CXLVIII – Impeach the American People!

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Perhaps
the sentiments contained in the
following pages, are not yet sufficiently
fashionable to procure them general
favor; a long habit of not thinking
a thing wrong, gives it a superficial
appearance of being right, and
raises at first a formidable outcry
in defence of custom. But the
tumult soon subsides. Time makes
more converts than reason.

~
Tom Paine, Common
Sense

Now
that George Bush's marbled columns
of support have turned to sand,
there is talk of impeachment and,
perhaps, even his criminal prosecution,
along with that of his coterie
of unprincipled administration
thugs and advisors who helped
turn America into the 21st
century equivalent of 1939 Germany.
If Bill Clinton was to be impeached
for lying about his oval office
peccadilloes, the bill of particulars
against Mr. Bush and his fellow
barbarians rises to exponential
levels of insistence.

I
refuse to take part in this whooping
and hollering. It is driven by
the same refusal of men and women
to examine what they have made
of themselves that allowed Mr.
Bush to mobilize their u201Cdark sideu201D
energies into murderous attacks
upon hundreds of thousands of
innocent people; to torture and
detain — without hopes of trial
— anyone the administration saw
fit to deprive of their liberties;
and to turn America into the kind
of dystopian police-state that
was beyond the fertile imaginations
of Messrs. Orwell and Huxley.
It is, in a word, just another
collective exercise in scapegoating.

This
is not to suggest that Mr. Bush
and his fellow butchers and plug-uglies
are not deserving of punishment.
While u201Cjusticeu201D amounts to little
more than the redistribution of
violence, those who consider themselves
called upon by God to slaughter,
torture, and otherwise destroy
the lives of their fellow humans,
need to be held accountable for
their actions. But I resent any
notion that they ought to be answerable
to the same people who, over the
past five years, could not find
enough flags to wave, bumper-stickers
to attach to their cars, or angry
vitriol to direct at what few
of their neighbors retained a
sufficient sense of maturity and
integrity to resist the collective
madness that now defines America.

If
this gang of criminals is to be
held answerable to the rest of
humanity, the case against them
ought not be advanced by those
who, by their lynch-mob enthusiasm,
helped facilitate these wrongs.
The stench of hypocrisy would
be far too suffocating, making
a mockery of the moral principles
to which the emerging ersatz outrage
appeals for support. It would
be like Mafia hit-men wanting
to bring the leading figures of
organized crime to justice for
their violent ways.

No,
if anyone is to be impeached for
the atrocities of this past semi-decade,
it ought to be most members of
the American public who should
stand in the dock. The politicians
and military leaders did no more
than what politicians and military
leaders always do: use as much
violence to accomplish their ends
as their victims will allow them
to exercise. Like putting a bowlful
of candy in front of children,
mature adults ought to know what
to expect when self-interested
pursuits are not checked by an
insistence upon the inviolability
of the boundaries of others.

I
want to make clear that I am not
offering any collective indictment
of all Americans. From 9/11 onward,
there have been numerous voices
of opposition to the Bush-leaguers
from men and women whose moral
principles never lost focus. People
like Cindy Sheehan, Lew Rockwell
and others at lewrockwell.com,
Gore Vidal, Chris Hedges, Justin
Raimondo and his associates at
antiwar.com, Lewis Lapham of Harper's,
Bob Higgs and his colleagues at
the Independent Institute, and
Amy Goodman, are just a few of
the more prominent voices to u201Cjust
say u2018no'u201D to tyranny and butchery.
Republican Congressman Ron Paul
remains a consistent 434-1 voice
against these practices, while
Democratic Senator Russ Feingold
stood up early and often to oppose
statist measures that his round-heeled
fellow legislators were always
eager to support.

But
most Americans went into a moral
slumber, and dreamt the illusions
put into their heads by Bush,
Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al., along
with members of the mainstream
media who, in parroting every
word and nuance provided by their
establishment masters, confirmed
that brothels are not restricted
to seamy red-light districts.
u201CFounding Fathersu201D such as Thomas
Jefferson, Sam Adams, and James
Madison, were well aware of the
danger of ordinary people coming
to trust power. The likes of Alexander
Hamilton, however, counted on
such weakness, being aware that,
in the market for human integrity,
it was always wise to sell short.
As the Bushites continued to unfold
the details of their dictatorship,
the words of Ben Franklin echoed.
When asked what kind of government
the framers had created, Franklin
replied: u201Ca republic, if you
can keep it.u201D

I
have long discounted the myths
upon which governments are based.
The reality that the state is
no more than a product of conquest
has long dissipated the fairy-tale
of some alleged u201Csocial contract.u201D
Still, if the practitioners of
modern government insist upon
the fabled version, I shall be
pleased to confront them on their
own terms. Perhaps it is the lawyer
in me that sees the advantage
in using the opposition's case
to discredit their own arguments.

