a lot of concern, particularly at National Review, that this arrangement isn't working. Jonah Goldberg, for example, worries that "Huckabeeism"—the combination of religious politics with populist anti-capitalist rhetoric—"threatens to unfuse fusionism." David Freddoso frets that "A two-way knock-down-drag-out fight between Huckabee and Giuliani could completely destroy the coalition that Ronald Reagan built by combining social and economic conservatives with anti-Communists."
They are right to be worried. The current primary campaign is a threat to fusionism. But it is not the candidates' fault, nor is it the voters'. The problem is the inherent instability of fusionism itself.
For a while, Rudy Giuliani was considered the main threat to the conservative coalition. As a pro-choice hawk campaigning on a pro-free-market platform, he was seen as trying to run on two wings of the coalition while driving away the third. But the more powerful threat to the conservative coalition has come, not from a secular politician like Giuliani, but from the leading candidate of the religious wing.
Mike Huckabee is splitting apart fusionism by pushing for the whole agenda of the religious conservatives while standing for pro-welfare-state, anti-free-trade economic populism. He is citing his religion, not only as the basis for banning "gay marriage," but also as the basis for what Jonah Goldberg has called "compassionate conservatism on steroids."
Huckabee is the main driver of the dissolution of the "fusionist" coalition. But each of the other major candidates is undermining fusionism in his own way.
There is no doubt about John McCain's credentials as a foreign policy hawk. He advocated the "surge" in Iraq before President Bush did, and at a campaign event last year he famously invoked what I call the Beach Boys Doctrine, replacing the lyrics of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" with "Bomb, bomb, bomb—bomb, bomb Iran." But McCain has a history of antagonism toward the religious right dating back to the 2000 primaries. And McCain cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as pro-free-market—not when he opposed President Bush's tax cuts and has been a tireless promoter of the global warming hysteria with its demand for massive new energy rationing. (Conservative writers are just beginning to draw attention to this fact.) You can't campaign as a pro-free-marketer when you propose to ban the incandescent light bulb, force everyone into hybrid cars, and put a legislative cap on the nation's energy production.
Ron Paul is not a major candidate and arguably is not even a genuine Republican. (He is a political opportunist who last ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket.) But he chips away at fusionism in his own small way, adding a distinctive twist: in economic policy, he campaigns for the gold standard and the abolition of taxes, while in foreign policy he adopts the blame-America-first pacifism of the far left.
In answer to all of this, Rudy Guiliani has just come out with a proposal for "the biggest tax cut in American history," accompanied by "a 5 to 10 percent reduction in spending at federal agencies." It is an attempt to establish himself as the staunchest pro-free-marketer in the race—but one who is unacceptable to many on the religious right.
(Interestingly, while Huckabee has captured the heart of many in the Republican base, Giuliani has captured the party's brain. He long ago won the "pundit primary," the contest for the endorsements of the right's professional intellectuals. This is partly because many of the pundits live in New York and are personally grateful to Giuliani for making their city livable again—but it is also because these intellectuals are accustomed to thinking in terms of secular arguments rather than Biblical citations and are thus more open to a secular candidate.)
There are only two candidates who could be considered examples of "fusionism." Fred Thompson can make a plausible claim to be acceptable to all elements of the conservative coalition—but he has run such a low-energy campaign that he has not earned the enthusiasm of any of them.
The other remaining fusionist is Romney—but nobody believes him. He is not credible to the religionists because he was pro-choice when he ran for governor of Massachusetts; he's not credible to free-marketers because he sponsored that state's scheme for government-mandated, government-controlled, government-subsidized health insurance; and he's not especially credible to hawks because he has no record or history on foreign policy.
So consider the line-up: if you're a pro-free-marketer, you've got Rudy—but you can't trust Romney, you know McCain is dangerous, and Huckabee denounces you as a member of the "Club for Greed." If you're a hawk, you've got Rudy and McCain and maybe Romney—but Huckabee sounds too much like Jimmy Carter. And if you're a religious conservative, you're thrilled with Huckabee, but you're suspicious of McCain, you don't trust Romney, and Rudy is at best barely tolerable.
There's no fusion here. There is certainly an intersection between the hawks and the pro-free-marketers—but there is no intersection that joins them to the religionists.
This is not an accident. There is no such intersection in this election because the secular and religious concerns of the right are, in fact, incompatible.
Fusionism is failing because its basic premise—that the moral foundations of free markets and Americanism can be left to the religious traditionalists—is false. For five decades, conservatives have ceded to the religious right the job of providing the moral fire to sustain their movement. But they are discovering that the religious right does not have a strong moral commitment to free markets. In fact, with Huckabee as its new spokesman, the religious right seems to be working on its own version of "fusion"—with the religious left.
The reason is that religion cannot support the real basis for capitalism and a strong American national defense: a morality of rational self-interest. Christianity is too deeply committed to a philosophy of self-abnegation, a destructive morality that urges men to renounce any interest in worldly goods and to turn the other check in the face of aggression. The early Christian saints, for example, abandoned all material comforts and lived in caves—which is to say that their closest contemporary disciples are the radical environmentalists. As for foreign policy, St. Augustine spent a fair bit of his massive apologia for Christianity, The City of God, explaining to the Romans that being sacked by barbarians was good for them because it taught them the virtue of humility and cured them of their attachment to material wealth.
I'm not sure what answer you would get if you asked "what would Jesus do" if he were alive today. But I'm pretty certain the answers would not include: "seek venture capital for a high-tech start-up," "negotiate an import deal for Chinese-made flat-screen TVs," or "manage a hedge fund." Which is too bad, because these are the activities that achieve, in reality, what the loaves and the fishes never could.
We live at the end of two centuries of evidence for the triumph of capitalism. From the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in England, to the rise of the "Asian Tigers," to the impact of global capitalism in India and China—everywhere capitalism has spread, human life has been radically transformed for the better. And we live at the end of a century that amply demonstrated the failures of socialism. As I pointed out yesterday, the left has never learned the moral lessons of this history—but neither has the right. Tricked by the fusionists into outsourcing moral questions to the guardians of religious tradition, the right has never been able to properly develop the moral case for rational self-interest—which means they never developed the moral case for the profit motive, property rights, and the free market. Many on the right are implicitly sympathetic to capitalism, sensing its virtues—but, thanks to "fusionism," unable to articulate them. And this means that they have never been able to turn the defense of free markets into a moral crusade.
Even worse, the "fusionists" turned away the one intellectual who could have helped them do so. National Review made a special effort to expel Ayn Rand and her followers from the right because her atheism threatened their fusionist agenda—even though she was the most powerful advocate for the morality of free markets.
The result of this failure is that we're entering a presidential election that is likely to revolve around three main issues: the War on Terrorism, socialized medicine, and massive new global warming regulations. Yet rather than rallying around a candidate who will effectively oppose the left on all of these issues, the Republicans are fragmented in a battle between their religious wing and the pro-free-marketers. And that battle may yet produce a candidate who can out-quote the Bible to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at a prayer breakfast, but who will "me-too" the Democrats on environmentalism and the welfare state.
To escape this dilemma in the short term, the Republican Party's best bet is to nominate Rudy Giuliani rather than Mike Huckabee. To escape it in the long term, the intellectuals of the right need to devote much more time and attention to the secular moral case for liberty and capitalism—which would finally allow them to stand on their own two feet ideologically, without feeling the need to be "fused" to a religious movement that has shown itself incapable of offering a foundation for these ideals.