No
more succinct characterization
of the u201Csocial contractu201D theory
of the state has been offered
than by Edmund Burke, who regarded
the state as u201Ca partnership not
only between those who are living,
but between those who are living,
those who are dead, and those
who are to be born.u201D The U.S.
Constitution – in its preamble
alleging to be the product of
u201CWe the Peopleu201D — resorts to this
contractual rationalization for
state power. The Declaration of
Independence, however, is far
more explicit about such matters,
stating that governments derive
u201Ctheir just powers from the consent
of the governed; that whenever
any form of government becomes
destructive of these ends, it
is the right of the people to
alter or abolish it.u201D

If
one is to try to justify any relationship
on the basis of a contract, it
is important to understand what
is implicit in a contractual undertaking.
Contracts involve what is termed
a u201Cmeeting of the mindsu201D of two
or more people, each of whom has
certain rights and duties as spelled
out in the agreement. If the Constitution,
for example, is thought of as
a bilateral contract between
state authorities and u201Cthe people,u201D
the state acquires its legitimacy
only by adhering to the terms
of the instrument that conferred
power upon it. As with any other
contract — such as for employment,
or the buying and selling of merchandise
or real estate — there is a burden
upon those who are to be subject
to state rule to insist upon adherence
to the contractual terms. It is
the obligation of members of the
public to maintain vigilance over
state officials and to make firm
and timely objections when they
exceed their authority. If I were
to purchase a car, I would be
obliged to make payment, just
as the dealer would have a duty
to deliver the car to me. In order
to protect my self-interests in
the transaction, the onus would
be upon me to insist that the
dealer deliver to me that which
the sales contract prescribed
as well as to perform other specified
duties.

In
recent decades — and particularly
during these past five years —
most Americans have utterly failed
in their contractual undertakings.
They have treated this alleged
u201Csocial contractu201D not in bilateral
terms — where each have duties
to perform — but as a unilateral
transaction, in which performance
is all one-sided. To most people,
government may have been established
by contract but, once created,
the state became a free agent,
able to extend its decision-making
authority in any direction it
chose, without any check upon
its power from those it ruled.
The obligation of u201Cthe peopleu201D
to insist upon its rulers abiding
by the terms of the u201Cagreement,u201D
dissolved into the duty to be
obedient to whatever state authorities
mandated.

I
do not discount for a moment the
vicious and wicked deeds of the
White House sociopaths who have,
with only token objection from
others, behaved like drunken SS-officers
on a holiday for butchers. But
it is time not only for Americans,
but for the subjects of other
nation-states as well, to look
themselves in the face and ask
why they have been willing not
only to sanction such destructiveness,
but to insist upon it as the highest
expression of the u201Cgreatnessu201D
of the society in which they live.

Those
who drafted the Declaration of
Independence had an inherent distrust
of power. Rather than see this
as a reason to not create state
systems, they believed that members
of an enlightened, skeptical,
and constantly observant public
could and would insist upon state
authorities restraining their
appetites, lest they be driven
from office. If men like Jefferson,
Sam Adams, and Franklin were around
today, they would understand,
perfectly, what those in power
were doing and why they were doing
it. They would be sadly disappointed,
however, in the docility of most
of the American sheeple eagerly
lining up to be fleeced, proudly
sending their children off to
be slaughtered on behalf of interests
of which they are unaware, and
equating obedience to their rulers
with social responsibility.

Most
Americans have failed to live
up to their responsibilities under
this alleged u201Csocial contract.u201D
This includes most Democrats who,
throughout these past five years,
have done little more than opportunistically
await the day that they might
recover the White House in order
to continue the same statist agenda
u201Cunder new management.u201D You will
not find the Democrats proposing
repeal of the Patriot Act — or
any of the other recently enacted
additions to police-state powers
— or the dismantling of the Homeland
Security system. Neither will
they do what any morally decent
person would do in the conduct
of a war against wholly innocent
people: stop the killing. As Nancy
Pelosi has expressed it, more
money will be needed for the military,
and the troops will be brought
home but only after they have
achieved victory, rhetoric that
differs not one iota from that
of George W. Bush.

It
is counterproductive not only
to look to the Democrats to bring
about any fundamental change in
governmental behavior, but to
fantasize about bringing George
Bush to u201Cjustice.u201D There is something
cowardly about failing to confront
a bully when he enjoys strength,
but then joining with others to
pounce on him when he has fallen
into a weakened condition.

Furthermore,
to demand retribution from members
of this crowd is but to reinforce
the process by which political
systems energize themselves, namely,
to project our self-directed fears
and other shortcomings onto others.
We shall never end our self-destructive
subservience to power by indulging
in the pretense that, by punishing
such wrongdoers, we can not only
absolve ourselves of the painful
feelings of our moral cowardice,
but sanitize the political system
— to which we remain attached
— from any future transgressions.

So,
forget about impeaching George
Bush and his moral reprobates.
They — along with his predecessors
— have breached whatever u201Csocial
contractu201D Americans like to delude
themselves into thinking they
have with the state. It is most
Americans who ought to be impeached.
As the purported real parties
in interest in this arrangement,
their breach has been the most
egregious. They have utterly failed,
not only in their obligations
to their children and grandchildren
to restrain state power but, what
is worse, to give a whit that
such a state of affairs has arisen
in a country that was once looked
upon by the rest of the world
as a symbol for peace, liberty,
and decency.

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